Saturday, May 31, 2008

To the new apartment and then a wedding.

It is Sunday morning and my plan for this day off of mine is to move a few things to the new apartment and then attend a wedding this evening.  I taking the bus to the new apartment.  I will carry one huge bag with me which I will empty for the wife to store away when she goes to the apartment next.  I plan on returning in time to get ready for Elsi's wedding party which will be held tonight at the Wuxi Grand Hotel here in Wuxi, China.

The King of Wuxi moved into his new apartment yesterday.  He had a box of jewelry stolen.  What happened was he had left a box on the front porch of his apartment.  A garbage man came by and took it.  This man and two other workers saw the box and ransacked it.  Most of the jewelry was recovered except for a valuable jade necklace.

Wuxi Tony Update #111

Listen to the story of how Tony stole a wallet.

Wuxi Tony Update #109 / Wuxi Jenny Apartment Update #21

To make the WTU and WJAU video updates series, I employ thousands to workers. I gave half of each team the day off when I made this video. I have learned humanity from my friend the King of Wuxi.

AKIC Blogspot's best month ever.

As this month comes to a close, I am happy to report that May 2008 has been a record month for this blog.  According to Sitemeter (you can find an icon on this page), I have had the most visitors and page views ever.  While the numbers are modest, they are slowly but surely rising.

I want to thank all the rare readers who visit here on a regular basis or just happen to come upon this site.  I will try to give readers of AKIC Blogspot the scuttlebutt that you won't find on my other blog (which are you encouraged to visit).  I try whenever I can to provide exclusive content for each site.

This site is my preferred site because I like the look.  However it is often blocked in China while the the other site is not.  But actually that is a bonus because I can say what really feel sometimes.  This are sensitive times in China.

Friday, May 30, 2008

WTU 107

The Wuxi Tony Update series is almost becoming the Wuxi Tony Daily Update.

 

The weekend is here.

It is Friday night.  The wife and son were asleep when I arrived  home after my class which ended at 900 PM.  Now, I blog if only for a short time.

The wife told me that my son Tony slept a lot today.  This evening, he fell asleep at six p.m.  He is still asleep now (approximately at ten p.m.).  I assume he is tired because the wife took him to the new apartment today.  Journeys seem to tire him.  I hope he is not lethargic for some medical reason.

Friday was a moving day for the King of Wuxi but he isn't yet sleeping in his new apartment.  Unlike the Kaulins family, who won't move into their new apartment till the middle of this month when the decoration has been long done, the Royal family of Wuxi, China is moving in before all major work has been done on their apartment.  Talking to the King tonight, I learned that the kitchen was being built today as he was moving in.  And so there is dust everywhere in his apartment which is not conducive for habitation. 

Tomorrow (Saturday), we will take the bus to the new apartment.  I will be carrying a big bag of clothes with me.  I will make another WJAU for Youtube.  I will also make a KoWAU and a WTU as well.  I don't know what else the wife has planned.

Sunday, we have a wedding to go to.  One of the girls at my school is getting married.  It will be a Chinese wedding which, now that I have sat through at least ten of them, is nothing to write home about.  There really is not much to be said for Chinese weddings.  They are only for the purpose of transferring money.  They are not really about pomp and show.  There is a short perfunctory ceremony, a dinner and and some toasting before everyone leaves after 90 minutes.  But, I am interested to go to this wedding because it will be held at the Wuxi Grand Hotel, one of the best hotels in Wuxi.

I had two new students tonight.  Both of whom are going to study in Australia.  I always ask new students what country they think I am from.  Australians would be disappointed to know how often the students tell me they think I am from Australia.  I have had a few instances, where the first guess to my question was Australia, second guess:  England, third guess:  another European country, and then America before I have to tell them I am from Canada because they were stumped.  Tonight, one of the two students guessed Australia.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

WTU 106

For my rare AKIC blogspot readers, I offer Wuxi Tony Update #106.  It was taken Friday morning in our 21st floor apartment.

 

The King of Wuxi promises to tattoo his policy announcements on his body. His campaign manager calls it the dawning of a new era of political integrity.

Has the King of Wuxi, China Expatdom raised the bar for honesty in electioneering?  The staff who are working on the 0Drummond for President 2008 campaign would have you believe so.  Said Deloris Morris, head of the 0Drummond 0Ate Campaign:  The King of Wuxi is currently tattooing all the promises he has made in this campaign so far on his gorgeous body.  So when he is elected King, the voters can hold him accountable for the promises he made during this campaign.  Other campaigns have published policy books that they say you can refer to and check off.  But you can burn books and the politicians know that the average voter has too short an attention span and lacks the administrative ability to have a book at his side to check off when a legislator does this and does that.  No, those sort of things are gimmicks that get votes while at the same time counting on the voter to forget.  Now, the King of Wuxi does not want you to forget the promises he has made.  That is why he is willing to uglify his otherwise beautiful body he has with tattoos.  Just think if you want to know what he said about infrastructure, you can look at his buttocks.  What did he say about healthcare?  You can consult his groin area.  What will he do about Iraq?  You can read his knuckles.  What will he do about education?  You can read the crown of his head.  Now I can already hear the critics saying:  He can grow hair to cover up his broken promises.  Well, I can say this:  The King will shave his body everyday on national TV when at the same time he fulfills his promise to change his underwear.  So I say now, we can look forward to a third sub-section of the population wearing tattoos.  Until now, sailors and bikers wore tattoos.  Along with these esteemed groups, we can now add politicians.  Yes!  This marks the dawning of the Age of Political Integrity!

Now we are stuck with him.

Some rich parent who has guanxi with our Wuxi, China school has a useless, spoiled son who we have to babysit .  This boy has been enrolled in various programs in our school earning the hatred of any foreigner who has to deal with him.  Last year, he was a VIP student who was either uninterested, unprepared or late for class.  This year he was enrolled in our VIP IELTS (or is it EILTS?) program and would show up late or occasionally (his excuse was he was watching the NBA playoffs).  Now, our IELTS (or EILTS) program is VIP and expensive for a reason.  The foreigners who run the program had to insist,   against the wishes of the president and vice president of our school,  that the boy be kicked out of the program or risk ruining its' integrity.

The head of the IELTS program told me yesterday that now our department is stuck with this spoiled brat.  I haven't the heart to tell the other trainers yet.  I can only hope and pray that this little Chinese prince does not show up for any of our classes.

0Drummond says time spent in China watching DVDs makes him well-qualified to be President of the U.S.A.

The King of Wuxi, the third serious candidate still in the running in the 2008 USA presidential election, continued his policy statement blitz from his Wuxi, China campaign headquarters.  Today he commented on foreign policy and outer space.   Said the King: I have gained extensive foreign knowledge living in China for as long as I have (and longer than most other expats I know) that makes me more qualified than my opponents to be President.  Unlike my opponents who have spent time in Indonesia and Vietnam, what I have seen in China has been seen through the eyes of an adult who wasn't stuck in the same cell all the time.  I have drunk with people from all over the world.  I have a feel for the way the rest of the world thinks and I know the best way I can make non-Americans happy without making America a weak-kneed sycophantic putz that gets kicked around by pansied-assed Euroweenies.  I can make the surrender monkeys love us!  Not only will Americans say "America, F*** Yeah!"; Foreigners will sing that song as well.  I am also the president who can put American people on Mars.  I feel that my time spent watching all of Star Trek and Babylon Five on DVD has given me special insights into space travel that none of my opponents have.  NASA will again be the well-respected organization it was in the early 1970s.  SO, Yes America!  Elect a man who is well-travelled, well-read and well-versed in Science fiction to be your next president!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #105

I take Tony to a park.

Wuxi Tony Update #104

I took this video Thursday morning.

The King of Wuxi takes himself off the ideological spectrum.

The King of Wuxi, the third really, truly, serious candidate left in the 2008 U.S.A. presidential race, announced he is hoping people trying to classify his beliefs would take him off the political spectrum altogether. 

