Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Day! May Day!

Happy May Day from the Toner and Jenny and Me!

The wife has us going furniture shopping on this May Day holiday.

Francis Fukuyama on China.  He talks about the weakness of central government authority.   I can attest to that here in Jiangsu.  The central government passed a law giving workers a week-long paid holiday in compensation for the replacement of golden week-long holidays with more one-day holidays.  People cynically say that companies around here won't obey the law. 

It is standard practice of many employers here to make their employees work other days to make up for the days lost because of a national holiday.

Play peek-a-boo with the Toner below.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Dalai Lama spends time in Jail.

In New York City, the Dalai Lama decked a photographer in a disco melee and spent seven hours in jail.


It is the May 1 holiday tomorrow but unlike last year, we get only one day off.  I don't know what I am doing tomorrow.  Here is what we did last year, in a time where there was no Tony and when the May Day holiday was a week long:


Oh! how the times have changed.

The mother-in-law wants to take Tony to Beixing this week.  I am not too enthusiastic about the idea, but the wife needs a rest.

We have more furniture and appliances in the apartment now.  This week, the wife has received deliveries of a microwave and a bed for the master bedroom.

My mother-in-law just fried some peanuts.  Yum!

Yesterday, I was up at six AM.  I didn't go to work till 1300.  By the time, 2100 rolled around I was ready to drop dead.  And I wasn't that busy.  I was just awake farting around as you would say.

In the U.S. presidential race, Obama's reverend just won't go away.  Seablogger has an excellent posting on the subject.  Obama has to repudiate the Black racists and race hustlers.  He didn't in his first speech about Wright.  He has to make a second one that puts these Sharpton and Wrights in their place.  Problem is that if he does, he will be called a traitor by them.  He also courted their support to get where he is now.  Welcome to the world of compromise and making hard decisions and exhibiting the courage of being a leader, Barry!  Hopefully, he does not get away with his indecisiveness by finessing himself out of his quandary.

Meanwhile, a man who Obama should listen to, Thomas Sowell, uses a baseball analogy to show what is wrong about Obama's support.  He also points out that Obama has no original ideas, none , na da.

The students heard about the Sean Bell shooting in NYC.  White policemen had killed the African-American Bell and seriously injured his friends in an early morning incident outside a strip club.  Fifty shots were fired at Bell and his friends who had just celebrated a bachelor night for Bell who was to be married later that day.  In my English corner, one of the students used this incident to back up his claims that China had better human rights than America.  I use the link above to show that the details of the incident aren't well known about the case and to cite it as proof of some human rights infraction is ridiculous.  The incident was tragic for the victims and the police.  The victims did act stupidly that night.  They also couldn't get their story straight at the trial of the officers.  One of the policeman apologized and the two others did not.  The policemen had been frightened by the prospect of these drunk men running them over with a car.  The notorious race-baiter Al Sharpton is on the scene planning to protest. 

Sharpton and Wright have made a good living out of pandering to people's prejudices.

I remember an incident in Canada where policeman had shot a native.  It turned out the victim was drunk and had pointed a very authentic looking toy gun at the police.  But it was made into a racial incident.

Good Night from China.

Bedtime.  But before I go to sleep, I will mention the disaster that my English Corner almost became this evening.  The topic was Public Relations.  I asked if China was getting bad P.R. because of the torch relay fiasco.  A dumb thing for me to ask because it lead to a bad scene as students complained about the fellow on CNN who made remarks that the Chinese Government did not like.  I said that the singling out of one person on CNN (often called the Clinton News Network or the Communist News Network by Right-Wing Conservative Republicans) seemed rather strange to Westerners because the opinions that the one reporter expressed were nothing out of the ordinary in the American media environment and were one man's opinion. 

From there the atmosphere of the class became heated and strong statements were made back and forth.  A few students said that the CNN reporter was irresponsible and had insulted the Chinese people.  Another  student complained about  the coverage of the Tibet riots giving what seemed to be a recitation of the Chinese Government Line.  Another student then said that China had better human rights than America.  He mentioned some report that the Chinese government had culled from the American press about some incident of police shooting black people.  I almost lost my temper at that point saying that they should remember that the Chinese government has no credibility in the West and that the students should not think of the criticism of the Chicoms as being an insult to most Chinese people.  I should have taught them the meaning of the word cherry-pick.

But then the students quickly said we should not talk politics in class anymore.  Fine by Me.

The Chinese government is using the debate tactic of acknowledging the charge but taking it as an insult.  Said another teacher:  many of the Chinese have probably never hear such hostile criticism of their government before.  Since there is no way that the torch relay controversy can be ignored, the government has had to adopt this tact.  The Chinese are reacting in a strong manner to the criticism as this evening's English Corner has demonstrated.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vote in my poll.

I have a new poll at  Do your civic duty and vote!

Family Concerns.

Apparently there was a protest against Carrefour on Sunday and there will be one on May 1.

My wife wants her mother to take Tony to countryside for a month.  I don't like the idea but the wife does need rest because of her recent sickness and her having to look after the decoration of the new apartment.  I would rather Tony came back after a week (or less).  I know Jenny needs some rest but I can't sleep thinking about Tony living in the filthy conditions of Beixing.  But if I dare mention that the in-laws' home is filthy, they will get insulted.  So, I can't win.  And when Jenny gets insulted, rationality goes out the window.  Tony will end up staying out in the countryside for a month and my objections are ignored.  Sound like an analogy to some current events?

I received an email from my parents telling me that my sister and her common-law partner are breaking up.  This essentially amounts to a divorce even if they never really got married in the first place.  There are children involved so lord knows what will happen.  I have seen it happen so often to other people but, to use the cliche, this news really hits home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My trip to Suzhou and the New Apartment.

Sunday was a long day full of annoying and sometimes interesting things.  The object of the day was to get a big closet moved from Suzhou to Wuxi and then have it installed in our master bedroom in our new apartment.  It got done but not without trouble.

The wife hired a driver and truck to take us to Suzhou.  In my mind's eye, I had imagined us taking in a freeway between Suzhou and Wuxi, but instead we seemed to have taken an ordinary road between the cities.  So, we drove through countryside villages and the trip was interminable.  Having been in Jiangsu for almost four years now, I have seen enough of never-ending villages and houses, and had enough of the depressing brownish/gray skies.  But on the interesting side, I did see a fire in an industrial park.  As we drove by, I saw people running out of the building that was engulfed and looking up at a fire on a second floor.  I also saw a dog get hit by a car.  This dog made the mistake of walking into traffic.  There was a fence median that prevented the dog from crossing and so it ran along the fence against traffic.  The sight of an oncoming car caused the dog to run into the center of the lane.  The car tried to swerve to avoid it but I then heard the dog yelp in pain and run three legged off the road.  One of its' hind legs was dangling: a sickening sight. 

