September & October 2016’s posts

Time to chase the showers away

18th September 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


I was just about to tell a teacher to close the door, however, she looked extremely displeased and angry. I held back. Maybe, next time! I’ve just been asked to go running with grades 7-9 in middle school. The full conversation went something like this:

“Hey John, do you want to join middle school for morning exercise?”

“Is it still hot outside?”

“Yes. Will you join us?”

“Will there be air-conditioning?”

“No. Will you join us?”

“How hot is it?”

“Around 30 degrees. Will you join us?”

“Is it very humid?”

“Yes. Will you join us?”

“Did you see how much I sweated last Wednesday?”

“Yes. Will you join us?”

“Will we stop for water in the 15 minutes of running?”

“No. Will you join us?”

“No, I played football last night and need to recover from that.”

“You will be okay. It will help you lose weight. Will you join us?”

“I feel too hot right now.”

“You can cool down afterwards. Will you join us?”

“I was going to have a meeting with Josie and Analisa.”

“That can wait. Will you join us?”

“I…” Just as I was about to dig up an excuse, in walks my hero, the principal and distracts the conversation. 194cm of me slides down my seat and hides away. I cannot have another class where I feel I am not just swimming in my sweaty clothes, but I am properly drowning and parched as a fish in the desert.


The above was written last Wednesday before lunchtime and the typical school early term photo shoot in intense inhumane 31°C heat with a higher humidity factor than the sea.  Last Tuesday, I played football.  I can safely say I was sore, the next day.  The 16km each way of cycling didn’t help things.  I also have invested in a brand spanking new Meizu m3 Note cocky [they ain’t just smart, are they] phone. Compared to my once suitably smart Meizu m1 cocky phone, it has a 6000 Series Aluminum alloy [hopefully bounce resistant].  The Meizu website marketing says “lighter and more elegant” as well as it will “feel incredible to the touch.”  It isn’t bad.  With the Helio P10 octa-core processor, it can do something and do it on the energy efficiency ratio quite well.  Whatever that means.  Now, I was sold on the 4100mAh battery.  Phones are seldom just over half of that capacity.  If it lasts the advertised two days, I will be happy.  It has an added security feature, the mTouch 2.1 fingerprint sensor.  Now, if only I can remember which digit I set it up on.  The 13 megapixel PDAF auto-focus, and the sharpness of my previous phone camera also sold it.  The 5.5-inch display is larger and more annoying.  Phones are starting to get bigger, again.  What really grinds my gears is the mixed use of imperial and metric measurements to sell a product.  C’mon, be consistent!  The shop keeper’s selling point was continually, “only 163g.”  Yes, because 18 stones of idiot can’t lift up 200g of phone!  See, mixed metric-imperialistic measurements are annoying.  The -10 to 40°C working environment temperature [-40 to 70°C non-working environment temperature] specs with a 95% relative humidity may get a testing.


Last week was the 15th day of the 8th lunar calendar month, there’s a mooncake recipe:

Blue Moon Mooncakes ingredients: 250g Icing Sugar; 125g Rice flour (fried); 50g Crisco; a few drops banana essence; 110g cool water (boiled); a few drops of blue colouring; 1kg Red bean paste or lotus paste; Salted egg yolk (optional)

Method: 1) Sift the rice flour and the icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Mix them well. 2) Mix the water, colouring and banana essence thoroughly. 3) Make a well in the centre of the flour. Pour in the liquid mixture and crisco. 4) Stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Keep the dough aside for 20 to 30 minutes. 5) Cut the dough into small round pieces. 6) Prepare the filling into small balls. 7) Put a portion of the filling into the centre of the dough and seal it up. 8) Roll it with some fried rice flour and place the dough into the mold, press it. 9) Let the dough out of the mold carefully. You have a mooncake.

祝你和你的家人中秋快乐Zhù nǐ hé nǐ de jiārén zhōngqiū kuàilè. Wish you and your family a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.


