Saturday, February 28, 2009
A poll of four business class students showed they all supported what ever President Oprah was doing about the economy. There was no point in arguing - none of them would have understood.
To teach English, the students must be made to understand that they have to work at it and develop good study and speaking habits. Discipline! Discipline! Discipline! A teacher won't do anything to get them to improve till they do this. They can have fun learning if they want. But the fun would be so much better if it had a structure and a purpose, not a hairy-fairy wish that the mere act of talking will somehow magically make them better English speakers.
Furthermore, grammar is important. It is part of the structure and discipline of learning a language. And strangely enough the structure can improve one's imagination. Which is also important in using the language to best communicate.
Weather wise (this is an indication that I have nothing to blog about), it is still cold and wet in Wuxi. I would like to take my bike to school again but it looks like I will have to wait.
Now, I got the book. All I need is to get me a gun. Although, being China, the people I need to fight are few and far between. I really am disinterested in what happens here. It is only for me to observe and comment on. I have no illusions of changing things.
Speaking of Morrissey, I did pull out a DVD of videos from his solo career that I happen to have. I watched and listened to it with Tony for about four songs. Tony was interested enough that he sat in my arms and didn't budge an inch. I hope he doesn't think that the man in the videos was his father in his younger days and that his father was somehow poncey. I watched enough videos to see his silly leftism shine through. "We won't vote Conservative because we never have!" A rhetorical victory in song there......not!
This link spoke to me about my life. The culture of political niceness has made British classrooms into disorderly torture chambers where no one learns anything, especially how to behave. But trying to be nice, authority has vanished and anarchy reigns. It seems you can't get some people to do even the smallest, you would think, reasonable civilized act except by pounding them over the head with a baseball bat or kicking them in the ass. It a lesson that life keeps slapping me in the face with whether it has been with roommates or co-workers or any other acquaintances. Most people don't play nice. And it is usually the worst of people who will insist most on niceness. Niceness is a sham. One lesson I hope I can impart to Tony is never ever be a position where people think you are a nice guy. Better to be called all the names in the book because you are like General Patton or an old-school Sergeant-Major.
Check out this link.
Friday, February 27, 2009
They are both morose little-Englanders in their own way says the article. In my time, I have found moroseness an attractive trait.
But, my readings of late and my conservative/libertarian leanings have seen me drift away from Morrissey. He tried to promote animal rights in one of his video. Also, I didn't bring the Larkin poetry anthology to China - he didn't make the cut.
Still, there is something to be said for Morrissey and Larkin. Morrissey, despite differing so much from me, is an attractive figure. He has made interesting videos and songs. Some I can still sing by heart. Larkin famously said sex only “began,” famously, “between the end of the Chatterley ban / And the Beatles’ first LP.”
When I go home tonight, I may pull out the Smiths and Morrissey DVDs I have. I can find Larkin on the 'net, surely.
The key to taking photos is patience. In China, something will appear that needs recording.
Could I say Economics is a social science? Keeping in mind what Hayek said about the word "social" being a weasel word, and someone rightly pointing out that the world "social" negates the word it is modifying (social justice is thus non-justice; social policy is non-policy), you could very well say Economics is a non-science. But I hesitate to use the word "social" with economics because economics is a useful field of study.
This Obama man, name of Holder, said this: Simply put, to get to the heart of this country (America) one must examine its racial soul. I am not sure what he means by "racial soul". Souls are things that separate from our bodies at death. Souls transcend the idea of race, because they are eternal and leave this silly world of politics, while the bodies we have, whatever skin color, are transient. So how can souls be racial? It is like saying souls are fat or thin or bandy-legged. But. Whatever. It is a thought that struck me as good enough to provide content for this blog.
I wonder what one has to do to get to the heart of China. Examine its _____ soul? The Americans of the left-wing variety must think America is the only country in the world.
Tony was his regular cute self tonight. But wearing the housecoat, he looked extraordinary. So, I had to take some photos (and video). It was difficult to get him to stand still for a full frontal view. You notice I can only get shots of him from above and behind.
My wife wants him to learn Kung Fu and Karate but that is another story.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I then read this article written by the famous Economist John Maynard Keynes on the Great Slump of 1930 where he said Economics was almost a science. (Incidentally, I found the Keynes piece at Project Gutenberg Canada.)
So what is a science? I can remember this definition of where one tested hypothesises. Now, Economists don't have labs to conduct policy experiments. So on that simple premise, I would have to say Economics can't be considered a science.
So what it is? It is a legitimate field of study. But because it is not able to conduct experiments and it is a study of very complex phenomena which are everywhere and yet unseen, it will always give charlatans opportunities to spout on matters of which they have no knowledge. Maybe, guys like me.
I suppose Economics to be like a documentary film, which purports to show real life, but is in fact almost always a case of the observer affecting the observed and so the observation, or the prediction of what will happen having an effect on what does happen so that the prediction negates itself.