In Suzhou, we went to an apartment complex where garages were being using for commercial and warehousing purposes.  Our closet was stored in one of them.  We also had to pick up  a worker to put the closet together.  The driver took a different way back.  He didn't know the way to go in Suzhou.  On the way back, he took us through the countryside of Wuxi which the wife and I had never seen before.  As we got close to the apartment, our driver was scared to be pulled over by the police saying his kind of truck was not allowed on this road.  It always amuses me when Wuxi drivers worry about following rules.

Once at the new apartment, we fed the driver and installer.  Other workers were there waiting to take the parts of the closet up to our third floor apartment.  As they did this, the wife and the driver had a big argument because the driver wanted more money.  He said the drive was further than he thought and that since I was a foreigner he thought I could afford to pay him more.  He couldn't deal with my wife's fury (not that I can either).

The installation of the closet seem to be going along smoothly.  But then it was time to install the closet's very top shelves.  Lifting them with the installer, we quickly realized that the entire closet unit was about a centimeter too tall for our bedroom.  We had a quandary on our hands.  The ideal thing to do would have been to take an inch of wood off the closet's base but none of the tools necessary were on hand.  There was also a suggestion to take out some wood flooring and sink the closet.  For a moment, the wife decided to use the two top shelves as TV stands in the living room and master bed rooms.  But she was not at all happy about this.  It looks today that we will have a German expert craftsman with tools by name of Andreas take some wood of the closet's base to lower the its' height. 

On the bright side, if you see Wuxi Jenny Apartment Update #13, we have an oven in the kitchen.

On the dark side, the floor in the master bedroom was scratched and the wife became very upset.  She will have to get used to scratches in the apartment once Tony starts roaming there.

The Classroom Monitor and Eye Exercises.

I went to a primary school this morning to teach a grade one and grade three class.  It was essentially chaos.  The Chinese teachers run very regimented classes where the teacher talks and the students listen.  If the students do talk, they talk as a group.  Being from the West, I like to encourage individual participation.  However, the students will quickly do their own thing when I try to get individual students to answer questions.  They act like the noose has been removed.

Before the start of one class, I saw the students doing eye exercises.  They all massage their eyes with their fingers as ordered by a recording over the school's P.A. system.  I have seen this done in primary, middle and high schools in Wuxi. 

I saw a new wrinkle on the activity this morning when I saw a class monitor making sure the students were doing their eye exercises.  A class monitor is a student chosen to keep the other students in class  in line and to help the class's teacher.  This morning, I saw the monitor supervising the eye exercises, prodding some students to do it properly as well as writing names on the board of either the offenders not doing the activity properly or maybe the students doing the activity well (my Chinese guide wasn't sure why the names were put on the boards).

No student in Canada and America would want to have a job like that.  The student would be considered an enemy of the class.


I have a lot to write about but no time at the moment.  I hate to give a summary of what we did and then write about it later.  I will leave you with this Wuxi Jenny Update Update which was taken on Sunday, April 27.



Also you can watch the latest Toner Update.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

To Suzhou and the New apartment.

Today, we have hired a truck which will take us to Suzhou so we can pick up the closets for our new apartment.  Closets in Chinese apartment are usually not built-in.

I hope these drivers aren't late like the ones yesterday who were supposed to deliver our dining table.

I also hope I can be at the current apartment sometimes tomorrow afternoon so I can relax the rest of the day.

I made a comment on this Seablogger posting.  One of the commenters said one world language will reduce misunderstandings in the world.  I made mention of the damage Politicians would do to this one language that would not reduce understanding one iota.  Example, Obama.  For other examples, you can refer to that essay by Orwell about Politics and the English Language.  I remember asking some students about the possibility of there being one world language.  They told me they didn't like the idea.  Language they told me was an essential part of culture and made for variety in the human species.  So, Wuxinese should never stop speaking Wuxi local dialect. 

I have over 160,000 views on my Youtube channel.   Here is the latest:

A Jobfair, A No-show Delivery and A Wedding.

I did three things, more or less, today. I was up at 530 AM (but I did arise at 400 AM to feed the Toner) and the day was at times maddening and exhilarating.

I had set the alarm for 600 AM because I had an early morning job fair to attend for the school. They needed me to test the English level of applicants for sales and tutor positions. I got up earlier because of the Toner demanding to be fed. I arrived at the school at 730 AM and from there we went to Wuxi's new sports center for the job fair.

I will recall four things from the job fair forever after. There were soldiers or security looking like soldiers manning the doors. I was told it was for "safety". I finished reading Mordecai Richler's "Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" for the umpteenth time and then started Brideshead Revisited. I had to listen to the audio of a promotional video of myself introducing the school over and over again. I then had a stint of talking to about ten or so applicants in a row. All of them spoke excellent English and I enjoyed chatting with all of them. One applicant told me read CNN and New York Times on the Internet. I asked him how he felt about Tibet and he told me he was neutral. I then told him how I felt the criticism China is getting now was all part and parcel of being an important country and that they should learn to deal with it better. He said in the future, they would be "able to take it." Another applicant told me the place he was now working at had not paid him for four months. He said he was selling electric bicycles overseas and working all hours because his employer had promised him he would get paid when he sold some bikes, which he had in fact done. It was a negative tone to take for a job interview, but the applicant spoke good English even using the f-word.

The Jobfair took up my morning.

In the afternoon, I went to the new apartment with the wife. The place is looking very good. Since I was last there, they have done work on the kitchen. A western style oven and stove have been put in. The wife is now having furniture moved in. This afternoon, one of the two sofas we will have was brought in. We were also expecting the dining room table to come. We waited for two hours during which the wife phoned three times to see if they were coming. They told her they were on the way. But around 400 PM, I was getting antsy because I wanted to get back downtown for Jen and Yan's wedding. Soon after, my wife received a phone call saying that the dining table wouldn't come till Monday. My antsiness turned into anger.

We ended up being late for Jen and Yan's wedding. It was one maddening delay after another as the evening proceeded. I was told not to worry that we wouldn't be late, but these people trying to assure me must not have heard of German efficency. The Germans do things at the stated time. My wife had assume that the 618 on the invitation really meant 700 as it would for most Chinese weddings. But, we arrived just as the ceremony was taking place at 645. It was just our luck that the entrance to the hall was close to the stage. We opened the door to see the happy couple. Ouch! I fumed but eventually got over it. I had a good time when all was said and done.