Last Thursday, I joined Eddy, Ruben and Alex with their family to make moon cakes and lanterns. This followed some very tough and deeply sad news. The day was not a good one and the two remaining holiday days were equally low. It started with the news that Tim from our football team, a local musician and generally all-round nice guy had passed away. Having lost one of my best friends Pete, in recent weeks, and with his funeral only being last Friday, my mind has been shrouded by pain and blueness. Emotionally I have been feeling void, on and off, more and more. Almost empty. Devoid of vim. Plagued by doubts and woe. Today, I don’t feel so bad. Captain Morgan got me through Friday evening, with Marcus and some other friends at Irene’s Bar. I needed to let go. How many tears can one set of eyes produce? Just because I am so tall, doesn’t mean a giant cannot feel. I feel. Often all to much. Hurt is hurt and it doesn’t go easily.


So, after the mid-autumn festival event, Eddy and I hooked up at Murray’s Bar in Dongcheng with most of our team. It seemed everyone wanted to be there, to share the grief and shock and be there for one another. To lose somebody so bubbly and spirited at our age is not right. People should die in their seventies or eighties – at least! Not the low end of the thirties. It hits home, how precious life is. How, every moment spent here, in this dimension, amongst these weaving religions and beliefs, that life is your own and you must live it how you seek fit. What waits beyond, is what you wish or believe in. Then, there is the question, an odd one, surreal in fact. Who will miss me when I am gone? What legacy, if any, would I leave? What undreamt dreams did I not delve into? Who do I need to say or do something for? Mostly selfish thoughts, but the mind does not stop, it wanders, it ploughs on, it searches for solace. It drifts in and out of darkness, caressing raw nerves, bringing to the fore both placid and potent worries. It strangles. It chokes. It makes you want to look to the sky and cry like the god Thor, commanding thunder until the Earth is ravaged by power. And then a gentle hand hits your shoulder, welcomes you home. Come back to life. Do you embrace the hand? You have no choice. You must honour the dead. You must bring light to the bleak hours of dreary night. Others need you. You need others.


And sadly, it has to be mentioned, but the tragic passing of Bahman Golbarnezhad in the Paralympics adds a cloud of upset to an otherwise splendid tournament. My condolences to his family and friends.


Meanwhile in Wukan, have a look at this news that was blocked in China. Still corruption related, have a gander at Harambe McHarambeface. And in tune with this article, I can safely say I have yet to see any live Paralympic coverage, sadly. Right, I am off to have a drink and get lucky. This week, involving today, is going to be a six-day school week. I am mostly tempted by the Guangzhou derby.  R&F play Evergrande in the Chinese F.A. Cup semi-final second leg. It could be a good game. Derby games this month seem to all be of entertainment value – the Manchester derby carried some bite for sure.


It hasn’t rained in days, yet I feel it is time to chase the showers away.



再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye

The first smile after loss

8th October 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


Last night, I struggled to sleep, the Blue Mountain Coffee from a local coffee shop (Tea Story) at lunchtime was far too potent. It was probably 4 o’clock in the morning when I rolled over and shut my eyes properly. Needless to say, I awoke startled and sleepy this morn. Not ideal. With some good green tea, grapefruit black tea and Chinese chestnuts (Zhōngguó bǎnlì 中国板栗) from a colleague, I am determined to end the day energised and awake. An early night is called for. And I suspect the lunchtime nap was needed.


Unlike last year (A brief word from the Department for Common Sense), I have been welcomed back to school with two morning classes following the seven days off. After this day, another six will follow. A 17 class week is now a 23 class week with the extra lessons of Wednesday making up today (on a Saturday) and Thursday tomorrow (on a Sunday). This does mean classes 506, 501, 504, 804 and 704 will be a class ahead for the foreseeable future but that isn’t all bad. If a class doesn’t work so well, I can tweak it or abandon the lesson plan altogether, without too much damage or loss. The added Grade 5 V.I.P. lesson does mean “A pirate went to sea” has changed to “a student went to school” as a song and will include more games or general creativity pushing. I want my students to be confident enough to try creating their own lyrics and actions. Creativity is innovation.