I plan on watching a portion of Oz this afternoon when I prepare for tomorrow's movie class. I will be showing the adventures of Dorothy, Toto, and the three after they arrive at the Emerald City.
Temperature wise, it is still cold in the apartment. I still turn on the heat lamps when I take a shower.
Talking about neighbours in an English Corner, the responses from many of the students was along the line of that they worked all day, went home in the evening, closed the door, and had nothing to do with their neighbours.
Reading so much on the Internet about the passing political scene, it is hard for me to make any comments. All that can be said probably has. There is not much I can add from my corner of the world, or I should say the corner of the world I am at.
But are we? Students tonight told me that the rain we have been having is very unusual, not normal as it were, meaning the current rain is not seasonal.
And in the four years I have been in Wuxi, I haven't picked on any seasonal pattern.
As I make this blog entry, I am in the doghouse it would appear with the wife. At least, I think I am. There is there terrifying air of silence I am nervous to break by asking her if anything is the matter.
Is the fact that she hasn't made me supper a clue?
It all stems from the Tony getting a shiner incident I made mention of in a recent entry.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
What was this bus doing parked at the corner of Zhongshan and Xueqian Roads? The police are apparently running a traffic rule awareness program.
When I went into the McDonald's that the bus was parked in front of, I could observe the police rounding up cyclists, who may have performed a misdeed, into the bus. In the bus, there was a video screen showing real traffic accidents.
Kids can be more resilient than their parents about these things.
I watched the film to see what it was like so many years ago in China. The film was both fascinating and dull for me. I fast forwarded through some parts. But then the film had some images that left an impression in my memory:
- There was a woman hobbled by the old custom of foot-binding.
- A shy young woman chews on a piece of paper.
- A man does Tai Chi while riding a bicycle.
- A open-backed truck carrying forty Red Guards (people in Mao Suits).
- A work gang marching to a field.
The film left me with a "been there, done that" feeling as well. The camera man took film of many of the same things I have taken in my four years in China:
- A area full of an endless number of bicycles.
- A huge mass of people on the move.
- The narrow pathways of a city neighborhood.
- The open air markets full of live fish.
- A museum diorama showing China's past
The first part of the film was taken in Beijing. I recalled my honeymoon. But the Beijing I saw, had more cars and less Mao Suits.
- The film showed People in Mao Suits at the Great Wall.
- Tourists visiting the palace of heaven where you can see Jenny and Me on this web page's side panel.
- The Forbidden Palace.
- In Tienanmen Square, you could see giant portraits of Lenin, Engels, and Stalin.
The film makers were never with supervision so some of what they shot was obviously staged. So, the collective scenes were depressing to watch. While they are not so prevalent today, a hint of what they were like can still be seen today.
So, what struck me about this film was how much I have become familiar with about China.
The second part of the film sees the film makers to Henan and the countryside. Who knows when I will be able to watch that part.
Anyway, I did elicit a few laughs from El Hombre Petito. Holding my Tony in my arms, I saw my wife's lovely bum. And I said to Tony: "watch this!". I pinched her bum and laughed diabolically. Tony joined in the laughter. I pinched my wife's bum again and laughed like a naughty little boy. Tony laughed even louder. I then pressed an index finger to the same area and laughed even more outlandishly. Tony giggled likewise and then imitated my actions.
Between spanking and yelling, we can have good fun together, father and son and mother.
However my fourth attempt to pinched my wife's bum resulted in my wife slapping me on the face. I turned sullen while Tony continued to laugh. Actually, this part is fiction but would have made for good blogging if it had happened.)
I had this inkling of something unpleasant happening today. Later in the day, it did. I will have to stop thinking.
Nobody messes with Joe. Not even Oprah!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Meanwhile, in the U.N., President Oprah is trying to put together another Coalition of the Willing to deal with the WMD problem in the K household. Said Obama: "Forget this stuff about Islamic Terrorism, the real threat to the civilized world is named Anthony Arnis Peng Kaulins."
In other news, President Oprah says he now thinks his stimulus package was a boneheaded move, and will try to have it nullified.
The students got a kick out of this article's headline that I have linked and printed.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I knew it was going to happen, but now it is official. February 2009 will be the best month for visits and page views on AKIC blogspot. I want to thank all rare readers, whether they questioned my sanity or gave me advice, for coming here.
I just received a Google alert telling me that the second World Buddhist Forum will open in Wuxi on March 28th. Unfortunately, the link on the alert isn't working for me. Maybe, it will work for you. Wuxi, I gather, will be one of the co-hosts.
"Honey! Did you see....."
"I know, the little bugger was also standing on the table and turning off the television all day!"
I wonder what Oprah would do in a situation like this.
I bet she would write Tony a letter.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I had a student take me to lunch today which was nice.
More about Tony's 18th here.
Today's English Corner Topic: Mystery.
If I can get through the next two days, I can make it to Wednesday, which is my day off.
