Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living!

It being the Lantern Festival today, I am doing a rare 9 to 5 shift.  I can't think if I have ever done one in my life before.  Usually, I have worked evenings or long 6 to 6 days.

The point of the Lantern Festival, I think, is to go out in the evening and look at traditional lanterns that have been strewn about the town.  I don't know if the K family is going to do that Chances are, I will go home and wrestle with him while trying to convince him that he should let me watch my movie on the DVD player -- fat chance that will happen.

Here are some links and other assorted bon mots:
  • Tony takes off his clothes by himself.
  • Tony calls a ball a "qiu" (球).  He likes to chase after the ball and throw it around with his father.  
  • This afternoon's English Corner topic is Sympathy and Empathy.
  • Missing Wuxi Expats Update.
  • I thought a woman said "Yeye" to me when I took Tony into a small shop to buy groceries.  Asking my wife about this later, she told me "Yeye" meant grandfather.  Did the woman think I was Tony's grandfather?
  • Gorzo won't be having dinner with Barrack.
  • I had finished drinking my case of Tsingtao beer.  So I took the empties to my corner store to buy another case.  Just my luck, there was no cases of Tsingtao left so I bought a case of Snow Beer.  Onlookers in the shop were surprised when I said I would carry the case home myself.  "Oh! So heavy!" said one local.
  • Wuxi Taihu Lakers win!
  • I bought another set of ear phones for my mobile phone yesterday.  25 rmb they set me back.  I have previously had to buy two other sets of ear phones for the phone.  What inevitably happens is that one of the earphones stops working a week after I buy it, and so I have to put up with mono sound when listening to podcasts.
  • Gorzo and Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov 
  • One of the podcasts I am listening to is of a Canadian Radio Talk show.  An email, to the host, complaining about the poor quality of appliances made these days immediately let to mention of China.


Colin Corneau said...

Not sure what radio show you're listening to via podcast, but I'm a huge fan of Wiretap on the CBC.
You can find it on iTunes or their site - not sure which one is easier to access in China.

Andis Kaulins said...

I was listening to the Charles Adler Show.

Podcasts are great. They keep me occupied on my commute to school everyday. I listen to everything from sports, politics, history, economics, religion, and philosophy.

I started using Itunes to access them but I found it was easier to use the Google Reader. I subscribe to podcast RSS feeds there and download them at my convenience. Sometimes, I need a VPN to download them, and sometimes it is faster to not use the VPN.

I will check out Wiretap on CBC. I should listen to more Canadian podcasts. I must be getting old but I have become disenchanted with CBC through the years.

Colin Corneau said...

Charles Adler...uhh, we'll agree to disagree on that guy. Tiresome blowhard, is my take on the guy.
I don't care if someone disagrees with me or vice versa, I just get tired of circus clowns turning everything into a spectacle. Something that unfortunately happens way too often with media here (coincidentally at the same time the media is held in record low esteem!)

I imagine it's got to be a real effort to find any western podcasts there at all! Are there any Chinese ones you have become a fan of?

Andis Kaulins said...

China could use some "blowhards". China, as it is presently constituted, lacks this sort of thing. The fact that there are "blowhards" means people can say what they think. I find it so hard to get the students to state their opinions.

Spectacle is entertainment, and most people want that. That is how a lot of Chinese people spend their time. I find I have to be an entertainer to get the students' complete attention.

The one English channel you can get in China is of course a propaganda outlet for the government. I find the style they take is so much like PBS and CBC....

Anyway, as for Chinese podcasts, I am not sure if you mean podcasts about China or podcasts in Chinese. My Chinese isn't good enough yet that I can watch any t.v.or listen to the radio. I can read some elementary books with Chinese characters. (BTW, How is your Chinese?)No student has ever told me they listen to podcasts except VOA for the purpose of learning English. There are a few podcasts about learning Chinese which I listened to in the past.

Colin Corneau said...

Well, my Chinese is limited to some phrases or words - not conversational. I realized a while ago that I'd have to be in China to at least have a chance to get that good, and even then it would take a lot of work!

As to spectacle, I can certainly understand how that would be appealing to many Chinese. I really liked your anecdote about those 2 Chinese women arguing in the store -- boy, do I know about strong haggling after 5 trips to China. Don't mess with those Chinese ladies.

I just think about that old saying, "be careful what you wish for" when I think about attention-getting media. I was in the United States over New Years, and was appalled by a lot of what I really seemed like a country coming apart at the seams. Just absolute lunatic-fringe crazy behaviour and statements.
I even walked into a bookstore at the airport, looked like a very genteel intellectual place. It was stuffed full of this insane (not just strident) political lunacy...not even remotely connected to reality.

Anyway, it seems to me there's got to be a middle ground in this, as in every venture in life.

As to China, I often see how students from there are reticent. I guess a few thousand years of cultural conditioning are hard to overcome!

Andis Kaulins said...

I have been here six years, and my Chinese should be better than it is. The problem here is everyone speaks Wuxi local dialect which is impossible for me to pronounce.

I know enough Chinese to get by in market situations. But often my attempts are foiled by my lousy pronunciation.

Already, my son speaks better Chinese than me.

I have instead tried to read Chinese characters. It keeps me occupied deciphering Chinese signage.

I have noticed a lot of anti-Americanism among Expats here. It comes up in conversations for no reason from some of these people. I find myself wearing a USA t-shirt just to annoy these people. As for the Americans I have met here, some of the most generous of them have bought me lunch and given my son Tony presents just because they have read my blog. Some are boorish like the stereotypically ugly American. But I love America enough -- half my relatives live in the States to be aware of its faults.

As for the climate of political discourse, it is better that there is one than isn't. A lot of Americans don't bother to vote in elections which is a sign that those who do take it seriously are like Trekkies.

And it is one thing to talk of a middle way. It is quite another thing to define it. The tugging and back and forth looks ugly but it is better than the alternatives.

Colin Corneau said...

Whenever I think about Americans, I always remember a line from George Carlin -- "people are alright one or two at a time; more than that they tend to wear armbands and form up sides."

My experience with them is that individually they are indeed among the most generous and gregarious people around. But yet, you look at some of the things that go on's worrisome.

Don't worry too much about Tony running circles around you, language-wise. I recall reading that babies and toddlers (even young children) are genetically programmed to learn language at a fast rate.
They need to, to pick up whatever their parents speak and get up to speed quickly. Happily, it applies to any language...not so happily, it drops off pretty quick by the time people are our age!