Said the King of Wuxi, from his campaign headquarters in Wuxi, China:  "Let the world know!  Shout it to all from the highest of mountains to the deepest of valleys.  Tell everyone whether they work in the coal pits of Pennsylvania or the social welfare agencies of Massachusetts; whether they are surfing in the Atlantic or Pacific ocean; whether they like the designated hitter rule or not; whether they be Jew, Christian, Muslim, Gentile or Agnostic.  Rouse them from whatever they are doing whether they are working, whether they are collecting welfare, whether they are golfing or playing video games; whether they are watching TV or fornicating!  Regardless of the color of their skin or the number of limbs they have or haven't got,  you must tell them!  Tell them that I am a trans-ideological facilitator of benevolence.  Tell them that they want the facilitator of their existence to be their president!  Tell them that the facilitator of their existence is me!  Tell them to vote for 0Drummond in 2008! So don't be calling me a fascist or a communist or a anarchist or an authoritarian!"

The Toner can open the Water machine. The King of Wuxi promises to bring free markets to America.

Uh Oh!.  The Toner, the wife tells me, can open the tap on the water machine.  Now his curiosity is becoming a danger to others.

The King of Wuxi, one of the three remaining major candidates in the 2008 U.S. presidential election made another major policy announcement today from his election headquarters here in Wuxi, China:  he has promised to bring free markets to America which he says have never existed before.   Said the King:  Think about it!  America always brags about having free markets but the last time I was in America I had to pay for a bag of chocolate chip cookies and so I was almost thrown in jail when I didn't.  If the market in America is free, then why to I have to pay for things?  Why aren't things free? Huh?  So I promise that if you elect me your next president, I will make the market free.  That is, you can go to the market and not have to pay money for stuff.  Now, I know this would be a radical change so I promise to bring in a real free market gradually.  So in the first hundred days of the 0Drummond administration, I promise you that chocolate cookies, ice cream, cigarettes and beer will be free.  As the 0Drummond administration continues, more and more things will become free including the essentials like underwear, toilet paper and lard.

By the way, Tommy Drummond, like Anthony Kaulins, has a bit of a heat rash these days.

There is apparently a great Sichuan restaurant overlooking the pond near Chongan Temple.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bonus Youtube video for my blogspot blog readers. Tony is red-faced. ODrummond promises to put ban on heterosexual marriage. Obama secures support of all the Super-Fly delegates.

This blogger ain't in his pajamas.  It is hot and sticky in Wuxi, China this morning.  This man is blogging nude, meiyou yifu!  I should create a sight called nude media for people blogging in hot sticky weather.  (Or as my wife says "adhesive weather".)

Tony's fever has broken but he doesn't look so good.  Yesterday, Tony's skin became red all over, and so the wife had to take him to hospital

The doctors assured Jenny that Tony's skin will clear up in a few days or so.  My first thought on hearing of Tony's going to the hospital was to think the wife was over-reacting to her baby being sick, as mothers will do until they learn babies get sick every once in a while.  But looking at Tony this morning, I don't blame her.

The heat and humidity of the last few days here in Wuxi has also made Tony a miserable little guy.  He is not the happy fellow he once was when he wakes up.  He screams and demands his parents, still groggy with sleep, immediately alleviate his discomfort.

I took the little man for a walk this morning.  The busy-body types were all over me about Tony's red skin.

Here is the Toner in a happier moment.

 

 

The King of Wuxi, one of the three major candidates left in the 2008 U.S. presidential election made another controversial policy announcement from his campaign headquarters here in Wuxi, China:  He promised to ban heterosexual marriage.  Said candidate 0Drummond:  "When I cruise the back alleys and the hidden underground areas of the great country of the America, I see that heterosexual marriage is not flourishing.  Instead, I witness the popularity of recreational drug use, massage parlors, cock-fighting, sex with animals and spanking.  I asked myself why this should be so.  Why are these particular activities flourishing?  And then one day it dawned on me that they flourished because the powers that be have declared those activities taboo and illegal.  Now, I have been told by many that heterosexual marriage is in decline.  What can we do as a society to make it popular again?  Make it illegal and taboo. Give it an aura of mysteriousness and unconventionality, and soon when you walk into a cock-fighting arena or a massage parlor or an opium den, you will see more married couples enjoying themselves.  Now, I do admit that the legislation I have proposed does have tough penalties for heterosexual couples getting married like public-stonings and beheadings.  But it is necessary for this law to have any real effect.  And I trust in the independent and rebellious character of the American people to evade this law.  I also look forward to seeing the unforeseen circumstances of passing this law.  Unlike laws intended to do nice things that have drastic effects that their creators did not intend, I see my bad legislation actually having good unforeseen effects that I can't imagine."

 

Having long been an important part of the Democratic party in the U.S., the brothers of the funk and soul music industry were granted super delegate status along with senior Democrats who have been elected as senators or state governors.  It comes as no surprise, that all these "Super-Fly" delegates have pledged their support for Obama for the upcoming convention in Denver. 

 

No golf for me today.  I will go to Timken company here in Wuxi, China to do some oral testing of new company students.

Here is the bonus video, I promised you in the headline.  You will see the adulation Tony gets from the staff of a pizza restaurant here in Wuxi, China.

 

 

 

I hate it when my gmail account causes my computer to freeze.  It is happening all the time now.  It didn't used to be.  I have also heard the other trainers complain that their hotmail accounts are freezing too.  Why is this?  Are our emails being monitored?

 

Since I am not impressed with any of the candidates in the U.S. presidential election, I will call it the 0 or zero or oh election.  So, it not just Obama or Zerobama who is awful, I don't care for OMcCain or OhClinton or 0Drummond either.

 

People searching for information about last week's Blue Bar fiasco on Google see "Andis Kaulins in China" pop up a lot.  That was what one of the trainers told me when he was looking to see if the incident had garnered international coverage.

 

I was able to watch a movie on the weekend:  Mrs. Miniver.  I bought it at a DVD shop here in Wuxi, China because it was an old and therefore probably a classic Hollywood movie.  I am proud to say that my instincts were right on, this occaision.  Mrs. Miniver, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon was a stunningly good movie.  It tells the story of a small community outside London, England during the start of World War II.  Events revolve around the Miniver family as they experience the rescue at Dunkirk and weather the blitz.  I defy anyone to not cry when you see it.  The King of Wuxi tells me he has watched the film three or four times over the years.

Tony goes to hospital again. Blue Bar Fiasco Scuttlebutt.

This afternoon while I was at work, Tony's skin became red all over his body.  The wife immediately took him to the hospital for tests.  The doctors told her that Tony's body was reacting to the fever he had had and that the skin would clear up in a few days.

I learned all this after the fact.  When I arrived home this evening after work,  Tony's appearance startled me.  He looked like he had an attack of the hives. 

No more WTU's till he looks his normal healthy self.

 

I wasn't able to go to the Blue Bar last night but I did hear these anecdotes this morning:  Some of the Expats were angry at the trainer of ours who befriended the muckraker woman who got a mob to shut the Blue Bar.  But really he was completely innocent.  Also, the muckraker apparently fled to Beijing.  She was fired from her radio job.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sichuan Earthquake schadenfreude.

 

I didn't go to the Blue Bar last night.  Rare readers may know I planned to, but my wife didn't go along with the idea.  "Honey!", I says, "I'm going to the pub with Andy tonight!"  Her saying "F*** Off!" in response scuttled the plan.  The King of Wuxi didn't either because his wife was at their new apartment late with the car.

Tony is in a whiny mood these days.  The heat (It is time to put the A/C on now in Wuxi) and a fever have put him in the foulest of moods.

One thing I can do to pacify Tony is take him for a walk like I just did this morning.  Wu Ai Jia Yuan has a park that we can walk through.  Going for a walk, I have noticed, shuts Tony right up.  He is too full of curiosity to say much.  One thing he seems to find particularly interesting is seeing the oldsters doing tai chi.

But as soon as Tony arrives home from one of these walks, he becomes miserable again.

The gas lineups I saw on the weekend were on account of the Sichuan earthquake?  That is what the students told me.  Meanwhile, the damage in Sichuan gets worse as more aftershocks occur.  I have also heard that many flights have been canceled so planes can help in the Earthquake relief effort.

I got my haircut yesterday.  According to the students, I now have jet head.  I suppose they mean my hair, which was cut very short at a barbershop that uses an electric clipper, now looks aerodynamic.

A boat goes under a bridge.

Sending text messages to your female students before you have even taught a class will get you fired.  I have heard this recently happened in Wuxi.  Unfortunately, the English teaching profession in China attracts perverts and fuck-ups.

Mini Golf tournament at school tomorrow.  Expect many photos in my other blog.

