Camera Loving Canal Cleaning War Ready

I bought Ruth a professional level camera for her birthday in September.  And never has a gift been more effusively appreciated.  She’s become a photography fanatic, spending almost every spare minute exploring the capabilities of her new toy.  It’s been very gratifying.  And the pictures she’s been turning out are truly spectacular.

Ruth and her new camera.  It's bringing out the artist in her.

I’ll let Ruth write the review for her new Sony camera, but so far I’ve heard nothing at all negative about it.  The flip up/flip down turn 360 degrees view screen has had her giggling on several occasions.

I’m still in computer hell with my new WordPress website format.  Spent hours today and deep into the early hours of this morning (currently it is 2:30am) trying to do simple things like set it up so clicking on my website address takes you directly to the posts, instead of to a portal which requires a click through.  I’m also still trying to figure out how to take the comments invitation off pages which don’t call for comments.  And then there are the layout issues…  I’m not going into details, but it’s been sucking up my time like I can’t quite believe.  I’ve got other things I want to do, like practice my music and edit Wang Yijing’s girlfriend’s personal statement.  Tomorrow then.

We went for a walk tonight to the fruit store and each enjoyed a lump of perfectly ripe durian.  That was at ten o’clock.  We would have been riding our bikes, but mine had a flat tire and it’s not going to get fixed until tomorrow morning.  On the way home from the fruit store we noticed they had drained the canal and were hosing the bottom down.  I’m going to guess that this is the equivalent of pool cleaning.  Why it needs to be done is not obvious, but it’s quite the operation.

Canal cleaners at work late into the night.It’s a dirty job, but somebody obviously has to do it.

This doesn't look like a fun job.My little point and shoot Sony takes amazing pictures, but nothing compared to what Ruth is getting with her new camera.  You can check out some of her pictures on her Flickr site.
Speaking of canals, here’s a sign I noticed on a wall beside the canal near Nan Chan Si. It’s important to mind your safely.

"Watch your safely" of course.  That's important.  I love Chinglish.  Makes me feel needed here.

I love Chinglish. It makes me feel needed here.

Last week I used the current emotionally charged conflict with Japan to illustrate how one develops a thesis, followed by supporting paragraphs with references to documentation and citations.  At least this is a subject my students are interested in, though it turned out they are woefully ignorant of both the current situation and the historical background. They do feel intense passionate about the issue, as indicated by this impromptu class poll.

Diaoyu island vote.  No doubt it would please the leaders.There were only six students present in this class.  One of my students in a larger class actually knew that the Diaoyu Islands were Chinese until they were stolen by Japan after the first Sino-Japanese War.  (They were supposed to be returned to China after the Second Sino-Japanese war, also known as WW II, when Japan was required to return all land taken from China by conquest, but the island slipped through the cracks in the peace negotiations, possibly because the Japanese had given it a new name, Senkaku Island.)  But none of my students in the vote above knew that the islands are uninhabited.
I hope it was a teachable moment.  I tried to impress them with the value of diplomacy, economic sanctions and appeals to the International Court.  I also tried to impress them with the fact that people my age are not so willing to give up our lives to keep an uninhabited hunk of rock in the ocean part of any granfalloon.  War should always be the last resort, and the last option one considers.
I asked my students what Japan would say if China were to offer them the islands.  Go ahead.  Take them.  But you can’t sell any Sony or Mitsubishi or Yamaha products in China.  Would the Japanese go for that deal?  Not likely.  Of course, the Chinese couldn’t afford that deal either.

This has been another excuse for violence here in China.  We haven’t seen it, but Gao Yan Ho, our summer dog sitter and current Chinese teacher, told us that a girl had been raped because she was too friendly with some Japanese.  There’s been a call for a boycott of Japanese products and angry mobs vandalizing Japanese businesses.  No doubt all participants as ignorant of the facts and history as my students or even more so.  Just looking for an excuse to vent.  I do wish they would leave international affairs to the professionals, and no doubt the leadership of China wishes the same.

Please forgive this rambling post.  Now that I’ve simplified my site, and made posting easier, I hope to post more frequently, but shorter.  Your comments are always welcome.  If you can’t see the comment field, you need to click on the little text bubble icon at the beginning of this post.  Also, if you don’t see the sidebar information, you need to click on the post header.  I don’t know why WordPress makes these things difficult, but I’m working at finding ways around them.