Oh! its Sunday morning around four, Web Queen up early due to the heat.
I just had an exciting time moving my Webshot photos almost onto this site, when the computer told me the file extension would never connect. Now surely if we are not meant to use these photos, some crooked people could just print them out, blow them up, and use them anyway? All I will get out of Webshots are Singing Cards till the cows come home.
Mercy walked out with me yesterday morning to see Joan from McDonalds. She looked quite French with redstriped t-shirt, worn white denim shorts, and I told her Chinese men were too spoilt, to have such women with good figures, and that is if she was in the west, men would be more appreciative of the looks of such a woman. This amused her, as we passed indifferent young Chinese men down on tree-lined side street. We discussed Oliver who was at that moment just finishing writing his TOEFL tests that he has been cramming for for weeks.
It dawns on me that I am some type of China Businesswoman, since I have to do each piece of contracting over and over again, and I am learning about the psychology of the Chinese than someone who just sails into China with bags of cash and a naive attitude.
Americans and other Westerners should start tuning into The China Adventures for key insights into The Chinese Mind, so I can rely one some other nationality than the Chinese for my bread-and-butter! Those of you who just thought, there is no bread-and-butter in China understand the problem!
For example, Joan, we begin the day with. She reveals herself to be tougher than expected. She expects a teacher lower than the lowest Shenzhen rate.
I bought Mercy a red yarn crocketed thingamagig as we passed a street merchant for her help in negotiating, she refused five or six times, as Chinese do, then happily accepted. She wanted to buy me one, but I wanted an ankle bracelet to Ward Off Demons and could not see one.
Then I continued Corporate Day to run up to Wal_Mart in shoiko to look for a coffee machine. I was gifted with a cup of cice cold Nescafe coffee as I entered, but was dismayed to see only one coffee pot on sale, a Chinese brand with a pot for two midget-sized cups of coffee, and of course, the machine was almost fifty dollars, twice the price back home, for half the service.
There was no competition, so this Chinese coffee-pot company has the situation well sewn up, and it will be clear sailing for them once coffee catches on, as I am catching on!
I weakened in the awful heat and bought cheese potato chips, the delicious reconstituted chip that come in caanisters, and sat on the patio outside under an umbrella, drinking Diet Pepsi and eating the whole tin greedily. I crave fat and also salt at times, not sugar. I nibbled so slowly I was approached by THREE beggars as I tried to rest.
It sounds unkind, but when beggars approach when you are trying to escape Asian public transport, Asian employers, and Asian housing, it just one more internal aggression: never left alone, never to think at peace.
I looked blankly at the sky, shook my head at the able-bodied men and women of high energy, and felt a twinge at another man whose sat under a tree in front of me: this man had all of his fingers missing from one hand. Possibly an industrial accident, a blade had come neatly down.
Monday August 27
I planned the class extremely thoroughly; I sat at my favourite restaurant eating green beans and black tea and adhering to the book, a lesson on Past-times.
We did a fun discussion on television. I broke them down into Chinese Families having anargument over television watching. of course, most of them enjoy television, though possibly a quarter consider it to be a time-waster, as I do.
I do like some Cablevision back home, classic movies, and The History Channel, my favourite.
We then listened to screams from theme Park Rides, and I selected the earthwauke idea as a special project. The students broke down into pairs, one was an peasant who had recently witnessed a major earthwauke andsurvived,andthe other was a reporter from China Television. This was very humourous! I was touched by the excellence of some of the descriptions that the peasants gave.
I had preceded this earthwauke section with I See, I Hear, I Feel, and I Smell, a lesson on using senses.
Wednesday August 29
Well I am doing my first Chinese business negotiation where I fight back, using what I havelearned with my eye to the dollar, rather than expressing myself emotionally.
Shirley who attended the Saturday night lecture where I argued over being paid forty dollars for three hours of time involvement, excluding travel time, contacted me to do two days of corporate representative work this coming weekend at a Shenzhen Trade Fair.
No sooner had she hired me,saying it was certainly definite but giving me skimpy details, then she began pressing me to find a second teacher.
