Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Annoying email.

Now, I shouldn't be bothered to complain about emails in this age of spam but I received an email that annoyed because I supported the senders of the email in another cause.  I signed an online petition to free Burma and as a result received these update emails.  Now this group sent me an email headlined "Tell the US to confront climate change." 

I see I got suckered into a feel good exercise of the Left.  They could have easily done a campaign urging Saddam to stop torturing his people at one time.  It is there way to tell us what is so wrong with the world.  But because Bush actually did something on this one occasion, he has been hated by the Left for doing so.  How would the Left feel if Bush used military forces to free Tibet!

Fuel crisis in China.  As Seablogger says, when the Chinese stop being Communists.

I wonder if this explains the shortages yesterday at Carrefour.  There was no sugar to be had.

Why my wife can't get a bus pass.

My wife likes to save money.   Much more than I like to not spend it.  So I had to wonder why she didn't have a bus pass.

She told me that she could not get a bus pass in Wuxi because she was not a Wuxi citizen.   Her i.d. card shows her as coming from Beixing.  Only Wuxi citizens can buy bus passes.  Why this would be so is beyond me.

I then asked my wife what she had to do to become a Wuxi citizen.   She told me that she has to buy an apartment over 100 square meters in size.  She won't be a citizen with our new apartment.

In Canada, you can live in any jurisdiction you want, except Indian reservations.

Youtube is back!  I have uploaded three videos so far.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wealth and Nations

Is global capitalism making the poor even poorer, or is it in fact rescuing millions of people out of their misery?  Alvaro Vargas Llosa  gives his view.

Two new videos of Tony

One I uploaded to clipshack.

The other I uploaded to

Wuxi Tony October 30 - Watch more free videos

The hotspot shield doesn't allow me to upload full videos to Youtube.  But as I have options.

I found a way to get Youtube and watch videos.

I have downloaded a program called hotspot shield and it allows me to access Youtube and Blogspot.  The program is actually meant for laptops but it has an unintentional side-effect of allowing people to get to blocked sites.

Stand Up, Sit Down, Clap... That's the ticket.

As I was saying in one of my blogs, I was going to a primary school Wednesday morning to teach some wee ones in Grade 1 and Grade 2.  As some primary school teachers tell me when I grill them, students at that age are naughty.  I found a good way to control them.  I get them every five minutes or so to Stand Up, Sit Down, Clap, Shake, Regurgitate and Jump.  I employed these tactics successfully today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I didn't think it was possible.

I had a strange occurrence with my electric razor (but not a mad butcher sort of occurrence if you know what I mean).  The heads on the razor were getting dull.  One day two weeks ago, the batteries needing changing and I so I put new ones in.  The razor went from dull to doing nothing for my face.  I thought I needed to get new shaving heads which I did, as promptly as I can go promptly (which now that I have Tony is umprompt like the mad butcher would say).  The heads did not help to my consternation.  Being at my wit's end with how to fix the razor, I switched the batteries inside the razor.  That is, I flipped the AA batteries over from negative-positive to positive-negative.  The razor then worked great.  Putting the double A batteries in the wrong way caused the blades on the heads to rotate the wrong way and not cut any hair.  I didn't think this could happen with battery-operated appliances.  Imagine putting batteries in a CD player and  the music goes Satanic.  Maybe, the mad butcher would like this sort of thing or maybe yet he wouldn't notice any difference.

That is my eerie Halloween story.

Luis doesn't have a girlfriend yet.  I try to lock in our office with female students because to know him is to love him.  But he needs to have the possibilities of being locked in the office with a female explained to him

Cold in Wuxi.

The adjective cold can now be used to describe Wuxi weather as of yesterday.  The wife had me wear a sweater (a vest actually) yesterday. 

This morning, I go to teach at the primary school.  I expect my plans to go off the rails.  Of which more anon...

Don't pick on my buddy Steve.

From the Globe and Mail:

Beijing issues warning to Harper


From Monday's Globe and Mail

October 29, 2007 at 1:41 AM EDT

BEIJING — The Chinese government has warned that Canada could damage its relations with China if Prime Minister Stephen Harper goes ahead with his plan to meet the Dalai Lama Monday.

Mr. Harper will join a growing group of Western leaders who have deliberately chosen to greet the Tibetan spiritual leader in official venues, ignoring the objections of the Chinese government.

