Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back to work and stories of water.

The Wuxi Water Crisis broke on my days off.  Now, I am back to work, I will have more stories to tell.

Bradley tells me that the Muslim noodle restaurants are charging 1 rmb extra on all meals because they have to pay for their bottled water.  A few days ago, I did express concern about going to those hole-in-the-wall places to eat.

Emily, a student who lives in Hui Shan where we are moving next year, says her water is okay.  They don't get their water from Tai Hu.  Good sign for property values there.

Miriam, a HyLite trainer, tells me she is showering with spring water.  She felt and smelt funny after taking a shower in stinky water.

One of the vice mayors of Wuxi, a student at our school, has been said to have had no sleep the last three days doing whatever she could about the problem.

Rain the last two days.

It has been raining the last two days.  Good thing in the face of the water crisis?  The rainwater collecting in depleted Taihu should help, we hope.

The pregnant wife has decided to go to Nanjing for the duration.  She will stay with a friend.  The smell of the water is that bad.

Wuxi Water Crisis. I buy a new phone.

My wife is going to Nanjing for a week because of the smell of the water.  Is the water bad in Nanjing?  Apparently not.  Also, I have been told the water in Suzhou is not bad.

Today, the wife and I went to the McDonald's on Zhongshan Road: the main drag of Wuxi.  McDonald's was selling Coke and Sprite in cans. (a 355 ml can counts as a medium drink)  While we were there, a shipment of Coke in cans was being taken to the back by McDonald's staff.  Never, ever, I have seen cans being sold in McDonald's.  It is scary to think that they had been using tap water with their fountain soft drinks.

The wife and I went shopping for a phone and we ended up buying a Nokia 6085, a flip/clam-shell model with MP3 player, video camera, USB connectivity, and 1 gb memory for 1300 rmb.  I immediately phoned the King to test the conversation hearing level and I am happy to report it is excellent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The King of Wuxi says not to panic.

The King of Wuxi is in Shanghai today trying to get a visa for his son's passport.  However, he learned that he has to bring the child along to do this.  So he will go back tomorrow.

Asked about the Wuxi Water Crisis, The King has told his subjects:

don't panic!

don't panic!

don't panic!

don't panic!


don't panic!


don't panic!


Why?  I asked.  The King responded that there is no point.  "Let the locals do the panicing; everything else will look after itself."

Drinking Water Crisis

The China Daily news site says there is a Drinking Water Crisis in Wuxi.

Here is a dispatch from Reuters.

Montreal Gay Bar has complaint filed against it in a Human Rights Tribunal.

Here is an interesting story from CTV.CA in Canada:

Montreal gay bar under fire for barring women

Ducks win!

Maybe, I was a little pessimistic about the apocalypse coming apond us.  The Ducks have taken a two-nothing series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.  As I predicted in the previous entry, the game was won on its only goal.

Hockey, phone-shopping, water.

The water still smells this morning.  Washing dishes is going to be tortuous.

I am listening to game two of the Stanley Cup Final on the Internet.  The score is nothing-nothing late in the second period.  The first team to score will win this game. And so with a probable 1-0 score line, I should say this is the second leg of the UEFA semifinal.  It is the Anaheim's station broadcast that I am listening to.  The Ducks' play-by-play man is uninspiring.  And so I can't believe I am listening to a Stanley Cup Final game.

I have had my mobile phone for over two years now, and so my wife says it is time to buy a new one.   My old phone, a Motorola V220, was never good.  I had to replace the CPU once and I have never been able to have a phone conversation where I don't ask if I could be heard.  The past year, I have put the phone's speakers on, anytime I have had to talk.  The phone also looks so worn and battered that it gets gasps from students when I show it to them.  The wife ordered me to visit phone stores, of which Wuxi has many, and find a suitable model that she likes and hopefully I like too.

Yesterday, I wandered on Zhongshan Road looking for phones.  The choice of models I saw was overwhelming.  But I have narrowed down the brand names to Nokia or Sony-Ericson.  The students and expats have told me that Nokia phones are the most reliable.  I would also  like a phone that has MP3 capabilities, has clear listening for conversations, and is  a clam-shell or flip phone.  Most phones, these days, have MP3 capabilities.  Flip phones seem to be out of style as most of what I can see in the shops are the face phones where you have to lock and unlock the keypad anytime you use the phone.  My name starting with "A", I have had numerous people phone me from unlocked phones in their pants, so I hate flat faced phones.  I did not see any Nokia phones that suited the budget and had the features I wanted.  They all looked ugly to me, as well.  I did see a Sony model, the Z558c, that suits all my requirements, but the wife thinks it is ugly and she is dead-set on me getting a Nokia.  The Chinese must also have some prejudice against Sony.

Together, the Wife and I will look at phones today.  It will be a battle of wills where my wife gets her way.  And so she will chose a model and purchase it for me after my pay day.

Another Traffic Video.

I took this video on the corner of Mianhua Xiang and Wu Ai Roads near where I live in Wuxi, China.  Notice what the drivers do to make left turns and the fearlessness of the pedestrians.


Wuxi Stinky Water Saga part I. The water stinks and so do the streets.

The Wuxi Water Crisis continues.  On the local Wuxi Expat forum, the news keeps pouring in.  Of course, someone has said you can weather the crisis by drinking beer and even bathing in beer.

My neighbor Nordlund started to notice his water smelling Wednesday afternoon.

I have heard that the water at the Blue Bar started smelling last night.

On the streets, I have seen many people carrying bottles of water.  Just now, I saw a man with a van full of bottled water selling to a crowd of 20 people.

I have also caught a whiff of the stinky water smell as I walked the streets.

Restaurants in Wuxi use the tap water so I am wary of going into any of the hole-in-the-walls.

My pregnant wife is worried.  She is thinking of going out of town (to Nanjing, not Beixing) for the duration of the crisis.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The water stinks and so does ______ : The Series.

The bad water smell here in Wuxi does not bode at all well for the summer. To be blunt, Summer is going to be terrible. But with the wife pregnant, I am stuck here so I will have to make the best of it.

On the bright side, I have can start a series of neo-reactionary conservative rants where I go off on a tangent from bad water to other ills of the world. I have already published the first of the series in AKIC1: The water stinks and so does ice hockey.

Other things that stink in this series will include: the Liberal Party of Canada, The King's Underwear, Major League Baseball's having a wildcard, the U.S. Democratic party, Fidel Castro (hopefully I will then be talking about his corpse), Michael Moore, I after a day of work, Quentin Tarrantino, too much perfume and Durian.

Stanley Cup Final

Ottawa making the Stanley Cup Final has put me in a pessimistic mood, hockey wise. I am thinking that if the Senators (that nickname makes me cringe!!) win the Cup, I will give up on the sport of ice hockey. I won't want my son Tony to have anything to do with the sport. I hope he becomes an all-American type Linebacker. (I don't want him becoming a right handed power hitter because alas baseball with its dark tops and wild-card has declined as a sport)

Now that I think of it, the game of hockey has declined since the famous 1972 USSR-Canada hockey summit. Though, Canada may have won the series, we all now look like Communists, everyone forced to wear helmets and all goalies wearing a Tretiak bird-cage to protect their heads. Guy Lafleur's career took off after he took off his helmet. Could you imagine Bobby Orr, Maurice Richard, Phil Esposito and Gordie Howe wearing helmets? They would look emasculated if they did. And what goalies were cooler looking than Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito and Gerry Cheevers in the 1970s? Now for whatever reason their aesthetic is now only used by silent mentally deranged killers in Jason and other slasher movies. Now, you see goalies and you don't see the net they are supposed to protect - so bloated has their equipment become.

Back to the final, the Ducks did win the first game but their performance was unimpressive. The Senators will probably dominate the rest of the series and the Civil Servants, paper-pushers, bureaucrats, red-tapers, patronage beneficiaries and Socialists of the world will celebrate. Not a good thing for humanity whatsoever.

The water smells bad again.

