Dreams of White Tiles . . .



Filed under: Uncategorized — Roddy @ 7:00 pm

The entirely foreseeable problem with taking time off from work to do other stuff is that I am way too undisciplined. I have, somewhere in the back of a notebook, probably stuffed in the bag I took on my recent visa run to Hong Kong, a list of things I should do with a weekly schedule showing when I should be doing some form of exercise, when I should be studying Chinese (reading), Chinese (writing), when I should be knocking some of the more neglected of my websites into shape (where did they all come from anyway? They just seem to have accumulated since I moved to Beijing, like all my pirate DVDs and the small bags of mao and fen in the wardrobe.)

The trouble is that I only seem able to do these things in the brief windows of opportunity between say, watching a couple of episodes of some US police drama and lunch or a nice nap and a few chapters of the entirely unnecessary fiction I have a weakness for.

(I recently polished off Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, Pandora’s Star by whatsisname, and am currently working through Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which is a bit like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy set underneath London. To be honest I don’t think I’ve done much of note since finding that file-sharing networks supply not only mp3’s, movies, and the latest BBC comedies – they can also equip you with plenty of reading material. That, and a PDA to read on damned near anywhere, means that I’m getting through more books than I have in years, and that is a good thing after trying to make do with the ‘Not available in any shops’ selection of English-language section of Chinese bookstores. )

I’ll regret this, of course, if when I have to go back into something resembling employment I find that I haven’t really done anything of great value. I can see myself already slightly tiring of the current slack routine though – not quite enough to kick myself out of it, but getting there.

There are shadows of purpose out there though. There’s been a fair amount of freelance work coming in, which is good, and there’s a possibility of a part-time job I’m very keen to get.

Attached photos are some of my recent favourites from Signese.com, which may well be about to face a resource crisis as apart from a dozen or so kindly donated snaps, the reserve database is almost empty – a result of my trusty Olympus compact finally deciding it’d had enough of being shoved caseless into pockets and bags. Fear not though, I have plans to spend more money than I can justify on a camera I don’t know how to work – normal blurry, badly composed service will no doubt be resumed shortly . . .


  1. Roddy,

    I saw your website information on a thread somehow linked to CET Harbin’s page. You seem to be extremely knowledgable regarding a wide variety of issues, and i was hoping i might be able to solict your opinion on a few matters.

    1. I am looking to finally go back to China to study for a year or so. I am 25 now, and started learning Mandarin and Cantonese at age 14, but have lost a great deal of my register level vocabulary, and literacy is laughable. I understand that the CET Harbin progrma has been designed, in-part, for students such as myself that have near-native fluency (i.e. low-level ABC type Chinese) but limited reading and writing skills. Do you have an opnion on this program?

    2. I have also considered the option of pursuing a Master’s degree in China at a Chinese University (logically). Am I wrong in assuming I would have to have an extremely high level of language mastery to undergo such educational goals?

    3. After living and working in Asia for so long during my younger years, I feel the environmental quality, or lack thereof, has taken a marked affect on my health. Another possible contraindication to moving back to China is a recently surfacing blood pressure disorder that i know is exacerbated by poor eating habits and environmental stress: two rather large issues in China at the moment. What cities do you feel have the best to offer in terms of low pollution levels (possibly rural), but reasonable access to good western medical care (more liely urban)?

    Your feedback is most greatly appreciated.



    Comment by Michael — 8/1/2005 @ 12:32 pm

  2. “Perdido Street Station by Herman Mellville?” Better check your e-book for corruption…

    Comment by Brendan — 8/9/2005 @ 6:09 am

  3. Nah, that would be my brain that needs checked. Man, that was a dumb mistake,

    Comment by Roddy — 8/9/2005 @ 10:12 am

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