So, on the Friday morning, before school had a week long holiday, a door in my office had a broken lock, no one could get out of the door to the left. It is a fair walk using the right hand door. So the handyman arrived, via the opened door. He looks at the lock and handle on that door. I point and tell him to go to the other door, telling him “this is the one.” He looks at the door and says, “no, I was told this one.” He has opened, shut, locked and unlocked it a dozen times. Then, after ten minutes, he walked away. In the meanwhile, I couldn’t use the left door, and a half dozen teachers walked the long way around. The problem was resolved a full hour later, when the school’s handyman returned, didn’t look me in the eye once or in my direction. I think he had lost face. Personally, I would have laughed about it, no weakness in that, in my mind.


This last week, I’ve spent a few hours watching the highlights of the Rio 2016 Paralympics.  A record haul for Team G.B. and a tournament so well received by spectators, following a subdued opening ceremony with numbers that barely unfolded.  Kadeena Cox did great in cycling and athletics, and her medal was received with a beautiful life-affirming smile.  Dame Sarah Storey flew the flag of Manchester’s Velodrome in impeccable fashion. Athletes such as Morteza Mehrzad, Daniel Dias, the Canadian sprinter who wants to be a stand up comedian… so many great stories and athletes. The Channel 4 (U.K. television broadcaster) show, The Last Leg, is hearty, warm and full of life’s zest. Hosted by Aussie Adam Hills, flanked by Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, it has assisted with a week of self-indulged rest and physiotherapy on my troubled groin strain. I started yoga last week. In some circles, my sexuality might be questioned. Not that I have answered it publicly. My business is my business. No, I need to prolong fitness until the day my nails still grow but my heart beats not.


During Grade 5’s VIP second to last class before the break, several girls and one boy walked away when I had my back to them. It took some time to get them back. The 21 students were divided into teams of 7. The first team shown their song, then the second but the third team ran away!!! When I asked saw them, I asked them back. They did not join in. I don’t know the girl’s name, she wears pink glasses, I think. She is proving most difficult to control. She is the Stripe to the many students who behave as Gizmo.  I printed 25 song sheets before class, and within minutes, before I had chance to explain what we were doing several students had ripped up the sheets of paper.


Three attempts were had at finding The Treehouse, in Batou village of Wanjiang. I walked past twice, lost. Third time lucky? The Friday evening before the holiday, I tried again. Oh yes! Behind the old wooden window frames and panel doors, surrounding a concrete tree dotted by real live plants, a stage area rose with a bar off to the immediate right. I met the owner, having bugged David for directions, and immediately relaxed with a wonderful BBQ buffet (around 150RMB) but well worth it for the salmon, steak, pork, sausages, proper mashed potato and gravy to die for. With live music and plenty to do here, or see, or relax, I really like Treehouse. I’ll be back to Batou. Now I know the way! It is by one of the small lakes, the one inland a bit and down many alleyways, or ginnels as we say in the North (England, not Game of Thrones), by a stoney car park. Top place. Top people. The added bonus of live music in Hip-Hop duo, The Mighty Orphans, helped. However, they were very much late and the local police policed and ceased the loud beats before the witching hour of midnight. They’d only been on thirty or so minutes. It was as bad as finding out that replacing the artificial colouring in blue M&Ms requires twice the amount of the current global supply available.


I had a lazy day or two in the last week. It was spent indulging in some movies. One movie that stood out, considering my initial apprehension about this love story, was Remember Me (IMDB contains spoilers!). Anything with stars of Twilight like Robert Pattinson, usually makes me steer well clear. A delightful story with an ending that makes you think far more than most movies. How did I miss that?! The second movie of the moment for me was A Hologram for The King starring the great Tom Hanks. A greta movie and a welcome distraction to our currently trumped up little world.


To quote the character Tyler in the movie Remember Me, “Gandhi said that whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it because nobody else will.”