Yesterday morning, on my walk to work, I passed by a primary school where the students were practicing their marching.  The first thought that comes to my mind is: Those militaristic Chicoms!  They are plotting to take the world with a militarized population!  But, is there a more innocent explanation?  Marching is a good way for the teachers to control and instill some discipline into their large classes.  It may well be that a little marching is not a bad thing.  When I think of the stink that would be raised in the West if the students were marching and the quarter from which this stink would most definitely come, I think a little would be okay.  The Chinese big mistake is to always have this discipline in their classrooms with the resulting monolithic group thinking and stifled individual creativity.

This video of mine has now been seen over 20,000 times.

 

I am going to the Blue Bar tonight, if only for a short time. I have posted an ad in Dave's ESL Cafe.

The Blue Bar, the Wuxi, China Expat pub that was shut down after an angry mob stood outside its doors last week, will reopen tonight (Monday).  I plan on putting in an short appearance before going home to see my wife, who has been critical of the Blue Bar.

A few Expats, I have heard, are waiting to see what happens before they return to the pub.

 

If you are interested, you can go to Dave's ESL Cafe to see an ad posted looking for teacher(s) who can start in June.

 

What is with these people who are either congenital liars or always late?  Is there some deficient in the chemical make-up of their brains?  Are their brains also  lacking in  moral capacity?

Tony had a fever this weekend.  It went away Sunday night.  But Tony has been very fussy in the aftermath.  He doesn't not like to be put down.  When you think he has fallen asleep in your arms, he will start to scream as you try to put him down. 

My son Tony is learning how to give high fives.

 

The trainer who was interviewed by the Wuxi Police last week on account of knowing a central figure in the Blue Bar fiasco has some stories to tell.  The police told him how much they know about his goings-on.  They could tell him when he meet this person or that person or when and where he went for trips.  (I wonder if the police are reading this blog entry).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chinese Countryside Mystery

Finally uploaded to Youtube!

Two more videos featuring the King of Wuxi.

His majesty: the liberator of Hans Island from Danish Tyranny; the most majestic of the majestic; the discoverer of China; the inventor of viagara and sliced bread; the most sensual of the sensual; runner of election campaigns; winner of Nobel, Pulitzer, Academy, Employee of the Month, and Most Valuable Player of the Year awards, to name a few; The fastest man in the world in 1997; Candidate for the U.S. Presidency 2008; the world's biggest backer of Mitt and Obama; former Winnipeger; The King of Wuxi is the star of two brand spanking new videos on Youtube.  Here they are:

King of Wuxi Apartment Update #5

 

 Wuxi Tony Update #100

 

Forgot book at New apartment.

I was almost finished Brideshead Revisited.  I was going to finish off the novel tonight but I have just realized that I left the copy I have (it is the King's copy actually) at the new apartment. I won't be going back there till next Saturday.  So instead I will read this book about Richard Nixon.

Incidentally, the King of Wuxi will be moving into his apartment at the end of May.  Here are the latest video updates I have done of his majesty's apartment: you will that see I don't live too far from him and that the colours of the wall in his bedroom are green.

A photo of Dennis and I trying to wrap zongzi can be seen in the May 24th edition of the Wuxi Business Daily. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Landslides and Apartment Updates.

These American expats, I met last night, were of differing opinions of how the U.S. presidential election will turn out.  One predicted an Obama landslide (agreeing with the King of Wuxi); another predicted a McCain landslide.

Here are the latest Wuxi Jenny Apartment Updates taken yesterday.

In WJAU 18, you will see the bed we have bought for the Toner.

In WJAU 19/ KOWAU4, you will see how close I will live to the King of Wuxi.

Wuxi Tony 100 has been filmed but needs to be edited this time.

The Toner has a fever these days.  The wife got no sleep last night.  I worry the wife is overreacting to the Toner's illness.

Long Fuel Lineups in Wuxi, China.

It was midnight on a Saturday night and what were some Chinese drivers doing?

They were waiting in the longest lineup I have ever seen for fuel.  I estimate that 200 cars or so will lined up for fuel at a gas station in the Downtown of Wuxi.  Americans I talked to told me that the long lineups reminded them of the Carter presidency.

China heavily subsidizes its fuel prices.  But with lineups so long, something has to give.  Either the prices will go up or restrictions will be placed on consumer car purchases.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tony has a cold. The Chinese "true" story about what happened at the Blue Bar.

The wife and mother-in-law took Tony to the hospital at 500 AM this morning.  He had a fever and wouldn't go to sleep.  When they came back, they told me he had a cold.

 

My wife told me the "true" story of what happened at the Blue Bar.  (I asked about the "true" part but the wife couldn't give me any reasons why it was true)  According to this version, one of the employees at the Blue Bar was from Sichuan province.  The female employee was feeling bad about the Earthquake and thought that Pub was not acting respectfully during the days of mourning.  So she sent a text message to the female reporter (the muckraker).  The female reporter came to investigate and had words with the owner of the pub.  The reporter then called 110 to inform the police.  The police came, drawing a crowd of onlookers.  The police presence was heavy because they sought to guard the pub from attack which was sure to happen as word spread.  The owner of the pub had to apologize.

From the foreigners I have heard this:  The female reporter was seeing a man who frequented the Blue Bar (a trainer at our school actually) for a few weeks.  On her website, she had actually dedicated a page to him.  The reporter had a beer before the incident started.  The employee who text-messaged the reporter was really upset that the pub made her work on her birthday.  The crowd in front of the Blue Bar was big and was demanding that the pub close.  The crowd also formed very fast to have been spontaneous.  The police have told the Blue Bar owners that the reporter is crazy.  The reporter not only called the police but text-messaged friends to come to the bar.

Wuxi, China Police are interviewing everyone about the Blue Bar incident.

The trainer who knew the muckraker lady was interviewed for three hours by the police today.  It appears that it is the lady who is in hot water now.  She has been apologizing profusely for what happened.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nine Months of the Toner. Blue Bar Update.

Tony is nine months today (Friday).  It is hard to believe, for me anyway, that he has only been around for nine months.  He has filled my consciousness such that it is hard for me to imagine a time when I had no idea of his being.  His progress in the last nine months has been amazing to me.  Little things like his being able to sit up and his curiosity about everything are a source of pride and joy for me.

I only regret that I finally became a parent at such an advanced age as did (42) and that I may have only one more.

Tony now can sit up and he is trying to crawl but he can only go backwards.  He will get the hang of it soon I know.

 

Latest I have heard about the Wuxi, China Blue Bar incident:  The site I linked to of the Muckraker has password protected its entry about the Blue Bar mob.  I wanted my wife to see and translate it for me last night  when she discovered the sudden limiting of access.  Translation of the posting would be very embarrassing for that woman.

 

I will be going to the Blue Bar Monday evening for its' reopening.  I feel that Stu, one of the owners of the Blue Bar, needs all the support he can get.  I imagine he fears going out in public these days.

 

I have an edited video which I am now attempting to upload to Youtube.  I had 93 percent completed the upload but then my connection petered out.  I haven't been able to re-establish a upload connection to Youtube today.   My rare AKIC blogspot readers can see it here first when I do and finish the upload.

I will give you a small clue about what the video is about:  a Beixing Countryside mystery.

Owners of Blue Bar have been subject to death threats.

The incident at the Blue Bar hopefully won't get out of hand.  But I have heard that the owners of the Blue Bar, Chinese and Foreign, have been subjected to death threats.

WuxiLife has had to remove a link to a Chinese site about the incident because it showed a photo of the foreign owner of the Blue Bar and included an incitement to kill him on sight.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blue Bar to stay closed till Monday.

The Blue Bar, the Wuxi China Expat Pub, has become another center of controversy for China-World relations in 2008.

Because of local publicity about the pub being disrespectful during the Days of Mourning for the Earthquake victims, The Blue Bar will stayed closed till Monday.  On WuxiLife they have posted the following notice:

SORRY NOTICE

It is with the Deepest of Sympathy for the Victims and their bereaved Families of the Sichuan Earthquake Disaster and out of Sincere Respect for the Chinese People here in Wuxi and throughout China, that Blue Bar Cafe© will remain Closed for the Next Four Days for Mourning.

We are SORRY if People were offended by the fact that we were open for business last Monday and Tuesday night during the National Time of Mourning. It was not intentional to cause this pain.

To our Loyal Customers we also apologize for any inconvenience caused during this closure but please share with us in our grief for this very difficult time in China.