Congratulations to Jens and Yan!

Photos and Videos to follow here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Walk in Wuxi #1

I cross the street to get to a McDonalds near my school.

A Walk in Wuxi #2

I started looking for bats with my camera. Since there weren't enough to take a good video, I went for a walk on a nearby downtown bridge.

Wuxi and Soup.

I have just done a Salon class (conversation class really) about Cultural Differences.  It is useless to try to get the students to tell you about differences they have noticed between foreigners and themselves because their experience is limited.  Many have not been to foreign countries.  Many of them first meet a foreigner at our school.  And then the first thing they notice about us is our white skin and blue eyes.  They don't have much to say about differences in beliefs, values, behavior and artifacts.  So I have resorted to asking them about cultural differences between parts of China.  It is a legitimate question to ask because China is so vast.

This afternoon, I had a woman tell me about differences between Wuxi and Guangdong province.  Soup is more important to people in Guangdong than in Wuxi.

Coming from Canada, I can attest to this.  The soups of Wuxi are often nothing more than tepid water with a vegetable dipped in for no more than ten minutes.  I have never seen my wife spend all day making a soup.  Maybe, once it took her thirty minutes to make a fish soup.

So, don't go to Wuxi for Soup.  I was pleased to hear that not all of China has such bad soup as Wuxi.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Carrefour. Electric Bike.

We went to Carrefour last night.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  There was no hubbub or todo about anything it seemed.

I started looking at Electric Bicycles yesterday.  I will be purchasing one in the next two months.  The models I was looking at last night by Carrefour were about 2500 RMB.  The salesman claimed they had a range of 100 KM on a fully charged battery.  I reckon I will be traveling about 20 KM a day to school and back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Son of Wuxi, China Tunnel

In this sequel to the widely popular Wuxi, China Tunnel video, The King and I take the tunnel in the opposite direction while listening to the Beatles on the car stereo.

Son of Wuxi, China Tunnel

In this sequel to the widely popular Wuxi, China Tunnel video, The King and I take the tunnel in the opposite direction while listening to the Beatles on the car stereo.

Opinions on the Carrefour Boycott.

I asked the students in one of my classes about the campaign to boycott Carrefour.  I had heard that there was a plan to boycott the Supermarket chain on May First.  The Students actually had a range of opinions on the issue.  Some were for a boycott till the Olympics.  Some were for a short boycott to let the French know the anger of the Chinese people over the protests at the Paris Torch Relay.  Others thought the boycott was not a good idea because it would hurt the Chinese working at the store more than anybody.

About AKIC.

Slowly but surely, I am making this site my own.  I won't rush hurly-burly into like I did last time.  I will put more thought into what I do.  Right now, I am working on a short autobiography.  It is not anyway near being finished, but I want you, my rare blogspot readers, to have a sneak peek at it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sick Trainer and more last minute preparations

I am putting out fires today.  First, I have a trainer phone in sick.  So, I had to do some shuffling of classes and phoning to get things right.  Then, I have all these things happening next Monday.  Each day, this week has seen management tell me about another thing happening on Monday.  So far, we have to go to a primary school, a middle school and to a company to do training.  I think I have worked it all out.

The Pennsylvania Primary

If any of my Chinese friends are not too busy surfing the Internet for anti-Chinese slights or trying to harangue Free-Tibeters, they may be interested in following the U.S. presidential election.  Just now, they have had a presidential primary in the state of Pennsylvania.  It looks like Hilary Clinton will win.  What does it mean?  You can go to this site to see many takes on it, a wide range of opinions as it were.  American democracy you have to love it.  And as a Canadian, I do. 

Will there ever be Democracy in China?  I wish to see it come here.  I think it would be a wonderful thing to see the Chinese put their incredible energy into elections.   I sense in the Chinese reaction to the Torch rally controversy a civic and political urge that normally is not allowed to be expressed. 

Back to the Pennsylvania.  Hilary still has a chance to get the nomination from Obama but it is a small one.  Still, her eight point victory tonight doesn't hurt.

Tony is eight months old!

You can visit here to see the celebration.

The Biggest Battle

The poor wife was carrying Tony around all this day.  She was an exhausted puppy when I got home.  Strangely, Tony looked fresh as a daisy.  My wife had to go our new apartment on the outskirts of Wuxi with the Toner in arm.   He didn't want to sit in his pram like a good boy.  He insisted on being held all day long.  I feel so bad for my wife.

Thankfully, the mother-in-law is coming back tomorrow.


Life is tough enough having to deal with lazy foreigners, an upset wife, a very energetic baby, economic realities, snubs and what-not.  But the toughest battle is against myself.  I can't keep in focus.  I totter from wife and child to this blog to the question of how to keep busy and productive at work.

God help me to get my priorities straight.


Meanwhile, someone has pointed out the fascist tendencies in Obama's presidential campaign or at least his wife is talking like one.  Said Mrs. Obama:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Said Caroline Glick:

At base, Mrs. Obama's statement is nothing less than a renunciation of democracy and an embrace of fascism. The basic idea of liberty is that people have a natural right to live their lives as usual and to be uninvolved and uninformed. And they certainly have a right to expect that their government will butt out of their souls.

I can hear the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil Obama supporters saying that to call him fascist is the latest ploy of a Republican smear campaign.  But his wife did in fact say that and she certainly didn't mis-speak as Obama claimed when he made his "bitter" comments.


I can think of one good thing about Beijing having the Olympics.  They beat out Toronto to get them.  As a Canadian, I can thank God or fate that Toronto didn't get the Olympics.  Hearing about Toronto, that evil central Canadian city, having the Olympics would have made me happily want to teach English in North Korea.  The fact that Vancouver got the 2010 Olympics makes me happy not to live there anymore.  The endless talk about how all these people will come to the city and enjoy the new infrastructure will be like listening to people puke.  The endless talk about a two week party that would certainly benefit politicians and developers while inconveniencing the masses who couldn't afford to go to the Games would nauseate.

The world would be a much better place without the IOC (and the U.N. for that matter).

Comments on my blog.

It is a rare reader who leaves a comment on my blog but I just had a couple interesting comments made in response to this entry and this entry as well.  The first entry speaks for itself.   The second entry's comment I brought on myself because I wrote in an angry mood.  But is it a sign of the times so I really have to be careful what I say.

I am curious to know who the commentators are and where they are from.  I couldn't find any links.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Have you gone to Carrefour?

Wuxi, China has two Carrefour stores.  Carrefour is in the news these days because of a campaign by Chinese to boycott the store for the trouble at the Paris torch relay and for reports that one of the company's principle shareholders had given money to the Dalai Lama.

