Driving in China gives me special insight into their character. Or at least I like to think so.
I have come up with a format for these blog entries. Every time, I have six things to say, or said, I will publish them. Once, of course, I have edited them.
Reading a blog entry at Liberty's torch, I discovered that one of my writing tics is a big no-no.
Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of the 80s New Wave band The Cars, has died. I had been listening to some of their songs in the last year, and I found them dated. Be that as it may, I have great memories of listening to their music back in the day. Later: I downloaded the Cars Greatest Hits. I put the songs on an USB which I played in the car. I played the Cars in the car!! Tony told me he liked the songs. He then made a reasonably good guess as to from what era the band was. "Are they the 80s or 90s?" he asked.
In July and early August, I had been buying cold bottles of Corona at a small shop near Casa Kaulins. But then I went on vacation and brought back Crown Royal. So I switched from drinking beer to whiskey. I went to the small shop in early September and the lady running the shop asking me if I wasn't drinking beer anymore. She piqued my conscience and so the next day I went to her shop and bought two bottles of Corona. Only 20 RMB!
I was waiting at an intersection for a green walk signal. When it came on, I of course started walking. A motorcycle with man and child, going in direction of the red light, then came to a stop right in front of me, blocking my path. I had to stop and I saw that the man was intently and inscrutably staring straight ahead, in a way that only Chinamen can, and that he was oblivious to the fact that he had blocked my path. I would have loved to have pushed the motorcycle over on its side. As it was I made a point of bumping against the motorcycle as I walked around it so as to at least make the man aware of my presence.
Monday, September 16, 2019
Driving in China, My Blog Entry Format, A Writing No-No, The Cars, My Conscience Piqued, Encounter with Motorcycle
Sunday, September 15, 2019
- I am getting old. The part of me that is observing the rest of me notices this. I do some mental activity in a slow fashion and the observant part of me notes that I used to do it much faster.
- My Mid-Autumn Festival joke: hockey pucks look like moon cake.
- Local holidays are good only because they mean I don't have to go to work. Otherwise, they are of no interest. No place is worth going to in China on a holiday because they will be so crowded that no pleasantness can be derived and so the visit becomes an time-wasting ordeal. And then there is the fact that the roads on holidays are full of Chinese drivers.
- I read an article on the internet, written by an European who has lived in Hong Kong, about how annoying Hong Kongers can be. The writer while telling us all their faults (they were materialistic, smug and looked down on the mainlanders), also couldn't help but display his anti-Americanism. The main point of his article, I suppose, was that because the Hong Kongers were so flawed, we should support the Chinese Communist government in the conflict they are having with them. Well, we might as well not get up in the morning, yet alone advocate for a cause or a people, because the whole human race is flawed. I didn't peruse the article closely enough to see if the blogger acknowledged the imperfections of the mainlanders. But I, can testify after having lived on the mainland for fifteen years, that the mainland Chinese aren't particularly attractive people either. Mainlanders are rude, crude, greedy, and full of themselves as well. Anyway, from my brief visit to Hong Kong I would say that they were a much better behaved lot that Wuxiren. But then familiarity does breed contempt.
- Things happen these days that make me wonder if we had actually won the Cold War. The world seems to be so full of stupid left wing, progressive thinking. I also look at what is happening with the unhappening of Brexit and wonder if we (that being the good guys) had actually won World War Two.
- I thought I knew what racism was. And I thought that racism would wither away and that one day we would all be judging a man by the content of his character and not his skin color. But then Obama got elected. And because of the color of his skin, he was not allowed to be judged by the content of his character. And then the definition of what racism changed and that certain people, not all people, were to be judged the basis of their skin color. I am now a racist and there was nothing I could do about it. And no one really seems interested in getting rid of racism. Be that as it may, the demand for racism from progressives exceed the supply.
Saturday, September 14, 2019
- In North America, I remember going to a Crispy Creme Donut shop and seeing long lines. In China, I have heard tales and witnessed long lines at milk tea shops. I had a student once tell me that they went to Shanghai for the day to buy some milk tea. The day entailed taking the train out to Shanghai (probably about a hour and a half), going to the shop, waiting in line (for many hours), finally buying the milk tea, and then taking the train home in the evening. I have seen lines in Wuxi as well for the opening of some popular milk tea chain. Talking about this with a student, I was told that these lines I had witnessed may have been the result of the milk tea shop paying people to stand in line to create the frenzy. Someone told her that someone they knew had been pay a thousand rmb to stand in line for a day. I thought this amount paid for one person could not possibly be, though I could believe a Chinese company using this tactic to create a frenzy for their product. (Another possibility that a colleague mentioned to me was that a person could make that much money by standing in line for the customers. That is, they do actually wait in line to buy tea for other people.)
- “Bad people in Hong Kong are trying to make it independent from China.” That was one student's take on the HK situation. They have also told other teachers that the Americans are paying Hong Kongers 3,000 rmb a day to protest.
