Monthly Archives: October 2017

I live in China. China used to be a reviled country in much of the world. Today I think it’s just reviled somewhat because I don’t really believe people care. Most people don’t care about mass genocide going on in some place in Africa. I find it easier to understand how the world stood by and permitted the Holocaust.

I think some people still hate China. I think prejudice is just a normal part of many people’s makeup. And if we are not all out and out prejudiced against someone or something, we let little things slip that are not overt signs of prejudice, but are indicators of it.

“Some of my best friends are Jewish”. Many of use the “exception rule” to show that we are not prejudiced. “Jews are moneygrubbers BUT some of my best friends are Jewish”. See, not prejudiced. What’s my point and do I even have one? Will some people accuse me of stupidity because of what I say? It’s possible but I don’t give a flying fuck. Even if it’s not flying, I still don’t give a fuck.
If I rant about something I tend to use generalizations. That is stupid. I never thought it was stupid but a lot of people don’t always understand that I don’t mean everyone. Americans elected Trump President of the U.S. and he’s a moron and so are the people who supported him. Does this mean that all Americans are morons? No. I assumed that people know I’m just referring to those who voted for him or supported him are morons. I know not everyone supported him. I do not mean that all Americans are morons. If we just review the popular vote it would seem that the majority of Americans, regardless of who won the election, are not morons. Is the American system of determining a winner of an election stupid? Yes, I think so. I think if Candidate 1 gets 1,000 votes and Candidate 2 gets 1,200 votes, then Candidate 2 should be the winner. It works like that in most countries. However, that’s not how it’s done in the U.S. In the supposed leader of freedom and democracy in the world (except if you’re black or Muslim), then the Candidate with fewer votes can become President. Hence we have Donald Trump and had George W. Bush. And that’s just within the last 20 years. There was a reason for the Electoral College and the method of electing a President that was probably quite valid 240 years ago. The 2nd Amendment (the one about being allowed to carry a gun to a baseball game) was valid when it became an amendment because of the times and the war to leave Britain but times change. As times change, then laws need to change.

My students have accused me of hating China at times. I might say something in China is “dumb”, so that means I hate China. I don’t hate China and these are kids whose English is not their first language, so I’ve modified my mini-rants in class. I don’t say “dumb” even though something might be dumb. I say “different”. It gets me off the hook and no one can think I hate China if I say “different”. Of course I have been living here for most of the time since 2011 so I don’t think I would live in a country I hate because I’m lucky and I have a choice about where I live.

So I’m still here. The school I work at this year is the “North China Electrical Power University” in Baoding. They also have a Beijing campus. The name is a mouthful and when doing a little research on this place, I saw it ranked as the 91st best University in the country. For a country with thousands of Universities, that’s pretty good. After last year my high school days are over. I don’t get paid enough to be annoyed. This school pays crappy but the students are reasonably pleasant with decent manners. It’s the best school I’ve worked at. You’re left alone to teach what you want because no one could be bothered to design a school curriculum for English. So I do my thing, which isn’t so much teaching English as displaying better ways to behave, letting kids use the washroom without asking me if they can go, ken showing them that thinking is a good idea instead of memorizing (a Chinese specialty), learning how to ask questions, and giving them room to use their brains if they want to. I don’t tell them every little thing to do. I want them to use their own minds. It works with some, and others just don’t give a damn. If a student of mine doesn’t care to put in any effort, that’s fine with me. I tell them I’m not their mother or their father and I don’t want to be. The ones that aren’t that interested stay quiet and don’t bother their classmates, which is fine and a new experience for me.

How you get into a certain college here is different from the Western world. I am only talking about public schools here because when it comes to private schools, it’s money that wins that game. Every student at the end of high school takes a HUGE exam. Think of the SAT in the U.S. but multiply it by 10,000. This exam determines much of the rest of your life. Depending on your score determines which University (if any) you can go to. There are dummy schools and there are first-rate schools. The school I work at is for people who excel in the sciences and would probably make good Engineers. They get the best grades to get here. Et tThere are also other majors here. You can be an English major but you won’t have scored as well as the ones accepted as Engineering majors. There are “Translation” majors, which is lower than being an English major. (I think being a translator is very hard but they just don’t know where to throw these people.) You can be an accounting major but your high school finishing exam will have a lower score then the Engineering people. There is no interview to attend. There is no exam to write about how brilliant you are, and no one cares that you volunteered to help the handicapped (or whatever). It’s this exam and as we all know, some of us aren’t good at exams. It’s not the best way but there are 1½ billion people in this country so perfection is not an option.

I don’t sleep so well anymore. If I make it to 4AM I’m happy. I pee and shower, test my blood sugar, take my pills, and have a little breakfast. I go on the computer to have a look at my online subscription to the NY Times. Now I get depressed. Things seem to be bad all over the world, and they seem to have never been worse in the U.S. in my lifetime. Maybe they have been but I don’t recollect it. I don’t understand wanting to get rid of “Obamacare” when you have no plan to replace it. I don’t understand why you would vote against a law that would help people because the other party suggested it. I don’t get it. Now the President has taken away some of the provisions of the already lousy health care in the country and replaced it with something worse. Why are there so many people who want others to suffer? The American health care system is disgusting. There seems to be no “care” in health care. Is it greed? “I don’t want to pay higher taxes so some disgusting black guy can have decent health coverage”. I think I understand greed. You don’t have to love your neighbor. But it seems like the rich want the poor to suffer. I don’t get it. I don’t understand the police killing unarmed people who are usually black. What? Is that unarmed black guy you just pulled over going to magically pull a gun out of his ass? I was raised to respect the police. No one is perfect but can’t they recognize the psychos when they apply?

I get depressed every morning by the state of the world, especially the U.S. that I always loved. I have to wait until 2020 and hope things get better then. You can’t get rid of Trump because there is a long line of idiots who can succeed him led by that poor excuse of a human being named Mike Pence. When the only thing you have going for you is that you look the part, then there is a big problem.

The Chinese government is no picnic. There is corruption although Shujie tells me there is no corruption since Xi Jin Ping took over. We don’t talk politics because it’s just an argument. The Chinese are the weirdest people I’ve ever met. Some of them are just rude and ignorant pigs while others are the finest people I’ve ever met in my life. It is confusing for a simpleton such as myself.
So I’m still here. I’m still standing, but barely. Life is basically boring because it might sound exotic living in China, but when you live someplace I believe it just becomes the new normal. I still get grouchy. People still annoy me but I try to be nice and tolerant. I like my students, which is a good thing. There have always been some students to hate but this year I don’t have any students to hate. I hate not having anyone to hate. Shujie is happy because this is her home town and she never really wanted to live here before, now she is ready and enjoying it. She likes seeing her son fairly regularly and he phones her every day. She teaches a little at a training school (a school that students go to after school so they can learn more. I can’t walk far because my legs hurt too much. I think my heart is working because I’m sitting here typing this. We have an apartment in a hotel here on campus. It’s small but it’s clean and fine. I show a movie weekly to students who care to show up. I have students that we just sit and talk on Thursday afternoons. It’s not rock and roll heaven, but it’s not hell either.