Finding Myself in China: We were also treated to a demonstration of 'Shaolin' arts. Not only did the performer put himself through the hoops (pardon the pun) but got Sam up to 'trip the lights fantastic!' When they called for volunteers to take part, Sam eagerly volunteered. Never ones to miss an opportunity to see a foreigner make a fool of himself, the Chinese MC readily accepted Sam's offer. The tiny performer took one look at him and said: 'Whoa! How heavy is he?' Just to see if he could do what he wanted, he picked Sam up in a bear hug. That was certainly entertaining. What Sam thought when the guy grabbed him front on and lifted him, I have no idea!
This article was first published at Magic City Morning Star in 2009 and reedited and republished there in 2014. In preparation for publication of my book "Finding Myself in China" this file has now been transferred to Kingscalendar.com. All photographs in the original version have been carried over but are not aligned in exactly the same way. Actually there are more photographs here. Additional photographs were published at Kingscalendar at the time of the original publication in 2009.
A Wonderful YanCheng Christmas in 2008
Christmas 2008 was a busy time for this old man who doesn't like Christmas at the best of times. Firstly it falls right at the end of the school year amidst preparations for final examinations.
If only I had a gun! Musical Moving Santa Display at the YanFu Hotel
Secondly, being a foreigner in China means that you have a duty to be seen, and it is the traditional duty of your Chinese hosts to demonstrate their honour for you by arranging Christmas festivities for you. And so it was that I received notification that on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th I was to attend two special Dinners. I have already written about the first dinner, the 'President's Dinner,' and at the end of that article I posted a picture of a lovely lady dressed in traditional costume. I took that photo the following night at the Second dinner at the YanFu Hotel.
On the appointed day and at the appointed hour, and together with two other foreign teachers, I was met at the school gate by a gentleman who spoke very good English, and who escorted us to the Hotel. On the way, he, Guo Haibin, otherwise known as 'Ben,' the Advertising Manager of the Hotel, explained to us the situation. Every year the YanFu hotel holds a special Christmas 'Dinner and Show' for guests willing to pay the 300-400 rmb for the ticket. As our school is in some way connected to the Hotel, the foreign teachers are invited, 'free of charge.'
Well I must say that I was impressed. There was a whole room spread with food that was constantly being replenished throughout the evening. Every imaginable type of drink was also freely available, including some wonderful wines with Chinese labels. Later I noticed that the wine bottles indicated that they were Imported Australian wines. No Wonder I was impressed!
Well What did you Expect?
Top Left: Brady with Chinese Santa. It's only the photo that makes Brady look drunk ..er.. then again! Top Right: Stewart and Mark collecting their lucky door prizes Bottom Left: Ben - Guo Haibin Interpreter and Advertising Department Manager YanFu hotel Bottom Right: Old Fart Aussie doing who knows what.
Being a 'ticketed' event, everyone was assigned seats that matched their ticket number. The reason for this was that there were 'lucky seat' prizes to be won. A randomly selected person would press a button on the computer and when they released it, the spinning numbers stopped and that number and corresponding seat position, won a prize. Stewart and Mark both got lucky that night. One lady even won a new computer. But this was not the highlight of the night. The highlight was the entertainment which was provided. It ranged from Arabic dancing to comedy routines to wild singing and dancing. The first 'cab off the rank' by way of entertainment (If you don't count the Chinese Santa that was running around all night), was the Mystery Performer mentioned in my last article. But I'll save that story for later.
There was however a Comedy Duo that were quite good and who, or so it seemed to me, were speaking in Shandong Dialect. It was a little on the 'risque' side from what I could understand of it. If you believe what the students would have you believe, you would think that Chinese society is totally 'prim and proper.' I know first hand from my experiences in the countryside, that the Chinese sense of humour is as ribald as any other.
As the female of the Duo would be talking or telling a story, her partner, who looked like a '19th century Chinese caricature' would be pulling faces and jumping all over the place. His hair, which was closely shaved on both sides and at the back, was long at the top, and parted in a wide part in an 'Albert' type of way. (You remember! That kid that had that one strand of hair that stuck up in the air!) Anyway, this guy's voice, which I am sure that Tiny Tim would have envied, would jump from the lower to higher octaves as he spoke. He kept wandering off during the girl's performance to do crazy things, and kept pulling faces while she was trying to talk seriously. His facial contortions were hilarious. The fact that he had one tooth missing from the left side of his mouth made his act even more hilarious. He played the part of a 'fool' quite well, a role most assuredly an act, given his appearance and behaviour in the closing segment of the show.
