Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Week in the Life of a Canadian Living in Wuxi, China: June 24 to June 30, 2013

Gratitude:  Thank God for my Ipad. If I didn't have the device, my vacation would have been worse than it turned out to be.

Acknowledgment: I am a right f***ing unsociable bastard.

The AKIC Week in Brief: It was Tony's last week at kindergarten. I had a vacation but I didn't do anything and didn't go anywhere. Lame, I know. The Wanda aka WenJiabaoda Plaza was open and I paid my first visit to it.

The AKIC Mission:  To be China's leading forum of  Gómez-Dávilism and reactionary intransigence, as well as a provocation to all of AKIC's enemies and critics.

The AKIC Motto:  Believe in God, trust in Christ, look with suspicion.

The AKIC Idiom: Casual Insouciance and Solecism-ism.

Who should read AKIC? AKIC is more AK than C. So don't come here expecting the rantings of a would-be Sinologist. I just sometimes mention what I happen to see being here in China. Also, don't expect to read anything about the Expat community here at AKIC. I keep my contact with foreigners to a minimum – but then that is like someone declaring his party to be private even when no one is going to his party anyway. Only kindred spirits of me should read this blog. That is, flotsam, jetsam, waifs, lost souls, conservatives, reactionaries, lost-causers, medievalists, coin-tossers, base brats, marginal humans, watchers, cranks,walkers, wallflowers, failures, losers, Catholics, solitaries, and loners.

An AKIC Glossary
[I have been thinking that it is silly to put this glossary in each of my weekly blog entries and that I should set up a page on AKIC wordpress. However, I am constantly editing the glossary – something I can't do if I make it a page.]

Gratitude: will always be the first word of the AKIC weekly blog entry -- it is the key to happiness.

Acknowledgment and Request:  For me Acknowledgment means confession; and Request means asking for stuff.  GAR [Gratitude, Acknowledgment, Request] are the simple stages of a prayer which I came upon following the Jewish World Review site.  I used the GAR format when I delivered the eulogy at my father's funeral last year.

Solecisms: I try to rid my blog and writings of these things, but they never seem to go away.

Jenny is my wife. She is a Jiangsu woman. Why she puts up with me is a mystery. I ain't good-looking and I don't have any money. Her enemies are my enemies. I put up with a lot of isolation for her.

J: I will sometimes refer to her that way.

Tony is my son.  If he is annoying or is acting way, way, way out-of-line, I will spank him -- I don't do this as much as I used to, having mellowed out in that regard. [I actually put this line in as a dig against anti-spanking activists who are about as useful for humanity as pacifists and social workers.] One of the sacrifices I make for my little buddy is a life of isolation.

T: I will sometimes refer to Tony this way.

TKIC: Tony Kaulins in China.  I may be referring to the TKIC blogs or to Tony when I use TKIC.  I  am sure you can figure out which way I am using it from the context.

AKIC:  Andis Kaulins in China.  The same applies to AKIC as applies to TKIC.  That is, I may be referring to the AKIC blogs or to myself.  AKIC aspires to be China's leading forum of  Gómez-Dávilism and reactionary intransigence.

My School is HyLite English located on Zhongshan Road in Wuxi, China. (In Chinese, it is known as 环亚国际英语 (huanya guoji yingyu

Private Class: At HyLite, a private class has up to four students in a class. In these classes, we grade the students' grammar and level of English speaking.

Salon Class: At HyLite, a salon class is basically a conversation class with up to eight students where we try to get them to discuss some pre-chosen topic which they should have reviewed before coming to class.

English Corner:  I go to a room and try to talk to a group of Chinese people in English.  Often, they don't understand me and they have nothing to say about anything.

Casa Kaulins is what I call the apartment I (really my wife) owns.

California Villa: The English name of the apartment complex the Kaulins family resides. In Chinese pinyin, it is called Jia Zhou Yang Fang. (加州洋房)

Train-spotting.  There is a high speed train track running near Casa K.  Tony & I, when we have a chance, love to go there to watch the trains go by.

Wuxi (无锡):  The city where Jenny, Tony & I live.  I sometimes call it the Wux.

Hui Shan (惠山): The district of Wuxi in which we live.  Not to be confused with the Hui Shan Mountain that is in Xihui Park. There isn't a mountain anywhere in the district.

Ba Bai Ban (八佰伴): Also known as Wuxi Yao Han, Ba Bai Ban is a famous department store at the corners of Zhongshan Road and Xueqian Road in Downtown Wuxi. AKIC goes there to buy Tomica and Plarail toys for his son Tony.

