It was another quiet day today. I went straight on to the computer this morning at nine, spending the first couple of hours revising a Chinese friend’s personal statement for an application to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. After that I fell into computer hell trying to customize the layout of this new website format. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me just to figure out how to get my links to show up on the side bar. (In edit mode you have to go to appearance > widgets and slide the links widget on to the sidebar menu. Whoda thunk it.) I didn’t get on the elliptical trainer until three in the afternoon, and still haven’t had my shower. It’s now a quarter past ten at night. The only time I got out of the apartment was to take out the garbage when the drain under the kitchen sink let go again and got everything wet. Older Chinese plumbing is not very… robust. I’ve tied up the pipes so this shouldn’t happen again. Then this evening we did our usual dog run beside the bikes and stopped by the campus fruit store for some durian and watermelon.
The fruit store is open late, until about eleven at least, and it’s very popular with the students. It’s good to see them snacking on something healthy. Stopping in for a durian hit is becoming a habit with us.
Those are the durian chunks center frame at the bottom. We’ve become quite fond of the stinky fruit, which tastes something like a sweet onion-garlic custard. In the past I bought the whole spiky fruit and wrestle the edible part out of its protective armour, but I realized recently that I can see what I’m getting if I let somebody else liberate the goods. This also saves me a few punctures wounds, almost inevitable when opening a durian.
Change of Plans for the Weekend
We were scheduled to go to Nanjing on Saturday so that we could attend a rehearsal and televised performance, along with who knows how many other foreigners, of a patriotic Chinese song, Da Zhong Guo. This morning I sent the television people an email and begged off, partly because it’s on the last day of the holiday and we don’t want to have to rush back for our classes, but mostly it’s because of Chinese communication. They let us know when they would need us to arrive, but seem deaf to our question about when we would be able to leave. And last time, when we were actually competing in the “Jiangsu’s Got Foreign Talent” contest, was a lot of fun but we’ve been there and done that. I’m rather relieved by this decision. We’ve had fun learning the song. But the holiday is going by too fast, and I’d rather stay home on the weekend.
The song we were to sing, Da Zhong Guo (Big China), begins with a verse that I find very amusing. Translated it goes like this:
We all have a home
Name is called China
Brothers and sister all very many
Scenery also not bad.
It’s that last line, “the scenery is not bad”, that cracks me up. It sounds so understated. But really, in common Chinese the term “bu cuo” literally means “not bad” but is used all the time to mean “very good.” So I’m sure it only sounds strange in translation.
You can hear “Da Zhong Guo” if you click here. Rather stirring, don’t you think. I actually hope they adopt this as a new national anthem. The old one is so cold war and militaristic and isolationist, all about creating a new great wall with their own flesh and blood and marching forward into the artillery fire. Time for something a bit more in tune with modern China and the global economy. I mean, we’re all friends now. Right?
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