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Poetic Chinese Statisticians

The Wall Street Journal tends to reserve its first page’s middle of the bottom for less weighty and often bizarre news items. The headline for the Saturday/Sunday edition, September 26-27, 2009 is, “As Communist China Turns Sixty, Her Statisticians Turn to Poetry.” A featured poem by a Chinese statistician is entitled, “Love the Motherland, Love Statistics.” The poem reads (in translation),

In Life
Some mock me for doing statistics
Some loathe me and statistics
Some don’t understand what statistics are
Why is it that statistics
Put a calm smile on my face?
Because of statistics I can solve the deepest mysteries
Because of statistics I will not be lonely again, playing in the data
Because of statistics I can rearrange the stars in the skies above

On the website of China’s National Bureau of Statistics can be found “I am Proud to be a Brick in the Statistics Building of the Republic.” The following poem ends the WSJ article:

The stormy times force me to pay more attention
To the national GDP and CPI announcements
As the motherland becomes richer and more powerful,
Statistics are emphasized.


On October 18, Japan will observe the 37th anniversary of “Statistics Day.” Its purpose as described here was to strengthen “the national concern and understanding to the importance of statistics and promoting their cooperation in the surveys held by the central and local governments.” According to Andrew Malcolm writing in the New York Times on October 26, 1977 (“Data-Loving Japanese Rejoice on Statistics Day”), “no nation ranks higher in its collective passion for statistics. In Japan, statistics are the subject of holidays, local and national conventions, award ceremonies and nationwide statistical collection and graph-drawing contests.” On the 30th anniversary in 2002, the “catchphrase” selected from “among 2,934” submissions was "Statistical Surveys Owe You and You Owe Statistical Data." The poster used in publicity is shown below. Speculate on whether in the United States there ever will be statisticians writing patriotic poetry and/or a national statistics day.