In the past, leaders met the Tibetan leader, but avoided official trappings. Monday's meeting will be the first time a Canadian prime minister has held formal talks at a government office with the exiled spiritual leader.

In a statement to The Globe and Mail, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it has repeatedly protested against the visit to Canada by the Tibetan religious leader. It denounced him as a separatist who operates under the guise of religion.

“China has on many occasions made solemn representations to the Canadian side on the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Canada,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

“We call on the Canadian side to clearly understand the nature of the Dalai Lama's separatist activities and treat seriously China's serious concerns, and not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit, not allow him to use Canadian territory for activities to split China, and not to do anything to harm Sino-Canadian relations.”

So far, however, there is no sign of any formal Chinese retaliation against Canada to punish it for Mr. Harper's meeting with the Dalai Lama.

This fall, China cancelled several high-level meetings with the United States and Germany after their leaders met with the Dalai Lama.

Canada, however, has few high-level meetings scheduled with China over the next several weeks, so it is more difficult for China to cancel meetings.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Canada Sunday, and will head to government offices in Gatineau to meet Jason Kenney, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, followed by a news conference. Later, he will speak with Mr. Harper in his Parliament Hill office, and participate in a reception with parliamentarians.

In 2004, Paul Martin became the first Canadian prime minister to meet the Dalai Lama, but did so at the home of a Roman Catholic archbishop to emphasize the man's religious aspect.

The Dalai Lama will also visit Governor-General Michaƫlle Jean at Rideau Hall Monday afternoon. He meets opposition politicians at a downtown hotel Tuesday.

Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush caused waves with China when he held a much heralded public meeting with the Dalai Lama and awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australian Prime Minister John Howard have made similar gestures in recent months.

The Chinese government is “resolutely opposed” to anyone “in any country” who uses the Dalai Lama issue to “interfere in China's internal affairs,” the Chinese ministry said.

“As we all know, the Dalai Lama is a political exile under the cloak of religion who has been engaged in splitting the motherland and damaging national unity.”

The 72-year-old monk fled his homeland in 1959 following the collapse of a Tibetan uprising. He lives in exile in northern India.

Tory Senator Con di Nino has played an instrumental role in organizing this latest Canadian visit, as co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet. Mr. Di Nino said he is not worried by the very vocal objections of the Chinese government and its ambassador in Canada to the public meetings with the Dalai Lama. He emphasized that neither the Dalai Lama nor his allies are suggesting China leave Tibet, only that it be given autonomy with the requisite religious and cultural freedoms.

“China is not looking very good in all this. They're coming across as bullies. China can send out these press releases, but I don't believe they'll stop doing business with all these countries.”

With a report from Canadian Press

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vlogs #33 and #34 have disappeared. Red Sox on the brink.

The two vlogs I made in are no longer available.  I learned this to my distress this morning when I logged in to see my view stats.  So much for boasting that you can't keep wuxiandis down.  I have no idea why this would happen.

The Red Sox are winning game 4.  They have a 3-0 lead in the series.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sunday afternoon in Wuxi.

I have got the third game of World Series on the computer.  The Boston Red Sox are leading the Colorado Rockies 9 to 5 as I type.

We had a bunch of new students from GE Healthcare start their first classes yesterday.   They were all brilliant.

Halloween is coming.  Do the students care?  No.  They can't even make half an idea for a costume.

I just read on that Joey Bishop, the last surviving member of the original Rat Pack has died.

I have two speakers corners this afternoon.  I will talk about a smorgasbord of things.

I spent some time this morning making flash cards for the two primary school classes I will be teaching on Tuesday morning.

I also spent some time making a list of active verb tenses for my Walter class.

There is a outdoor book stall at Wuxi's Chongnan Market that sells some English books for 10 RMB a copy.  I bought Empires and Dragons by Valerio Massimo Manfredi:  a novel about Romans going to the China of the Three Kingdoms.

I am thinking I will record AKIC #34 vlog today.

For lunch, I go to a nearby grocery store and buy oranges, bananas, crackers and water.  Healthy and inexpensive.

An afternoon wind is giving Wuxi a dustier than usual look.

Bottom of the ninth coming up.  I am going to record my vlog provided the game ends promptly.  The Red Son are leading 10 to 5.

For the Brits in Wuxi Sunday can be a time to watch a big football game.

