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Suji to Seoul

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Bethel, NY
Home country: USA
Current location: Nanjing, China
Member since: Mon Aug 25, 2008, 01:43 AM
Number of posts: 1,921

Journal Archives

GOP announces new candidate for 2012

After much deliberation, the GOP has announced they will support a lump of American Staffordshire Terrier shit as president. One anonymous GOP insider stated "it's a truly American dog, it even has American in the name. So it is All-American shit."

Adding to that, a high level member of the RNC, speaking through his Ouija Board, commented: "Women will see how cute the AST is and will reflect that its shit is cute too." The RNC member also stated that "the dog's shit is a far better choice than the human shit we've been parading around the country for eight months."

President Obama leads this new candidate by 11% percentage points, 53 - 42, with those commenting in favor of the AST shit stating "at least the AST shit is honest about being full of shit."
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Wed Feb 29, 2012, 10:37 PM (0 replies)

This is the reason I teach

I got this on facebook from a form student in the States.

dear Mr. ---,
i just wanted to say that even though it was years ago, and i was small, you made a great impact on my way of life. i hope you know that you are my favorite teacher still, and always will be. you made me look and belive that i could do things I wanted to do and not just what others wanted me to do. it's funny how far apart we are not, on diffrent continents and all, but i will always remember my favorite classroom. i hope you have a wonderful life in asia and where ever you go, and i hope that you do everything you said you were going to do years ago.
a student from the past
(name redacted)


Tell me who else does that in life?

Thank you for your war on teachers, Republican Party. But you have failed!
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Sun Feb 26, 2012, 01:31 AM (5 replies)

Life in China for an ex-pat (fourth in a series)

We are all moved into our penthouse apartment in Nanjing – a brand new building and we are on the top floor – sixteen stories above the swamp. OK, it's not exactly a swamp, because swamps are natural land features. Our swamp is man made.

When I was in high school, I learned a couple of things that Chinese architects haven't figured out. I also learned a couple of things that the management of the development (there are a half a dozen high rise buildings in this development and I think more will be built) haven't figured out. In the interest of sharing the accumulated knowledge of the Western World, I submit the following ideas for consideration by my Chinese hosts:

TO THE ARCHITECTS:

1. In case you haven't heard it, water flows down hill. The pedestrian entrance way to the underground parking lot has a downwards sloping ramp that channels the water runoff from the buildings right down into the garage. Maybe you should have sloped the entrance way UP so the water stayed out of the garage, then down by the stairs. The current design simply creates a huge underground swimming pool whenever it rains. The underground swimming pool has cars in it, so be careful where you swim.

2. In keeping with the concept of water flowing downhill, sloping roof lines serve a purpose – to prevent the accumulation of water on a roof. Where flat roofs exist, water accumulates and in the Nanjing climate, where water accumulates, mosquitoes breed. Now, I have nothing against mosquitoes per se, I am sure they serve some ecological purpose, but I would prefer they serve it someplace else.

TO THE MANAGEMENT:

3. The half dozen or so artificial ponds have, through poor planning, turned into algae sodden mosquito nurseries. The dragon flies, who eat the mosquitoes, love it. I don't. Either turn on the circulators so the water moves (mosquitoes hate moving water) or go out and buy 50 or so Koi fish who will gladly eat the mosquito eggs and larvae.

4. When the rains come and you feel the need to put sandbags down to control the raging torrent, don't put the sand bags between the torrent and the drainage system. Use the sand bags to direct the water TOWARDS the drains, not away.

TO MY NEIGHBORS:

5. Here's a novel concept – garbage cans are to put the garbage INTO. I have to wonder about the IQ of people who deposit a half a dozen bags of household garbage in a neat arrangement on the ground around an empty garbage can. Are you preparing a pleasing and appetizing spread for the mice and rats that will enjoy the repast? Rumor has it that the grounds crew told someone to do it that way. OK, so one stupid idea has now become the law of the land.
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Tue Feb 21, 2012, 04:47 AM (0 replies)

Life in China for an ex-pat (third in a series)

All is well in China. New and exciting happenings every day, usually revolving around the differences in language and customs between China and America.

