Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wuxi Tony Update #358: Canada Day #1

Happy Dominion Day!

Two things to celebrate this July 1:  Canada's 144th birthday, or the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Which should I celebrate?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wuxi,China Construction Update: June 2011, Zhongshan Road

Wuxi Tony the guitar god

Street Fight!

Sunday Night, European Street.
I notice a crowd is gathering to watch a security guard who looks like he is trying to stop a fight.  His two arms pushing in opposite directions in order to restrain two men from going at each other.
But, it turns out that there are two groups of men, not just individuals, displeased with each other.  Above the crowd, I see many arms and fists starting to fly.  The security guard has moved to the periphery.  I get a quick glance at one pair of men pushing each other as each has a hold of the other's arms.  More and more people flock to the area to witness the action making it hard for me to determine what is happening.  For a few seconds, I do see that the fighting action is fluid enough to cause a sway in the crowd of onlookers trying to back away.
I can't help myself.  I just want to watch.  I want to give into temptation. 
I say to Jenny, "Oh My God!  Look at the fight!"
Tony, who is on my shoulders says "No fight!"  He is not trying to be a peacemaker, he is indicating to me that he isn't interested in play-fighting with his Dad at that moment.
The crowd grows and grows. Nothing can be seen.  We move on.  I do so reluctantly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monday Obligatory Entry

  • What is the best pub in the Wuxi China Expatdom?  Find out here.
  • I am still not able to access my Wordpress blog sites.  When I try to log onto them, Wordpress keeps telling me my browsers are not accepting cookies, even after I change the settings to allow them.  Wordpress help hasn't been able to help me.  I blame the Great Firewall of China.  So you will have to visit here, here, or here to see AKIC and TKIC photos and videos.
  • The point of my vacation has been to spend as much time with Tony as possible.  I have been riding the bus with him.  Sunday afternoon, I took him to the playground he frequents on Zhongshan Road.  The place was packed with kids and parents.  I almost didn't want to go in.  Problem was Tony did.  So, I let him run around for two hours while I tried to read David Copperfield by Dickens.  Every once in a while, I had to console Tony when he couldn't get into toy car and push himself about.  He felt he  was entitled to use the car anytime he wanted, irregardless of the fact that many other children also wanted to have a try of the car as well.  When it was time to leave, he put off less resistance than I had expected.  He only wailed for a minute.  But he put on his shoes, and as I carried him outside, he had other things he wanted to do.
  • Following the U.S. presidential election, I see that Jon Huntsman has entered.  I hope he is a no-hoper.  He sounds like a RINO-mush-squish head.  The best description I have heard of him -- John McCain without the heroism.  The Repubics don't need to run someone who is a friend to the Democrats.  You run a Democrat against a Democrat, and the Democrat will always win.