It is all over Wuxi now:  the tap water smells awful.  The water in Wuxi comes from shallow and polluted Lake Taihu, and they say there is no inexpensive way to clean the Lake.

Justin, at school, who I had originally complained to about the water, came to me yesterday to complain about the tap water at the school.   "The water smells like shit!!" he said.

This morning, the wife asked me to buy some bottled water from the nearby supermarket.  Doing my duty, I went but I saw all the bottled water in the supermarket and in the nearby convenience stores had been sold out.

The wife told me that the bad smelling water had been reported on CCTV9, the English TV channel here.  CCTV9 said the smell was caused by seaweed in the lake.

Pet Food Scandal Update

Go here.

Children's Day June 1.


I wrote this a year ago in AKIC1 , but it is still true today:

June 1 is Children's Day.  Designated as so by the U.N.  It is a date that the students all know of.  I never heard of it till I moved here.  Funny, in a country where the government discourages people from having them.  But you know that if the U.N. looks after something, it usually makes things worse.  Bureaucrats in suits look like they care; the actual results of what they do are ignored.

To see what else I wrote a year ago, click here.

93 cent Canadian Dollar.

The Canadian Dollar is now worth 93 cents American.  I believe that the last time it was worth this much was during my childhood.  I can remember when the dollar was at about 60 cents and then the surge of euphoria when it rose to 75 cents.  To learn today that the dollar was so high was a surprise and a sign of how out of touch I am from Canadian news. 

Why is the dollar so high against the U.S. dollar?  One explanation I have heard is that the Chinese hold so many American dollars and so the dollar is not longer considered to be a reliable currency.  But this was from a decidedly un-American viewpoint.  America still has world's strongest economy.  And China's exchange rate is controlled so strictly that something has give with it eventually.

What the students are talking about.

Many of the students at school, this afternoon, were excited by the rise in stock market prices.

Said one cynical observer, "that is all they like to talk about: money."

Lenin and I have something in common.

Vladimir Ilich Lenin (I can't be bothered to spell that name properly unless I happened to by accident) and I have something in common:  our words are used to inspire Chinese primary school students.

On the outer walls of a primary school in Wuxi, in big lettering, the following words, I can take credit for saying, can be seen:




Any time, I go to the school I look at the words with pride.

But in the hallways of the school, there is also a picture of Lenin with words below which I assume to be his and which I assume are meant to inspire.

Pregnancy Videos. That's the ticket!

I have 138 videos on my Youtube channel.  Most of these videos never get watched.   However, my Jenny pregnancy videos are more popular than most. 

In fact ,the video, which I display below is currently my second most watched video.  At the rate it is being viewed, it will be my most watched video within a month.

The second video is already #33 out 138.  It should crack the top twenty within a month.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Man runs after woman, kicks her.

I was walking home, minding my own business of course, when I saw a woman cause a little boy, probably two years old, to cry.  The little boy had a shocked open-mouth look on his face for two seconds and then let loose with a loud wail.  Nothing unusual in that at all.  But the boy did look in my direction.  And from behind me, a man ran at the woman, who was then holding the baby's hand.  The man gave the woman two swift kicks to the back of her legs, not quite kicking her ass, and then screamed at the woman.  The woman, seeming not to be disconcerted by the kicks, screamed back.

I went on my way, as I was minding my own business, and did not see what conflict resolution measures, if any, were used.  A Wuxi Resolution usually involves a long tedious stand-off that attracts lots of people who have nothing better to do with their lives.

It reminds me of the another set-to I saw on CNY eve where a man ran from a distance to administer two swift kicks to a person.  That occasion, a man ran up to another man who was engaged in an altercation with a woman.  The man who was running first pushed the man to the ground and proceeded to kick him in the groin twice. 

Is there something in the Chinese culture that causes people to sprint at and swiftly kick  those who displease them? 

Babyface Club closes.

Now I am married and all respectable like, so I am not at all up on the bar scene in Wuxi.  The last time I thought about it, Babyface was the place to go in Wuxi.  But now I have learned the place has been closed down for five years!!!! No, no no.  It has been closed down for two months.  Pubs are definitely a fad, as in, each pub is a fad unto itself in Wuxi.   The new hot clubs in Wuxi are the Music Next and BBS.  Apparently.  But I just got this information from my wife who has been holed up pregnant in the apartment so her information is probably not all the current either.

Waiting in line at the Bank.

The Wife and I went to the Bank of China near the intersection of Zhongshan and Renmin Road.  We took a number and waited.  The wife pulled number 69.  The current number being served was 52.  For five minutes, the line was going smoothly, the display screen telling us every 30 seconds or so that a new customer could be served.  Then it was number 66's turn to be next.  The number 66 waited for nearly fifteen minutes.  I could not understand what the Chinese customers in the bank were saying, completely.  I could detect from their posture and restlessness that like me they were wondering what the hell was going on.  A Chinese customer and I exchanged knowing looks of frustration.  The bank eventually brought out two more bank clerks to serve us or we would have waited for another 30 minutes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Canary at School.

What sound does a Canary make?  Does it go heeewakkkk or squaaaaawkkk or Heeewoook Heeewookahhh or Look at me I am a caring compassionate tolerant non-judgmental person??

Not only is my wife a mother, a sister, a lover, a part-time cook, my foe in matter of common sense, the legislature who controls the purse of my earnings, and my English student; she is also my fashion designer  despot.  Today, she has me wearing a yellow shirt, white pants and orange undershorts.  She believes that it makes me look younger.  My shirt is so bright and loud I am blinding people.

So tell me, your majesty, what does you consort make you wear and what color is your regal gitch?

Wuxi Super Mouse Video

On Saturday, May 27, Luis corralled a mouse into one of our classrooms.  I was able to take a video of the efforts to catch it and its efforts to escape. 



Blogger name registration bites the dust.

Read here.

Thirty Years of Star Wars.

When the first Star Wars film came out thirty years ago, there were stories of people going to watch it 20 or 30 times.  I remember going to see it four times in a theatre.  The first time, my father took the sister and I to a theatre in Brandon, Manitoba to watch it.  The second time, my cousin Gundega took me to watch it in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The third time, the family went to see it in a theatre at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick.  The fourth time was in Brandon Manitoba when I saw it as part of a double bill with The Empire Strikes back.  I remember taking my brother Ron for the double bill. 

Before I had seen the film, I had bought a novel written from the movie in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I don't know what happened to the novel.  Collector's item?

My mouth is agape to think I have memories of thirty year old events.  I am almost as old as His majesty.  Very scary thought.

Here is Marc Steyn's (the best damn columnist, period) writing about the film.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mitt Romney, Pretty Boy?

Of all the declared candidates for the 2008 U.S. presidential race, Mitt Romney and John Edwards are the prettiest (Hilary Clinton is maybe be a handsome (old style English usage) woman)).  John Edwards is a Democrat, so there is no point in talking about him. 

Mitt Romney a Republican, however, is the King of Wuxi's choice to be elected president in 2008.  Why?  First, the King of Wuxi, once being a hack for the Liberal Party of Canada, always like to back a winner.  Secondly, it may be that the King of Wuxi likes pretty hair and is a sucker for phoniness.

Why I cannot watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

I have not yet watched any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies except when catching a scene on Chinese t.v.  Something in the trailers for the films says "Avoid, Avoid, Avoid" to me.  Thanks to Seablogger, who should know something about Pirates, I know the specific reason why I can't watch those films.

New Youtube Video.

Here is a video of my new office at School.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Yang Ming Primary School Video

Friday, I went to Yang Ming Primary School which is near the Old Carrefour.  I teach English to some primary school teachers.  Here is a video I took of the students.


The subway is coming to Wuxi.

 The subway is coming to Wuxi.  In WuxiLife, the following posting from which I quote:


Did you Know?
Construction of the Wuxi No1 subway will start at the end of 2008. and will be completed by 2013.
It will be 30.52 km long and will have 25stops (Stations).
It will run from Huishan District in the North. to the XieLang District in the south, and will run Via the City centre.
No2 Subway will start sometime after the No1 line is finished and will run East to West also via the City centre.

