I couldn’t resist the cover of this 1993 book on AIDS prevention. The characters across the bottom read ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, do no evil’, although a closer look at the gentlemonkey on the right will leave you in little doubt as to exactly what kind of evil it is that you should not be doing . . .
Cadre A: Comrade, we still have significant funds in the city beautification account
Cadre B: Well, there’s the underside of a bridge over the canal near my apartment that’s looking a bit rundown.
Cadre A: Ah yes, is that the one carrying the big wide road with inadequate pedestrian crossings?
Cadre B: Yes, with the pot-holed pavements . . .
Cadre A: Well, let’s light up the underside of that bridge then . . .
Got to love it . . .
If I had a very short amount of time to show someone Beijing, I wouldn’t take them to the Forbidden City. Nor the Great Wall. I wouldn’t even feed them Peking Duck, much less Peking Opera. And not beer by Houhai, either.
I’d put them in a midnight taxi with the craziest driver I could find, and instructions to build up speed along the east side of the second ring road, cruise past Yonghegong through to Jishuitan, and come off at Xizhimen, through the Tron-tunnel at full speed while the driver fumbles for his pack of cigarettes from under the brake pedal.
And while they’re doing that, I’d go for beer. At Houhai.
One of the nice things about Beijing, and I guess any city, is that you can be walking down a noisy street dodging manholes missing covers and middle-class middle-schoolers on their mountain bikes, turn your head to the left to check there’s no traffic too likely to hit you as you cross the road and suddenly a sunset leaps out at you from behind a building site.
Would love to get a better camera, but don’t take enough photos to justify it . . .
As part of my job, I often spend quite a bit of time looking at specialist websites for just the right bit of vocabulary. Today, I came across the extremely specialist Manure Happenings, which I recommend to all of you who are interested in, y’know, like, shit. . .
I went to a ‘Chinese corner’ at my Chinese teacher’s house at the weekend. The idea being that all his various students got to meet each other and practise their Chinese.
It’s a pretty odd idea, speaking Chinese to a bunch of other foreign folk when you live in a country of 1.x billion Chinese people. It was good to meet other people doing similar things to me, despite talking to them in Chinese. Reminds me of when I used to teach English and insisted (in vain) that the students should talk English to each other, regardless of the fact they had a perfectly good language in common already. They must have hated me.