Sunday, May 28, 2017

Thirty Seconds of Wuxi China Traffic #23

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April 2017 Notes

For Qing Ming Festival Day, we drove out to Jenny's hometown. We spent more time getting to and from her hometown then actually visiting with her parents. The traffic was horrible. What would in theory be a 70 minute drive took us 150 minutes. The sources of the delays were the toll gate area at the Jiangying Bridge and a turn-off near the bridge which was but one lane wide. Three lanes of traffic were trying to get into it and this was a cluster lanes became blurred.

A few good things came out of the ordeal One was news from Jenny that the 3,000 drivers who tried to cheat and get around traffic slowdowns by driving on the shoulder were all to be punished severely. Two was Jenny's vowing never to go to the hometown for a day trip on a holiday.

*

Restaurant at the Wu Culture Park. Coming back from Jenny's hometown on Qing Ming day, our plans to visit a military museum in Jiangying were scuttled by traffic and so we decided to check out this restaurant at the park near Casa Kaulins. We had quite an enjoybable time. The restaurant was situated so that it overlooked a pond and thus afforded a great view. And it also had good food. If you look at my wordpress blog, you can find some photos I took of the place.

*

On the day after Qing Ming Day, we drove out to to a park near the Ling Shan Buddha. I wish I could tell you the name of it, but I am too lazy to check on the Internet.. All I can say is other than the nice drive to it , the park was forgettable. A pedestrian walk street with a phony park next to it built for the sole purpose of attracting tourists.

One detail about going to the park struck me as interesting. The road to it was narrow: one lane either way with bike lanes on both sides.

I have seen how these roads can be nightmares at busy times because cars will try to pass other cars by driving in the bike lanes. To stop this from happening on Qing Ming Day, the powers that be decided to lay lots and lots of traffic cones on the dividing lines between the lanes in order to bring some order to the traffic.


*

Tony tells me he has work to do on the Iphone. He just wanted to play a driving game.

He must have heard me say that I had work to do on my computer so I could get him off my computer.

*

On the train one evening, I saw this older local woman eating a banana. How boorish I thought to myself. I then saw that she had noticed me and my foreign colleague who I was standing by, and that she was pointing us out to her child.

*

On the Shanghaiist site, there was a report of a “blatantly racist” (against Chinese) leaflet being distributed on some campus in Texas. I saw the leaflet in the report. And all its complaints about Chinese behavior were true. I showed it to another foreign colleague and he said that it could have said more. I found the whole report troubling because, the school authorities were treating the whole incident as racist without dealing with the real and justifiable complaints that the leaflet had presented. As well, the response from a Chinese student group was focus on the “racist” aspect of the leaflet and make a statement of being proud of being Chinese, without any acknowledgment that maybe their behavior needed some modification.

It was a clear example of truth being suppressed and a real injustice being done; and so I found it very troubling. This calling people racist is being used as a cover for some people to behave boorishly.

Alas, I am becoming a person who can be accused of being racist. And I am also very confused about what racism is exactly. I thought it was a hatred of a group of people because of their skin color. That kind of hatred is stupid and irrational; and it is evil if it involves wanting to do actual harm to these groups. But racism is currently viewed as more than just that and even people who mean well or who have truthful complaints can be called racist.

*

I realized I can take an alternate route on the days when I have to walk to Tony's classroom to pick him up.

Instead of going up the stairwell everyone else does, I realized I can go down a hallway to another stairwell that no one else would think of taking. The route isn't shorter than the popular route, but I don't have to deal with squirts yelling “laowai” as I pass them.

*

I was hyping a meeting between Xi and Trump but it was overshadowed by Trump's decision to bomb Syria.

I have no opinion on the bombing but I can appreciate the arguments that both sides, pro and con, are making for their positions

*

Just let it go! I was telling myself this as I drove Tony to school in the morning because I didn't want to get carried away with road rage. But sure as heck, I got angry as I was driving back home. Some prick in a BMW cut me off.

*

Breaking rulers and overturning desks so that the contents of the student's desk fall on the floor.

Whatever it takes to get the primary school students to be quiet and respectful.

*

When taking the subway, I choose to board cars that are at the ends of the train. So when waiting for the train, I stand at either end of the platform; and usually the end that fewer people will stand at. While I wait, it is my habit to pace back and forth and not to stand in a spot.