The wife, the King and I have apartments in Hui Shan.  Great news for us and maybe our property values.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Your Majesty! Here is a picture of Potvin

Hey King! Here is a picture of Potvin and his wife Lisa.

Marc asks if you have achieved your goal of Oriental Despotism.
For those who care, Marc Potvin was a friend of ours in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Xin An Primary School

I taught an auditorium full of students May 24 at Xin An Primary School in the suburbs of Wuxi.  Here is the video of it.


Seablogger has interesting things to say about China.

Read this.

A Wuxi WAFD act of driving.

Wuxi Drivers are bad.  There is just no way to sugar coat it.  Anyone, who pleads cultural differences as a defense, would say someone defending their life is violating the right of another person to practice their cultural norms of murder and torture.

Thursday evening, I was walking, down Renmin Road in the direction of Xihui Park, with the wife when I saw one of the worst act of sidewalk driving I had ever seen.   A car made a left turn from Jie Fang onto the sidewalk along Renmin Road at a good rate of  speed, honking his horn of course.  If anyone had been on the sidewalk they would have been dead meat.

Seeing this, I thought to myself:  " What a......"

I then saw the car very quickly leave the sidewalk and get onto Renmin Road which made it seem inexplicable to turn right onto the sidewalk in the first place.  But then I looked at the lights.  The driver was facing a red right turn signal.  To get around not being able to make a right turn onto Renmin Road at that instant, the driver decided that a right turn onto a sidewalk was not violating the no right turn signal!

Bad Cold and an Attack on FOS

I have been fighting a bad cold this last week. Even took a day off from work to catch up on my sleep. The heat here has also put me a little under the weather. Today at least it is cooling off.

I have heard nothing from Potvin, but I did get an e-mail from Garth:

He writes

I also got myself banned from xxxxxx. Woo! Took longer than I thought it would. He banned my IP address to. It was from that thread where they guy wanted someone to come and do his job for him. I suggested that Mr. xxxx broke the forum rules by calling me an idiot and asked him to appologize. My reign of terror over xxxxx was brought to an end because Mr. xxx is a faggot. I guess there was never any doubt really.

I wonder if I can get banned for comments in this blog. I find it ironic that the only one trampling on free speech in China is a foreigner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In sports...

I was up at three o'clock Thursday morning and so was able to catch parts of the second half of the UEFA champions league final between Liverpool and AC Milan.  I saw Gerard stopped on a near breakaway.  I switched off when Milan scored their second goal.  Alas poor Liverpool....

Alas poor humanity.  The Ottawa Senators are in the Stanley Cup Final.  They will meet the Anaheim Ducks.  The final will feature a team from a suburb of Los Angeles where you see Goofy playing a team nicknamed after members of Canada's most goofy political institution.   Go Ducks go!!!!

All the coal in China.

Here is an interesting article about All the Coal in China.

Did you know that:

China is home to 16 of the world’s 20 most severely polluted cities, and inhabitants are increasingly disgruntled about the deteriorating quality of their air and water.

Does Wuxi make this list?

Students who have moved to Wuxi often complain of the pollution here.

The Book Bin at Carrefour.

In the Book Bin at the old Carrefour in Wuxi, I saw a book entitled 50 important fictions for Children.

At a clothing shop on the main floor of the Carrefour, I saw an interesting T-shirt.

On Hubin Bar Street, Peter Nordlund tells me there is a Canal Street sign missing the "C".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The wife says the water is better.

The wife claims the water is better.  It still smells to me.

I have been told that on a Wuxi forum for Wuxi locals there was a posting saying that all the water throughout the Wuxi district would have more chemicals in it.

It does smell like pool water now that I rack my brain trying to recall where it was that I smelt that smell before.

Hey King!! Have you seen these movies?

I should have mentioned that last week, I bought a copy of Major Dundee starring Chuck Heston and Richard Harris, and directed by Sam Peckinpah at Nanchang Temple.  Have you seen this film?  Also have you seen The Wild Geese?  Surfing the net, I came apond an article praising the films Major Dundee and The Wild Geese entitled War Films That Get It Right: Two Classics Re-released.

Hey King, read this article. Also did you hear from Potvin?

Your majesty, read this article by Marc Steyn. (It may require registration to read it.  Our troops in Afghanistan are subject to bizarre rules of engagement that of course the Taliban don't ever bother adhering.  If the Americans were such war-mongers that bullshit would not be happening.

I just received an email from Potvin.  He and Lisa are expecting a baby in December.  Did you know?  your allknowingness....

I get my own office.

Changes aplenty at the school.  I am now being moved downstairs to my own office.  Why?  So I can be closer to booking and scheduling.

My office will be on the first floor.  So I will be far removed from the other trainers on the fourth way which can be a good thing and which can be a bad thing.  I don't have to listen to people argue about who had coughed out the biggest booger in the last calendar year or all the Bush is Hitler talk.  Still, I will miss the companionship.  I don't think the other trainers will miss my grating and intimidating authoritarian ways.  I will be closer to a bathroom.  I will be farther from the lesson plans.  I worry for my poor computer.  It will be more in the public way and easier for some person to abscond.

Ten Money Making Ideas in China

Lets be honest, no one came to China for their health. Most expats are here because of the money. Sure it is an interesting culture, but it is the money or the job that keeps us here. If we were not being well paid or gambling on getting rich in China we would probably head back home.

Living in China and making money in China however are two very different things. Making money isn’t as easy as living here. The beauty of China however is that its consumer base is huge, under going rapid transformation and they are open to anything so long as you tell them that it is popular in whatever foreign country you come from. So here is my list of ten money making Ideas. I will also sell you the business plan for 10,000 RMB each. Hey, these ideas are worth a million at least and are very popular in foreign countries.

Teletubbies Impersonator: You might not know it, but the teletubbies are boffo box office for those millions of Chinese two year-olds, and thus millions of their parents. So purchase or design a Teletubbies custom and flog yourself as either Chinese version of Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, or Po and make the rounds of Kids parties for 500 RMB a hour for each Teletubby that apears. Added bonus is that given the language level associated with the Teletubbies it will be realy easy to master Teletubby Chinese. Estimated Start Up Costs: 5,000 RMB for a costume and Chinese Web page.

Pimp My Teacher inc,: Male prostitution ring, not really legal, but then that never stopped an enterprising businessman in China. The basic idea is as follows. Older respectable rich Chinese ladies (I am talking anyone over 30) often desire sex, but it is not like they can hang out at a local meat market and just pick up anyone. There is always the risk of black mail. Now here is where you come in, you pimp out your expat male friends for a fee. Most of these guys are going to say Yes. You take a 60% commission, and pay 40% to the man whore, you can give a higher commission for bedding the ugly ones. If he gets uppity and wants a better commission then slap that man whore. Estimated Start Up Costs: Nothing China is stock market mad, takes advantage of this phenomenon. A web based business, you get a partner in the US, Canada, UK or Europe to purchase lottery tickets each week. You then resell these tickets, via a Chinese website, at an inflated price, Part of the service you supply is the ability to redeem these tickets, since it is usually not legal for non residents to collect payment of lottery winnings, and you only charge a flat 10% of the winnings. They cover the cost of the ticket, you collect the money. Estimated Start Up Costs: 10 to 20,000 RMB and someone you can trust.

Rent a Reverend: It is popular in Japan, so why not China? The modern Chinese bride needs something to make her wedding a special event. A western style ceremony with a foreign Reverend to say a few words is just the ticket. Legally the couple are already married, all you have to do is show up in a clergyman’s collar, say the marriage vows, bless the couple, have a few shots at the wedding dinner, pose for a few photos. The mock ceremony is legal in China and adds a bit of color to the young couples marriage. You can even get yourself ordained on-line. Estimated Start Up Costs: The price of a black shirt and a pastors collar. The online gaming world is a huge and people actually take it very seriously. Not everyone however has the time, skills or ability to build characters up the top levels. will build a character for you or assist you in acquiring the money you need to purchase that magic sword, performing those tedious task, while your sleep, for a fixed cost. All you need do is hire a few gamers in China to work at home and you act as the middle man. Estimated Start Up Costs: 10,000 to 100,000 RMB depending on how much on-line advertising you do.

