Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

China: A Day In The Life Part 11

So, after classes finish for the day I return to my apartment and contemplate what to do about eating for the evening. As I sit and ponder I look around. It is, as I have said, quite a nice apartment but there is something that I have noticed not just about here but about everywhere. I have blogged about it already. Everything works, but nothing works well. And here is a poem about it. It isn't even slightly exaggerated. If anything it understates the case.

The Importance of Technology In The Modern Home

Just what will go wrong, you never can tell

because everything works – but nothing works well.

"Good enough's, good enough" is the commonest creed.

"Do as much as, no more than, the job seems to need."


The washing machine didn't work from the start

except as a dryer, well that's working in part.

They gave us another that would hold just four shirts

and jiggle them slowly to redistribute dirt.


The DVD wouldn't connect to the set

though it seemed to be working in other respects.

The player we bough to replace it's OK

but selects randomly which chapter to play.


The gas ring's remarkable – I have to admit it.

There isn't a pot in the world that will fit it.

Pots, pans and woks, unattended will tumble

leaving breakfast or dinner on the floor in a jumble.


The windows – it's true – are almost a fit

for their frames, but not quite and that little bit

is enough to let out every last drop of heat

so the apartment is cold but it's warm in the street.


That the fridge has no plug hardly matters at all –

they've connected bare wires through a hole in the wall.

And you can't move appliances, you just have to shrug –

as, between them, the rooms have six kinds of plug.


Some days there's no gas and others no power

or else there's no water for the sink or the shower

and when it comes back it's an orangey brown –

not just for us but all over the town.


We could try to complain but complain to what end?

There isn't a thing that that they'll bother to mend.

We can search out the right person  to go and to tell

But he'll see, "Well it works – but it may not work well."