Oh, and I have been helping HubHao magazine to renovate their website. All dead links have been removed. New menus have been added and the general look has been tweaked to improve accessibility. There have been a few problems along the way but, we’re getting there. Wherever there is. Here’s my article page (56 pieces, plus other pieces affixed to other authors, whereby we have worked together on two parts – see the Case Against Flying in China), where I dropped the name John, in a more international feel.


再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye


Author’s Posts

Arts Review – Stewart Kohinga & Bethany Peele

Restaurant Review – Lauren’s Pizza & Bakery

Pizza, that one sanctuary of cheese and delights some like to call heaven. Italy’s gift to the world has mutated into so many forms, some even believe it to be an…

Arts Review – Magic Island

Few things go better together than the summer and a music festival. Unfortunately, in our region, however, there are surprisingly few festivals. So when HubHao heard…

An Alternative Dragon Boat Race

During Dragon Boat Festival you can see races all around Dongguan, but none quite like the one that takes places in Qiaotou Village in Houjie. John Acton explored a…

Arts Review – The Big Band Theory

Better late than never is a phrase coined for such times. After three soothing sets by local starlet Angie, The Big Band Theory arrived at Murray’s Irish Bar, around…

On The Terraces Part I – Blue Dreams

There are those that like to watch football, there are fair weathered fans, there hardcore supporters, and then there is John Acton. There are few who have supported…

On The Terraces Part II – Red Screams

There are those that like to watch football, there are fair weathered fans, there hardcore supporters, and then there is John Acton. There are few who have supported…

Dongguan International Football League – Round 8

Every team has faced every other team at least once. Now, in the eighth week of the Dongguan International Football League the battles for titles and pride really came…

Dongguan International Football League – Round 5

With hot anticipation comes pressure.  With pressure, comes passion and the roar of raging pride in battle.  All three mouth-watering ties in round 5 of the Dongguan…

Arts Review – Mark Lotz And A Fula’s Call

After a long delay, the band, well, three quarters of the band, got under way.  They started in the smoky room with a sheepish apology.

Dongguan International Football League – Round 4

Hash Harriers – A drinking club with a running problem

The Dongguan Hash Harriers is the most fun sports group in Dongguan that you’ve probably not heard of. Mixing adventures in orienteering with beers with friends, the…

Shopper’s Guide to Shoe Market

Big Foot Strikes Again With size 50 foot, finding shoes has never been easy for John Acton. That was until he found the Kangmei Shoe City Mall in Houjie. In the…

Arts Review – Mr Walrus

In the latest Arts Review, John Acton went to the Brown Sugar Jar on Christmas Day to hear Mr. Walrus play a mix of Oasis and The Beatles. A medley of British rock…

Tips For The Classroom

In Tips For The Classroom Part 3, John Acton looks at education and teaching in China specifically. Five new teaching tips Often we can learn from trial and error,…

The Case For And Against Having An Ayi

To clean or not to clean? In the case for and against having an Ayi we look at cleaning your home in Dongguan and if having an Ayi is the right thing to do. The…

Badasses Of Chinese History – Yue Fei

Yue Fei – Utmost, Loyalty, Serve and Nation When talking about loyalty in Chinese history, Yue Fei’s name will surely come up. In the latest Badasses Of Chinese…

Shopper’s Guide To Bike Street

Find the bike for you in the old streets of Guancheng Our city is full of cyclists. Be they locals riding beaters trying to find a way to beat the rush hour jams to…

Restaurant Review – Revolving Restaurant

The best view in Dongguan The Houjie International Hotel is one of the most famous landmarks in Houjie. Whether you’re a guest of the hotel or a casual visitor, the…

Cycling From Chengdu To Moscow

One cyclist’s journey on the Silk Road Last summer, Alexis Pineau, a teacher based in Dongguan, went on an amazing journey. All by himself he cycled from Chengdu to…


Bar Review – 28 Over Par

Shoppers’ Guide To Wanjiang Sportswear Street

Customized team kits and bargain sportswear Back home, high street sports shops resemble fashion houses and fashion houses sometimes cross the great divide into sports….

