Friday, April 29, 2011

Saturday AKICing

I am trying to make "AKIC" a verb.  What does it mean?  You decide.

Wish I had taken a photo

On a bus which was proceeding down Zhongshan Road on Saturday morning, I saw a mobile phone store with many promotional stands in front.  One of the stands for Motorola, had seven girls standing in line -- they all wore short red dresses and bunny ear hats.  They were dressed like that to celebrate the year of the Rabbit -- but to me they looked like playboy bunnies.  How I wish I had taken a photo!

Rinky Dinky Kinky Links

What's happening in the Wuxi China Expatdom?

Tony in the Studio #34

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Overwhelmed, Close Calls, and Links.


I have been overwhelmed to do much blogging. 
  • There have been all the hockey playoff results. Too bad Habs!!
  • Canada has a federal election.  What is happening?  The NDP of all parties could be opposition!  And maybe even the NDP leader Jack Layton could be Prime Minister as head of a coalition!  Ed Broadbent's dream could be achieved?!?  Or at least I have hear speculation.   It was only last week, I was hearing talk of the Conservatives possibly attaining a majority.  
  • There will be a Royal Wedding in England.  Some of the student here have heard about it.  The women expressed  interest in watching the ceremony.  But I doubt the ceremony will be shown live here.  I wish it was.  Royal Pageantry beats October 1st parades in my books.
  • I have a demo to prepare for.
  • I have had prep to do at school.  Here are two new discussion questions lists on my ESL site:  Work hard or play hard? and Cupboards and Fridges.
  • May Day will not be a holiday for me.  I will be doing two days of cooking shows.
  • Not that I am complaining.  Busyness is goodness.
  • I should say I wore short sleeves for the first time yesterday.

Close Calls
  • Wuxi traffic is a good source of blogging material.  Yesterday, I saw a three-wheeled motorcycle/wagon combo blindly scoot across the street.  I flinched to watch the maneuver as a taxi came within feet of hitting the wagon.
  • This morning, I was riding the bus to work as it came to a quick stop at a traffic light.  I saw a girl about to get off, have to hang for dear life on a pole -- her legs flew in the air.  I looked at the front of the bus, and saw  the rear end of the van very too close to the bus's windshield.


I have run of K family studio photos to show you.  I still have a week's worth of Tony Kaulins studio photos for you to copy, print, and place on the walls and fridges of your homes.  Here are the latest:
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #21
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #22
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #23
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #24
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #25
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #26
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #27
  • Tony Kaulins in the studio #28
Here is some video taken at Long Tou Zhou Park, and at the Niels and Zhang Ying Wedding:


  • Check out the comments on this political entry I made last week -- a hard leftie and rightie go at it?  Two people write around each other?  Abbott and Costello?  Groucho Marx or Karl Marx?  Chesterton versus Bernard Shaw?  Hannity and Colmes?  Canadian Crossfire?  You decide.
  • Don't forget about the Wuxi China Expatdom where the WCE Contingent fights the Kraken.
  • I'll post this H.L. Mencken quote on 1848:
 "Every day they announced some new and grander scheme to bring in the millennium, and every day they abandoned some busted one.  Meanwhile, the plain people went on looking for jobs, and not finding them….  Its goat was the French taxpayer.  He had to pay, in the end, for all the crazy building of gaudy railway stations, and all that frantic dredging of rivers and digging of canals.  Starting out with the thesis that the Rotten Rich were scoundrels and ought to be squeezed, the Brain Trust proceeded easily to the thesis that any man who had any property whatsoever was a scoundrel, too, and ought to be squeezed equally.  The rich, in the main, managed to escape, but the little fellow could not get away, and squeezed he surely was."*
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.  (Hat tip:  Cafe Hayek)

Wuxi China Dragon Dance

Tony in the studio #26

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Phew! The Canucks survive!

I just got the result!  

Canucks win!  Canucks win!

Meanwhile, in Wuxi, a mid-day thunderstorm darkens the classrooms.  The one Chinese hockey fan in Wuxi phoned me just in time for me to follow the game on the Internet!

Yes indeed!  I think the Canucks will take the cup!

Kayaking in Wuxi, China

Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #22

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ouch! Aha!