I would think that if I came upon another person doing this, that this person would have dibs on boarding the train before others. In Wuxi however, I have discovered that locals will walk up and take up the spot that I think I am entitled to by having gotten there first. The local mind sees nothing wrong with this. Talking to other foreigners in Wuxi, they have noticed this behavior as well and taken it as being rude and selfish.

So from the time of this entry, I am going to have to stand my guard as I wait for the train.

*

Tony and I have been watching Rick and Morty.

*

Don Rickles R.I.P. To a Canadian, he said “Why don't you put skates on your face and go play hockey somewhere.”

*

Got two more traffic tickets. One of them we got when we were stuck in a traffic jam returning from that day at the park near Ling Shan. I found myself in a left turn lane and no one would let me in a straightaway lane. Some idiot then got on my left and I was wedged in between cars so that I was straddling a line. A traffic camera caught this and so a message was sent to Jenny's phone.

The damn thing about the roads in China is that you are always having to change lanes to avoid getting stuck in a turn lane. Every once and while, you find yourself in a left turn lane and stuck in heavy unforgiving traffic that won't let you change lanes. I know how to avoid this on familiar stretches of road, but if I am an area of town that is new to me, I will often make this mistake.

*

It has been pointed out to me that the disruptive students in the primary school classes are often stuck at the front of the class. Getting a close look at them, I can report that they are a mixed bunch. That is, the disrupters come in all shapes, sizes and personalities.

One of the kids in a grade three class is too clever for the material I have been teaching. He sits towards my left. I got great joy at being able to get him to cry when I took his desk and dumped its contents on the floor to stop him from acting like a baboon.

A male classmate of this boy who sits on my right, looks like a mental defective because he has all the teeth on one side of his mouth missing as well as a cereal bowl haircut. When he approaches me, I have to fight the urge to swat him away. He is like a mosquito

Near the boy on my left sits a girl who always scowls and refuses to answers any questions. If I had to teach her everyday, I would want to take a ruler and smack her on each side of the head to put across the notion that only low-grade people answer questions in monosyllables.

There is this boy, in a grade four class, who looks like he will grow up to be a criminal – he seems to enjoy being able to leer and scowl like a devil. Nothing in this devil child's countenance suggests he is capable of anything but malevolence. I see the other kids mock him as something of a freak.

*

On the road betwixt Casa Kaulins and the Hui Shan Wanda Shopping Center there are many government buildings including a tax bureau and a police station and a law court.

One Sunday I could not help but notice that there was something going on at the law court. There were crowds of people there, and a heightened security and police presence. I saw seven police motorcycles (that usually cruise the area around our apartment) parked near the entrance of the courthouse grounds, two vans full of black uniformed security types parked across the street from the courthouse entrance, a firetruck with fireman inside parked in the court parking lot, and a very officious looking uniformed police who seemed to be directing the whole affair. The actual civilians standing by were older types who didn't seem angry and who definitely didn't seem just curious. They seemed to have been cowed into quiescence by the increased security presence.

I asked my wife what was going on and she told me that an unpopular decision had been made by the court.

*

I got to see Wuxi from 64th floor. Jenny took me and a friend to lunch at a buffet restaurant on the 64th floor of the Hyatt Regency. The view was great. I was struck by how I seemed to be on top of things that I knew to be many blocks away from the Hyatt's location. The food at the buffet was just okay however, and so as I sat vegetating, I recalled my visit to the Space Needle in Seattle. I went to a lot of trouble, spending lots of money on parking and admissions, to get to the famous landmark's observation deck. The view from the Space Needle was great but after two minutes I was bored. But it seemed a waste to go down so soon so I hung out on the observation deck with nothing to do for a further twenty minutes. Looking out from a skyscraper is something you'd only need do once in your life.

The deck was setting for a scene in the Warren Beatty Film the Parallax View in which a politician is assassinated.

It was the third assassination spot I had been too. The others being Dealey Plaza in Dallas and the Trotsky compound in Mexico City.

*

My grilled cheese sandwiches are quite the hit with Tony & Jenny.

*

Not much to say for myself this month. The world goes on and while I observe as avidly as ever, I don't have the same emotional investment in these events and so feel less compelled to say anything about them.

