Monday, July 21, 2003

Cultural exchange program. Julian and I spent an evening in our room with our TA's, Beany and Fey, watching Moulin Rouge on Julian's laptop. It's a particular favorite of many young Chinese and Beany - who has seen it five times - was virtually in tears at some points, aided no doubt by the beers we also consumed. "He is me; it is my life!" he declared referring to the film's lovestruck poetic hero. Beanie is only 22, but has a rich imagination and undoubtedly more heartbreak ahead of him.
Julian and I also played them a wide selection of Western music, ranging from Frank Sinatra, Blink 182, James Brown, Stephen Stills, the Who, the Pogues, and others with mixed results.
Several friends of mine and Julian's in the states have requested Mao items as souvenirs, but the trouble is that Mao is no longer popular. I asked Fey where I might find some and she looked at me like I was nuts. "Why would anyone want that? It's stupid!" she said. She did finally tell me about one store (the largest book store in Shenzhen) that might have some Mao artifacts and I plan to check it out soon. But it was clear that what I am attempting is the equivalent of going to the states and trying to find Nixon souvenirs.
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