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The Man in China Archives
April 30, 2008 Chinese Ducks say "Gā".
When I learned that
Chinese ducks say "gā gā" instead of "quack", I suddenly
needed a duck and, being the instant gratification type,
I needed a duck quick. Since I'm not a cartoonist myself, I
resorted to stealing and cloning Arthur from one of my favourite web
comics, "Sheldon", by Dave Kellett.
April 30, 2008 Two Idioms in a Row - Marking Boat Seek Sword
Here's my latest translation of a Chinese story that has become idiom in the language. Marking the boat to find your sword could be translated as "relying on invalid information" or "counting on the circumstances not having changed."
April 28, 2008 And Yet Another Chinese Idiom - Adding Feet to a Snake
April 27, 2008 This Year's Zong Zi Fest
Once again we were guests at a zong zi festival competition. This year it was much bigger, with contestants from several schools competing as individuals and families, a larger crowd. and more organization in advance.
Last year we got our invitations on the evening before the contest, but this year we were given training several weeks ahead of time and also asked to prepare a performance. For the past week we've been rehearsing two Chinese songs - 童年 (tóngnián - "Childhood") and 月亮代表我的心 (yuèliàng dài biǎo wǒ de xīn - "The Moon Takes the Place of My Heart")
This was our first performance with Ruth taking a turn on guitar while I played the erhu. Despite technical deficiencies, which forced us to enlist one of the M.C.'s as a microphone stand, we managed to get through it okay. All the feedback we got was very positive.
I had no expectation of winning, or of even coming close. I can't make zong zi to save my life, and would not last long at a zong zi factory. But everybody who participated got a prize. We were also given a rather expensive set of traditional figurines as a "reward for your excellent performance." We had a good time. Once again we want to thank the administration for getting us invited and involved in events like this one. Great fun.
April 26, 2008 Another Chinese Idiom Explained
Once again, if you don't see any Chinese characters on this page, you need to go to your control panel and turn on your Chinese language recognition in the regions and languages control. Instructions for doing this can be found if you click here and scroll down a bit when the link opens.
I previously posted the Chinese idiom 自相矛盾 (zì xiāng máo dùn, literally "interacting spear shield") and the story behind it. Here' another Chinese idiom based on a story: 守珠待兔守 (shǒu zhū dài tù - literally "guard tree await rabbit") This idiom is used when somebody is waiting for good luck instead of actively doing anything. Translated into English the idiom would probably be "You're waiting for a rabbit. You need to get to work." Here's the story:
More Thoughts on learning a Language: Mentalese
This was inspired by an email from one of my students, asking what she should do when English words did not come to her mind as Chinese words.
April 25, 2008 Jennifer Takes the EILTS
Jennifer, one of my student friends, recently took the EILTS. She sent me this email to tell me about it. For those of my students who will be taking this test, and need to pass it before you will be allowed to go to Australia or England, please read this. Also, read the advice I've added below Jennifer's report.
If you will be taking the IELTS, you can prepare for it. Part 1, the personal questions, will be very similar to if not exactly like it was for Jennifer. So you should write out answers to these questions in nice, full sentences with correct grammar and impressive English words. You can send me email with these answers if you want and I will make sure they are good. firstname.lastname@example.org
Parts 2 and 3 are a little harder to prepare for, but we have had samples of questions from previous EILTS in class, so you can also prepare answers and practice saying them out loud. Even if you prepare for questions you don't end up being asked, the preparation will be useful. Also, I really think you can probably control the interview to some extent. Prepare some topics. Then if the interviewer hits you with a question like "What is your favourite sport" and you don't want to answer, you can suggest an alternative: "I'm not really interested in sports, but I love going to art galleries. There are a lot of very interesting art galleries in Wuxi. Can I tell you about them?" Then, if the interviewer gives you permission, you can talk about a topic you have prepared. (Don't tell the interviewer that you have prepared this topic specially for the test. Let him or her assume it is extemporaneous.) Remember, the interviewer is trying to determine whether you can speak English. He or she doesn't really care what you say.
