Sunday, November 19, 2006

Teach Your Children
The "BoHo" apartment complex in which C and I cohabit is cutting edge by Shenzhen standards. Cosmopolitan, even, with its parking garage, fake mini-Venetian "canals," swanky outdoor pool, badmitton and hoops courts and (inexplicably, as I believe the odds are high that he never lived or slept here) a three-times lifesize bronze bust of Albert Einstein complete with a short Chinese language bio and "E=MC2" inscription greeting occupants and visitors at the south entrance.

Our fellow BoHo-ites are mostly Chinese yuppies with kids, some singles, Hong Kong retirees and a plethora of grandparents -- some of whom look as though they just got off the 38-hour bus or train from the hinterlands of Henan province, one of China's poorest and remotest areas. Think Beverly Hillbillies and you're in the general vicinity.

It's a mini-village of China's upper middle class, urbane sophisticates who presumably mix only the finest Sprite with their 39 yuan (US$5) bottle of Great Wall red. Which is why it's not uncommon to see parents and grandparents alike encouraging their toddlers to relieve themselves from either end in the lush shrubbery or on the polished faux marble walkways within our gated community, often as the bored 17-year-old security guards look impassivly on. The fact that there's also a public toilet about a 20 second walk away and adjacent to the badmitton court/yoga studio, is, of course, irrelevant.

Griping to the managment does nothing but there is a public Internet message board on which anonymous residents such as "Little Devil in Building 5" (that's C) can post on various concerns, like rude security guards, "black taxi" (gypsy cabs) prices and the ones to avoid ("I curse license no. 845 for 7 generations for cheating me on a ride to Shekou and urge fellow residents to do likewise") and lately about pet owners who don't clean up after their shitting Shar Peis. Nothing about children, however.

I urged C to weigh in with a new post. Something like "Control your dogs, what about your children?" She agreed, but was unsure about the subject title. "It isn't good to compare children with dogs in China," she said. "I might be, how do you say it, 'flamed?'"

"So ... I guess 'rug rats' is out of the question, too," I replied. "Not that I've seen a lot of rugs here ..."

She thought about it a little more and then decided to take the plunge. It's where I also got a lesson in Chinese writing styles versus my more heavy blunt instrument approach.

My imagined version: "Hey, Henan hillbillies! You're so frigging proud of your 5,000 years of "civilization" -- now how about discovering a basic concept like public hygene, buying some diapers and toilet training your 'Little Emperors' and 'Empresses!'"

Her's took a circuitous, polite, near poetic and only slightly arch approach that employed a couple of traditonal sayings ("I have crossed more bridges than roads you have walked" and "I have eaten more salt than rice") with a scolding and demand for action, sanitary BoHo courtyard conditions and a free Tibet.

Well, following the post she was just arrested this morning, and .... no, just joshing about the Tibet thing. Toilet training first. Small steps, long journeys, many bridges and lots of salt until then.
Hope you were kidding about the arrest!
Please take care of yourself. There are more on this side of the pond that care about you and yours than you seem to know.

Did Bush being in SE Asia register on the media there?
China's rapid rise due to the hard work of the baby boomers (and tons of FDI and tech giveaways) will be balanced by China's hard crash due to utterly useless little emporers/empresses. Chambers of commerce in SH and BJ have give a blanket "thumbs down" to millions of useless college grads who bring their parents to interviews and to discuss a raise and promotion after one month of showing up on time almost every day and wearing a washed, ironed shirt 2 out of 5 days. Good to see you are back in writing form! Pearl Street is almost completely "big boxed" by corporations now.
Hey - the little monsters are not much better in NYC.
except there are alot fewer "litte emporers" in the US and the typical college graduate in the US is much more capable than one from a chinese school. Rote memorization is useless without knowing how to use what you memorized.
I wonder if there's an online message board for my community... that could be useful. We have the problem that the people upstairs keep dropping trash and spitting below onto my girlfriend's balcony and washing machine. I've been tempted to leave my garbage outside their door... but then they'd probably just drop it out the window.
On another note, I've also seen adults using the bushes as toilets in this supposedly exclusive community.
You can take the person out of the village but can't take the village out of the person.

Bad China
...Or, as I find myself often saying here in San Francisco,

You can take the Ren out of ZhongGuo, but you can't take the ZhongGuo out of the Ren.

...Although, I can't say that I've seen anyone pee'ing publicly here.
probably because they are told that it is illegal and everyone will think they are "tu3"
Ok, so I'm SO stateside here...I wondered what TU3 was... Google...

"A Citroen engine with a displacement of 1361 cc, with a bore of 75 mm and a stroke of 77 mm"...hmmmm.

OR, "A Bunn Ice Tea Dispenser/Brewer Brewing Capacity:16.3 gal./hr., cu. Ft.:7.5, and 1680 watts Tank Heater"...whoo-woo!!

Or (and this really got me going), "an $1,100.00 US TU3 RF Condensor Location/Studio Mic by Sennheiser." Turn me loose with this baby in the recording studio for a few hours...

Or, here's one: "IBM Expandable Storage Plus Drawer Model TU3- Supports up to 14 Ultra SCSI disk drives
with 160 MB/sec throughput"... imagine, 160 MB/sec throughput...sounds like the kind of thing my kids would understand....

Then, finally, a Chinese symbol for "soil; earth; dust; land; ground; field; homemade; local; unrefined." Maybe that's what we all are anyway... all that dust-to-dust is for real, hey?

Happy Holidays Justin,

-Ben TU3
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