Real, Live English-Speakers

June 1st was Children’s Day. Jeremy and I celebrated with the kids from April’s English class. She arranged several games for us to play together. Seems a little torturous to make your kids practice English with real, live English-speakers on Children’s Day, but they seemed to have fun. We gave them a stamp on the hand every time they got something right, and then they could get prizes at the end of the day based on the number of stamps they had. It was fun. Her brother-in-law took a few photos:

Jeremy is always a hit with the kids!

Woo hoo!  You get a stamp on your hand.

And here’s a nice photo of our incredibly serious badminton team. In Chinese, it’s Yumaoqiu 羽毛球 — feather ball!

Badminton or Yumaoqiu (Feather Ball)

More photos on April’s blog.

Wild Tigers in Yunnan

Wow! Wild tigers were spotted in Xishuangbanna:

For the first time ever, scientists recently captured clear footage of a wild Indo-Chinese tiger in a nature reserve in China’s southeastern Yunnan Province. The researchers used infrared cameras as part of wildlife monitoring and protection project supported jointly by the Xishuangbanna National Nature Conservation Protected Areas Management in Shangyong, Beijing Normal University Institute of Ecology, and the International Species Protection Project.

Source: World Watch

flippin flickr filter

Hey! I noticed a few days ago that some of my flickr photos weren’t appearing on my website. If you’re in China and you may also be experiencing problems viewing photos from flickr. Install this magic addon to Mozilla Firefox and everything will reappear.

flickr loves you

Thanks to John at Sinosplice for pointing me to the fix!

Discussion about the disappearing photos on flickr forum.

(Confused? “What is Firefox?,” you ask. It’s a web browser! If you don’t know what browser you’re using you might be using Internet Explorer — the one with the big blue “e”. Firefox is a safer browser, download it here.)

more at the door

I talked to my friend April about that poem I memorized. And she had a different take on the last few lines. Of course, I doubt she’s wrong on this one!

谁言寸草心, shui2 yan2 cun4 cao3xin1,
报得三春晖. bao4de2 san1chun1hui1.

word-by-word translation:

who (nobody) / calls / short / grass / heart (feeling)
tells / for / three / spring (the season) / sunlight

Here the small leaves of grass are not a metaphor for the child, but in fact refer back to the clothes the mother is weaving/sewing. Meaning, the clothes are such a small token of her love, that although they will remind him of her love, he will eventually wear them thin. The clothes she sews for him so lovingly cannot last forever. Ah, yes. I like that message a little better.

Today I found even more treasures abandoned by American students, including the March issue of Harper’s Magazine. Woohoo! Also another two coursepacks: “Social Issues/Arts and Humanities Seminar” and “Minority Areas Field Excursion Readings.”

The original source of all of these coursepacks is presumably SIT, a study abroad program for undergraduates. Their course syllabi are online (includes full bibliographies of readings).

things not appropriate for blogging

I was just thinking about all those things that are bugging me, things I can only (mysteriously) refer to here as “things not appropriate for blogging.” But I realize that lately I’ve been incredibly fortunate. Last night my friend, Jessie, invited me to dinner with her parents and then we went to an “open mic nite” at a bar. Really lovely people. And although it wasn’t exactly Chinese practice (they are Australians) it was so relaxed and normal. I don’t think I need to remind you, but “normal” isn’t always so “normal” around here. Living in a constant state of being “the other” can really wear you out.

Last night I also had the good fortune of finding a collection of books and course packs abandoned by some American students that were studying here. Oddly enough half (!) of the books were ones I’d already read and I passed them on to Jessie and her dad. But I think the course packs are the real gold mine. They are labeled: Orientation Readings (introductory material for their big study abroad semester), History and Religions, and Minority Issues/Field Study Seminar. It’s all in English, of course, and it’s all so… USEFUL. I mean, I haven’t really dug into any of it, but skimming the first two packs, I’m really very interested in spending some time reading through them. Here’s the abbreviated bib included as the table of contents for each pack:

[UPDATE: Full bibliographies available on SIT website (see course syllibi).]
Orientation Readings –
1. Behind the Facade (Manfred Morganstern)
2. Introduction to Your College Semester Abroad (SIT)
3. The Green Banana (Donald Batchelder)
4. Creditable Study Abroad (John Sommer)
5. Traveling as a Vegetarian (Costas Christ)
6. Big Bad China and the Good Chinese (Jeffrey Wasserstrom)
7. The Chinese Character (Lin Yutang)
8. Confucianism and Western Democracy (Hu Shaohua)
9. Encountering the Chinese (Hu Wenhong and Cornelius Grove)

History and Religions Seminar –
1. Approaches to Understanding China’s History (John King Fairbank)
2. Patterns from the Past (John Bryan Starr)
3. Political Development in Reforming China (Tong Yangqi)
4. China’s Political System (John Bryan Starr)
5. China and Its Religious Inheritance (John Chamberlayne)
6. Sino-Muslim Identity in Modern China (Johnathan Lipman)
7. Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Craig Storti)
8. A Traveler’s Guide to the Chinese History (Madge Huntington)

Minority Issues/Field Study Seminar –
1. The Two Chinas (Kevin Sinclair)
2. Representing Nationality in China (Dru Gladney)
3. Sex Tourism Practices in the Periphery (Nancy Chen)
4. Ethnic Identity in China (Dru Gladney)
5. China’s Many Faces (Susan Blum)
6. Against Authenticity (Susan Blum)
7. One Drop of Blood (Lawrence Wright)
8. Interviewing Informants (Julia Crane)
9. Participant Observation (Julia Crane)
10. Collecting Life Histories (Julia Crane)
11. Fieldwork Under Time Constraints (John Hoddinott)
12. Fieldworking in Kunming (Susan Blum)
13. The Return of the Foreign Anthropologies? (Gregory Guldin)
14. Sinicizing Chinese Anthropology (Gregory Guldin)
15. Thinking About the Ethics of Fieldwork (Ken Wilson)