Besides, it doesn't matter what I think about them away. The sad fact about Andis is that he concerns himself with events that are far removed from his actual physical real world circumstances because he is too mediocre to deal with the things that should matter to him.


This realization should be liberating. Why waste time trying to be something I am not?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

March 2017 Notes

One morning in early March, I took photos of the traffic chaos around Tony's school and I was hoping that the drivers were wondering what this foreigner was doing.


I took the photos as I returned to my car after having accompanied Tony to the school gate. I especially made a point of taking the photo of a car that had parked behind me. This car had its ass stuck out into traffic big time. The driver was sitting in his car and noticed me taking the photo. He then had a look on his face that was priceless. I then gave him a big smile.


*


To become March, I binge-viewed the Lemony Snicketts tv series. I loved the style in which the series was shot. It was full of the elegant shots that I associate with films done by Wes Anderson. I as well loved the dialogue which was full of the wordplay of instant misunderstandings and the constant mentioning of synonyms of words that the characters had just used. It was a delight for this so-called English teacher to watch.


*


What is the problem with the Chinese aircraft carrier?


There is one pilot who likes to park his plane so that none of the other planes can land or take off.


*


I was hoping that Tony & I would be able to watch the Lego Batman movie in the cinema.


This won't happen because of our schedules and the fact that the movie is only getting limited show times in China (because it is a kiddie film). Tony is going to see the movie by himself. :(


*


Tony & I ended up going to see Lego Batman together after all. :) It was in Chinese and I could only understand a few sentences of dialogue. But I could definitely tell that it was Mandarin Chinese being spoken. No doubt had I about that.


So now, I have got impetus to again restart studying Chinese. This time, I will try to watch some Chinese movies with subtitles.


*


Is the world going mad? No. It is mad and always has been.


*


I ALSO binge-viewed a second Netflix series: 3 percent. The Process against the Cause. I highly recommend the series. It is basically a story about what people will do to try and get privilege and become part of the 3 percent that have it. The story of the series has candidates to join the elite try to get through the Process, a series of tests that determines who is elite and can thus live in a place called the Offshore. There are some plot conflicts though as there are people from the Cause, who are against the Process, who are seeking to infiltrate the Process as candidates. Meanwhile the committee overseeing the process is trying to unseat the manager of the Process...


*


This year in reading I have read some long novels. So far, I have gotten through Don Quixote and Kristin Lavransdatter.


*


The wonders and perils of technology. My wife Jenny does a lot of internet shopping. In China, I say she loves to go on Taobao, the big Chinese internet shopping site, or I say she loves to taobao, my attempt at creating a Chinglish word. Because of Taobao, I often have to pay a visit to one of the many lockers around our apartment complex which are set up for delivery drivers to conveniently drop off parcels and FOR internet shoppers to more conveniently pick them up. This errand I go on for Jenny is fraught with peril because something always seems to go wrong. Often, I go to the wrong locker – there are so many around the complex – or I screw up the pick up process by not being able to understand the prompts on the locker's keyboard which are in Chinese. A new wrinkle was added to this peril because people going to pick up their parcels, instead of entering passwords into the keyboard screen can press a key on their mobile phone that opens the locker door directly. The first time, I used this feature, it worked like a charm. The second time, it worked fine as well for the first of the two packages I had to pick up. But for the second package, I had a problem. I pressed the open door button and nothing opened in front of me. Fearing that I had opened a locker door somewhere else, I ran back to Jenny and she then noticed that the parcel had been dropped off at another locker. This delivery company had two lockers at our complex. So I had to run like a bugger to the other locker where the door was opened but the package was not taken!


*


One female student works at a factory in the purchasing department. She tells me she is so busy that she finds herself avoiding taking on more tasks. She admitted to me that she would tell people she wasn't available if they were looking for her... And thing about the factory is that is robotic. She tells me that her factory has more people in administration than in production, and that she would love in to be in production because they have less work to do.


*


I have been taking photos and publishing them in my Andis Kaulins in China photo blog (at wordpress) that show the little details I see living in China everyday.


*


I used to care a lot about the number of views that I got FOR my blogs, but when it became obvious that the numbers would never amount to much, I stopped paying attention. If one of my entries can get a hundred views, I am happy.