Furthermore during this period of closure we would also like to inform the public that full compensation will be paid to our Valuable Chinese Employees, there will be no loss of salary to them.

We look forward to see you all again when we open on Monday May 26, should you choose to frequent our establishment.

Once again our Heartfelt Sympathy.

The Proprietors

Blue Bar Cafe

 

For more about the controversy, you can check out this forum at a Wuxi Expat site.

 

I am afraid that there will be more incidents of this kind in 2008.  When the Olympics start in August, Chinese sensitivities will be irked again.

WTU 99. AKIC Tidbits.

  • Oil Prices are rising.  And China has retrenched its policy of subsidizing fuel prices.  This policy will eventually become unsustainable.  I have seen fuel line-ups with hundreds of trucks in Wuxi all this year.  With the increasing demand for energy, I don't see how the government can fix the problem without increasing energy prices and then having to try to put down the unrest that would follow.
  • The three days of mourning are over.  The Earthquake has impacted the Chinese like 9/11 impacted us living in North America in 2001.  But, this year has seen a few 9/11s for China.  3/14, the day of the Tibet riots, impacted the Chinese.  I wonder if the 9/11s will ever stop here.
  • Was the owner of the Blue Bar insensitive to the Chinese?  Possibly.  He definitely has the Australian gruffness and frankness. 
  • Here is Wuxi Tony Update (WTU) #99:

 

  • WTU 99 isn't the gala I promised.  I just don't have the time to properly edit a video.
  • By the way, rare Blogspot reader, WTU 99 is embedded first on this site.  My other site's readers won't see it until tomorrow.
  • One of these days, I am going to finish the novel Brideshead Revisited. 
  • One thing you can say about George Bush: he is no whiner unlike the Obamas, Barry and Michelle, who complain ad nauseam about unfair personal attacks.  The criticism the Obamas have received in comparison to Bush is miniscule, and yet  Barry will not brook any attacks without complaining about them.  Obama comically went out of his way to criticize a perceived personal attack by Bush against him in a speech the president made to the Israeli Knesset. 
  • How will history view George Bush?   He will probably be seen very favorably: like Harry Truman.  Truman did the right thing when he was president but was not appreciated for it at the time.  Obama, who wants to transcend politics, should know this but instead Barry joins in with the crowds of braying BDSers whenever he has the chance or makes the chance. 
  • Meanwhile the current Republican nominee is nothing to write home about either.  McCain, who bills himself as a maverick, is going along with the global warming scam.  One thing is for sure, the finals of the 2008 presidential race will be the lamest since Bush-Dukakis and that Indians-Marlins World Series.
  • The Stanley Cup Finals will begin soon which means the end of the NHL season.  When the players go to training camp for the next season, the U.S. presidential race will still not be decided.  If an election can last longer than the NHL season (which is ridiculously long) then something is very wrong with the election system.  But McCain can be blamed for that by supporting election finance reform.  Elections in America are expensive - there is no way around it.  But elections in America are too important to be done on the cheap.  McCain's reforms are responsible for the overlong election cycle this year.  Candidates had to start very early to get their financing operations operating.
  • Meanwhile the talk of election finance reform has been a perfect way for the Chinese government is deflect their people's attention from the spectacle of democracy.  What does the average Chinese person know about the U.S. election?  They have heard it is expensive.  They know nothing of the issues at stake.
  • The wife went to the  new apartment yesterday.  The workers didn't.  The glass they needed wasn't ready.  I can hardly wait to move there, even with the increasing costs of energy.
  • With Tony being able to sit up, there is nothing better than to lie on the bed and have him sit beside me.  He will put his arm on my chest and relax.  A good feeling.
  • Tony will soon have the knack of crawling.  Right now, his efforts have him going backwards.  He can push himself up with arms but he hasn't figured how to use his knees to push himself forward.  But he will.
  • The Chinese management has taken over scheduling of the foreign staff.  I don't know what horrors await us.  Our problem is that we don't have enough students to keep us busy during the daytime.  In the evening, we are fine.  I am sure the Chinese management would like us to work six days a week but it is written in our contract that we get two days off with any extra work meaning overtime pay.

Local Muckraker closed down Wuxi, China Expat Pub.

The more that is heard about last night's Blue Bar's forced closing, the less it adds up.  Other bars in Wuxi were open last night and did not get flak for showing any disrespect.  The crowd, of a thousand or so,  that showed up outside the Blue Bar came a little too quickly to have been part of a spontaneous demonstration.

What appears to have happened is that a local media personality of the muckraking variety caused the incident to occur.  (I didn't know Wuxi had muckrakers, but they do within proscribed limits)The woman* was in the Blue Bar, had a beer, and then made some complaints and impossible demands as a pretext for having the crowd come.

The Blue Bar will be closed, possibly for the rest of the week, till the heat dies down.  There are rumors that there will be trouble when the bar reopens.  The incident is the buzz all over Wuxi and not just among the local Expat population.  Every Chinese employee at my school could be seen reading the link I posted in a previous entry.

 

*This women had befriended one of our trainers who frequents the pub.  They had been seeing each other for a few weeks.  Although, probably not anymore.  I have just been told that a few years ago, a journalist had come to a local Expat pub, conducted interviews and told her Chinese audience about foreigners making good money in China and wasting it at local pubs. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

HyLite Language School in Wuxi, China is looking for an ESL English Teacher starting June 1st.

The management now tells me that they are looking for a full-time ESL teacher,  to work at our school for one year, starting June 1.  If you are interested you can email me at akaulins@gmail.com.  I will send you the details.

Wuxi, China is a thriving little city of 4 million about one hour from Shanghai by train.

Why was the Blue Bar shut down?

It turns out that other pubs in Wuxi were open last night.   Ronnie's Australian Pub, a competitor of the Blue Bar, was open for business as usual, as was TGIF.

The owner of the Blue Bar may have said the wrong thing to the wrong person who decided to call a mob to the pub.

Mob shuts down local Wuxi, China Expat Bar.

The big news on my arrival to work was about the mob that was outside the Blue Bar last night wanting the pub to close for the three days of national mourning for the victims of the Sichuan Wenchuan Earthquake. 

You can visit this link for photos of the crowd and the police at the Blue Bar entrance. 

I have heard that The Blue Bar will be closed tonight for the final evening of National Mourning.

Wuxi Tony Update #98

I sing a possible theme song for future WTUs.

Are you a maker or a taker?

I have just come across this posting from Classical Values.  It divides the world into two types of morality systems:  Commercial (makers) and Guardian (takers).  I think I will try to present a variation of this classification to one of my classes.  But, I have to admit that the classification I see in the posting is biased towards the right wing/libertarian viewpoint.  (and I am a right-winger) For example to label the makers as optimists and the pessimists as takers makes the whole classification tautological.  I think it would be more fair to label the takers as utopianists.

Failing Students.

I hate to fail students, but it has to be done.  Sometimes, the students don't do the work so they don't deserve to pass even if they can satisfy the most minimal or requirements.  Sometimes, the students are "biting off more than they can chew" and their progression through the lessons has to be slowed down.

The past two evenings, I had failed three students.  They didn't know any of the vocabulary and they couldn't even make a full sentence response to any of my questions.  Their hearing was awful as well. 

This was bad enough but in their previous classes, they had been given a grade of "A".  It is galling for me to realize we have teachers who just don't care or are too lazy to do the hard, but necessary thing to improve their students' English.

All the time the students have spent here and to see they have learned nothing angers me.  There is a reason most other Expats in China look down their noses at the English teachers in their midst.  I am almost ashamed to admit I am English teacher sometimes.

Gordon Sinclair The Americans

You must watch this video!

Give me a break.

I am simply going to have to redo the previous post because I can edit it:

Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech is a topic for one of our advanced salon classes.  A trainer, who was to teach the class, lamented having to do the class because that speech has been heard so often and so has become a cliche and boring.  Another trainer suggested presenting the Obama "A more perfect union" (really throw Grandma off the train) speech instead.  "That was inspirational!"

I am so glad sometimes, and now most of the time, that I have an office to myself.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wuxi Tony Update #96

The Toner is back in Wuxi!

AKIC tidbits.

