1st Corinthians 13 — CSV translation (Culture Stress Version)

You know how making and serving food is an expression of love for a lot of people? I’d like to propose that, sometimes, eating it is an act of love, too.

After last night’s donkey parts dinner I’m feeling rather pious*, though I probably won’t be by the time I finish this post. So allow me to present a somewhat famous ancient passage in a fresh translation: the Donkey Parts Version (DPV). Or, if you’re of a more squeamish constitution: the Culture Stress Version (CSV), because that’s what this is really about anyway. ;)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

donkeyseacucumberspecialIf I slurp down this gelatinous slab of donkey blood without making a face, but do not have love, I’m like two mass exercise dance groups of at least 100 grannies each, both in the same public square and each with its own impressive sound system.

If I chew and chew and chew some more and finally choke down this unnecessarily large chunk of fried donkey penis just in time for the next toast, but do not have love, then I’m like that guy at the gym who brings his portable mp3 player — even though the spinning class music, the aerobics class music, and the house speakers are all already competing for prominence in the weight room soundscape — and sticks it right in the middle of the floor where we can more easily trip over it.

If I drink more Tsingtao than I want to so the host will have face and the guests won’t feel that I think I’m too good for them because the obnoxious and juvenile male social world is just that way, and surrender my body to a night of greasy indigestion, but do not have love, then I’m like thirty high-pitched Chinese preschoolers in a cavernous classroom of hard surfaces who won’t stop yelling Wàiguó Lǎoshī!! even though you’ve said Good Mooorniing! to them five times already.

Love is patient with the snot-faced little double-fingered nose-pickers even when the English you’re employed to teach them is beyond their developmental capacity as 3-year-olds, and love is kind even when their parents send them to school sick and they cough in your face and leave their boogers on your teaching toys. It does not envy people with long-term tourist visas. It most certainly does not boast about being a wàijiào; it is not proud.

Love is not overly rude to neighbours who honk their horn for twenty solid minutes in the middle of the night because they drove back so drunk they think someone else has parked in their parking space; it is not merely self-seeking but also seeks peace and quiet for the entire apartment complex. It is not easily angered by impossibly long strings of firecrackers at 3am on Chinese New Year’s Day, and keeps no record of wrongs, but rather considers such things merely as mildly humourous blog fodder.

Love does not rejoice in or act entitled to lǎowài privilege, but rejoices in the truth, like when Chinese friends feel close enough to burst your deluded protective bubble about how fluent your Mandarin actually isn’t, or like when you find out you’ve been saying or doing something wrong for years.

Love always protects face, always trusts that, on average, these people aren’t really any worse than the people you came from, always hopes for deep and meaningful cross-cultural relationships, and always always always always perseveres in language study.

Love never fails.

Have a happy, more gracious and more loving New Year! ;)

*(This does not happen very often.)

Links from above:

donley_penis
What a serving of donkey penis looks like. After we’ve already eaten half of it. (Gelatinous slabs of donkey blood not pictured.)

English teachers in China be like… (LOTR version!)

I’m thankful for this day job at the neighbourhood preschool; it gives us a visa and a place in the local community, and it’s easy. But some days — like right now at the end of the semester when you have to prepare 200 Chinese 3-to-6-year-olds for their English exam — I could be one of several characters on a hopeless quest into the depths of Mordor:
one-does-not-simply_CHINESE_PRESCHOOL_PRONUNCIATION
Gollom-hates-it-forever_PRESCHOOL_EFL
I-cant-recall_ENGLISH
English-teachers-in-China-be-like_POH-TAY-TOES

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 from Qingdao!

I’ve eaten lots of moon cakes 月饼 over the years, but this is the first time I tried to make one:
preschoolmooncake
It’s a :cicada. (Purple stuff is not supposed to be showing.) Each preschool class makes them every year.

Happy Mooncake Day!

Cheers, in miniature China style

Had a birthday party with some preschool kids, and when we turned around they were doing Chinese-style cheers on their own:
Chinese preschool cheers 1
Chinese preschool cheers 2

The Alphabet, Beer, and how China will destroy our civilization

A is for Alphabet. B is for Beer. C is for China. D is for Doomed.

I thought it was curious that my adult students in Tianjin didn’t seem to “get” rhyming. I taught a series based on Dr. Seuss books, but the whole rhyming concept seemed new to them — like they just couldn’t hear it somehow. Now, as a preschool English “teacher”, I think I may have uncovered the source of this mystery.

The most popular beers in the world are ones you’ve probably never even heard of. Because China just has that many beer drinkers. But beer is not the point. Apply the beer situation to the English language, specifically, the ABC song, or as it’s known in China, the “ABC字母“。 It’s like they felt they needed to correct our poor allocation of syllables or something:

Seriously, walk into the nearest Chinese preschool, sing the first line and watch what happens. Or listen to this, which lives in our school’s classroom computers. Is it not appalling?[audio:https://chinahopelive.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ABCs-the-WRONG-version.mp3]

But if 2 billion Chinese kids learn it “wrong” and a measly 500 million Anglo-American kids learn it “right”, the “right” version doesn’t stand a chance.

Chinese beer will rule the beer world. And so will Chinese English. By sheer force of numbers. Western civilization is doomed.

[Photo Gallery:] Chinese group tour, Qingzhou, Shandong 山东省 青州

Joined a Chinese group tour with 50 of my coworkers over the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday weekend — so domestic tourism, China-style. We visited tourist traps in and around Qingzhou 青州 (near Weifang 潍坊) in Shandong Province (山东):

  • Huanghua (“Yellow Flower”) Creek 黄花溪
  • Taihe Buddhist Temple 泰和
  • Yunmen (“Cloud Gate”) Mountain 云门山
  • Ouyuan Street 偶园
  • Qingzhou Museum 青州博物馆

Click a thumbnail below to launch the viewer.

My only non-Chinese coworker (from another branch of the preschool) also came, and her photos are here and here.

So it begins…

Monday was the first day of a new Chinese preschool school year.

And that pretty much sums it up. But I’ll share some special highlights below anyway.

First day of the school year means the opening ceremony. The school yard is ringed with parents (mostly grandparents) peering between the iron bars. We have to make a good impression.

As a 6’4″ foreign male at a preschool with an all-Chinese-female admin & teaching staff…

…I totally fit in.

This is where we teachers all pledged to do something, but I’m not sure what:
Chinese sound systems are for noise, to make an event sound like a Big Deal, not for clearly amplifying sound so large numbers of people can understand what’s being said. Plus at the time I was thinking: Oh hey, so this is what Chinese do instead of placing one hand over your heart and raising the other palm-out…

The kids had to turn around and bow to the teachers:
But only about 1/4 of them got the memo.

The Expensive English-speaking White Guy and the Obligatory English Song:
(I want it noted in my annual review that my feet actually left the ground.)

“Foreign teachers” (外教) are the bottom of the Anglo-American expat barrel, I suspect even below 4th-rate amateur Russian models and, at this preschool, hovering somewhere in the vicinity of the only other males on staff: the cook, driver, and gate guards. And I’m pretty sure I don’t outrank the cook.

More Chinese preschool stuff: