Published: March 4th 2012March 2nd 2012
Photos on: http://s251.photobucket.com/albums/gg311/draftwrite/
…..how appropriate, that on the day I decide to start writing the 100th
edition of the YYW, I get up feeling 100 years old. Why? A visit to the Subei hospital this morning didn't give a definitive answer but generally pronounced me in good health. After 3 hours in a Chinese hospital in the middle of a facility wide software upgrade that's quite an achievement. There's no denying the fact they do some things differently here. Read on & decide for yourself. This is also the week when I have to rehearse my part as, (are you ready for this?), Justin Bieber. Even this is probably easier than the other parts on offer, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. I'll need to add some hair, of course. Shouldn't be too hard to lip-synch to, “Baby, baby, baby, oooh, like, Baby, baby, baby, oooh”. To think of the wasted hours I've slaved over song lyrics without making a cent....
…..I have a new student, Eric, (Ke Han), 4 years old, already speaking English better than some of my Grade 8 students. His dad has been teaching him when he has time but decided he should
School Band, 2010-2011
No band this year, this was an early version, the first year I was here
have more intensive lessons. I found some pictures of basic things like colours, numbers, clothing, etc. Damn it, he knew most of them already. We end up playing with a soft ball in the room while he asks me to throw, roll, bounce or catch it. What can we do next week? I'm sure it won't be hard to find a Shakespeare play to dissect.....
…..a definitive NO to an enquiry about taking part in the Yangzhou half marathon, (ma-la-song), in April. After 4 months last year clearing my bronchii after breathing Yangzhou air for 21km & two & a half hours I'm not in a hurry to do it again.....
…..Shen Yue has moved her son, Jeffson's, English class to Monday lunchtime. I've been trying to gently persuade her to think carefully about her new venture, in a multi-level marketing business. Yofoto sells “vital Qi nourishing” healthcare food, household cleaning products, some clothing & even car accessories. Having tried a similar marketing model in 1999-2000, with a very good oil additive which I used myself, I failed, along with a dozen others, to make any headway in creating a business. The Chinese are obviously wary about this
Life begins at 40. Mother of one of my students and a great help with my Chinese and translating
method. Only a few companies, including Avon, Yofoto & the ubiquitous Amway, have a special government licence to trade & I'm occasionally approached by Herbalife sellers. They often speak good English in which case I revert to German as my native language. Certain professions, eg: doctors, teachers, police, are not allowed to take part. She's sticking with it for now. Good luck!.....
…..I have the Justin Bieber thing worked out. I've drawn a Bieber mask. If it works out I might post a photo later.....
…..as for my visit to Subei hospital. A couple of days ago I had a backache, lower back, right side. I assumed it was a posture issue, maybe sleeping in an awkward position. During the next evening the dull ache moved round to the right side of my lower abdomen. Ah, I'm sure a good night's sleep will fix it. I get up at 4.30am to go to the bathroom. I wake up shortly afterwards thinking, “this bed's cold, feels strangely hard too”. That's because I'm lying on the bathroom floor. No injuries. I go back to bed puzzled but don't feel all that good in the morning. Maybe it's time to take
From a chance meeting in 2009, when she helped me organise a mobile phone, to now, a married lady, we still keep in touch.
one of my two sick days.....
…..I should mention that here, after your classes are covered on those two sick days by Paul, Gyu or teachers with free time, the coverage is deducted from your pay, at ¥100, or around Au$16 per class. Here's to good health.....
…..even after two and a half years my Chinese is not up to explaining symptoms or negotiating the inscrutable machinations of a hospital. Rainy, bless her, is appointed to be my interpreter & guide as we get on the bus to Subei hospital, by all accounts Yangzhou's finest, to visit the special foreigner's VIP section. I'm not feeling all that good & the thought of being charged as a foreign expert while on (albeit for here pretty generous), Chinese wages, is making me feel a little queasy.....
…..on what appears to be a normal Thursday the hospital looks more like a crowd assembling for a Grand Final. We are met by Nellie, host of the party some of us were invited to at the hospital a couple of weeks ago. We're ushered through the glass doors into the quiet elegance of the VIP section. The doctor is a genial man,
Qiao Ming, Rong Yi, Tianyi
My private student for around 2 years now with his parents, now family friends.
bearing a striking resemblance to a young Mao Tse Deng who has studied in the USA & speaks very good English. After he's examined me I find I am confronted with a list of activities. Blood test, urine test, ultrasound &, (I wish I hadn't mentioned the short nap on the bathroom floor), an MRI scan to ensure my brain is still intact.....
…..first I have to pay up front. Because it's the first day of the new computer system the whole place appears to be in the grip of a pandemic. I count 10 terminals behind a long counter with at least 20 people queueing up for each teller. The nurse eventually leads us through a side door. I assume we'll settle the bill afterwards. To my horror I am led BEHIND the counter, in full view of the hundreds of waiting patients. They're already unhappy that the process is taking so long, they look even less so to see this foreigner jumping the queue, staring intently at the screen & trying unsuccessfully to look like a computer expert sorting out a problem. It seems to take a long while.....
