Friday, September 28, 2007

Reaction to the Burma crisis in China

It  is nothing that you would expect the students to talk about.  They never do.  If we asked them about it, they would give blank looks in response.

The Shanghai Daily site has mentioned the crisis but to get a story about it, you have to go to a link on the side.  The story I read there seems to have been snipped from the AP with passages mentioning Myanmar's close relationship with China left out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tianjin, China: Multicultural City?

That the Chinese had to allow Foreigners concession rights to their cities (e.g. Shanghai, Hong Kong) nearly 100 years ago must have been a great humiliation for them and is an embarrassment for them to talk about now. 

So it was interesting to see the spin they would put on this CCTV9 tourist show about Tianjin.   Tianjin is near Beijing and was said on the show I saw last night (Rediscovering China) to be the biggest foreign concession to have ever existed in China.  Rediscovering China, with a female foreign host, trying to hard to be earnestly interested, did a tour of the city.  All the buildings built by foreigners from the concession days were shown in the best light possible.  To not mention the fact that these buildings were made by foreign conquerors, Tianjin was said to be a meeting place for all sorts of cultures, a cultural mosaic as it were...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wrestling with a wife beater.

Tuesday was working out to be a dull day until I heard screaming and commotion coming from the stairs above my office.  I immediately ran upstairs to see one of our staff cowering  behind two of her workmates as a man was screaming at her.  The man was her husband.  She wants to get a divorce from him but he won't grant it.  He has battered her before and it was at least the fourth time he had come to our school to confront her.    Tuesday, he had managed to get to her office and hit a few times.  The woman tried to escape and so ended up at the stairwell when I came upon the scene.

I stood between the man and the girls and called another foreigner for help on my mobile phone.  When the man made a move at the girls, I pushed him away.  My colleague then arrived at the scene.  A few seconds later, the man swung at one of the girls protecting his wife, and so he and I got in a shoving match.  I remember screaming at him that you don't hit woman!  My colleague grabbed him by the throat to stop him.

All the while, no other Chinese man tried to stop him.  My colleague,once he had stopped the husband with the choke hold, went  to summon some Chinese male staff help.  The staff member who did come told us that the husband was on the phone asking his friends to come down with knives.  When the man calmed down, the Chinese management showed up, sat the husband down to talk to him.  Management then assured us that he would not come to the school again...

We have to watch our backs for the next little while.  This man has been said to be a gangster.

When a husband beats up his wife in public in China, no one will come to the woman's assistance.  That we did on Tuesday, must have struck the Chinese as strange.  The Chinese can be heartless when it comes to seeing strangers in trouble.  That the two female co-workers protected the wife yesterday was because they were friends, we were told. 

My wife told me that our attacking the man was a major loss of face for him.  REALLY?!?  As if being a wife-beater isn't loss of face enough!!  But, they don't think that way there.

I have been told that the law here says that you can only hit someone if they hit you.  So the woman who was hit by the man has the right to hit back; not I.

 In '89, the soldiers killing students shot at anyone who tried to aid the wounded.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What We did Golden Week 2006.

October 1, 2007 is Communist China's national day.  It marks the founding of the People's Republic.  The week of October 1 to October 7 is a holiday week for many Chinese.  Here is a  two part Youtube video series depicting what I did last year:

Part 1:


 Part 2:

If the embeds don't show up, click on part1 and part 2.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The three Ds of Communist China

Dirt.  China is a very dirty country.  There is garbage and rubble everywhere.  The  first thing that strikes you about the countryside is the garbage that never gets collected.  The same can be said for the city.  If it is not on their property, no one will lift a finger to clean an eyesore.

Driving.  The Chinese are corrupt drivers.  In Canada, they would be said to be bad.  But I say they are corrupt here because far too many Chinese think the rules of traffic don't apply to them.  They also don't seem to think beyond themselves.  So often, I have seen Chinese drivers do things because they are thinking "me me" instead of cooperating with other drivers.  An example is a cut off maneuver I always see where it would have made more sense to let the other driver through and both would have mutually benefited,but instead both drivers lose time.

Destruction.  Nothing in China is built to last a long time.  That is why a country with so long a history has so little to show for it other than Mao statues.  Wuxi has a much longer history than the city of Winnipeg in Canada which was founded in the mid 19th century.  Yet, Winnipeg has more history to see than Wuxi which apparently has a 2000 year history.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

American League Division Excitement! Not!