  • First my wife and mother-in-law were convinced that the cracks we were seeing in the wall were new.  But the occupants of the apartment across the hallway from us say the cracks are old.  Be that as it may, I hope that the apartment building we are in now was not built by the same people who built all the schools in Sichuan
  • Traffic was stopped on the street yesterday during the moment of silence observed for the victims of the Sichuan Wenchuan earthquake.  But there were the few who were looking about wandering what was going on.
  • The Toner is learning how to fold and unfold things.  Or I should say, he is teaching himself.  I recently saw him grab an old birthday card and make serious efforts to fold it.
  • Taiwan: the Israel of Asia?
  • Some hard truths about Burma. 
  • Seablogger on Chinese Dams and Superstitions.  I have asked the students about the superstitions, and they all deny they have any concerning this year.  As for construction techniques (read the comments to the Seablogger posting), you can refer to my photos of the construction across the street from my current apartment.  (Visit AKIC spaces.)
  • A commentator on my latest Wuxi Tony Update noticed that my wife looks weary.  She is and she has every reason to be so.  Tony is hard to deal with these days.  He is energetic and impatient.  My wife does a lot of work around this apartment and the new apartment as well.
  • Here is a site I will spend time with today.  This George Jonas, a Canadian I can be proud of, is as thought provoking as another Canadian who has his head on straight:  David Warren.
  • In this article, Jonas gives the straight goods on Canada.  Try as we might these past 40 years, Canada has not become a basket case country.
  • This young, seemingly innocent, student disappointed me by knowing what the word "shack up" meant.  I don't know who taught her that but it had to have been one of our leftist-leaning teachers.  I am always agog to listen to these left-leaners complain about how sexually-naive and prudish many of the Chinese seem to be.  "If only they would learn to shack-up and have one night stands like we do"  seems to be their lament.  Historically speaking, it the west's libertinism that makes us the freaks.  Meanwhile, these same leftists tacitly approve the one-child policy that has left so many families in Sichuan childless.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

National Days of Mourning. May 19 at 1428 will be a period of silence followed by the blowing of horns.

The Chinese employees I have talked to this morning are quite broken up by coverage of the earthquake in Sichuan.  I asked the admin girl what was troubling her and she told me that she was sad because of the earthquake.

May 19 to May 21 will be a period of national mourning in China for the victims of the Sichuan Wenchuan Earthquake.  At 1428 May 19 (Monday), a three-minute silence will be observed followed by a blowing of horns and air-defense alerts.

Wuxi Tony Update #95

Learn about the Universal Way.

A Capitalist with a conscience.

It is my misfortune to be stuck in a profession where almost all my colleagues are leftists or leftward oriented.  We never usually talk politics because it would only lead to animosity.  But occasionally, I have something said to me.  Some of it is so enmeshed in Leftist thought and assumptions that there is no point refuting it.   But that people can believe such lies still grates me.  Recently, I had a teacher tell me that recently released Ironman displayed a Capitalist with a conscience, that is a Democrat.  The idea that Democrats are Capitalists with conscience is patently absurd.  These rich Capitalist Democrats are best described as idiots with money (e.g. Ted Turner and most Hollywood actors).  Here is a Capitalist with a conscience who gives a philanthropy a good name.  (I assume that this man is a Republican because he devotes his philanthropy to 'Free Markets and All That Stuff'.  Something I rarely hear Obama talking about.)

Wuxi Tony Update #94

Tony sees goats for the first time on Saturday, May 17, 2008.

Back from Beixing!

I got back to Wuxi, China, after a overnight stay in Beixing, about one hour ago.  Beixing was dull, dirty, first hot and then wet.  I hope Tony spends as little time there as possible. 

This morning in Beixing, I saw a child nearly run over.  The driver apparently didn't realize that what was stopping his forward progress was a little boy.  I don't mean to be crude, but the little boy's nuts must have been damaged with the vehicle damn near drove over him. 

The sight of the two-year child under the front tire of a SUV will haunt me for the rest of my life.  My wife tells me that it was my screaming that stopped the child from being run over.  It also helped that the driver wasn't going fast.  The vehicle was heading down a narrow path when the child went under it.   The child had apparently darted into the vehicle's path as careless children will.

I was to scream at the driver again because I saw him smile.  He may have smiled because he didn't know what to think of the only foreigner in town screaming at him so he kept on smiling.  He may have also smiled because of the habit the Chinese have of smiling when they are in the wrong or embarrassed.  I called him a few bad words which he didn't understand but I am sure that by my manner of expressing them he knew what I meant.  I was seething as the man drove off five minutes after the incident.  But from my wife I learned the driver knew the father of the child.  What I saw was that the driver and the father talked for a while, thought it was a big joke and went on with their days.

 

My wife felt the earthquake on Tuesday because she was in our 21st floor apartment when it happened.  Now, cracks are starting to appear in the walls.  This is testament either to the power of nature or the shoddiness of Chinese construction. 

 

Here was the good part about going to Beixing.  I saw my son, The Toner, again.  Here is the video.  My rare Blogspot readers can see it first.

 

China's Earthquake gets political.  The talk that this earthquake is a bad sign for the current Chinese dynasty is to be expected.  This article, however, suggests that, so far, four of the five Olympic Mascots have been signs of some disaster for China.  What will be the fifth disaster?  The Olympics?  A John McCain election victory?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Off to Beixing!

I get to see the Wife and the Toner today!.  I will leave the apartment at 830 AM to catch a bus at a small secondary bus station to get Beixing.  I will arrive there about elevenish.   I will, of course, take lots of photos and videos including Wuxi Tony Updates #93, #94,....

I will be back in Wuxi tomorrow.  So no blogging till then.

In the interim, you can watch this video as well as as the three others I recently uploaded that feature His Majesty, Your King of Wuxi.  The video below was taken at the #1 Wuxi, China People's Hospital demolition site.

 

 

You can also read this very unfavorable review of Ironman.  This reviewer does not buy into its's maturity.

China on alert against Earthquake radiation leaks. Oh oh!

Five million homeless after Earthquake.  I am surprised I can link to the BBC (not that I normally want to).

A dark four years for America?  The Republicans are going to get trounced in 2008, and an election the "maverick" McCain won't change the dynamic much.  The Democrats, meanwhile, despite electoral ascendency have nothing new to offer but the same old bad ideas in new wrappers labeled "change".

The return of the Green to Wuxi, China

I took this photo Friday afternoon. At first, I thought I was looking at painted concrete. But in fact, there is water under that green slime. It could mean bad water this summer; another Wuxi Water crisis.
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Earthquake Donations

The students are learning the word "donate" this week because of the Sichuan Earthquake.  I have heard companies all over the city are having fund-raising drives.  But I have heard that the donating has not been without some heavy-handiness from the authorities.  I heard stories that the donations of company employees are often mandatory and as well as there is a minimum acceptable donation amount for each position in a company.

The students have been asking me how much I have donated.  And now that the school had a donation "event", the other employees have been asking me how much money I did donate.

As head trainer, I had to go along with the donation event.  The other trainers choose not to participate for whatever reasons.  One of the trainers objected to the having to make a show of it.  I can understand but, this being China, it may well be a cultural thing as opposed to a "Commie" thing.

So, I gave and if the money goes to the people it should go to, I will be happy.  If it used for illegitimate reasons, then those people responsible will just have to rot in hell.  I did my bit.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My TVU Player works fine.

For a rare reader, Sekran, who is in Turkey, I must report that my TVU player is working fine.

The Earthquake brought increased traffic to my site.  Five times more than usual. 

A Video Restaurant Review.

Overnight, I uploaded this video to Youtube.

A running journal of my work day.

1240 PM:  I sit in my office.  I have a class at 1300.  The topic UFOs and Ancient Civilizations, Advanced level, with just one student.  I will spend some time talking about the earthquake before I talk about the scheduled topic.

1241 PM:  I met a man from Baltimore, Maryland, USA  last night at the pub.  I asked him about the show The Wire which is set in Baltimore.  He said he had watched it and that it showed Baltimore in a realistic light.  Baltimore government is that corrupt he told me.

1245 PM:  I am going to have a beer with the King of Wuxi tonight.

203 PM:  The 1300-1400 class about UFOs and Ancient Civilizations was torturous.  I eventually broached the subject of religion in God in desperation for something to talk about.  All that can be said about the UFOs topic was that it was a load of nonsense.  People who believe such tripe are prejudiced against people from other times and places.  It is an insult against mankind to suggest that the Egyptians could not have built the pyramids.  Anyway, on the topic of God, the student had more to say.  She voiced her opinion that many Chinese people are making terrible shoddy products because they have no religious faith.  There is a lot to be said for that opinion I believe.