Of course, one hundred views must mean I have really one or two real readers.


*


A podcast I listen to mentioned that they had 40,000 listeners. Being a near regular listener to this podcast, I felt privileged.


The podcast in question is the Federalist podcast which must be made in Washington D.C.


*


I should really write an essay about something and make a blog entry about it. But what topics do I have anything interesting and original to say?


*


For the first time, I used the GPS on my Iphone to get me around Wuxi. What had happened was that Jenny had bought a second hand lamp on WeChat and I had to drive out to the New District to get it. The directions, to the apartment of the seller, which were given to me by the maps app worked like a charm. I got there with few problems.


*


They have these new types of public rental bikes in Wuxi. Unlike the previous type of public bikes which are to be picked up and then left at a bike stall, the new rental bikes are tracked by GPS and can be left anywhere once the rider is done with the bike. The bikes can be rented using an app on one's smartphone.


I am keen to try the bikes but haven't gotten around to it. There are five companies renting out these bikes which means one has almost too many choices. And because each company requires a deposit on an account before you can rent the bike, the prospect of making more than one deposit is not attractive. As well, Jenny tells me that there have already been people gaming the system so they can basically hog one of the bicycles for themselves. These hoggers can do this by physically hiding the bicycle as well as removing the bicycle's scan code. The latter tactic can be employed because the hogger already knows the code that will access the bike.


*


The kids at the primary school I teach at have been asking me for my signature, aka autograph. Unthinkingly, I accepted the request in one class and the result was that in next class, I was mobbed by twenty kids all wanting me to write my name on a piece of paper or in their notebook. It was an ordeal that made me glad I am not truly famous. And what was very annoying was how disorderly the children were when crowding around me, as well as how greedy they were. Like Chinese adults, they couldn't form an orderly queue and like Chinese adults faced with the prospect of free stuff, they got really greedy. Thinking that there were not so many kids wanting me my signature, I expected the mob to get smaller and the ordeal to end; but I then noticed that some kids were coming to me to again for more and more of my signatures. One kid actually tried to get a third signature off me.


*


A story in a textbook I was using with one of the primary school classes I do had a sentence in it that went as follows: "Roy had a budgie named Joey." So, I did a substitution exercise with the class in which I got the students to tell me something like "I have a dog names Spot." This exercise was quite popular with the students and many raised their answers to give me answers. Frequently, the students try to give me wise guy answers. One student said the following: "I have a monster named Mother."


*


A student told me she was tired because she was trying to teach her daughter some math. It was hard because the girl wasn't interested, she added.


I asked her how old her daughter was, thinking of the trouble my wife was having teaching our nine year old. The student told me her child was two, as in two years old. Her child was going to enter kindergarten soon so she wanted to prepare her, she added.


I thought she was nuts. I didn't tell her that but I did tell her child was still very young, would figure it out and for the mother to not to worry about it. I then complained to this mother about how parents these days spent far too much time supervising their children and not giving them a chance to figure out some things on their own. She responded that she was Chinese and didn't have a problem with these way of doing things.


*


I asked some of the students if they thought their parents were happily married. A few said they didn't think so because of one of their parents having a bad temper. I asked them if it had been suggested to these angry parents that their temper was a problem. They told me that these bad-tempered parents thought they were always right about everything.


*


Is Christianity true?


My imagined response had been that smarter men than me believed it was and that smarter men than me believed it wasn't. I know think that better men than me believe it and better men than me don't.


*


Class 5-1 at the Big Bridge Primary School all bowed in apology to me at the beginning of one class. They had not done well the previous class. I really could have done without grovelling. I would rather have had the class just behave better. I am certain that if they had, I would have noticed and said something complimentary.


*


Tony tells me that he doesn't have to do homework because he is Canadian.


*


The Chinese are frothing at the mouths over THAAD in South Korea, I have read on the Internet. From the students, I heard mention but have avoided the topic because their reactions are predictable in that they trumpet the government line. What struck me as strange about it was how it suddenly came up after the half-brother of Nork's Fat Boy had been snuffed out in strange circumstances. Talking about that incident, I had students trying to tell me about THAAD.


*


Looking back over what I have blogged so far, I see I have made but one mention about local drivers. Now I will make my second.