In the American League East there is an exciting three way race going on for the division pennant.  The Indians have a half game lead over the Red Sox and a two game lead over the Yankees.  The final two weeks of the season should be very exciting.  It looks like we are witnessing the greatest pennant race since 1978!


In fact, all three teams have sewn up playoff spots.  The Red Sox's collapse may be extricated by a first round playoff victory.

Who will be Chairman Hu's Successor?

None of my students know.  None of them could even think of any possible candidates.  Said one of the students: "we don't have a say!"

Vlog #26. First video of Tony from the day he was born.

Here is a video I have not uploaded till now.  It was the first ever video I took of Tony.  I had first laid eyes on him about five minutes earlier.  The wife had not yet been taken from the delivery room.   It is one of the great moments of my life.

The voices in the background of all the people wanting to see what a mixed blood baby looked like.

Here is the last vlog I will ever do from my current apartment.

Seen on Chinese T.V. I would never be an Olympic Torch Bearer and shame on those expats who would be.

I was watching Chinese TV, a practice I rarely indulge in and saw the following scene form a daytime drama.  The show was set in WWII in China during the Japanese occupation.  I watched a scene where a Chinese officer shot a rifle at a flagpole draped with a Japanese Flag.  The shooter made an amazingly accurate shot which caused the flag to fall to the ground (it was like watching the spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood where a shooter could shot a hat off a head or save a man from being hung but shooting at the noose).  The next camera shot showed the feet of Chinese soldiers walking on the flag as it lay in mud.  Pretty incendiary stuff I'd say.  And this is a daily staple on Chinese TV.

The local website recently posted an article about expats having a chance to carry the torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The WuxiLife article suggests it would be pretty cool to do this.

I think it is not cool at all.  If you carry the torch you aren't carrying it for China.  You are carrying it for the regime.  No expat, with a conscience, should take part in this propaganda exercise.  The whole Olympic movement if you asked me has turned into another useless bureaucracy for international government like the United Nations.  One dictator; one vote.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tales of woe.

I was talking to students about raising children.  I  asked a couple of the students if they were good mothers.  Now I realize the wording of the question would be offensive to most mothers; but in a situation with students whose English ability is limited, you can't ask subtle questions.  And the question was part of a plea for advice and conversation from them.  Woman like to talk about raising children. 

Anyway, I asked the question and one of the woman gave me a startling answer.  She told me she was not a good mother to her child when it was one and two years old.  After saying I found this hard to believe, I asked her why.  She told me that  she was working in a different town and her in-laws took care of the children.  Separation from family members for work is a story I have heard far too often from the students, but the separation of a mother and her infant tops all the other tales I have heard.   I hate to contemplate the economic pressures that made a woman feel she had to do that.  (This woman also told me she would have liked to have four children.)

I have also heard a tale of workers signing five year contracts that impose heavy monetary fines on them if they decide to quit.  One man apparently signed a contract for five years at 800 rmb a month.  He signed it because at the time he needed to eat.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Coming to terms with the Cultural Revolution.

In the salon class, I talked about in the previous entry, the subject of war crimes lead to the topic of the Cultural Revolution.  Will the people responsible for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution ever be punished?  Will there be a honest and frank examination of the time of history?  In response to these questions that I asked, one of the students said:  there will have to be a revolution (change of regime) before that ever happens.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chinese students say they aren't Pacifists.

I did a conversation class where the topic was Taking Responsibility for Our Actions, ostensibly a class about war criminal suspects  and whether they can use the "I was just following orders" excuse.   It is a hard class to get the students to talk about, so I brought up the subject of Pacifism.  Are you a pacifist? I asked each student.  They all said no.  War is sometimes necessary.  One student said that war against Taiwan may be necessary in the future as an example.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Many Chinese want to see Hilary as President just because she is a woman.

I am trying to make my students aware of the U.S. presidential race and its leading candidates.  Most of the students admit to having a limited knowledge of the politcs of America so I have been introducing them to the names of Hilary Clinton, Rudy Guilliani and Barak Obama.  I have been presenting the presidential race as ultimately a Rudy versus Hilary showdown.  The Chinese typically choose Hilary because she is a woman and without knowing anything of what she is about.  Maybe, even a little like the Clinton name.