I have not had an opportunity to go to Carrefour so I have had to ask other expats if they have gone and what they saw.  I won't have a chance to go to Carrefour because my wife has heard about the boycott campaign and so won't go.  She controls the purse and the wallet in our household.  Most expats, like me, are busy and so haven't gone.  One expat, who did go, told me that the store was busy as usual when he went.  He had been hoping to see a less busy Carrefour.


My new site has been restored to its default condition.  I will set up the site with a plan this time and so hopefully not delete anything essential like it appears I did the first time I played around with it. 


I will have to buy an electric bicycle when we move to the new apartment because we will live a long way from downtown and public transportation will be limited till they build the planned subway.  Peter from Canada just recently bought an electric bicycle at Carrefour for 24oo rmb.  He said it fit his big frame and he was given extras like  a rain jacket and lock when he bought it.


In the NHL playoffs, I see the Canadiens beat the Bruins 5 - 0 in the seventh game of their opening round playoff series.  Go Habs Go!


I took this video of our new apartment on Sunday.  Posting it here first will make it an AKIC blogspot exclusive.  Readers of the other site will just have to wait till Thursday.  People who read AKIC blogspot, as always, are the creme-de-la-creme.



According to Seablogger the world is about to cause itself a food and energy crisis.  Why?  Stupid policies.  I thought that the world had learned that markets and free trades are what create wealth.  But sadly they haven't learned at all.   I have seen signs in Wuxi of future energy troubles.  Mile long fuel lineups at gas stations is a common sight here in Wuxi.   Fuel prices are subsidized.  When the government raised gas prices last year, a strike of taxi drivers forced the authorities to allow a one rmb fuel surcharge to be added to the fare of all trips.


I share John Derbyshire's opinion that China is going to end up being like Mexico.  A large country where there is a dictatorship and the people just totter along.  A revolution, if it occurs, will mean a change in ruling cliques but little else.  Parts of the country will seem to function well.  The countryside will be a disaster.  Parts of the country will be a disaster unto themselves which  the central government will do little to change.  Just like Mexico.


I heard that the Chinese government is planning to have universal healthcare for its 1.3 billion citizens by 2020.  I don't think they will be able to do it.  They won't have the resources to deal with thousand long lineups of people wanting free healthcare.  The Chinese will have to continue with their pay-as-you-go system for fifty years at least before they could even have the infrastructure to expropriate and nationalize for a socialist health system.

Is She French?

I mentioned our female teacher going to do an Olympic English event this past Friday.  I had the Chinese staff tell me that some of the audience asked if she was French.  Lord knows what they would have done if she was.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My drinkers have a teaching problem.

That makes for a good headline, but is it true?  I am afraid that in the ESL business in China this is too often true.  But I don't want to tar all ESL teachers in China with the same brush.  But many do deserve to be tarred.  Thankfully, I have Tony and Jenny to keep me away from the drinking.  It is such a temptation for many a teacher who comes to China.  And the best place to meet other foreigners in this country is at the pub.

Over at my other Wuxi, China blog*, I have promised an extraordinary week of blogging.  Don't worry Blogspot readers, it will be a great week here too.  You can come here first for sneak previews of what I will be putting on the other blog.

Here is a video of a brand new Wuxi Tunnel.



*I say Wuxi, China so I can make the Google alert for Wuxi, China.  I should also say Wuxi Expat to make the Wuxi Expat alert as well.

Why I stay in China.

I got a wife and kid. I would go to other places in this fine old world, but there is only one place I can and want to be.
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Caught in a Web.

From Seablogger, comes this story of a student trying to get Tibetans and Chinese to have dialogue.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Apartment

We didn't go out to the new apartment yesterday.  Maybe, we will go out today if it doesn't rain.

Meanwhile the old apartment is drafty as can be:  wind whines in my 21st floor apartment like a breeze in a Fellini movie.


Tony is trouble, trouble, trouble.  He is grabbing after things he shouldn't like phones.  He protests strongly if he a new "toy" is taken away.  Not aware of his strength, he kicks and slaps and grabs at his parents with impunity.  For the first time, I have had to consider the possibility of chiding him.  And just now he is walking about barefoot because his socks and booties came off.


The indispensable church.  Here is Seablogger's posting on that article.  Because of writers like GKC, WFB and Waugh that I have thought to become a Catholic.  I have also met many a ex-Catholic who strangely enough make me admire the Church more.  Something about having been a Catholic makes them insufferable.  And yet what good is in them seems to have come from having been a Catholic.   There is a paradox there but what can you do?  Life is a paradox.

And I have to be off....  So I have no time to develop the thought properly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

AKIC Weekend

The plan was to go to the new apartment today but we just learned we can't get into the apartment because the keys are locked in another apartment which we can't get to.  So, we don't know what we are going to do.  It looks like I am going to blog.


I made the mistake of having expectations and now I am paying for it.  I am battling the urge to scream out about it all the while knowing it will do no good.  So, I will have to tough it out.  I got my Tony and Jenny: everything else is irrelevant.


From our school library, I have borrowed two more books.  One is about President Nixon; the other is about President Franklin Roosevelt and leadership.  From what I have read of the first book, Nixon was some sort of mistrustful loner with which I can feel empathy.  The second book is written from a Democrat party point of view so I think many of its lessons on leadership would be irrelevant for me.  FDR is praised by the author for not saying "we should make the voters understand." with "we are going to make the voters understand."  My first inclination on reading this passage was that it demonstrated praise for an authoritarian instinct.  The author qualified it by saying the a leader has to tell his group what they will do, not what they should do.  Certainly, as a leader in some group situations, especially business, you have to get your followers doing one thing.  But, when a politician starts saying that, voters should be wary.  "Our" in a political sense is collective in the extreme and we know what disasters politicians saying "our" have wrought in the twentieth century.


We had an Olympic English event yesterday.  The teacher pegged to do it was right to worry about hostile reaction from the Chinese.  The things I have read on Chinese Internet BBS's and hearing about Chinese Internet users changing their names so as to show a love for China have raised concerns.  There are historical precedents for the Chinese population experiencing a spasm of foreigner hatred.  The School thought we were crazy to mention our fears and it may well be that we are over-reacting. But foreigners have heard the talk of the times of insanity in the 1960s from the Chinese.  It happened once here; it could happen again.


HyLite School in Wuxi is looking for two Summer teachers for the months of July and August.  The School prefers English speakers from North America, Australia or Europe who will happen to be in Wuxi over the Summer.  So if you are teaching at an university and have nothing to do over the summer come see us.  If your companion or spouse or partner is working in Wuxi over the summer, you may want to work with us.