Someone tells me that the Wuxi government is planning to move the CBD to an area near Taihu Square.  They are over planning and over developing if you ask me.  "Build it and they will come" seems to be they urban planning motto.

The students think China should have an army and go to the Moon.  They also think that is is important for the Chinese nation that they go to the Moon for prestige reasons.  One student even hinted that there were military reasons for China to put a base on the moon.  When I asked them to tell me why America has not gone to  the moon for over 35 years, they told me that America was choosing to spend more money on the military.

The Red Sox win.  I will now make vlog #34...


Starring down an aggresive Taxi Driver.

It was pleasing to see a colleague force an aggresive Wuxi taxi driver, the kind that accelerate through pedestrian crossings, to come to a screeching halt by walking through the crossing as is a walker's right.

The third game of the World Series starts as I type this.  Sweep BoSox Sweep!

A 180 square meter apartment in Wuxi's moresky360 building costs 10,000 a month on the 13rd floor.  Go higher in the 55 storey building and the price goes up.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Andis Kaulins in China #33

This is my 33rd vlog.   I am using clipshack to present it.


The Toner and his Mother in Shanghai

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No more Myspace.

From now on, I will write all my random, banal musings in blogspot and tumblr.  I have written a note in Myspace forwarding to these two blogs.

Friday night I arrive home, the wife is tired as well she should be after the trip to Shanghai.  Tony seems not the worse for wear.

I have given the wife Tylenol for her headache.  I don't think she has ever taken this medicine before.

I had a class this morning where the student was sick but came to school anyway.  She canceled the class.  It was very strange.

I hate talking about the environment.  I have to go along with it because they wouldn't understand my true position on the issue of Global Warming slash Climate Change.

Tomorrow morning, Olympic English for old people.   I and a tutor will go to some community in Wuxi and read Olympic phrases to old people.  Whoopee Do!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Kaulins Family Trip to Shanghai.

The Kaulins family is back in Wuxi after spending two days in Shanghai Wednesday and Thursday.  We are all very tired Friday morning.  The wife is especially tired.  Having to look after the baby while on the move is not easy.  Tony would need a diaper-changing and a feeding at the most inconvenient times.  It didn't help that it rained and we could not grab a taxi during rush-hour or get on a bus where passengers were not stuffed like sardines in a can.

In a restaurant in the Nanjing Road walk street, I saw a man raise his hand above his head and then snap his fingers to summon service.  It came immediately.  Snapping fingers to summon a waiter is a cliche but I don't recall every having seen someone do it before.  Not even with the King of Wuxi.  But he usually just has to raise his eyebrow.

Shanghai's newest tallest building, the World Financial whatever Center, is located near to the Jin Mao Tower, the previous tallest building.  As you look at the Pearl Tower and the Jin Mao from across the Huangpu River, on the Bund, you can now see the WFWC looming behind the Jin Mao.

I hate dealing with the government, whether it be mine or of this country.  I went to the Canadian Consulate and was asked about the color of Tony's eyes.  When I told them, it was an inappropriate question given Tony's age, they told me that it had to be filled in....

In an earlier blog entry, I wondered about the green plant stuff I have been seeing this fall in Wuxi's Canals.  Shanghai is having the same problem and according to this article in the Shanghai Daily, the green stuff is noxious.

Tony Kaulins find Shanghai underwhelming and annoying.

Tony went on his first train ride and made his first trip to Shanghai.  He was underwhelmed.  He was more into his physical needs than looking at the sights.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No Youtube or Blogspot in Wuxi.

We go to Shanghai this afternoon.  The wife bought train tickets yesterday.  She just reserved a hotel room this morning (not far from People's Square she tells me).  I think I have all the paperwork I could possibly need for our trip to the Canadian Consulate.  I found my Driver's License which I will need as I.D. and lucky me it is still valid (though the address is wrong).

It will be Tony's first trip to the Shang.  Hopefully, he will be so overwhelmed by it that he will fall asleep.

It had to happen but you can't get in Wuxi.  I had become accustomed to that.  But not having Youtube is very painful.  It had always been part of my routine to log onto it and check my view stats.  Last time, I had nearly 74,000 views.  I have put up some videos on but it is not the same experience.  I don't trust break's stats.  And the site looks so low class.

The King of Wuxi has expressed an interest in getting a blog like I have:

No funeral band playing to wake me up.  We operate in the apartment with the background sound of a nearby construction site.

