Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bloggins of a Non-Hobbit

Elevated Highways.  When one rides on them around Wuxi, Wuxi takes on a whole new aspect.  From up there, Wuxi looks like a futuristic town of towers.  But when you return to look at Wuxi at ground level, it looks like piles of rubble and crowds of people -- you realize what you see at the elevated level is a cruel facade.

Cliche?  Laowai reading Tolkien on a Wuxi bus.

Jiangxi  A Jiangxiren tells me that Wuxi is much richer than her home province.

I like the smell of _______:  Music?  I asked the students to finish the sentence and one of them gave me that answer.  Another said green grass -- further grilling revealed she didn't mean Mary Jane.

Joke  (As told by a student to me).  A Japanese person takes a taxi in Wuxi.  He sees a car drive by.  He asks the driver if the car is Chinese.  The driver says it is.  The Japanese person responds that the car "sure goes fast".  The driver takes the Japanese person to his destination and tells him that his fare is 100 rmb.  The Japanese person asks, incredulously, why the fare is so high.  The driver tells him that the meter machine is made by Sony and that it runs very fast also.

Thoughts after watching seven episodes of Mad Man  I agree it is a soap opera with hats.  I find the soap opera aspects of the show annoying as I wait for the interesting "period" bits.  Still, I don't find the show's period aspects very realistic.  The actors must go to the gym when off-camera.  The dialogue seems so 21st century.  But what do I know about the nineteen sixties.

Photographic Subject  Saturday Night, I was standing on the #25 bus looking, for all the world, like a laowai gone native -- I was carrying bottles of cooking oil and a bag of food (for my wife mind you).  Quite the sight I must have been.  I noticed these two girls taking photos of me with their mobile camera phone, or so I thought.....  For I then thought ---- nah!  they were looking at something on their camera -- perhaps a photo or a SMS.  But then, I heard the sound effect of a camera lens clicking.  They were so obviously doing what I thought and yet I didn't care in a bad way -- I had something which to write about in this blog.

Tony and Jenny Sleeping together.  I arrive to see them sleeping in each others' arms.  So sweet I thought.  That was my wife and child.  I couldn't have cared less if they were in conspiracy against me for I had something to do with the wonderful sight.

Old man's undershirt  The old man, from a distance, looked to have quite the dignity and bearing, though he wore a wife-beater undershirt, shorts, and old but comfortable cotton shoes.  He passed close by and one could not help but notice that his undershirt had numerous holes in it from frequent washings and being worn far too long.

748  Say these digits in Chinese and you have really deeply insulted someone.

635  I take this bus home after I work in the evenings.  Once off this bus, I have a ten minute walk before a I arrive home.  This walk is normally quiet which is a luxury in noisy China.  Monday evening this week, I saw four sights, on the walk from bus stop to apartment, which said a lot about China in 2010.  I first saw four men, probably migrant workers, sitting, all forlorn, on the curbside of a dark and uninhabited street.  They were probably trying to stay cool in a summer Wuxi heatwave.  I then saw two or three men swimming in what I thought was a very filthy canal trying to do the same thing.  I then saw a man tending a fire at the corner of an intersection that was lit and had traffic lights -- why he had the fire going I couldn't surmise.  And just then I saw an expensive bright red BMW sports car make a turn in the intersection.
Basketball Andis?  I took Tony and a new basketball to the basketball court in our apartment complex.  I lobbed a few balls at the basket and felt very old in body -- I don't recall ever having to make an effort of will to take a simple free throw.
Ritma  My aunt who lives in Winnipeg, Canada has just had open-heart surgery.  I pray for her recovery.
Tony on television  Tony had the right attitude about it -- he couldn't have cared less.  My wife was excited by it -- for this I am grateful to whatever power there is that is responsible for such things.  Her joy and excitement was all I really wanted from this.  I felt a detachment from for which I was also grateful.  The detachment was a result of two factors.  Firstly, I felt I wasn't too proud of my appearance on the show -- I stood around mutely and flubbed my answers to the questions I did get.  Secondly, being in China I have become an old hand at making a fool of myself in public and  being able to easily shrug the embarrassment off.  I can also say that though I have been the fool, I am at least not enough of one to know that this fame or notoriety thing is nothing, nothing at all.  I still have to use the bathroom and ride the bus to work and back.
Misplaced sense of priorities  Who is the most important person in your life? I asked.   Many students said their child, but not their wife. an answer that saddened me.  I have come to realize that it is one's spouse who is most important in one's life and that a good child results from the sacredness of the matrimonial bond.  To think it is the other way around, that one's children are more important than one's spouse is selfish sentimentality.  And be that as it may, one's family is on the second order of priority.  You don't neglect your wife or your children.


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