My Son the Guitar God

Friday, June 24, 2011

AKIC Vacation 2011 Randoms

  • It's much too hot.  I said it's much too hot.  I said it's much too darn hot!
  • The most enjoyable part of my vacation so far?  Being able to watch Kiss Me Kate! on DVD!  Not a perfect movie, is this Kiss me Kate!, but there is enough in it that I can watch the film over and over and over again.  Cole Porter writes a musical based on the Shakespeare play The taming of the Shrew.  How can one go wrong with that?  The dancing, some great songs, and tongue-in-cheek acting make this movie a must-see for fans of musicals or those who are so cretinous as to not know or suspect what they are missing.
  • I saw a woman with a big mole under her nose.  Poor woman.  She looked like Hitler.
  • It's too darn wet.  I said it's much too darn wet.  I said it's much much too too darn wet!
  • I saw a man at at the middle of intersection having to pick up all his things.  His bicycle on which he was carrying his cleaning gear slipped on the wet pavement.  Traffic didn't slow down for him, it just skirted around him.
  • Friday afternoon, I was about about to take my son Tony out.  Only problem was that it was about to rain so my enthusiasm for going was already dampened.  I thought to stay home, but the prospect of that was even less enticing.  I had to get out, damn the rain and humidity!  And so it was that just as I exited the apartment, the first drops of rain could be seen hitting the pavement, leaving at first, tiny specks of wet that would gradually be engulfed by a few minutes more of water droplets striking the pavement.  By the time we got out of the apartment building, the rain was heavy enough for me to bring out the umbrella which I hoped Tony could hold as I carried him on my shoulders.  I asked Tony if he wanted to go back home now that it was raining but he insisted on carrying on.  I walked to the nearest bus stop with a just-formulated plan to catch what bus would come since Tony said he wanted to take one.  The bus we did happen to catch took us to Nanchang Market.  There, Tony dragged me into a two rmb shop so he could buy a plastic toy motorcycle.  At two rmb, his parents let him buy as many as he wants!  From there, we wandered aimlessly till I decided to catch the double-decker #81 bus.  We rode the bus to the Xihui Park area.  I saw that the area has been flatten for further commercial development.  Just what Wuxi needs!  We got off the 81 bus near the Munjedao Computer Market where we didn't have to stand in the rain long as a bit of fortunate timing saw the bus we then wanted to catch arrive after one minute.  Taking the bus home, Tony wisely fell asleep just as the bus got stuck in a traffic jam for thirty minutes.
  • Walking aimlessly with Tony was not such a bad thing at all.  I liked his grabbing my hand and leading me where he wanted to go.
  • Unbeknownst to me, Tony had grabbed a DVD and was walking out of the store with it.  I had no idea why some clerks started screaming at us.
  • They are building a Wanda Plaza in Hui Shan across from the People' Square.  I think they already have one of these things in the Hu Bin District.  Just what Hui Shan needs!
  • I had someone take a photo of me with an Ipad 2.  I was wandering, Tony on my shoulders, when this young gentleman walked up to us and said "Hey!  I know you!  You are from HyLite, and that is your son Tony!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011


We, that is Tony and I, saw these goats from the Hui Shan Big Bridge. They were actually being shepherded about by an older lady.

Some things you don't have to train Tony to do....

Tony knows how to lie on the couch.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

T&J are back!

Things are quickly back to normal in Casa K.
Tony and Jenny arrived at the Wuxi Bus Station at about three p.m. yesterday afternoon.  When I first set eyes on them after two weeks, I saw that Jenny carried a few bags as Tony pushed a biccycle with training wheels.  The first thing that struck me was how much more physically mature Tony looked than I had either recalled or imagined.  Of course, I had had this feeling on a previous reunion with Tony after not having seen him for a few weeks.
The first thing that struck Jenny about me was how long my hair had grown, and how I need to get a haircut.
Having had realistic expectations, the return of T&J has been alright.  Jenny, as I expected, was mad at me for not having cleaned the house to her liking.  But there was no way she could say I was an absolute slob.  And Tony has had an agenda that has conflicted with mine or is simply unfathomable to me.
I got a one week vacation now.  In pure Kaulins family tradition, I have no idea what I am going to do.  There seems no desire to get out of town on Jenny's part.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tony and Jenny to return to Wuxi

My wife and son have been in Taxiing for two weeks while I have been slaving away at work in Wuxi.  They will return tomorrow, and I will be happy to see them.
I didn't see their being away as a license to return to bachelorhood.  I stayed home, and dutifully did laundry, phoned them every night, and made myself food.  I only went DVD shopping once, and all I found was that the DVD shops had all their stock taken away.  It served me right.  As well, no pretext to go to a bar occurred.
I am under no illusions that the return of Jenny and Tony will be 100 percent pure happiness.  I expect to be made to feel guilty for not having cleaned the house to Jenny's standards.  I know Tony will have his own agenda which take away from a wonderful father-son reunion.
Their bus from Taixing will arrive at 320 on Tuesday Afternoon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another reflection on the Vancouver Riots