On a bright note, the Battery Corporation is recharging itself, ha ha, and today we discussed charging for Internet services in China - yes, the honeymoon ends quickly - and then a fun talk on what constitutes bad manners and good manners in China.
Although I do not discuss religion or politics, and sexuality rarely,when they told mehugging and kissing in public were wrongful,I then pretended to be one of the many Chinese women I see on the streets, wearing clothes so tight all the lines of their brassieres and underpanties show, and backless high-heeled mules. They walk along sensually, swinging their hips loosely from side to side,as the men do, prejecting their pubic area forward.
I have learned what these panty lines and pubic thrusts intend from our Western pop psychologists and mainstream journalists. They are overt sexual signals. The long sysnthetic dresses in pastel colours frequently reveal underpants of a contasting colour, so flimsy is the fabric and so tightly does it hug the hips.
Other rude manners are pushing ahead in lines for the bus, I laughed at this and said Gee, You have noticed this too? They laughed too.
One good comment, Western men are more polite to women, this from the clever woman student. She has noticed in movies how the men let the women go first, through the doors, on the lifeboats tossed off the Titanic, etc.
Chinesemen never do that. They explain that men and women had enforced equality under Communism. Not too many guys tottering down the streets in plastic toy shoes and skin-tight sheaths, skirts that do not even have kick pleats.
I amuse them immensely by suddenly standing up, and pretend to be walking down the avenue in high heel shoes, wiggling from side to side, and letting them know I miss the women who wore blue denim overalls, straw hats, and were at least great for National Geographic photographs.
Their minds seem only to come up pushing in lines, hugging in public, and then move on to defining what is polite.
Respect for older people, smiling, not questioning anything, as in troublemakers of all types, and being quiet.
What is quiet to a Chinese would start a small earthquake elsewhere. My look of amazement starts a buzz of agreement, and they seem to enjoy hearing that the Hong Kong Chinese in a newspaper article recently criticized other Chinese for their constant loudness.
Maybe the strutting, blatantly sexual walk is just another form of noise, the individual talks louder, shoves harder, studies relentlessly, all to get a small piece of attention in a land of one and half bilion people.
So now we have me progressing to my first Asian Business trick, more of a defensive move, than a trick, and a rant on the Sexuality of the Han Chinese.
August 31 Friday
It is very early, really half-past midnight.
I promise my fans Iam about to get off the sour gapes tangent and go onto a fresh new subject, Chinese Boyfriends!
Just Wednesday night when I came home from giving a great class at Book City, the students love me though I am treading on water after arguing over shockingly low public speaking payment, There was a flood of letters from my Chinese Friend Group, all professional Chinese men interested in knowing a Western woman!
I am a realist, and do not think much of this, except a little fun, while I am putting up my websites. I had a strange request at another of my boxes to verify that I had sent the email somewhere, I had not, and since I am from Montreal, the offer of help was in itself suspicious, an opener for scams.
I am going over all my Internet work and beginning the Big Close Off..no guestbooks, etc.
It is a bit too late with Chinese Boyfriends, one of whom has already proposed to me jokingly, he wants to go to Canada with me.
When Mercy came hometonight,she said I miss you, in her darling way, she works shifts and we cross when we cross. We stood in the hallway and when I told her about the marriage proposal, she clasped herself dramatically, and actually tumbled onto the floor. The Chinese can have a wonderful humour.
She rolled slightly on the floor, then sat up against the wall. I too slid down to the floor, with six adults in our three bedroom apartment, the hall looked good for a talk.
Her brother was on the computer in the living room, and the mom was cooking dinner.
She warned me about Chinese men, and said Take it from me, I know, I know. I said no one even knew where I lived, and they would have to get through The Chinese Family first.
They are so practical that I am sure no one wants to know a woman even for a few weeks before they know exactly what it is they are getting.
Unless I get to know someone, I fear the bad way they treat people us in business, will also enter into the personal sphere,and what is worse my boyfriend will fall into We Chinese Together, and I will be more alone than I am now.
It is hard when I study the Chinese not to see their hidden sadness and irony, that they are also so crowded, and yet without intimacy, the intimacy that allows us to share our ture emotions and our true thoughts, we are never really with other people. Of course, the Chinese who have happy marriages, who have best friends, must be similar to us, or so I like to think.