Pimp My QQ: China already has a automobile culture, but it is changing as cars get cheaper and the drivers get younger. Pimp my QQ is a custom body shop that specializes in customizing autos offering a wide selection of aftermarket options. I have never seen a low rider in China, but I know they are coming. Estimated Start Up Costs: 50,000 to 200,000 RMB.

Have a Good Day” English Services: Everyone teaches English, but a good niche is needed to defientate your school for all those other sausage factories. Teaching soft skills is a huge market as Chinese customers demand it, and businesses learn how it can increase profits. Have a Good Day English Services is about winning the continuing battle against poor customer service. This is not just business English, it is about teaching Chinese businessmen those key words that will convince a client they actually know something about customer service. Targeted at corporations you train Chinese staff in the most effective way to speak to customers. Estimated Start Up Costs: Zero to 400,000 RMB.

Sino/Internet Report Service: There is money to be made on the Internet, but you really have to dig. Search engines are great but what if you are looking for specific data or information on an industry and that information is in Chinese? China has a huge workforce, hire ten, college educated surfers at 500 RMB a month, have them work from home or give them a computer and an Internet connection. Offer customized searches of Bidu or Alla Baba or less well known search engines and Chinese websites. Sell translated reports or eat away at your customers, competitors CPC budget. When they are not doing that have your minions sign up for free stuff using fictitious names and e-mail addresses then sell that stuff on e-bay. Estimated Start Up Costs: 100,000 to 200,000 RMB

Hotdog Stand: Hotdogs are cheap and easy to make. Build yourself a hot dog stand, design the logo and sell the hot dogs and stands, as well as franchise the idea in other cities. The stand need not be complicated. Just clean. Estimated Start Up Costs: 10,000 RMB.

Chinese Bumper Stickers: Chinese car culture is changing as more and younger drivers hit the street. What is missing? Why bumper stickers of course. Previously only old Chinese businessmen could afford cars and they purchased cars that gave them status. A bumper sticker made no sense to them because they had no sense of Ha Ha. Today younger people have more access to cars and they will probably want to customize them, so why not sell the Chinese version of “My Other Car is a Mercedes” or “I Love Mao.” Estimated Start Up Costs: 10,000 to 20,000 RMB.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The water in our apartment smells II.

I am having a devil of a time trying to get my wife to do something about this water problem.  She has gone to downstairs neighbors to find out if they have a problem with their water.  They told her that they have not noticed a bad smell and then said something about the apartment's water reservoir having to be cleaned.  I wished my wife would phone the landlord to see if something  could be done or at least some information about the cause of the problem.  She is reluctant for whatever reason to phone the landlord, and tells me she will wait for our next-door neighbors to come home tonight to see if their water smells.  In the meanwhile, I don't want her using the water but she does not see this as being a problem....

Get some information PLEASE!!!!!!

The water in the apartment has a bad smell.

Chinese plumbing leaves everything to be desired.

Now the water is smelling funny.  I hate to contemplate what the cause of the bad odor is.  Backed-up sewage?  Low reservoirs?

I have been trying to make a reply to comments made on my Michael Moore posting, but this Java Script void error comes up whenever I do.

More details about the murder of the Teacher.

The murder of the teacher is becoming more than just a case of a irate grandparent killing a teacher over criticism of a student.  Other motivations for the grandfather, who had been to prison two times before, included money, a failed romance and lost guauxi.  Apparently the young female teacher had been dating a relative of the grandfather.  This younger relative had spent money on the teacher but than their relationship went sour.  The grandfather wanted the money back.  At least that is I was told yesterday by the students.  How the lost guanxi fits into the story is something one will have to ask somebody who heard another version of the sordid events.

The wife is back.

I was surprised to see my wife at home when I got back from work last night.  She had told me she was coming back on Wednesday.  Be that as it may I was happy to see her.

I did have to counter charges that I wanted to have a boy instead of a girl.   Really, my instincts told me that we were going to have a boy.  I now want my son to have a little sister.  But first things first.

Anthony Peng Arnis Kaulins

That will be our son's name.  Or should I say that is our son's name?

The name of the baby is....

The name of the baby will be Anthony Arnis (my father-in-law's given name) Kaulins.  I may rearrange the name so it makes a cool acronym.

I will make a Youtube video to formally announce it.

Did you like the blatant commercial plug?

Is the Duke of Wuxi man enough to make guest posting on AKIC?

I have sent an invitation to the Duke of Wuxi to become a guest blogger on AKIC.  I wonder if he has the gumptions to accept my invitation.

Its a boy!!!!

Wow another Kaulineses with the ability to carry on the Latvian/Canadian family tree will enter the world. Your gene pool has just gotten a bit deeper.

But what about names! Here is my suggestion.

Moonunit Zippy Kaulins kinda has a nice ring to it. This name will standout, the little Kaulins can also claim some distant relationship with Frank Zapp. There is also an added plus. You can make cute youtube video featuring "Zippy, my son"

Then you can also start a blog titled "MZK in China."


But seriously what is the name of the little boy?

Our first Chinese Class with Elsi.

Us HyLite trainers, had, like our first Chinese class with Elsi, one of the tutors (study assistants) at the school here.  The class was really far out.  Doing pronunciation was a drag but still like you have to do it if you want like fluent Chinese.  I have a sore neck from pronouncing the third tone so much. 

Elsi is a fox of a chick if you knows me and my meaning.  She is like the personification of elegance.  Groovy and Hen Hao(3)!!

Do you know what is really far out?  I learned the sex of my baby.  Look at the entry below.  It is also a wicked burn out that over 70 people have already seen this video.  I hope they like the most awesome Van Halen playing at the end.

I did the commercial for the King for free.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Learn the baby's sex.

Watch this video:


We now know the Baby's sex.

I now know the baby's sex.  I will hold off publishing the information till my parents and family have been informed. 

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fat Hairy Socialist Primate's new movie is playing at Cannes.

I know I should not use the language above in discourse.  It is very ungentlemanly.  Be that as it may, the Fat Hairy Socialist Primate I am referring to is Michael Moore whose stunts or tactics in presenting his case are a far cry from the discourses of George Bernard Shaw (Socialist) and Gilbert Keith Chesterton (Catholic Conservative) who could debate without the risk of personal animus.  Michael Moore is no gentleman.  He was invited to Charlton Heston's house in the spirit of free and gentlemanly debate.  Moore made film mocking an old man in the throes of senility.  So fuck Michael Moore.

It is ironic that the Socialist primate has released a movie at the time that the U.S. senate is drafting legislation to deal with the American illegal immigration problem.   Why do all these people want to come to a country where the Health Care is as bad as Moore says it is?  Didn't Mexico have a revolution in the twentieth century that brought with it socialized medical care?  Maybe compassionate people would want these immigrants to leave America and its inhuman medical system...

But that would mean having to not use the America is racist club that all decent people use to beat on America with.

I have changed the title banner again.

After receiving feedback from my wife, the King of Wuxi and members of WuxiLife, I have come up with a new title banner.  The chopsticks and Knife-Fork-Spoon represent the cultural differences between China and Canada.  The Double Happiness symbol represents my marriage to Jenny.  The King of Wuxi especially loved the eating utensils.

4 million people attend WuxiLife BBQ.

The WuxiLife BBQ held Saturday evening,  May 19 at Bolters Restaurant in Wuxi was an astounding success.  In fact, witnesses say the party was a one thousand times better that The King of Wuxi's party celebrating the 100th day of Prince Tommy's Life, which at the time was considered to be the greatest party of Human history and pre-history combined.

An estimated 4 million Wuxi expats attended the BBQ.  The creme de la creme of Wuxi expatry, including the drummer for Steppenwolf and an ex-finance minister from Saskatchewan, were there enjoying sausages and salad.