The Canucks have lost game six of their playoff series with the Chicago Black Hawks.  The Blacks Hawks won the game in overtime. 
The Canucks who once had a three games to nothing lead in the series, now have to play a game seven in Vancouver.  Hopefully, the home ice can help them.  Hopefully, their being competitive in game six is a good sign --  the Black Hawks shellacked them in games four and five.
But the consequences of the Canucks losing game seven would be monumental.  It would be the worst moment in Vancouver Canucks history, and it would be all the more bitter after coming off what was the Canucks' best ever regular season.
But it would prove what I realized twenty years ago.  The only thing you have to do in the regular season is qualify for the playoffs -- first place means nothing.
I hesitate to venture into political commentary but what the hell!
I listen to mostly political podcasts and I do try to listen to podcasts from the "other side."   I feel the opinions expressed on these leftie podcasts often laughable, sometimes infuriating, and rarely challenging to my beliefs (Never forget, I once was a leftie but I smartened up.).
I want to mention a couple of outrages I have heard on the Slate political gabfest.
First off, the hosts of this show seem to think that Keynesian Stimulus policies work, and so say that the Republicans are being irrational or petty because they won't get on board with President Obama has to do to get the American economy going again -- that is, the Democrats and Republican politicians should together try to get the economy rolling again..  Well, the fact of the matter is that Keynesian Stimulus policies don't work and retard economic growth.  If you don't think this is a fact, you should at least provide political analysis that shows that there are people who do sincerely believe it.  To say that Republicans oppose stimulus policies because they don't want Obama to have a good economy to run for re-election on is stupid.  
Second, the hosts of the show reacting to Trump presidential candidacy stunt, said the precedent for it was the Palin candidacy for Vice President.  "She set that bar" said one of the Gabfest hosts.  I would have countered that it was the 2008 Democratic Candidates for president who lowered the bar.  Let's see!  There was a junior senator from New York State who was considered the leading candidate for the nomination on the basis of being wife of a former president.  And there was a junior senator from Illinois, with no executive experience, no business experience,  who hung out at a anti-semite church -- and like Trump, he had an exoticness to him.  The latter candidate, unlike Trump who says what some people want to hear, said nothing so that supporters could see in him what they liked.   It shows you that a lot of Palin-loathers are irrational and hypocritcal.

Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #14

Links, a Wedding, and Long Tou Zhou Park.

I was busy over the weekend and had no chance to do any writing-blogging -- I and the K crew went to wedding on Saturday night.  Sunday, we then went to Long Tou Zhou Park on Lake Taihu on a school trip.
The Wedding
The wedding of Niels and Zhang Ying was the swankiest wedding I ever went to. 
How swanky was it?  The ceremony was in a church -- not something that happens often in Wuxi.  The reception was at the Millennium Hotel on ChangJiang Road in the Wuxi New District -- a fancy hotel with fountains in the courtyard.  The entertainment featured acrobats, a midget (or dwarf), a face changer, and a dragon dance.  The food was a mixture of Western and Chinese food served buffet style.  A table was set aside for the children with crayons, colouring books, and a clown.  After the reception, the guests could carry on to an open bar at the Havana Club -- currently one of Wuxi's leading Expat watering holes.
The clown and children's table was very much appreciated by the parents.  I can say it made it a lot easier for Jenny and me, with Tony having something to do.
For me, the wedding was a good time to catch up with some Wuxi Expats I haven't seen in a while, and meet some new ones.    I should get back into the Expat scene, but I have a feeling, it ain't gonna happen.  The drinking just doesn't do me any good.
The collection of children at the wedding was amazing -- all sorts of nationalities were there.  For once, Tony wasn't a minority of one.  He ran around with the children
Long Tou Zhou Park
Don't ever go to Long Tou Zhou Park on a Sunday.  It will be too crowded and too dirty.  The K family went to the Park this Sunday on a school field trip.
The washrooms at the Park were just disgusting.  I haven't seen such dirty restrooms since I went into one at a bus station. 
The walk from the parking lot to the park lets a visitor experience the Taihu of the Taihu Water Crisis.  The water was green, stinky, and fly-infested.
The crowd was of a kind that depresses a Westerner -- it was loud and trash-throwing.
Still, I made the best of it, or at least the best I can with Tony.  Tony got to run around.  Tony got to feed some giant carp (a stranger gave Tony cake to throw at the fish -- it was mighty nice.  The little charitable act made the day.)  Tony got to play with a soccer ball.  Tony got to ride in a kayak (with his father), and in a motorized boat of sorts (with his mother).  Tony got to ride on his father's shoulders all day, as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What the hell is happening to the Vancouver Canucks? Will the Jets come back?

My God.  The Canucks looked to be in the driver's seat in their series with the Chicago Black Hawks.  The Canucks had a three games to nothing lead in the their best of seven series.  Now, the Black Hawks have pasted them in games four and five by scores of 7-2 and just now, 5-0.  Game Six is back in Chicago.  Game Seven, if necessary, will be in Vancouver which wouldn't be home-ice advantage at all.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg awaits news that the Jets will return from Phoenix.  I have mixed feelings about it.  Back in '95, I felt they had to leave because it was far too expensive to keep them.  I would like to see them come back if the financing is right.  Is it?  I will have to look into the details.

