as new money ugly
as new money ugly is.
as new money ugly
as new money ugly is.
Where this is smoke, there is fire, and what may seem friendly and innocent may actually be the most toxic pleasure. I have 2 loves for this blog. The first is to teach. Teach Americans about life in China, and give the Chinese something English to read. The second is to express myself as an artist, for I am indeed an artist at heart and shall probably remain that way until I am plant food. If not happily so, then contented, and the happiness has never been as important to me as the ability and opportunity to express myself honestly. If I am happy, sad, angry, bitter, then I am happy, sad, angry, bitter and not necessarily in that order.
It sometimes gives me great pleasure and is often my saving grace to have both the ability and opportunity to display and experiment with my humanity. Without my imagination and creative energy I would curl up and die. But I am also a teacher, and teaching beats doing. So it may be to the reader’s displeasure that I have made a commitment to playing the field, but I am indeed this man who I am and I shall forever be content with that.
For you to understand completely may not be necessary, but for you to appreciate may be interesting or maybe even a little fun.
It’s Autumn in Beijing.
The winds are strong and people are looking both ways to cross the street.
Lately I’m feeling the color of the trees hanging from the trees.
The natural beauty of slow death and dieing. Hanging from everywhere else and talking about gravity.
I’m having one of those days where nothing helps me but a good run.
If I had the time, I’d put on the running shoes I don’t have, wear my non-famous MP3 player and some light clothes, and run around the neighborhood and far far away.
I’d run far away and to forever and back.
Faster and farther than the winds of Beijing.
The winds that taste gritty and sting my eyes.
The winds that blow in tight, bright faces at the many campuses near me.
The winds that blow right through me; that take me nowhere quickly but make me invisible.
It’s autumn in Beijing and I’ve not the exuberance nor ambition of a leaf. A dieing leaf.
I just came back from the 10 week English camp at Huairou. Came back Saturday. It was an emotional farewell between my class. We shared quite an experience together.
I was asked to write a speach on behalf of the teachers at Huairou. This is it. It’s over the top hippy but I wrote in in the spirit of my late Godfather Joseph Garr. I wanted him to see and hear me standing here, in Beijing China, talking to Olympic officials, speaking about peace, love, and harmony. He would have loved it, and that was my inspiration.
* * * *
As an American I have an appreciation for the individual. In America this is the cultural norm: we value and treasure the individual person. This is in contrast to the Chinese. In China, we value and treasure the group, the collective. This cultural difference is one of many, but it is important to understand. We must understand the differences between people, if we are to improve our understanding of each other. We must understand each other, if we are to live in peace.
When I talk about culture, I talk about language. Language and culture are inseperable parts of each other. When one studies a foreign language, one learns about a foreign culture. As part of the language training, I discuss cultural differences in my class because the success of the Beijing Olympics depends, in part, on these people’s ability to work effectively with people from many different cultures. I discuss cultural differences in my class because an opportunity for people from different cultures to learn about each other is a golden opportunity, and in that opportunity lies the hope and promise of a great success.
Today we welcome you to Huairou. We invite you to watch us sing and dance and role play and we hope you will see our triumph and achievement. We would be honored if you considered this specialized NTO training a success. I believe that we have had great success because I have seen these student’s dedication. I have seen them work through their frustration and discouragement. To improve their English and improve their ability to serve the Beijing Olympic Games, I have seen them take chances, make mistakes and lose face. As a result of their hard work, each student has made personal improvement in his or her English ability.
While each student made great individual progress, all of us can enjoy a collective success. Together, as the students stumbled and struggled to improve their English levels, they learned how to support and help each other. If there was discouragement, they encouraged each other. If there was fear, they faced it together. This exchange was not only between the students. In our 10 week experience, the teachers and students learned about each other. Through the clash of cultures, we saw our differences and began our understanding of each other.
At this English Camp, we had many tests. There were grammar tests and listening tests, reading and writing tests. There were also tests of character, tests of our endurance, patience, and willpower. At Huairou, people of different cultures came together with a common goal. Working together at the Huairou Camp was a test for us to bridge the language and culture gap and I believe we all learned that it is possible to do so. It is possible for us to see our differences and improve our understanding of each other. It is possible for us to do this in the name of peace, and I believe that, with this thinking and continued effort, we will make it possible for the world to enjoy the most successful Olympic Games ever—the Beijing Olympic Games!
On behalf of the teachers here at Huairou, I would like to bow and say thank you. First, to BOCOG, for the opportunity to serve the Beijing Olympic Games. Second, to English First, for your best and tireless support. Finally, to the students, for your trust and patience, and for teaching me about you.
* * * *
as deadly serious about saving money as Americans are about making it.
the leftist government of the middle kingdom trying to get it right.
See this? Yeah, those smashing new trainers are pseudo-Nike. Real, authentic fakes as only the Chinese can produce. I paid a small amount of money for them at a remote store that had my shoe size. (In China, men’s shoes are boy’s shoes.)
Most interesting is that the Chinese don’t stop at foreign brands. I’ve seen knock-offs of Chinese brands and not just shoes but other products as well. Surely, the Chinese can be the most unoriginal of original people, but then don’t forget the people like me that actually generate the demand for these phony products. There’s always a crowd around the street hawker selling DVDs. (I hear Hong Kong copy quality is the best.)
I read that the Chinese consider copying the environment around them as a way of complimenting that environment. I wonder if this is true. Even in America we say “imitation is the ultimate form of flattery.” I understand the legal issues, but why does this behavior irk everyone so much? What’s the psychology behind it? If you had a younger sibling, maybe he or she mimicked you to the point that it drove you crazy. I wonder why that is. It’s not like your younger sibling was making money by stealing your trademark.
a mule cart among the Buicks and BMWs of a Beijing traffic jam.
Looks like a visit from Her Majesty wowed the US. I read a funny yet agreeable comment by someone who flew in from Alabama to see her from a distance: “I think we love it that they have a queen, and we’re glad that we don’t.”
Not at all surprising was Mr. President’s comment about the Queen helping to celebrate the US bicentennial “in 17–.” I’d like to say that this is an isolated slip of Mr. President’s tongue but it’s not and it is also likely to be taken as another example of the President’s lack of attention to detail. When the President behaves in this way, he is sending a message. The message: It’s just not that important for me to get it right with you.
I’d like to say that Mr. President understands that the Queen may be a figurehead but she also represents a very handsome quality of British culture and to many Brits she is a vital symbol of their national identity. I’d like to say that Mr. President demonstrates the formal respect that diplomats demonstrate. Why shouldn’t he do this for this woman? After all, it was those British people who always stood by Bush in the war. Wouldn’t it be entirely appropriate for Bush to give a spot-on performance when welcoming the Queen?
Realizing his error, Bush gave a look to the Queen and then commented, “she gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.” A touching response that makes reference to the origin of the two nations’ relations. I’d like to say that Mr. President has a history of such quick-witted charm and thoughtfulness. I’d like to say that, time and again, Mr. President has made similar reference to his rich understanding of the world and its history. Instead, I say that Mr. President was the son of a former Mr. President who also served as CIA director and U.S. ambassador to China, yet the current Mr. President never traveled abroad (excluding Mexico when Governor of Texas) before becoming Mr. President. To some people on both sides of the pond, that speaks volumes about Mr. President’s slip of the tongue.