Tuesday, May 20, 2008


All the Chinese websites are in black and white now as a whole nation mourns this tragedy.
As the rescue work drags on, the toll has been rising. The thunderstorms aren't helping too much either.
It certainly is a sign of strength as all the Chinese people come together to help out. It's impressive how fast the funds have been raised but the enormity of this disaster seems to demand it.
I don't really know how well the rescue operations are going but from all I have seen and heard it certainly has increased my respect for the Chinese people.
We are with you.

Security Risks

There is a McDonalds on the second floor of the Shenzhen railway station and its entrance from the main walkway was shut.

Apparently they are worried about the security risk it would pose for the Olympics which is three months and a thousand kilometers away, in Beijing.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Getting wiser

It looks like every travel opportunity instructs you in many ways, including teaching you about yourself. Just listing some things I learned when I was on the road during the May holidays.

1. It can be hazardous for your health and general well-being if your traveling companion is a baby with bottomless pants. [For the uninitiated, these are pants with a long slit on the bottom, and the babies don't wear diapers] There's no telling when the next leak is due or where it might land.
2. Carrying a heavy bag while sight seeing can be annoying.
3. I enjoy trying new food items when someone explains them to me. Otherwise I'd rather stick to KFC or McD's for fast, cheap food.
4. Even though I don't particularly enjoy being pointed and stared at by people because I'm a foreigner, when they don't do so, I feel inadequate and inferior - "Am I not special enough for you?" I take this as a sad sign of being a foriegner for too long.
5. I seem to be a pretty demanding teacher. But I'm not! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Yesterday the quake hit Sichuan, a couple of provinces to our west but it was so powerful that we felt it here too. But thankfully nothing was damaged. My biggest fear of course would be the destruction of the Three Gorges Dam... that would just mean we'd all be trying to swim for safety...
For the latest news we have to rely on the Internet and the only English language TV channel available here, CCTV 9. The last news broadcast I heard at 7:00 put the number of dead at 9200 and rising. Unfortunately, thunderstorms are impeding the rescue work.

Last night when the number was still pegged at 107, a university representative was walking around in our dorm talking to students.

Students: How many people died?
Representative: I don't know, do you?
S: You don't know?? CCTV 9 said 107...
R: oh ok. Did you contact any of your friends in other provinces?
S: No, did you?
R: No.
S: Why? Don't you have any friends?
R: ...yes I do.
S: So what are you doing here?
R: Just making sure you are okay... The university is maybe going to take some protective measures.
S: Like what..??
R: Maybe give some advice....?

I really don't want to debate on the way distribution of information is handled here and I do think there is quite a bit of the quake being shown on TV mixed with all the reassuring images of troop mobilization and emergency rescue work. But next time they send someone to talk to us, they better send someone who knows what he's talking about.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Super 7's Trophy finals

It was a very hot afternoon when we, the Hurricanes, played our opponents 'Real Madrid', in the finals of the first 7's tournament held among the overseas students in CTGU.
The pre-game poll was in our favour, with 66% saying that we would win, but unfortunately we didn't. Luck was not on our side as we lost 2-1 in the tightly fought contest. It was rather sad because we had put in a lot of work to ensure that the tournament ran smoothly.

The Deputy Director of the Medical College and the HOD, Teaching dept. Central Hospital were among the chief guests in the finals and so this event did make it to the University news website. But it said that we had conducted it as a part of welcoming the Olympics.
I don't have anything against the Olympics, but this tournament certainly didn't have anything to do with it.

A Song A Week V

Ohne Dich - Rammstein

I liked this German song long before I knew what it meant or I ever saw the video. Don't ask me why...