Wuxi, Wednesday  900 AM.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Too many blogs. I know.

Right now, in China, there are four AKIC blogs:

Why?  Because I am in China, it is a wise policy to have at least two in case, one is blocked as was the case with my blogspot blog.  But the last week it has been available.  If I had my choice, my one and only blog would be my blogspot blog but unfortunately it is blocked most of the time in China.  The spaces live blog was my first blog and gets the majority of my hits.  It is linked to a popular Wuxi Expat site ( which accounts for its popularity.  So much as I would like to ditch the MSN blog because it works wonkily, I am stuck with it because it steers all my traffic to my other sites.  I have the tumblr blog because it is available in China and I can supply it with the RSS feed for my blogspot site.  (Interestingly, I can post entries to blogspot even though I can't see them on the site.)  I like the look of tumblr and it is by far the best site for showing off my photos.  So, I maintain tumblr as a backup to my blogspot site.

Now why do I have the myspace blog?  It gets about 25 views a day.  It is a good place to write nonsense.  But still it is the blog I would ditch first.

I have tried to find a way to use each blog for a specific purpose.  I thought to make my blogspot blog my blog for political rants.  But then these are rss-fed to tumblr.  I thought to use AKIC spaces live for happy Wuxi Expat talk and photo displays but I see that tumblr is the best blog for displaying photos.  I thought to use this blog as the place for making banal observations about my day-to-day life at work.  But sometimes I feel I have to put more content in the MSN live spaces blog because it would be read there and I need the content.

Quandary, Quandary, Quandary?  Is that a song by Engelbert Humperdinck?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The front window of my 21st floor apartment. Taken on the morning of October 22, 2007 in Wuxi
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Visitors from Six Continents.

According to Sitemeter, I have had visitors from all over the world including Africa and South America.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

My motivation


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Latest video of Tony

Spinning tony - Watch more free videos

From my Myspace blog

I am back from Seagate. Did you know I had gone?

Earlier today, I made an entry stating that I was to go to Seagate.  Now when I posted the entry to this blog, I got a message saying that there was some sort of technical error.*  Now I have seen this message many times before.  When I first saw it, I thought this meant that the blog had not been posted.  But I then learned that the entry had been posted.  So I assume that the entry I had made to this blog about going to Seagate had in fact been published.  And so if you eagerly follow everything I write, you know I went to Seagate.

To be on the safe side, I published the entry in

Anyway, I am back from Seagate.  I sat and judged people reading pieces of paper.  It was a most stimulating experience.  You haven't lived till you have done this.  In fact, I will add that your existence has been a waste of time till you have done the sort of thing I did today...

If I have lowered your self-esteem with this entry, sulk not.  There will be plenty of opportunities in life for you to do this.  In fact, if you want, you can do this with your friends.

That just now wasn't writing, it was typing.

*This is the error message I was getting:


Sorry! an unexpected error has occurred.
This error has been forwarded to Myspace's technical group.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Improper Sleep. Expatriate Vices.

2 years of improper sleep. Three days with no Youtube - a tragedy of massive proportions.

Thanks to Tony, we can expect to never have good sleep for two years.  Oh well.  I will have excuses for being bitchy and cruel.

The third day of not being able to access Youtube, except through proxy which still doesn't mean I can watch Youtube videos, has befallen many Wuxi expatriates.  It is a shame.  I wonder how much more alcoholism is resulting from this.  I promise you AKIC will not succumb alcoholism or any other depravities that other weaker-willed expats engage in, but it won't stop me from adopting the vices of barbarism and cruelty.  Ha ha ha.

What is the King of Wuxi's favorite vice?  Eating too much bread.  But, is that a vice I ask you?

This afternoon, I will go to Seagate for testing.  I hope I can make it back in time for my 1700 class.  Seagate, as the Australians would say, is in Whoop-whoop.

These is a book now available in Wuxi book stores called Wuxi Heritage.  Fred from WuxiLife has blurbed it and there is a photo of Ronnie from Australia included.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reply to Rinsa.

A rare reader made a reply to one of my entries (what can Al Gore do about the Chicoms).  I will post this reply and make my reply to it.


Mr. Kaulins,
Greetings from Shanghai! I just came across your blog/vlog and I wanted to send you my regards.