We uber it to get to the primary school. That is, instead of taking taxis, we use an uber-like app to get private cars to take us to and from the primary school.


Unlike the taxi drivers who are all overly aggressive, the local uber drivers have varying styles of driving. Some are aggressive and some are inexperienced and thus drive passively.


One day in March, we had a driver who was very aggressive. I tried to ignore his driving by concentrating on a e-book on my Ipad, but one instance, the driver swerved and caused me to look up and ahead. I saw that he was heading, at too high a speed, towards the end of a line of cars stopped at a light. He had to brake the car hard and just as he got close to the stopped cars, he thought to use his horn. I thought then that he was trying to get the cars to get out of his way and that he was being very stupid. I shook my head and talked about it to my colleague as we left the car at the entrance to the primary school. I then thought that maybe he was trying to warn them and that thus there was some logic to his using the horn. But after more pondering, I don't think it would have saved him from hitting the car if he hadn't been able to stop in time.


*


Overbearing parents have been a problem since time immemorial. But I am certain that the one-child policies whether enforced by authoritarian governments or cultural norms have exacerbated the problem.


We have at our school this one student, name of Hannah, who has such a parent. Hannah's English is not so good. In fact, we are getting her to repeat the entire beginner level of classes because she isn't ready to go to the next level. She can't make a sentence to help herself and it is hard to get her to say anything that she hasn't memorized beforehand. She also seems to be very inhibited. Many Chinese students are, but she is an extreme example. Our suggestion to have her repeat the entire level was met with resistance from Hannah and/or her parents. It was then that I learned from Hannah's Chinese tutors about her mother.


Her mother is not so much a tiger mother, as a monster mother. She is constantly supervising every moment of Hannah's existence. She personally accompanies Hannah to our school and is waiting for her when she is finished her class. And so being forced to lay eyes on the mother, I am struck by how permanent the scowl is on her face. The mother's countenance suggests that Hannah is subjected to non-stop, seven days a week and every waking hour of the day bullying. Poor girl.


One Friday evening, I had Hannah in a conversation class, the topic was "In the kitchen." Hannah told me that every time she wanted to do something in the kitchen, her mother would tell her to read a school book.


So her mother doesn't want her to learn a practical skill. Does her mother think that cooking is too lowly with her precious one and only daughter?


Anyway, other complaint about Chinese students is that they don't have any life experiences.


*


Meicun TOEFL students.


These students from Meicun high school are attempting to pass a TOEFL test so they can go to university in America. They are a pretty useless bunch actually and teaching them is a waste of time because they aren't interested in participating in classes. I have hated teaching them as did every other foreign teacher.


Still, I have some sympathy for them. It would seem that it's their parents that have these lofty academic goals for them and so they are forced to come to our school on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays so they can try to achieve this quixotic goal. Despite the kids not being academically inclined, they are stuck in a system where not going to university means they can't make their way in Chinese society.


This sympathy I have for them though is in the abstract. Practically, I despise the sight of them and would be happy if I never saw their faces ever again. Like every other lazy students, they are on their mobile phones all the time. Now, I wouldn't care about this so much except they have to occupy classes next to classrooms where I and other foreign teachers are trying to conduct classes.


One Saturday in March, I had the misfortune of having to teach a class of eight students while this group of Meicun students occupied a class next to mine. [Our classes have glass walls] I would have moved but there was no other classroom I could use. And the Meicuners were loud. I had to tell to interrupt my class and tell them to keep quiet. They didn't. So I had to go again and I called them a bunch of shitheads. At least, it got them to speak some English.


The incident hasn't changed anything other than those kids instead of having ignored me, now are a little more aware of me and are staring at me.


Apparently, some of their idiot parents are friends without someone in the Chinese management of our school.



*


Driver goes into right hand bicycle lane so he get around a lineup in the car lanes and make a left turn.


Another driver is on my right at an intersection. He wants to go straight while I want to make a right right. The lane he is in is really a cycling lane.


*


This though occurred to me as I was in traffic: do the locals use their horns so much because it is a form of self expression that isn't censored?


Of course, it could be that frequent use of horn is part of Asian culture.


*


A 112 rmb taxi ride. It was the most expensive taxi ride I can remember taking. I went from Johnson Controls which is located near the Wuxi Airport in Shuofeng to Casa K in the Hui Shan District near Yanqiao. The distance was 34 km. And the students keep telling me that Wuxi is a small city.