My thanks to Jennifer for sharing this with me, and with all of my students.
April 22, 2008 Another Outing - Shao Xing and Wuxie Scenic Area
We left last Saturday morning for another two day tour laid on my the administration. A great mini-vacation it was too, this time to Zhejiang province, including a night in a four star hotel in the softest bed I've slept on in China, a wine tasting at a huang jiu (yellow wine) factory, a few minutes on a bamboo raft, and a visit to a waterfall that's been attracting tourists since the Tang Dynasty. Once again we want to thank the administration of Jiangnan University for their generosity.
The man who rented our rafts came out on one of his own to show us how to pole and paddle, as if we needed instructions. Just as I was taking the picture, he snagged our back corner and nearly dumped me in the drink. I barked at him to go away, and he did, looking very hurt, and I instantly felt terrible about snapping at him. When we got back on shore I apologized . He was just trying to join in the fun, after all.
Here are a few pictures from our Saturday....
The next day gave us a bus ride into the mountains and a a boat ride to visit the Wuxie Scenic Area, famous for its Dongyuan waterfall, mountains, lake and forests. It's also home to an incredibly beautiful Tang Dynasty temple, built in AD808 when the Caodong sect of Chinese Buddhism was founded.
And of course there is Chinglish everywhere. We find this very charming, and while the Chinese would like to get rid of it all, I hope they never do.
The cultural revolution left destruction all over China. Here's one of their most famous historical artifacts, a stone stele with an inscription written by the Qing emperor Kangxi.
During the Cultural Revolution the stele was smashed, but it's been pieced together again with the scars plainly visible. It's hard to understand how a country with such reverence for the past could do so much destruction to it's heritage. Maybe that is the reason. There was such emphasis on the past that a modern future seemed impossible while the old ways of thinking prevailed. It's the same passion that drove a crazy artist to take a sledge hammer to the Pieta in Rome, only infecting a whole generation, a whole country.
I'm fascinated by timber bamboo, and would love to ship a container full back home just so I could play with the stuff and build forts and play houses and sheds. It seems to be a beautiful and versatile material, and can be fashioned into any part of a building, from support posts and walls to window frames.
It's still unofficial and we don't have contracts in hand, but
we have been invited back for another year. Ruth and I are
both very happy about this. Jiangnan University is becoming
more beautiful every week, and we love our students.
April 15, 2008 How Can I Improve my Oral English
This question just came in, again, this time in an email from my friend Fly. Here's my answer:
April 12, 2008 We're in Training
This time the organizers are taking the zongzi contest seriously. They brought experts to the campus to instruct foreigners on making zonzi. We're scheduled to be in the contest in two weeks.
April 11, 2008 More Chinese Puns
I'm not even going to try to explain this to my English speaking readers. But hopefully my Chinese students will remember my 鸭路机 (yā lù jī - duck road machine) and get my joke.
A construction crane is called a 起重机 ( qǐ zhòng jī ) or a 举重机 (jǔ zhòng jī ) both of which mean "lift heavy machine". We have recently read that fully one half of all the construction cranes in the world are at work in China.
April 10, 2008 a Visit to the Qing Dynasty
Susan, the student we have been tutoring for an English test, invited us to visit her grandmother who lives in a historic Qing Dynasty house in downtown Wuxi. Of course we jumped at the chance.
Susan grew up in this house, her grandmother's home, a time capsule in the middle of a modern city. There's no indoor plumbing, but a water pipe and tap has been installed in the yard and the old well has been filled and turned into a small flower bed. The word that comes to mind is texture. There's so much texture here. This is not a place that has been cleaned and tidied for the tourists to inspect from behind red velvet ropes. This is standing history.
You can find
shutters like these in antique shops all over China, as the
old Qing houses make way for modern apartment blocks. These
almost seem to be waiting for the same fate, except this house
will be preserved as a heritage home.
