Monthly Archives: June 2011

There’s Propaganda. . .and Then There’s Propaganda

Today I needed to buy some chicken to cook for lunch, and since I believe in the safety of street-market chicken about as much as I do unicorns and pixies, I decided to bike to the Vanguard supermarket on Zijinshan Lu. Choosing the meat from a supermarket over that from a street-market is a bit like eating with silverware at… (more…)

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Laowai, Inc.

That’s what I’m going to call it from now on when I get paid to be me. It’s a new thing for me to consider myself a brand-name, and I’m going to milk it. I’m working for a language center called Lucky which recently opened a new branch in the northeast part of town, along Dong Ma Lu. They’re trying… (more…)

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Getting Paid to be American

Sometime between the heaviest business lunch I’ve ever had and my discussion with Shaun, my Malaysian counterpart, on the dock of Tianjin’s only yacht club I realized something: I’m a brand name. And if you’re white and from the West, so are you. That’s an obvious statement on the surface, but the implications go far deeper. They involve a profound… (more…)

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Chinese Graduate Work vs. Graduate Work in China

What’s it like doing graduate work in a foreign language? I get asked that frequently, because most people can’t imagine using a foreign language to do higher degree work. But a better question is: what’s it like doing graduate work with the Chinese? After all, if you used Chinese to do graduate work, but the people in charge all came… (more…)

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Born to Suck

You know, there are a lot of ways to look lame on a wheeled vehicle. For example, if you’re a guy and you have to sit behind another guy on a motorcycle, it’s not humanly possible to avoid looking lame. Ditto if you have to ride a bike where the seat’s too low and you look like Ichabod Crane on… (more…)

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