208 PM:  I see the latest King of Wuxi Apartment Update has been uploaded to Youtube.  You can watch it below.

212 PM:  I don't have a class till 1800.  What will I do?  I will look in my "To Do" book and not bother to do anything I have written down. ....      I am joking.

239 PM:  I have a headache.  Time to pull out my bottle of Tylenol.

252 PM:  I like reading Camille Paglia even though I don't agree with her.  As Seablogger says, in that essay she can't distinguish style and substance when she looks at Obama.

254 PM:  Last night, I bought two old movies on DVD:  From Here to Eternity starring Frank Sinatra; and Mrs Miniver starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.  I don't know when I will watch them.  Probably, I will watch these movies in the new apartment.

258 PM:  Oh Shit!  I do have something to do.  I have to give the schedule for the 26th to 1st to Tracy, the admin girl.

308 PM:  Paglia uses the phrase "I am puzzled" to say she can't understand people who think Hilary Clinton will bow out gracefully from the presidential race in mid-June.  She believes, with strong conviction, that Hilary won't do anything of the sort.  And because she possesses absolute certainty, she can't understand what those who disagree with her are thinking.  But if she is so darned certain and all-knowing about what Hilary will do, she should be able to understand what the people who wonder what Hilary will do, are  thinking.  Why doesn't she say they are idiots?

345 PM:  I made the schedule.  Just as I submit the schedule, a tutor comes into the office and asks me to schedule a new thing that week.  Whee! 

346 PM:  Tonight:  three classes.  At 1800, I have an Upper Intermediate Private Class 3 with Lona.  At 1900, I have Upper Intermediate Salon Class about the Police.  Not the "Don't Stand so Close to me!" Police, mind you.  The students haven't heard of that pop band.  And at 2000, I round out the evening with an Advanced Private Class 10 for which three students have signed up. 

350 PM:  I bought one ice cream from the School cafeteria.  Now, I feel like having another one.     I can't do it!  I just can't!

425 PM:  I just interviewed another potential tutor for our school.  She is now teaching Business English at a university.  She understood all but her use of English was a little too economical.  What I mean is that I would have liked it if she had repeated all that I had asked in her answers.

428 PM:  What to have for supper?  I cannot go to McDonald's.  I am thinking of going to KFC for some corn-on-the-cob and mashed potatoes.  But, I am going to the pub tonight and I could eat there, and just buy something cheap and Chinese for supper.  Actually, I will eat that package of instant wontons I have and continue on sober blogging.

434 PM: Let's give America the credit it deserves.  I say if you don't like America, you don't like the human race.  America is a (I should say the) force for good in the world.  But because its' ways are unsophisticated and because it still believes in things that the liveliest intellects of our time have supposedly refuted, it never gets its' due as the good country that is.  If forced to choose between the U.S. and the U.N., I will the good old U.S. of A!

439 PM:  I am slowly working my way through Brideshead Revisited.  I look forward to posting a blog entry entitled Brideshead Reread.

532 PM:  Here is what I did for supper:  I ate the wontons at school and then I ate corn and potatoes at KFC.  I went to KFC with Simon, the Duke of Wuxi.

533 PM:  My sober live blogging will come to an end.  Thank you for reading this to the end.  Adieu!

536 PM:  But before I go, I should mention that the person I interviewed was hired.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Earthquake Anecdotes

I have been collecting Wuxi, China earthquake anecdotes:

  • One teacher I know was on the 34th floor doing an English Corner when the Earthquake struck.  Being that high up in Wuxi, he felt it and thought he was a goner.  Afterwards, many students ran down the stairs to get out of the building.
  • Another teacher I know was walking on the street in Downtown Wuxi and noticed passerbys looking up at buildings swaying.

A Wuxi, China Minute

Here is one of the videos I have edited for the King of Wuxi.

I go to the pub after all.

I said I wasn't but I did after all.  As I have been saying, even though my wife and son are out-of-town, I wouldn't be going to the pub.  But tonight I went.

I met this man from Baltimore, the city of The Wire.  His girlfriend is a student at our school.  He gave me some insights into guanxi to use in future classes about the subject.

Now that I am home, I will start editing this video where the King of Wuxi (who met the man from Baltimore at the Coffee Bank) takes us to a Korean BBQ restaurant here in Wuxi, China

Life goes on.

Some of the students have been watching T.V. coverage of the earthquake.  One of them, bless her, has talked of making donations to earthquake relief funds.

I have had a few relatives send me emails asking how I am doing. 

I had a first class with a 34 year old male student named Rabbit.  He chose that English because he was born in the year of the rabbit.  I think "Rabbit" is a girl's name.  I don't care if I get called sexist for saying so.

Standing on the 21st floor of my apartment building this morning, waiting for the elevator, I thought to myself how awesome the power of nature must be for an event over 1000 miles away to make this building sway.

The softball in the face still hurts three days after the back.  I feel in a back tooth that must have taken the brunt of the hit.

There was a staff meeting today.

Saturday, I will have to take the bus to Beixing to pick up Jenny and Tony.

I have a video to edit tonight after work.  You may see it tomorrow.

Here are two videos, I uploaded today.  I took these videos when my Canadian cousins visited.

 

 

 

 

I must have uploaded 430 videos to Youtube.  How many views?  170,000.

I am listening to Gunsmoke on the TVU player.

I have no 1800 class.  So,  I sit and watch the other trainers do their thing. 

I have tried the Australian practice of putting french fries in my hamburger.  It adds nothing to the taste.

I was not listening to Gunsmoke; I was listening to Bonanza.  Now, I hear a song about Jim Bowie.

Are you interested in working part-time at our school.  Send an email to akaulins@gmail.com.

Who is Wuxi, China's greatest Expat?  Why me, of course.  But the King if okay.

Are you interested in teaching over the summer at our school?  Send an email to akaulins@gmail.com.   Couples would be very welcome.

At 1900, I have a Upper Intermediate Private Class with three students.

What is the best way to discipline students?  Automatic rifle fire.

The movie Ironman can be seen in English in local Wuxi, China theatres.

Democrats are Capitalists with consciences?  Any Capitalist with a conscience should help the world himself.  Fuck the government.

Why should I hire you? I asked a tutor candidate in an interview.  He said I should because "he was good English."

One of the trainers has tried the Rorschach test on students.  He told me they all saw beautiful butterflies.

These days, I smoke Honghe cigarettes, 5 rmb a pack.

Should I go to the pub tonight?  The wife and child are out of town.  I should, but I don't want to.  I would rather edit a video featuring the King of Wuxi.

At 2000, I have an Advanced Salon Class with 8 students (if they all show up).  The topic will be drugs and athletes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wednesday Morning.

I am by myself.  There is no wife, no kid.  Here is what I am up to:

  • I am watching FOX news coverage of today's West Virginia primary on my TVU player.  It looks like Hilary will have a decisive victory.  She will stay on thought the odds are against her.  (But why?)
  • I am taking on household duties.  I have already done a load of laundry, swept the floor and washed the dishes.  It reminds me of my old bachelor days.
  • The wife will hang clothes outside the window of our 21st floor apartment.  If the clothes blow away or drop, it is a precipitous fall for them.  So, I hang them inside.
  • It was 10 years ago today that Frank Sinatra died.  I have prepared a tribute on my computer at school.  I will post the tribute when I arrive for work this afternoon.
  • I am in constant communication with the wife via mobile phone messaging.
  • Penguins leading the Flyers after one period 2-1.  If the Penguins can hold the lead, they can take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Semifinal. 
  • Caring for China. A charity site accepting donations for Chinese Earthquake relief.

AKIC Tidbits.

The Wall Street Journal talks about the challenge of China.

The right side of my face stills hurts after my Sunday softball injury.

If you can't blame America, then the left really does not care.

When I was 42, it was a very good year...

Small Dead Animals is in Beijing.

Wuxi, China Earthquake Anecdotes

One of the topics of my speaker's corner this afternoon was the earthquake in Sichuan.  I asked the students to tell me some anecdotes. 

I had two students who were on the 21st floor of buildings and felt the quake.  One of these students felt a headache as a result; the other thought at first that the building she was in was collapsing. 