*


I ended March with a renewed effort to improve my Chinese. Instead of just learning characters and reading, I am trying to improve my listening by concentrating on certain recordings and listening to them over and over again till I know every sound by heart and can understand each word as easily and casually as listening to English.


*


Wind and underwear.


I left the laundry hanging on rails outside the window of our third floor apartment. It seemed a safe bet to leave them out there while all of the K family went to the nearby shopping mall.


But about two hours later, Tony & I started to walk back home from the Mall and saw that it was now very windy. As we got close to the apartment complex, we saw that sheets and what-not, that had been hung by other residents, had blown off and were resting in bushes.


Tony seeing this became very panicky. He wanted us to run home and take in the laundry we had hung out.


When we got home, I saw that one pair of Tony's pajamas/underwear had blown off the rails and was resting on the roof of the first floor neighbor's veranda. Seeing this as well, Tony started crying. I assured him that I would be able to retrieve them, but this didn't stop him from crying and saying that he really liked that underwear.





Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February 2017 Notes

They always say that anything a Republican does will provoke Muslims and turn them into potential terrorists. How come they never say that anything a Democrat does will provoke people into joining the Ku Klux Klan? What is with the Democrats and their belief in the inherent weakness and irrationality of people who aren't conservative or Western?

*

I made another student cry. What I did to make this boy cry was to separate him from another student with whom he was constantly talking as I was trying to do my class. It was a thing that I have done before in classes without an outpouring of tears. The crying came as a sort of a surprise to me because I noticed a tear in his eyes followed by an a seeming waterfall of them after the moving of him had escaped my thoughts.

*

The results of a physical exam taken of yours truly for insurance purposes: I have high blood sugar levels. I am going to have to cut back bigtime on the sweets and sweet drinks.

Fine I say. It was something I had been thinking I should be doing anyway. Now, I have been given impetus.

*

Saturday, February 4th, I am at school and I am listening to loud fireworks. Some business is opening for the new year.

*

I had to retake the blood test. We drove to the Hongqiao Hospital on ChangJiang Road to do so. Parking around the hospital building was horrific. Pathways through the parked cars had been whittled down to the width of a car. There was lots of double-parking. Cars trying to enter and exit the parking area were in each other's way. We were lucky because we stumbled upon a mostly empty parking lot that was across the street from the hospital, at the B&Q home decorating center. It seems that the locals have this mentality about parking as close to a place as possible and don't like having to walk anywhere.

I eagerly await the results.

*

In China I was able to watch, on live TV, the Super Bowl, between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, going into overtime. Was it the greatest Super Bowl of all time? I don't know. The actual OT period was an anti-climax. In fact, as soon as it was certain the game would go into OT, I stopped watching.

It seemed to me that this result was destined to happened. I am happy at this stage of my life to stop watching any sporting match if I think the winner is certain. But in the back of my mind, I have this feeling that the games are fixed and the winner is never at all certain It seems that when these games are played, things just always happen to make a lead collapse like referees calling holding penalties and teams with leads making own-goal type mistakes.

What was far more interesting for me about the game was Tony's watching of it. I had a hard time explaining to him that New England was not a country but a region of the United States and so it didn't have a flag. Tony more interestingly proclaimed that he wanted to be a football player. I suppose he found the helmets and gear that the players were wearing to be quite attractive.

*

Don Quixote and and his squire Sancho Panza, Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves. What is it about these pairings that I find so profound and the basis of great literature and comedy?

David Warren in a blog entry I have just read said that the Wooster and Jeeves characters have been responsible for some conversions to Catholicism. Warren and I find this interesting because Wodehouse was not a Christian. I recall reading that when Wodehouse was asked about his religious inclinations by Malcom Muggeridge, he replied that he didn't have any.

*

I had a student who was born on December 24th. Niel's not a Dragon like I am, however.

As I like to say, I am born in the year of the Dragon like Bruce Lee, and am a Capricron like Jesus Christ.

*

Subject of my SPC: Words that start with the prefix Ex.

What does the prefix Ex mean? I ask the students.

One of them said "former." So I went on to give the following example: "Obama is now an ex-president. President Trump has two ex-...." The group then said "wives" and laughed or smiled in amusement.

