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First published article!

29 Oct

I’ve written an article about teaching English in China for http://www.neehao.co.uk , which is a website/magazine about British Chinese and East Asian culture.

You can read the article here:
http://www.neehao.co.uk/2013/10/a-british-born-chinese-teaching-in-china/

I’d really like to hear what you think about it 🙂

No life? No hope? No problem. Come to China.

26 Oct

Warning: This article may offend arrogant lao wais.

“Which is just so Chinese, isn’t it?”
Exactly which branch of the Chinese government suddenly made this Brummie bird an expert on Chinese culture? This morning, I spent my writing break in a coffee shop, unwillingly listening to a group of foreigners nattering about getting smashed, where to buy decent bread and the problem with Chinese people.

What depresses me about this situation is that these people, who are nothing special, come to China to be treated like pop stars only to disrespect the very people who treat them so well. I listen, twitch and write. I wanted to see if they came up with anything interesting. Nope. Nothing. All the same. Nonsense. Ignorant nonsense spewed out in the style of foodies dining at the Ivy.

Your friends and family probably think you’re so worldly and cultured going to China but reality is you’ve just exported your prejudices and are simply living out your boring ineffective lives in another country. That still doesn’t make you interesting by the way. The only thing that would make you even vaguely interesting is a knuckle sandwich to the face, and that might only give you an interesting looking nose. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about what’s on the inside.

So, what brings you to China? Work? Study? Love? I don’t actually care. Your ignorant arse is here so you need to do a few things:

1. learn the language
2. respect the people
3. accept the culture

What are the chances that you are incapable of doing any of the above? In which case, the least you can do is keep your pathetic ramblings to yourself. Being treated like like a pop star in China doesn’t mean you’re actually worth anything – especially your narrow-minded opinions.

For those of you about to worship your own lao wai hype: fix up, look sharp and show some respect.

slowly normal

10 Oct

Four days on and Fitow’s legacy is finally starting leave Ningbo, or at least my part of the city.

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The road is pretty much dry and the river’s water level has dropped a smidgen.

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However, parts of Ningbo city and it’s surrounding area remain under water, with no electricity or running water. Entire families have taken shelter at schools because their homes are currently unlivable. Instant noodles, bottled water and cans of congee have been provided, alongside a limited number of blankets.

The water may be receding but it has picked up rubbish, mud and debris on its journey, much of which will be left on the streets of Ningbo, in the flooded houses and abandoned cars. There will be a big clean up job after the water has gone.

In the words of the Ningbo TV anchorman “宁波加油!”

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我是一个华侨问题

9 Oct

你不是本地人。

我是伦敦人。

And that’s when the conversation changes direction. It’s different depending on who I’m speaking with. Sometimes they want to know more and other times they don’t know what to say. I’m going to write more on this issue in the future. I don’t want to go off on a massive rant, that would be far too easy. Instead, I’d like to share an article by Sue-Lin Wong, a second-generation Chinese-Australian living in Beijing.

Overseas Chinese: A Foreigner at Home

I’d like to know what you think of the article. Have you had any similar experiences in your “homeland”? Not only overseas Chinese living in China. If you have a story along these lines, please feel free to share them.

it’s good to talk

9 Oct

He must be out of credit already. That’s one of the problems with mobile phones, if you run out of credit you can’t even receive a phone call. I turned on the television and watched clips of flooded streets and good samaritans. When I popped outside yesterday I couldn’t even bring myself to cross the road, there was stuff floating in the water and on the curb I could see a small child peeing into the mix. I was wearing sandals. No way.

Today, however, I must face the murky waters. I need to buy mobile phone credit for the fella and I. He’s in Wuxi right now and I know he’ll have no time to go shopping. He’s testing the waters of Wuxi for teaching martial arts. I looked at my wellies and sighed. Just do it.

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I reached a crossroad. Oh no. I could see that the water in the road was knee high. It’ll breach my defenses. BUT on the other corner is a convenience store. My precious booty is in sight. What do I do? Do I turn home and keep my feet dry or do I man up and wade on? Just how much do I want to speak to my husband anyway?

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I wish I could unplug like that…

8 Oct

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Daily Prompt: Bloggers, Unplugged

Belated honeymoon

8 Oct

It’s cold, dark and 2.30am on the 1st October 2012. This is absurd. Who the funk wakes up this early for breakfast? The Chinese of course. It seemed like a good idea at the time, day trip to Emei Mountain. I forgot that this was China, I didn’t take into account that their ‘day’ started at 2.30am. I try not to choke on my steamed bun and gulp down some more warm congee. My husband tries to look alert but fails to fool me, he’s staring into the kitchen and thinking the same thing as me. Why?

As we exit the hotel I realize that we were already a step behind. The bus stop looked like the main stage at Glastonbury with Madonna headlining. An old lady sold us bamboo sticks, useful for hiking and beating beastly children. I exhaled my final breath of logic and reasoning as we were crammed into the bus. Luckily for me, Chinese people aren’t very tall so I didn’t have to suffer the fate of an armpit facial.

When we reached the gates of Emei mountain, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hundreds of people already milling around the car park. Families, couples, crazy people. I looked up at the moon. Oh yeah. It was Mid-Autumn Festival yesterday, I mean a few hours ago. The moon looked especially significant, not only because of the festival but also because there wasn’t much lighting.

If you have ever traveled around China during the October Holiday, you’ll know that it’s all people mountain people sea. The queue for the cable car was long and constantly grew from the middle. Fights broke out and I nearly killed a particularly annoying boy, who’s father was doing a piss poor job of keeping the kid in line. If only my bamboo stick had some nine inch nails sticking out of it.

The cable car took us to a point somewhere on the mountain. We had to amble off to another point to take yet another cable car up to the peak. The only sources of light came from the moon, mobile phones and small torches. You quite literally had to go with the flow of people, it reminded me of my teens spent in mosh pits – except there weren’t any cool bands playing and I was being kept afloat by a mob of crazy Chinese tourists. I would have crowd-surfed my way to the front of the queue if I don’t think they’d throw me off the mountain.

All this craziness and what for? As we ride the cable car to the peak I am surprised by all the smiley faces. They’re waiting for something. All these insane Chinese people grinning in anticipation as they look towards a warm glow in the grey clouds. What were they waiting for? Sunrise. Of course they were. Why else would half of China wake up at crazy o’clock to be rammed in the same creaky cable car as me? I still have much to learn about this alleged culture of mine.

When we reached the top of Emei mountain, my husband was a little disappointed by the fog but I thought it added an extra dimension. As we walked through the milky air, the Golden Summit Temple slowly revealed itself.

We kept walking and my husband asked if I could see it. See what? What was this man on about? I could feel that there was something big up ahead but I couldn’t quite see it. I slowed down and edged forward as the hairs on the back of my everything stood on end. My eyes traveled upwards for ever as a giant statue of Samantbhadra loomed dramatically over me. So this is how awe feels.

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