Susan's grandmother was a middle-school English teacher. The house was built by her grandfather, Susan's Great Great Grandfather, and is over two hundred years old. This is an old Wuxi family, members of the landlord class before the revolution, the upper middle-class gentry of Wuxi. Nice people. We feel privileged to be allowed to visit, and honoured by the gracious welcome.
April 10, 2008 More Secrets of the Chinese Language
If you don't see any Chinese characters on this page, you need to go to your control panel and turn on your Chinese language recognition in the regions and languages control. Instructions for doing this can be found if you click here and scroll down a bit when the link opens.
Chinese idiom is different from English in that four words will carry a whole meaning, derived from a classic myth or story. For example: 自相矛盾 (zì xiāng máo dùn, literally "interacting spear shield") A Chinese speaker might tell another: Ni zì xiāng máo dùn. "You interacting spear shield." And apparently this means "You are contradicting yourself." Or "You are claiming the impossible." So, how do you get that from four words? Here's the story:
William, our wonderful Chinese teacher, for bringing us
April 9, 2008 My New Favourite Chinese Character
Chinese characters become my favourite of the moment for different reasons. Sometimes it is because of their shape, and sometimes it is because of the combination of meanings that go into making them. My new favourite du jour is 尖 ( jiān ) the Chinese character meaning "point", as in spear point. It's the character for "small", 小 (xiǎo) above the character for "big", 大 (dà). Small over big = point. Isn't that cute?
Click here for more about seeing Chinese characters and how they work.
April 5, 2008 Unspoiled China
In my last posting I was whining about my computer. With the clear light of this morning, I realize yesterday wasn't as much of a loss as I was feeling last night. We did get out. Ms. Chen took us with our dog to the vet, and then on to Da Run Fa where she waited while I did some shopping. A student, a food science major, came to visit with a gift of some delicious fresh French bread from her baking class oven. (The Chinese like sweet bread, and finding bread with no sugar in it is difficult sometimes.) And I did get the computer back together. So it wasn't really just a day lost in computer hell.
GouGou has caught one of her dewclaws on something. She'd been
bleeding slightly, and yelping whenever anything touched her
paw. The claw needed trimming. Actually, I thought
the whole vestigial toe might need to be amputated - hence the trip
the the vet.
I've posted this before, but I've just learned something I didn't know about Norman Bethune: Many Canadians have at least heard of Bethune, the Canadian doctor who was with Mao on the long march and became one of the heroes of the revolution. But even I didn't know until recently that Mao wrote three passages extolling the virtues of revolutionary heroes. All Chinese school children are required to memorize and recite these passages every morning, and one of the passages is about Doctor Bethune. Small wonder he's well known in China. Small wonder we are treated with such respect here. Thank you, Doctor. Thanks again.
April 4, 2008 Another Day Lost in Computer Hell
I woke up this morning and booted up the computer, only it didn't. It was fine when I shut it down last night. This morning it was not fine, wouldn't load, ran like it was filled with rocks, bu hao. I messed with it all day, and finally completely reinstalled Windows, then downloaded and reinstalled Internet Explorer. And I'm back. I wish it gave me a feeling of satisfaction. But no, I feel like I lost a day. It's the cost of being on line, I guess. It happens, no matter how much experience I get with these things.
April 3, 2008 April Fools Day in China
Yes, they all know about April Fools Day here. This
means that I only managed to fool one of my students (that I know
about) with my April 1 announcement. I think I might have had
my cousin Reta going for a minute or two though.
I'm finally finding time to post this: On April First I arrived at my afternoon writing class right on time, only to find the classroom empty except for Spacefish, the student in the picture above. He acted lost as well, and made a phone call to somebody. Then he told me that the class had been moved and lead me on a long hike up stairs and down hallways until we finally arrived back at the same room, only now it was full of grinning students. April Fool, teacher. They got me.