The Square:  The Hui Shan People's Square is nearby Casa Kaulins.

Central Park:  Hui Shan Central Park is the park closest to Casa Kaulins.  It has a playground area and a small lake with beach.  The park is nothing special.  The water in the lake is unbelievably foul.  The playground's fixtures are falling apart.  The park is big enough that its narrow paths, that I would have thought were meant for pedestrians, have cars being driven on them.  The sight of these cars honking at pedestrians to get out their way disgusts me as much as the park's lake water. 

Hui Shan Wanda 惠山万达: A fancy shopping mall and cinema that is now open and very near to Casa Kaulins. I will also call it the WenJiaoBaoda Plaza. Apparently the former Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party is making a lot of money off the Wanda Plazas that are being built all over China. The Hui Shan Wanda is the third one to be built in Wuxi. The plan is to build more.

Century Times Plaza (Tesco): That is the supermarket that is closest to Casa Kaulins. Tesco is known as legou (乐购) to the locals.

Yanqiao: a town of Hui Shan District -- not too far from Casa Kaulins.

Qianzhou: an area or a district or a town that borders on Yanqiao.

Jiangyin (江阴): A city or district next to Wuxi.

Meicun:  A suburb of Wuxi city that is far from the downtown.

Shuo Feng:  Ditto!

Ditto!  Agrees with what has been previously said.

To do List At work, even though I am not that busy anymore, I print out a weekly list of things to do everyday. It is a compulsive-obsessive habit that does give my days some form.

LECTOR: I got the idea for Lector, a fictional sparring partner for my blog, from a Hilaire Belloc book I had read recently.

DBs: I will leave it to you to try and figure out what D & B stand for.

School Laptop:  I like to make note of where I make my notes for my weekly blog entry.  One of the four places is my school laptop.  The other three are: my home laptop, my Ipad Mini, and my Ipod Touch.

Dotdotdot: This is my favorite social app. It is a nice way to read long form articles on the Internet that allows you to proclaim to the world what you are reading. I use the app to read the Catechism and the writings of Father Schall. I get a new follower seemingly every day.

Python:  A script-writing computer program I am learning to use.

Atftb:  A thought for the blog.

Brandon, Manitoba, Canada is where my mother Aina lives. 
Winnipeg, Manitoba is where my brother Ron lives.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA is where some of my father's relatives live.

Bao Bao Sleepy:  What Tony calls it when he sleeps in Daddy's arms or on Daddy's lap.

David Warren:  I visit his website about five times a day.  He a fervent Catholic and reactionary.  If I model myself after anyone, it would be him.

Don Colacho:  a.k.a. Nicolás Gómez Dávila. A South American sage.  He died in 1993.  He would have been 100 in 2013.  I read his aphorisms everyday.  He is the consummate reactionary.

Father Schall: I am always reading the site of his which has a huge collection of his writings.

25,602, 602支,61081796711885, 635These are the buses I can take to go to downtown Wuxi from my home (Casa Kaulins) in the Hui Shan New District. I usually take the 602in the morning, transferring to the 79, the 81, or the 85 to get to school. In the evening, I can take the 67, the 79, the 81, the 85 or the 118 to get to the stop where I catch the 635. The 635 is the only bus running to my area of Wuxi after 800 PM. The 81 bus is a double-decker – quite the novelty for a guy who spent a lot of his life in Manitoba. The 25 bus is the cheap 1 RMB that I used to take all the time but now rarely take.

HM:  Harry Moore is from Brisbane Australia.  He had a brief stint as an English teacher at my school.  He sends me emails occasionally.  He was my partner in crime in my notorious Wuxi China Expatdom Blog.  He suffered a stroke recently but he still heroically plugs away.
The Wuxi Peach Maoists: AKIC is proud to be the manager of the official NFL fantasy football team of Wuxi Expats.
VOCFCK: Stands for View of China from Casa Kaulins, a blog where I take photos and videos from the apartment.

About Me (Andis):

I in in China!  这个星期,我有一点点旅行。我不去了其他地方。



Politically I am Conservative/Reactionary!  Dominion Day is what I call Canada's national day holiday, not Canada Day.

I am Canadian!  But I don't appreciate all aspects of the new Canada. I prefer to call Canada's national day, which comes on July 1st, Dominion Day, not Canada Day. Taking the old names for Canadian things and replacing them with the word Canada seems redolent of Communist regimes changing traditional names with revolutionary names. In short, I think changing Dominion Day to Canada Day would be like changing Victoria Day to Stalin Day. It is not right at all.