For example - I decided to have some fun screwing with some Chinese minds recently. Background: In Mandarin, the word "Mei-You" (pronounced "Mayo")(没有) means "I don't have any". I went into a KFC here and ordered a sandwich. They brought it and it had mayonnaise on one of the slices of bread. I opened up the sandwich to the other side, pointed to the bread and said "Mayo"(meaning I wanted mayonnaise on that slice also) , which sounds like "Mei-You" (meaning I don't have any). The look on their faces was very funny, trying to figure out how someone could point to something and say "I don't have any". After watching them get frustrated in trying to understand what I was asking for and me knowing full well, that would happen, I asked them "Mei You Mayo ma?" (没有 Mayo 吗) which literally would mean "You don't have any mayonnaise?" but I knew they would understand it as "You don't have any you don't have, do you?" Once they all were completely confused, I ended the torture by putting the sandwich back together and saying "xie xie" (pronounced almost like ""sea sea") which means "thank you" and left, leaving a LOT of confusion behind me.

Question - how many Chinese electricians does it take to change a light bulb? In my High School classroom, as I am showing a movie, the school electrician decided it was time to change one of the flourescent light bulbs. You would think he would simply turn the circuit "off" at the switch, climb a ladder, change the bulb, then descend and turn the switch to the "on" position, right? That would make sense, and this is exactly why they don't do it that way here. How does a Chinese electrician change a light bulb?

Step 1: Remove the cover plate from the switch box and insert a long, large screwdriver into the box guaranteeing a short circuit and a lot of sparks.

Step 2: Now that all electricity to the entire room/floor/building or city has been cut off by the short circuit, climb a ladder and change the bulb.

Step 3: Descend the ladder and replace the cover plate on the switch box.

Step 4: Go immediately outside the room (a distance of 4 steps) and re-set the circuit breaker you blew in Step 1.

Step 5: Come back into the room to see if the light is now on. If so, smile and leave. If not, return to Step 1.

Thankfully, the light worked. The answer to the question - six - one to change the lightbulb, one to watch and four to put out the fire.

The Bus Nazi strikes again and again. Since I am nearing 60 (this is my father) and I am an American, I frankly don't care about "face", but everyone else in China does. Unfortunately the Chinese are raising a generation of little Emperors and Empresses to whom manners are at best an abstract concept and at worst an unknown one. When an elderly or infirm person gets on a bus and I see an able bodied teenager sitting, I have no problem coming up to them and snapping my fingers right in front of their noses than pointing at them and then signalling "up" with my thumb, all the while saying "Ni Bu Shi Lao, Ta Shi Lao" (You are not old, (S)he is old) (你不是老, 她石老)". A couple of days ago I was in the back of the bus and I saw an elderly lady with a very young child standing right next to such a teenager. My son was with me and he said "wait a minute or two and I will join you". He knew exactly what I was about to do. My response was "this one won't wait". I walked half the length of the bus to order that child to get up. l after he did, I turned around to the other side of the bus and did it to a young girl so an old man could sit. Keep in mind, I am neither quiet nor discreet when I do this, and as soon as the old man sat down, a half a dozen other teenagers all around the bus stood up to give the elderly their seats. The strongest human emotion is shame. Use it well. On that same bus ride, earlier, a different Puyi shot me a look of absolute disdain when I ordered him to get up to surrender his seat to an old woman, so I gave him the "Ni Bu Shi Lao, Ta Shi Lao" (你不是老, 她是老)and added a loud, disdainful "Sha-bi" (pronounced "Sha-bee")(傻逼) which translates to "asshole". Needless to say, all the elderly on the bus gave me a thumbs-up. They would never ask for a seat for themselves and would never "butt in" by ordering the Imperial Butts out of a seat for someone else.

I am in my last two months here in Shijiazhuang (石家庄) ( or, as we call it, "Shit City"). There is nothing here for a foreigner to do and even less to recommend the city to you to come to. The best that can be said it is is a stop on the train between Beijing and Shanghai (上海). The temperature has risen dramatically in a shore span of time so at least I no longer spend 24 hours a day cold. On to Nanjing (南京)....

