Not technically Chinglish, but my friend spotted this great street name in New Zealand recently. Apparently it was a little used road, with a Chinese restaurant at the end. Nice!
Dorta has been getting a lot less attention these days, but still surfaces now and again to ensure she is not completely forgotton!
JD is 2 months old today. He's quite well-known in the neighbourhood now and gets lots of attention when we take him for walks in the sunshine. The fresh air sends him to sleep almost immediately, however, so the locals rarely see his big brown eyes.
[Click here for more photos of JD's early months]
I've had another article (my 7th) published in the magazine of the Chinese Cultural Group, in Merton. This one is on the availability of western goodies in China:
JD has become so much more active and aware, even in the last week, starting to develop a little personality and even managing a couple of smiles (we think) although not when the camera's been around, as yet!
[Click here for more photos of JD's early months]
Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
So, how do you disseminate dissident ideology in a country which doesn’t tolerate alternative politics? Well, one way I spotted the other day is below – subversive slogans subtly stamped onto a one yuan bank note, which is then passed from person to person without the originator being known. The translation reads:
The gods want to destroy Chinese Communist Party members!
Leave the Party, the Youth League and the Young Pioneers to be safe
and at peace. Take a quick look at, “Nine Comments on the Party”
Whatever your political viewpoint, you have to admire the ingenuity!
The buzz in Kunming at the moment is about a "UFO" spotted by hundreds of people the other night [see photo]. Rumours have been flying around (...as has the "UFO") but the truth seems to be that it was a secret military launch from the space centre 400km north of Kunming, testing a new satellite-destroying missile. Almost as intriguing as the thought of aliens!
My school arranged an outing for all the staff today, to a countryside retreat set up as a "laser tag war zone". We were split into two teams: the fearless-fighting "flat hats" (my team, above) and the heathen-horde "hard hats" who clearly deserved to be wiped from the face of the earth. Our guns fired lasers which, if reflected off one of red spot of another soldier, registered a hit for you and damage for them. Five damage hits and all your lights flash, your gun stops working and you are "dead". We dispersed amongst the woodland foilage, ready for the mother of all battles...
Our team had two machine guns (extra ammo) and two sniper rifles (with scopes), while the others soldiers had regular guns. I was tasked with one of the machine guns and, thus armed, made an impressive, solo, all-out, frontal attack...
...and got mown down. ...by one of my own team-mates, as it turned out. He got too excited and didn't notice the shape of my hat! We played 4 war games in total and in the third I was secretly picked at random to be a spy to try and kill as many of my own team mates as I could without being spotted. I managed to shoot three before a group from the other team (the team I was spying for, remember!) surrounded me, forgot I was on their side and dispatched their very own spy!
Highlight of the day? Without doubt it was hearing the guy explaining how to play the game use the Chinese word for "sniper". Why? Because 2-3 years ago I learned the word in a Chinese language class and, since the teacher said it wasn't a word I would need to use very often, I have been trying to squeeze it into innumerable phrases ever since. To hear it used, in context, gave me cause to squeal in delight, as two of my ex-Chinese teachers, standing next to me, smiled knowingly!
The event ended with a barbecue, which lasted over 2 hours (mainly because the food didn't cook very fast). A fun trip out overall.
This one does indeed get rather annoyed and shouty if you try and take a photo of him! He might garner more respect though if he looked more than fifteen years old or had some ammo in his big gun!
(Thanks to Gemma for pointing this sight out to me)
P.X. has been making headlines here recently. Thousands of protesters in Kunming have been making their feeling known in recent days. Protests are a rarity here, and they have been picked up by the BBC website, while the issue has attracted 10,000 signatures on the Whitehouse's online petition. Meanwhile my son, Pin Xiu, is oblivious to the fuss. Thankfully, it turns out that the P.X. everybody really hates is "paraxylene", a dangerous chemical due to be produced by a planned new factory in Kunming. Not P.X. my son. Phew. Still not happy about it though...
I was part of a day-trip to ChuXiong yesterday, to visit two of the Lattitude vounteers I trained back in March. ChuXiong is a town or 200,000 people, about two hours drive from Kunming. Harry and Daniel are the first volunteers to be placed there, in a large Middle School (3500 students). We watched them teach two very successful lessons [see above] and visited their huge 3-bedroom apartment, followed by a meeting with the school leaders. Lunch comprised an interesting selection of local dishes, including one I'd never experienced before - some sort of wild plant with fairly lethal-looking thorns still in place [see below]. Tasted OK, though!