Tony has awoken. He is in a cheery mood. I have given him something to drink which will occupy him for a little while. Just long enough for me to finish this entry.
Outside, the sun is breaking through the clouds. It looks like today won't see a repeat of yesterday's non-stop rain.
Tony has this terrible habit of standing on the table in front of the flat-screen t.v. and sticking his hands on its' screen. My repeatedly spanking him after he repeatedly does this is not working. He argues back mockingly. He doesn't seem at all phased most of the time. Maybe, I am not hitting him hard enough.
Blogging of Tony, he will be officially 18 months old Monday. Congratulations to Jenny on keeping her sanity. I lost my sanity years ago with no expectation of ever gaining it back. Thankfully, mental numbness instead of insanity is serving as a replacement.
Les Dingle tells me that the Blue Bar will hold a charitable event for children next Saturday night. I suggest you attend. Be sure to bring things kids can use. If you bring enough, you will get free Tiger Beer.
I have been listening to G. Gordon Liddy podcasts this weekend. I read somewhere that Gordon is 79 years old. May he live till he is a hundred. He correctly points out that if you don't want to improve a situation, get the government to try to improve it.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
It rained heavily last night. My wife told me that there was even thunder. I was in bed listening to some freshly downloaded podcasts on my mobile phone so I didn't hear the thunder but I did hear the heavy patter of rain on the outside walls of our apartment building.
Today, I have four classes to teach and planning to do for tomorrow. I should be able to download the latest WTU during that time.
I like to thank rare reader Susan for her kind words. I do believe I have a beautiful wife and son. I hope I can provide them with a good life in these perilous times.
My father sends me this link for a Chinese woman who had a cultural display in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
- The Ex-President's Wife is in Beijing. She has got herself a new gig as U.S. Secretary of State. I wonder if she can lie as good to the Chinese as she has to everyone in America. I also wonder if she will buy some fake Gucci pant suits while she is there.
- If you told me twenty years ago that I would be riding public transportation in China reading a sex scene in an Ayn Rand novel, I probably would have said "you just never know." Anyway, that is what I did today. In a country that seems sexless in spite of the fact that it has so many people, I think they would try to imitate the sterility of a Ayn Rand love scene.
- Don't get me wrong. I like reading Ayn Rand. She writes an entertaining novel. She is bang on about Socialist and their mindset. But she has her blind spots. She writes like an socially awkward person. She is all wrong all the nature of the human spirit. I always want to emulate her characters even though I know it is an infantile urge to do so. If there isn't a God, her characters like Dagny Traggart are how we should be.
- Incidentally, Ayn Rand is following me on Twitter.
- Looking down a long straight street from the bus this morning, I saw the staff of a hair salon dancing on the street in front of their shop before starting their shift. It is a management technique that wouldn't fly in North America. Mind you, here they dance with a sense of listlessness, but never a sense of embarrassment that would happen if any North American manager tried to do that to their staff.
- I saw a car with an image of Che Guevera on its door. I have seen cars with Snoopy and Hello Kitty designs but never Che, till today. The irony is that no one in Cuba drives a car that is as nice as the Che car I saw today.
- I haven't seen an image of Che since I heard about President Oprah's campaign offices having one.
- I bought a new DVD today for my son. But, Tony was not at all interested in Walt Disney's Fantasia. I found I had to fast forward through parts. The Wizard of Oz is still Tony's favorite. The wife thinks I bought Fantasia for myself - I did'nt.
- I thought I was seeing things when I read that President Oprah had nixed a plan to tax motorists based on the miles they drive instead of the gas they used. But it is true. Such an idea is so stupid and draconian that one has to wonder how such an idea would even come so close to the President for consideration. To monitor people's mileage would be such an onerous task that even the most rabid big government types would have to adopt some common sense and reject the idea out of hand. I suspect that Obama was trying to provide a lame sop for Republicans in his naive belief that he can transcend partisanship. I could even see him saying "I no totalitarian. I nixed the mileage tax idea."
Friday, February 20, 2009
On Wednesday, I walked into the Parkson's on the corner of Zhong Shan and Renmin Roads, and I saw a lot of shop clerks standing around. The tally if I had bothered to count would probably have been clerks 50, customers 30. I don't think I have seen that store so dead before. But it was a Wednesday afternoon.
That is the only sight of the recession I have seen with my own eyes. Otherwise, I have been told anecdotes by people.
I always ask Simon if his baby daughter Amy is walking yet. He tells me "She is getting there."
What do I have to look forward to tomorrow? The continuing rapid progress of Tony who my wife tells me can really shake his hips and bottom when he dances; Showing 30 minutes of the Wizard of Oz to students; making A lesson in Wuxi Hua 3; The latest installment of Radio Derb; and a trip to a DVD shop.
In this video, I chide Josie for not wanting to take part in this historically important Youtube series. But Ida does an excellent job. I put her in the stalwart class with Lisa of Wuxi Hua lesson #1.
