Thursday, September 9, 2010

A few AKIContemplations.

Dam-busters  Inspired by an episode of the Ricochet Podcast, I re-watched this classic 1950s British movie about the RAF's efforts to disable German WWII industrial capacity by blowing up  dams in the Ruhr Valley.  

Compared to modern dam-busters who have become eco-freaks, the WWII dam-busters portrayed in the movie are calm, plucky, rational, determined, and well-educated Brits -- they possess the character traits that the world has come to admire and respect. 

 I now wonder if the Brits still have these traits.
New Ironing Board  Five years, eleven months, and two weeks since I bought the last one; and eighteen months after a maid thought it was a great idea to stand on that ironing board to reach a high dirty spot; I bought a new ironing board.  You would think I would have waited another four years, but I think I can justify the 45 rmb.
Six Years  Now that Labour day has passed, I have been in Wuxi officially for six years.  In was in September 2004 that I came to teach English at Canilx on Zhongshan Road.  It has been an eventful six years that has blessed me with a wife and a son, but it hasn't done much for my faith in human nature.  Alas, we are all fallen creatures
Steve Francis and the Vancouver Grizzlies  I am not really a basketball fan but I will never forget the petulant performance of Francis who displayed obvious disappointment at being drafted by a Canadian NBA team.  It was a disgraceful performance that the man has never been fully called to account for.  Anyway, I was thinking perhaps the reason he didn't come to Canada because the then Grizzlies GM Stu Jackson never thought to inform Francis that Canada had Medicare, the Canada Wheat Board, Bilingualism, and the CRTC and its Canadian content requirements.

Family Books and Ancestors of the Wrong Class  It is interesting to talk about Family with the Chinese, and the Chinese seem interested to talk about it.  Last night, I had a student tell me about a grandfather who was 96 years old and could still do housework.  Another student had a grandmother who was married to a polygamist -- she was wife number two -- this anecdote will stick in my memory like the student who had a grandmother who had to have her feet bonded.  

Asking the students about their grandparents, I have been told some startling stories of what it was like for many of them in the early days of the People's Republic and during the sixties.  Many of them lost all their property and were stigmatized because of they were from the "wrong" class.  Another tragic aspect of asking the students about their ancestry is to learn that many of their "family books" were destroyed during the cultural revolution.  Those who managed to preserve their family books can trace their lineage back 31 generations.

Some Independence  You can conveniently  "top off" your mobile phone account (put money on the phone) by using a self-serve machine at many China Mobile outlets.  Conveniently, that is, if you can read Chinese or know the sequence of keys you have to press.  After a year, I can say that I can now use the machine myself.  For some reason, the machine I went to, on Thursday morning, had a line, so I watched the five people in front use the machine and so memorized what I had to do.

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