I am Latvian (sort of)! Sandis Ozoliņš was a a favorite NHL player of mine! As was Artūrs Irbe. I remember my father followed their exploits quite closely.

I teach English!  The next two months are busy for our school. Explain me to complain a lot about it.
I am not a freak! There are in fact other people named Andis Kaulins in the world. Another Andis Kaulins has a site called I love the fact that reference to AKIC is made in the site's banner. And as far as I know, I am not related to the Andis Kaulins who is domiciled in the USA. [LECTOR: You are a freak!]

I like to Read! Here is what I had been working my way through the past week:
Don Colacho's Aphorisms.  There are 2,988 of them in this book that I compiled for myself.  I read ten aphorisms at a time.  I cut and paste the better ones -- they are all profound actually -- and I put them in my weekly blog entry. (See below)
Ulysses by James Joyce.  I am following along with Frank Delaney as he slowly guides podcast listeners through Joyce's hard-to-read novel.  Delaney figures he will have done his last ReJoyce Podcast in about 22 years.  Now that I have caught up to Delaney's podcast (he completed episode #159 this week), I am getting ahead him as far as reading the book.  I will be finished reading it, I figure, in a year. I read the novel despite its many blasphemies. It is best to be aware of this stuff because the world is full of it, and the world will always find a way of slapping you in the face with it

The Holy Bible King James Version.   I am reading a chapter a day of the greatest book of all-time. I finished reading Letters to the Romans.

Columns by Father Schall. I have been able to take all his archived writings and place them on the Dotdotdot app.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like Father Schall's writings, I have been able to place them on the Dotdotdot app.

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. I wish I could bury myself in this book at the expense of all else.

The Black Book of Communism. A must read, especially for left-wingers. It may smarten some of them up. Most just change their labels calling themselves socialists, democratic socialists, middle-of-the-roaders, and progressives, instead of admitting they were wrong.

I like to take photos
I publish them in the following blogs:  AKIC wordpress , TKIC blogspot, TKIC wordpress and Views of China from Casa Kaulins.

I like to make videos
Here is my Youtube Channel and my Youku Channel. Here are two of my more recent videos.: Dad & Son Q&A & Views of China from Casa Kaulins #5. Here is a blast from the past: Wuxi Tony Update #360: Canada Day #3: this video was taken in 2009.

I like to cut and paste quotations:
Here are the aphorisms I have chosen this week (one of the ten per day I read – seven plus a bonus eighth.) from Don Colacho:
2453 A prolonged childhood—permitted by industrial society’s current prosperity—redounds merely in a growing number of infantilized adults. [Reading this, I plead guilty.]
2460 The barriers life frequently throws across our way are not obstacles for us to demolish; they are silent warnings that divert us onto the right path.
2469 The only certain patrimony after a few years is the load of stupidities that chance prevented us from committing.
2479 Humanity is not ungovernable: it merely happens that rarely does a man govern who deserves to govern.
2480 By merely looking at the face of the modern man one infers the mistake in attributing ethical importance to his sexual behavior.
2492 As long as they do not take him seriously, the man who says the truth can live for a while in a democracy. Then, the hemlock.
2506 True reading is an escape. The other type is an occupation. [Reading is an escape for me. I make no money from reading. But that is how I like to spend my spare moments. I am not scheming or strutting about in order to appear busy.]
2514 The most dispiriting [kind of] solitude is not one lacking in neighbors, but one deserted by God. [Solitude is a word that appeals to me. As does the word loner. My father was a lonely man, as it seems am I and one of my other siblings. That is why I really like this quote, it keeps me hope that being with people can never supply.]

Here is quote from Crisis Magazine on Sloth:
Most sloth falls short of such a hellish extreme of inaction. A more suitable description would be in analogy with inertia.  In physics, inertia is the tendency to continue in the same direction at the same speed, unless deflected or hindered in some way—e.g., by gravity or friction. Among humans, by analogy, a slothful person, comfortable in what he or she is doing, will tend to continue doing that same thing over and over.  Incentives to lower their comfort level are met with predictable distress or disdain. [Inert – that's me!]

In other news, I see that U.S. oil exports have overtaken imports, & that our less peaceable neighbour is well on the way to overall energy self-sufficiency, despite every effort by the Barabbas administration to exclude human enterprise from federal land. [Calling Barack Barabbas is just so apt. Contrary to many of his fans, Barack isn't Jesus Christ, and resembles the activist that Barabbas was in his time.]