I think you and I have opposing political perspectives, but I appreciate your efforts to chronicle your experiences in China none the less. Actually, I bet we have a lot in common. Your writings about "China Angst" struck a chord with me. Lord knows, I've been there a few times!

Anyway, in response to your post about Al Gore (recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient) and any supposed relationship or influence he might have on the Chinese, I can only say that I don't think it will matter much in the long-run. The Chinese are already keenly aware of their environmental problems. They are also aware of their relative impoverishment. Striking a balance between economic development and environmental health is extremely difficult, to say the least, but the Chinese seem to be up to the challenge. The government (surprisingly) has made strides in recent years to address such issues (the Kyoto agreement, state-sponsored green industries, public transportation initiatives, eco-friendly urban planning, etc.-- all things in which the U.S. seems reluctant to engage, by the way).
Therefore, I will venture to suggest that Al Gore's primary audience is really the apathetic western world (i.e., the United States). A place, my home, where consciousness about these global matters abounds but action clearly does not. I honestly wish I could say otherwise, but one only need look at national budget expenditures to see where our priorities really lie--corporate welfare via the military-industrial complex (to put it bluntly). It's a shame.

I must also respectfully disagree with your statement that "China's environmental problems are the result of authoritarian government..." This is, well, not a complete analysis. Quite frankly, it's a little cliche to beat the old Communism-as-pariah drum in this way. It's not only utterly meaningless in this situation, but it also denies the real-world causes of environmental devastation. How, Mr. Kaulins, can we begin to address our global problems if we can't even be honest about their root causes?

I mean, I would say (just for starters) that China's rapid industrialization, along with it's sparse and unreliable infrastructure, overpopulation, diminishing natural resources, and the insatiable hunger for material goods from foreign interests (among many, many other issues) are far more directly responsible for China's environmental concerns than state authoritarianism. I mean, since when does global warming have a political agenda? If I remember correctly from my elementary biology class, we all breathe the same air.
That being said, I thank your for your commentary. It's always great to see how other expats are understanding China and its relationship to the rest of us. It helps to get some fresh perspectives from a fellow blogger.

Much respect to your and yours.


First off, I am of the opinion that Global Warming or Climate Change claims made byAl Gore are exaggerated.  But this is not to say that there are not environmental problems.   There are but they should be solved locally.  If we changed our life style's as Al Gore wants us to do, it would not make a whit of difference.  It would also impoverish many.

I know the Chinese are aware of their environmental problems but they are also aware they have a corrupt government that controls everything.  During the onset of the Wuxi Water Crisis, the government controlled media, made no mention for three days of the problems citizens were having with their tap water.  The government hoped that the problem could be solved without actually having to say anything about it.  But when the groundswell of concern became too much for the government to ignore, they told the citizens that the water was okay if you boiled it, but this was not true either.   The annoying smell of the water was stopped by rumours persist that the government was only using more chemicals to to hide the odour.  Later on, a few people working in Yixing got the sack, but no one in authority like the mayor had to suffer the grilling that an elected official in the west would have if this had happened on his or her watch.

Incidentally, an environmental acitivist who was first cited as a hero by the Wuxi government for bringing attention to the problems of Tai Hu Lake water has put in prison for three years because he went too far and might have actually challenged the positions of those in power.

I had the opportunity to go to the countryside of Jiangsu province and the first thing I notice is the amount of trash everywhere where there is no trash collection.  Citizens of the countryside should be parading in the streets demanding that the local government do something but that won't happen.

Global Warming does have a politcal agenda.   I could not help but notice that every article praising Al Gore's Nobel triumph could not help but take a shot at George Bush.  And the changes that Al Gore wants us all to make will involve an increase in the size of governing bodies. 

After the death of Mao, the Chicoms realized they could not solve poverty through central-planning, so they opened up some markets.   The markets brought with them some forces that the Chicoms had to crush to keep themselves in power.  For the Chicoms, this is the real balance they are trying to grapple with (environmental concerns are secondary).  How to keep political control of the country while not letting the market unlease forces that could damage this control.  The amount of economic growth there has been in China is really an indication of how bad an economic idea central planning by the ChiComs was.   It is still the same party that is in power today. 

It was the Chicoms who made the horrendously arbitrary decision to build the Three Gorges Dam.  It will take them years to admit they made a mistake.

For the Olympics, the Chicom solution for hiding the bad air of Beijing is to use authortarian means .