April 2 Clowning Around in Shanghai
Yesterday Ruth and I caught the fast train to Shanghai. We need to renew our passports. It was a nice day to visit the big city, though our trip turned out to be futile. Ruth can't renew hers because it's more than a year before it expires and her reason for renewing, that the timing of her trip home and getting the new Chinese visa will be too tight, "wasn't good enough". I couldn't renew mine because I have misplaced my registration of birth abroad, and therefore they aren't sure I'm really a Canadian. (gasp)
We contented ourselves with picking up a couple of handsome Canada/China flag pins, bought a few loaves of excellent bread, and caught the train back to Wuxi.
Eatiing the Experimental Results - Microwaved Water Sprouted Seeds
April 1, 2008 Canada and China to Form One Country !!!
Incredible. I never thought it could happen. Talks that have been kept secret for several years were finally made public today with Canadian Premiere Stephen Harper's announcement that China and Canada hope to one day merge into a giant "super country", creating what will be by far the largest country in the world. News of this plan was greeted with enthusiasm on both sides of the Pacific.
Debate is now raging in both Ottawa and Beijing over the name of the new country, which for the moment is being called Chinada in English and 中国大 (Zhong Guo Da ) in Chinese, with many calling for an entirely new name for the new country.
"Of course there will be problems setting this up," Harper said, stressing that the idea is still under discussion and is not a fait accompli, "But this would at least let us get out from under the thumb of the Americans."
President Hu Jintao commented: "In this day of globalization, borders make as much sense as a wall around a city. They are out of date. The union of Canada and China into one country is the way of the future. We hope someday to join with America, Russia, Australia, South American and African nations and the EEC as well. The One China policy is a thing of the past. We now see it as a One World policy."
Canadians worry that they might be getting the worst of this deal. After all, China has a huge population and monster economy compared to Canada. "We'll be outvoted on every issue," Vancouver man on the street Stanley Parke was quoted as saying in today's Vancouver Sun. But his girlfriend, Donna Hampstead-Wang, thinks it's a great idea. "There are already so many Chinese here in Canada. Why not make it official? Uniting the second and third largest countries in the world is just an awesome idea. We can be the biggest, most powerful, most influential country in history. Nobody else will even come close."
The Sun newspaper went on to say that most Americans seem to be against the idea, if not completely horrified by the prospect of a united Canada and China. "Canada and America have always been friends and allies," said George W. Bush, "But this could really change things."
I see it as a win win situation. China can tap into Canada's huge store of natural resources, and Canada can get some much needed population and serious international clout. Ruth and I wouldn't need to go to Shanghai to renew our passports.
March 31, 2008 The Reason We're in China
Here's an email that Ruth recently received from a student, following rather extensive feedback on an assignment for her practical writing class.
If anybody wonders why we are here, this is the reason. I spent years working in the western world, giving it everything I had to give, and rarely felt valued or appreciated. It was as if the money was supposed to be enough. Well, I've never worked just for the money, and neither has Ruth. We work for job satisfaction and appreciation. And here in China we find that we get appreciation on a daily basis. We feel useful, valuable, and valued. It's one of the best jobs we've ever had.
I can't let Ruth get away with having the only rave review, so here's one I received very recently. I replied to an invitation from Panda to come to her "English Flying Bar" (Why they call it this I don't know. It's just a gathering of students in a classroom to talk English and play games.) We went last weekend, but this time I had to tell her that we'll attend if we can, but we may have to go to Shanghai to renew our passports. Panda sent me this:
In our second year at Jiangnan University we are finding that we have more and more students who have become friends. We spend hardly any time with other foreigners. I get great pleasure just riding my bike to classes and hearing the greetings from students. It's like living in some television fantasy of small town life in the 1950's.
March 30, 2008 Microwaved Water Experiment Aftermath
Those of you who have been following this blog will notice that the name of the man who motivated the microwaved water experiment has been removed from this site. I have also paraphrased his messages, instead of quoting him directly. He's now referred to as Anti-microwave Guy.