Monday, September 10, 2007

9/11 Never forget.

God Bless America.  I will never forget that day.  I hope others don't either.  So much of what I admire was attacked that day.  The attacks were an attempt to destroy individual freedom.

Here are some of my 9/11 reminiscences at Myspace blog:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

These reminiscences aren't finished.  You can go to the main blog page to see parts 4 and so on.

During the Wuxi Water Crisis, the Wuxi government first said nothing and then lied

I was talking to some students tonight about the week the Wuxi water crisis broke.   The local media said nothing about the crisis for three days.  Then they said the water was okay; it just had to be boiled.  Because of the Internet, the students that me the government then was finally forced to admit that the water was worse than that.   As Marc Steyn  about the SARS crisis, the typical Communist reaction is to first deny there is any problem.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Vlog #24. AKICC endorses Rudy in 2008!

 Andis Kaulins in Communist China heartily endorses Rudy Guilliani's candidacy for president in 2007-2008.  Why?  I will eliminate half the field by saying I wouldn't vote Democrat.  They are Left wingers bordering on socialist.  Hilary Clinton is the historical equivalent of Mrs. Chairman Mao, of Gang of Four fame.  Barak Obama is a nice guy and a fresh face but he has 1960s ideas.  Just ask Thomas Sowell.  Rudy, more than any other Republican candidate, has got that tough S.O.B. quality to him.  America needs to be strong in these dangerous times of increased fanaticism.  The EU or the UN won't do diddly squat to help individuals achieve any degree of personal freedom.  The onus has fallen on America to do so.  And they will have to be tough in face of challenges from Russia, China, the dumb neo-left and Islamo-Fascism.   Rudy as well is no Socialist.  He will be tough and fair; not a make nice for the sake of being nice guy.   He does not begrudge the economic success China has had but there are principles he will be bound to defend like democracy in Taiwan.



 Tony needing a diaper change has kind of tempered my rant.  But there it is.

More thoughts or rants later.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Should I become AKICC?

Should I change the name of this blog to Andis Kaulins in Communist China?  I was listening to the latest edition of Derb radio and he discussed a man named Lou Dobbs who was trying to get all members of the American media to refer to mainland China as such.

People like me seem to live with because we see Capitalism and really no Communism.

But people like Derb and Dobbs have a point.  There is something about being here that is the making of a bargain with the devil; sweet, though many of the people I know here are.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What I sing to my baby Tony ,Volume 1

Here is are of the songs I sing to my 2 week old son in the hopes of getting him to fall asleep and to stop crying:

  • Hello Pooh!  to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence
  • The Poo from Ipanema to the tune of the great Sinatra/Jobim classic.
  • The Diaper Song to the tune of Frank Sinatra's The Coffee Song.
  • Stop ***@#@#@##@#@$$!!!!!!?!!!!!*&$$#^$#$!! My hip-hop song so it is tuneless!
  • What say you diapers?  to the tune of the Australian National Anthem.
  • Oh say can you smell? to the tune of the American National Anthem.
  • It was just one of those two things you do a lot, to the tune of Just one of those things by Sinatra.
  • Anarchy in my diapers to the tune of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK.
  • You have got another thing coming (paraphrased) by Judas Priest.
  • I shit my pants to the tune of Van Halen's Jamie's Crying!
  • Poo! to the tune of Van Halen's Jump!
  • Brown Riot to the tune of The Clash's White Riot.
  • You have got green poo; you have got brown poo to the tune of New Order's Temptation.
  • Another one bites the Dust (paraphrased) by Queen.
  • Hans Island forever Canadian
  • When the shit hits the fan to the tune of Dean Martin's That's Amore!!

What I think about....

George Bush:  I would have voted for him.  He was a better man than Al Gore or John Kerry.  And it is the world's good fortune that he is the President of the USA now.   The Left's absolute hatred of him only proves this even more.  I remember how much Reagan was despised but he was a great president.   While the left was crowing, Reagan was saving their asses.  Bush is doing the same now and not getting any credit for it.   As Bush must see from the examples of Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa and Gandhi that being a good man isn't going to make you popular. 