Yesterday, I had a conversation class about fashion.  I learned that one of the biggest fashion items for Chinese women is the mobile phone.  The male students told me stories of women changing their mobile phone every three months to stay in fashion.

Canada's Olympics will have protestors too.

I think it is time that the Olympics be held in one location for perpetuity.  The countries hosting these events never see the benefits they envisage when they campaign for them.  Only one Olympics has ever made money.  Really, they are a celebration of bureaucracy and government largesse.   Why is it that a sports festival have to take up so much time and resources?  And the Olympics have done nothing for World Peace. 

So put the summer games in Greece; put the winter games in Switzerland.  Stop the ridiculous practice of national governments using a sports festival as an excuse to waste tax money.  One location could make money off the games since the infrastructure only has to be built once.  The rest of the world can be spared the politics.

Now, I have just read a story saying that Canada's natives are threatening to disrupt the 2010 Olympics if their grievances are not dealt with to their satisfaction.  One Native leader has compared the plight of his people to that of the Tibetans. 

 I compare many of the Native leaders in Canada to some race hustlers in America like Al Sharpton and Obama's reverend Wright.  These leaders have all made a good living off pandering to group grievances while doing nothing to help their followers and to instead perpetuate the self-defeating attitudes that cause them to grieve.

I leave it to the Chinese government to inform the Canadian Native leaders about their mistaken thinking about Tibet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wuxi Bats #1

It is spring in Wuxi which means you can see lots of Bats. And Bats are a good thing because they eat bugs.

I took this video last evening as I was coming home from work. I hope you can see the bats. I am sure that over the summer, I will be able to take some spectacular videos of swarms of them.

Cute Photo? Or the stuff of controversy?

I was thinking to myself that this was a cute photo: the Toner holding his toy high in the air. But then I thought to myself, it looks like he is holding a torch. I don't want to go there with that!

What can I say? My little man, like his father, likes to tempt the gods of controversy.

But then maybe he is doing a statue of liberty pose.

By the way, the photo was taken Thursday morning.
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Tough Questions.

I had some students ask me some tough questions in this afternoon's English Corner.  I had to try to finesse my way out of them.

I had a student ask me about some comments made on CNN that irked the Chinese government.  Why did they say this?  she asked me.  I told her it was one man's opinion.  On CNN, I told her you can hear people say bad things (mostly, I know) about George Bush.  But you could also (sometimes, I know) hear some good things said about him on CNN.

The same student asked about what happened in France.  I told her that was a security issue.  If George Bush came to Paris, there would be protestors trying to interrupt his presence as there were trying to interrupt the torch relay.  China has to accept that because it is one of the big boys in the world, like America, that it is going to get criticism.  To show you  are of your own mind and independent of the powerful countries is what many smaller countries do.  That is why they meet with the Dalai Lama.  The protests I told them are a sign of China's importance. 

I should have added to the latter point that China will have to accept the criticism and try to deal with it responsibly and maturely.  So far, its' being insulted and nationalistic in response to the protests has not been the way to deal with it.  It has actually confirmed to many of the protestors what they have been protesting:  that China is a bully.  The Chinese must either learn to accept the criticism or grant some credence to it; and show they care what the world says.  America actually heeds the world  more than it is usually given credit for.  America can never ever expect to see a world where it is universally loved, and it doesn't.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clouds on the horizon

-The Chinese will assert nationalist feelings because the Olympics.  The world's enthusiasm for the games has dampered considerably.  The Chinese will feel hurt.

-The price of rice will rise by 75 percent in the next two months.

-I have to find ways to make more money.  It will be another year of not seeing Canada for me.  The wife says the cost of living is going up.

-The mother-in-law will be away for a week.  It will be a tiring time for the wife.

-They want us to do something for Wuxi T.V.  Normally, this wouldn't be a problem.  But nowadays, the Chinese may want us to show their population the world loves them.

Rainy Day

It is a rainy day so students are canceling classes for tonight.  I am trying to keep myself occupied but with the Internet my real problem is trying to find something to focus on.  I have read about Obama, the Pope, tying ties, playing games with baby, the NHL playoffs, learning Mandarin, the Chinese reaction to the Olympics controversy, the recession in the U.S. and so on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tony can now open drawers and....

..He can pull things out of them.  This morning, it was funny too see him proudly waving his mother's underwear.

On the Road in Wuxi.



Anytime I talk about Tibet and the Olympics with the students, I detect a strong Chinese nationalism.  I even get this after they admit that they don't believe everything they read in the newspapers because they know that the government controls it.

So when Tibet and the Olympics come up, I will hear the students parrot the government line.  They will tell me about the Dali Lama being in the control of unscrupulous forces; about how they are for China and how the protestors at the Olympics are terrorists.

None of the students has offered me a different opinion or take on the issue.  None!

When I ask them if there is "free debate" in China, they don't seem to understand the question.

So to convince the Chinese to change their ways, the West will have to take a different tact.  The Chinese have been using western methods in their media blitz against Tibetan Independence.  They will have to be called on it. 

So China liberated Tibet from feudalism like the Americans liberated Iraq from a vile dictator?  (The Chinese always tell me the Iraq war was evil.)

So you can hold protests in foreign countries?  Can the opposition hold protests in yours?

Also, the West has to separate the idea of China and the Chicoms.  We should be always saying the Chicom Olympics and putting the party on the spot.  The Chinese must realize that it really is the government that people around the world object to, not the Chinese people.

The Olympics must not be for the Chicoms but for China.

What the hell am I doing?

This whole thing seems a crock at times.

I should be doing more to support my family.  I got to make more money!

I have no 1800 class.  I will talk to the student who don't either to keep myself occupied.

The topic I have chosen for my English Corner tonight:  Narcissism.  That may not go over well.  I would like to broach the topic of the Olympics but I don't think I would be able to debate the students.

Then I have a class about freedom of information.  I will ask the students if they are fully informed.

It is raining heavily as I type.  In a few months, I will have to brave a ride home in such weather on a scooter.

The Chinese coverage of the Olympic torch rally has been pretty shrill.  Funny how they can hold demonstrations in other countries while no such things can take place in theirs. 

I don't feel particularly useful now.

This morning, I heard the crunch of an accident.  A taxi made a left turn into busy traffic.  It got hit by one of the oncoming cars.  Knowing this particular intersection the way I do, because I walk past it everyday, I am surprised that there aren't more accidents of the kind I saw this morning.  And after the accident, I walk about another 100 metres and saw a man in a SUV driving very fast on a side street and honking his horn in a get-the-hell-out-of-my-way manner.

