Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Tuesday Morning Football. I'm jonesing with no regular access to football coverage. Or "American football" as the Chinese call it; "football" is, of course, their term for soccer - a banal, dull pretender of a sport. But I figured out a way to "watch" the Broncos crush the hated Raiders on Monday Night Football during my Tuesday morning at work. I found a site that posted updates and between editing duties I clicked to it and read with glee and amazement as the score mounted and Jake Plummer set a new Bronco QB rushing record.
One coworker sort of caught on to what I was doing but was completely baffled as to why I would care. Football is incomprehensible to most in the PRC and I may as well have been obsessively noting the results of a Venutian molten hydrogen bowling tournament. He does follow the NBA, though, and is informed enough to know that the Nuggets have sucked diseased goats for a long time.
At the final (31-10) I did pump my fist once and hissed "YESSS! Fuck you Al Davis!" but there was no one to share my joy. But I imagined I felt the vibes all the way from Colorado.
I was enlisted late in the afternoon to do a dog and pony show to promote the paper as an English language learning tool to Chinese middle school children. Unlike most US papers there is no separation between the advertising, promotional/circulation efforts and news side. Page editors are even expected to sell a quota of ads per year. Fortunately, me and my Aussie coworker Jeff are exempt from the ad sales duties.
Two page editors and I were driven in a company SUV to what was described to me as the "best, the top middle school in Shenzhen." It was in an older part of the city but, except for the fact that the power was out when we arrived, the school itself was physically impressive and modern seeming and the students swarmed me like I was some kind of celebrity when we arrived. Many wanted to try out their conversational skills and our presentation was delayed while I slowly and politely worked my way out of the chattering throng of 12-13-14 year olds.
I gave an impromptu and ingratiating pep talk extolling the virtues of newspapers in general and the Shenzhen Daily in particular and then opened the floor for questions. It was a startling mix.
A selection:
"Have you been to France?" (Yes, as a child)
"What do you think of the US war in Iraq" (Personally I am against it. I did not vote for George W. Bush. - I restrained myself from any invectives, though)
"Do you love your motherland?" (Yes)
"Do you like David Beckham?" (He's no Jake Plummer or John Elway, but sure, I adore him. Doesn't everyone?)
"What is your e-mail?" (average_guy26@yahoo.com)
Which brings me to a suggestion from a reader. It is my e-mail. If anyone following this blog wants to e-mail me with comments, suggestions, questions I'd love to hear from you.

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