It is going to be awful tough to learn a language (or dialect) where you can't pronounce "I" very clearly.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
As soon as we got off the bus downtown, Tony espied a cheap coin-operated kid's ride in front of an infant store. He pointed me to it. The ride set me back one rmb.
Jenny agreed to let me at at the Muslim Restaurant near the Mosque in downtown Wuxi. A day there where the food is great is heaven for me.
It puts me in a good mood for work where I am right now.
Josie is shy about doing these Wuxihua or Wuxi Hua lessons. But that is okay. I have many other girls who would be happy to have the gig of Wuxi Hua teacher on the Wuxi Andis Youtube Channel and AKIC blog network.
Harry tells me that a policeman was selling him tickets to the Policeman's ball. Harry bought a hundred till he realized it wasn't a raffle....
Tomorrow, I will show another thirty minutes of the Wizard of Oz movie to students.
I took this video friday morning. I again try to speak some mandarin. I would appreciate a critqiue from any fluent Mandarin speakers out there.
Josie did not want to make history. So I relied on my old stalwart Lisa to change the epoch, shift paradigms, and undermine all the assumptions of conventional wisdom.
Today, she teaches me and you to say Hello, Good Bye, and Thank You in Wuxi Hua, the local dialect of Wuxi, China.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Now, if only Josie would end her class. I will ask her to be the first hostess of this historical new YouTube series.
There is some sort of international winter sports festival taking place in Harbin. I saw highlights of the opening ceremony which included a curler being used for the lighting of the flame ceremony. Now the curler didn't huck a flaming rock into a cauldron or run around the stadium with a lighted broom. What the curler did do was throw (slide) a rock down the ice toward a target. Hitting the target with the rock caused a spark to fly along a wire toward where ever the festival's flame was to burn. The spark ignited the flame.
But this is not to say that there weren't some pleasant experiences earlier in the day, for there were. At Mengzhidao Computer Market on Renmin Road I was able to get a new card reader for my digital camera and mobile phone memory cards for just 15 rmb. I was expecting to pay thirty so I was quick to agree to the price. (Some wisenheimer will tell me I could have got it for less. Stick it! I say to them.)
Tony accompanied me to the computer market. While he can walk. He often wants to be carried.
We then went to the Xinhua book store. There are English volumes to be had at the store that are worth reading but I have to get through the 1,000 pages of Atlas Shrugged before I even consider buying another book. I did meet a couple of older Chinese gentlemen who wanted to practice their English on me. I obliged because to find people who can speak English here over the age of sixty is very unusual. The questions I would ask if I could meet more of them. One of the gentlemen I met today told me that he was practicing his English to stop Alzheimer's from setting in. A good idea. The gentleman at first did not pronounce "Alzheimer's" correctly till his description clued me in.
When they asked me about my Chinese speaking abilities, I did utter a few Mandarin phrases telling them I could speak a little English, that my wife was a lousy teacher, and my pronunciation was bad. But one old gent did understand what I said and complimented me on my pronunciation. Pronunciation is not consistent among the Chinese so it sometimes happens that my pronunciation is recognized. (Unfortunately, my wife is not one of these people) So, I will say something in Chinese and then grasp in anticipation of a look of understanding or misunderstanding.
Tony fell asleep in my arms at the Book Store. Xinhua has no seats anywhere because it would encourage loiterers. But, I really could have used a chair then because Tony started to weigh a ton. I got Tony out of the bookstore and walked to Parkson's where the day went to seed.....
Here is an editorial about the Wuxi girl who tried to save her father's life.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
- Chinese Layoff: This gives new meaning to layoff.
- I bought and watched the film The Dark Knight yesterday. I had seen that NRO included it in in its top 25 conservative movies of the last 25 years list. Now I have said, to people who cared or didn't, that I generally don't like movies based on comic books. The fact that this movie was rated highly by conservatives doesn't change my opinion - comic book movies are boring. And while I will say that the Dark Knight is perhaps the best comic book movie I have seen, it doesn't strike me at all as a classic movie. People who read comic books are chided for avoiding reality, and for good reasons. Life is not a series of set pieces - it is lived continuously. Movies are about the interesting parts of life and too are connected together by set pieces. But, Comic books put together with films make this set-piece tendency of film too much. Films are rightly called ephemeral because they provide thrills without any sustaining nourishment. Comic Book movies are even more so.
- I also have to say that it is a stretch to say that in the Dark Knight is about a George Bush character fighting evil against the sway of public opinion. When I watched the film last night, I had this characterization in mind and it seemed to be that the film alluding to the Batman being unpopular was a small aspect of the film - not its' major focus. The Joker was the compelling part of the Dark Knight. I would have called the film: The Joker versus Batman.
This came up tonight when I was doing an English Corner on the topic of lies. I first asked the students to tell me lies. Several told me the weather was fine when it was raining. Then another student told me I was handsome - he obviously did not know what lie meant. Ending that line of thought, I asked the students what made a good lie. They thought of a good lie as what I thought of as a white lie. What I hoped they would say was that a good lie was one that was believable. I later asked the question of what was the biggest lie they ever told. Some of the students said they never told lies but were lied to like the one student whose parents, he said, lied to him about where babies came from.
