The 2011/2012 Academic Year / by Simmon Li

It's shaping up to be a really good year. Just finalized my timetable yesterday and I have to say, I am really excited about the courses and content that I will be tackling. The one I'm most excited for is PHL271H1, called Law and Morality. Looking over the preliminary outline, I am really excited to be diving into that course. I've been reading Plato's Republic on and off when I have the time in China, and I can say for sure that I have certainly thought about what law is, and how it relates to morality. It's an interesting question to contemplate, especially in a place like China. While China certainly doesn't have the typical "liberal state" institutions, there are certain aspects of law here that fascinate me. The idea that law should drive social behaviour, for example, is actually strongly present in China. However, some laws that I am accustomed to in Canada are missing. To me, the most fascinating case is the case of smoking. In Canada, it is illegal to smoke in certain areas. It is also the case in China, but here, the law is much less restrictive. You can smoke anywhere unless there's a sign posted that says "No smoking." In Canada, we've been socially engineered to expect that smoking is prohibited in most areas (almost the exact opposite of the case here in China). Because I am so used to the Canadian social institutions surrounding smoking, I find it odd when people smoke here indoors, though truth be told, I am the odd man out. In any case, I am really excited for that course. I'm also really excited about the Politics of Development course, as well as the Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies course. And the political theory course. In general, many of the topics and courses I have chosen seem to really stoke a level of excitement that I've not felt about courses in a while. I'm looking forward to the ECO230 course as well, though I'm not sure what to expect. If it's anything like ECO105, I think I'll be fine (though the key then would be to find a study group). It's all so exciting!