Update about the teacher killed in Wuxi

Friday morning, a student's  grandfather killed a primary school teacher in Wuxi.  The story goes that the teacher, unhappy with the student, had said that the boy had been spoilt by his grandfather.  Hearing this had been said, the grandfather got angry, went to school and stabbed the teacher to death.

The 2007-2008 U.S. presidential race.

The U.S. presidential campaign has started far too early.  By the time the primaries start, next year, all the front runners will seem like incumbents who have overstayed their welcomes.  I am already starting to think that America has already elected a woman, a black man, a Mormon and a cross-dresser to the presidency.  The length of campaign, which will end up twice the length of an interminable NHL season, will give one time to change one's mind about a candidate because of all the negatives that will be brought out: 

Do I want a cross-dresser to be president? Yes I do.  Maybe, I don't. 

 There is no way I am going to vote for Hilary Clinton.  I heard that she is married to Bill Clinton. 

The things that Barak Obama says are crazy.

Mormons are religious.

McCain has a bad temper.


The China Daily I bought recently had a short  item saying New Yorkers think their current Mayor Blomberg would make a better president than Rudy.  Scary if true.  Blomberg, I hear, is outlawing fun in in the Big Apple.

Here is a scary scenario:  Al Gore decides to run.  He takes on the image of Golden Boy and wins the presidency.  Algore brings Global Socialism via climate warming hoax and outlaws fun all over the world.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Yandang National Park A++++

High in the Yandang mountains, as I dipped my feet in the cold, crystal clean waters, I knew that I have found a bit of China that most foreigners ignore. At best we scurry to Guiling, Li Jiang or Tibet, thinking that this is where China’s natural beauty is best explored.

We do so however out of ignorance. Less than seven hours from Shanghai, and seventy kilometers from Wehzhou, the Yandang AAAA Grade National Tourist Area offers natural beauty that compares favourably to national parks in Canada or the United States, and anything that I have seen in China.

When I was told that I would be visiting this area I had no idea what to expect. I had low expectations. With the exception of Guiling, Li Jiang and Tibet most foreign visitors receive a poor impression of natural wonders in lesser known Chinese provinces such as Zhejiang.Descriptions and rating systems such as the “AAAA National Tourist rating” mean nothing to foreigners. They are poorly expalined and promotted as a brand in China.

Visiting the Yandang AAAA Grade National Tourist Area however I was astonished at the beauty of the valleys and sheer mountain cliffs. As ignorant as I now I know I was, I had just assumed that nature did not exist along the developed east cost of China.

Driving into the mountains however I was amazed at the natural beauty Yandang has to offer. After parking my car in a small roadside village, I was soon hiking up a mountain road with lush green hills on each side. The higher I walked the more beautiful the scenery.

North Americans familiar with Bamft, Yosemite or Yellowstone national parks have a right to feel proud of the natural wonders they house. The Chinese should feel no less proud of the Yandang Mountains. There are differences between a Chinese National Park and those in America, but the natural beauty of the area speaks for itself. It is a shame that I had to discover these mountains almost by accident as they rate among the most amazing natural wonders China has to offer.

My guide, a local Wenzhou resident, knowing that few foreigners visit the area, even complained bitterly that places like Yangzhou, received all the attention. The Yandang Mountain National Park (my translation) covers over 186 square kilometers, featuring eight distinct natural area. The area is dotted with soaring cliffs, waterfalls, lakes and valleys. This is not alpine country, the mountains are too old. This in itself reflects the immense history of China. Formed a 120 million years ago from volcanic eruptions, the hard carved peaks of volcanic rock that amazed me are products of centuries of erosion.

Visually, the Yandang Mountains are the closest thing I have seen to all those Chinese paintings with mountain peaks shroud in mist. I have visited Guiling and Yangshuo and the scenes are similar, but the karst sandstone topography around Yangshuo seems immature in comparison with the brooding volcanic rock of the Yandang mountains.

It is probably also correct to assume that places like Yangshuo and Li Jaing are more popular with foreigners, not because they are more beautiful, but because they offer easy access to bars like Mickey Mao’s and banana pancakes, cold beer and hamburgers, that cater to foreign tastes, none of which I found in the Yandang region. Guiling, Yangzhou, Li Jiang and Tibet, I also suspect, have better translators working for them.

Poor English translations describe the Yandang mountains as a “Colcanic History Musem.” Typically, the Chinese translators choice of the word “Colcanic” is the correct scientific term to describe the erosion that created the Yandang Mountains. Yet, while technically correct, this term leaves many native English speakers with the impression that these beautiful mountains have something to do with your colon. Nothing however can be farther from the truth.

Recognized internationally as a UNESCO Geo Park, in English this area is best described as a Volcanic Natural History Museum with a focus on the effects of wind and rain erosion. Indeed, it is the poorly worded translations associated with many of the natural sites in the Yandang mountains that keep foreign tourists away.

The Big Dragon Waterfall Scenic Area is stunning. Imagine a 200 meter waterfall dropping off a sheer mountain cliff. At the bottom is a pool of cold clear mountain water into which, as the water cascades, it becomes more mist than a steady stream of water.

Sadly, I reached the Big Dragon Waterfall at sunset. We started our hike too late. In the dimming light however I could make out paths caved along sheer cliffs cut into the side of mountain. Along these paths, accessible by three small gondolas it was explained to me, there are Buddhists shrines and temples with over a 1000 years of history.

Unfortunately, it was necessary for me to return to Wenzhou that evening, but not before my hosts introduced me to another amazing feature of the Yandang region. Located close to the Pacific ocean, along with stunning mountain scenery, Yandang offers a bewildering selection of seafood. Prepared in a rich seafood broth, I sampled shark, crab, muscles, scallops and barnacles in one of the best seafood dinners I have ever tasted.

The next day, instead of heading back to Big Dragon Falls, this time we followed the Nanxi River Valley up into the mountains. Stopping in a small mountain village our hosts had arranged a simple mountain lunch at a local restaurant.

The simple mountain food was excellent, but I especially recommend the wild vegetables and homemade noodle dishes. I was especially attracted by a dish prepared with small mountain potatoes, prepared with pork and wild chives.

Continuing our trip up the river valley, I was again impressed by the mountain scenery. Lush green hills, give way to even high green covered mountains in the distance. In the valley however I discovered something special - the cleanest, clearest water I have ever seen in China.

High in the hills, there is no factory run off. The water comes directly from the mountains. Again I was unprepared for a scene like this. Had I known, I would have brought along a pair of swimming trunks, an inner tube and a cooler filled with beer. The area look perfect for an afternoon of lazy drifting.

Still, it was enough to dip my feet in the cold, clear mountain waters. Later my hosts arranged for my wife and I to take raft ride down the river. The rafts are identical to those used in Yangzhou. Made from large mature babboo stocks with the prow curved using fire and twine, with comfortable chairs, it took us on a hour and a half ride downstream.

As always in China, foreigners should expect to do a bit of bargaining when purchasing a ticket. Our hosts paid 30 RMB each for the trip, however this was after they agreed to purchase an extra ticket for me as the boatmen complained about my size.

We headed back to Wenzhou for another large seafood dinner. The next day I returned , I left the Yandang Mountains vowing to return.

Getting There and Back

The closest major city to the Yandang National Park is Wenzhou, about seventy kilometers from the entrance to the Yangdng Mountains. Bus trips from Wenzhou to the park enterance in a private van would probably cost 100 RMB one way for each.

Wenzhou itself can be reached by a hour flight from Shanghai (590 RMB, Shenzhen Airlines), four hours by bus from or Hanghzou (260 RMB).

Where to Stay

Accommodations in either Wenzhou or in the park itself are possible. Hotels in Wenzhou are abundant and cover the complete price range.The city of Wenzhou itself is very developed and is famous in China for the wealth of its people. I stayed in standard Chinese hotel for 380 RMB a night. I found rooms online at a three star hotel for 258 RMB on line. (

In the mountains there are many guest houses and hotels that cater to Chinese tourists. I was quoted a price of 160 RMB a night for small room in what looked like a clean well run guest house when I asked. The cheapest accommodations in the mountains would probably be to camp.

