Monday, September 7, 2009

My Weekend! Now What?

My wife asked me what my plans were for our weekend.  I had to tell her that I would tell her after I asked her.  I have long ceased to make plans for weekend, so the wife's question put me all out of whack.

Haircut and a Shave
I will do those two things this weekend.

The Wuxi Monkey Kings
Wuxi's Fantasy Football team, the Monkey Kings, has participated in an automated draft and filled its' roster with players that its' manager has never heard of.  Being away from the continent for five years will put the Monkey Kings' manager at a decided disadvantage.  It was only two or three years, that the AKIC-managed Wuxi Ex-Patriots won a league championship because of the manager's judicious and bold  roster management.

Happening What?
Know, I don't.  Out of touch, became I.  Matter does it?  It can who say?  Sure not I.  About Tony and Jenny, I should worry. 

When tough gets going, the tough go also in accordance.

Wuxi, Nothing Special
I caught a exchange of Tweets where someone, after saying their were going to Wuxi, was told that there wasn't much to see there, and and it was not much different from say Changzhou, a nearby city.  When the local Expat magazine hasn't gone much to say about Wuxi, you may have to think this is the case.  And many students I have talked to about this have agreed this is the case.

Wuxi branch of the Ted Kennedy School of Driving does Smash Business
This thought comes to me after my wife told me about an report she saw of an electric bicyclist being crushed to death by a dump truck somewhere in Wuxi.  The truck, in an dangerous hurry, swerved right to quickly pass a small car, didn't see the scooter beside the car.  The bicyclist was crushed so that only the head remained.  Witnesses were crying.  The driver fled, apparently, leaving the truck at the scene. 

Five Years in Wuxi
I can officially say I have been in Wuxi five years now.  The five years have brought a few changes like my getting marrying and Jenny's having Tony.  Can I join the ranks of all-knowing Wuxi Expats?  I would rather not.  In life, you should always be a newbie.  And having moved around a lot in my life, and so always seeming to be the perpetual newbie who has to be quickly put is his place, I relish the opportunity to be better than the would-be veteran who sees time spent in a place as equalling wisdom

 I have to say that I may well be the Wuxi foreign English teacher who has worked the longest at one school.
  The other person who may have been able to claim this has moved on to another school, I learned last week.  If there is someone who can surpass this claim, I would like to meet them.

When I came here five years ago, I couldn't walk down the street without getting lost, there was no Blue Bar,  no, the moresky360 building was half-completed, and there was only one Carrefour. 

Five years ago, I had that genuine sense of optimism that change often brings -  and that has slowly faded away for various reasons.  One reason is that no matter how far you travel in the world you can't escape yourself, you can't escape your past which makes you what you currently are.  The other reason the people you meet have their flaws as well.  The anti-Americanism I encounter in Wuxi about Expats is, unsolicited and disgraceful - substitute the word Jews for Americans and it may even strike the people engaging it in as bigotry.  Yet it is so persuasive, that people wanting to be cool in the Expat Community casually engage in it.  Lots of this I am not anti-American but.....  After five years here, I have meet a lot of people who deservedly need to be shunned - absolute rotters, mountebanks, and confidence tricksters - their motto:  What happens in Wuxi, stays in Wuxi.

What keeps me going? you ask, after reading the previous depressing paragraph.  Tony and Jenny obviously.  This desire I previously had to die young, has been replaced by a duty I feel I now have to live as long as possible, for their stake.  Evelyn Waugh, the great humorous writer, was a pessimist and a misanthrope, was also a Catholic and so had to resist desires to commit suicide.  I am thinking of doing that too.  As well, being in China in interesting times, is fascinating.  I am not sure if I am watching a car accident or a golden age.

The people of Wuxi are no doubt bad drivers and money-grubbing, but they can also be sweet.  They have an outlook on life that the Jaded Fucks of the West laugh at as being credulous and nerdish.  One thing that living in Wuxi has taught me is that being cool is the worse vice of all.

And what have I learned about teaching?  So much of it depends on the student.  Students really are blank slates.  At best, they are wild animals needing to be domesticated. 

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