We have our problems in the West too but again I see we would differ about what they are.  I don't think China can teach us anything about environmental problems.  I see China as still a sad country.  It has fouled up its development big time.  I would say it has even warped it.  Its people are its greatest resource.  They can be hard-working.  They still talk of having a strong family structure.  But they are victims  of things right out of Orwell's 1984.  It is a shame.

Thank you Rinsa for taking the time to read my blog.  Email me at

China issues a warning over U.S. plan to honor the Dalai Lama

From the International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How will Al Gore deal with the Chicoms?

There can be no doubt that China is a polluted place and something must be done.  But can we turn to Al Gore to save China's environment? 

While George Bush and the Neocons were trying to make the world better by showing the way to more responsible local democratic governments and dissing self-serving world bodies, Al Gore was becoming the darling of now realist-non-democratic left and of other world governing bodies like the U.N.

China's environmental problems are the result of authoritarian government.  Something the Democrats are willing to live with if it means they can get at George Bush.

Enjoy this while you can Citizens of China!

I am always pleasantly surprised when I can get to  this site (  in China without the benefit of a proxy.

Why is this so?  How can it be?  Especially during the week of the big party conference in Beijing.

Anyway, none of my students would know who the Wuxi delegates to the conference are.   A few have told me as much.

3,000 Video Views for Beijing Honor Guard Video.

This classic video taken on my Honeymoon, has now been seen 3,000 times on Youtube:


Am I raising my son in Toxic Sludge?

Does Wuxi look like a city that has suffered from a major environmental disaster just six months ago?  No.

I find it hard to believe that the tap water or even the bottled water here is safe to use. 

I hear that many restaurants in Wuxi are using tap water to wash and cook their food.

I hear that it would could cost so much to clean this area up.

Do I want to raise my son here?  I ask myself.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

86 Billion dollars worth of corruption in China.

From Radio Derb:

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports that corruption in China is at an stupendous high.  86 billions dollars or 10 percent of the Chinese government is exchanged in bribes or is just stolen every year.  Areas of China are just Mafioso fiefdoms.

Wuxi Disasters

I did a salon class yesterday about disasters.

The students told me about a couple of Wuxi disasters.  In 1991, there was a flood in Wuxi.  This is not surprising given the amount of canals and rivers in the Wuxi area.  The '91 flood did not result in many deaths though I was told some diseases spread in the population.  The water was a foot deep in some low lying streets of Wuxi.  Students told me of their grandparents telling them tales of the famine in 1958 in Wuxi.  Famine in Wuxi? I asked.  I told them Wuxi seemed to be an area that would be famine-proof since so much is growing here.  But even Wuxi experienced the 1958 famine  caused by stupid Maoist industrial policies.

Another disaster was SARS.  In Wuxi, many students were quarantined in their campus.

During WWII, Wuxi was occupied by the Japanese and massacres occurred here.

Why do they hate the neocons? Because the neocons stole their idealism.

The neocons are apparently the most evil thing in the world according to some people.   I have been told by someone that in the struggle to determine Hu Jintiao's successors, there is a faction in the Chinese politburo that is akin to the Neo-Cons because they want China to be for-profit this and for-profit that.   Hey I am all for markets but are these rightists in the politburo also supportive of democracy, rule of law and property rights for people in the countryside?  If they are, they would be true neo-cons.  As it is, I find it hard to believe that there is anyone in the Chinese politburo who is interested in these neo-con ideals.  A Communist party member is surely happy with this crony fascist system they have created.  The struggle is for the spoils.

Anyway, read this article by Roger L. Simon.  They explains why the neocons are so hated by the left.  The neocons stole their idealism and the left can not admit that it has been out moralized.  When I realized this had in fact happened in the mid-1990s, I switch allegiances.  Yes I started out as a leftie.  But I got older and wiser.  At one time, I hated Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.  Now, I think of them as heroes.  How Reagan didn't win a Nobel peace prize while Jimmy Carter did shows what a fraud the Nobel Peace (or nice guy award now) is.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tony and the Pacifier. Draconian Internet restrictions in China?

It was a great joy and relief to see Tony take to his pacifier last night.  He had it in his mouth for 20 minutes at a time before he spit it out.  So, we have another weapon with which to stop him from crying.  I use the word "weapon" metaphorically.

The new I.E. is ironing my clothes as I type.  It is her first day. She will be in the apartment for  15 hours a week, three hours a day for five days.