Mother Teresa: She is a saint.  I don't much like the rush to canonize.  I say wait the fifty years.   I appreciate her struggles of belief.  I have them.  Though I know people have an impulse to be religious, I have no idea what to believe.  And I am enough of a misanthrope to realize that humans can screw even the most of divine of things.

Global Warming:  I don't see how we have enough information to go on to know with an absolute degree of certainty that it is happening.  I don't see how we can adopt any measures against it (if it is happening) that will not usher in another dark age for mankind.   The Socialism, world-wide socialism that Al Gore types want to impose on the world will result in massive poverty.

Hip Hop:  Anti-music.  Anti-civilized values.  Anti-humanistic.  It is the symptom of a pathological culture that is destroying itself and building nothing.

Hilary Clinton:  Please don't elect her president.  Just because she is a woman, does not mean you should be deaf to what she says.  She isn't a Margaret Thatcher.

Hu Jintiao:  He seems a stolid non-entity.  You have to wonder what kind of people he is fronting for.

Brian Mulroney:  His saving grace is he is not Pierre Eliot Trudeau.  With Mulroney, you can at least point to a few accomplishments: e.g. free trade.  He took the flack for things that had to be done.  Too bad, he completely misunderstood the nature of the Reform Party.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Vlog #23

The Irish Genius?

Free Book.

This afternoon, I went to the Old Carrefour to get my haircut.  There is a salon there, the PiaoMiaoFang Hairdressers, that the wife has a discount or VIP card for.  PiaoMiaoFang is actually a chain.  It used to have a location near Mianhua Xiang but that has lately been shut down, supposedly for renovations.  So off to the Old Carrefour location, via bus, I went.  If you have been looking at AKIC Spaces Live, you may have seen the entry I did for the last time I had a haircut because I choose to go from having medium length style to a very short style.   And it made for some good before and after photos.  The problem with the short style, I now know, is that my head is not perfectly symmetrical and so a week after getting the last haircut,  I had schizophrenic hair.  One side was standing up; the other was drooping down.  The problem was not corrected today.  I should have had them shave my head.  But the stylists at PiaoMiaoFang seem not to have heard of electric shears.  My stylist today picked at my hair with a pair of scissors.

From Carrefour, I walked to Nanchang Temple Market.  Two things happened as I was there.  I saw a violent argument between a male customer and a female shopkeeper.  Everyone was standing about to watch.  I wanted to myself, but I could not do so discretely.   So I went to the bookstall that I know has a cache of English language books.  The owner called my old friend (lao pengyou) when he saw me.  I choose one book from his cache and he didn't charge me for it.  Free book!!  I can remember one time having a book seller in Canada  give me a free book as an appreciation for my loyalty.

The book I got for free?  It was called The Genius of the Irish, a collection of short stories by famous Irish writers, and so despite the title it was a fairly long book.  At 294 pages of small type it would have easily been five hundred pages in an easy to read hard cover edition.  Not bad for a country that is noted for its love of violence and political cronyism.   This cache at the stall I talk of has a lot of books about Ireland.  It also has a lot of Danish books but I had my wife tell the seller he should burn them.

I took the bus home from the market.  Just my luck that school was coming out.  At a stop near the school, 20 kids and their grandparents got on the bus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blog #22. Andis and Son sure to be a comedy classic.

For your enjoyment....

A Walk in Wuxi.

I did go for a walk today and it did rain like yesterday.  But I timed today's walk well.  It started to rain just as I was minutes from the family and the apartment.  I walked in the area near Mianhua Xiang.  I passed the grounds of the Wuxi Number One high school which are not too far from the shores of the Grand Canal.  The High School has a huge ground and some stately looking buildings.  But all around there is third world squalor.  I crossed the Grand Canal twice via the Grand Ronghu Bridge and the Grand Xishan Bridge.  I saw that I was not the only one who liked to watch boat traffic.  Under the Grand Ronghu Bridge, there are these concrete stumps, maybe used to moor boats, that are perfect to sit on.  I saw about eight people on both sides of the canal just sitting and watching.  On the west side of the Canal between the two bridges there is a shabby but still useful park in which to walk or just sit.  Again I saw numerous people just doing that.  At one point, I passed a couple of young lovers embarrassed and amused by the presence of a foreigner.  They said hello and when I was fifty feet passed they screamed What is your name!  This sort of thing happens so often that I don't bother to turn around.  But this instance was an extreme for the amount of distance covered before they decided to talk to the back of me.