To the best of my knowledge there is no organized back country routes, like those in the United State or Canada, but there were paths that moved up the valley, probably created by farmers.
The river valley also looked like it offered a promising two or three day hike. It would be easy to hike up the river bed in good weather, then using a inflatable boat drift back down the river. Obviously the river could be dangerous during periods of heavy rain. The scree along the banks shows evidence of flash flooding, but on the day I visited the river was meandering slowly down the valley.

In Related News the King now on-line

The team blog feature seems to work very well!

So just what sort of political debate do you want to start?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Teacher killed in Wuxi?

The Duke of Wuxi's girlfriend has told him that a teacher was killed (beheaded?!?) at a school near the South Gate of Wuxi (Nanchang temple).

Who knows if we were hear more about it.

The wife will be away.

The wife will be away so will this cat play?  Of course not.  I will probably spend more time on the Internet than I usually do.  So expect lots and lots of blogging.  I have no intention of going on benders and getting drunk and all that jazz.  Having this baby, I have to stay focused.

She is going to her hometown for just a few days.  She will use her mother's guanxi to learn the sex of the baby.

Luis tells me he will be making another Youtube video.  He needs to get more footage first.

Anaheim beats Detroit 5 to 3 to even their best-of-seven playoff series at two games apiece.  A Senators-Ducks Final?  Maybe.  I would be happy with it if the Ducks won or more importantly the Senators lost.  I hate the Senators.  These NHL playoffs have me cheering against rather than for anybody.  (I was going to say I was cheering for a negative but that would mean I was cheering for the Senators.)

I never knew how good Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were till being in China for so long forced me to read him. 

I finished watching Major Dundee on DVD last night.  It was a good movie, not great.  It was well shot in parts and so made up for the weak screenplay.

Your comments are welcome and now are easier to be made.

I welcome all comments.

If you wish to make anonymous comments, you are more than welcome.

I have changed settings so people can insult me with anonymity.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Changed my title banner again. What is my wife doing now? King of Wuxi: guest blogger?

For two hours or so, this was my blog title banner:

I have changed to what you see now (which should be the Blog Title and Description in red accompanied by a red Double Happiness symbol) because the chopsticks and KFS combination just did not look quite right. The wife helped me design the present title banner as she should since this is her blog too.

It is Thursday afternoon as I type this posting. The wife is sleeping. It is a hot lazy afternoon. No point in going out, we agreed, till later.

I have sent the King of Wuxi an invitation to publish postings in AKIC. Let the passionate debates begin!

Alas, I doubt his Majesty will accept the invitation. I can see him getting a poo-poo look on his face and stating, in a totalitarian and self-righteous manner, that he has better things to do with his time.

Here is the King of Wuxi pontificating at my wedding.

Evil Senators forestalled.

The Sabres beat The Senators 3-2 making the series Senators 3; Sabres 1.  Can the Senators pull off their greatest choke ever?  I hope so, but alas it is 99% not likely to be...

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

At the Nanchang temple, I came upon and purchased a DVD copy of the 1964 film The Fall of the Roman Empire.  Browsing through DVDs, I picked up the DVD for a closer look because of the title.  I thought it was was grade B film because of the title and the cheesy DVD cover art, but then I saw it starred Alec Guinness and Sophia Lauren.  Alec Guinness was always a class act so I bought the film.*

Watching the The Fall these days invites comparisons to the recent Roman Epic Gladiator.   The films are based on the lives of the emperor Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus.  Both films use a fictional third character to advance their  plot. 

Both films are very watchable one time.  In terms of style and look both films are the same.  Of course, Gladiator has more gore.  The Fall is a flawed picture because of its script.  The all-star cast can't salvage the film.   Gladiator is more or less The Fall on steroids.


*The Fall also features Anthony Quayle and Omar Shariff, Guinness' co-stars from the spectacular and rewatchable Lawrence of Arabia.

Wisdom of Chairman Mao.

I was able to buy a copy of the English language Chinese Daily on the way home from work.  In Wuxi, the English paper had been available only by subscription.  The newsstand I bought the English paper is the only place I know of where you can buy a copy of the paper and sometimes they don't have it in stock.  Be that as it may, the English China Daily is slim pickings for reading but it is better than nothing for someone who rarely has an opportunity to buy an English language periodical.

The Tuesday edition of the China Daily said that Chinese consumers are opting for Green Products.

On its editorial page, there is a words of wisdom section.  Tuesday's edition had the following:

The people are like water and the army is like fish.

Mao Zedong (1893-1976)

Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.

Edward Everett (1794-1865) US statesman, Orator

Below which was the following disclaimer:

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

The ultrasound image of Uncle Luis

Luis, a fellow trainer at HyLite School, has published an ultrasound image  of his nephew or niece.

A new blog title banner.

I do like the look of this blog page now. It is simple and uncluttered which to me seems to more user friendly than Andis Kaulins in China 1. The font I am using does look academic and thoughtful (I shudder to use the word intellectual to describe it).

I am still working on a satisfactory blog banner. The banner above featuring the chopsticks and knife, fork, spoon is an improvement over the banner which featured the Canadian, Chinese and Latvian flag. But I don't think I have spaced the lettering with the utensils well. The fork distracts from the blog description on the right.

I have thought to put in other symbols in the banner like hockey sticks, the Great Wall, dragons and the Double Happiness Symbol. While the Great Wall is a symbol of China it is not a symbol that I should use since I have only been to the Wall twice. Dragons and Hockey Sticks aren't what I am about either. The Chinese Double Happiness symbol will be incorporated into other blog banner designs I have in mind. That is a symbol I can entitle myself to use because I am married to a Chinese babe. The symbol does not fit in the above banner. I think I will incorporate it in my next design.

I have a day off.

Thursday, May 17 is my day off.  What am I going to do? 

I don't know.

I find it unbearable to be in the Wuxi sun this time of year.  It looks like I will stay home.  I will try to be more helpful to pregnant Jenny. 

The King of Wuxi  ( does not like the banner above.  He is within his rights to.  I think it is an okay effort.   But I don't much care for the flags.  Truly, I don't care much for the Canadian or the PRC flag.  I need to find symbols for both countries that are universal and true. 

A dragon or a hockey player would be better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Fred Boily!!

An old friend from my Winnipeg days is having a birthday on May 16.  I met Fred Boily, born and raised in St. Boniface*, when I joined the 17 Service Battalion stationed in Winnipeg.  We have kept contact over the years.  The last time I saw him he had bought a house in Winnipeg and had three children.  I hear he has moved to Alberta.  I am waiting for an email response from him to confirm this.

*St. Boniface is a French-speaking enclave in Winnipeg.

Do you like the new layout? Raining in the Wux. Sad Russia.

I need to know oh oh oh!!!  Do you like a like the new layout?  Any comments, acidic or full of praise, are welcome.

It is raining in the Wux.  So I took the bus home from school.  One of our students was at the bus stop with me.  She had to spend a hour on the bus before she got home.   Where I get off to walk home, she would transfer to another bus after a 20 minute wait.  This trouble awaits me when me move to our new apartment.

A friend of my from DHL told me he was visiting Normandy this week.  Happy Birthday to Kelly Forbes, also known as victim 12.

The Wuxi Blue Marlins without me in the lineup are 0-2; with me they are 1-1.  I did not think my 0 for 5 performance and 3 fielding errors would have been missed.

I should have retired from softball after hitting that grand-slam-in-the-park-down-the-first-base-line-home-run last fall.  Since then I have contracted Andis Kaulins' disease, a mental condition where you cannot hit for shit.

Sad Russia.  For that country, denial is a state they are in, not a river in Africa.   Speaking as a person of Latvian heritage I ask, why can't the relationship between Russia and the Baltic States be like the relationship between Canada and the USA?  I also look at South America and wonder how they can hate the USA so much.  The way some South Americans talk, you would think the USA was the USSR or something.