To get the students to tell me an anecdote, I often tell one of my own as for an example. I told them tonight about an incident where I lied when I was in living in Quebec in the 1970s. At the time, we lived on a hill in a subdivision that was being built. Higher up the hill or up the street from where we lived, a lot's basement had been dug in. It had rained recently so the hole was filled with water. At the front of the lot an earthen dam, about ten feet high, kept the water in the hole. I was wandering around the lot and decided to put a little breach in the dam to let the water out. Thinking nothing of it, I went back to my home. Not twenty minutes later, a mud slide went down the street in front of my house continuing down to interrupt a street hockey game. The players all ran to the lot to see what had happened. I joined them not telling them that I was responsible instead telling a story of seeing some other child playing there. None of the students could top my story. Though two did tell me about lying about their marital status and age in matters of romance.
It was raining tonight in Wuxi, so I went home by bus and then motorcycle taxi.
It is shaping up that February will be this blog's best month ever which is good considering that it is only 28 days long. So keep reading and checking out pages and I promise I will keep writing and showing you vids of Tony the great.
On the bus ride into work today, they showed President Hu visiting Africa.
The Shanghaiist is now following me on Twitter. You should too.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Another bus I sometimes take is the #610. The problem with it is that it is twice the price of the #25 and doesn't stop near the school - I have to walk briskly for ten or fifteen minutes after deboarding to get to school. But, it is often empty when it comes to my stop and so I can sit and I need the exercise.
Today, I employed the #610 option. I am not sure where it goes past a certain point so today I decided to go a few more stops and find out. It turns out that it stops near our two previous apartments. Being in the old neighborhood, I saw the changes that had taken place in a year. There were new restaurants and the section of Renmin Road near the computer market has been renovated - it now has traffic barriers and new pavement.
Of course all this work looks like the local government trying to stimulate the economy through public works. Whether it works over the next few years remains to be seen. I keep reading that the Chinese economy is going down and so it looks like all this building is a sign of desperation.
My spoken Chinese is not as good as it should be.
She answered and told me that Tony had somehow managed to ring me up on her phone. Tony, like many infants, is fascinated by mobile phones and loves to play with their buttons. He has on previous occasions rung up Jenny's mother and me.
When I got home this evening, I asked Jenny about the phone call. She reconfirmed that Tony had phoned me unbeknownst to her, and that he had handed the phone to her. I assume that he did so because I told him to.
The clerks at Kedi, Wuxi's version of 7-11, taught me some words in Wuxi dialect. I will try to learn these words by heart but it will take me a few days to get the sounds and tones right. My Chinese is not as good as it should be and I must change this. With the world going to pot, I got to keep myself busy.
There wasn't enough light to make this video. You may be able to see the back of some seats and some heads. You can hear me to talking to a student who happens to live out Yangqiao way like I do.
She told me of another way I could get home in the evening that is cheaper than the motorcycle taxi option I have been using the past few weeks.
What she does is catch a inter-city bus by the bus station near the Baoli mall. The bus she catches there goes to Jiangying and stops in Yangqiao on the way for 5 rmb - a 10 rmb saving on the motorcycle taxi. I have ridden these type of buses in Yangqiao, Changzhou, and Yixing. They are cheap but annoyingly slow. They will stop anywhere and can be flagged down at anytime. They leave the first stop when they have enough passengers. They will fill themselves over legal capacity.
The bus tonight left late and so I arrived home later than when taking my other options - my electric bike or the motorcycle taxi. When I was left off, I had a ten minute walk home. Because I arrived home late, the wife was displeased. She wasn't even impressed by the 10 rmb saving. So I doubt if I will be taking that the bus again.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Apparently, Professor Higgins' teaching methods were not a problem to them. It may well be what they want education to do to them.
There is a scene in the movie where Eliza Doolittle, the common girl, first circulates among the upper crusties after being coached what to say that the students found very funny and confusing. The bits where Eliza says "How do you do?" in a upper-class accent elicited laughter. The time she says "the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain" when talking about the weather got the biggest laughs. However, her falling in the vernacular of the peasantry when talking about an aunt that maybe died of influenza or was done in, which I thought was very funny, was greeted with silence.
As well, Audrey Hepburn's star power in China is great. Many of the students gave the movie a five star excellent rating because she was in it. Roman Holiday is a perennial favorite Hollywood film among the students. In fact, there is a hotel and spa in Wuxi that uses the Roman Holiday motif - The Roman Holiday Inn.
