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.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Facebook Roundup

Time for reposting a few of my recent Facebook posts
Starting back in April we have this little gem of honesty from my class

This week's lesson for the seniors is is on the topic of Wildlife Protection. After developing some vocabulary there is a discussion exercise where I put various topics on the board and the groups talk about what they think of them. One of the topics is "eating kangaroo meat". It almost always meets with a chorus of disapproval but today one student said enthusiastically that eating kangaroo meat is just fine. I asked him why. He looked at me as if I was mad and then said, "It's China. We eat everything." Well, it's honest

 And here are a pair of posts, one from April and one from just two days ago that jointly illustrate the Chinese approach to the concept of Health And Safety - to wit, "What are Health and Safety"?

A fine example of the Chinese approach to health and safety in the workplace. I walk to and from school twice a day along the same route. Part of the way along it there is a man tearing up a fair-sized patch of concrete with a pneumatic drill. He's been there every time I've passed for the last week. The noise from the drill and from the compressor that's powering it is tremendous. Even from about fifty metres away it's loud enough to drown any conversation. He's working without ear defenders. Chips of loose stone are flying everywhere. He's working without goggles. He is almost invisible at times in the cloud of concrete dust. He's working without a breathing mask. And that same guy has been there at least eight hours a day for the last week. He seems to be about half way through his task. I dislike some of the practices of our nanny-state as much as the next guy but when I see things like that I realise that at least we try to protect our workers.

My apartment is having security cages fitted around the rear windows.They are fitting the security frame now and I can't watch. It's terrifying. One is leaning out of my (third floor) kitchen window, completely unsupported by anything, holding one end of the very heavy frame. Another is standing outside on the window ledge hauling the frame towards him with a rope. A third is hanging upside down from the apartment above me drilling holes in the outside wall. I don't know where the other two are. None of them are wearing any kind of safety gear and all of them are taking risks that no sane person would contemplate. That Chinese approach to health and safety really is something else.

And when they do have building work done,..

There's a hotel in Yangshuo that has called itself Fawlty Towers. It's reached up a short but steep flight of steps. I noticed recently that they are having some building work done., The builder had deposited a lorry load of bricks completely covering the steps leaving the only way in or out down a very step and narrow concrete slope. I couldn't help wondering if the famous Mr O'Reilly has moved his business to China. 

You know those apps that float around on Facebook? Well there's one that will guess your age from a photograph.

I'm not posting the picture but I just tried that app that's floating around where the software guesses your age and sex from a photograph. I put in a picture of me with my girlfriend. It got the sexes right, which I suppose is something but identified me as 72 (I'm 57) and her as 13 (She's... well she's... let's just say that she's considerably older than 13).

Even after four years I still get the occasional mishap when buying food.

I know it's just a matter of cultural conditioning but sometimes the Chinese combinations of food actually make me feel physically ill. Especially when I bite into them without knowing exactly what they are. You can guess how impressed I was to discover that what I had carelessly mistaken for a Swiss Roll was, in fact, filled with pork floss rather than jam.

And I also still get the occasional cheeky remark from my students.

Doing my "Cast away on a desert island" lesson this week. I always introduce it with a picture story of me and the class on a cruise which sinks. I get drowned and the class get cast away on the island. Today one student asked why the ship sank and another answered that it sank because "Bob is so fat."

Of course there were odd comments from students right back to the start of my career as a teacher.

Something in a thread on a Facebook group ,I follow just reminded me of my very first ever teaching job. Fresh off the CELTA I got a summer school job in Harrow. My first class were a class of Japanese kids aged about eleven. A few days in we played a game with them guessing jobs beginning with a letter of the alphabet. After a few jobs like Doctor and Teacher the letter that came up was "S". I chose a girl to answer and she thought for a moment and said, pronouncing it perfectly, "Sommelier".

And finally, today's note on the demise of another business.

Businesses come and go here at a dizzying rate. The Mimosa, my old breakfast haunt wasn't the first on that street to go - replaced by a trinket shop - as many that I remembered had disappeared even before I moved here to live. Demo bar followed, though it did re-open in new premises in a less convenient, but significantly cheaper, location. The supermarket across the street was gutted and turned into... well, into another supermarket, actually. The pharmacy on the corner has now also been stripped back to bare brick and I wait with interest to see what's going to replace it. Even the apartment block facing my window is no longer an apartment black but some kind of computer school.

Saddest is possibly the one I noticed on my way home last night. Cafe Too has gone. Sign down. Shutters up. Now I hardly ever used Cafe Too, just for the occasional pot of Osmanthus tea but it had something not available anywhere else in town. It had books. English books. Shelves and shelves of books which you could buy or which you could exchange, giving the owner two of your old ones and taking in exchange one of the many others left by former travellers. With Cafe Too gone there is now nowhere to get English books. Many bars and restaurants have a few but he had thousands. I wonder what's happened to them.

That's all for now. Sometime soon, I'll do another "blog exclusive" rather than Facebook reposts.
Bye for now.