…..the blood test is straightforward, though as
Fei Fei, Suzhou
Miss Piggy, bringer of chaos and confusion, but so charmingly
the needle is going in I'm using my spare hand to sort out the pile of papers to see how much I've actually paid. A bit over ¥1,000, around Au$160, cheap by western standards but with no health insurance or Medicare to fall back on. Now it's time for the ultrasound.....
…..there's actually a screen between the bed & the door, which appears to be left open. Still they make sure I'm in & ready while the previous guy is still getting dressed. It doesn't take long &, apart from the gel or other cold substance they put on the sensor before application. I just manage to make myself reasonably decent before a lady comes in to get ready for her ultrasound.....
…..urine test, always the paramount indicator of the differences between hospitals here & what you might be used to. After looking round for a place to go to fill the tiny, flimsy plastic cup Nellie takes me out, a long way down the corridor & shows me where the men's room is. I look at her as though she's crazy, she looks back with the same expression. People in China do not pay anywhere near the
Director of Foreign Teachers. The Iron Butterfly
attention to personal space as Anglo-Saxons. Trying to get back, through a crowded corridor & have no one nudge your elbow is to match Fred Astaire in “Singin' in the rain”. There's the potential here for acid rain if it goes wrong.....
…..finally, the Piece de Resistance, the MRI scan. I appear to be ahead of the queue again though thankfully not as obviously as at the payment counter. As usual I am there waiting for the previous occupant to dismount before I get onto the trolley. I notice the door is open & a curious crowd is waiting to see if a foreigner looks different to a Chinese person being scanned. “Can we close the door?”, I ask. I don't wait for the answer, I jump off & slam the door shut, to the obvious bemusement of the young woman in charge of the scan. I stick a ball of cotton wool in each ear as instructed & try again.....
…..I've never had an MRI scan before. I can see why the cotton wool is required. There are various loud sounds culminating in what sounds like the signal for a lockdown in a high security jail. I
Dennis, Rainy, Mona
Rainy, Foreign Teachers' Miss Fix-it, (centre), with Western cafeteria chefs, Dennis and Mona
don't know if it's a function of the process or just for fun. It's no place for claustrophobics. By the time I get out there is a lady waiting to jump on for her scan & yet another crowd of interested observers at the door.....
…..finally, back in the splendid isolation of the VIP unit the doctor looks at the data & pronounces me fit on all counts but says there could be a tiny kidney stone too small for the ultrasound to pick up. Come back if there's further pain or in 3 months for a checkup & further ultrasound, (that's only about ¥200 & probably a worthwhile investment). The discomfort appears to have subsided, in inverse proportion to the bill. Poor Rainy has had to wait over three hours to find out there appears to be nothing seriously wrong. Maybe the male prerogative, to ignore physical symptoms until there's something seriously wrong & worth fixing, has been validated.....
…..thanks to all who have been reading the YYW over the past two & a half years, or picked up the story along the way. I don't have any new photos over the past few weeks but I've
Occasional singing partner. I can sing but I'm not really good at the glamour part...
tried to put together a gallery of my good Chinese friends who have featured in my time here, photos I haven't posted in the blog before. That's not to ignore the many foreign (that's us!), colleagues & friends who have also made the amazing journey but, this is China, never forget that.....
.....you may be wondering about the seemingly random collection of unconnected photos. It's just a collection of randomly selected, unconnected photos of some, (by no means all), of the people I have, in some way or other, connected with in China. If they appear to make no sense in relation to the text, don't worry.....that's what life is like here.....every day.....
…..finally a short article I found recently. I can't verify all the figures but looking at what's going on here, constantly, it certainly gives an impression: To help put some perspective to this, ANZ's Paul Braddick suggest the following could happen in China between now and 2025:-
• 350 million more people will move to the cities – 103 million have moved since 1990
• 221 Chinese cities will have 1 million + people living in them – the whole of Europe has 35
Tiger, Wang Quan Hui, Liu Cui Ping, Su Yin Hui
Some of my old colleagues from the Elementary school
• 1 million kilometres of new road and 28,000 kilometres of metro rail will be laid
• 170 mass-transit systems will be built - twice the number that all of Europe has today
• 40 billion square metres of floor space will be built to construct five million buildings
• 50,000 skyscrapers will be built (30+ stories) – the equivalent of building 2 Chicago's every year
• 97 new airports will be built
• 1 in 7 planes assembled by Boeing and Airbus will be delivered to China
• 1,000 MW of coal-fired power capacity will be commissioned every week - equivalent to 4 million tonnes of new coal demand
• 1 wind farm turbine will be built every hour and a half
There are more photos below