One thing is for sure, hockey in Arizona is a dumb idea.  

Lao Wai! Feh!

Kaulins Family Studio Photo #10

You can see more studio photos of the K Family and Tony at AKIC Wordpress, TKIC Wordpress, and TKIC Blogspot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A mixture of links and observations

  • This weekend is Easter weekend.  I knew Easter was coming -- I just didn't know it was this weekend.  The fact that the Jewish hosts of my favorite podcasts had taken off a day for passover should have been a clue.  The Chinese aren't familiar with the Easter holiday.  They don't know about the Easter bunny.  They certainly didn't know the religious significance of the holiday.  I find it interesting to be in China for the Easter Bunny holiday in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit -- though really, the fact of Christ's death and resurrection is much more important to me.
  • Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #7
  • May 1 will be a holiday as well as the beginning of a ban in China of smoking in public places.  I wonder how this ban will work.  I assume that most Chinese will ignore it.  I wonder what the government will do to enforce the ban.  And I wonder what public places smoking will be banned.  Does this mean pubs?  Does this mean common indoor areas like food courts?  Does this mean outdoor public places like parks?
  • Kaulins Family Studio Photo #7
  • Lunch time in China is about when I can follow the results of ongoing playoff games in the NBA and the NHL.
  • Kaulins Family Studio Photo #8
  • The Wuxi Jaywalkers are currently in eighth place in their ten team fantasy baseball league.  I have already had to revamp my pitching staff which has been the weakest in the league to date.
  • Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #8
  • There are 2.5 billion people awaiting the return of the WCE contingent at Lake Taihu.

Kaulins Family Studio Photo #8

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wuxi Tony ascends the stairs to the Ling Shan Big Buddha

Oh Boy! A Wedding and a BBQ this upcoming weekend!

Kaulins Family Studio Photo #6

Monday, April 18, 2011

I am the man who knows too little.

  • I watched the film The Man Who Knew Too Much on DVD Monday afternoon.  It was an Alfred Hitchcock directed film starring James Stewart and Doris Day.  My review?  It was a great movie.  The feeling of one's child being lost is horrifying.  And Hitchcock didn't need to "gore it up" to get maximum impact.
  • Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #3
  • Tuesday evening, I go to school to do some overtime.  I feel somewhat recovered from my weekend of excess.
  • Tony Kaulins Studio Photo #4
  • I am going to try, again, to finish Atlas Shrugged.
  • Kaulins Family Studio Photo #3
  • I see the Vancouver Canucks are beating the Chicago Black Hawks three games to nothing.  Could this be the year the 'nuckers take the cup?
  • Kaulins Family Studio Photo #4
  • The odd-numbered studio photos will appear in my wordpress blogs.  The even-numbered will appear in the blogspot blogs.
  • Video taken at Helen and Tony's Wedding.

Kaulins Family Studio Photo #4

Wuxi Tony and Florid at a Wedding

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A surfeit of links.

  • I overindulged in cigarettes and alcohol on the weekend.  And now I am deservedly suffering for this.
  • I have an excess of things, from the weekend, to talk about -- like a bachelor party and a wedding.  The bachelor party and wedding were unrelated -- altogether different brides and grooms.  At the wedding, there was a confluence of Tonys.  The bachelor party inspired me to write a story for the Wuxi China Expatdom Blog.
  • Seriously, the bachelor party was okay.  It was swell to see some Wuxi China Expats I haven't seen in a while like Malu and Niels and Fred.  Malu was saying I was looking shitty which was probably the case.  I have, within the last year, felt symptoms of ageing like sore joints and weak eyesight..  The party was at a certain Peter's place - it was a sign of the times in Wuxi that all around his compound, new buildings, ten stories or more high, were now crowding his skyline -- none of the buildings were there three or more years ago -- the last time I had been at Peter's.
  • Tony and Jenny went to the Ling Shan Big Buddha Sunday afternoon.  Jenny lost Tony for five minutes in the crowd.  It was a tense time for her till she found him.
  • One thing about being an English Teacher in China is that I have meet so many people over my time here that I can't remember them all.  Far too often, I see familiar faces and I am at a lost to remember their names or place  where I know them from.  At the wedding, I saw a girl who worked at the school and who I even had taken a taxi with to Hui Shan a few times.  It took me five minutes to place her properly.  And when I did, I had to give myself the biggest headslap of my life. 
  • I went to the 1912 Bar District for the second time on Saturday.  As a long-time Wuxi Expat, you would have thought that I had done more.  In my mind, there were supposed to be Baboons everywhere -- it wasn't far off.
  • I also have an overabundance of photos.  Jenny took Tony to Ling Shan to see a Big Buddha -- she took our camera with her and took lots of photos.  As well on Saturday, we picked up the K family studio photos -- I think we posed for them about two months ago.  Rare readers will be seeing all the photos over the next few weeks. (Bonus!  Visit here to see another!)
  • Tony on April 17, 2011.
  • L to  R: Jenny, Tony, Andis, Tony, and Helen.
  • Tony in the studio 1, Tony in the studio 2
  • Atlas Shrugged coming to China?