Being in China, I get news from Canada, but not so instantaneously.  I may well be six hours behind (to think that a hundred years ago, if I was in China, I would be six months behind).  If wouldn't surprise me that the Vancouver Riots are now old hat and aren't worth talking about anymore.  But I have been listening to podcasts of discussion of the riots and I do have some thoughts.
As I said in a previous entry, I knew well the types who were involved in the riots, and as well the types who thought it was grand to take photos of themselves with the riots in the background.  It goes without saying that  these people are morally repugnant and ought to be beaten within an inch of their lives.
I was hoping that the students may have thoughts about the riots, but not one had heard about them. (Most were not  paying attention to the Winter Olympics either)  So it is hard for me to put a China perspective on them other than to talk some students whose lives should be the spoil-bratted rioters to shame. 
There are some students who are earnestly trying to advance themselves.  One student is from Anhui, a province next to Jaingsu.  Her family was poor.  Things I took for granted in my childhood, her family didn't have.  This girl spends her days working and her free time trying to improve her English.  Her life would be dull by the standards of the spoiled brats in Vancouver, but she doesn't complain and is actually a quite pleasant person. 
I think what a shame it would be to see her spoiled by our culture's decadence.

Andis and his father

I love being Tony's father!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rain! Rain! Rain!

  • Rainy season in Wuxi they tell me.  They have been telling me this for many years but it hasn't yet registered in my brain to expect it.
  • Friday evening, it came down like dogs and cats, or cats and dogs, as I told the students that it was okay to say. 
  • Saturday morning, as well, the rain came down heavily.  I saw huge puddles on many roads and at many intersections.  Near my apartment, I saw street drains overflowing with water.
  • The sidewalks in my area, as I mentioned before, have been torn up, and currently are in the process of being resurfaced with bricks.  Bricks and sand have been placed for the workers to do the resurfacing.  Now the heavy rain is making for a quagmire.  I have to wonder whose brilliant idea it was to tear up a sidewalk just around Wuxi's rainy season.  When I asked the locals why the sidewalks were being resurfaced.  I was told that someone had a lot of money to spend.
  • Extra cops are at intersections are promoting harmony.  To even see them in my part of Wuxi is strange; and I have heard that downtown some intersections have been monitored by eight people or more. (In fact, I counted nine at the intersection of Xueqian and Zhongshan Road)
  • I have been following the news from Vancouver about the riots.  Having lived in the area before I came to China, I saw video and recognized that the types of people involved in the riots.  These people did lots of drugs, loved to party, and were barbaric to the core -- white trash or white trash like.  They have always had a presence in the lower mainland.  I saw them always driving in their cars with blaring bass.  I saw them wearing hockey jerseys.  I saw them driving down the highways like yahoos.  They were the ones who broke into the parking garage of my apartment to steal cars and taking them on joy rides.   They were the ones who made my visits to Vancouver's downtown eerie.  They complained that the only jobs they could get are in McDonald's.  They had a sense of entitlement which I found offensive.   They were one of the reasons, I wanted to get out of B.C.  Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final featuring the Canucks was their Woodstock.
  • Friday morning, I saw thirty blue-shirted security guards or police standing before a ladder which was leaning against a second floor window.  Perhaps, they were trying to evict someone from an apartment.
  • Being in China for as long as I have, I have thoughts of going back.  Seeing so many police here, I think I want to get out of this authoritarian state.  But then I see the riots in Vancouver, and I think of far too many barbarians that there are in Canada.  Some of them come to teach English in China, and think that the Chinese are nerdish and should be having more sex.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bloomsday is Doomsday for the Canucks

Game Seven of the Stanley Cup final was played on the morning of June 16th (Bloomsday) in China.  Not able to get a telecast of Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final, all I could do was get updates over the Internet at my computer at school.

When I arrived at my office, I saw that that my Canucks banner, that I had put on the wall, had fallen to the ground.  I had taped there but the tape wasn't sticking.  

Anyway, this wasn't a good omen.  I turned on the computer to see the Bruins had a two-nothing lead midway through the second period.  And quickly, the score became three-nothing.  The Canucks were doomed.

I followed the game by following a live blog on tsn.

Oh well.  I am glad to see that the Bruins, an original six team, won.  I take no pleasure, however, in having predicted earlier this year that the Canucks weren't going to win the Cup.  But there were times I thought I was to be happily wrong.

I hope Canucks fans were behave sensibly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taixing Beixin Tony Update #7: Dad sings, Tony dances

Tony didn't bring his toy guitar to Beixin.  He had been holding the guitar while dancing and singing along with songs by the Jam.