- What do I think about Trump? I didn't initially hope for him to become president. I did hope that he would beat Hilary. I currently prefer him to all the other candidates currently running against him for the 2020 election. The only sort of candidate who I would prefer to him would be one who I believe could better accomplish the policy goals that Trump said he had during the 2016 election campaign. A Republican who ran for the presidency in 2020 based on progressive or establishment objections to Trump would not be worthy. The best objection to Trump I have read are from those who supported him and have been disappointed by his not being able to achieve the policy goals he stated in the 2016 campaign. These critics says that his mistakes and omissions have resulted from he not really understanding how government works and not using the powers he does have to battle the entrenched bureaucracy that is clearly against him.
- The hysteria from Trump's election is a result of his having put a “R” behind his name. Nothing more. If Ted Cruz was elected, we would be witnessing CDS (Cruz Derangement Syndrome).
- On many occasions, I have written how on hot days, many local men will take off their shirts or roll them up halfway to expose their stomachs. I am sure that I have reported witnessing many specific incidents of this in blog. So if I am to make another entry in this blog about another specific incident of midriff-baring, I should have something new to report. Here it goes. I was standing at a crosswalk at a street corner down the street from the entrance to the complex containing Casa Kaulins, when I saw a plump local man with exposed stomach trying to cross the street. He was tottering like he was drunk and clutching at his stomach like he was a pregnant woman posing for an expectant mother portrait. He seemed menacing and my instinct was to avert my glance. When the walk signal appeared, I quickly crossed the street, not bothering to see if he was able to cross the street in good time.
- The local authorities are trying to get cars to stop for street-crossing pedestrians. At certain pedestrian crossings monitored by cameras, signs have been posted stating that drivers caught not yielding will be fined. If the authorities can get local drivers to stop their long-standing habit of not slowing down and swerving around pedestrians, I would honor them. But it is hard to change culture. Many local pedestrians are intimidated by cars and not accustomed to being yielded to, so when driving and stopping for pedestrians, I often have to honk my horn at them to get them to cross. They will stand there stupidly waiting for all the cars to pass. As a pedestrian, I have come upon groups of locals standing at a pedestrian crossing waiting for traffic to pass. I have had to take the initiative and begin crossing the road and force cars to yield to me. They inevitably do and the local pedestrians will then follow me.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
I haven't been blogging in a while. It hasn't been because I was busy. I slowed down and then stopped because I didn't feel I had anything to say about anything that somebody else hadn't already said many times over on the Internet. As well, I was spending my spare time fretting (Chinese wives and my job situation was doing this to me) and studying languages.
I observed a lineup of cars waiting to get into a parking lot. Most of the cars were coming off a one-way lane and had to make right turns to join the line. Some drivers, however, were cutting into the lineup by driving down a lane meant for bicycles. So mainland Chinese I thought to myself.
Coming back to China – I had spend much of August in Canada – it took less than 24 hours for me to find the driving habits of the locals very unacceptable. In Canada, drivers have to be patient but are paid off by faster moving traffic. In China, the drivers are impatient and the result is unnecessary traffic snarl-ups and slower overall speeds for everyone.
I am reading two books in a row entitled "What's Wrong with China?". One of the books, written by Rodney Gilbert, was published in 1932. The other book, written by Paul Midler, was just recently published. The book published in 1932 is particularly harsh in its view of the Chinese. Midler is too but he does try to say sometimes what is good about the Chinese. The effect on me of reading the two books has been to turn me into a bit of a hothead. One particularly egregious bit of driving by the locals while I was driving caused to me chase them down, drive beside them and honk my horn at them. These books also make me want to leave this country even more than Xi Jing Ping already has.
Anyway, fifteen years is enough to waste of one's life in China.
Whenever this current dynasty falls, it would be a moment of great satisfaction for the rest of the world. For the mainland Chinese people, it would be an opportunity, but it would be one that they would most certainly squander. The Chinese people being what they are, the best result that the world could hope for would be if the Chinese isolated themselves from the world again. Though the Chinese people can be of benefit to the world, the middle kingdom is not an entity that is of use to anyone.
September 10th was Teachers Day. If this is an international holiday, I wouldn't know and I am too lazy to find out. What I do know, is that it is observed in China, and that I have three things I can report about it. First, on the evening of September 10th, my son Tony was swearing. He told me he was swearing on account of a two hour event that was held at his school to mark the day. It was "so boring" he said and the students couldn't escape. Secondly, I chuckled to myself when I saw video on the bus of the local Communist Party Chairman being shown speaking to a bunch of teachers. I should have anticipated that. For I seen Chairman Li Xiao Ming always being shown speaking at every important Wuxi conference and visiting locals on special holidays. His ubiquitousness on Wuxi transit video screens has become a running joke between me and another foreigner at my school. The locals seem oblivious to it. Thirdly, I can say that anything done for me on this day seems very undeserved. I haven't done much teaching this year. What I have done is talked and performed for students with heavy doubts about the educational value of any of it.
Monday, September 9, 2019
In the meanwhile, if you are really that curious about what Tony & I did on the trip, you can visit TKIC blogspot where currently (at the time of making this entry that is) I am posting many of the photos that I took of Tony on the trip. The photos are being posted in chronological order.