Friday, January 28, 2011

The last Saturday of the Old Chinese New Year

  • Jenny's birthday is February 1.  She celebrates her lunar calendar birthday which is on Chinese New Year's Eve.  (AKIC's birthday is on Christmas Eve.  How apt this is for the both of them.)
  • Cows are happier in Wuxi, China.
  • Friday afternoon, there was no electricity for about an hour or so at the school.  This meant no Internet.  I later realized it also meant no light.  And then I thought how hard life must have been hundreds of years ago.  Though, I suppose, people got by.
  • AKIC TKIC wrestling.
  • I did an English Corner about Gratitude.  I asked the students to make a list of things they were thankful for.  One of them said that he was thankful for his mirror -- I didn't know what to make of that. As I am wont to do, I flipped my topic over and got the students to talk about ingratitude.  Asking the students for examples of ingratitude, I had a  student say that people were ungrateful when it came to the topic of Chairman Mao.
  • A photo of two Tonys.
  • Lang Lang is a national hero the students told me because of what happened at the White House.  Here is John Derbyshire's take on Lang Lang at the White House (scroll to section 06).  You can see a full take of Derb's on Lang Lang here.  Lang Lang at least loves his country; you have to wonder about Obama and his cronies.
  • What am I doing?  What should I be doing?
  • I do spend a lot of time glossing over things.
  • Tony watches too much television.
  • I spend too much time thinking about politics, and not even my nation's politics, or the politics of the place I am at.  I really need to spend more time thinking about my wife, my son, my parents, poetry, philosophy, teaching, learning languages, and trying to help others.
  • There, they say SOTUS; here, we say SOTES.  Should I bother?  
  • Pundits talk about how politicians position themselves for the superficial and the uninformed.  Are our politics decided by stupid people?
  • One, two, three, times I tell this student to work on the lesson vocabulary.  Third lesson I teach her, she makes this sentence "Skyscrapers are near the coast." I ask her what a skyscraper is.  I then ask her what a coast is.  She doesn't know.
  • No one, I have talked to, has interesting CNY plans.
  • Denmark attacks Winnipeg.
  • Getting off the bus,  I walk down empty streets to get to the apartment.  I am in one of these newly developed big cities that the Chinese are building all over the country.  These cities are being dubbed ghost towns even though no one has actually lived in these places in the first place.  "How empty are these streets?" you ask.  I see one car during my ten minute walk -- you would think I was walking on a country road in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
  • Politics seem easier to follow from a distance than sports.  You don't need video to follow politics.  In fact, not having it, enhances the experience.  With sports, it helps to see a game every now and then.
  • What books will I take to Beixing for the CNY?  The Bible, L'Amour, Chinese text books, Ezra Pound.
  • "China goes crazy every 150 years," said a podcaster, "and it is due to do so soon."  Is it?  What about the cultural revolution?  That ended 35 years ago.  So, perhaps some craziness isn't due yet.  Perhaps, it already is in the midst of insanity.
  • The Central Government is complaining about Carrefour and pricing.  I don't know the full details but I wonder it is a way of dealing with inflation that they don't know how to stop?
  • New rules put out by the education authorities here say that foreign teachers in China must have at least two years teaching experience.  Teachers who switch schools in China also need to get notarized letters of reference from their former schools; otherwise they can't be hired by other schools.  This will be a problem for teachers who have changed their schools almost as often as their underwear. (It is a smart move by the authorities.  Many teachers who change schools aren't very good anyway.)
  • I pray.

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