Badasses Of Chinese History – Hua Mulan

The myth behind the Disney movie China has one of the longest and most interesting histories in the world. From rebels who thought they were Jesus to beauties that…

Winners Bar – Bar Review

A winning blend of English authenticity The doors were opened wide by two ladies dressed in what appeared to be outfits like those worn by the Royal Guards outside of…

Going For The Bullseye

The growing popularity of Darts in Dongguan Steel tip darts has always held a special place in many of the bars in Dongguan. The introduction of soft tip darts has seen…

How To Survive Going To A Cinema

The cinema is a place of magic, emotions and white-knuckle rollercoaster rides. Often many battles are on-screen and increasingly as East meets West clashes engulf the big screen movie theatres. Here…

Tips For The Classroom

Often we can learn from trial and error, observing others, or good old fashioned teaching. There’s no right way or wrong way, we all develop our own style to learn,…

Atlantic Attraction at Brown Sugar Jar – Arts Review

The atmospheric intro quickly faded into a homely vibrant song. The kind a popular TV show could easily mould into a soundtrack. Before long lead singer Kevin, complete…

Badasses of Chinese History: Zhuge Liang

China has one of the longest and most interesting histories in the world. From rebels who thought they were Jesus to beauties that would put Helen of Troy to shame. Each…

Restaurant Review – Munchalots

I love food. Food experts probably scrutinize food far too deeply. I personally pick satisfaction above all else. In an effort to show you my writing and taste has some…


Tips for the Classroom

Often we can learn from trial and error, observing others, or good old fashioned teaching. There’s no right way or wrong way, we all develop our own style to learn,…

Xiegang, Huangjiang, Fenggang, Chang’an, Machong, Shijie, Zhongtang, Gaobu, Qingxi, Hongmei

8th October 2016

Xiegang Town


Xiègǎng Zhèn Xiegang

Huangjiang Town


Huángjiāng Zhèn Huangjiang


Chang’an Town


Cháng’ān Zhèn Chang’an

Fenggang Town


Fènggǎng Zhèn Fenggang

Machong Town


Máchǒng Zhèn Machong

Shijie Town


Shíjié Zhèn Shijie

Gaobu Town


Gāobù Zhèn Gaobu


Zhōngtáng Zhèn


Qingxi Town


Qīngxī Zhèn Qingxi


Hongmei Town



Qishi Town


Qǐshí Zhèn Qishi

L5B: Guangcheng Culture Square – Yuehui Park

Main stops: Guangcheng Culture Square, Keyuan Garden, South China Mall, Dongguan Central Bus Station, Jichuan Middle School, Daojiao Gynasisum, Daojiao Middle School, Yuehui Garden


Devoid of common sense?

11th October 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


Severe Tropical Storm Aere (Julian), located South and East of Hong Kong, slowly moving North and East, is due to affect local weather, judging by the five day forecast of rain. This’ll break the monotony of an otherwise dry period of time since I returned to China in (very) late August. Compared to last year, the region has had far fewer storms and typhoons, so far this year. This isn’t a bad thing. This year the typhoons didn’t develop until after July 3rd, a joint record since the western Pacific Ocean started naming typhoons (in 1944, when Task Force 38 bore the brunt of one such typhoon, Cobra).  Reading how the 中国气象局 (Zhōngguó Qìxiàng Jú) China Meteorological Administration (CMA), joined the World Meteorological Organization (WMO – 世界气象组织) is equally stormy in it’s history. On a disaster front two earthquakes have been logged in Guangdong’s area since records began. The first in 1918 and the second in 1969. I mention this because over the years I have noticed many Earthquake Shelters around the city, yet nobody has ever heard of such a thing afflicting the city. That said, there are many signs for Air Raid Shelters and warning systems. Last properly used in 1945, thankfully. Nobody likes disaster but at least it seems here, they are prepared for the unexpected.


