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Share Happy Birthday, Dear Friend!
2015-7-22 09:28
Happy Birthday, Dear Friend!
The Plan: I was to log on to China's premier chat platform, QQ on Sunday morning – their Saturday night, to wish my friend a happy birthday. I would buy a little cake and some birthday candles, and sing happy birthday. All of this was pre-arranged with her husband during our weekly Wednesday chat, while she was out of the room. A weekend call would be thoroughly unexpected because our usual chat time is during the week. Since hatching that plan, I had been rubbing my han ...
1841 views|0 comments Popularity 6
Share Should Women Propose Marriage?
2015-7-12 15:00
“Of course not! That's just not the way it's done! Men are the ones to propose. A woman proposing doesn't fulfill her romantic need!” Often mistaken for a traditionalist and sentimentalist, some might think that would me my answer to the title question. Others, who know me better, know that I'm much more of a history student, cultural anthropologist and champion of women's rights. To understand why, traditionally, it has been men to propose marriage, let's take ...
4962 views|0 comments Popularity 18
Share Should Careless Parents be Punished?
2015-7-11 08:35
It has finally happened in China, that which we have seen in the states countless times: a child, forgotten by his parents, was left in the car. The poor tot was found dead a few hours later. I can't begin to imagine the grief and guilt any such parent must feel. The horror of knowing that, but for a few inattentive moments s/he brought about the death of their little love. If any random tragedy can drive a wedge in a family – such as a kidnapping or murder, this one indir ...
1276 views|0 comments Popularity 3
Share Four Years On
2015-7-9 19:00
Recently I posted an entry titled similar to this one, only it depicted things I couldn't get used to in China (see Things That, 4 years on, I cannot get used to entry). It included chicken heads and feet, being stared at and not being able to buy any clothes in my size. Now, I reflect on the things that are so commonplace that I've become inured to them. I'd go so far as to say that these aspects of Chinese society make readjusting to life in the west, however temporary, difficult. ...
1537 views|0 comments Popularity 7
Share Focus On Your Food!
2015-7-6 16:52
Focus On Your Food!
I was once told by a student of mine who dropped in unexpectedly that I should not read a book and eat at the same time. She had spied me through the open window, mechanically eating while devouring a novel. She scolded me: reading while eating is unhealthy! I should focus on my food. I'd never heard of that before, and I've never had a problem getting my food down while enjoying a good story, a good movie, or the company of friends. Hmmm... must be one of those things abou ...
1508 views|0 comments Popularity 3
Share A Story of Graft
2015-7-4 12:48
There is a man; we'll call him Charlie, who has a school-age daughter. In China as in most everywhere else, people are limited to a choice of schools in their zoned district. Charlie's choice of primary schools is not appealing, so he talked to a colleague whose house lies in a district that boasts a good school. “How can I enroll my daughter in this better school?” he asked Steve. Steve: “I know someone in the education ministy. You should give me 10,000 Yuan to pave th ...
2774 views|0 comments Popularity 17
Share American Pride
2015-6-28 18:43
June 26th, 2015, America enacted a new law: the right for gay couples to marry. What a momentous occasion! I'm so proud of that country right now. What does that mean for homosexual couples in America? Before accepting this bill into law, homosexual couples could marry and enjoy the benefits of legal union such as taxation, property ownership, parental and inheritance rights in any of the 22 states that permitted and recognized such unions. If that couple should move to a ...
2318 views|0 comments Popularity 13
Share Things That, Even 4 Years on, I cannot get used to
2015-6-26 12:08
Even as I sit here, frustrated at my continuing immobility, I have to ponder on those Chinese customs, traditions and doings that, even 4 years into this gig I simply cannot get used to. The impromptu way people just drop in . I believe it is just a matter of being a part of the community, or how friendships work over here. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, and even while out with Gary or Sam, dropping in on some poor, unsuspecting friend is modus operandi. Droppi ...
1741 views|0 comments Popularity 13
Share Double Fives Peace to You!
2015-6-22 19:35
Saturday, June 20th was Dragonboat Festival in China. You might already know about the tradition of this day that falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar, thus known as Double 5s Day, from the entry titled Seven Pony-Tailed Heads, posted last Friday. Only this year I learned it is not proper to say “Happy Double Fives Day!”, as one might wish a jubilant celebration for most any other Chinese festival. Let's recap: Poet Chu Yuan's great lov ...
977 views|0 comments Popularity 5
Share Happy Fathers' Day
2015-6-21 12:09
Happy Fathers' Day
There are plenty of happy fathers dotting my life: my son, son-in-law, and others who I have deep feeling for: Sam – who stated his little daughter is his true source of happiness, Chris whose tenderness is evident as he cares for his son, David who works long hours to make sure his children have everything they need and more. And there are fathers without children in my life, too. Today, they make me sad. I find Fathers' Day a necessary acknowledgement of men who, by unspo ...
1214 views|0 comments Popularity 8
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  • The 'Face' Effect 2017-3-6 06:09

    Newtown: So which one is that 'one true god' ? What is his /her /its name ?
    Truth.

  • The 'Face' Effect 2017-3-6 05:31

    teamkrejados: In Zhang Yimou's movie 活着 - To Live, Gong Li gives what I believe is the classic example of Chinese 'face': the man who murdered her son turns up on ...
    The difference is that a Chinese person - like many from other Asian countries such as India - will seek to maintain 'face' in the face (!) of all evidence against what that person has said or done. For example, it a person stole a sum of money they would argue to the ends of the earth that this was not the case, no matter what objective proof was but before them. If eventually they did admit to their fault then they would say that you should not remind them of this act because that would be akin to 'beating them over the head with a stick' - i.e making them lose face once more.

    In such situations these people do not want to take responsibility for their actions. If you asked them 'why?' they did or did not do this - such as in the case of the employer you describe - they would reply 'no why'.

    A western person would more readily admit their responsibility, account for what has happened, and seek to move on in the light of their admissions. e.g. learn from one's mistakes instead of repeating or ignoring them.

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