Last night, Tony's father Andis sang some Jam songs to Tony while making his daily phone call to Beixin.  Jenny told Andis that this singing caused Tony to jump and dance and sing.  

Tony used his favorite toy doll as a guitar.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


  • More intersection monitoring near Casa K.  Yesterday where there were two cops, today saw cops and "volunteers" on each corner of the intersection monitoring traffic.   And it was Sunday Morning!!
  • The system of counting, where one is said to be one years old on the day one is born, is not used in Northern China.  I learned this yesterday.  I had previously assumed it was a Chinese thing.  Whenever, a student tells me that their child is two or three or four or five years old, I have to ask for the exact number of months of age.  Tony, who I say is three, would be five in Southern China.  In months, Tony is 45 months.
  • These women got on the bus this morning and chattered so much, I felt compelled to turn around and stare at them -- give them the evil eye, as it were.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Miscellaneous Observations

  • At the intersection of Zhongshan and Xueqian Roads, I witnessed the traffic cops being unheeded, again.  Last week, I saw pedestrians running red lights in spite of having whistles blown at them by these cops.  This morning, I saw electric bicyclists being told to stay behind a line until the green light said they could proceed.  The traffic cops, in their blue uniforms, blew their whistles and waved their flags at the offenders.  The electric bicyclists being in front of the line, had a look of peevish obliviousness.  I saw this happen twice as I went to McDonald's for breakfast and then as I walked to school.
  • I asked a student to list some animals.  Among her list, she included Wasps and Frogs -- the ethnic composition, more or less, of Canada before 1960.
  • Saturday morning, eight a.m., at the intersection near Casa Kaulins I saw two traffic cops, blue uniformed and white gloved, standing about monitoring traffic.  It seemed crazy to me that they should be doing so since it was early on a Saturday morning when traffic was less than a weekday, and the intersection at which they stood had traffic lights.  Does the government not trust the population or does it feel a need to always being babysitting them?  I wonder if they go to bed with a sense of accomplishment.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


  • It is raining heavily in Wuxi this Friday.  I can hear it in my office.  On days like this, it is hard to find a taxi.
  • I have to go to Carrefour this Friday afternoon to teach a two hour class.
  • A student tells me that Beijing is a resort.
  • One man has the right idea.  He has rolled up his pants and is wearing a pair of crocs.

Tony and Jenny are coming back!

Tony's mother Jenny informs me that they will be coming back from Beixin sometimes next week.

She also informs me that Tony is being naughty in only a way a three year old can be.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Forgot my lunch!

  • My wife gave me a very limited allowance for the time she is away, so I have been economizing by making food at home and not going to restaurants. Last night, I made myself lunch, but of course, I forgot to bring it with me to school. I will have to the sandwiches when I get home from work late tonight.
  • I have been having trouble accessing my wordpress account. I can still post entries to it via email, but I can't get into the site to edit, post photos, or check my stats.
  • Too hot to blog. I can't think of anything to say other than I am focused on my job, and the wife and son are away.
  • The Canucks are in trouble. After taking a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins, the Canucks have been dominated by the Bruins in two consecutive games and so the series is tied at two. The Canucks are looking weak at a crucial time. Ouch!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seen from Casa K

There's a photographer on top of that lift!


  • The temperature in Wuxi will get up to 35 degrees Celsius today.  Steamy!
  • On the bus, I was trying to read my Chinese textbook when these two young girls came on.  They sat in front of me.  They were both pretty, and I couldn't help but notice that one of the girls had a stripper tattoo -- a rare sight in China but not too common in Canada the last time I was there.  I wouldn't have mentioned the fact that I had seen the stripper tattoo, but the girl with the tattoo, looked back, saw me and gave me a friendly look.  She then talked to me in halting English and presented me with her business card -- apparently, she works for a company selling apartment suites.  She also presented me with a brochure for the apartment complex she was working and selling for.  I looked at it, and showed her I could read some of the Chinese writing.  She then asked the person who was sitting beside me to exchange seats so she could sit beside me.  I showed her a photo of Tony and tried to tell her that I owned an apartment already at a complex near hers.  The conversation went along, haltingly (how I like that word "halting"), until the bus got to my stop.  She tried to get me to come somewhere tomorrow and didn't understand when I said I was working all day.  The last thing, she said to me was "See you next tomorrow!"  Five years ago, these kinds of encounters were exciting -- now they are, I hate to say, annoying.  Friendly and pretty as this girl was, it is not even good for my self-esteem.  This would never happen to me in Canada, for a reason.
  • That Canucks loss in game three of the Stanley Cup seems monumental.  They were trounced 8-1!  Mind you, they were trounced a few times by the Black Hawks, but still managed to win that earlier series. Let's hope the same thing will result in this series for the Canucks -- bad losses, but not a series loss.