- Yesterday, I passed the #3 Hospital where the drama, involving the girl taking the sleeping pills and the father dying of liver problems, occurred. The hospital, for those of you who are familiar with Wuxi is down the road from the train station. I received a letter from a reader thanking me for providing a link to the story in this blog. He mentioned that the issue of the mother not telling the father of what the daughter had done was an important ethical issue. Kant, he said, would have disapproved. I think of a story I heard of truth being represented by a naked old woman as a reason for it to be covered as a matter of course.
- I appeared on the stage for the TV Show I blogged about last night. The heat from the TV lights was too much. I also recall that last week when I was standing on the stage at the singing gala for which I undeservedly won a second prize with the other contestants, the smell of flatulence filled the air. I wonder how often that happens on Saturday Night Live.
- It is cold in the apartment but I don't need to wear long johns.
- Tony is more mischievous than ever and more rebellious too. Spanking him in hopes of stopping him from his more egregious acts seems to only earn his contempt.
- Sleep is the most precious thing for me these days. I am turning Chinese.
- There is a book out that suggests Stalin welcomed Hitler's invasion of Russia in June 1941 and wasn't at all duped by Hitler as historians have commonly suggested. My first reaction to this theory is that it immediately reminds of the people who suggest that Roosevelt welcomed the Pearl Harbour attack. Why did Stalin welcome the invasion? It was supposedly part of the grand strategy of Leninist Communists that a world war was needed to ignite a world revolution.
- My flash memory card reader has appeared to have bitten the dust. Till I can convince the wife to let me buy a new one, I will have to download my video and photo files by putting my camera in a cradle which I hate to use. I will also have to upload MP3 files to my phone the hard way, using a cable which I am dammed if I know where it is.
Wuxi Primary and High School Students English Speaking Contest & The 3rd Bilingual Education TV Show
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I meet a person who described himself as a Christian - the first one I have encountered in Wuxi and the first since I left Canada. He told me that Wuxi is actually conducting a religious-freedom experiment for China. Other places in China, he told me, have tighter restrictions on going to Church. In Wuxi, you can go to a multi-national service though it is monitored by the authorities. So there is religious freedom here, sort of.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Meanwhile, right beside the shoving match, this car was trying to back into a parking spot. The car was in an alleyway that was packed with people. No one was yielding to the car and so there was a constant parade of people behind the car not permitting it to move. I had no sympathy for the driver because the drivers here think they can trump hundreds of other pedestrians because having a car makes them superior. The driver was nuts to drive in an area with so many pedestrians on a Saturday.
Nanchang Market seemed busier than normal because of the Valentine's Day holiday. The flower sellers were out in force. I saw some heart-shaped balloons that would have been nice for Tony, but by the time I got back from my errand (I bought some magnets for Tony to put on a metal white board we had bought him previously), they must have been sold out. Either that or the seller had moved to another spot.
Actually, the world being fallen, it is good to not been in tune with it at all.
I won't miss out on Valentine's Day but I like symmetry in my blog titles. I made the decision, later seconded by my wife, that Valentine's Day isn't worth celebrating this year. Because it is on a Saturday, we have an extra reason to stay at home. Valentine's Day will thus increase our saving. Valentine's Day is for saps who have to show economic prowess to some suspicious woman.
Every day is Valentine's Day in the K household as well as for rare readers of AKIC. I love you most of you except the fat, lazy, and/or incompetent who have crossed my path. You can fuddle duddle yourselves.
We have this student who has been best classified as a f***wit. He doesn't seem to be interested in English. Apparently, his parents dumped him in our school and not having the imagination to do anything useful, he hangs around the school, gossiping, attending classes and taking up space because he still can make any sentences, and walking around with a dumb grin on his face. You wonder if he is retarded or lazy or both. His presence is proof that some people are best suited for prison and that some people have to be given up on. Efforts to change his ways have yielded nothing. The kick in the ass he deserves will have to come in time when life catches up with him, as it does with everyone else. His interest perks up for the strangest of reason. He is what people would call nosy or a snoop. This afternoon, some people were having a shouting match in the hallway. Not having seen it, I had eye-witness reports that he had come out of his slumber to see what was going on.
I asked some students about the broken windows fallacy that some Economists, not at all, seem to know about. I first asked the students if they thought it was a good idea for the Wuxi government to build a second airport in order to stimulate its local economy. The students said it was a waste of money. One student did say that it would maybe give a small boost to the economy, but it would turn out quickly to be a waste of money. I then asked if the deliberate breaking of a window followed by its subsequent repair was good for the economy. The students, maybe due to a misunderstanding, said it was good. The window repairman would take his earnings and spend it they reasoned. And that spending would boost the economy. I would say that in both instances, the work done was not good for the economy. In the first instance, the second airport is not needed and a diversion from more productive uses of the resources employed. In the second case, the window has been lost and the resources used to repair it have been lost too. The money circulating as a result of the broken window is circulating to be sure but then so does paper shuffle in the wind. And the money spent is for commodities that have already been made and not necessarily for the labour to produce them.