Another student told me that his two birds acted very strangely about the time of the earthquake. 

Some of the other students told me about getting phone calls from friends closer to the earthquake's epicenter.  One student told me that a person in Chongqing jumped out of a sixth floor building in a panic and died - I don't know whether to believe that or not.  Another student told me a woman who was cooking at the time the quake struck, thought she was sick and so asked her husband to cook for her.  This woman laid down and saw the walls shaking about her before realizing that she was in an earthquake.

Another student told me that her husband in Wuxi was in an elevator that abruptly stopped because of the earthquake.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Links.

Click here to read about the Earthquake and about my wife and son going to Beixing.

Visit here and vote in my poll. If you have already voted in the poll, vote again. Stuff the poll with your votes. I don't care. Just vote.

Invade Burma?  There is a job for the U.N. but it wouldn't happen.  America could do it but they wouldn't receive any thanks for it.

A Pittsburgh Detroit Stanley Cup Final?

The tenth anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra is approaching.  I will have a tribute in my other blog.

I ask the students if they have Olympic Fever.  Or at least, I asked the students before the events of March 14 in Tiber and at the Torch Relay in Paris.  After these thing happened, I wanted to not talk about the Olympics at all.  Now, I have had some students tell me that they had been indifferent about the Olympics till those events happened.

I dare not ask the students about Myanmar (Burma really).

Christopher Hitchens on Israel.  I think Israel's fate is the West's fate.

Earthquake?

I was doing an English Corner from 1400 to 1500 Monday afternoon.  At about 1440, a student got a phone call and screamed that there had been an earthquake in Wuxi.  Two minutes after this, my wife told me that our 21st floor apartment was shaking and she was scared.  I also heard news that a building in Wuxi had to be evacuated.  I assumed that a building was being torn down in Wuxi causing a tremor to be felt around the city, though no one in my class felt anything.  I then heard news of a strong earthquake from Chongqing.  Can an earthquake in Southwest China (7.5 on the Richter scale) be felt all the way in Jiangsu? (yes, according to this story).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Here is the Interview.

I pressed the "publish" button too early and it is impossible for me to edit the previous posting online.

Here is the interview I mentioned in the previous entry.

Tony's Father don't have Game. Wuxi Expat Softball.

What can I say?  I am old, uncoordinated and a terrible ball player.   Yesterday afternoon, playing left field for the Coffee Bank Rangers against the Japanese Musharks in Wuxi, China Softball, I embarrassed myself by misplaying a routine fly ball.  And to add injury to my humiliation, I injured myself.  Yes, a fly ball hit directly at me struck me in the face.  I have no suitable excuse other than saying I was boneheaded.  I may have been backpedalling when the ball was coming, but even then I should have known to move my face out of the way.  Being hypnotized by the oncoming ball is not an excuse either.

After being hit, my first concern was my teeth.  I felt pain in my right upper jaw.  But there was no blood and I didn't spit out teeth.  In the evening, I ate something and felt a jolt of pain on the right side of my face .  I have a red mark on my cheek this morning and a story to tell.  Someone told me that I should play bleacher-field next time.

But other than that I had fun.  Kudos to my friend, the King of Wuxi for organizing it. 

Here is the video of me being interviewed after the injury.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The World's Best Chinese Food.

From the Wall Street Journal.

Also, here is the latest Tony (my son) update uploaded to Youtube.

 

Busy Day

This will be a blog posting written in haste.

Yesterday, we went to the new apartment.  Rare readers can watch this video below to see what was happening there.

 

Yesterday evening, I went to the pub.  I was pleased to see that all the Americans, who I asked about their election, tell me that they were supporting McCain.  Larry, one of Wuxi's most famous expats, told me McCain will win in a landslide.

Today, I will be going to the hospital with the wife as we both need checkups, playing softball with the King of Wuxi and then having dinner with the Duke of Wuxi.

This week, the wife, the mother-in-law and the Toner will go to Beixing, Jiangsu.  I will pick them up on Saturday.  So, I will have four days by myself in Wuxi.  I plan to do some serious blogging and sort my DVD collection (in preparation for our June 16 move to the new apartment).  I won't be a bachelor.

 

Friday, May 9, 2008

Galaxy Balls

I couldn't get to sleep last night so I played a game on my mobile phone.  I am proud to say I got my second highest score ever on Galaxy Balls.

Today, the Kaulins family is going to the new apartment.  The wife's plan is for me to move some little things there from the old.  I plan to christen our new T.V. with my Lawrence of Arabia DVD.

The King of Wuxi has told me he has found an offline editor he can use for www.wuxiguide.net and www.akic.wuxiguide.net (be sure to vote in the poll!).  I know-tow to his magnificence (you should also vote for the King this fall. I am enthralled with his terrific totalitarianism or you could say his awesome authoritarianism.)

I make the Toner happy in the morning by giving him some wa-wa.

I am downloading podcasts from I-tunes onto my phone.  Now I can listen to something resembling radio all the time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sexism Again, Again.

These days, accessing my actual blogspot site is a chore.  It is on again being blocked in my neck of the Chinese woods.  I publish to the site using this online editor.  I know of comments on this blog because I receive email alerts about them.  Here is the comment that rare reader Danny has left on my Sexism Again posting:

 

Let me state for the record first and foremost: I have no problem saying man (as a verb) or chairman. I use them myself, so I'm not arguing that anyone who does use them is wrong. But I can't let you get away with an argument this absurd.

You don't see any distinction between staff/chair and personager? Please tell me you're playing dumb on purpose, because I don't want to contemplate the alternative.

Take your example of "fisher" -- it isn't new-fangled at all. A quick look shows that fisher has been in the English language since the 15th century, and I'm sure if I had access to a better dictionary, I could find older citations than that. Is it so terrible that the Canadian media is using a word that's been in the language for over 550 years? How is that as ridiculous as personager? Who is the one debasing language for political ends?

Incidentally, I should have linked to this in the last comment. I hope you can access Sino-Platonic Papers, because it had a fascinating article on sexism in Chinese, available as this pdf:

http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp074_Chinese_sexism.pdf

It's definitely worth a read, and it made me realize that there's a lot more to it than I thought. (I'd figured that when I came up with my list of all the negative characters that had "女," it was just a meaningless exercise for my amusement, but it turns out that I missed so much of it.)

I understand  your about using "manager" or "personager" although most of my Chinese students don't think too much about the origins of English words.  The "man" in manager or manual looks like the male word for the male of the human species.  I actually take the list of words from the article I cited, adding in manager to emphasize the point that the article wishes to make.  If "Language articulates consciousness" as that article suggests than of course I am right to use the example of personager.  Most people see "man" in manager.  I have heard of some feminists actually referring to themselves as womyn, changing the letter "a" or "e" to blot all traces of man in the word. 

The students have all thought that the distinctions made in the article were unimportant.  As I do since I satirize the need to change words according to one's political agenda.  The change from Fisherman to Fisher was noticeable especially since I lived in a coastal Canadian province where the fishing industry was very important.  People there complained because the change was deliberate and imposed by what they saw as the forces of P.C.  That is was an old word does legitimatize it being brought back.  The use of Fisher I would suspect originally fell out of fashion because it was ugly.  The adoption of Fisherman I don't think was part of a concerted plot of men to keep women down. 

Correction!

Something I said in the previous entry is simply not true.  I would have edited the entry but the site is blocked and though I could get to the site via proxy, it would take too long with my slow Chinese internet connection.  Also, I am lazy and I have the Toner around preventing my full concentration on what I type.

Here is the correction:

Correction:  What I just said (in the previous post) is not true at all.  My wife now tells me that you only have to wear red underwear for the first 24 hours of the Spring Festival if you are 12, 24, 36 and so on.  It would be crazy, she now tells me to wear red underwear the whole year. 

Damn!  If only it was true!  It would make looking at people's laundry and underwear more edifying.

Friday!

I have a blank screen staring me in the face.  Let's see what I can type.

For the second morning in a row, it is wet outside.  Today, I don't mind because I am scheduled to do an outdoor Olympic English event this evening (at my apartment complex on Wu Ai road, actually).  I wouldn't mind if it was canceled.

