31 December 2008

2008 was a great year, 2009 will be a fine year

In 2008 I married my soulmate and in 2009, God-willing, she comes home. Each year just keeps getting better for me! I never really do New Year's resolutions, but this year I resolve to give up the horrible addictions to fast food and soda (pop). This will improve my weight, energy, overall physical and financial health. Please pray that I succeed! Happy Civil New Year Everyone!

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16 December 2008

Whiny LaoWai ExPats

Recently at Hao Hao Report, (A site like Digg and Mixx for English language China stories) a story was mercifully buried where a foreigner in China was complaining that the average foreigner wage for someone with a degree and experience was "only" 131,000.00 RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi). Currently, that equates to over $19,000.00 USD (United States Dollars). Now, that very well may be low for an Americans working and living in the United States of America, but this is for people living in the People's Republic of China where EVERYTHING is cheaper! Keep in mind, that the average Chinese citizen earns only 10,000.00 RMB a year. I mean, even university graduates are only asking for 18,000.00 RMB a year!

Now at Lost LaoWai's community blog, a site I respect and enjoy a lot, one of the great authors is complaining about having to work 6 Sundays a year, meaning there are 6 6-day weeks to allow for some week-long holidays! I would love to work a 6 day week to get a week-long holiday! Wouldn't you?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that Christianity gave us the popular 5 day work week (Saturday off for the Sabbath and Sunday off for the Lord's Day, the day of Jesus' Resurrection), and I am glad that Henry Ford started the standard 40 hour workweek of 5 8-hour days, with 2 days of rest, but occasionally working 6 to get 3-7 days off is not a bad trade-off either!

Seriously, anyone who goes to China should know what they are getting in to, but this complaining about making "only" 10 times as much as the average Chinese person, or occasionally having to work a 6-day work week, because you have a week-long vacation strikes me as whiny and petty. Am I alone in this opinion?

For the record, I work every Sunday and Saturday and work 5 days a week. 4 of those days are 12 hour days, and 1 day (Sunday) is a 7 hour day. My wife works 7 days a week. She works 12 hours a day, from 9:00-21:00 like me, but she gets the standard 2-hour Chinese lunch/siesta time in the middle of that day (like these complaining expats most likely have) too. For this, she earns 12,000.00 RMB annually and 2 vacation days per month that can be accrued and used all at once. Maybe that is why I have no patience for this seemingly petty whining?

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15 December 2008

Lisa See Reviewed Some More


This last month I have read 2 more of Lisa See's books. On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family is her non-fiction biography of her family. This is very obviously her first book and very interesting, telling then story of her family in China and America over the last 150 years. She had not yet developed her writing to such a degree as with her fiction over a decade later. Lisa has quickly become my favorite writer, but this book is not in structure what (I would call great, but the information inside is, and as such I would definitely still reccomend the book.

Peony in Love: A Novel is a fictional book in the same vain as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel, a book I loved, however it is based on a true story. I cannot say too much without spoiling it, but it is a powerful story about love, fate, feminism, The Peony Pavilion, and art, that may very well now be my favorite book. It deals with the afterlife in a way you would not expect, detailing the Chinese religious thought on the subject, which makes many traditions in China come to life with anew understanding. I want to say more, but you are better off buying this book and reading it knowing nothing more than this.

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14 December 2008

Toward Better Tones in Natural Speech


The problem, as Dr. Liao presented it, is that many learners can reach a relatively high level of fluency in Mandarin Chinese, have excellent tonal accuracy for individual words, yet still make a large number of very unnatural tonal errors in natural speech. This is a common enough problem that educators really need to be looking for ways to address it. Here is a suggested solution.

08 December 2008

Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins


Cute and Short. It's a good flash for learning Pinyin.
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02 December 2008

Odd Dreams


In the last 24 hours I have had 2 very odd dreams. For the longest time I did not dream, or remember my dreams, but after I went to China I began dreaming vividly. My daughter has had the same experience, calling it a magical land.

Anyway, my first dream was normal for my dreams, it was just a typical day of Fei and I spending time together, but it was narrated, which was very odd. Maybe because I have been reading so much lately, having finished 3 books in 3 days time. I recognized the narration voice because I was the narrator, interestingly enough.

The other took place while I napped. (I have been blessed to have taken naps in the last 2 days, helping me catch up on my sleep.) This one was even odder. I know this took place in an era of about 100-400 years ago. I was approximately 17 years old. I was from a rich family and had been given a maid who was supposed to sleep at the foot of my bed. However I let her sleep in my bed so that she could have comfort and warmth. My parents (who bore no resemblance to my waking world parents) did not approve, and I continued on with this and fell in love with the girl. At some time before we agreed to run off and elope, because I wanted to marry her, she recognized me as Nik and I recognized her as Fei, although these were not our names in this life. As I said, very odd, if there were such things as past lives, it seems it would be impossible for past lives to know future lives' names, so the logic seemed off. But such are dreams.

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2008 China Blog Awards Nominee


If you find this site helpful or interesting, you can vote for this site by going to http://www.chinalyst.net/node/46424 and clicking on the + sign. Chinalyst has voting for the best English language China blogs every year. Voting for the China Blog Awards 2008 runs from 1 December 2008 to 31 December 2008 and you are allowed to vote once per day.

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