At dinner a couple of weeks ago we went to a Hot Pot restaurant. A Hot Pot is a "you cook it, all you can eat". Cooking is done by boiling in either a non-spicy liquid or "fart fire for a week" spicy liquid. The waiter seated us and who happened to be seated at the table right next to us? Eight cadets from the Army College I teach at, three of them my students. After the hello's and introductions, each table ate its meal and didn't bother with the other, but when the cadets got up to leave, one of the waitresses decided they hadn't had enough to eat. She literally ordered them to sit and eat more, and positioned herself on guard duty between the cadets and the door, preventing them from leaving until she was satisfied they had eaten enough. A Chinese Jewish Mother.

The Restaurant police had a sweep of unlicensed food places on Da Jing Jie (Jie = street) (大经街) last week. In China (中国) it is very common for people to "open" a "restaurant" by simply bringing folding tables, plastic chairs, a barbecue and food, plopping them all on a sidewalk somewhere and "dinner is served". "Permits, we don't need no stinking permits..." In China, laws are observed more in their violation than in being followed. Many of these "restaurants" have been open in the same "location" (meaning the same place on the sidewalk) for years, weather permitting. They are all over the place, and there are no less than a dozen of them in a two block stretch of Da Jing Jie (大经街). One day the police decided to do a "sweep". In this "sweep" they are supposed to get these unlicensed restaurants out of there because of the competition they pose to the licensed ones. Such a "sweep" happened two weeks ago. I never said that laws here are enforced equally here. Most of the time laws aren't enforced at all. In the "sweep" I got a perfect example of this. Here are the police ordering a "restaurant" on the south corner of a street intersecting Da Jing Jie (大经街) to close up and leave... while their supervisors were having their dinner meal at the exact same type of "restaurant" directly across the street. My guess is that old Cockney saying "It's Crackers to slip a Rozzer the Dropsy in Snide", meaning I think someone's bribe check bounced. Before you get the wrong impression, most of these "restaurants" are quite good, and you can eat a full day's food there for under $1USD. The food is fresh, as is all food in China. When you eat meat here it was walking around the day before. Sea food was in the lake or the sea the day before and was in a tank of water fifteen minutes ago. All the vegetables and fruits were in contact with their roots yesterday. The actual food vendors are also selling on the street on Nan Da Jie (南大街) and it is not uncommon at the fish vendor to see the fish still flopping around on a blanket on the street. The various butchers have the remains of their animal and they cut the meat right off the carcass for you. Remember - the animal was alive yesterday. It's all the same price no matter where on the animal the cut came from. It doesn't matter whether it is the Chuck Steak, the Sirloin, the Fillet Mignon or the bull's Penis, it's all the same price.

There are now about 3 weeks left in the school term and I have officially run out of ideas on how to get my kids to actually open their mouths and speak (short of dousing them with gasoline and throwing matches at them). I did what Richard Mulligan did in the Nick Nolte movie "Teachers" - I threw the book literally out the window months ago. It was a terrible book the kids cannot relate to and found completely boring, and I agree with them on that. Unfortunately, they think they will learn English by watching Tom & Jerry cartoons (no spoken words), Roadrunner cartoons ("beep beep" doesn't count as English), Mr Bean (very little English) or Michael Jackson videos which I refuse to play as matter of principle. I did, however, find that they like limericks and tongue twisters - particularly tongue twisters. Enter William S Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan to my classroom. In their plays there is always a tongue twister or two. I chose The Mikado - it has a simple 4 line Tongue Twister:

To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock
In a pestinential prison with a life long lock
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big, black block

If I can get them to learn that (and sing it for the head of the Foreign Affairs Office and the school Headmaster) the class will be a success by Chinese standards - the kids will have achieved the APPEARANCE of learning English (not the fact, just the appearance). It could have been worse, the selection could have been "Modern Major General" from "Pirates of Penzance". Otherwise, it is like teaching an earthworm to dance Swan Lake.
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Fri Feb 17, 2012, 07:59 PM (2 replies)

Expat In China (series) Written by my father

This is what he wrote about his near-death experience.

It was bound to happen – I was introduced to the intricacies of the Chinese medical system. Before anyone asks “did you survive?” let me say that I prefer it, for all its insanity and stupidity, to the American system. The Chinese system is very different from the American. In the American system, if you have health insurance, you can see the doctor. If not, you either pay cash up front or are escorted out onto the sidewalk and wait there until you collapse and get brought back in by the ambulance corps. Now you face a much more expensive treatment plan with greatly inflated prices you will be expected to pay, so the medical industry will simply drive you into bankruptcy. Obamacare notwithstanding, there are tens of millions of people for whom this is a simple fact of life.