I still don't know the sex of the baby and The Senators beat the Sabres 1-0.

Not good at all. I hope my child is healthy and strong enough to live in a world where a team from Ottawa can make it to the Stanley Cup Final. For the sake of my child I will.....

No Guanxi? No sex information?

Signs posted everywhere at the hospital said the ultrasound techs could not tell us the baby's sex. Looking at the images on the ultrasonic monitor I could not tell. They said there was a nose but it was not apparent to me that it was a nose. I should have spent a week on the Internet practicing ultrasound interpretation.

I was told I should have also slipped them a 100 rmb note.

I have a salon class about Guanxi tonight. I will ask the students if guanxi could have helped.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Jenny Pregnancy Update Video.

We went to the People's #4 Hospital in Wuxi, China to have an ultrasound test done. Watch the video to find out what we found out.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bad Times for Humanity

The Ottawa Senators are up 2 - 0 in their best of seven series against the Buffalo Sabres.  They won the first two games in Buffalo.  An Ottawa sweep looks a definite possibility. 

What a horrible world I am bringing my child into.

What do Wuxi People do when it is hot?

Where I live in Wuxi, it seems they all go out on the street and make more noise than they usually do.

Boy or Girl???

The wife has an appointment with the ultrasound machine, Monday, May 14th at 1330 pm.  Or so we hope.

Again, I cannot get this blog in China.  I still beleive that my entries are being published so that the outside world can see them.

Send me an email at to confirm you have read this.

Another day of no blogspot.

Again, I can't get to this site in China.

I believe that I am still publishing entries to it.  But I don't know for sure.

Send an email to or visit AKIC1 and leave a comment.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Crazy men. Reading Keats.

In a beginner private class, I asked the students to tell me about something is crazy.  Apropos my "Slap the Brat" entry in myspace, one of the students said "men who hit children are crazy."

I read poetry of John Keats to my wife's pregnant tummy.  Other choices of poetry books I have include WH Auden, AE Housman and TS Eliot.  Keats seems to be the most upbeat of the four poets.

I really hate not being able to get my blogspot here in China.  Are the Chinese trying to censor me?  Send a email to  Tell me you are receiving me in the free world.

Another day of no blogspot. My five most popular youtube videos.

I can't get to my blogspot sight.  But I beleive that I can still publish to it using my Windows Live Writer program.  Please send an email to  to confirm you can see my blog outside of China.

My youtube videos have almost been seen 30,000 times.  Here are my five most viewed videos.

1) Wuxi Traffic #1 

2) CNY 2005 Fireworks

3) Our Wedding album

4) Raising of the Flag at Tiananmen Square

5) Jenny at 4.5 months pregnancy

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Monument to a Bill Clinton Postcard.

In the Hui Shan District, on the outskirts of Wuxi, near the New House apartment complex there is a park and the most curious monument.

Am I being blocked?

Typically, I can't read my blog in China.  But, I can still publish to it.

Visit AKIC1 to stay updated.

The American Space Program

I have a salon class about outer space in which I ask the students why man has not been on the moon for near forty years.  I thought because it was prohibitively expensive to go there.  But American Fez has a better reason.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ape-Unit productions makes another youtube video.

Luis, a fellow teacher at my school, has made a brilliant little video about after hours life in Wuxi.


Why I don't want to see the Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup.

The final four in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup Playoffs have been decided and I am not at all excited but who is left.   I will be forced to cheer for a negative this year.

The Canucks, the team I do have an emotional attachment to, are not in.  Neither are teams like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks and Montreal Canadiens.  For whatever reason these clubs have always excited me for emotional and aesthetic reasons.  That is, I like their uniforms and the mind's eye images I had of these teams when I was growing up. 

The teams that are left this year  are dull, dull, dull.  The Buffalo Sabres were exciting in the mid 1970s with their French Connection line.  Since then they made the final with Dominic Hasek the most ungainly, graceless and unstylish goalie to ever play the game.  Hasek now plays for the Red Wings who are one of the four teams left this year.  The Red Wings, after a long drought won Stanley Cups again, but only in the dull defensive era that started with the Devils winning Stanley Cups in the 1990s.  The Red Wings will play the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final.  The Ducks are named after a suburb and an insipid kids movie.  Vancouver should change its name to the Surrey Canucks and Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels (who were smart enough to stop calling themselves the Anaheim Angels)  should change their their name to the L.A. Bad News Bears using that logic.  Furthermore, the Ducks played the Minnesota Wild  in what had to be the most mediocre semifinal in NHL history only a few years ago.

But the team with the dullest, drabbest and most lackluster team aesthetic is the Ottawa Senators.  To explain I will have to parse the two words Ottawa  and Senators.  First the word Senator.  A Senator in Canada is equivalent to a member of the House of Lords in England.  Senators in Canada are unelected.  They are appointed by the Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister always appoints cronies to be Senators.  The Canadian Senate was intended to protect the rights of the Provinces.  Unlike the American Senate which does protect states rights, the Canadian Senate has never done anything of the sort.  Bigger provinces get more seats than smaller provinces.  Attempts by provinces to elect senators or appoint their own senators have been rebuffed by the central government.  Senate Reform has been rendered impossible by the fact that the bigger provinces would veto it.  The Canadian Senate is thus a joke and so is the word: Senator.  Why not call Ottawa's NHL franchise the Time-Servers, the Paper-Pushers, the Bureaucrats or the Civil Servants?  These nicknames are just as inspiring.  Now, let's talk about Ottawa.  I just cannot cheer for a team that comes from Ottawa.  For nothing good comes from Ottawa.  Ottawa is the capital of Canada.  It is the place where decisions have been enacted that turned Canada into a mediocrity and thus a country liked by all the ninnies of the world like Michael Moore and the United Nations.  It is a place where far too much of my wages were taken.  It was the home to Pierre Eliot Trudeau and Jean Cretin, our greatest mountebanks and worst Prime Ministers.  If the Senators win the Cup, then the time-servers, paper-pushers, bureaucrats and civil servants of our central government* will get joy they don't deserve.   It would not be a victory for Canada.

So, Go Sabres Go!!  Or if need be, Go Red Wings!!, Go Ducks!!.  Anybody but the goddamned Ottawa Senators.


*But the Conservatives are in power now, how can you criticize the central government?  I am still of the opinion that the Conservatives forming the government is a temporary occurrence till the Liberals get their swindling act together.  Twenty years of Conservative majorities are needed to fix the damage the Liberals have wrought.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Will the 21st Century belong to China?

Not according to this article.

May 10 is not the day we learn the sex.

I have lived too long to ever be certain of anything going 100 percent according to plan.  I was not surprised when Jenny told me that the ultrasound test has been delayed till Monday the 14th.  Too many people needed to get an ultrasound done today.

Is today the day we learn the sex?

I have said that this morning (May 10) is when we will find out the sex of the baby.  But will it be?  I have no idea how the procedures my wife is undergoing today work.  So who knows for sure if today is the day we find out.

Regardless, the wife is nervous.  I hope for her sake that we get the news quick so she can become used to it.

*I have figured out that I can use my windows live writer program to post blog entries to blogspot.  Handy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Take a Walk down Video Memory Lane.

Here is a two-part video diary I did of my October 2006 week holiday.

Here is Part One.

Here is Part Two.

A Chinese High School Experience.

Last night, I did a salon class online about education.  Sean, a student from Yixing, told me some interesting stories from his high school days.  His high school days were not enjoyable for him.  Being a countrysider in a city school, put him at a disadvantage.  The parents of the city children gave gifts to the teachers.  Furthermore, the teachers were paid more if their students were able to get into a top ranked university.  Students having trouble and having no connections were ignored.

A quote from Florence King

Florence King is one of my favorite writers.  She wrote the Misanthorpe's Corner column for National Review.  When deciding what books to bring to China, I brought along three of hers.  I have reread the books three of four times.  Now, I am rereading the collection I have of her Misanthorpe's Corner columns STET Damnit!!.  Just after the slap the brat incident (you can read about it in myspace blog), I came across this passage:


The Sinless Child ranks with the Noble Savage as a repository of cracked idealism. Unable to think in the intellectual sense, children twitch and flicker in response to the stimuli of the moment like nocturnal creatures on the Discovery Channel, sensing with unerring instinct the perfect moment to strike.