Yesterday, my wife was out at the new apartment till nearly eight o'clock because of a hole being too small and workers not wanting to do a job properly.  The washing machine is in the kitchen under a counter.  The washing machine my wife purchased is loaded from the front (instead of the top).  The plug-in and tap are  directly above the machine and the counter.  So we need to have a hole in the counter for a hose and electrical cord to run to the machine.  When workers installed the washing machine, we learned that the hole was too small and then the wife called in other workers to fix it.  So yesterday, they enlarged the hole  but  the work was ugly-looking, forcing my wife to insist that they do it properly.  And she had to fight them before they would do it.  So, what I have been told about apartment decoration is true.  The workers will do as little as possible, mediocrely as possible if you are not vigilant. 

The Toner was awake at 530 AM this morning.  Why?  I have no idea.  I look forward to a time when I have to kick his ass to get him out of bed.  It is the early-to-rise that lead.

What does 3.14 mean to you?  To me, it means the number "pi" that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius (or do I mean diameter?).  Yesterday afternoon, I did a speaker's corner about numbers and what they mean to us:  For example, in China, four means death; to me, four means Bobby Orr, one of the greatest hockey players of all time.  When I put the number 3.14 on the board, I expected at least one student to tell me about pi.  What instead happened was that all students talked about Tibet.  The riots this year took place on March 14.  I lamented that I didn't want to talk about Tibet but the topic came up anyway.  So it seems that 3.14 was China's version of 9.11.  One student then mistakenly said that 3.14 was Valentine's day.  I said what about pi, and they went "oh!".

I also learned, in that Speaker's corner, that is traditional for Chinese in their animal years (that is when they are 12, 24, 36,...) to wear red underwear for the whole year.  So the next time, Wuxi Expat, you see a bar girl you may be able to deduce her age by looking at her underpants.  If you are married to a Chinese women, she will make you wear red underwear when you are 36, 48, 60, 72, 84...  And you will learn something about the occupants of an apartment when you see their laundry hanging.

There really isn't much I can say about the U.S. presidential election that hasn't already been said.  My opinion is that the three remaining candidates in the race are mediocre.  I think less and less of Obama by the hour.  He is now as divisive a figure as Bill Clinton was and may soon become more so because of the identity politics element that he mistakenly promised to transcend.  This has been said ad nauseam on the corners of the blogosphere I inhabit.  But I did read of a new way to describe Obama in this Evan Sayet essay that I am sure to become fashionable about right-wingers like me:

But Barry (Barrack) ... had a plan. He would run as the Seinfeld candidate — the candidate about nothing. He’d use meaningless bromides that would soothe the one side but not offend the other. His speeches would be packed with empty words like “hope” and “change,” knowing that what each side hoped for and the change they envisioned would be diametrically opposed, but neither side would know which one he meant.

Barack is the Seinfeld Candidate.

Wuxi Tony Update #89

Tony is fed by his grandmother and shows the full range of his emotions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sexism Again.

A rare reader (Danny who taught at our school a few years ago)left a comment on my posting about Sexism.  Because, this site is being blocked in China (I have an offline editor that still lets me publish to it), I can't reply to him in the proper place.  Here is what he said:

 

Uh, "manager" ultimately comes from the Latin "manus," meaning hand. It has nothing to do with man. So what the hell are you talking about with "personager"? As far as I can tell, you invented that in order to ridicule some opponent that doesn't actually exist, or perhaps you listed it from a satire that does the same thing. I suppose I should congratulate you on vanquishing this non-existent opponent. Well done!

Anyway, when I taught that class, in addition to using some magazine pictures, I also asked students to compare 安 and 男. If you really follow all the different words that have "女" in it, there really are a lot of sexist etymologies in Chinese.

 

Here is my reply: 

The personager was a ridiculing of an actual phenomenon which you can find here.  I believe this site is legitimate.  I have used many of its examples in class as well as my invention 'personager".  And I know for a fact that in British Columbia, Canada, you will hear the media use the awkward sounding word "fisher" instead of "fisherman"  (you can see this in the article linked) which is as ridiculous as my invention of personager, at least to my thinking anyway.  

The debasing of the language for political purposes is a real phenomenon.

I have had a few students tell me about some examples of "sexist" etymologies in Chinese but not as many as I would like to get some conversation going.

Wuxi Tony Update #87

Tony screams while listening to a duet of Ella and Frank Sinatra.

Sexism

Sexism and Advertising is one of the topics for an intermediate level conversation class we do.  I find it ridiculous to have to try to teach our language fetishes to the Chinese.  Some students think I am talking about sexiness and the idea of gender inequality never occurs to them.  If they do understand, the students all say that China was more sexist a hundred years ago.  The idea that imposed gender roles by a patriarchal society seems absurd to them, as does my demonstration of alleged sexist English words (I tell them that "manager" should be replaced by "personager").

So when I do the class, I talk about advertising first and if I have time, I brooch the topic of Sexism and Racism.

Last night, I showed the students magazine ads and asked them if they thought it was "sexist" or "sexy".  An ad that showed a G-string was deemed sexist by a male student because it seemed to say that only women could wear G-strings.  Or so I understood him to say...

China has the tastiest Cigarettes.

The Wall Street Journal says something good about China.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

China's next generation

From the Los Angeles Times:  China's next-generation nationalists.

Electric Bicycle. Natural Law.

Our new apartment is a long way from downtown Wuxi and so, transportation will be a problem for me.  The buses don't run in the evenings when I am working.  The subway, if it is built, will not be in operation for three years.  Taxis rarely come out into the area of the apartment.  And I can't afford a car so I will have to buy an electric bicycle.

I have been canvassing for information and opinions from students and staff at work about "scooters", and have heard some disturbing things.  Some think I live too far out even for an electric bicycle.  Some have told me it would take 2 hours to get to work by scooter - that is how far out we live. I have been told about how heavy the batteries for these bicycles are: 80 pounds!  It is not easy to carry that weight up three flights of stairs.  I have had different opinions about when I should recharge the battery.  Some have told me I should let the battery completely die before recharging because after a while a battery memory kicks in.  This would mean less storage capacity for the battery.  Another line of thought says to always top the battery up.  I prefer the latter because with the distance I will have to travel, I can't afford to have the battery die halfway through my commute and ultimately, it restricts my freedom of movement.  And of course I heard many, many stories about thieves.  Some people will deliberately deface their brand-new scooter in order to not let it stand out to thieves but apparently that does not even stop them.

But the area we live in is nice and the subway may come out there.   

 

I tried talking about Natural Law and Morality with the students in my English Corner last night.  Some of them seemed to understand the concepts I was discussing.  They all said they didn't believe in natural law or at least they said western and Chinese moralities were not the same. 

Where did the students get their morality from?  Many said they got it from their parents.

Our School has a golf course!




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Monday, May 5, 2008

The Toner at Ling Shan


The Big Buddha is at Ling Shan, not Ma Shan as I previously stated. I was able to get the photo scanned at the school and now I can show it to you.
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The Toner at the Big Buddha.

To see things through a child's eye is to see them anew.  That is why I regret not being able to accompany my wife and Tony to the Ma Shan Big Buddha in Wuxi, China yesterday.

For one thing, my wife forgot to bring our camera to Ma Shan yesterday so I regret (maybe you don't) that I won't have many photos to show you (my wife did have one photo taken by an on-site photographer which I will have scanned at work).

Tony was apparently impressed by the water fountain show.  My wife said he was screaming at the sight of the water "falling".

As for the Big Buddha itself, the wife said he seemed curious about staring at it all the while.

 

While Tony was gazing at the Buddha, I was told a couple of interesting tidbits of information by my students.  One student told me that in Shanghai they call left turns in traffic "big turns" and right turns "small turns" presumably because the differences in dialects mean that the local taxi drivers don't understand visitors when they say left or right.  Another student told me tales of Chinese students bringing beer to school in their back packs so they could have one for lunch.  Two would be a better idea, insisted yet another student, because if the teacher caught you, you could offer one to the teacher and everything would be alright.

 

It seems that Blogspot is again blocked in Wuxi and maybe China.  Anytime I can access it, I am surprised. 

 

The Tibet issue is a no go issue with the students.  The ones who are interested get very excited and say the most outlandish things.  There is no way you say anything about it because you worry about the consequences.  Lord knows what people will do when their "feelings are hurt".

 

There are less than 100 days till the Olympics.  I can hardly wait till they are over and done with.  I find the Olympics boring anyway and the controversy surrounding these ones creates an atmosphere of eerie foreboding.