The Kaulins Family in Studio

Atlas Shrugged coming to China?

I have a copy of Atlas Shrugged here in China.  It has been my great joy to read the book in public in China -- my little bit of dissidence.
The chances of Atlas Shrugged being shown in cinemas here is next to nil.  However, I do wonder if I will be able to come across copies of the movie in the local DVD shops -- the chances of that happening are much better.  I have seen some very patriotic American movies for sale in local DVD shops.
My feelings about the novel Atlas Shrugged are mixed.  It is flawed in many ways.  The characters are somewhat two-dimensional.  Some of the characters talk and talk in a manner that would make Fidel Castro (Trudeau's pall bearer) proud.  The philosophy espoused lacks, for wont of a better word, the idea of Christian charity and humanitarianism.  But at the same side, it really sticks it to the socialist and government planning mindset -- if anything the novel's portrayal of the Wesley Mouchs of the world is too kind.

Rough Weekend.

It is rather late on a Sunday for me to be blogging -- normally, I make Sunday entries at work.   But what happened was I went to a bachelor party Saturday night, and I drank too much.  And so I went through the motions, Sunday at work.  After work, I went to a wedding for another couple who I happened to know through the school -- the groom was not the one I saw on Saturday evening....
Anyway, I  now am overwhelmed at all I could tell you, but again I drank too much and I will put off the recounting till a time I feel focused, less fuzzy.
Life is so much simpler when you never get invited to things.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tony looks at himself in the mirror

Bachelor Party and a Wedding this weekend.

  • Saturday Evening after work, I will be attending a bachelor party for Niels from Wuxilife, who I just heard, has twins on the way.  
  • Sunday evening, I will attend a wedding for a girl who used to work here: Helen.
  • So, I have a weekend full of activity.  Having been out of the loop for so long, I figure I should go to these things, but now my isolation seems so splendid.
  • Friday evening, I was taking the bus home and I just happened to look out the window and see a man "squatting" on the side of road.  He was doing his thing on the grass between the road and the sidewalk.  He had his back to the road.  I couldn't believe it.  But at least, the fellow doesn't have to worry about hemorrhoids and his plumbing is all the better for it.
  • My Gmail and Google Reader have been slow lately.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday for you; not for me.

  • Friday is it.  But I work weekends.
  • Last evening as I was riding home on the bus, I passed an accident scene involving two trucks towing tanker trailers.  The trailers were moving together as they attempted to make right turns at an intersection.  The front truck was in the midst of its right turn when it stopped.  I saw an electric bike had collided with it -- the bike and its rider were strewn about.  The second truck had stopped in the turning lane -- on its right side was a car that had been hit.  The car had gotten on the right side of the truck which had turned wide to make a right turn.  Drivers here do have a habit of going into a space without properly judging the traffic situation.  Back in Canada, I never liked to be on the right side of a truck because of the danger of being in the truck's blind spot.
  • In a Canadian election debate, the Liberal opposition leader used a Chairman Mao quote along the lines of let the flowers of democracy bloom.  Maybe, I should ask the students about it in my speaker's corner.  I have chosen the topic of lizards for this SPC.  I sometimes like to challenge myself into make conversation with the most obscure of topics.
  • In the Wuxi China Expatdom, the former King of Wuxi has been captured.
  • Here is a video of Tony trying on his mother's glasses.
  • I am a Canucks fan for now (till the Jets go back to Winnipeg. Cross my fingers!).  They are playing the Chicago Black Hawks in a first round playoff series.  And there is a teacher from Chicagoland working at our school.  Unfortunately, he doesn't follow the Black Hawks.  Still, I will have to taunt him.
  • I have placed a few more links in the links for intelligent people sidebar.  A few bloggers have been kind enough to tell me they have read my blog.  So please check out the Asian Conservative, China Travel Go, and Cristy Li links.
  • I have also updated some other links in that side bar, including my other blogs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