In the Chinese system you get right into the hospital, get a diagnosis and then take that diagnosis to the cashier. You pay “up front” for your care – including any drugs, transfusions, medical supplies, etc that you need. When the cashier gives you the receipt you present the receipt to the doctor and you get treated. The hospitals do not take “assignment” of your insurance benefits – that is between you and the Insurance company – you pay in full right up front.

Here's my little Exodus.

Thursday around noon I felt severe heart pounding, cold sweats, weakness, shortness of breath and the inability to stand. My son called the ambulance. My blood pressure and heartrate were both through the roof. I was transported to Shijiazhuang Hospital #2. It took them 5 hours to stabilize me but because my symptoms indicated several different life-threatening medical issues they wanted to send me to a different (better) hospital for them to further diagnose.

CHINESE MEDICINE SYSTEM THINKING TAKES OVER NOW

“Would you like to go to Beijing International Hospital by ambulance or by train?” To some people that sounds like a simple question, but it really isn't. The hospital staff just spent 5 hours getting me stable enough to transport, I indicate any of three life threatening conditions and they are asking the patient if he wants to leave the hospital and proceed to the Shijiazhuang train station without any medical backup and proceed by public transportation to Beijingxi Station without medical backup, arriving around 3 in the morning and then somehow get to a hospital (which, it turns out is on the OTHER side of Beijing) also without any medical backup, and just walk in and announce “here I am, I am the person Shijiazhuang #2 told you is dying”.

WESTERN MEDICINE SYSTEM TAKES OVER AGAIN (along with the higher brain functions)

“Or would you rather go direct to the hospital by ambulance with a paramedic and nurse with you?”

You don't have to flip a coin to figure out which answer I gave. I just asked “and what do I do once I get to Beijingxi? Get the ambulance.”

The three and a half hour ambulance ride to Beijing was the most uncomfortable ride I ever had. I was on an IV all the way and therefore flat on my back. The gurney had the thinnest mattress ever created and a metal bar was banging against my coccyx (the tailbone of the spine) every inch of the way. I felt, with excruciating pain, every turn, every lane change, every bump in the road for 400 kilometers. It hurt for the next 4 days.

We arrived at Bejing International Hospital, a very modern hospital that I am told all the foreigners go to. They run their battery of tests and the doctor tells me at 4AM Friday

BACK TO THE CHINESE MEDICINE SYSTEM THINKING

“You are not in any danger at present, so you are not an Emergency case. You need to go to a renologist at our clinic. He will be back in on Tuesday.”

I ask “what do I do until Tuesday?”

He just looks at me with that dumb look as if to say “stay alive somehow”.

I respond “I can do that at home” and we leave and head back to Shijiazhuang by train without medical backup (and I without any shoes, because in all the confusion at #2 my son had taken them home with him, so I am running all around Beijing barefoot). Try doing THAT in an American city.

At 9AM Friday we arrived back home and fell asleep. When I awoke I hit the internet and did a search for “Shijiazhuang” and “hospital” and found Shijiazhuang Kidney Hospital. It looked promising. I went to their web site, it was in English and they had a “live chat with the doctor” option. I took it.

WESTERN MEDICINE RESUMES

Talking with he intake person (Sophie) at Shijiazhuang Kidney Hospital, I tell her that Beijing International suggested I talk with a kidney specialist. She asked if I had blood and EKG results. I said “yes” and scanned them and sent them. Within 3 minutes she gets back “how quickly can you get here?” My response “30-45 minutes”.

I was admitted to Shijiazhuang Kidney Hospital's International ward. There were three other patients there – two Americans and a Greek. All have advanced stages of kidney disease, one is already on dialysis. Over the span of 4 days they test me and observe me. I lose 1kg of weight a DAY while I am there. On the 4th day all the test results are in and three doctors, two nurses, an Administrator and a translator come into my room to talk. I get the diagnosis. Not Heart Attack, Not Diabetes, Not Kidney Disease – it is a malfunctioning bladder that is not draining, has backed urine up to the kidneys, damaged them and is flooding my bloodstream with poisonous Urea. Maybe that's why my skin color is now Orange (normal plus yellow). The course of action is obvious – insert a catheter into my bladder and start draining me.

