Finding Myself in China: Not only do I consider that it smells like Methylated Spirits, but the taste is surely as bad. I argued and argued and argued before finally agreeing to just one glass. That little half full glass just knocked me off my feet. When I finally got home, I basically just collapsed on the bed - fully clothed - and passed out. But at least I had another wonderful night’s sleep.
This article was first published at Magic City Morning Star on Dec 25, 2008 under the title "It's Christmas Again?" In preparation for publication of my book "Finding Myself in China" this file has been transferred to Kingscalendar.com. In the process the article has undergone a little re-editing. Most of the photographs in the original version have been carried over.
Well it's Christmas again!
Christmas is such a special time for me, and surprisingly enough, living in China has not done anything to diminish that special feeling that I get as we get nearer and nearer to Christmas. Christmas time is that time of year when I just want to lock myself in my room and hide away from the rest of the world. Sometimes I just want to go to sleep and wake up and find Christmas is over. When I came to China I thought that Christmas would be a thing of the past. Not So! The Chinese love it.
When my parents were alive, I liked to spend Christmas day with them, and later after they had passed, I enjoyed gathering with my relatives at my sister's home. I like that people celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. I even like being invited to their special celebrations. But as a secular holiday, and given the general politically correct 'anti-Christian' attitudes that prevail these days, I don't like Christmas.
Recently a teacher in England was fired for telling children that Santa Claus did not exist. One can only wonder what punishment would have been in store if the teacher had said that Jesus was the Savior of the World.
They say that Christmas is a time of 'good will to all men.' Well! We 'men' could certainly do with a bit of societal 'good will toward us.' But when you think of it, if the world can only have good will to everyone on one day of the year, then what does that say about the world?
Below: A Crazy Chinese Santa at the Yanfu Hotel Christmas Dinner.
In Australia, and I am sure it applies to America as well, Christmas is school holiday time. Not so in China! Christmas falls just before the end of the school year. That means, at least for the foreign teachers, that we are trying to get all our exams done so that we can sit down and try to figure out exactly what are all these Chinese forms that we have to fill out. My coordinator recently said to me: 'You can get one of the students to translate the Chinese for you!'
I replied: "Not necessary! I will just fill them out in French!"
"Huh?" she said: "But we won't know what you have written!"
'You can just get the French teacher to translate it for you!' I retorted.
I have no classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is just as well, because I am trying to mark 600 written exams. I don't just teach Conversational English to my students. I also teach two writing lessons each week to each of my classes. That means written papers to correct. What a job that is! Christmas is certainly interfering with that process. And not just Christmas.
I was asked the other week if I would consent to doing an interview with the local TV station. I readily agreed. I have done this before and it does not take up much time. They send out a reporter and a cameraman, and the whole thing is over in 30 minutes. Oh if I had only known what was in store I would not have done it!
First, I had to spend an afternoon at the Studio talking with the producer so that she could get a picture of what could be used in the Program. 'Program?' "Oh! Didn't they tell you? We are going to do a program about foreigners and their lives in China! You will come back on Friday night and we will tape the Program."
Came Friday night and there we were (Three foreigners - Russian, Korean and Australian), in a TV studio being interviewed by an anchorwoman. We were not just faced with the bright studio lights, but an audience of students; most of whom understood English Very Well.
So that was two afternoons in which I lost time marking exams. To add insult to glorification, I spent two hours cleaning up my apartment on Sunday morning so that a cameraman could come to my home for just 15 minutes. He filmed me sitting at my computer, washing dishes, taking food from my fridge, making a cup of coffee, taking out the trash, and marking exams.
After spending the day Tuesday marking exams, I got a call to say that I was being given a holiday on Wednesday December 23rd. When I went to sleep Tuesday night, my body decided that it was now time to actually rest, and I slept for 11 hours. Oh how I needed that. When I got up Wednesday morning, I decided that I would 'take the day off' and spend time working on my website. Exam papers could wait till Christmas day. Well that was the plan. Two things happened that really ate into my time. Firstly I received close to 100 telephone text messages. As fast as I kept emptying the messages, the phone would fill up again. I really don't know how many there were. I just know that the final time that I emptied the phone, I had 35 messages sitting there. I replied to all messages with a polite: Thank you! Same to You! Happy Chanukah!
The other thing to eat into my time was that last night I had to attend the College President's dinner, and as is Chinese custom, one has to drink copious amounts of liquor. I am as close to a teetotaler as one can get, but I did drink 3 glasses of red wine throughout the evening. Then at the end came the manipulation to have me drink Chinese spirits. Baijiu or Maitai was the order of the day.
President's Dinner - Hanyuan Hotel inside the University
Photo Below Top Right: Mr. Kim. A Korean who speaks perfect Chinese - Dancing with a Chinese teacher Photo Below Bottom Left: Mark (Nigerian) and Ellenora his Italian Wife. He is singing his love to her.
Not only do I consider that it smells like Methylated Spirits, but the taste is surely as bad. I argued and argued and argued before finally agreeing to just one glass. That little half full glass just knocked me off my feet. When I finally got home, I basically just collapsed on the bed - fully clothed - and passed out. But at least I had another wonderful night’s sleep.