  • It is my Mom's birthday today (April 14)!  Aina lives in Brandon, Manitoba and looks after my father.  Here is a video, I have just uploaded, where Tony wishes his Canadian Grandmother a happy birthday!
  • When I got off the bus this morning, I saw an old woman rubbing her hands against the bark of a tree.  I had no idea why she was doing this.  I then saw, in the same park, another old person rubbing their back against a wooden post.  And I got freaked out...
  • I asked the students to make some NHL playoff picks for me based on nickname.  They had the Canadiens winning the Eastern Conference.  I will get another group, perhaps some tutors, to pick the Western conference.
  • The Abbotsford Heat, of the American Hockey League, didn't make the playoffs.  Damn!
  • Yesterday, I asked the students if they remembered when their mothers' birthdays were.  A few too many said they didn't know.  However one had a good reason not to know.  She told me that her mother's mother, her grandmother, died in childbirth, so the day was never celebrated.
  • Here are photos of my mom at AKIC Wordpress, TKIC Wordpress, TKIC Blogspot, and AKIC Blogspot.

Aina and Jenny

My mom and my wife.

Wuxi Tony says Happy Birthday Grandma!

Here is my birthday video greeting card to my Mother Aina, who lives in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chinese Potato Chip Flavour

Tony tries on his mother's glasses

Back to Work in Mid-April 2011

  • Back to work.  What fresh horrors await me?
  • I feel crummy still.  I caught something on my three days off.
  • I have heard that in Canada, an electoral debate featuring all the major parties was delayed because it conflicted with a hockey playoff game.  Canadians have their priorities straight.  Strangely, it was the leader of the Quebec Separatist Party that suggested this.  Funny, how they don't want to be part of Canada and yet a big part of Canadian culture, Ice Hockey, is sacrosanct.  On this small point, I find myself agreeing with a Separatist.  Still, we have the silliest separatist movement in all the world.
  • Tony was happy last night, but not this morning.
  • Tony did some running by the Grand Canal.
  • My wife was able to get me a pair of size 48 shoes on the Internet.  And they fit fine.

Wuxi Tony runs near the Grand Canal

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

  • My God!  The horror of the part of the screen that is blank and that I feel encumbered upon to fill with prose.  What am I going to blog about today?
  • I was thinking to leave my Casa today, but I feel like I caught a touch of something.  My symptoms are sore and achy joints, and an irritated throat.
  • As I was sitting the computer last evening, Tony walked up to me, wrapped his arms around me, and gave me a fervent kiss.  A wonderful moment which made all the other inconveniences of parenthood worth enduring.
  • I have so many DVDs and so little time to watch them - surely, a thought I have expressed before in this blog.  Anyway.  Yesterday, I pulled out a few old Hitchcock films, some James Stewart films, and this DVD I bought, lord knows when, entitled The Bad and the Beautiful starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.  I choose to watch the latter.  It wasn't a bad film at all.  It was shot in crisp black and white.  The actors were all dressed to the nines.  The actors all looked like adults.  It was a film about Hollywood that was cynical without being coarse.  My only problem with the movie was Kirk Douglas.  I don't know why it is that he just doesn't appeal to me.  He is not cool like Eastwood or McQueen.  He doesn't seem a real guy like James Stewart or Bing Crosby.  He seems like a guy who is well placed enough in the film industry to get roles -- nothing more.
  • Manhole covers missing or having fallen in the manholes.  Sidewalk tiles or cobblestones chipped and cracked in many places.  Cigarettes thrown on the floor of apartment hallways.  Ah! The little details of China!
  • I put some U2 songs on my mobile phone.  Tony hearing them, took my phone away from me.  He recognized the songs from a U2 video I had played for him, many times, on the DVD player.
  • That politician's budget deal in the U.S. seems much ado about nothing.  They negotiated about cuts that weren't really cuts at all.  The cuts were really agreements to spend less using the bloated 2010 budget as a baseline.  No one could possibly have gained from that.  The leadership of the Repubics was cowardly, the Democrats were playing politics, and Obama was a bystander.
  • I also watched yesterday, on DVD, two episodes from Season 2 of Sons of Anarchy.  The accompanying music is becoming more heavy metal -- not that I mind so much, I liked the cover version of The Who's Slipkids which was used in the opening montage of the first episode of the second season -- it was kickass.  The season's bad guys have to be Neo-Nazis, so clearly the writers of the show have a left-wing bent.  Racism, if the writers had bothered to look at the culture, is a Left-Wing thing.   That silliness aside, I am enjoy the show. 
  • What a big contrast it was to watch a series about bikers after watching the Bad and Beautiful.  I admire the toughness of the bikers, and I love the way everyone in the Bad and Beautiful dresses.
  • Other Chinese details.  Guards and Police at intersections.  There is never just one.  There are usually three or four.  Some of these guards are old and shabbily dressed.  Some of the others do look goonish.
  • I made a point of putting the lyrics to Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind on my mobile phone for reference.  I read the Cultural Commissars  told Dylan not to play the song in concert.
  • A poem by Ezra Pound I have read -- I carry these book of poems by Ezra Pound around with me ** -- a character talks of being in a far off land and homesick for his own kind, despite friendly faces all about.  I don't feel homesick but I long, sometimes, to overhear words that I understand but mean nothing to me.  (** I know about Pound's bizarre behavior during the war.  However, his poems are wonderful and aren't fascist.)