CHINESE MEDICINE TAKES OVER HERE

I ask if they can insert the catheter. They respond “no, our treatment uses stem cells plus ancient Chinese herbs and lotions along with hot rocks and massages”. I reply “I am quickly poisoning myself. I need to get this poison flushed out of my body immediately to (a) avoid any further damage to my kidneys and (b) buy me the time to allow for my system to repair itself.” They respond “our treatments will do that.” I reply “Can you insert the catheter? Once that is in we have lots of time to try all the Dances, Chicken Bones, Oregano, Incense and Incantations you want.” They respond “no.” I ask for a referral to a hospital where they can put the catheter in me.

WESTERN MEDICINE RESUMES

They said “#4 or #2”

#2 is where I started this odyssey 5 days ago.

A taxi ride later we arrive at #2 at 2PM. We go to the Urology Department and meet Dr Chuckles. I call him that because he has the worst patient bedside manner a doctor can have. We (Ginny, Aram and I) enter his intake office – Dr Chuckles is the gatekeeper – and the language barrier goes up immediately. Dr Chuckles speaks no English and our Chinese is not up to the level of Chinese medicine. To make it even more frustrating, we waited an hour to see him while people there before us were seen. In true Chinese manner, people behind us consider us invisible and constantly try to take the doctor away from us so they can have their medical issue looked at. “Take a number” is an unknown concept in China.

Rather than call a hospital administrator to find an interpreter he simply argues with us in Chinese – for an hour. He tries to get us to leave and come back with an interpreter. Finally he calls a hospital administrator and GUESS WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH – the Administrator. We get the order for the battery of tests he wants done, pay for them and get them done. At 5:30 we are back with Dr Chuckles with the test results.

CHINESE MEDICINE TAKES OVER HERE

Dr Chuckles sees us. We come into his office. Do you think he would call the Administrator back to translate? Don't be foolish – he repeats the hour of arguing with us to go get a translator again. At 6PM he decides it's his dinner time and the patient in front of him will just have to come back some other time. By this time I am so weak and so medically compromised I have no more fight left in me. Dr Chuckles now points at his watch.... Aram raises the roof. Dr Chuckles calls security. Security calls the Administrator (yes, the same one from earlier this afternoon). Dr Chuckles goes home at 7PM. The Administrator finds another English speaking doctor (trained in the UK) who analyzes the test results. The diagnosis is the same as Kidney Hospital and she agrees to the importance of an immediate insertion of a catheter.

WESTERN MEDICINE RESUMES

It is 8PM before we finish with the intake. We go downstairs, pay for the catheter and the operation and it is done in ten minutes. My bladder starts draining immediately. It has been draining ever since. As I write this I have had 19 liters of urine removed from my body in 4 days. The first liter took 30 minutes. The 1 liter bag was half full before I left the operating room. It was full before I could cross the street.

For all its insanity, let me say that I have had the same frustration with American medicine. The language barrier doesn't exist but the arrogance of American doctors more than compensates for it. All in all, except for Dr Chuckles, I am happy with the Chinese medical system, it is much more patient friendly than the American system.

Now it's time to tell you what Chinese medical care costs.

Three Emergency Room fees, five hours in Intensive Care, two ambulance rides (one local and one 400 kilometers), four days inpatient in a private specialty hospital and the surgery to insert the catheter costs (before insurance reimbursement) $1,200 USD. The actual surgery cost $6.50 USD for parts and labor (meaning everything)

SUGGESTION TO AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANIES – Stop paying for care at US hospitals – send all your policyholders on Medical Tourism to other countries where the care costs a fraction of what it does in the USA. Even with paying for the visas and the plane tickets, look at all the money you will save and all the additional profits you will realize.
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Wed Feb 15, 2012, 05:40 AM (1 replies)

A Literary Agency in San Francisco has requested to read my script on the 1946 Chinese Trials

of the Japanese officers responsible for the Rape of Nanking.

I am asking my beloved DU community. I am going to write my synopsis of the project here. What is your opinion of this work?

Title: 300,000

Genre: Historical Action Drama

Logline: Only a trial of international importance is fitting in judging horror of indescribable proportions.