I started reading Churchill's WWII memoirs last night.  Time spent with the great statesman and my son Tony is time well spent for me. 

We go to the hospital this afternoon. 


From the Guardian, this article about Internet censorship in China. 

I just recently moved and had to deal with China Telecom.   The company has been putting a program on computers that they say makes the Internet faster.  In fact, it makes it difficult to access foreign web sites.  The company has instructed its staff to not install the program on Foreigners' computers.  However, Chinese citizens are stuck with it.  China Telecom is also charging more to use the Internet and not allowing unlimited access.  Some people can only get 4 hours a day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

World Bank Debate on BBC

I have come across this site that allows me to watch TV on the Internet.  I can tune into CNN, BBC News, BBC World and ESPN News among other channels.

I spent Sunday afternoon watching a BBC debate from Washington, DC about the World Bank.  Six non-American guests and a female BBC moderator spoke a lot of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo about getting rid of poverty.  Not once, did I hear the words Markets, free trade, creating wealth, Property rights and rule-of-law.  I heard words like pro-active and multi-lateral. 

The African representative was full of regional grievances.  Africa was having trouble because it was discriminated against was his basic message. (Though his idea of discrimination was that Africa was not fairly represented in World bureaucratic bodies.  This lead to a discussion of having non Americans head the World Bank.  As if the only reason Africa was impoverished was because an African was not president of the World Bank)

That the company president, the sole private sector representative, was most able to use the bureaucratic gobbledygook-gook was distressing.

The only practical solution offered by any of the guests was made by an former Afghan Finance Minister who said the organization should be downsized from 8000 to 300 people.

No solutions to poverty as long as the BBC is dealing with the issue.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Da Shan in Wuxi. Irregular blogging.

Da Shan, the most famous foreigner in China, was in Wuxi over the weekend performing in a play.  The play is  a French farce about a dinner party whose object is to see who can bring the dumbest person as a guest.   This play's subject matter did not play well in provincial Wuxi.  I have heard that half the audience left the play after twenty minutes because they just didn't get the humor.

Our School sponsored the play's performance in Wuxi and part of the sponsorship deal was to hold a press conference at our school.  I witnessed this part and it was  a big sham (or I can say a Da Sham).    An English school having a press conference all in Chinese.  How this would promote the school when Da Shan was not to promote our school defies logic.  Da Shan couldn't wait to get out of there.

I am still having trouble with the Internet at home. I got it faster but I got an inferior service.   Getting it installed in the home has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare.  I, hoping to get the Internet installed faster by using someone else's guanxi , created more confusion for myself.  The wife and I had a misunderstanding about accounts.  I shouldn't have told someone that we were getting new Internet when in fact my wife was actually transferring the old Internet from our old apartment.  In the midst of the holiday week,  getting resolution to the confusion wouldn't happen.  I have my wife and someone else telling me differing things.  Trying to resolve it is hampered by the fact that my wife's English is not good enough to explain the bureaucratic niceties of dealing with the telephone company, or rather her side of

 The telephone company are bastards in this saga.  They have managed to make the Internet difficult to use because they had added a service (disservice really) that promising greater speed does not work with foreign sites like Google.  I have to cross my fingers now as I surf.

I am the fool in this because I let my wife worry about the details of the Internet and the phone.  From now on, I must keep on top of things much as I hate dealing with bureaucracies.

So with the Internet at home being what it is,  my blogging is irregular.  I would usually make this kind of entry in my myspace blog but I am writing in blogspot and tumblr because I have to write.  I have the urge to write.  My wife has phoned twice to try to correct the Internet problem I am having now.  They have told they will do something about it.....

In Baseball, it looks like the first round of the playoffs could be all sweeps.   In the National League, the D-Backs and the Rockies have advanced to the Championship series.  Sexy matchup?  Not!!  I don't want to see either of this unnecessary franchises in the World Series.  So much history in baseball is being lost with these extra rounds of playoffs and minor-league style franchise identities coming into and out of the public consciousness.

I went to the Blue Bar on Saturday night.  I talked to the King of Wuxi and watched a Rugby match on the TV between Australia and England.  I can't be drinking three beers anymore.

I have downloaded this program from that lets me watch TV over the Internet.  I have been able to watch BBC news and ESPN news.  I am listening to a baseball press conference on ESPN and the questions being asked are so banal, as are the answers.  "How you were feeling when you had the lead in the game and were on the verge of winning the series.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Feeling China Angst! You are correct!