We were also treated to a demonstration of 'Shaolin' arts. Not only did the performer put himself through the hoops (pardon the pun) but got Sam up to 'trip the lights fantastic!' When they called for volunteers to take part, Sam eagerly volunteered. Never ones to miss an opportunity to see a foreigner make a fool of himself, the Chinese MC readily accepted Sam's offer. The tiny performer took one look at him and said: 'Whoa! How heavy is he?' Just to see if he could do what he wanted, he picked Sam up in a bear hug. That was certainly entertaining. What Sam thought when the guy grabbed him front on and lifted him, I have no idea!
The guy had 4 electric lights on a board, and his trick was to stand on the light bulbs. This took quite a bit of skill even on his own. With Sam on his back, it was even more tricky. The trickiest part however, was trying to actually see what was happening. People from all over the room ran to the front and completely blocked the stage and everyone else's view. I slipped off my shoes and stood on a chair.
We were also entertained by a Male singer cum Dancer who rocked our socks off with his singing ability. It was hard to judge his age, even though I got a good close look later when he was introduced to our table, but I would guess about 35 years old. With a great figure and a whole lot of energy, he belted out his songs, even as he raced around the room grabbing ladies to dance with as he sang. Not only was he a dynamic performer, but a true professional. I actually saw the moment while he was singing on stage, when he swallowed a bug. There was this look of surprise on his face, a quick cough to try and clear his windpipe, and missing only two words, he continued on like a trooper. By the time of his last song he was obviously distressed and the moment he finished it, he raced from the stage. I had a clear view 'off stage' and could see him trying to clear his throat as he gasped for air. Well done old man!
Above Bottom Frames: Amanda dancing with with the Male Singer.
Amanda was not the only one of us who managed to join in the performances. Mark also got his chance dancing with a 'maturing' but dynamic female singer. Like her male counterpart she raced all over the place, dancing with guests, singing to them, and even standing on chairs, as she belted out her songs. Mark was the lucky one at our table. He was chosen to dance with the songstress. As she headed for our table, one of the organisers was pointing at me saying: 'Dance with the old American!' Huh! American indeed!
Fortunately I was on the other side the table, and when I realised what he wanted her to do, I put my head down and began playing with my camera. I wasn't going to buy into that! I ain't no Fool! er... then again! Playing the fool in China is part of a foreign teacher's job and lifestyle. It's one of those things you have to do if you don't want to end up in a screaming heap on the ground. No matter what people may say, it's not easy sticking out like a sore thumb for every passerby to stare and gawk at, and to make comments about. So you just have to go with the flow and entertain the troops sometimes. Speaking of which, get a load of what is written on the back of this lady's shirt.
Mark got his chance to dance with this dynamic female singer with the US Army sign on the back of her shirt.
Between the paid comedians and the unpaid comedic foreigners, there was a lot of fun to be had this night. This little lady in this photograph, in addition to her comedy routine, played three different instruments. For a brief moment I thought she was faking it, because the sound was perfect and there appeared to be no microphones. If you take a close look at her wrists, you can see the microphone jammed through the wrist band she is wearing. She was extremely skilled in both musical and comedic talent and a pleasure to watch. But I have to say that the real show stopper was the lady dressed in traditional 'Miao' costume, who sang an absolutely beautiful song in a very traditional high pitched voice.
She walked out on that stage like a 'Royal.' Tall, slender, mature, composed, and thoroughly professional, she was an absolute pleasure to look at and listen to. And then the Bomb dropped! When this lovely lady finished her performance, the audience broke into applause; as well they should have. She smiled, bowed, and waited for the MC to appear. He then asked her a question. I have no idea what the question was, and nor do I know what her answer was. All I know is, that this beautiful lady answered in a deep resonant male voice. The audience was stunned! My mouth hit the floor and bounced back up again.
As the conversation progressed I was catching only a part of what was being said, but enough to understand what the MC was saying when he was asking the audience if they could guess whether she was or was not a man. She would speak with a man's voice, and then a woman's voice and then go back to the man's voice. It was certainly something. I don't know what the people in front of me at the next table thought was funnier; the MC's statement that perhaps the only way to know was to look under her dress; or the fact that I burst out laughing when he said it.
He -er - She - er???? A Great Performer!
Finally he asked her to sing again, and this time, she outdid herself. One sentence of the song would be in a man's voice, and the next would be in a woman's voice. It was remarkable. Though no one else at my table had any idea of the gender of this performer, I felt that she was singing the female part with greater ease than the male part and so decided that she was a woman. Later however, I noted that all the performers were gathered off stage watching each successive act, and amongst them was a very tall handsome young man with finely chiseled features. As I watched him I couldn't help but wonder if 'he' were 'she.'
As the night came to a close, all the performers came back on stage to do one final number together. Guess who was missing? I figure that maybe 'he' did not want to give the 'act' away. Then again, maybe 'she' didn't want to either. Who knows?
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]