Pitch: Judgment At Nuremberg in 1946 China.

This is the story never before made into a motion picture by American film company; a story of mass genocide, unbridled evil and redemption. This is the story of the Nanjing Massacre.
In 1937, Japanese surrounded and laid waste to the Chinese capital of Nanjing, a move that was militarily different. What followed earned the city the nickname “The City of Life and Death.”
After WW2, in 1946, after the Americans tried the Japanese, China felt abandoned. They wanted vengeance against those that brutalized them, and they would not be denied. They convened a war crimes tribunal for the leaders of the Nanjing Massacre
In the United States, the NY Times sends columnist Morgan Wasserman to write opinion pieces on the Chinese tribunals. Being Jewish and surviving the Holocaust by being in The United States, Wasserman feels guilty and destroyed. He reported on the Nuremburg trials, which only heightened his feelings. Wasserman has lost his grip on his humanitarianism. Add to the fact that Wasserman does not want to go to China and he feels he is at a crossroads.
In China, he meets his translator, Xiao Mei-Hua, a pretty quiet woman who survived the Nanjing Massacre. She holds many terrible visions and memories inside her, and feels ashamed that she survived.
As the trial begins, Wasserman begins to learn more about the Chinese, what the Japanese did and cannot fathom the depths of brutality. He learns everything he can from Mei-Hua and begins to find himself falling in love with her, even though she resists him at every chance.
As the trial continues, Wasserman begins to understand Mei-Hua and she him. Slowly, she begins to open up to him, falling for him too. One night, in a fit of weakness, Mei-Hua tells Morgan her story. Morgan decides Mei-Hua will be the subject of is article.
The Chinese convict the Japanese leaders, Morgan remains in China to be with Mei-Hua, Mei-Hua accepts the foreign man and China begins to rebuild itself, stronger, better and more modern than before. Mei-Hua and Wasserman prove that out of intense tragedy, love will find a way.
We end with on screen epilogue of the aftermath of the Nanjing massacre with the word’s “never forget” put on the screen.
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Mon Feb 13, 2012, 10:00 PM (5 replies)

MAJOR YAHOO NEWS FAIL - Mitch McChinless is now Senate MAJORITY Leader!?!?!?!

Posted by Suji to Seoul | Mon Feb 13, 2012, 11:34 AM (2 replies)

Life in China for an ex-pat (first in a series)

I have lived here for four years now. My father and I have sent these to our friends.

BTW, those who were wondering. Last time I posted about China, my father had been diagnosed with Stage 3 renal failure due to his bladder being killed off by an enlarged prostate and urea backing up into his bloodstream. I wish to update on his condition after six months of healing.

He is fine. He has a permanent medical device implanted into his body that allows the body to get rid of the urea into a bad that he needs to drain every time it fills. When it was first put in, he drained 19 liters of urea in four days. He just had his tests and everything is now normal. We dodged a MAJOR bullet.

Now, the series on life in China.

The first episode of my journal should be read with the theme from “Dragnet” playing......

This is the city – Nanjing China – home of the dumbest police on the planet and the second-dumbest criminals on the planet. It was a dark night when some stupid guy decided to make a withdrawal at the ATM machine. After withdrawing his cash, One Dumb Crook shoots him and steals his money – all recorded by several video cameras. Within a day his photo is plastered all over Nanjing and thanks to Yahoo, all over the world, and the manhunt is on. All of Nanjing's 13,000 police officers are dedicated to apprehending the felon and bringing him to justice. All they have is a hundred photos of him – front view, side view, top view, bottom view. They even know what brand sneakers he wears. Let's go get him.

The orders to the police – find him. Do whatever it takes, but find him. Search the intercity trains, search the Metro, search the taxis. Search everywhere, but find him. Let no one get past you until you are absolutely sure he is not the suspect. Description – Chinese male, approximately 75 kilos, approximately 170 cm tall, approximately 30 years old.

Armed with photos and the wanted posters, our intrepid Keystone Kops sally forth. Coming home from Yangzhou last week was my mother. The police give her the once-over, the twice-over. Is THAT the suspect? Maybe in the past week the suspect went to a doctor and added 20 kilos of weight, 30 years of age, changed race to Caucasian and had a sex change operation!