Video taken near Lake Taihu

Monday, April 14, 2008

Protests against France. Demonstration in Ottawa.

A student has told one of our trainers that there has been a campaign run via Mobile phone messaging to boycott French products in Wuxi because of the trouble that happened at the Paris portion of the Olympic torch relay.  This would mean not going to Carrefour to shop.  As well, there have been demonstrations at the local universities against the Olympic trouble and specifically against England and France..

I found items on the Internet about the demonstration in Ottawa, Canada put on by overseas Chinese for the Olympics.  My mother-in-law mentioned hearing about it on the radio yesterday.  Here is the Canadian version of the event.  Here is the Chinese version.

The Flame

Last night, I had a student tell me that he was indifferent about the Olympics because they wouldn't be taking place in Wuxi and so much money was being spent in Beijing on them.  They should have spent the money on housing he said.  But he did label the protestors ruining the torch relay as terrorists.

In the English China Daily, I saw a headline about a suicide bomb plot and Tibetan monks.  The Chinese media is responding with shrillness.

Seablogger makes a blog posting about the Flame of Shame.  Pity us trainers who have to do Olympic English events.


My little son Tony can now open drawers.  A sign of impending trouble.


Seablogger makes another blog posting about real estate market prices falling world wide.  Just what I need to know as I move into the new apartment.


The first round of the NHL playoffs have begun.  I am cheering for the Montreal Canadiens to win the hallowed Stanley Cup.  There ought to be a law that states they can win the trophy once every decade.  It doesn't seem like a Stanley Cup without them winning it.


The one child policy has resulted in babies being traded and pawned off.  I had a student tell me about a poor woman from Anhui province who, in a Wuxi hospital, had twins: one boy and one girl.  Because she couldn't afford to pay the hospital bill, she sold the boy and returned to Anhui province with her daughter.  I don't know how they did the paperwork to allow this to happen but if you have money, you can do anything with the government here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

HyLite Field Trip #3

Meet swinging Luis from as he gets slagged by Tracy, a Chinese admin girl.

AKIC Monday

The wife is still sick after her bout in the hospital.  I must remember this.


Last night, I had lunch with the King and a German engineer and a Bulgarian engineer who has lived in Toronto for six years.  I asked the engineers a slew questions about the current political situation.

The German engineer believes that Andrea Merkel will reverse her decision to not attend the Olympics opening ceremony because Germany has too much invested in China.

I heard stories of old Eastern Bloc residents coming to places like Germany to make money.  There are Poles who work in Germany for the week and then go back to Poland for the weekend.  The reason.  They can make lots of money in Germany and Poland doesn't yet have the infrastructure.

Cheap Eastern European labor will become a thing of the past.  Europe is too small to have labor price differentials for long.

The Russians are arrogant and lazy which is why they are going so wrong now.


My mother-in-law heard something on the radio about 50,000 Chinese in Canada being either for or against the Olympics in China.  I assume that these Chinese would be for it or she wouldn't have heard it on Chinese radio.

Looking for that news item on the Internet I came across news that Celine Dion supports the Olympics in Beijing.  Maybe, the mother-in-law heard about this.

My wife and I have not talked about the Tibetan situation at all.  I don't think she would know much about it if she did and would probably parrot the Chinese government position.


Lately, I have been hearing talk of Wuxi people being the rudest in all of China.  One fellow, I knows cynically says that the most important thing to a Wuxi person is money.  Another says that only Wuxi people drive so bad and that otherwise the prejudice against Chinese drivers is not true.


I have also heard talk that parents should not let their babies use baby walkers for safety reasons and because the device does not help babies learn to walk faster.  Talking to the King about this, we agreed that walkers made a parents' life a lot easier.  Living in one floor apartments, we don't have to worry about babies falling down stairs.  As well, the King's son can walk fine now so the walker never stunted his development.


The King will try to fix my new site.


This site is now not available in China except through proxy.

More Video from the Field Trip

Watch a Ping Pong Paddle Race.


HyLite Field Trip #2

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An AKIC Sunday.

I am still trying to work out the bugs at  Bear with me as I slowly but surely get the new site to look like I want it to.  If I could get it to somehow look like Seablogger  I would be happy.

It is my one day off this week because yesterday I went on the field trip.  You can go to my other blog to see photos and videos I took of the trip.  Today, I will do what the wife wants me to do.  The King of Wuxi also wants me to help him move rocks at the new apartment.  I will determine what I will be doing as soon as the wife returns from the doctor's checkup she had an appointment for this morning.  With a little luck, I can satisfy both parties.

The U.S. presidential election seems to be taking a lull as can be expected given how long the process has become.  Hilary has not given up.  Obama is still in the lead.  McCain is lying low but is leading both the Democrat candidates in polls.  Seablogger is now taking the Democrats' lost in the general election for granted.  I hope he is right as he compares Obama to George McGovern.  I think that a trouncing of Obama in the general election comparable to McGovern's humbling in '72 would be proof to me that America would be truly post-racialist (America is post-racist.  However, the lingering after-effects of stamping out racism has left a racialist America that wants so hard to not be racist).  If a black man and a white man with the same ideology get the same number of votes in an election it would show that the populace is not racist.  But of course the world would probably not see it that way.  So often, doing the right thing means not following world opinion.

Speaking of world opinion, the British I have talked to, assume Obama will win.  One American here, in Wuxi, who claims to be a Republican, says that Obama is better on fiscal policy.  But then people out here in Wuxi tend to be anti-American.  I remember how Bush's victory in 2004 stunned them all.

Here is a very good photo essay about the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.  So many people have beefs with China.

How the field trip went.

It was just my luck that the school field trip today took me to a spot that I had happened to be at last week.  Be that as it may, it was good to go again because I did have more time to explore the area near Lake Taihu.  I also went with 50 good friends and I was made to feel like a celebrity as I was constantly asked by these students to pose for photos with them.

I of course took a lot of photos and videos which I will be uploading and publishing over the next week.  I took many close-ups of shrubbery.  I have never been a shrubbery person myself but I think my parents and some of my other rare readers might be interested in the plants you can see in the Taihu area.  I also find myself in a position where I have almost exhausted all unique photo possibilities for my blogs.  I also took photos of the students.  Many of them are sweet people of a type I don't think you would see in North America anymore.  The innocence and shyness of the girls is mind-boggling to a person whose last memories of North America included 14 year olds dressing like hookers.  And nary one of the students wore a tattoo above her butt.  As well, I don't publish many photos of actual people (other than Tony and my wife sometimes) in my blogs.

