Tolerate Andis's rant, and you will see the songs Tony can now sing in this video.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Good-evening, it's Harry, here, and no, I'm not your 'foreign correspondent', but I'm here, metaphorically-speaking, with some questions I'd like to put to Andis (or, whom some of you know-better, by his acronym, 'AKIC'):-
1. Andis, you have, of course been in China, in Wuxi, for several years now. Could you describe some of the things you felt, when you first arrived there? Just for a moment, rather than talking about your day-to-day work-tasks at that time, did you then have other, more-personal, wider expectations, goals, or perhaps, objectives, that you set for yourself when you first arrived? (and to what extent have you achieved these?)
I was full of verve and optimism when I arrived here, but I was amazed at how quickly some things turned out disappointing -- so many disagreeable people -- new varieties of A-holes. I had left one lunatic asylum (British Columbia, Canada.) and entered another -- I should have known better.
And yet I should add that the Chinese exceeded my expectations in many ways -- the students generally are wonderful people.
My goals were to find a wife and become a good teacher. I have achieved one of those goals. I also wanted to improve as a person. I don't know if I have but I have become more aware of my inadequacies, which I suppose is going along a ways on the road of self-improvement.
Oh yes, there was this other goal about learning to speak Mandarin. How did that work out for me? Ai ya! I have lots of excuses.
2. We all know that you now have a family, - wife Jenny, and your son, Tony. Do you think there are any significant differences, in being part of a family-system there in China, in contrast to the 'atypical' family-type relationships, in your Canadian home-country (or in other western societies, generally)? And in this regard, to what extent, (if any), have you adapted yourself, in your role as a husband, and father?
To answer the last question first, Jenny would say I have adapted horribly. She's right. The only thing I have sacrificed is a pub life. Jenny has exhibited a level-headedness about family that I have ever seen before. Many expats have scoffed at the idea of the Chinese respecting family, but frankly it is true.
I would say that the Chinese respect family and parents more than Westerners. To hear a Chinese teenager say he is beholden to his parents is a stunner to a westerner used to jaded Western teenage thinking.
3. When you get home in the evenings, can you give me some idea of the evening (or week-end) routines, or activities, that you would usually share (in the family-context)? For instance, what kind of topics would you be discussing, at the meal-table?
4. In your travels in China, is there one specific city, town, or location, that has impressed you (or bewildered you!) more than any others? If so, why?
5. Do you regularly keep yourself-informed, of news, current affairs, or sports, that are taking place in the global-sense? I'd be interested in your views about the 'big melt-down', the GFC, and, what is your assessment (or forecasts) for the economies in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region?
6. Do you believe that the Obama administration is pursuing a centralist, or 'Keynesian-model' approach to addressing the financial woes that America has experienced, in the past two years? Do you know of any alternative policies, that you believe would be preferable, for sustained economic-recovery? And, do you think that the more-recent financial 'tremors', in Europe, could (as some analysts fear) present the risk of a global 'double-dip'?
I say Obama is not a centrist. Economically, he is to the Left of Bush who is looking more and more in retrospect like a centrist because Obama has doubled and trebled down on everything Bush ever did.
Contrariwise, Paul Krugman, a Keynesian, says Obama hasn't been Keynesian enough. But the problem with Keynes is that everyone has their own idea what Keynes actually believed. Keynes had a habit of thinking aloud and so some people have lashed on to these thoughts and construed them anyway they wanted. Who really knows what Keynes would have thought of Obama. I am sure, he would have thought that Obama is out of his depth on Economic matters.
I would have taken a libertarian approach to the crisis, let the pieces fall where they may. What has happened in America, is that all of Obama's meddling has gummed up the works -- there are valid questions being raised about the rule-of-law, this concept of too-big-to-fail, and how Obamacare will change the relationship between American citizen and government.
We can only hope that the Republicans can take both houses of congress and maybe common sense will prevail.
7. On a scale of one, to ten, where would you rate Barack Obama's administration? (Could you give specific rankings, perhaps, as regards the economy, foreign policy, domestic-issues, etc?)
I have to admit that I have a visceral hatred of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's "former" parishioner. As far as I am concerned, he is a left-wing airbag who has advanced far above his station in life. He has done nothing to change this opinion.
On Foreign Policy, I give him a one or zero (you said one to ten). Obama seems ashamed to be American sometimes, and has a bloated regard for foreigners. On the economy and domestic matters, zero, but what do you expect from a McGovernite Democrat?
What is particularly distressful about his presidency is how all the racialist talk has not abated. America electing a black president is not enough to grant America absolution for its racist past. Neither, it seems does judging a person by the content of his character and not the color of his skin a way to avoid being called racist. The charges of racism against the Tea Party movement -- nothing can be so blatantly untrue, and it again demonstrates the inability of the Left to honestly confront ideas of people who oppose them. Why isn't Obama, the guy who boasted of being able to transcend partisan squabble, telling everyone how false the charges of racism against the Tea Partiers are and telling Tea Party opponents to defend government involvement in the economy?
Anyway, I will try to give the devil his due on some points. His wife has kept her mouth shut for the most part since she became first lady. Obama has shown himself to not be a pacifist. He did give a good speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony (of course, he didn't deserve the award!). And....... (I am thinking)........ tweet! tweet! tweet!