Today, we often see the Esau syndrome in couples who avoid having children in order to “have it all.” Aborting children as unwelcome guests at their ongoing “party,” they give little or no thought to the fact that one day they may be asked to account for these children. As Bishop Sheen used to say, on judgment day, we will be asked, “Where are your children?” [I was a bachelor for a long time so I am not off the hook for this admonition. Though to be honest, I wasn't your typical swinging bachelor as I had to come to China to find a wife. It is a move I don't regret as the woman in China are woman and not aspiring man-woman that they have become in the West. Left wing ideology has destroyed femininity in the West.]

It seems the middle-aged white men on both sides of this case are totally unaware of what Rachel's life is like - a 19-year-old high school student of Haitian descent who knows nothing more than the few block radius she has grown up in. The cultural differences here are exponential. [This quote spurred some thoughts that I entered on my Ipad Touch on Saturday. So, go to the Saturday section to read my reaction.]

The joyless workaholic is on that slippery slope. Not so the man who is idle, contemplative, prayerful, and content. But for centuries, since at least the Reformation, the Devil has been working on a false dichotomy between work and leisure, persuading us that busy-ness has virtue as an end in itself. This has proved an excellent stratagem for our enslavement.

That “the Devil makes work for idle hands” is a more subtle and paradoxical proverb than may be supposed. I think of it in the trolley, when I see every hand earnestly clutching a “device,” and the thumbs working away upon them – and almost every face intent, but joyless; indifferent alike to God and (non-virtual) neighbor. [Intent but Joyless. That's me on the bus. I will have to try to change my appearance on that regard. I must exude Joy for I have more than most people I know. I notice a lot of intently joyless people who need to make themselves look busy – the pouting on their lips can be seen from a million miles away. This quote also explains what is wrong with the podcast host Adam Carolla. He tries to compensate for the fact that he is vulgar and rude, by talking about how busy he is.]

I like to keep a journal of my daily activities and of any worthy thoughts that occur to me.
[This journal records the events that I can talk about. In fact, a lot happens that I can't talk about, though I try to allude to these happenings with my thoughts which I will record in this journal. As well, I don't blog about people I happen to know. I scrupulously try to avoid mentioning names, except if I happen to have something good to say about them. [LECTOR: You rarely have anything good to say about people, I notice. ANDIS: Uh-huh!]]

Monday [June 24]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. It is my normal day off.

I woke up in time to get Tony off to kindergarten. It was raining heavily when Tony & I went outside.

I made and uploaded the VOCFCK #2 video.

I didn't go to the Wanda Plaza.

We, that be Jenny & I, did go to the Jinling Hotel for a lunch buffet. I saw some foreigners there. One of them had a tattoo on one of his elbows – he was making more trips to help himself to food than I was. I could overhear the foreigners' Australian accents.

I finished watching the tenth and last episode of Season Two of Game of Thrones. I hope this series doesn't turn into a man versus zombies battle.

On the 25 bus which I took back to Casa K from downtown, flashes of memories of my father's last days came into my mind. He told me the story of how he carried me on his shoulders, and he kept picking up the phone like he was expecting someone to call – no one did.

I took Tony out for a bit of trainspotting after he got back from school. We saw but one train before we headed back to Casa Kaulins. What was more interesting was the boat that was permanently moored along the canal bank which was below the bridge deck from which we spot trains. People live in the boat and they seem to make their living by raising fish and poultry.

A street sweeper was asking me how much money I made in a month. I thought he had been asking me where I was from and what my job was... I mean.... like really... how can they ask such questions? It's what they been taught I would suppose.

Tuesday [June 25]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. It is a vacation day for me.

It doesn't look like I will be doing any travel on my vacation days. Plans I had for next weekend have fallen through. The person I know in Shanghai is busy. My one Wuxi contact is busy as well. I may have coffee with him on Wednesday. Tony is in school and I have two performances of his to attend on the weekend. It is my own damn fault for my paucity of vacation doings, so I am just going to have to make the best of it.
It is raining this morning on and off, as one minute, the rain comes down in a torrent, and the next minute, the rain stops and one can put down one's umbrella, although one should keep it in up because the next minute, the rain will renew its torrential aspect.

I think I will make a point of it, to myself and to rare AKIC readers, to not go to the Wanda Plaza. To end up in a Shopping Mall on one's vacation betrays a lack of imagination.

I will instead do crap on the computer like blog, edit video, read Dickens, read The Black Book of Communism, study Chinese, send some emails, and try my hand again at Python programming.