Ava and I flew to ChongQing this week to register JD with the British Consulate. We'd been told that registering now will make any future British passport application go more smoothly. I'd meticulously prepared all the dozen documents required - in fact, the Consulate official said she'd never seen such an organized application before. However, we still had enough problems to turn the usual 30-minute process into a 5-hour marathon. Firstly, the Consulate asked for a couple of documents which had not been listed on their wesbite. We had to gently persuade them to follow their own guidelines and accept what we'd brought. Then, other items their website said were critical turned out not to be needed. Most annoying was their insistence on using the name on JD's Birth Certificate, which is his Chinese one. They kindly rang our Kunming hospital and the Government Maternity Department to see whether "handwritten and stamped" amendments could be made to the name, but apparently not any more (recent rule change). There's no space on the computerised Birth Certificate for more than a 3-character name anyway (Who needs more? Chinese names only ever have 2 or 3 characters). So we've had to register JD as Zhu Pin Xiu (朱 品 修), and his future British Passport will probably have to go with that name too.
We stayed the night in a cheap-and-cheerful hotel just 100m from the Consulate. When Ava booked it online, she decided to pay a little extra for a window. Well, there it is, on the right of the photo. A4 in size and with a picturesque view of ...a corridor! The room also had one of those strange glass-walled bathrooms. So one's ablutions are there for all room-mates to observe. Nice!
[Click here for more photos of JD's early weeks]
Here's how the local paper illustrated the latest violence between the police and certain Uighur men in the north-west province of XinJiang. The Chinese media paints the picture as heroic government forces defeating separatist terrorists. As ever, there might be other interpretations but I'll leave that to less censored press reports. Suffice to say 21 died in the most recent clash, 15 of them police and security guards, which is saddening whatever the reason. But I doubt it will be the last violence in that sensitive region.
Jiajia and I took a drive out to a town called FuMin the other day. We managed to pick the first day of heavy rain here in over 6 months. After a wet walk around the market, we headed for a popular out-of-town restaurant and enjoyed some local food. On our earlier walk, we spotted this old farmhouse which retains a just-legible slogan from the 1950s. Jiajia was able to work out the missing characters to reveal the exhortation, which says "Learn from other villages. Let barren mountains be fruitful". All good stuff, and amazing it's lasted this long.
I bought some envelopes for a total of 4RMB last week. I gave the young worker at the Post Office a 10RMB note and was gobsmacked when she proceeded to pull a calculator out of the drawer and tap in "10-4=" before giving me my 6RMB change. She’s working in a Post Office for goodness sake!? TiC - This is China!
Ava and I went to the local clinic last week to register “JD” for his vaccinations. We’d been told to bring documents A and B but, on arrival, they also asked for document C. To get C, they said, we needed to go to the main hospital and provide documents D and E. At the main hospital, they took D and E but also needed document F, which was a request note from the original clinic. Back at the clinic, we were quickly given document F but asked them why they hadn't given it to us before. “You didn’t ask for it”, they replied. “But we asked what the hospital needed, and you just said documents D and E”. A shrug of the shoulders. Back at the hospital we provide F as well as D and E and they give us C. Back to the clinic for the third time to find they are on their 2½ hour lunch break. TiC!
Back at the clinic yesterday, with JD in tow, we lined up for our injection. There was some surprise at seeing a mixed race baby and, as we signed our names, the nurse subtly mentioned to Ava that whilst the injection was free, we might consider buying the "branded version" at 100RMB (£10). Were we being cheated, or was it all the other mothers getting the short straw? We paid. On the way home, I stopped off at a small shop to buy some special Sony batteries. The shopkeeper bought out two options which looked identical but were marked at 10RMB and 25RMB respectively. I asked him what the difference was. "These ones are real", he replied. Fake goods in every aspect of life. TiC!
And last week, at the gym where I play badminton, there were a number of people smorking, despite the prominent “No Smorking” sign above their heads. When we asked them to stop, they moved outside without a fuss. However, we also mentioned to the staff at the gym that people were smorking, despite their signs. We returned this week to find all the “No Smorking” signs had been removed!? Not what we had in mind at all. But TiC!
JD is a month old now and, according to Chinese customs, is finally allowed to leave the house and see the outside world. We've tried to be more relaxed about some such traditions - allowing some people to visit the house over recent weeks, for example. Others die harder though - boxes of dried leaves from Hong Kong arrived in the post yesterday which, when infused with boiling water and drunk, will apparently cure every baby ill known to man. Hmmm. But JD seems resilient regardless and increasingly aware of the people and activities around him. He's "chubbied up" quite fast, too! We're enjoying him a lot.
[Click here for more photos of JD's early weeks]
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