They have a knack for locating adults' soft spots and a sense of timing that can set up an embarrassing moment to the millisecond. The evident nervousness parents exhibit when they bring adult strangers home suggests that the words "Oh, you mustn't say that!" have been spoken before, probably not for the last time. It is a known fact, always denied, that handicapped people, people with scars, homely people, and bald men don't like to be around children because the little fartlings have a mean streak wide enough to drive a truck through.

How true.

May 10 We learn Boy or Girl. Descartes' Discourse on the Method.

Jenny has a doctor's appointment on May 10.  We will learn if the baby will be a Tina or Anthony.

Tonight, I will read passages from Rene Descartes' Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking for Truth in the Sciences to my wife's tummy.  I have given up trying to tell our child stories.  I can't bloody remember the exact details of stories like Goldilocks and the Three Bears for example.  Last night, I read a column from Florence King's STET Damnit!!. I want the child to grow up a stern conservative with foots in no one's camp.  I figure by reading Descartes to the child in a kindly tone, the child will have the patience to explain to me what Descartes was getting at.

Luis's HyLite School video.

Luis, a fellow teacher at HyLite, should win an Academy award for this video. He is much much better than that Quetin Tarnatula fellow.

Taixing makes the News.


Taixing, where I just happened to be last week for a day, made the New York Times in a bad way.

Monday, May 7, 2007

In Praise of Saturday Night Fever


Can you easily find Saturday Night Fever in a Wuxi DVD shop?  After reading this John Derbyshire piece praising the movie, I intend to find out.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

One more day before I have to go back to work.

I will use the other blog ( to show the photos I took last week. I will publish my thoughts about last week in this blog in no particular order.

Today, we will sit about the apartment, rest, relax and make love. I will try to read through all the entries Seablogger made in the past week.

Last week, the wife advised me to not complain. She did not make any effort to sell me on her plans for the week.

As soon as we passed the gates to the Dinosaur Park in Changzhou on May 1, we saw a near fight. One of the visitors was trying to attack a Park staff member who was wearing a teal Park jacket. Five of his co-workers, also wearing teal jackets, were needed to fend off the irate visitor who wanted to have a go at the particular staff member. Eventually, the irate visitor was subdued enough that the targeted worker could be taken away. Thinking of the tour group that took the wife and me to the Great Wall, I yearned to see the visitor get at the worker. But of course he didn't. This was the defining moment of my week.

I was so bored that I was actually looking forward to watching a NBA basketball game. The NBA is big in China. In the countryside I could see images of NBA players (not just Yao Ming) everywhere. In Huangqiao, a sports shoe shop had a huge picture of Shane Battier on its walls.

I had to watch a lot of Chinese TV to pass the time. There is one English language television channel in China CCTV9 or CCTV International as it calls itself. When it came to Wuxi, it was exciting for one day. Foreigners instead try to watch Satellite TV. CCTV9 news lead story is almost always about some country's leaders visiting China. Then there is aways video of the foreign leader meeting a Chinese leader accompanied by an announcer telling us that both leaders pledged to improve their countries' relations and that the visiting leader affirmed the One China policy. There is a vague anti-American slant to everything. (because of this, I have had the anti-American expats tell me that CCTV9 is more balanced than Fox News. Seriously) I watched reports of a World Wildlife Federation conference where America was declared the most guilty on Global Warming and that China was passing legislation and enacting programs to reduce CO2 emissions. CCTV9 also gives lead coverage to any inter-governmental or U.N. conference imaginable. Last week, there was an ASEAN meeting of finance ministers.

Countryside drivers are more daring and reckless than City Drivers. Trucks attempting to pass other trucks on the freeway must be careful of cars passing on the right and then attempting to cut in between the closing gap between the two trucks. A ballsy maneuver that one would never see in Canada, I saw done in Changzhou four times. A driver, approaching a line up of cars stopped at a red light, instead of stopping will pass all the cars on the left and then enter an intersection. Medians on countryside streets do nothing to separate traffic going in opposite directions. If a driver sees a delay ahead on his side of the street he will simply go on the other side of the median.

It was a shame to learn about Manchester United losing to AC Milan, The Canucks being eliminated by the Ducks and the Rockets losing to the Jazz. But at least the Conservatives won in France. I will give a mild Vive Le France!! Unfortunately, this Sarkozy is a little soft-headed on issues of importance like Global Warming and Iraq. But the alternative, the candidate Royal was singing right out of the Left Wing handbook.

I spent six days without talking to a foreigner. Last night, I went to Ronnie's Australian Pub with the King of Wuxi. Many of the King's subjects complained of the crowds everywhere during the May holiday making it impossible to enjoy anything.

The Chinese countryside seems a squalid place to Western eyes. The only thing comparable to the squalor you find in the countryside can be found in Canadian Indian Reserves (where of course you will also find the greatest concentration of government social bureaucracies). My in laws have no hot water, no garbage collection, no theatres, no Internet, no sanitation, no culture and no civic pride. And yet, they are happier than pigs in shit because their life has improved, thanks to market forces, since 1980. More and more of the basic necessities are available. Too bad I don't know enough Chinese to ask the countrysiders how ownership of farm land works.

CCTV7 has a military show where the studio hosts are wearing military uniforms. The military are shown training, having fun on the many trips the military allows them to have and helping the populace like social workers. During the May holiday, soldiers were acting as guides in some national parks. Furthermore, I saw video of soldiers feeding monkeys and picking oranges.

Nary a week goes for me where I don't see a vehicle accident. At Beixing, I saw a motorcycle with just one driver get rear ended by a motorcycle carrying a family of three. I saw the little boy on his side on the pavement with his shoe knocked off by the force of the collision. I had to look away when I saw he was about to cry. I saw another accident where a little girl fell off an electric bike head first into the pavement. Her father was trying to drive fast on a street crowded with pedestrians. An unexpected obstacle caused him to stop quickly and the girl, who was standing the floorboard in front of her father, was propelled onto the pavement. I have been told that the Chinese idea of a good driver is someone who can drive like he is in a computer driving game with obstacles.

A bus we took from Beixing to Taixing was overloaded. What was like a mini-bus (capacity 20 persons seated) had 15 persons standing in the aisles. At one point, the ticket taker and attendant (driver is another job) told the standing passengers to kneel and duck. I asked the wife why this was being done and she told me that the bus operators were avoiding being fined.

I saw a funeral procession cross a highway. No cars stopped to let it cross. Instead, the cars simply swerved to avoid mourners.

If you are in a an irritiable mood, you want to punch people who say hello to you because you are a laowei. What at most times is cute becomes stupid when seen in another light. Uncharitiable and mean thoughts? Yes. But there it is. It would be a lie to say you don't have these thoughts.

Being an expectant father, I look at the children more critically. I see what happens to all those Chinese only children who are treated with indulgence by their parents: their grossest and basest characteristics prosper. Too many times, I find myself telling the wife no child of mine is going to act like that!!.

My May 2007 Holiday Video Diary.

I worked on it last night. Here is my video diary for the last week.

Jenny pregnancy update.

Here is a photo of Jenny's tummy.

It was taken on May 4th. Jenny is about five months preggers with the baby expected in early September.

I am back.

I am back with so much to say and no set plan about how I am going to say it. On this holiday, I went to Changzhou, Taixing, Beixing, and Huangqiao. I spent too much time in Beixing with the in-laws, just enough time in Huangqiao (the dirtiest and most depressing urban center I have been to in China) and not enough time in Changzhou (the wife has promised to make up for this). A huge pagoda opened the day I was at the Changzhou train station. I took plenty of pictures and video. I will spend the next few days editing a video diary of what I did. The video will make the week more exciting than it really was. Here is the first video I have produced from the week: A countryside house video tour.