Getting up at 11am today, and with another function to go to at 5:30pm, I decided: 'to hell with exam papers!' They can wait just a bit longer. I decided instead to catch up on world news and to write this little and latest adventure of my life in China.
I have no idea what function it is that I am going to tonight, I only know that it is something to which I am invited; read "instructed to attend."
Tomorrow when I am finished with my 6 teaching classes, I will attend another function. It is something to which I happily agreed a month ago, when I was given the invitation. I am off to a 'foreigner’s party' being held up town. This gathering will involve foreigners from many places. It will include teachers from my own school, as well as some from other schools. There will undoubtedly be people that I do not know, and will also probably include foreigners who are not teachers here in Yancheng, but are involved working in local or foreign companies. We have been instructed to buy a 'same gender gift' to the value of 25 rmb so that each person can receive a Christmas present. I hope that the recipient of the socks I have bought truly appreciates them.
With three parties spread over three nights, and with 300 papers still left to mark, I am hoping that on Saturday and Sunday I will be up to the task.
Well! That is my Christmas!
May you and yours have an equally enjoyable time - but without the pressure!
P.S.I apologize for the quality of some of the photographs. They were lifted from videos.
P. P. S. Well! It about 10:50am Christmas Day in Maine USA and 11:50 pm Christmas day in China. I have just arrived home from a wonderful night out, and when I get to it, I will write about it. The middle photo in this following triptych is from tonight's adventure. But you are going to have to wait for that story!
Above Left: Some Crazy Australian singing his head off. Above Center The Beautiful but Mysterious Performer Above Right: Mr. Kim either drunk or singing into a bottle?
When you stand to speak you are doing more than reciting words. You are in fact engaged in communicating with an audience your opinions, ideas, feelings, passions and/or knowledge on a subject. They expect you to express yourself with feeling and passion and to actually know what you are talking about. Therefore it is essential that you KNOW what you are talking about – and – show the appropriate body language, gestures, actions and emotions associated with your topic.
The kids used to turn up repeatedly throughout the day just to look at the foreigner, touch him, feel the hair on his (the monkey’s) arms and generally just gawk. China has changed a lot over the years but there have been times when a foreigner in a small town or village would attract huge crowds. Sometimes people would be known to suddenly come upon you, look up at your face and just plain scream! I’m not joking!
It turns out that Yang Bin attended some special 'Arts' High school where the subjects were song and dance routines, and didn't these guys belt out some fantastic songs. Skinny little dweebie boys with deep, rich voices that would hold their own against any professional out there on the circuit. And then there was the girl. Whew! No point even trying to tell you what she was like. If you are not familiar with Chinese singing stars, then you wouldn't understand how fantastic she was. Even Yang Bin sang a song and later danced the 'Jive' with his 13 year old cousin. He also did a quick Jive with Wu Peipei
The evening went well for the guests, and the foreigners were as pleased to have been invited, as were the guests to gawk at them. The whole thing must have cost a pretty penny, some or most of which would have been recouped through the Chinese custom of given 'Red Bags' of money. The trick for the Bridal couple is to get more than they paid out. Under normal circumstances they would end up in the black, but on this occasion one could only wonder. As for the foreigners, they all enjoyed themselves immensely. Whilst some caught up with friends and others of us made new acquaintances, all of us had a wonderful time
The Scene is made up of stones weighing 5,000 tons and the water inside comes from purified lake water with 8 meter falling. The stones, water and wave plowing create a mountainous atmosphere as described by Wang Wei and Meng Haoran "Clear water runs on stones" and "Adventures in the stone gate." When Chen Yu and I finally arrived back at the North Entrance, a group of young people spotted me and began calling out. It turned out that two of them were Chen Yu's students. The following photo is one that Chen Yu took using my camera, as the boys (none of whom were known to Chen Yu) posed with me while their friends took photos using their cameras
Once we were in the studio, and without receiving any advice, instruction or prompting whatsoever, I, as the 'first monkey up,' or 'first cab off the rank' (whichever expression you like), found myself walking onto the set to be greeted by the presenter. I bowed, greeted her in Chinese, turned to the audience and greeted them, and then, with 'deliberate nonchalance,' sat down on the sofa provided. Thank heaven that it was a pre-recorded show and was not 'live to air.' And thankfully when they aired the program they didn't show what happened when I sat down
I provide here two links from which you may glean information should be coming to Yancheng and decide to stay at the YanFu Hotel. The Hotel is located in the very heart of YanCheng near to Da Tong Ma. "Ben" - Guo Haibin - Advertising Manager at the YanFu Hotel on the left.
Do you know how to Samba? You do? Well you know how you have to bend the knees and at the same time push your bum down so that you do a pelvic thrust - yeah? Well I gave my teacher two options. I could bend my knees or do a pelvic thrust, but not both at the same time. He told me that I would eventually learn it. Surprise Surprise! By the end of my second night I had it figured out, and let me tell you - it is not a pretty sight! I should know - I have to watch my self in that monstrous bloody mirror!
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]