8. In your years there in Wuxi, have you ever met any people in the expat-community, whom you'd have liked to have seen catapulted (or the trebuchet, maybe!) out of China? (NO names please!). Do you and your family have close-relationships, or friendships, amongst the expats? (Perhaps describe both the positive, and negatives, of the expat social 'scene'?)
You meet people you want to see catapulted everywhere you go on God's green earth. So the question for me is really is the proportion of the people that I want to see catapulted in the Wuxi Expat community greater than the places I have been before? I would say yes. For one thing, I have meet many people from Ontario Canada here than I have meet in the other places I have been. For another, I have encountered many Germans and Frenchmen. Anti-Americanism is rampant here in Wuxi. So I have to say the proportion is greater.
I have exiled myself from the Expat Community by getting married and moving out to the Wuxi boonies. The best relationships I have had in Wuxi have been due to my blogging and Youtubing.
A mistake I made in coming here was not getting involved in the faith community. I hope to correct that oversight this Fall.
The Wuxi Expat Community is a small town slash lunatic asylum full of petty rivalries and gossip. I have seen the same sort of things that plague human relationships here as do anywhere else in the world. Some people do like to take a custodial attitude to China like they are the experts and every one else is the newbie. Expatdom here is often plagued by that insidious group think habit of anit-Americanism (this day and age's antisemitism). I have never forgotten being told not to wear a USA t-shirt to the pub one time. (Now, I won't wear it till the American electorate show up Obama)
9. This is a hypothetical question, similar to the old 'Desert Island Discs' radio show, in which guests were asked to name perhaps three, or four, recordings, and books, that they'd take with them to that isolated atoll. Could you please list which 3 specific books, CD music-recordings, and DVDs, that you'd find it impossible to live without?
10. 'What is the one thing, in all the world, that you really hate'? (or, conversely, and more-positively),:- 'What is the one thing, in all the world, that you really love?'
I love my family and God. I hate militant atheists, socialists, progressives, and people who can't come to work on time. (Sorry! I love my family and hate militant atheism)
You and your family have very-recently returned from Canada. Can you talk about any striking, or surprising, changes, that you may have seen, or experienced, there, after your absence of several years?
12. Another 'just imagine'-type question, what things make you really happy? Imagine, if, you had say, about 50 million dollars, what would you really like to be doing, right now - and where? (and why?!).
If I had all that money, I would try to find a way to be two places at once, for I feel that one has to transcend the saying "the grass is greener." You could do this but being happy where you are but if I had the money I would try to be in two places.
The two places would, for now, be Wuxi, China and Brandon, Canada -- I want to be with my family and Jenny's family.
I want to thank you Harry for asking me these questions!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
"Thought Some things about the West you can't explain to Chinese students because they don't make sense -- the simplest language possible is unusable because the Western thing transcends common sense and simplicity".
That is an intriquing thought - can you please give any examples?
Friday, July 23, 2010
But I am homesick after mine own kind.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
- Joe (This was a girl. She didn't like Jo. Then, She wanted Jo-e. Spell it Joey! I said.)
- Little Bear
- Xanxus (How to pronounce? For this little bastard, the x's are silent)
- Yao Yao
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
- AKIC took a bath with TKIC Wednesday night. TKIC enjoyed pouring water on AKIC's head. However, when AKIC tried to do likewise to TKIC, TKIC protested something vehement.
- AKIC and TKIC ran with abandon around the apartment, which isn't an easy thing to do in an apartment that is 90 square meters. It was the perfect son and father activity -- both got exercise, TK was laughing, TK wasn't watching television, and TK tired himself so he went to Bed early and AK could read Dune and the The Violent Bear It Away in peace.
- AKIC was also reading Teach Yourself Latvian. AK figures that he since he is very good at Chinese, he might as well not be very good at Latvian also.
Monday, July 12, 2010
O thou newcomer who seek'st Rome in Rome
And find'st in Rome no thing thou canst call Roman;
Arches worn old and palaces made common
Rome's name alone within these walls keeps home.
Behold how pride and ruin can befall
One who hath set the whole world 'neath her laws,
All-conquering, now conquered, because
She is Time's prey, and Time conquereth all.
Rome that art Rome's one sole last monument,
Rome that alone hast conquered Rome the town,
Tiber alone, transient and seaward bent,
Remains of Rome. O world, thou unconstant mime!
That which stands firm in thee Time batters down,
And that which fleeteth doth outrun swift Time.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
- It has been raining steadily for two days straight. One area my bus passed through in Wuxi was flooded because of it.
- I watched the World Cup Final. It was ugly but at least someone scored so that the match didn't have to be decided by penalty kicks. And there were scoring chances, even a couple of breakaways, but because the flow of the game was ruined by constant fouling, yellow carding, and arguments with the ref, these scoring chances had no build-up, and thus brought on no excitement.
- I saw a variation of the lone-shoe-abandoned-on-the-street phenomenon as I walked to work: two shoe soles laying at a street corner -- why the soles were there and where the rest of the shoes were could be a source of endless speculation if one thought about them too much.