The impression of China I got from this short walk I am sure is a microcosm of all of China.  China is a land of contrasts.  The Skyline of Wuxi is impressive.  There is lot of infrastructure.  The boat traffic is a sign of great economic activity.  And yet there is so much dirt and poverty.  I saw a woman washing her hair outside her shack of a home.  I saw a Mercedes Benz automobile. I saw a bent over old beggar.  I saw garbage everywhere.  I felt hustle and bustle, and the same time saw so many people sitting about.  I saw these neighborhoods  where there were shops and barbers amid narrow alleyways that surely would be charming if it wasn't for the lack of activity I saw among the residents....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Two Columns from Thomas Sowell

I went out for a walk this afternoon and it started to rain heavily.  I had to retreat home but not after being in the deluge for ten minutes.  Thankfully, the wife just laughed at me when I got home.

So I went online.  And yes!  Thomas Sowell had 2 columns.

The first is Random thoughts on the passing scene.  I will list a few choice quotes from it:

Barack Obama is the newest face on the political scene, expressing some of the oldest notions. Virtually everything he says is vintage 1960s rhetoric, as if he has learned nothing from the many disasters that 1960s notions have led to in the decades since then.


Wise people created civilization over the centuries and clever people are dismantling it today. You can see it happening just by channel surfing on TV or hear it in rap music or read it in the pompous nonsense of academics and judges.


Despite people who speak glibly of "earlier and simpler times," all that makes earlier times seem simpler is our ignorance of their complexities.


One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans-- anything except reason.


For the last quote, I can think of the Chickenhawk argument, No war for Oil, Bush lied People Died, Bush equals Hitler, ad nauseam.

Sowell, today, also published a column about Health Care.   Here is a quote that is relevant to the Canadian situation and drugs:

People who are urging us to follow other countries that control the prices of medications seem uninterested in the fact that those countries depend on the United States to create new drugs, after they destroyed incentives to do so in their own countries.

Canada makes these cheap generic drugs and looks like a good guy for doing so even though it was American Pharmaceutical Research that created this drugs in the first place.  Supporters of this policy defend it by saying it is only reducing the profit of big corporations.  And they go on to say that Canada's medical system is better than America's.  America unfortunately can't imitate the Canadian model because if it did it would not have a neighbor with which it could leach technology and expertise.  Canada's medical system needs the American system to sustain.  Just like the Socialist agriculture system of the Soviet Union needed Capitalist countries to make up for its shortage of food.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I am proud of myself.

I have a couple new videos on youtube:  Tony in diapers,  and Vlog #20.

Why am I feeling proud?  I finally changed Tony's diapers solo with no oversight or help from the wife.  I did it all by myself.  So, I can go to work next week and say:  I have changed diapers, and that I have wiped shit and piss off Tony's ass and balls.

It happened after I had serenaded Tony with a counting song and the Mommy poops, Daddy poops and Tone poops song.  Just as I finished the final chorus I heard a crack and a phh! sound.  I saw brown when I looked.  It just so happened that Mommy, I mean the wife, was in the bathroom for an undisclosed reason.  My first reaction was to call Tony a little inconsiderate bastard and to rhetorically ask him why he couldn't let his mother have a single moment's solace.  But the voice of responsibility or conscience as some people call it, said something to me along the lines of A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!  So I was shamed by the thought (which in my mind speaks to me in the figure of John Wayne - If it ever took on the countenance of Al Gore I would have strangled myself and Tony) and changed the diaper.

I first had to beg the wife for permission to do this, though.  Remember what I have said before about the wife having a "Stay away from my property" attitude about Tony.

Tony's poop is a yellowy and mustardy.  It must have exploded out of his bum like the old faithful geyser because it was everywhere on his bum.  It took me four dips of his asscloth in a nearby basin of warm water before I could clean it all off.  And just as I did clean all the poop including form the spot under his balls, he had to pee.  So I had to dip the cloth in the basin yet again. 

Funny thing how when he pees, he becomes quiet.  He was loudly protesting my ass-wiping till then.

Watching the wife change diapers so often, it was also funny how when it was time to put the diapers on, I was unsure as to which part of the diaper was front or back.

All in all, I am proud of myself.