At any rate, I am popular on the Internet, though not even one man to walk down the street with.
I think maybe accepting their cool practicality as something that is the default would be realistic. The ones who offer computer help in exchange for English help are clear and direct.
Mercy and I are discussing merrily every facet of the Chinese Boyfriend plan. Neither of us is romantic, but we agree it is fun, maybe useful. I will have an excuse to buy silk t-shirts on sale at corner store, silk shorts at Stanley Market, Chinese folk blouses, etc. and not slump down into Schoolteacher Solitude.
The men are interesting, though these letterspan out after a few trys, so I do not know what will last.
I liked a few letter writers in other countries, except that I will never go to see them, so am closing off faraway tries, with the best to them. They all seem polite. Perhaps my email got onto another area, because someone was looking for an English teacher.
I am such an ambivalent person by nature, that with vast public relations push, wonder why my privacy is being invaded
Are there Chinese men in Harlequin Romances?
Late Friday night, September 1
I have had the brilliant insight while learning FTP and hyperlinks that quality of writing might count too.
There have been two tendencies in diary writing, both wrong. one is to record every last boring detail of each day, and the other to record all emotional spills in a freewheeling way.
Hey! so far as reader expectations go, why not pay me some money, kids.
The good news today is my trade fair negotiations, leaving it all to the last minute, actually worked. I saw the Top Man this afternoon, near by the Shanghai Hotel, don't you love the name, so Haute Asia.
Top Man was some type of fibre-optics wizard, which prompted me to gush that I had just several multi-page websites, daring to think I had some High Tech flair myself.
I was quick to perceive that his work might mean all of us Low Techs may be able to work with photo and film files faster. Also I noted the company looked quite rich and should stop quibbling with a poor, vulnerable ESL teacher, away from home and friends.
I added ten to fifteen per cent onto top figure quoted to me already, and Top Man gave it to me immediately. He did remind me that I should look cheerful when representing his company and I reassured that that was reasonable, and sailed on out into an overcast afternoon.
At the bookstore I wanted to buy Great Expectations then noticed Dream of the Red Chamber which was what I really wanted to buy, except that it was too costly, then I selected Gone With The Wind because it looked both relaxing and exciting.
Gave an excellent class.
Like a theatre director I try to give two lively interactive projects each class, one for a dyad, the other for a group. Tonight we covered health care words, and I asked them to pretend to be Chinese families who have just discovered a pack of cigarettes hidden in their young teen-ager's knapsack.
This discovery causes family arguments all around the world!
The Chinese here do have a great sense of humour. Lila -whom I now like since she called me beautiful in my watermelon linen coat-dress from Hong Kong backstreet shopping - was a great mother, who caused us peals of laughter, as she referred to all she had done for her children, worked seven days a week for them, and had all her hopes for the future pinned on them!
After she called her daughter her hope, she then played with language and turned to her smoker son, and said that is because you are so hopeless! I wish I could hear some of my own students in their native tongue because I am sure they are witty and eloquent and subtle in a manner I will never know. I intend to start Mandarin lessons next year.
My wonderful students keep me going, and also Larry and Mercy, I had a good chat with Larry this morning for an hour about business in China and how the Internet will help. The agent called about the kindergartens but Larry said the twenty per cent for the government of China is malarkey.
After the trade fair, I can pay rent, food, phone, and music lessons. Yes, a few silk t-shirts, tonic wine, cold beer, dragon fruit, and art supplies. It has been worth it, especially meeting a famous woman scientist.
I must exercise more next week.... I have to block off my window somehow, I am going to pile the wicker trunks against the window and fill the space with plants. And I always liked the light. The sun here fades all the fabrics in your room within weeks!
Mercy and I are going to buy Chinese movies tonight on the streets, three for two dollars! It is rainy season, and all my freshly washed clothes need re-washing because the hems are splashed with muddy water. The streets fill with an inch of water and puddles are several inches deep.
And so to bed, dreaming of Yahoo Briefcase now translating all my files into Chinese for me for free, Yahoo Video software helping me to run my CBC film onto my websites, and my first looped audio files!