Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Playground Hell

Businesses that cater to kids, I have heard, are more likely places to see fights that Biker Bars.  I say this because I  can remember reading or hearing news about how the police, in one place in the U.S., had to make many visits to a Chuckie Cheese to break up fights and while a nearby biker bar never once called them in.

The K family went downtown on Tuesday so the wife could do some bank transactions.  While she was at the bank, I took Tony to the playground for which we have purchased a membership card.  To my dismay, I saw the place was crowded and realized that the Spring Festival holiday was still ongoing for many schools.

Tony was excited but he quickly got into some disagreements with other kids because he wanted to drive about in this mini toy car.  One time when he had the car, he made the mistake of walking away from it for an instance and another kid quickly jumped into the car and rode off it in.  Tony was upset, but to be fair to the other kid, Tony snoozed and lost accordingly.  Still, he tried to pull the other kid out of the car, and then as the other kid drove the car about, Tony held and pulled onto the car, so that a there were a few times he fell flat on his face like an American Football tackler unable to catch a fullback sprinting to the end zone.  One time, Tony did succeed in pushing the car, with the kid in it, on its side.  I intervened when Tony then got on top of car and was about to stomp on the other kid.  Tony's vehemence was such that the parent of the other kid let Tony have the car back.  Tony then left the car unattended again and had the same result.  This time, the kid was small and slight, and Tony forced her out of the car with ease, although this kid did at least slap back at Tony.  I told Tony to stop being a "greedy little shit!"

And I got annoyed at some other kids as well.  It is not unusual for me to hear kids say "Waiguoren! (foreigner)" when they see me.  But today at the playground, these kids chanted at me in a manner that I thought was practically racist.  The kids chanted, stuck their tongues out at me, and made faces.  I tried, but I couldn't ignore it.  My thoughts could be summed up the expletive f***!  I was fuming.  So, I found a plastic ball**, from the pool of balls, and nailed the ringleader of kids taunting me in the head with it.  He grimaced but they left me alone after that.   That little shit deserved it!***

Sometimes, you got to whack kids.  There is no other way about it.

**These balls are not hard which is why I threw it at the boy.  I throw them at Tony all the time with as much force.  When Tony gets hit with them, he smiles.  

***Jenny says the kids just wanted me to notice them, and that my reaction was childish.  I won't debate the manner with her, but why can't they get some Chinese strangers to notice them?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wuxi, China HyLite Language School Chinese New Year Commercial

One silly thing I did see

This entry could belong in my WCE Blog but I really saw it on Chinese television when I was in Beixin.

There was a military variety show on one of the channels.  Guys and gals were singing, patriotic songs I presumed.  That wasn't a big deal -- one would expect that sort of thing in the People's Republic of China.

The strange thing, in the show, was the all-male dancing troupe.  Their performance I would best describe as Swan Lake done in Combat Fatigues.  There were about twenty men in the troupe.  They all wore helmets, multi-colored green combat fatigues, and black combat boots.  They all carried sub-machine guns -- if they were real or props I couldn't tell.

The troupe didn't march, they danced.  At times, they shuffled their legs back and forth like women doing aerobics.  At one point in their routine, the lead dancer did the splits, and knelt over and pointed his SMG at the audience.

I wished I could have taped the show, especially the dance routine, and put in on Youtube.  I wonder what Americans, hawkish about China, would have thought of the show and especially the dance troupe.  Would they still worry about a country that has its soldiers dance like ballerinas?  

There is no way that U.S. Marines will dance like that.  Of course, maybe that's in their future now that don't-ask-don't-tell has been abolished.  And if Obama is re-elected President and the U.S. Military Budget is cut even more, the Marines may have to dance like that because they got money from the U.S. endowment of the arts funds.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Notes taken on my Ipod during my Beixin Spring Festival Sojourn

An AKIC Exclusive!  These are the notes I made on my Ipod while I was in Beixin for the Spring Festival.  These notes are unedited and historians can do with them what they want!