What is my issue with the world? I can't really say as I can have any. There are many things I don't like about it but I am free to avoid them and accept the consequences. I have choices. The issues I have are with myself and my inaction. [Although, as David Warren says, shame of inaction is a feeling brought on by the Devil.]

I watched the first episode of the third season of Game of Thrones.

1117 am: I just watched the second episode of the third season of Game of Thrones.

I think the Black Hawks have won the Stanley Cup. A message about some guy named Kane winning the Conn Smythe appeared on my Ipad screen. If I can get the NHL site, I will be able to confirm it.

So many photos I would like to take for VOCFCK such as a photo of a VW Beetle, a certain model of flatbed truck, a cyclist riding while carrying an umbrella, and peasants.

1409: It continues to rain heavily. I read.

1512: Our little emperor, our holy terror will be home in less than an hour.

I look at some Chinese flashcards. The program tells me I identified 83 percent of them correctly.

Wednesday [June 26]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. My third vacation day.

Yesterday, I read a lot. Today? It doesn't seem like it will rain heavily so I may get myself out of the apartment. I may have coffee with Michael tonight.

In the morning, I listen to podcasts from the Vatican and the conservative magazine National Review. These days, I have been listening to Coffee & Markets – a conservative podcast on mostly economics, Three Martini Lunch – a podcast from the National Review magazine, the Adam Carolla podcast, Econtalk – a weekly podcast, Radio Derb – a weekly podcast, The China History Podcast – now coming out every two weeks or so, The Russian Rulers Podcast, and Frank Delaney's ReJoyce.

Last night, Tony hogged the home laptop watching videos about firetrucks.

I have been spending too much time on my electronic devices. The past few days, I have been visiting Facebook.

Tony brought home his kindergarten graduation photos.

I took a lot of photos for my newest blog.

Thursday [June 27]
[Home Laptop]
I work today 1300-2100. I will then have five days off.

I went to the Wanda Hui Shan Plaza yesterday. I vowed not to, but what was I going to do​? I will talk more about it later. [LECTOR: This is what you said earlier: To end up in a Shopping Mall on one's vacation betrays a lack of imagination. ANDIS: What can I say? Lector. You are number one!]

I have a touch of something in my stomach. Yesterday, I woke up and had a very liquid sit on the toilet, and then I had another and another. This morning, I had a similar trip to the toilet to start the day. I will just have to ensure I have an empty stomach before I go to work this morning.

I had a good conversation on the phone with Tony as I was coming home from Wanda last night. He understood all I said and answered my questions with hoped for answers, or I should say informative answers with information I was wanting.

From the Black Book of Communism, I read that in September 1928 in Jiangsu province, Little Swords massacred 200 Big Swords and burnt six villages. I will have to see if I can find more information on that incident. This kind of rivalry between gangs was a prelude to what happened during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolutions.

Friday [June 28]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. It is my fourth vacation day.

It's Tony's last day of kindergarten! We tell him this but he doesn't believe us. Tonight, we will be going to a show at Tony's school to mark the event.

I asked Tony which he prefers: playing with toys or going to school. He said the latter. I don't think he understands comparative forms in English yet.

Yesterday, I went to school. It was a minimal duty day for me which means I only did school stuff and didn't lay extra tasks on myself like Chinese and Python study.

I had a seat on the 635 last night. It was the front seat that faces towards the center aisle and was behind the driver. I normally don't sit there if I can because there is a high chance I will have to give up the seat to an old person or some woman with kid – although at 900 PM that can be less of a problem because most Wuxi old people and children are already in bed. Anyway, sitting up front, I noticed another thing to hate about sitting up front in the bus: I was crowded in by the standing passengers. One man who wore his backpack on his chest had the backpack continually butt against my Ipad on which I was trying to read some Chinese – I had to ward the bag with my hand. I then had a person's arm enter my field of vision. This fellow was short and had nothing else on which to hold except a bar near where I was sitting – he had no choice but to extend his arm in front of my face to hold to grab a hold of that bar. It also didn't help that my knees on my long legs extended into the center aisle more than was normal. Still, even though I was packed in, I was able to read my Ipad almost oblivious to the crowd around me.

I did a salon class about family with some higher level students. One student had a great grandparent who was 97 years old. Another had a great grandmother in her early nineties. The most interesting story was about a neighbor of a student back in his native Ningxia province who had ten sons! (No girls!) This story impressed all the students.

My wife was able to order Kraft Dinner on the internet. She got six packages for 84 rmb. Cheap!!!!