Taixing Beixing Tony Update #2: Don't lie to Tony!

Tuesday, Tony and his grandfather went to a supermarket in Beixin. 
Tony saw some toys that he wanted his grandfather to buy.  His grandfather said he had no money. 
So,  they went home.  Tony expected his grandfather to get some money and return to the supermarket to buy the toys.  But his grandfather had no intention of returning to the supermarket -- the saying he had no money was a merely a ruse.  Tony became very upset at his grandfather, and threw things at him.
So, Tony got his way, and they returned to the store to buy the toys.

Monday, June 6, 2011

John Derbyshire on Understanding China and the Chinese.

There is no bottom in China, and no facts. 
Read what Derb has to say about China, his in-law (like mine) here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dragon Boat Festival: Nothing to say but I will say it anyway!

  • I am sticking around Casa K today. This will be the first time in years that I will be entirely by myself for a whole day -- no Jenny or Tony. I should go to Taixing, where they are now, but the logistics of going are too much trouble and I really need to rest for a day -- the summer upcoming will be busy. Freedom for a day is tempting, but it is overwhelming. A day isn't enough time to catch up on DVD watching and blogging and Chinese studying and looking at things that married life keeps me from.

  • Tony makes faces for the camera.

  • Tony plays with his mother's glasses.

  • I don't want to use this free day to go out with other Expats. The thought brings up a visceral and misanthropic desire for exile or isolation. But honestly, as it is, there is no one to call and really no one that I would want to call if somehow I didn't get separated from them -- my misanthropy is the misanthropy of a fantasy world where I really could not be a loner if I wanted to be.

  • Marriage has trained me to be unable to escape a responsibility feeling, or a conscience, you could say. Already, I look around the apartment and tell myself I got to do some cleaning.

  • My son Tony can really play a mean air guitar. Watch this video and see.

  • At one time in my life, I made a point to watch the latest Woody Allen movie as soon as it came to a local theatre. I fell out of the habit as I moved to China and became disenchanted with his fall too leftist view of the world and his creepiness -- but perhaps, I am being redundant with the add-on. But he has had some fine movie moments. For example, from Steve Sailer, there was "Allen's famous speech at the end of 1979's Manhattan on what makes life worth living, Allen references Mozart, Flaubert, C├ęzanne, Louis Armstrong, Groucho Marx, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Willie Mays, and Ingmar Bergman—in other words, nobody from the 1960s or 1970s. Like Ralph Lauren, Woody Allen has always been an old-fashioned snob." It is hard to think of current popular entertainment figures that one would be able, in twenty years, and say they made life worth living.

  • I was still listening to podcasts at 330 this morning. I then got out of bed at eight. I can't sleep in, even if I wanted to. I don't sleep more than six hours a day, it would seem. And I know that it has been shown that people do exaggerate the sleep they don't get. But I have been awake at midnight, and up by six, six-thirty on many a day.

  • I will have to go to Tesco again. There is no margarine in the house.

  • At Siemens, I was fed some Tsingtao Stout, which was mighty tasty. So when I went to Tesco last night, I sought and bought a bottle of it for 8 rmb. That is expensive for a Chinese supermarket. I could imagine, it being that brand of stout being sold for 60 rmb in a pub. No thanks. Another reason to stay at home.

  • I think this is an entry full of self-justifications.

  • I do realize already (it is 1115 a.m.), how much I rely on Jenny to do things for me. I have already had to do laundry, cook, fold things, shop, think of what I am going to eat, and wash dishes.