A little boy crosses a bridge in Wuxi, China

Sunday, April 10, 2011

AKIC is pooped!

  • AKIC is pooped after yesterday afternoon's excursion, with TKIC to some parkland in downtown Wuxi, China.  On his shoulders, he had to carry TKIC.  It was hot as well, and so the sweat was pouring copiously down AKIC's forehead -- AKIC doesn't want to leave the house today. His size 47 Chinese shoes, ordered on the Internet, were not the most comfortable thing either -- to sit on the couch and watch DVDs is all he wants. Mind you, AKIC was not Iggy Pooped.
  • It was also a day that made AKIC what the point of going out was.  Reading would have been a more agreeable way to spend an afternoon.  As it was, the trouble it took, to see what in the abstract was wonderous, didn't seem worth it. 
  • However, putting on his child's eyes, AKIC imagined the wonder that TKIC was experiencing, and it wasn't such a bad thing at all.  A moment where AKIC and TKIC sat together on the bus and Tony was full or curiosity made it all worth it.
  • AKIC took a  lot of video and photos yesterday on the excursion.  You can see then here, here, here, and here.
  • The area which Andis and Tony explored had been but a field of rubble four years before.  Andis recalled walking the area when he lived in the Wu Ai Road apartments.  Then it was mucky, trashy, and full of rubble.  Now, it was clean and yet...
  • There is an election in Canada.  Ho-hum. 
  • AKIC was reading somewhere on the Internet that squatting to take a poo, like the Chinese do, is better than what Westerners do to poo, which to sit.  AKIC now is thinking of asking JKIC if she thinks it would be a good idea to tear the toilet out of the bathroom and leave a hole in the floor.   Either that, reasons AKIC, or put footrests on high stools on both sides of the toilet.

Wuxi China Bus #610 Take Two

Wuxi China Bus #610 Take One

Photos taken on the K Boys exploration of downtown Wuxi.

I took my son Tony downtown on my rare Sunday off from work. Tony and I saw the Grand Canal and some new sights that have been built in the past three years since we moved from the area.

Wuxi China Kaulins Family Update: April 9, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tony takes his now toy truck to bed with him

This habit he has, of taking his new toys to bed with him, can be too much if the new toy is big.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Here I was being cautious...

Crossing the street, just now, I had to wait for the cars to pass.  In China, cars do not yield for pedestrians unless, a pedestrian is able to stake a claim to open space before the car can.  What this means is that when traffic is think, a pedestrian has to wait and hope for a break.  Just now, I was trying to cross Xueqian Road and I didn't see any breaks so I stood back.  But beside me stood a woman carrying a baby.  She dared to cross and dodge cars when I wouldn't.  And so I was aghast, and had something to write about in this blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What am I gonna talk about today?

Some days I have so much to put in this blog that I don't know where to start.  Unfortunately, this is not one of those days.  I can say that I got up and went to work, and that was about that.  I was able to get a seat on the bus so I could study my Chinese textbook while at the same time listening to a podcast.  I do have a complaint to  tell you about my son Tony -- but you can read about that here.

Otherwise you can check out my Wuxi China Expatdom Blog where I have ideas have up the ying-yang, as the expression goes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stop Staring!

The K family did some grocery shopping one afternoon.  They went to  a supermarket, the Hui Shan Tesco near Casa K, but in two parties.  The original plan had been for all three members of the Kaulins Family China to depart the Casa at 3:30 p.m.  However, Tony, the youngest of the Kaulins family China, had an urge to go out earlier.  He said "outside!" many times.  His father Andis, the nominal head of the KFC, thought then it was a good idea to get Tony out of the house anyway, so T&A left Casa K at 240 p.m.