Cny day 4
One more day!
Compound:  an open area that is enclosed by wall or fence.  I call the place where J's parents live the compound.  V was wondering why I call it that.
Maybe go to Taixing today; maybe not.  That was the plan but J's father poo-pooed the idea.  J says we can sneak there.
I still have the HyLite cough.  J insists this is because I go outside w/o jacket -- I do, but for a short time.
To be in a KFC during CNY -- not my idea of a good time.
I am in the KFC in Taixing.  Tony was miserable till he espied the playground.  Till then,  he had his fingers in his ears.  Telling him that there no fireworks meet on deaf ears, or plugged...

Cny day 3
Go for beer walk with V last night.
J really mad at me last night.   I had to apologize 100 times.  What did I do?  I used the face cloth to wash my feet.  What was I thinking?  I used the familiar cloth.
I went for a walk after lunch.  I bought gloves -- 5 rmb.  I then walked past fields and I saw a church -- a Christian Church.  The CC not in a prime location -- it is located off a main road behind a loading area for trucks.  It can be seen from fields but not from a great distance.  It was only by luck (grace?) that I found it.
Now, I listen to a CHP podcast.

Cny day 2
Tony don't like fireworks
Fingers always in his ears.  It is a phase I tell myself.
Last night, we go to bed early.  Guess  who had to plug his ears at midnite?!?
Garbage I see gets me to thinking.  It says so much about modern life anywhere.
There is not much I can say that I haven't said already.
I walk without Tony.  He doesn't want to leave the compound.
No showering for me.  I wash myself with a basin of hot water and a wash cloth.

Cny day 1
Bus station:  everything running smoothly
Vaughan gives me beer.

Sent from my iPod

First Links of the Dragon Year

I have uploaded photos to my normal blogs. Visit the following links and you can see what happens to old boats, and miscellaneous photos of Beixin.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photos of Tony

Beixin, China has a Christian Church

Beixin, China has a Christian Church! I came across as I went for a nothing-else-to-do walk in the area around my in-laws' home. From the photo, you can see that the church is not quite out in the open for passers-by to see it. I have walked past this alley way on many occasions before finally noticing it.

Beixin Children playing with fireworks

It is the Year of the Dragon!

As this display near my school attests!

Back in the Expatdom

I'm back!

Or rather, I should We're back!  The Kaulins in China Conglomerate is back in Wuxi, after spending four nights in Beixin -- Jenny's Hometown.

Expect lots of photo and video and recountings in the next few days, if Tony can lets me use the laptop!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Spring Festival! Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Lunar New Year! 新年快乐!

  • This will be my last entry before I leave civilization for four days.  When I say leave civilization, I mean that I am going to my wife's countryside home where I don't think I will be able to get Wi-Fi.  And when I say four days, I mean hopefully four days.  I'll never forget the time that I thought we were leaving the countryside; and I was all packed and ready to go, only to learn that they couldn't get a bus ticket out of town until the next day.  It was five minutes of extreme cursing till I had to resign myself to the fact that I was stuck out there for another 24 hours.
  • I have plenty of things on my electronic gadget to tide me over for those four or five days.  I have about eighty e-books uploaded on my Ipod to read, and fifty podcast episodes of Chinese and Roman History to listen to.  This article by the esteemed Victor David Hansen lead me to download nine more titles from Project Gutenberg.  I have fifty episodes of the Chinese History Podcast!
  • When teaching classes about family, I always ask the only children in the class, of which they are many, if they wished they had more siblings.  The girls often say they wish they had an older brother to protect them -- older brothers are prohibited with the one child policy.  Last night, one young male student gave a very cheeky answer, telling me that he wished he had a twin brother.  The answer garnered sniggers from the rest of the class.  I had to ask the boy why he wanted a twin brother, and he said that they would be able to copy each other's homework.
  • I turn on my VPN and then use Itunes to download my podcasts now.  I was surprised to find one podcast, Outloud Opinion, requires payment, but was free if you accessed it via an RSS Reader.
  • I don't know who I would abslutely like to win the Republican Party Nomination for the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.  Newt is inconsistent, and I am starting to come around to the point of view that he is a windbag.  He will say something seemingly brilliant only to contradict himself and say something really stupid.  And the brilliant things, on scrutiny, aren't so brilliant after all.  It isn't the President's job to make children do janitorial work in school.  Newt should stick to talking about what Presidents can do.  Newt would still be a better president than Obama, but that's not saying much.   Mitt Romney does a poor job of defending himself on things that should be a slam-dunk to defend if he really had a core of conservative principles.  Rick Santorum doesn't look or sound presidential -- despite his many good qualities, he has the misfortune of living in a superficial time.  He is the guy I  favour now, but I don't want to jinx him.  My previous stated favorites dropped out as soon as I declared my hopes for them.  Ron Paul is the candidate of the druggies, with foreign policy ideas that could only be formulated by someone with a serious drug problem.
  • A bad cold is going around work.  Its' symptoms are an annoying cough and an overly-sore throat.  Last night, about one in the morning, I had a bout of coughing that lasted about twenty minutes and Jenny was telling me I should take the day off from school.  I haven't, but I fear my Chinese New Year in the Countryside is going to be more unenjoyable than I was expecting.
  • One more thing.  I was born in the year of the dragon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yahoo! There is a newly-opened Italian Restaurant near our school!

