I’m going back to New Orleans

To wear that ball and chain.  Yes, it was that time of year again, the time of year when I bring my singing voice (such as it is) out of mothballs and perform for the many.  The Foreign Language Department (where I work) had an “English Night” put on by the students and I volunteered my services.  There were 2 teachers who volunteered.  The other teachers are pathetic and I wouldn’t let them teach dogs, let alone human beings.  They are so full of crap here that they care about having good teachers.  They have one teacher who only shows movies and while he shows them he plays on his phone.  That’s high quality.  Then we have the older pervert who likes to kiss the little Chinese girls.  Maybe it’s the prude in me, or maybe it’s my respect for the culture, but it disgusts me.

Jan (the other participating teacher) and I were supposed to be the “captains” of two teams of performers that compete against each other (sort of a Chinese Idol type of thing) and we had lame dialogue to work with.  But we did our best and we were happy to do whatever we were asked to do.  I volunteered to do my “House of the Rising Sun” performance and I did.  I’ve been doing this off and on for over 30 years and people laugh, which is normal because I can’t sing.  But for some strange reason here, the students cheer and yell like I’m some sort of rock star.  I admit I get a kick out of it and I have to tell you, most of the performances were so bad (but I give everyone full marks for trying), that my performance might have been the best.  It did get the loudest reaction.

Here is my performance and invest the few minutes to watch the whole thing.  The crowd’s reaction, especially during my finish is quite entertaining.  Please perservere through the shaky section as it does get better.

After the show the last group stayed on stage while the “V.I.P.’s” came up to have their picture taken with them.  What was kind of funny was 2 Foreign teachers who did nothing got up on the stage with the pervert kissing the girls and posing in the picture.  Jan and I did not participate because we weren’t asked.  Jan, Shujie, and I get along real well because we all have the same attitude, which is to do all we can for the students.

I wrote and handed in my exams since I don’t want to make problems for the secretary’s because they are the people you should please.  As for the senior staff, they can all rot in hell.  But if I don’t write an exam (and I shouldn’t), it’s the secretary who suffers and I don’t want that.  The way this country works is the higher up you are, the more people you have to blame.  If you don’t do something, you blame the person under you.  They in turn blame the person under them and so on through the food chain.

The higher-ups like to hire dumb people so they can feel like they are the smartest.  A smart boss hires smarter people because they know they can bask in the reflection of their brilliance, and that boss is brilliant himself for hiring excellent people.  But we don’t do that here because we (Chinese) want to say that we are the best and I just have idiots working for me.  And the idiots have to admit to being idiots (even if they’re not) so they can keep their jobs.

They issued a new rule this week, which is such garbage, and although it doesn’t affect me, it offends me.  No foreign teachers are allowed to show movies in their class, without exception.  If you want to show film clips you must submit a request in writing 1 week before explaining what you will show and it’s purpose and why you’re doing it.

I believe the problem stems from the few teachers who show movies just so they don’t have to teach.  They have an English Literature course here and the teachers like to show the movie version of the book because it dumbs it down somewhat and makes it easier to understand.  Now that’s gone because of those useless people who are here.  And these morons at the school rehire them without knowing what they are doing.  It’s kind of sad and the ones who are the big losers are the students.

This week I had no culture classes since they were working on their little plays.  One group asked me to watch theirs yesterday and give me their opinion.  It was so cute.  It was the story of Adam and Eve (weird for China) and there was acting and music and dancing.  It was quite clever and I felt so good watching it.  I hope everyone is near that level or even better.

I got my schedule for next semester and they were wise and saved themselves some aggravation.  I have no classes on Friday which I told them was a must, and they did that.  I have no 4:40-6:30 classes, which is also good.   I have all year 2 students (just when I’ve finally built a relationship with my year 3 students.  I have 4 writing classes (same people as this semester), 3 oral English classes (they come from my writing classes), and 3 culture classes (where 1 of them is also a writing class).  I’m sure this will work out and I’m pleased with the schedule.  Shujie doesn’t have hers yet but when she does, there better be no Friday classes or I will have to force her to go to war.

We are thinking that perhaps a smaller town would be more suitable for us next year.  They need foreigners so I believe they will be anxious to grab one who actually wants to go there.  We are a package deal and I don’t see that being a problem since Shujie will have some teaching experience behind her.

Last night 3 of my students took us out for dinner.  They are so sweet.  I’m very friendly with 2 of them (they talk to me and come to the movies every week) and the 3rd I hardly know.  Shujie and I wanted to pay but they outsmarted us.  They ordered a fixed price meal beforehand and paid online.  They are just well brought up and very likeable young ladies.  The two I’m closer with assured me they would be at the movies every week next semester when they are not my students, and I told them they better visit and stay friends.  We got to talking about physical contact at dinner because I wanted to know what they thought about men almost 60 kissing girls and they were repulsed by the thought.  However, when we were saying goodnight they all gave Shujie and I both a hug which I thought was wonderful.  I always leave it up to the student to touch first (and China is not a touching country), and I am moved when someone feels close enough to me to step onto my side of the road (Western Culture) and do something.

Only a few more weeks until vacation.  Vietnam is planned.  We’ll go to Baoding for 7 to 10 days of boredom but I told Shujie that however long she wants to go for is fine for me.  It’s her family.  And, we are going to Harbin which I’m really pumped about.  They have a big ice and snow festival every winter which is supposed to be beautiful (look it up) and I’ll get to see the Jewish Museum for at one point in time Harbin had the largest Jewish population in China.  Most of the people came from Russia to escape the pogroms and while there are no longer any Jews there, it should be quite interesting.  Except for the 29-hour train ride from Baotou to Harbin, I’m really excited.

We actually saved the money to do these trips so that’s good.  It won’t fill 7 weeks but it’s a start.  The weather is getting cold and it stings your face.  And it’s a very dry cold which I’ve never experiences.  The apartment is warm so that’s good.  Maybe we’ll go skating this weekend as they made an ice rink for the students.  So they actually did something positive for the students.  Will miracles ever cease?

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