Every once in a while I get pulled in a contentious and negative direction, and that's not what I want this site to be about. I want to be promoting reason and balance, good will, dialogue and international understanding. I am not an opponent of Anti-microwave Guy, and I think it's a shame that he sees me that way. I am a proponent of verifying information before disseminating it, and that's all I was asking him to do.
2008 Update on the Microwaved
March 29, 2008 A Busy Day and A Night at the Movies
Friday morning class I called Ms. Chen, our favourite driver,
who came by to pick us up for a trip downtown to cash in the tickets
to Nanchang that we didn't get to use because of the blizzard that
shut down the airport. Then on to a shopping trip to the
supermarket where Ruth picked up a new mobile phone (Thank goodness.
I was getting tired of hearing "Hello..... hello..... can you hear
me?" every time I called her.) and back home in time for me to have
a nap before our Chinese lesson. A quick stirfy dinner and we
were off to a movie.
March 28, 20008 Visitors with Gifts of Song
Fly and Lily came to visit last night. Lily is pretty darn good on the erhu, and we had fun playing "Sai Ma" ("Horse Race", a famous Chinese erhu piece.) together. Then Lily taught us a new Chinese song: "The Moon Is My Heart" Here they are, with Ruth transcribing lyrics and chords into the computer.
This is the kind of gift we really appreciate. A song gives us one more window into Chinese culture, and isn't difficult to pack when we move around.
March 26, A Day for Sticks and another English Corner
On the way to the English corner this afternoon we passed the stadium where some kind of major event was underway. Outside, a group of young men were practicing their martial arts. They were pretty impressive. I shot a video clip and some stills, and may be able to put video up on this site soon. For the moment, here are a couple of still shots.
I persuaded Ruth to bring her crystal sticks to the English Corner. Everybody had a good time playing with them. We more or less highjacked the event, yet again.
Cinderella, far left in the picture on the left, tells me that she is also going to do the microwaved water experiment. So I'm looking forward to seeing her results too. Today's English Corner was sparsely attended, but that makes for good discussion. We had a fantastic conversation with students during the free talk. These are really bright people, the best China has to offer, and it's a pleasure to talk to them.
March 25, 2008 The Special Class for Non-English Majors
For the second time this semester, the non-English majors packed a classroom for one of my extra-curricular sessions. These students are all carrying a heavy work load in sciences or business administration, yet take their free time to come out and listen to me. And this makes me happy to give up one of my free evenings each week for them. Being treated like a visiting rock star is payment enough for a guy who has always enjoyed being the center of attention. (I got to tell them what the word "ego" means, and used myself as the perfect example.) We had fun.
Note: I have removed some information that was previously posted on this site because, on reflection, I felt it was not appropriate or useful. I did this on my own initiative, and after some feedback from friends and relatives, with no official prompting or interference of any kind. It simply isn't my place to voice opinions to or about the government and people of China. So if you read that information, and wonder why it is no longer on my site, this is the reason it's gone.
Every once in a while I come up with a pun that really helps me remember Chinese words. This is my latest. The word yā can be represented with two different characters - 鸭 (yā - duck) or 压 (yā - press). The latter is the first word in 压路机 (yā lù jī - literally "press road machine", a steam roller or road roller.) So, here's my 鸭路机 (yā lù jī - duck road machine).
March 23, 2008 Microwaved Water Experiment Expanded
Today in the village market I found some mung bean seeds. At least I think they are mung bean seeds. I think they will sprout. Accordingly I have set out four containers with three teaspoons of seeds each.
They are being watered with the water Ruth prepared, and we shall see which one sprout first and grow best. This should be much more visual than the flower test. And, after all, the claim made by Anti-microwave Guy's information was that the seeds watered with water that has been microwaved won't sprout. I should have some results in a day or so.
Now I really must get back to correcting those writing assignments. They've dried out from the soaking they got when one of our experimental water bottles leaked.
