Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Place has no soul. Confessions

What's Wrong with China
When I asked some students what their lives were based on, one of them said money.  I believed him, but he later claimed to be joking.  The Chicoms have created one of the most materialistic cultures in history.  But it is a materialism based on corruption and obedience.
Other students said they lived their lives on the basis of trying to be happy  -- I have no idea what they meant, and they probably had no idea what I was asking.  Of course, they were supposed to have studied the phrase "to be based" before they came to class.  I then asked the students of they thought their lives were based on Buddhist, Taoist, or Christian values, and I was told by them that the Chinese had no religions.  (I may have mentioned before that the students have no knowledge of the Nativity story. One student thought Jesus was born in Eden.)
The people who create traffic rules must pull out their hair when they look at what goes on in China.  I mention this because it does explain why I want to pull out my hair sometimes when I deal with students and our Chinese assistants.  The Chinese way seems to be cheat and skip steps in a process.  The process is something to be subverted blatantly.  I gave some student the shock of his life because I mentioned and chided him for doing something that was as blatant as running a red in from of a traffic cop.  In a class where the students are to make presentations, a student came in late, sat in the back, opened up his laptop, and worked on that instead of watching what was happening in the class.  I asked him what the hell he was doing.  He told me that he was preparing for his presentation.  He should have prepared for it before the class!  I glared at him and told him how rude he was being.  He then protested to my Chinese assistant in Chinese  -- it is the equivalent of talking behind your back to someone who is one of them.  But that is what the Chinese will do.  I should have kicked him out.  And my assistant was probably annoyed at me because ultimately the student took out his disbelief on her.  But it seems that the Chinese way is to actively subvert or corrupt the process all around. 
The Chinese resent the truth it would seem because it makes them lose face.
Something Big Happening?
Nothing really big is happening in the news lately.  It has been the same same-old.  Copenhagen is but a step down a precipice for mankind  -- nothing big in itself.  I can only pray that it ends a failure -- but like those E.U. referendums that you would think have proved that process fraudulent, the powers that be seem to want it to happen, come hell or high water.  Though, in this case, the high water that does come won't because of AGW.
I had a while back, based on a blog entry in Seablogger, agreed with the postulation that something once-in-a-lifetime was the works.  I am still waiting for it.  I find Obama and the Lefties, whose day it is now, too banal to write about  -- the idiocy of the Obama saga all is enough to make me give on altogether on following politics, and getting into religion and poetry.  And the silliness of the things that are happening now to me is a sign that a slap in the head for the presumptuous among us is coming.
Trying to live a life of the spirit, has so far made me far more aware of my faults.  This is a good thing but I have to avoid slipping into despair because changing myself is such a hard thing to do.  When I lose my temper, it is so far hard for me to hold back enough to think before I act.
I keep praying in hopes I can raise to the challenges.  It seems I have been getting more of these challenges lately.  I have unfortunately shirked some.
My procedure for an English Corner is to take a topic and try to beforehand think of as many questions as I can about the topic.  It is amazing how often what you think is a good open-ended question that will generate lots of conversation from the student instead is met with blank stares of misunderstanding.
I suppose I should try to answer these questions myself before I try them on the students.  So here goes:
Question:  Could you start all over again?  That is, could you start all over again if you lost everything you had?
My answer:  I would have answered yes to this question when I was a bachelor.  I can even say that two times in my life, I have chosen to start over.  One time, I choose to go to British Columbia to find a job; another time, I choose to come to China for a lower-paying job and to find a wife.  I can say I accomplished what I set out to do.  Now, starting over again, would be much harder now that I have Tony and Jenny to think about.  I would have to move to my home country.  If starting over again, meant not having Tony and Jenny, I don't think I could do it  -- I would hope that my faith would save me, but it would be hard no doubt about it.
Chinese Study
Besides being lazy, I have made a big mistake with my Chinese study.  I choose not to study the characters.  I have started last week to do this, and it is amazing how knowing 30 characters, I am so keen to know more.  My forty minute bus ride to work is spent reading signs trying to guess what the characters mean.  I find that there are characters that are easily remembered  -- stand out as it were; and there are characters that you would think are almost impossible for a novice to remember.  Talking to Chinese people doesn't seem to interest me -- I have always been a reader.  So, I slap myself in the head for not bothering to have tried character recognition sooner.


Anonymous said...

"The Chinese way seems to be cheat and skip steps in a process. "

Yet you still live in China, married one of them, and have a son with half heathen blood.

Why didn't you marry one of your own kind?

Andis Kaulins said...

Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I see that it is the criticisms I make that get comments.

If you want to really see me lash into people. You should have seen what my impressions of life in Canada. In Canada, I have been told I should move to America. In my home country, they say I am not one of them.

Now, you say I am not of here.

Oh well, I am only human. Think of me as an misanthrope.

The comment about "cheating and skipping" is something that I have picked on from my wife who is Chinese. You should see her in her day to day dealings with all sorts...

When I say that China has no soul, I am lamenting because there is a lot that the Chinese do, that we, unheathen, can learn from. Their students work hard. They still have the idea of respect for family.

However, I don't feel I am in a country with 5,000 years of history. I don't feel it. Students tell me that the revival of their customs in China, though not lacking in form, is lacking in spirit.

Be that as it may, criticism taken.

Andis Kaulins said...

Furthermore, I plead innocence by virtue of criticizing every one. You should see me criticize Wuxi Expats.

Complaining is one of the pleasures of life. Why should I stop because I may offend the overly-sensitive? But I am searching for truth, not popularity. If what I say is not true, I wish you should me it is so. Or provide a reason for my misunderstanding.

I married for love and to redeem myself.

As for "one of my own kind", I have no idea what you mean. That is a racist way of looking at things, it pains me, to say.