Andis, ever indulgent of his son, agreed to carry the boy on his shoulders to the Tesco shopping complex -- the boy never asked his mother to do this because she would not put up with his begging.  (The process of putting Tony on Dad's shoulders was referred to as one-two-three by Tony)  Andis also gave his son a five jiao coin so the boy could buy a lollipop from a small shop on the way.  Near the shop, Tony was let down without protest, and his father watched him jaunt  and skip-run happily to the small shop to get the lollipop.  It pleased his father more to see Tony conduct the transaction himself.  Tony then ran to his father and said "One-two-three!"

Andis then carried Tony to Tesco.  Tony enjoyed himself, Andis not so much.  During the journey, Tony had an unfortunate habit of holding the sticky lollipop too close to Andis's hair.  As well, local passers-by gaped at the xiao erzi being carried on laowaide baba's shoulders.

Tony had one thing on his mind as they walked to Tesco.  He was thinking of the toy car he assumed that his father was going to buy him.  Dad, not aware that of Tony's desire, wanted to go see some new businesses that had opened in the mall behind the Tesco,.   So when Dad deviated from the path that lead to the Toy Department at Tesco, Tony became very angry, shouted "Buy toy!  Buy Toy!", and bucked on his father's shoulders.  So to the Tesco Toy Department they went.

Tony said "Here we are!" when they arrived at the shelf where Match Box and Hot Wheels cars were on display.  Tony got to choose the toy he wanted.  He rejected the first ten cars shown to him: bulldozers, souped up VW Bugs, and low-rider hot rods, and others.  He displayed good judgement and taste, his father thought.  Tony ended up choosing a yellow GM Mini School bus -- this was in fact what his father thought he would do.

Tony, his agenda satisfied, let Dad decide where to go next.  Thus, Andis was able to see the many new shops that had opened in the Hui Shan Tesco Plaza.  T&A saw that many new clothing shops and restaurants -- nothing really interesting.

It was about then that the second party of the Kaulins Family China arrived at the Tesco Plaza -- Jenny came via the family electric bike.
Together, the K family went to the food court, ate Wang's dumplings, and then proceeded to Tesco to buy some groceries.  From the rack at the entrance, they took two shopping carts -- one for carrying Tony and one for purchases.  

The carts became separated as Dad pushed Tony to the bicycle section of Tesco where Tony happened to see  a mini toddler car.  Tony climbed out of the cart and into the car.  He sat in the car for ten minutes trying his father's patience.  The first time Dad asked Tony to leave, Tony refused strongly.  But after another five minutes, Dad decided to pull Tony away, consequences be damned.
And what came way was a struggle between laowai father and son, and a tantrum by the waiguo erzi that attracted a crowd.  Tony very much didn't want to leave the car.  Andis was not so much picking up a little boy, as a whirling dervish of arms and legs.    Andis got miffed at Tony and the onlookers who gaped like people without the discipline to avert their glance.  Andis, carrying Tony to the cart, looked one of the onlookers in the eye, and at him yelled  "stop staring asshole!"   Andis then put Tony in the shopping cart and tried pushing it away until Tony tried climbing out of the cart.  Tony was straddling the rim at the top of cart before Andis pushed him back in.  Seeing the same onlooker still staring, Andis repeated the cursing.  Finally able to get Tony away, Andis surveyed his surroundings and saw that a big crowd of perhaps fifty people had watched A&T struggle.  Andis hoped that they hadn't understood his cursing though they may have picked up meaning from his tone.

Rejoining Jenny, Andis then felt sheepish, and asked himself how long he had been living in China, and told himself that he should be used it, as most times he was.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back to Work in early April 2011

Jenny washes Wuxi Tony's hair

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tony in the bathtub

You can see more photos of my son here or here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I declare I am a proud subject of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The idea to proclaim my loyalty to the Queen of Canada (and other places) came to me when I was listening to a interview with Marc Steyn done by Milt Rosenburg on a WGN Radio extension 720 podcast  --  Steyn, when asked about his citizenship, said that even though he lived in New Hampshire, he was a Canadian and a proud subject of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 
This gets me to I am thinking that I should make a point of telling all I meet in China that I am Canadian and a proud subject of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  I have never thought to declare my undying love for anything Canadian to the students other than to mention I like Tim Horton's.  The Latvian in me has come to appreciate this institution of the Monarchy and how it has evolved.  The Monarchy is paradoxical because on the surface, it appears very anti-democratic, but in reality it preserves democracy,the rights of people and protects us from tyranny and cults of personalities.  In fact, Canada choosing its head of state by accident of birth beats the hell out of having politicians, elections, or political machination choose one.  And its pomp and ceremony is good for the soul.  The Monarchy is the one thing that Canada has that I can say both America and China don't, and Canada is the better for it.  ( I should add that Canadians have a friendly reticent manner -- only it is marred by a sneering anti-Americanism).  