Thought for the day: In this day and age, international borders make about as much sense as walls around cities. They are a remnant of the past. (Time to renew our passports once again.)
I'm on the mailing list of a guy, I'll call him Anti-microwave Guy, who is convinced that mobile phones, wifi, and microwave radiation are causing everything from autism to cancer with chronic fatigue syndrome, ADS and the disappearance of bees and frogs thrown in for good measure. I support Anti-microwave Guy in his efforts to get some controls put on this technology, but I also find some of the material he sends out to be a bit... questionable. Last week he sent me this:
I did a quick Google search on this topic and found quite a number of science teachers in the U.S. who had taken this on as a class project and been unable to duplicate the results. But when I wrote to Anti-microwave Guy to warn him about the possibility of losing credibility, and hurting his own cause, he took it personally and wrote back with this:
Good questions I suppose. I'm not a published scientist with a string of degrees. I'm not being translated into other languages, though I did once make a movie that was translated into German, much to the amusement of the original cast. What right do I have to question an authority like Mr. Anti-microwave Guy who, though he may not actually be a scientist (he has a BA in Psychology and an MA in advanced Japanese Studies) does list several letters after his name, has apparently been published somewhere, is apparently being translated by somebody, and really must know what he is talking about? What right do I have to question him? What right do I have to question anybody?
Well, everybody has the right to question. Nobody has the right to silence others because they lack academic qualifications. Anti-microwave Guy would be the first to say this if somebody tried to silence him. He's not a scientist and he's talking about scientific things.
So, okay. Today Ruth and I went downtown and purchased some flower seeds. I would have preferred vegetable seeds, because beans are bigger and more photogenic. But flower seeds were all we could find. Ruth is preparing labels for four different plantings, to be watered with our drinking water boiled in a kettle, our drinking water after it's been boiled in the microwave, our tap water also boiled in a kettle (in case our treated water has been microwaved by the treatment plant for some reason.), and our tap water after it's been boiled in the microwave. (Ruth wanted to boil all the water to eliminate the question of whether heating causes any effect.) All the seeds come from the same package. All will be planted in potting soil from the same bag. This is to be a "double blind experiment". ( Neither I nor my research subjects, the seeds, know which water is which. )
My theory is that water is water. It's been here since the earth was young, passed through the digestive system of dinosaurs, been polluted and purified and recycled for centuries, and to think that it turns into poison when Ruth boils it in a microwave oven is just.... counter-intuitive. That's my experimental bias. In a few days we'll know the results, which is almost but not quite the same as knowing the truth. I'll keep you posted. Hopefully I'll earn the right to question Anti-microwave Guy.
This is how science is done, kiddies. It's very exciting. Scientists are often passionate people. If any of my students want to take on this experiment, I'd welcome additional test results.
March 22, 2008 Eating my Words about Ripple Rock
Every once in a while I over-react to something. I was a little intemperate in my response to the proposed Ripple Rock Explosion 50th Anniversary celebration. (March 15 posting)
I've now done some research: According the Environment Canada, a black powder explosion underwater is fairly benign because it doesn't generate the shock waves produced by dynamite. (Black powder is what movie special FX teams like to use because of the smoke and flame it produces.) Also, I've heard fromVancouver Island North Film Commissioner, Joan Miller, who wrote: "The Museum has hired a top SFX team to perform the illusion. It will not be in the water, but on a barge. All safety and environment concerns have been reviewed and permitted."
So, uh, okay then. I can't say that blowing the top off an underwater mountain is something I would celebrate, but in the words of B.C. film maker Jack Darcus, "As long as they aren't going to kill any fish...."
The View of the West from China - a very different picture.
Ruth notes that a sports team can raise a city's international profile far higher than one would think if you never left that city. Proof of this is that I have students who can name the players on the Houston Rockets. Do the people in Houston know that Chinese university students know the names of the players on their sports team? I'm sure most would never guess it. It gives me a whole new appreciation of the value of promoting sports.