As I said yesterday, I did actually did something social on my vacation. I went to the Starbucks at Wanda and had coffee with Michael, a local businessman who speaks decent English. Michael always has interesting things to share with me. He says the Chinese economy seems to be slowing down, at least from the anecdotes he has gotten from talking to other businessman who talk about the numbers of containers they have to ship out. He also told me the chain of Wanda shopping plazas are owned by ex-Premier Wen Jiabao. Perhaps I should be calling Wanda the WenJiabaoda. [LECTOR: This is what you said earlier: To end up in a Shopping Mall on one's vacation betrays a lack of imagination. ANDIS: What can I say? Lector. You are number one! LECTOR: I win!]

So I went to the WenJiabaoda Plaza for the first time on Thursday afternoon. It has a lot of good stuff in it like a McDonald's, a Pizza Hut, an Apple store, a Dairy Queen, an Imax Cinema, a Watson's, and an Urghur restaurant. I told Jenny that we will have less reason to go downtown now, other then I would have to go to work. [LECTOR: This is what you said earlier: To end up in a Shopping Mall on one's vacation betrays a lack of imagination. ANDIS: What can I say? Lector. You are number one! LECTOR: I win! Again!]

Thankfully, no one asked me how my vacation had been at school! Actually... One of the Chinese staff did. I told her, rather sheepishly, I didn't know what I was going to do with my four days off. [Two of them have been taken up with Tony's events.]

Locals who know of me scream “Tony!” at me to get my attention. I ignore them.

I don't know what to think of this Snowden fellow. His revelations didn't seem so stunning to me. The students, however, have told me that they have been following the story without my prompting them to say so. Michael asked me what I thought about it, and I had to tell him I wasn't sure what to think.

For lunch, Jenny & I went to the BeiXiang Restaurant in the Wanda or WenJiaoBaoda Plaza. We had green beans and lamb. MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!! 很好吃! The food was good. Only thing however disturbed me: one of the washrooms on the main floor of the Plaza was a real horror. Black sooty water had backed up so that the sinks were overflowing making for a very yucky and mucky looking floor. While the Wanda looks okay now. I can already see signs of hastily done construction when I look around the place.

I went to Tony's kindergarten, for what I hope is the last time, to pick up his linen, backpack, and lunchbox. Tonight, there will be a performance by the students at a primary school near the kindergarten. Jenny & I will take a taxi there.

I finished watching the third episode of the third season of Game of Thrones.

I went to Tony's kindergarten graduation ceremony show. [In the photo, the banner on the stage said the following: 2013 33 幼儿园毕业典礼 (pinyin: 3 zhi 3 youer yuan biye dianliEnglish: 3 plus 3 kindergarten graduation ceremony)] Never being one to try to make others envy me, I will be honest and say I envy anyone who doesn't have to go to these things. Performances by kindergarten students are torturous to watch, and the idea of graduating from kindergarten being all that important is silly. It just isn't. I did have a reason to go to these ceremony however, and that was to see my Tony, but it wasn't to be. Tony stood at the back of his group when he went on the stage and I couldn't see him. His performance also had him standing at the back where I couldn't see him. The best performance, in fact, involved five boys dancing to Gangnam Style – it is de riguer for any public ceremony these days to have someone dance Gangnam Style it would seem. Mercifully the ceremony ended fifteen minutes earlier than I had expected, but it was still one of the longest 105 minutes I had ever spent in my life. Maybe, the Chicoms, in their infernal wisdom, love to stage these boring ceremonies so as to stop parents from having more than one child...

But then I saw something that actually astonished me. At least three of the kindergarten teachers were bawling their eyes out as they stood on the stage with their students. Jenny told me that it was a very emotional moment for the teachers because they were seeing many of their students for the last time. These teachers had spent three years with the kids, and become quite attached to them. Seeing Tony hug one of them brought tears to my eyes, and made me a little envious. I can't say that I have developed any emotional bonds towards any students I have had. I have to admit that most of the students I have had have left me with numbness at best and more than often with contempt. The students I like are not so because of anything I did. Of course, it could be because I am older and a selfish fuck while the teachers at school are young and not even married yet.

There was also the girl with intellectual challenges. My wife pointed her out to me but I knew of her from going to Tony's classes. In the primary schools and kindergartens I have been to, there is always the slow children, one in each class, who wander around the class and do their own thing because they can't understand what is expected of them. The girl stood at the back and was imitating her classmates while not really being part of the show. I wondered what it was like for her parents.