There is a recently-opened Italian Restaurant, Trattoria Ferrara, in the same building as my school on #2 118 Zhongshan Road.

They sell pizza by the slice for 11 rmb. The slices are big and tasty, and I have been having them for lunch for the last two weeks.


To find Trattoria Ferrara, go the building, next to the Church on Zhongshan Road, which has an 85 Bakery and a Dico's. If you go from the church through the Dico's, make a left turn and go the end, you will see pizza slices for sale on the restaurant's main floor. If you go from the 85 Bakery, walk through the circular courtyard to the end. For those who know the area, the restaurant fronts on Xin Kuai He Xiao Xue street and is opposite the entrance to Ming Zhu Da Sha apartment building.

Those who have gone into the restaurant, tell me the food is great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thingies happening at me other bloggies

Less than a week till the Lunar New Year

  • Some students have told me that they are in a holiday frame of mind, and so they can't concentrate and feel giddy.  I tell them that in the West, people get in this frame of mind in December as Christmas approaches.
  • I am not in the holiday frame of mind.  I got five days of the countryside to look forward to as well as lots of crowds and traffic jams.
  • Most of the students tell me they will visit with their families during the Spring Festival.  Exciting? I ask.  Not really, they say.
  • It is not as easy to put podcasts on my Ipod Touch as it on my Nokia phone.  With the Nokia, I could do a simple cut and paste from any computer.  With the Ipod touch, I can download podcasts directly, but because I am in China, many of favorite podcasts can't be downloaded.  And so, I do have to sync the Ipod with my laptop at home.  This involves manually deleting old podcasts in different places in my computer files and in the Itunes program before I sync.  Still, I love my little Ipod touch.
  • Pardon the lack of blogging.  I got a cold and and I got Tony.  Both take away from my blogging.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interesting Photos

That's my son Tony.

Here are some other interesting photos for you to see:

Yanqiao: a town near Casa Kaulins

Standing Room Only

A student, I taught last night, told me about her travel arrangements to get back to her hometown in Anhui Province for the Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year.

She will be catching a train at 300 a.m. and arriving at the station closest to her hometown at 1000 a.m.  She will be taking one of the older and slower trains, and she won't have a seat.  Ouch!

The train she takes to get to her hometown doesn't originate from Wuxi.  At the originating point, all seats have been sold, and it seems that none too many of these ticket holders will be getting off at Wuxi.

She also told me a little bit about what it was like growing up in her hometown.  Her father sold vegetables in Beijing, and so she didn't get to see much of father growing up.  He would only return to her hometown on holidays.  And for a few years, her mother also was in Beijing helping him while she was going to school in a town 15 km from her hometown.

Her parents are now back in her hometown.  They live in a new house, but don't yet have a/c or hot water in her home -- she will have a cold Spring Festival.

I won't have such primitive conditions in my wife's hometown where we will go for the Spring Festival.  So, I shouldn't complain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Protests and Riots

Yesterday, out in my part of Wuxi, I saw a group of people outside the gates of a government building.  Watching them was a fairly large group of security.  I asked my Chinese companion what's was up, and she told me that there was a group of construction workers who hadn't been paid their wages.

