FRC in China discussion thread

I came across this/ reddit post today, has anyone else heard anything about this? I’d really like to help expand FIRST into China if this is really happening. Can anyone verify this?

This thread^ is a little different from what the reddit discussion is, IMO.

Dang, why didn’t I know there was an FRC subreddit? uh-oh, another time vampire.

Ali Baba just went IPO.
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/a-soaring-debut-for-alibaba/?ref=business

If FIRST becomes more involved in China…OMG! inter-district play just got more complicated. :slight_smile:
We’re gonna need a bigger CMP.

PM me if you want more info.

Here are pics from the scrimmage in August

I’d be interested in the community’s opinion about expanding FRC to China in a big way.

On one hand it’s a good way to build transnational relations with one of the biggest economies on the planet. Increasing communication and ties between our counties is a good thing, much like having Chinese students come to western universities is positive.

The contrary view is that China is significant competition to the west. FIRST was originally founded on the idea that we needed to step up our game in order to compete. The URL is usfirst.org, after all. Having a huge China FRC presence would consume FIRST resources and donations not to mention slots at championships.

Well reasoned thoughts would be interesting to hear.

This is an extremely valid point to me. There are certainly valid arguments both ways. My biggest point which I’m sure many will consider controversial is that they will not speak english at champs. To me it is totally unfair for FIRST to start bringing teams from other countries to Champs especially when there is a game like Aerial Assist. Example: my team had a match with one of the Mexican teams. Awesome people for sure, but we couldn’t work together when the game was all about assists. This blatantly caused us to lose.

In all I understand FIRST’s desire to expand, but let’s focus on expanding in North America before we go across the world. We don’t even have a standard model figured out yet (districts vs regional).

FRC is not likely to be big, at least not soon, because of the very high costs involved. Other programs are well established already - like FLL, FTC, VEX.

As far as competition goes, my own view is that raising the level of technology anywhere in the world will eventually help everyone in the world. (Don’t mean to sound too philosophical…)

FRC is established in many other countries - I don’t see China being any different. CUYRA wants to inspire interest and creativity in their students the same as all the other countries involved in FRC do.

I was not involved at the very beginning, but I did attend kickoffs in Manchester starting in 1996. Discussion on how the FIRST Competition would enhance our (i.e., America’s) capabilites relative to competition from other parts of the world was lively back then and it remains so today. Consensus in most discussions where I have been a participant, then and now, seems to be that competition from those other parts of the world is the best preparation for competition from those other parts of the world. It sounds obvious because it is.

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Actually, their English is very good. Nearly all the students speak English and most of the adults as well. We did have translators at the workshop last December and the scrimmage this August but most would have understood the English anyway.

As a VEX mentor, we’ve played with roboteers from Mexico, China and Singapore: They have had people that speak better English than I do :rolleyes: so communications isn’t the problem. I’ll guess that their “strategy” didn’t match yours.

It does. I think part of the prior posts is frustration that we are getting kicked to the curb (hence the USfirst reference). But I watched jobs move to Ireland and their wages moved up. Then to India and their wages moved up. Then to China and the wages and costs move up and now off to Viet Nam. But I’m also seeing a trickle back to the US as the costs level.

[soapbox] Business leaders need to look at the long term, not quarter by quarter. If someone looked at the cost of moving from the US through 5 different countries, they would be appalled. But I work in a generation of “me make the most money” in management. But I live in a world of “make engineers”, so I’m going with the “float”.

I’m also not a fan of iTech (iThings, Facepaper, Tweetme, etc) I can’t drive them, sit on them, eat them, mow the grass with them, etc. I’ll be happy when we get done pushing data around and start building stuff again.
[/soapbox]

Addressing these two together, I have had this on both sides, teams we have dealt with from Brazil, Israel, Mexico, etc. Have spoke perfect to passable English and had no issues. But I have also dealt with teams where I had a much easier time speaking to them in their native tongue if I could. The issue is terminology usually. This years game in strategy meetings we would use terms “Inbounder, Midfield, Finisher, Kiss Pass etc.” since these were not official terms some non-native speakers had issues understanding what we meant. Language barriers exist, not as bad as the first says usually, but aren’t non-existent as the second makes it out to be

Going back to the original point of the thread, expansion is good, China is a very big place with a lot of people, meaning a lot of students who can benefit from our programs, regardless of if this organization was started to help America get back into the sciences it is not a good reason to deny any other groups the same rights. Plus as anyone who has tried to do anything with our lovely organization knows, FIRST HQ will help you, point you in a direction, or direct someone to call you, but they will not do the work for you. There are legs on the ground who do the grunt work and are the face of FIRST to their local community, if these people or groups exist in China let FIRST grow their, no one cared when FIRST popped up in Australia, who now has their own regional taking up spots at champs, why should Chinese kids who just want to learn be treated any different?

From listening to the many speeches that are given each year about how FIRST is going to make a difference in our country and make us competitive, bring us back to the top, and make us the leaders, I think I can conclude that I stand well off the party line in this regard.

I’d like to encourage everyone not to think in terms of national boundaries, national identity, and which country is leading. Perhaps this did (and perhaps it still does) play into FIRST’s mission as they market it to all of us; it’s not a bad idea, since there are people who are willing to give their support when they see it that way. But let’s remember that the core values of FIRST are gracious professionalism and coopertition. Ok, so these are just words. But they mean a lot to me. They mean that the best teams in FIRST aren’t worried about maintaining their status as much as they are about helping everyone else. They mean that everyone is committed to cooperation before competition. It has been a long long time since anyone could pretend that we are isolated from the rest of the world. There’s no getting around the fact that the Internet, air travel, international trade, etc. are all going to bring us face to face with people from all over the world more and more. We are all one community, living on the same planet, and interacting with each other quite a lot. So we can choose to be enemies, be distrustful of each other, and withhold things from each other. Or we can choose to work together and help each other out. It’s not just about bringing others up so that you can benefit. It’s about the kind of global community you want to live in.

For me, this is the most powerful message of FIRST, that people can come together and work together to achieve so much, and leave old rivalries, grudges, and hard feelings behind. When people talk about culture change, this is what I hope for.

Language is difficult, but that’s nothing new with teams from China. We’ve had communication issues with teams from Mexico, Brazil, Israel, etc.

But guess what? You encounter the exact same situation in your professional life! In my current position, I am frequently working and communicating with people in France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Japan, India, China etc. I have to be able to work with them and communicate on complex technical topics, just like students have to do with these teams at competition.

Beyond language… the “us vs them” mentality is largely a political/economical one. That’s not what FIRST is about. Gracious Professionalism is what FIRST is about. As it states on the FIRST website, “With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.” So lets go compete against these people. Lets show them that they have a long way to go to compete on our level… and then lets help them get there. Lets show them what FIRST is all about.

I think that in terms of communication, there should be few problems, because in China, almost every school has its students learn Mandarin/Cantonese depending on Mainland and Hong Kong, and then they learn English as a mandatory second course.

I have a few cousins in China, and when we talk over skype (They’re between 15-18), they specifically ask me to help them practice their English by talking to me exclusively in english, and in my opinion, they speak as well as native english speakers when they concentrate.