Singing match

What’s with these matches?  Everything is a match.  I’ve heard of soccer matches but it seems like every sort of contest here translates to “match”.  I wish they’d say “contest” but I can’t buck the whole country.  So on Sunday night we went to a “singing match”.

It was in honour of December 9th.  C’mon, y’all know December 9th, a day that will live in glory.  December 9th is the anniversary of the “December 9th Movement” which occurred on December 9, 1935.  Student protests were held to protest the Kuomintang government’s collaborating with the Japanese invaders and making secret details.  If you want more details, you could look it up.

Now I know this because I looked it up.  When Estella (pictured below with me the night of the match) told us December 9th I asked her what it was.  She had no idea.  So I had to look it up.  It’s good they’re commemorating something that students have no idea about.  As far as I know, the Chinese government didn’t shoot and kill any students a la Tiananmen.

Different groups sang patriotic songs.  I know they were patriotic since Shujie told me.  Many of the singing groups wore costumes.  Army costumes.  I guess that would have given me a hint.  As a Canadian it’s really weird to see people dressed up like army to perform.  I mean, if I’m going to see the show of “South Pacific” I expect to see uniforms.  In day-to-day life, I don’t expect it.  But this country has been through hell in the past so I guess it’s important.

The match was held in the gymnasium and it was freezing.  Everything is freezing except our apartment.  Shujie keeps telling me we live in the south but that’s no help.  Cold is cold.  No indoor heating in buildings makes the buildings sometimes colder than outside.  So I sat and froze through 6 groups and then we left to have dinner.

I only had my Iphone so this video of the singing will have to do.  Trust me, they’re wearing uniforms and the people moving around are “peasants” and are dressed as such.  Go team go!

The power went off this morning while I was writing this before class.  As usual it was Wang Jing to the rescue and it was fixed before 9AM.  Thank goodness she always helps.  She wasn’t even at school today but she got the “fix-it guy” to come over.  There was something broken in the main electrical panel of the building and he replaced it.  It’s too cold to be without electricity.

Class was terrible.  I only have this class once a week and it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve seen them.  I can’t remember what I did last class with them and there is no continuity.  I tried to do a song with them but no one would talk.  I then told them it was back to the book since they had broken our unspoken contract.  That’s the contract where I throw out the textbook and try to do different things, and they try.  Try, they didn’t.  I gave in at the end as things picked up after my threat (that wasn’t really meant to be a threat).  I’m really tired of wasting my time explaining that they have to talk.  It’s the only time they can talk English, and it’s the only class where they can say whatever they want.  They need to take advantage of this.

One of the boys in the class, Danny, who I like had borrowed my “Rain Man” DVD.  He said it wouldn’t play on his computer.  I was quite surprised and I had lent DVD’s to other students without any issues.  I told him to come to the movies tonight (Million Dollar Baby) and he could talk to someone I’d lent a movie to.  I have lent to 3 students I think.  When I gave the list of students to Shujie she had an irrational fit and has left the building.  I was going to leave but she said she would go.  That’s fine with me.  She should go.  She should go to a psychiatrist.  It’s ridiculous.

There is one student who she HATES.  Why does she hate her?  I don’t know and I don’t think she knows.  I have a suspicion that she thinks this little girl is interested in me (ridiculous) but I have no other ideas.  It’s totally irrational.  She feels I have no respect for her (Shujie) if I stay in contact with this girl.  I told her that she can’t pick my friends for me.  It’s a no win.  This is even crazier than Sayoon and that was pretty crazy.  The only way to make Shujie happy is for me to just ignore this girl (who I rarely see) and not talk to her at all.  It’s so stupid I have no words for it.  But you can’t buckle under when you’re spouse says, “don’t be friends with this person”.  It’s okay if she doesn’t like her (or hate her) no matter how irrational it is.  But that’s her feeling.  I like the kid so I talk to her.  So Shujie is gone and at the moment as far as I’m concerned she can pack her suitcase and go.  I don’t need this stupidity in my life.  I don’t need to be told what a bad person I am for talking to this girl.  You’re probably wondering, “is that all there is”, and yes, that is all there is.  If it weren’t for this everything would be fine.  But every time it comes up it puts a strain on me and I start thinking she’s got mental problems.  I know no one is perfect but this is irrational stupidity.

The weekend was quiet.  It was cold so we weren’t out much.  That’s it to report on the weekend.  Pretty exciting, yes?

On Monday night (last night) there was another speech competition.  I hate these things.  We can do them in class.  I told Eric (a student) to tell his “boss teacher” that if she doesn’t show up again, I’m walking out.  I also asked him to tell her how stupid I think it all is.  I said I’d meet with her if she wanted, but I feel like I’m being roped into doing extra work for no pay.  I don’t mind extra work when it’s my idea, or it’s something the students want to do, but if it’s something so moron teacher wants, then they should pay.

I show my movies on Tuesday night.  I don’t expect to be paid for them.  I’ve made a change to the format.  It was English films with English subtitles but I’m switching to English films with Chinese subtitles.  A few students aren’t in favour of this, but the majority are.  This way they can understand the film much easier.  Teaching the English is important, but I love film too so I’d like to expose them to some different movies.

At the speeches last night we had to pick a winner again.  It’s idiotic.  We can’t have repeat winners so we have to come up with a new one every time.  Dumb.  I wanted to give it to one boy who said he didn’t like the topic so he didn’t prepare anything.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  I like that.

We gave it to Nine.  She’s a lovely girl who is quite likeable, polite, always has a smile, and is just one of the people I enjoy seeing every day.  She was quite surprised (the speech wasn’t that great), but she was touched.  So it was the right choice.

Two weeks ago they got nine to do a little singing.  Here she is:

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