Today, I heard that another company had told their workers that they wouldn't be getting raises for the next year, they wouldn't be getting the expected Spring Festival bonus, and that even some of them would see a decrease in their pay.  Being told to take it or leave it, the workers rioted.

Meanwhile, I have heard that many out-of-towners are already returning to their hometowns for the Spring Festival.


Not much to say other than less than two weeks to go till the Spring Festival.

I will let some photos do the talking for me:

Miscellaneous Photos

Photo taken with my Ipod Touch in a taxi.

The ballroom where our annual CNY Dinner took place.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Last night, the School had its Annual School Chinese New Year Dinner...

...and today I am teaching.

I feel crappy even though I went straight home after the festivities which ended about 845.

It will always be remembered as the dinner where they sat our group under the speakers.  Conversations were pointless.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An English Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) Song

In the West, there are not too many New Year's song. Certainly none about Chinese New Year. So we have decided to compose one: The eight days of the Spring Festival. It is based on a famous Christmas song and our observations of Spring Festivals past.

On the first day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Money in a red envelope!

On the second day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the third day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the fourth day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Four chicken's feet,

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the fifth day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Five sets of new clothes,

Four chicken's feet,

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the sixth day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Six sets of quilting,

Five sets of new clothes,

Four chicken's feet,

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the seventh day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Seven fireworks a-bursting,

Six sets of quilting,

Five sets of new clothes,

Four chicken's feet,

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

On the eighth day of Spring Festival

my true love gave to me

Eight dragons dancing,

Seven fireworks a-bursting,

Six sets of quilting,

Five sets of new clothes,

Four chicken's feet,

Three cartons of cigarettes,

Two bottles of Baijoe,

and money in a red envelope!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A few things on my second day back at work.

  • I have asked some students what they have heard about Mao Xiao Ping, the Wuxi Mayor who recently became the former Mayor.  What they have told me, I could ascertain, was via rumor, not on a news report.  One student told me that the former Wuxi Mayor was in prison.  Another told me that he had committed suicide.  The new mayor, I learned, is a woman, a Mrs. Hong.
  • Yesterday, I was a street so that was so jammed that I, as a pedestrian, couldn't make my way through.  I was walking down a side street, about one and a half lanes wide, that was blocked both ways by cars so close together I couldn't walk through.  As well, the sidewalks on both sides were full of parked bicycles tightly jammed together.  The two cars were so close to the bicycles that was no space for someone as thin as me to walk through.  I had to get behind one of the cars and follow it till I could fine some daylight on the sidewalk.
  • It is tricky for me, at school, to load podcasts on my Ipod.  If I do so, I would wipe out everything that I had put on my Ipod at home.  So, I will have to make sure my libraries on Itunes, at school and at home, are the same.  But this will mean having to download some books again (I find that manybooks.net is a good sight to find epubs).
  • I have uploaded Scenes from My Life 2 onto Youtube.  You can watch Scenes from My Life 1 here.

Scenes from my life in Wuxi, China #2

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Day of work in 2011

  • I am all out of sorts.  It panned out that I had the first three days of 2012 off and that during that time I also got a new electronic device:  My Ipod touch.  It is like I got an Iphone without the phone.  With a new electronic device, one feels like one has got a new body part and that in the process of getting used to it, one is not one's normal self.  With my new electronic device, I am going to be doing things different.  And till I get the new routine figured out, the things I do that require concentration are going to suffer, like my blogging.
  • I spent most of my time, on my long weekend, at home.  I spent far too much time on the computer.  Tony saw my Ipod and was begging to play with it.  Trying to placate him on this account was no easy matter.  My wife began stewing at me so that I was looking forward to dealing with lazy and inattentive students.
  • I did go out when Tony briefly on day two.  We had Hot Pot with some friends, and then went for a walk around Nanchang Jie, the new bar street in Wuxi.  You can visit here, here,  here and here to see the photos I took.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Don't you dare dabble!

No dabbling allowed on Nanchang Jie in Wuxi, China.