I have only been the subject of one Queen all my life.  I believe that my parents have also been -- they came to Canada fleeing Stalinist and Soviet control of their native Latvia.  When Queen Elizabeth II passes on, it will be the end of something quite profound -- I hope then I can be at a pub at time singing "God save the Queen" (or would I sing "King" -- I am not sure about the protocol).

I wish China could find a way to adopt Emperors  or Empresses as head of states -- in a ceremonial capacity of course.  They would be grand figures for China to present to the world and represent five thousand years of Chinese history.  (But of course, it ain't gonna happen.)
Listening to the  Steyn  interview has also made me an instant fan of the extension 720 podcast.   The host Milton Rosenburg covers a whole range of topics from science to politics to history to sports to music.  Over the past week, I have listened to his programs about the French Revolution, the early history of baseball, Humphrey Bogart, the Eichmann trial, Quantum Physics, and Louis Armstrong.

  • My first attempt to declare my patriotism to the students is meet with quizzical looks -- that was to be expected.
  • I have uploaded a new video to my Youtube Channel.
  • Check out the latest photos of Tony: here and here.
  • Have they captured the former King of Wuxi?  Find out here or here.
  • My sister's birthday is April 5.  Happy birthday Benita!

Wuxi Tony and Andis Update: April 2, 2011

Tiger mothering chez Casa Kaulins?

In his March 2011 diary, John Derbyshire responds to a request from a reader for details about the parenting going on at his home.  The requesting reader was curious after reading Derb's thoughts on Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom.
.....the number of people who are sure they have got parenting right is damn small; and that small number of people are all so damn smug about their achievement, the rest of us hate them anyway.

So I'm not speaking with any confidence here. That said, the pattern in the Derb household is a sort of lower-key version of the Chuas: Mom does the tiger business, nagging and harassing the kids to do homework, music practice, chores, etc., while Dad flaps around vaguely in the background murmuring: "Perhaps we should let them go out and play now, honey …"

Mrs D has the Chua tendency, but in nothing like so concentrated a form as Amy Chua herself. There are no tooth-marks on our piano. The music lessons — daughter violin and dance, son piano and school band — were all her doing. It's she who pounces on the school reports and demands to know why this semester's grade in Social Science is three points lower than last. (How does she remember?)

Dad is more laissez-faire, sees himself in fact as somewhat like the God of the Deists, who kick-starts the Universe then lets it run with just an occasional nudge in the right direction. If what I see on the school reports agrees tolerably well with my own estimation of my kids' abilities — which is, in both cases, modestly above average — I'm content. Music lessons? Sure: but when my son reached the age at which bitter rebellion set in, I argued his case with the Mrs while secretly admiring his spirit.

You can in fact lead a horse to water and make him drink, but only up to a certain age. After that, reason, diplomacy, forbearance, and some fatalism are far more appropriate than Chua-style bullying, certainly for American kids. My own Tom Sawyer and Calamity Jane are now aged 15 and 18, and I have no illusions about my ability to do much moulding from here on out, other than perhaps by example and persuasion.

I am in any case, by conviction, quite a strong genetic determinist. I know myself; I know my brother; I knew my father; and when I look at my son, I know what I'm looking at. Not that I'm necessarily a hundred percent happy about it; but I believe I have done my best, and at this point can do very little more.

I find this interesting because I have a Chinese wife, and I have to admit that reading this passage, Derb says, better than ever I could, what goes on at Casa K with our 43 month year-old Tony.  I can only modestly echo the similarities.  JKIC (Mrs. K) has exhibited Chua Tendencies.  She harasses Tony to behave.  She is reading the reports the teachers send her  about  Tony.  She gets in knots about Tony's progress against other students.  I am a bystander saying "Don't be hard on the boy!"  I share Derb's generic determinism but I prefer to say I am a genetic fatalist.   So much with Tony is out of my hands.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 5 is Tomb Sweeping Day

April 5 is Tomb Sweeping Day in China.  It is a holiday to honor one's ancestors, clean their tombs as it were.  Many Chinese actually choose to do the ritual earlier to avoid crowds.

April 5 is on a Tuesday this year.  TKIC will get that day off.   However, he has to go to Kindergarten this Saturday to make up for that day.  So often a holiday is not a holiday here in China because many have to work weekends to make up for the holiday day off.