Coming home from the train station tonight was me. Maybe he's the suspect – maybe in the past 2 weeks our perp grew two feet, added 50 kilos and had a race-change operation. After all, we all know perps take taxis, so let's spend a lot of time making sure this 6 foot 2 inch 275 pound American isn't really a 5 foot 6 inch 150 pound Chinese in disguise. Meanwhile, many cars with CHINESE occupants zoom by without going through the checkpoint.

Going out to buy dinner, my father got onto the Metro and there was Dudley Do-Right looking for his man. He looks at me, then at the WANTED poster, then me again, then the WANTED poster again, then me a third time, then the WANTED poster a third time. Finally, not knowing whether he speaks English or not, I blurt out “What do you think, Sherlock? I'm twice his age, twice his weight and American. Think I'm him?” I had to translate. The cop shook his head and walked away, hopefully realized how dumb he is.

So where is our intrepid thief/murderer? No one knows,but there are reports he has been seen in Hubei Province (about 400 miles away). Does that stop or even deter the Chinese police? Of course not, they will keep looking for him in Jiangsu Province until they find him here. Now they are looking for him in Shanghai, even though Shanghai is the OPPOSITE direction of Hubei.

With Spring Festival rapidly approaching, China is a MESS. Half of the people in China are traveling to visit the other half. Intercity transportation is crowded beyond capacity. The lines for train tickets have been endless for weeks. In two weeks the process reverses itself and everyone returns.

Spring Festival requires planning, because with all the people visiting or being visited, guess what they are NOT doing – working!!! China will literally shut down for two weeks. That means “I hope you stocked up on food, or know a hundred different recipes for whatever you have in your home or can catch or trap on your own” Whatever stores are open seem to stock only two things - milk and fruit – both in boxes piled high on the sidewalk. As you want down the street you see,piled six feet high and fifty feet long – boxes – the Great Wall of Milk or the Great Wall of Fruit – depending on what is in the boxes.

Another Spring Festival custom is the fireworks. Every year there is a war zone in China – with every idiot either selling or buying fireworks. Of course, when you buy the fireworks you intend to set them off. Where? This is China – wherever the hell you feel like it. Like, maybe, inside a subway station (that would explain the signs in the subway stations telling people not to set off fireworks there). Of course, it is a lost cause telling people not to do something here. Rules are made to control the village idiot – the smart people don't need rules because they can figure out for themselves what is dangerous and what is safe. It's the village (or City or Province) Idiot that the rules are made for. The problem is.... these rules seem to have started a contest to see how stupid people can become.

What part of “If you are selling fireworks, don't smoke near the fireworks you're selling” is hard to understand? The corollary to this question is “What is the blast radius for the explosion this idiot who is smoking while selling fireworks sets off?”

Question – where is the best place to stop what you are doing and send a text message? Answer (in China) at the entrance to an escalator in a crowded subway station. That way you get trampled to death by the largest herd of people possible in as short a time as possible. Think of hamburger on the sidewalk with a cell phone stuck in it.

Question – what do you do when you are in an elevator and the door opens? Answer (in China) – think about it. Ponder the possibilities. Consider the ramifications. Philosophize over the potential list of actions you can take. Did I say “start walking and exit the elevator”? No, because that would never occur to someone here in China (except if they have a Mei Guo Ren (美国人, Chinese for American) behind them in a huge hurry – then they get a helping shove out the door followed by a long list of expletives explaining why our intrepid idiot's family never evolved intellectually beyond a fern).

Question – what is the easiest way to get a large suitcase up a stairway? (this is a multiple choice question). Your possible answers are (a) pull it up the stairs (b) push it up the stairs or ( c ) use the ramp next to the stairs. If you answered ( c ) you obviously do not live in China.

Question – where is the best place to set off your fireworks? In China, the closer to your car's gas thank the better. That way you get two explosions for the price of one.

For those of you who remember how the American housing bubble started, we live in an apartment condo project where no more than 30% of the condos have been sold. So what is the solution? Build another complex across the street, a third next door and a couple of dozen within 2 kilometers. After all, 10,000 unsold condos is 10,000 times better than 1 unsold condo.


I will post others.

再见 (goodbye) for now.
Posted by Suji to Seoul | Mon Feb 13, 2012, 10:53 AM (4 replies)
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