Expats talk about having a China Day which is a day where everything that is wrong about China gets to you and you can only tolerate so much.   China Angst is when China strikes the expat as evil.  I am feeling both ways as I write this.

We went to Wuxi's European street this afternoon.  We walked to Qingshi Road, shopping as we went.  Having Tony with us makes things awkward and makes me more than ever want to punch some rude Wuxi people out and so hopefully knocking some sense into them.

On two occasions, Tony was whacked in the head by some stupid person rushing through a crowd not looking where he or she was going.  The second time was especially grievous because Tony was made to cry and the lizard rushed off even though my wife had yelled at him without excusing himself.  I should have mowed that fucker down but I was still feeling sheepish from having earlier given an old woman a finger and calling her a "F***** O** B*****!"  Oh well, next time, I teach a lizard a lesson....  And there will be a next time because that is just the way too many people are here in Wuxi.   People walking or driving here are simply ignorant barbarians.  I feel sometimes that the country that is the best friend a Burmese general ever had is corrupt and rude to the core. (unfair to the many nice people in China, I know)

Now, about the old lady.  Wuxi people have this habit of stopping where logic and reason dictates they should move on.  That is, they often stop in a high traffic area and leave people behind them no choice but to shove them out of the way.  This happens a lot on escalators where people will stop right at the bottom or more disconcertingly at the top.  In the latter situation you would have no choice but to shove them.  Now this old lady, a.k.a old bitch, stopped outside the main entrance to the Chen Long or Trust Mart, an area where pedestrian traffic is heavy and moves quickly.   My wife knocked into her with the pram.  Words were exchanged.  I called the woman an F.O.B. and gave her the finger.  She was an ugly old thing.  It wouldn't have surprised me if she were a Red Guard in the 1960s. 

Now I can imagine that the next generation of old farts in the West are going to be boorish  But for now, the ones I have seen in Wuxi are among the worst behaved people I have ever seen.

I also gave the finger to a lady making a right turn in her Mazda after she damn near swiped my wife who was pushing a Pram.

The highlight of the afternoon was going to Wuxi's Catholic Church.  It is the quietest place to be if you don't go there during a mass.  They will ask you to put some money in a collection box but the quiet and peace of mind you get there is worth it.  Churches can be sanctuaries.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shame on us.

Why the West won't do anything about Burma.  Those who oppose Bush, unwittingly let things like this happen.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tony in the pram. Communist China Day. China Angst: get over it?

October 1,  CC Day, was a milestone for the K family.  T was out in public.  T was taken in the movable crib in the hood of W.  T behaved admirably.  He slept 90 percent of the time.

Two persons grabbed the pram from me so they could look at Tony.  Strangers who do the oooh-aaaah thing to my kid look like imbeciles.

I saw little flag waving on CC Day.  I have been told that thirty years ago, I would have.  Now, it is just not cool.  In America where patriotism happens, you see more flag waving on their national day.  In Canada, where authorities want its citizens to be as patriotic as Americans, you would see also see more.  Here, it is real a victory of Capitalism:  the locals went shopping looking for bargains.

A certain member of the Liberal Party of Canada who is living in China said he has gotten over what he calls China Angst.  I would define China Angst as a feeling of "Hey!  I am living in a dictatorship where the government is evil and I am having scruples about it!".  It is certainly a feeling that must come to all expats who have hung their star on the China miracle.  I have tried to rationalize my doing so by hoping China can somehow have  a peaceful transition to democracy....  This LPOC member made his statement about overcoming China angst during a conversation about the Burma situation which is now being compared to T-square.  Whatever lofty plateau this LPOC member lives on, it doesn't bother itself with moral considerations but realpolitick.   China, he said, is hedging its bets in the Burma crisis.  No way the Chinese could possibly be encouraging the Burmese generals to do what they did in '89.  If China tried to dissuade the generals from a no compromising crackdown, it would be exceedingly hypocritical.  Another expat, trying to rationalize, said the Chinese have incentive to see no trouble in Burma.  Not so.  The Chinese have no incentive to allow economic sanctions on Burma.  That would be damaging for the Chinese economy which is starving for Burma's natural resources.  The regime in China is relying on economic growth to keeps its grip on power.