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.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The most frustrating thing about China

There are many little niggles about life in China that make things difficult or frustrating but for my money the utter impossibility of getting information about anything is about the worst.
We are now three (or maybe four or maybe five) weeks from the end of term. I have a summer job in another city and I need to book a flight. But I can't, because no one can tell me when the term actually ends. Not only that, but they can't tell me when they will be able to tell me when the term actually ends. Or, in an amazing bit of meta-obfuscation, when they will be able to tell me when they will be able to tell me when the term ends.
If I don't book the flight now I will end up having to pay double or treble for it and, I have been told, there is a serious possibility that I won't find out when the term ends until the morning of the actual day so I won't be able to even get onto a flight.
I'm not kidding.
I have in the past been given about one hour's notice that a holiday is starting - told at eleven O'clock in the morning that the holiday starts at twelve. I have had many conversations with Chinese colleagues where I have asked how they organise things and the answer is a blank stare, a "what does 'organise' mean" kind of stare. If I can manage to explain what I mean they seem baffled that anyone would want or need more than a day's notice.

And this is how it is. Always.