March 18, 2008 Standing Room Only
It's supposed to be my Special Class for non-English majors, an exclusive club for the brightest and the most eager to improve their English language skills. Last year, when Professor Wu initiated the idea, we held auditions and limited the membership to twenty. Last semester each session averaged ten students. This semester I told Fonzie that I am not doing the work of organizing the Special Class. It's up to him. So he put a notice on the school Internet bulletin board and you see the result below.
I'm not unhappy about this. I had a great time strutting and preening in front of this very friendly and receptive audience, who were treated to a potpourri of whatever came into my head and out my mouth. But I'm not sure that I can make this an effective class for the linguistic elite, and I have no idea how to restrict the membership. Everybody who attended seemed to be very advanced in their English, able to follow my talk which I delivered "at speed". So it's up to you, Fonzie. We either need a bigger classroom or fewer members of the Special Class for Non-English Majors. I'll see what happens next week.
I am a guest in China. Domestic politics are not my business.
It isn't my place to tell the Chinese government how to run their
country. This being said, I must admit that I am deeply
disturbed by the recent blocking of YouTube access. Also, ever
since somebody sent me an email with the word T*b*t in the subject
line, my Gmail has been impossibly unreliable. This may
just be a coincidence of course but I'm moved to comment.
March 16, 2008 Cherry Trees in bloom and Kites in Trees
The day was a bit dark and gloomy, but it must be Spring because the campus cherry trees have burst into bloom. We found students in the square making kites and launching them into the Spring breeze, with varying degrees of success.
March 15, 2008 nothing to do with China but interesting.....
I'm a Senior Director member of the Director's Guild of Canada, and as such I get the DGC e-bulletin put out by Sorrel Geddes, Communications Director for the B.C. District Council. Today the E-bulletin contained this notice:
I hate to rain on anybody's parade, but ....
To my students - I would very much like to hear your comments on this posting. Or on any posting for that matter. (Top of Page)
March 12, 2008 later. English corner
March 12, 2008 Tree Day
One of the joys of being here is that things change from moment to moment. We never quite know what to expect, but it's always fun. This morning we got a phone call from Cherry Cai in the Foreign Affairs office, inviting us to participate in "Tree Day", helping to plant the "Olympic forest" on the East side of the campus. So there we were.
On a completely different topic, and not that this kind of thing is important to me, I've found a source here for real scotch whiskey for less than $10 a bottle. Highland Way Blended Scotch Whisky. I can't tell it from Johnny Walker Red Label, but it's half the price. China gets better and better.
Well, now we're off to an English corner. Later folks.
March 8, 2008 Talkin' Chinese, eh.
well known for adding "eh" (pronounced "A") to the end of sentences
and statements. Sometimes this turns the statement into a
question - "Let's go, eh?" Sometimes it just adds
emphasis - "He's an idiot, eh." Sometimes it seeks agreement
with the statement - "We should get this done, eh." In general
it's a softener. (Joke: How do you spell Canada? Answer:
Well, ya gotcher C, eh, n, eh, d, eh.)
March 4, 2008 Diverted by Birds
Spring is in the air. The weather is warming up and today is beautiful. The bird fisher was back on the canal. I spotted him on my way to class, which caused a crisis of conscience. I was already late. Should I be later? Well, sometimes you have to consider priorities.
This time I managed to get a few pictures.
This brings up a lot of questions for me. Obviously this isn't
being done to amuse tourists or project a quaint image of China.
So how effective is this as a fishing technique? Does he
sell the fish or just live on them? Does the fisher really
need the fish to make his living? If so, where,
and how much can he earn from this kind of fishing? If any of my
students can answer these questions, I'd appreciate hearing
The gift that goes on giving. Tim Horton's coffee in China.
Time to archive again: So soon. So much has happened in the past two months. The really good stuff is in the archives, folks. I hate to bury it back there, because I fear that nobody will ever click on the links. But you should. Really. I promise.