The example of the City of Wuxi government building an unnecessary airport is not a far-fetched example. In the city of Seattle, there are two football stadiums of over 60,000 seat capacities as well as a baseball stadium with a 50,000 seat capacity. Are all these stadiums necessary? I should say not. One football stadium could easily support the city's major professional team and college football team. The baseball stadium, as well, was used to host a world-cup soccer qualifying match when the football stadium would have been the proper location. I also recall that the last time I went to the baseball facility, the stadium was trying to rent itself out for meetings and conventions - a sign that it was not recouping the hundreds of millions of dollars used to construct it. And where did the money come from to build these stadiums? Two of them needed money from the local government.
The city of Seattle is just one example of local governments in America, in the last twenty or so years, building large stadiums in hopes of boosting their economies. Has all this infrastructure building helped the economy? It would appear to have been of little use now. The money used to pay all the workers must have been lured them into buying houses they couldn't afford and rack up large credit card debts. Wasting money is no way to help the economy.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Now what happened was that Tony and I were playing. We were screaming like mad men to drive mom bonkers but Tony was initiating. Mom who was taking a shower at the time decided to make a boo-hoo voice to get me to worrying. Be the loyal husband that I am, I of course became concerned, after a fashion. The boo-hooing had an unreal quality to it though and I found out the wife was faking it playing a trick on me. Traipsing in my what is my area of responsibility, I wonder what had gotten into her.
But there you have it: the wife and son are crazy. I am the sane one.
Singing the lyrics from Back in the U.S.S.R at school today prompted Harry Moore to look up the lyrics for the song on the computer. Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC. Didn't get to bed last night. All the way the paper bag was on my knee. Man, I had a dreadful flight.....
Okay, I haven't got much to say today. It is a day of slim squeezings for me creatively.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I ask because I need to show something romantic this Saturday to my students.
Now it seems like everything in our world is all adrift, unanchored, being
pilfered away by amoral madmen - and I am powerless to do anything, to say
anything. I simply cannot believe this ugly new world is being birthed and I
seem to lack the mental tools to accommodate it.
This has gotten me to thinking.
I have thought a few times that writing this blog is a waste of time. Forty people a day may look at it and many probably take a four second look and type in another URL in their browser.
I have even thought I should give up reading political blogs altogether. But they interest me so. Even if I get classified as a crank for being so.
The world going into the toilet strangely hasn't stirred me as it should. After all, I would be in a world of hurt being out here in China if things went kablooey here. I have fortunately been isolated out in my suburb of Wuxi, away from the mostly amoral expats I know (How I wish I could find one who wasn't but most of them represent what is wrong with the West.). I have my Jenny, Tony, and blog to keep me occupied. It is a small world, but the big world seems too stupid to even contemplate or deal with.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Try to guess which one.
The answer will be in WTU 280.
- Today, I took my electric bike to work for only the second time in the year of the Ox. Rare readers may recall how the first ride of the year of the Bull saw me get a flat tire which lead me to find a easier way to get home that involved taking a bus and a motorcycle taxi. I was inspired by Barry's book "The Audacity of Hope" to stay close to the common people of China and ride my electric bike to work. Barry, by complaining that flying in a private jet separated him from the ordinary folk who have to ride commercial, brought tears to my eyes. His compassion showed him to an ineffably wonderful human being with all the attributes of Jesus Christ. Barry, being the ultra caring man that he is, has probably forgiven the people on his staff who suggested he ride private in the first place. I bet he even doubled their salaries as a way of making them feel better about themselves so that they might become productive.
- On Twitter, I mentioned that I was ironing pants. Someone then asked why my wife Jenny wasn't ironing my pants. Good question. I never thought of that before. I will go ask my wife, the lightweight champion of all of Jiangsu, that question right now..... Not.
- Barry so inspires me that I feel I can walk on water. And walking through some water today, I did feel I was walking on water. But then I realized that I was in a shallow puddle below which was pavement.
- All the Chinese did over the New Year's holiday was eat and sleep. Some felt short-changed on the hongbao (red money envelope) front though.
- Tony knew we were going out. So he pulled his shoes from the shoe shelf by the apartment entrance. He put the shoes on the floor so his mother could put them on.
- If Tony doesn't want to be fed, he will put his arm up in a blocking gesture. He may also try to redirect the food to the attempting feeder's mouth.
- Liberal Democrats don't mind raising tax rates because they don't have to pay them. They also don't seem to mind making people ride public transit because they won't ride it either. I know people like this in Wuxi who wouldn't lower themselves to take a bus but then say we must do something about global warming or the enviroment.
- You can get a glimspe in the private lives of Wuxi people if you take a bike ride. Tonight on my way back home, I saw a couple tussle on a bridge over a canal that stunk. I prefer my personal dramas to take place in nice-smelling areas.
- I wonder how Harry Moore's love life is doing. I hope he finds that special woman.
- It is getting warmer in the Wux. I can't wear a balaclava on my bike ride home.