  • No more clothing stores in the Wuxi China Expatdom! Hurrah Naturism!

  • Wuxi China Expatdom to have world's largest navy. (alternate link)

Eating Zongzi

A rare reader left a rare comment at one of my blogs telling me to eat zongzi, "a kind of Chinese food which is made of glutinous rice with meat or Chinese date in it and is usually wrapped into a pyramid-shaped or tetrahedral dumpling in bamboo or reed leaves," because Monday, June 6** is the Dragon Boat Festival.
Well.  That's what I'm doing.  The wife and son are away, and this mouse has to make himself supper.  Day one of the mouse-can't-play-because-he-has-to-slog-away non-festival, the only food I have in the house for supper is some zongzi courtesy of our school.  So I cooking the stuff up.
And I don't actually mind zongzi.  I find it is tasty and quite filling.
Two zongzis, that I have just eaten, and I am filled up.
**More importantly, June 6 is the D-Day anniversary.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bed Models

Saturday, I did some cooking for Siemens in Suzhou. A new home decorating mall, containing the Siemens store, was having its grand opening weekend. So, there were balloons, shows, performances, and bed models.

I had to take photos, for sociological purposes. I have never seen bedroom models before.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Friday Observations

  • June 3 would have been my Aunt Ritma's birthday.  Last year, I was looking forward to seeing her on an upcoming trip to Canada.  I did see her in the hospital.  A few months later, she died.  She is gone but not forgotten by me and all who knew her.  Ritma Jurevics R.I.P.
  • It is steamy hot in Wuxi.  I am feeling zapped.
  • The sidewalks in the neighborhood near Casa K are being torn up for reasons I can't fathom.  The sidewalks seemed perfectly fine as sidewalks in China go.  And they are being torn up in the most inexplicable of spots like near intersections, bridges, and bus stops.  It was just this morning I saw, workmen with sledgehammers tearing up sidewalk at my bus stop -- the stop, as far as I can tell, isn't moving.
  • Also, intersections near Casa K are also being manned by traffic cops with whistles directing cars about.  To me having the cops there seem superfluous for the intersections do have traffic lights.  But it shows that Hui Shan is becoming important.
  • Dallas beats Miami in the NBA.  Yippe!!  Just maybe!  Just maybe, Evil will not prevail.
  • Jenny and Tony will be spending a week in her hometown.  I will be manning Casa K by myself, waiting for them to come back because I refuse, on principle, to become a teenager again.
  • Some leopards never change their spots.  What is it with people?  And the Chinese let them come here to teach English.
  • I was listening to an Extension 720 podcast when the question of to wear bifocals or not, came up.  This has become a subject of concern for me since I started wearing reading glasses last summer.  At work, I find myself wearing the glasses all the time.  I will walk around with the glasses on the tip of nose, only pulling them up when I need to read.  This is annoying thing to have to do so I wonder if I will have to do what my father did which was wear bifocals.  On the podcast, one of the guests a professor talked about this problem, saying he wore his reading glasses and not bifocals out of vanity.  I can add that in humid Wuxi, glasses slipping on a wet nose is not at all a groovy feeling.
  • Meanwhile on another podcast, the host Mark Levin just recently lost his dog Pepsi.  I remember the first pet I had as a child was a collie named Pepsi.  When we got the dog, he came in a Pepsi box, and so we called him Pepsi.  I thought it was an excellent name for a dog though I remember many wisenheimers scoffing at it. I very much appreciate hearing that Levin, a great right-wing talk show host, named his dog Pepsi.  To have thoughts like a great mind is a wonderful thing.  I still remember the sorrow I felt when my family moved -- my father was in the military -- and we had to give Pepsi away.  I still have a memory in my mind of Pepsi being in a room with me and looking up at me the way that only Dogs can at their masters.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Harper scares a social conservative

David Warren, my favorite Canadian columnist, says PM Harper scares him, but not in a way that Lefties that would understand.  Read about it here.

Wuxi Tony perfects his guitar moves

Tony on Children's Day in Suzhou

Tony the Air Guitar God

My son Tony is perfecting his guitar moves.

Go Canucks!

I got my Canucks banner proudly on display in my office.