I hate the fucking GFW! I just want to watch the highlights of the Stanley Cup Final without buffering! [I was able to watch and the players seemed so bloody young. They looked like junior players. I must be getting old. LECTOR: You are getting old.]

I watched the fourth episode of the third season of Game of Thrones.

Saturday[June 29]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today. My last vacation day.

This afternoon, I will go to downtown to see a performance of Tony's dance class.

This morning, I don't know what to do with myself. It is a horrible feeling to not have a purpose. [LECTOR: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!]

I have been trying to upload VOCFCK #5 for nearly two days now. It is a slow process to upload to Youtube from behind the GFW. [LECTOR: What's the point? No one will watch it anyway.]

[Ipod Touch]
Took the 25 bus downtown.  I would have rather have taken the 602, and then transferred to another bus because I didn't want to stand.  The 602(the 602 is a different route) always has available seats.  My wife didn't want to walk a longer distance to get to the dance class -- our intended destination.  She wanted to take the 25 bus which, while getting us directly to our destination, is often crowded.  Standing on the 25 bus is an ordeal because it takes 45 minutes to get downtown.  I rather sit on the trip and walk a little even with my gamey right leg than stand for so long.

As it was, we got a seat on the 25.  But it was crowded with construction workers carrying their possessions to the train and bus stations, peasant looking old women, and poor mothers carrying babies.  Jenny who insisted on standing complained of how crowded it was.  She wanted to stand because she didn't want Tony sitting on her lap.  Too heavy she said.

Reading in the Black Book of Communism of the tortures that many innocent people were subjected to during various Communist caused brutalities,  I can tell myself I have little of which to complain.  Imagine what it would be like to be a 60 year old teacher being tortured by students, a stick stuck up your rectum -- this happened during the Cultural Revolution.

Middle-aged white men couldn't possibly understand what black youngsters and teenagers undergo in their lives.  This is said as a way of defending black criminality.  It is used as well to keep alive the contention that white men are racist and could never give a black person a fair treatment. 

But do black people understand Middle-aged white men and give them fair treatment?    I somehow doubt it when the line that white people are oppressors is accepted uncritically and is an article of faith among leftist race hustlers who propagate it unaware that White Americans aren't racist anymore.

I one day intend to become am old white man.  I resent the racist epitaphs that are thrown at them that assumes that experience blinds them and makes them bigoted unlike old people who are women and/or not of a light complexion.  I have seen many a kind old white man have their views discounted because they are old and white.  Case in point, the Popes and Republicans. [Lector: You are a racist!]

A taxi makes a left turn passes close to a car making a right turn.  Just before they approach the perigee of their two turning arches, an e-bike makes it way in-between them and narrowly misses being hit by these two other vehicles.  The incident is nothing unusual except that I noticed it and needed something to blog about. [LECTOR: I don't think you are correctly using the word perigee.]

Sunday [June 30]
[Home Laptop]
I don't work today.

I arise at 830 or so. A recollection of my father dying came into my mind. I was floored with sadness and a longing ache.

Some numbers: 356 views of my new blog. Thirteen Views of a little essay I typed entitles Travel Narrows the Mind? The over night numbers were very disappointing.

We went to the Little Sheep Restaurant in the Wanda Plaza last evening for supper. We thought it was okay at first because it didn't have a lineup like many of the other restaurants, and we were able to walk right in and get a table. But then we discovered there was a reason that the restaurant wasn't busy. It's service was horrible. My wife vowed to never go to the restaurant ever again. They gave us dirty glasses and the service thereafter was fumbling.

I woke up this morning about two AM and sat on my porcelain, nay, iron throne. I must have had a Little Sheep poop. I was reminded of a song by Johnny Cash.

Visitors in the morning. Tony's primary school teachers. One of them is named Selina. I will need to remember that.

I passed a foreigner as I was walking the road in front of Casa Kaulins. I avoided eye contact, pretending to be focused on Tony. Jenny then asked me if I saw the foreigner. I said “well.... yeah. He is probably French or something.” I should have said hello but I just couldn't press the trigger on my friendly gun.

Yesterday, I saw a older Chinese man with curly hair. It was an unusual sight because 99.9 percent of the Chinese I have seen have naturally straight hair. This man's hair was curly and white, he reminded of Marx Brother named Harpo, the one with curly and white hair who never speaks. He did say hello to me, but I never had a chance to question him about his origins. He was with Chinese cronies drinking tea.