We took a bus out to Taihu and I have to say that I am still awed (even after living here for three years) by the amount of construction that goes on in this small Chinese city.  Countless buildings that were at least twenty or thirty stories high are being built.

A big cultural difference was apparent this morning and nearly caused a big rift between the foreigners and the Chinese.  We have always felt that the Chinese like to overplan parties and outings.  At the last Christmas party, the school planned to have 20 performances.  There was no time set aside in the plan for the party for mingling.  Their idea of a party was to provide constant entertainment.  Foreigners complaining that this was too much and unnecessary were told that is how the Chinese like it.   This morning, on the bus ride out, the school had thought to have a sing-along but when the foreigners objected, the Chinese planners settled on asking trivia questions and awarding prizes.  As soon as we got to our destination, the Chinese staff quickly organized the students into groups for a treasure hunt.  The students didn't seem to mind it but all the foreigners would rather have explored the park.  One trainer said that the students were being treated like elementary school children.  But the students enjoyed the childish games so our complaints counted for nothing.  The Chinese love to be lead around by the nose, it would seem.

I could also say that the Chinese love the corniest things.  Or could it be that so many foreigners from the West are J.F.'s (Jaded Fucks)?

But the innocence of many of the Chinese must be contrasted with the arrogance of the some who have come into wealth so quickly and have no idea how to act with it.  Wealth has turned some of these Chinese into the most boorish and spoiled people I have ever encountered in my life.  The ones who own cars use their horns to make the pedestrian plebs get out of their way.  These Chinese use their horns in a manner that would cause justifiable road rage in North America.  I saw a driver who was told that he would have to wait two minutes before he could proceed, still honk his horn in the interim today. 

And of course most of these asshole Chinese are Chicoms.

AKIC tidbits.

China is master of the universe?

Jihad in China

NRO says don't go.

Friday, April 11, 2008

North Dakota?!?

The last two days, I have gone to some sites for Caterpillar corporation in Wuxi to do some English placement tests.  I ask a list of questions and grade them on their answers.  One of the questions asks the students where in the world they want to travel to for a holiday.  One of the students said he would go to America.  When I asked where in America, he told me North Dakota.  I was surprised by his answer.  North Dakota always polls as the last place anyone in America wants to go to.  ND's reputation compares to that of Winnipeg and Brandon as places you don't want to live or visit.  The student said he would go to ND because it had few people.  An answer that does make some sense.

I suspect also that Caterpillar provided this student with information about a state that I am sure most Chinese have never heard of.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here's my boy.

He is looking handsome.
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An AKIC Friday

For once the calendar generally used by people coincides with the true calendar of AKIC.  It is Friday for you and Friday for AKIC!  I have changed my days off.  I will now take Saturdays and Sundays off.

However, tomorrow I won't be able to get away from the school because it is having a field trip.  Students and Staff will go to a park to look at Peach Blossoms.

Yesterday, we went to the new Caterpillar site to conduct oral tests for a batch of students whose English we hope to improve.  We were driven on nice new roads where the traffic was light and the buildings were new.   It looked to me like a case of over building.  We tested students for three hours straight.

Global Warming is a load of hooey!  The writer of this article makes these observations:


"If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting.

"A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed. Let us hope it is a prolonged and chastening experience.

"With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

"The poorest Indians and Chinese will be left in peace to work their way toward prosperity, without being badgered about the size of their carbon-footprint, a concept that for most of us will soon be one with Nineveh and Tyre, clean forgotten in six months.

"The scores of town planners in Australia building empires out of regulating what can and can't be built on low-lying shorelines will have to come to terms with the fact inundation no longer impends and find something more plausible to do. The same is true of the bureaucrats planning to accommodate 'climate refugees."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Short day today.

I gave myself a ten to six shift today so I can spend some time with the family this evening.  So, I have two private classes in the morning and I will go to a company this afternoon to do some oral tests of some new students' English ability.

Problem is, I have a bad cold so I am scared to touch Tony.  I am blowing snot out like a fast-running faucet.  So much for spending time with the family.

As well, Tony was very irritable last night.  I am thinking he is starting to have teething pains.

Some students talk about the torch

As I was saying, I had the Olympics Salon to do last night.  I broached the topic of the torch and the surrounding protests.  One of the students said the protestors were like terrorists and that Tibet was part of China.  I didn't go far beyond that.

Vote in my poll.

At my new site, you can vote in my poll about the U.S. election.  You can also see what's doing with my latest site.

The King of Wuxi shows you his train station.

Take a tour of the Wuxi train station with his majesty the King of Wuxi.


Olympics Salon tonight.

I have a conversation class about the Olympics.  That is just goddamn Jim Dandy!  I am sick of the Olympics.  Being in a country that is hosting the Olympics, one will be cursed with having to heard about them endlessly as the buildup, to the time they actually happen, begins.  Now, in China, one is doubly cursed because the subject is now such a hot potato that no politician or foreigner in China wants to deal with.  To say the Beijing Olympics is almost akin to saying the Nazi party.  Not too many from the West can hear the word without the bad connotations.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Canadian political argument in Wuxi.

I took my Canadian cousins to Ronnie's on Saturday night.  They had a good time.  Ronnie was sufficiently impressed with my cousin Kris to give her a t-shirt bearing his pub's logo.  He even told me that he thought Kris had her head screwed on right.

My cousin Reghan, who is verbally combative and is living in Alberta, Canada got in an argument with this big man Francois from Quebec.  Francois is a separatist.

I listened in and hearing Francois's complaints about the federal government having too much power, the lie of Canada being bilingual and Pierre Trudeau being an idiot,  I told him that he sounded like a french version of a Reform Party member (I was a member at one time).  I asked him what he thought of official bilingualism and he told me that the problem was that people did not think positively about it.  It turned out that he felt that free education and free healthcare were the essence of a government everyone could believe in. 

Reform in Western Canada was a small government movement.  I see it could never appeal to the East past Ontario which while hating the federal government did not want it to shrink in any meaningful way.  As long as they feel the government has to micromanage everything, there will never be a satisfactory constitutional arrangement in Canada and the fires of regional separatism will always burn.

Another site.

I have another site to play with, courtesy the King of Wuxi, called .  I am still figuring out how to use this jomlai thingie.  The King assures me it is very powerful.  But working in China with slow Internet, it could make blog posting slow.  But I can have more control over the look and feel of the site than I do now with MSN and Blogspot.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Along the shores of Lake Taihu.

My wife took this video of the Toner and I at a roadside viewpoint.