On Saturday evening, I had a short ride on my bike. As I was cycling past the Houjie Cultural Park, I noticed many kites tangled on the neighbouring powerlines. The 110,000kV cables had at least 5 kites. I glanced to my right and spotted a dizen smaller kits drifting up and up. It dawned on me that with the wind blowing South East then most kites without the requisite height needed to pass the pylons were in striking distance. The park does not have one sign to warn of this danger. I’ve always wanted to fly a huge kite here, I will one day, but not on a park with exposed powerlines in close proximity. Some of these kites are so large they require a cable to launch them – and others have lights in the reel and cable that soars upwards for use at night. Coupled with so many glass coated razor sharp kite wires, I will stand clear of those ones! Kite flying (放风筝) is popular here. Let’s hope it doesn’t maim anyone like competitive kite-fighting events in India and Pakistan! 墨子Mòzǐ and 鲁班Lǔ Bān (the patron saint of Chinese builders and contractors) certainly created a legacy from the simplest construct using silk fabric (sail material); fine, high-tensile-strength silk (flying line); and resilient bamboo (a durable, lightweight framework). The dream of humans flying could have began here.


Following my observations of the kite craziness, last night I cycled to football training. The number of motorbikes riding towards me, against the flow of traffic, without lights and often with people riding them whilst talking on the phone didn’t just annoy me. I feltg my blood boil. In a particularly dark section of road, I was too distracted looking for potholes and almost ploughed into me head on. They had no helmet on too. Just like the dozen or so teachers who came to school by powerful and speedy e-Bikes. I hate e-Bikes, and having heard of a man who was castrated by an exploding lithium battery mounted under his bike seat, you’ll never get me on one. I’d tried them before that tale, and they do nothing for me. No heart, no power from your own engine. They are cold electronic machines.


Today, I am having a gander at the news, Trump and Clinton certainly seem to be enjoying their botter debates but most concerning for me is Russia’s stance on Syria. Deploying and spouting threats about using their nuclear arsenal is not good for the west, the east or the middle east. It is like in some schools, the teachers who wrap their metal rulers in plastic tape and padding to use it as punishment. Provactive and an act of threat, caused to create terror and fear. In reality, if they want to cause fear, theyshould just replicate China’s national trainline website in English. The delightfully obvious address of cannot be explained by anyone. Nothing says train travel like 12306. Unexplainable. After clicking the website you’re greeted by an overwhelming array of clickable links. Illustrations can guide you, but simple is not present in any degree. Thankfully, WeChat portals like Guide in China have produced helpful tutorials. In my mind, you shouldn’t have to learn how to travel. It should be easier than opening a bottle of milk. A country needs its people to travel and commute to boost the economy, surely.


再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye


P.S. I should have mentioned I asked superb DJ Aussie Ben to teach me how to play the drums. We’ve yet to work out a first session, because I am too busy.

#201: The 201st post

12th October 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


201 funfact?  Year 201 (CCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Fabianus and Arrius (or, less frequently, year 954 Ab urbe condita – from the founding of the City – Rome). The denomination 201 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Closer to adopted home, in the year 201, 曹操 (Cao Cao) defeated袁绍 (Yuán Shào) and we’re not talking football. Also, 谯周(Qiáo Zhōu) was born.


Last night I went to see the Blue Man Group, at Guangzhou’s Opera House. On the way back, I had a private driver. My driver gunned the accelator following a deafening bang. A lengthy articulated lorry swerved our way. The wheel trims casting huge bright sparks amongst the smoke and debris of a tyre no longer in existence. My driver did not glance left or right knowingly, he aimed the Chevrolet directly along the outside lane and squeezed beyond the cab of the truck as in crossed all three lanes. Inches of space at the final moment. The suction of air from the lorry seemingly pulling us over. I yelped, “Oh bugger.” A typical British response or a noise to hide the fact I was close to defecating in my trousers?


Today’s temperature is 24°C. Every teacher and student seem to have an extra layer of clothes on. Today’s high should be 25°C. Tomorrow’s forecast high is 29°C and by the weekend it is expected to be 32°C. Little Amy, a teacher in grade 5, has asked me to close the door, “It is so cold.”