Coming home from downtown yesterday, we went to our small shop to buy some drinks. Tony didn't want anything, but he got very upset when I bought drinks for Jenny and myself. He kept screaming “No buy drinks!” He continued saying this even after we bought the drinks. We didn't know what he wanted or what his complaint. Did he want us to return the drinks and get our money back? Was he angry because we ignored his order? Or was he simply irritable from a lack of sleep. In fact, earlier at the dance class, he refused to participate for the last ten minutes. Asking him if he thought dance class was stupid – I thought it was – he said it was stupid. It must have been the lack of sleep. He didn't even take a nap on the bus – his usual habit.

The Hui Shan Tesco Plaza is very quiet on account of the opening of the Wanda Plaza. The two plazas are about two hundred meters from each other. And the word on the street is that the supermarket in the basement of Wanda is cheaper than Tesco. I think that a lot of this shopping mall construction is just shuffling retail demand about, not really increasing it. Although, people must have come from Jiangyin to visit the new Wanda.

My vacation time wasn't that bad at all. I just have no stories to tell, and I can't make them up. People who have this “talent,” have a brain that somehow doesn't register reality.

Tomorrow is Dominion Day, not Canada Day. Only Communists call it Canada Day. Real Canadians call it Dominion Day!!!!

Sunday afternoon about 345, I took Tony to the Wanda Plaza. I took him to two arcades, McDonald's, and any store that happened to sell toys. He was well-behaved once. When he was eating his four chicken wings at McDonald's. Something about those spicy wings makes Tony sit still and take his time. Otherwise, he runs around excitably like a chicken with no idea what it wants to do. [LECTOR: This is what you said earlier: To end up in a Shopping Mall on one's vacation betrays a lack of imagination. ANDIS: What can I say? Lector. You are number one! LECTOR: I win yet again!]

I spend most of Sunday evening, looking for solecisms in this blog entry.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel narrows the mind?

Travel narrows the mind. Chesterton advanced this proposition in an essay once to counter the more commonly advanced proposition that Travel broadens the mind.

I suppose most people would unthinkingly agree with the latter thought. After all, what could be more commonsensical? By seeing more things, you become more cosmopolitan, worldly-wise, and more aware of different ways of doing things. And yet because it is so commonly assumed to be so, it paradoxically may not be the case at all.

For instance, many travel to see tourist sights, which in this day and age are simply ways of making money off travelers. Tourists are lead around like cattle not really able to explore because they are not allowed to and often too these tourists don't really want to go to the trouble of exploring things for themselves which is really how they would broaden their minds.

Having seen the Great Wall in China and the Space Needle in Seattle myself, for instance, I can say that I have seen the Great Wall in China and the Space Needle in Seattle. But, how does saying that make my mind any more broad? At the Space Needle, I had a nice view for one minute and then asked myself if this was all there was, and what I was going to do then because there wasn't much to do up there but look. So, I stood in the viewing platform for twenty minutes before I thought it was safe for me to go down. I had spent a lot of money to get up there and didn't want it to go to waste. At the Great Wall, I did have the feeling of whoop-de-do! Here I am at the Great Wall of China! But as someone told me, you go there a few more times, and the novelty wears off. In fact, I have noticed that travel makes most people become jaded. A been-there, done-that sort of person, a Jaded Fuck, is a narrow being indeed. You would think mind-broadening travel would have made him less a pain-in-the-ass to the less traveled sorts. And there isn't anything you can say to these people because having done it all, or at least more than you, you are expected to just listen to them – they have closed their minds to you, you have-not-done-anything-piece-of-poop!

In fact, I am starting to think that as one checks off places to visit on a bucket list, one is becoming more and more narrowed on the fact that one has seen these things. That is, one is narrowed on the idea of one's self supposedly having a broader mind. I think in most cases, this checking off of places visited is only useful for bringing up in an inane conversation in a bar.

Most travelers as well seek only amusement on their travels – again so they can report them back to people they are drinking with. By being amused at the different ways people of the world do things, one only sees superficialities. Superficial things trick us all the time and so narrow the mind because they so often distract us from what is really important about life which isn't its superficiality.

So, how you broaden your mind then if not by travel? I recall that Chesterton suggested that one take the time to talk to one's neighbor, who though close, lives in a world that is separate from his own. And because the neighbor is close to you, you have a common language. Of course, Chesterton lived in a time where neighbors could be noble people. Hopefully, you don't live next to people whose homes or yards are like auto-wreck yards or party zones. I say it best to lie low and grab a hold of some good literature like Shakespeare or the Bible – that would broaden your mind more than anything.