It was a good bit and I am proud of it.

Then I made a joke about how one student who respond to those who said he was lazy and just sat on the sofa all day. "You should tell them you are "ercising."

*

Here is what I should have said when a pretty female student told me she didn't have a boyfriend: "You know, I don't have a boyfriend either. How nice is it to have something in common with a pretty girl."

*

I ask the students if they got lots of hongbao (red pocket money) during the Spring Festival. I then ask them if they can give it to me. This gets them to laugh.

*

I passed the second blood test. Those four days of avoiding sugary things must have helped.

*

My feelings about Trump? I am inclined to like him now but I feel slightly uneasy about doing so. I can only defend my liking him by saying I like the paradoxical aspects of his whole being. He is a bullshit artist who doesn't put up with the bullshit of his opponents.

*

So Trump meet the Canadian Prime Minister. I was disappointed to hear that there were no fireworks and nothing untoward happened. I had this fantasy that Trump would look at the Canadian PM (who is my PM, whether I like or not) and ask "who is this pretty boy?"

I first learned of the visit of the PM to Washington from a Donald Trump tweet. Accounts I scanned of it said the PM did a wonderful job. Of course, this was the Globe and Mail: a left wing rag the last time I bothered to check. More interesting to this Canadian was the fact that the PM's meeting Trump was reported on the Wuxi Metro's video screens.

*

Abandon your prejudices! This is an imperative sentence for left-wingers to heed; not right-wingers.

*

The first few days of taking Tony to primary school in the new term, I can report that the traffic that I have encountered is worse than ever. The only moment of satisfaction I have had was when I stopped a driver from a BMW from cutting in front of me while I was part of a long lineup trying to get through a light. I lustily crept forward and honked my horn at the woman who was driving. Of course, the woman drove BMW further along the lineup and cut in front of someone else.

In every local jam or traffic delay, there are always more than a few drivers who try to cut in line.

*

Tony & I are going to visit Canada in August. We hope to spend some time in BC and an equal amount of time in Manitoba. I hope I can get Tony out to a Canadian Football League game as well as to a baseball game. I also like to get him to the USA for a day so he can say he has been.

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Tony loves watching the film Hacksaw Ridge. He saw it in the cinema and I then saw him watching it on the computer.

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Twelve years, going on thirteen years in China, and I probably speak the language worse than Bill Gates. What an embarassment!

The best that I can say is that I am familiar with the language and some of its written characters.

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Crossing the street, I like to make the cars stop or slow down for me. I have to do this because in Wuxi and everywhere else in China, the drivers show no courtesy to pedestrians and will never ever yield to them unless they absolutely must, to avoid a collision which would damage their car. Having grown up in the West where yielding to pedestrians is mandatory, I just can't accept the Chinese practice because it strikes me as being the height of rudeness.

I know one foreigner who says that he never slows down as he crosses the street and can always gets the cars to stop or slow down. I wouldn't go that far in fighting the Chinese practice because some cars are going a little too fast and I feel it would be suicide for me to try and get them to yield to me; but I often find that when there is a group of pedestrians, all locals, who are waiting to cross the street, I am the one who is taking the initiative and I find myself leading this group of pedestrians to walk across the street because I forced cars to come to a stop or slow down.

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One February 2017 morning, I was crossing the street at the crossing near the entrance to my school. I walked aggresively and forced cars to slow down in order to yield to me. One car did try to stop me by honking its horn at me, but had to slow down which gave me no end of satisfaction. Even more gratifying was the fact that the driver of this car had forgotten to turn off his right turn indicator. I enjoyed how this gaffe gave me anecdotal evidence to continue in my belief that local drivers are both rude and stupid.

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I stopped adding to my February notes sometimes before Valentine's Day. So, I am sad to report that I didn't do any blogging for two weeks. I will try to compensate for this by giving you a quick summary of these two or three weeks: It was the start of the grind where I had get up at 5:50 AM to drive Tony to school every morning, I taught classes to the brats at Big Bridge Primary School, I did not have not much free time on my days off because I had to drive Tony to extra classes and I had other chores imposed on me by my wife Jenny.

Sigh.



Comments?  Email me at andiskaulins@qq.com or andiskaulins@hotmail.com