630 AM

It is raining and there is a band playing mournful music as well as I type.  I am also sick with something that has been making the rounds at school.  I have a sore throat and feel lethargic.

Yesterday, I had to take Tony with me to school for the afternoon.  Jenny had to go somewhere and couldn't take Tony with her.  Thankfully, I had lots of volunteers to care for Tony.  The Chinese dote over Children.

I mentioned the happenings in London over the Olympic torch.  The students who had heard were disappointed.

Now I hear the Paris leg of the torch relay has been cancelled.  The Olympics have been a fiasco but that serves the IOC right for giving them to the Chicoms in the first place.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Cousins

Here are my cousins Rheghan and Kris on a Wuxi bridge overlooking the Grand Canal.
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Who is the leader of China?

I don't often see pictures of Chairman Hu displayed in public. He may well not be trying so hard to have a cult of personality or the Chicoms have figured too much Hu would look vulgar. Who? Hu? Hu? Yes. Who? Yes!!
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Monday morning.

It is Monday morning for me and what do I have to say for myself? 

I am back to work after three days off.

My cousins are on their way to Shanghai for a day.  They will then go back to Beijing to see the Great Wall and catch a flight.  Kris is going back to Canada.  Rheghan is continuing her world-wide journey to Japan.

I have a very sore throat.  It hurts to  swallow.  I caught a cold or something that is going around.  My usual urge to be on the move escaped me.

I have many stories to tell from my cousin's visit when I have the time.

I have 150,000 video views on my Youtube Channel.

Here is the latest video I have taken.  My cousins and Jenny and Tony are having hot pot and we all wish my sister Benita a happy birthday.


Saturday, April 5, 2008


The visit of my cousins to Wuxi has me feeling exhausted.  So blogging will be at a minimum for the time being.  I have enough stories to make a week's worth blogging, and so this is what I will be doing this week, once I feel up to it.

A Whirlwind tour of Wuxi.

The cousins arrived Saturday morning as scheduled.  The King and I have taken them on a whirlwind tour of Wuxi in which they have seen Nanchang temple, Tai Lake, The Blue Bar and the Australian Bar as well as met the Toner, my wife, Niels, Ronnie and other Wuxi luminaries.  So, I haven't had the chance to blog.

When I do I will have lots to show you.  Photos and Youtubes to follow when I have the time to upload them.

As it is, you can watch this video of the King of Wuxi taking us on a tour of his new apartment:


Thursday, April 3, 2008

The King and We will go to the new apartment.

On tomb sweeping day, we are going to visit the new apartment thanks to the King of Wuxi who will give us a drive there.  I will be so happy when we can have a day off and not have to go to the new apartment because we finally live there.

I will of course take video to add to the collection of Wuxi Jenny Apartment Updates and maybe even the King of Wuxi updates as well.


I am thinking about something and I can only stand back from this thought and say to myself:  people are strange and lazy and think so highly of themselves all the same.  I have met so many people like that in Wuxi.


The creme de la creme of foreigners don't come to China.  Many of them who come here to teach English are alcoholics and tourists-posing-as-teachers and perverts and druggies and losers in a myriad of other ways.  Some of them even think their loser life-style is an advancement on the Chinese respect for family.  Some foreigners even think that the Chinese taste for pop music is nerdish and so proof of Chinese cultural inferiority.  These laowei can move halfway around the world and not move beyond the spoiled narcissistic concerns expressed in the modern western pop music they listen to.  Like someone, who is worried more about making ends meet and looking after family, really cares about finding himself.  No wonder the Chinese think they can get away with so much.  The West they see exhibits no signs of having a moral compass or strength of character.


My Winnipeg cousins are now in Beijing.  They tell me that they are getting into shouting matches with with all sorts of drivers trying to rip them off.  It is good to hear because I won't have to pretend to them that I am totally enamored with the Chinese and that I am so used to being cut off by a typical Chinese driver that I no longer have the urge to throttle one.

These stories of drivers trying to cheat foreigners really bodes well for the Olympics.  With talks of boycotts over Tibet and stories of Olympic visitors being ripped off by greedy locals, the Chicoms will have a public relations disaster on their hands.

Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomorrow is Tomb Sweeping Day in China which is now a National Holiday.  I won't be sweeping any tombs seeing as how I don't have any ancestors here; I will be preparing for the arrival of my cousins on Saturday morning.  Many of the students I have talked will use the day to rest.  A few actually visited their ancestors' tombs already to avoid the rush.  A few will honor their ancestors tomorrow.

Tony can sit up now which is good.  But he has been more of a cry baby this week.  My wife had to return early from a restaurant meal tonight because her natural mother could not control a crying Tony. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Three days off.

My cousins will arrive by train on Saturday morning.   Problem is I have Friday to Sunday off.

Thursday promises to be a busy day for me.  I will have time tomorrow to tell you about it.

Friday is Tomb Sweeping Day in China.  It is now a national holiday.  But it does not do me any good since none of my ancestors have tombs here and my cousins don't arrive till Saturday.

Tony has been a whiny boy these last few days.  In bed, he is unable to stay in one place.  I had to hold him in my arms before he fell asleep.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The King of Wuxi takes polling into the 21st Century.

The King of Wuxi's chief election strategist, Deloris Morris, has taken polling of the populace into the 21st century, or so she says.   The Clintons, she said, may have done nothing without first consulting a poll, but we are not going to do anything without consulting real in the flesh voters where they live 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is why, the King of Wuxi for President 2008 campaign will install, free of charge, in every household in the United States a tele screen device.  Where better to monitor real voters' opinions than in the place where they are most honest, in their homes?  The voters will not just look at the president as some disembodied politician or image but as a real caring big brother who is always looking after them and is always open to their thoughts. 

On the his campaign theme of real change, the King of Wuxi announced plans to throw every incumbent politician in prison once he is elected president.  Said the King:  If you really want to change Washington, you are going to have to do some drastic things.  You can't lovey dovey, lets unite it away!  I promise change in Washington.  Every incumbent will be given change to make the one phone call to his lawyer from prison!

Students memorizing sentences.

At the start of each private class we do at our school, we have the students practice their vocabulary by making sentences with selected words they should have learned when preparing for the class on computer.  The students almost always memorize sentences.  To stop them from doing this, I try to have a conversation using a word with them.  I am always surprised how often the students can't make any other sentences with the word other than the one sentence they memorized.

Learn to make sentences, I tell them, not learn sentences.

One student last night tried to impress me by telling me a story using a word.  But he tried to memorize the story and so he muffed the grammar, and he ultimately showed he had no idea how to use the word or what the word meant.


Will there be fall-out today from the office moving and dress codes flaps?