- I don't think I have any romantic movies in my DVD collection. I notice this because I should be showing the students a Romantic movie on my Saturday, February 14th movie corner. I will consult this list and see if I can find one of the movies tomorrow.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I feel the same way about my day today. So I will revert to random thought mode, in bullit form, which I will refer to as slim squeezings:
- Tony's shoe came off. Something that happens all the time, but not because he wants to throw it at some Chinese dictator or his parents. The shoes come off because he does not wear shoes well. Today, he tried to put the shoe back on for the first time in front of me.
- When I arrived home today. Tony handed me a hand held video game.
- My Chinese wife baked a cake, brilliantly.
- I am reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and The Reader's Digest's Life of Jesus. I found the book about Jesus in our school library. It is a cool anthology with great photos and interesting poetry.
- As I type, men I don't know are making noise with pyrotechnics to scare away evil spirits, but are instead annoying me.
- I am thinking of using twitter as a way of chronicling my fictional conquering of Upper Delinga: Gateway to the Lower Middle Anthonies.
- I have a hankering to see a compilation of all Astaire - Rogers dance routines.
- Ideologues are apparently with no life. Not that I would be one of those. Perish the thought.
- None of the Australians at our school are from the Melbourne area. But they have told me some details about the fires. The tree leaves in the affected area are highly flammable. The temperatures are in the forties. A lot of people like to have their house in the bush. Okay, if you want isolation; but dangerous in time of wildfire. A famous news reader and his wife were killed, I have heard.
- None of the students seemed excited at all about the Lantern Festival. One for example said that she wasn't going to bed early tonight because school was starting tomorrow.
- I had a student tell me that he would take a date to a hotel. The first time any student has ever told me in the four years I have been at the school.
- Obama is as bad as I thought he would be. Not only has he not transcended anything, reality is hitting him harder than ever before in his unproductive life.
- Oh geez. Another of my videos has been blocked because of copyright infringement. Oh well.
- I got nothing else to say.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Many of the students have told me they will stay home tonight as well. One student told me about a plan to buy a niece a lantern at Nanchang market. Other students have told me about this game they play where they have to guess riddles.
I also noticed that the students don't know the English Name for the Lantern Festival. In Chinese, it is called: Yuánxiāojié. Lanterns are called tùzidēng.
One student has told me about a friend, a maintenance engineer, who had been laid off. Asking the student this blog entry's title question, he told me that his friend is making ends meet for now. "Unlike many North Americans", he said, "the Chinese are savers." His friend is living off his savings and has a house that is paid for.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The students were uncomfortable with my idea of calling Wen Jiabao, Grandpa Wen. I call him Grandpa because that seems to be the public image he is cultivating on Chinese television.
Listen to Tony's laughter
Still, I came in second winning a shopping card that my wife can use at Carrefour Baoli.
At School, I showed the students the Munchkin scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Most of the students liked the movie - many of them gave the movie five stars out of five. A few said that they were too old for it. But the overall impression was positive - a happy movie with good songs and excellent costumes. I will show the students another part of the film next week. I enjoyed singing songs from that movie to the students. I like to sing but feel uncomfortable when having to do so with music in the background.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Boarding a bus in Wuxi is not a pleasant experience. It is everyone for themselves. Manners or patience are not exhibited by all age groups. I have seen old women shove people out of the way to get on the bus first. Today, I saw two old men jostle each other in hopes of getting on the bus first and getting a seat. I wish I had my camera with me and taken a video. These two men were in the front of group of thirty that became jammed at the entrance. For about thirty seconds, only two or three more people could get on the bus.
Now I happened to be a witness to this because I was with Tony and we were waiting for Jenny to finish an errand. When Jenny finished the errand I gave her Tony and went back to work while she waited to board the next bus. I mentioned to her how rough the previous group had been when boarding the bus before I left her.
When I got home this evening, she had an experience boarding the very next bus that prompts me to use the harsh blog title. Boarding the bus with Tony, she was shoved out of the way by an old woman. My wife, not being one to hold back her emotion, told the woman off. An old man accompanying the old woman then apparently shoved Tony causing him to cry. If I was there I would have kicked his barbaric ass - what else could I have done?
My wife also tells me that only my presence that will guarrantee her any civilized behavior from other people on the bus. She tells me that if I am not with her, no one would yield a seat to her (woman with babies should have seating privileges). So she has had to stand for forty minutes on the bus with Tony in her arms.
I have had people on the bus treat me a lot nicely. But seeing how the courtesy I get is not extended to the locals, it doesn't say much.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Anarchy in the P.R.C.!
It coming one day.
Just wait and see.
I know that I want it and I how to get it,
Cause I wanna be an Anarchist!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
A student I talked to this afternoon told me that Chinese television made mention of the Wen Jiabao shoe throwing incident. Since there was no way the government could hush the story, the government t.v. tried to turn it into a public relations coup by showing Grandpa Wen saying that the incident would have no effect on the relations between Britain and China.
The fridge is filled with beer; pineapple beer that is.