再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye

The trials and tribulations of life: Justin Bieber

18th October 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


It pains me, deep down. It slashes at every nerve. A dulling of the senses. There is wool over my eyes. I can no longer see clearly. A mist shrouds my presence, here on Earth. Or have I moved on? Do I no longer exist? Am I gripped by pain and suffering of an incomprehensible nature? I have commited a previously unfathomable and inconceivable act. Most perplexing in nature. What little astuteness and acumen I had, wiped away. Gone. My aptitude will fail every test going forward. Game over. I just completed a Microsoft Powerpoint 365 presentation. Other overhead projection display software formats are available. This suits my needs. On this particular recently completed presentation, my cleverness sank. Nullified. The presentation for Grade 5 is focused on the following keywords:

moose, Canada, grizzly bear, wolf, wolves, bears, skiing

In explaining where Canada is, I’ve opted for the maple leaf flag, Mounties, a word map highlighting said country, and sadly had to mention Justin Bieber and Celine Dion. Send me to outer space for my sins.


Space, the final frontier? Well, China launched some blokes up there. I hope they contribute to international knowledge of space travel. With their military might and scientific innovation, this recent launch of Shénzhōu 11 (神舟十一号; Shénzhōu means divine land) could be groundbreaking. In just 13 years, China has now sent 14 of its people into orbit [in just 6 missions] and inside only 17 years of space travel, the plan to open a space station full time. 181 satellites and the odd bit of space junk have also been sent up. As Chinese astronauts sit up there, I wonder, how will they eat noodles and rice at the beautifully named Tiāngōng èrhào (天宫二号; Heavenly Palace 2). And will they know about the elephant rescue in Yúnnán (云南)?

Closer to home, I enjoyed the Blue Man Group last week, as is evident on my arts review for HubHao.


再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye

When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

20th October 2016

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,


To paraphrase Bane in his battle against The Dark Knight, “Oh, you think rain is your ally. But you merely adopted the rain; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the sun until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!” The squally weather hung over us like the looming shadows of the Catholic Church denying wrongdoings of a paedophilic nature. Whether lodged on a weather map, hiding transgressions behind vacant eyes or stinging heads through pelting rain, the weather yesterday and the day before was properly up to no good. Typhoon Sarika rained off football training on Tuesday and fitness training last night. It was epicly torrential.


The beauty of life continues, mostly indoors, sheltered, warm and dry. On Tuesday evening in Mandarin class we were supposed to learn the song Mòlìhuā (Jasmine Flower), however it was spent going over some basic revision. That said the phrase, “Let me think” was given to us, and I plan to use it: Ràng wǒ xiǎng xiǎng (让我想想).

hǎo yī duǒ mĕi lì de mò li huā (What a beautiful jasmine flower) 好一朵美丽的茉莉花
hǎo yī duǒ mĕi lì de mò li huā (What a beautiful jasmine flower) 好一朵美丽的茉莉花
fēn fāng měi lì mǎn zhī yā (Sweet-smelling, beautiful, stems full of buds) 芬芳美丽满枝桠
yòu xiāng yòu bái rén rén kuā (Fragrant and white, everyone praises) 又香又白人人夸
ràng wǒ lái jiāng nǐ zhāi xià (Let me pluck you down) 让我来将你摘下
sòng gěi bié rén jiā (Give to someone else) 送给别人家
mò li huā ya mò li huā (Jasmine flower, oh jasmine flower) 茉莉花呀茉莉花


What’s on TV tonight? Oh, politics and corruption, is it House of Cards? No, it is a documentary about China’s corruption crackdown. If British politics did such a show, it’d be called BBC News 24, and show at every available minute of the day. Still, it beats deadly clashes over taxation on caterpillars, or dating in Ikea after collecting your pension. I’ll be heading to Murray’s FC’s football training, weather permitting.


As squeakie bums and messages galore about Typhoon Haima (熱帶風暴海馬) flood my phone and the possibility of a day at school being cancelled tomorrow, there is a beautiful near clear sky outside. Calm. Windless. It is 29°C, not too humid and all seems well.
P.S. the title is taken from William Shakespeare’s MacBeth.


再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye

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