ALL CHANGE.

How do! / 你好 (nĭ hăo) / Namaste / Welcome!

August 2020 has seen a few new components to my life. A new apartment. A new place of work. A new kettle. A new model bridge in the balcony garden. And finally, like Star Wars, a new hope. Moving from Changping to Songshan Lake and Dàlǐngshān (大岭山) was relatively straight forwards.

The new apartment sits over the line of the township borders. I live in Dàlǐngshān but I work in Sōngshānhú district (piànqū / 松山湖片区). Dàlǐngshān Zhèn (大岭山镇) is part of Sōngshānhú but these days Sōngshānhú is a very high-tech centre within the 6 townships that surround Sōngshān lake itself. Shilong (石龙), Chashan (茶山), and Shipai (石排) aren’t really that close to the lake area but they’re part of the district. The lake area is mainly surrounded by Dàlǐngshān, Dàlǎng (大朗) and Liáobù (寮步). Sōngshānhú as a town has grown from 2003, from a simple high-tech park to the mammoth green living space around the lake that is now. Huawei and many other tech giants are here. It has a railway station on The Dongguan West to Huizhou railway and will soon join the subway with three stations in Dàlǐngshān on the line 1 route (东莞轨道交通1号线/Dōngguǎn Guǐdào Jiāotōng Yī Hào Xiàn), and one at Sōngshānhú itself. The new line opens in 2022, so I won’t get too excited right now. The subway Line 3 will also have 4 stations in Sōngshānhú but that hasn’t began construction.

The new job has been welcoming, well-paced and full of encouragement. I am confident that this is a new start with great potential. Two former students are following me from grade 3 at St Lorraine Anglo-Chinese School to the new Tungwah Wenzel International School (TWIS). I’m sure that they will enjoy their grade 4 class – and I will have to work hard as their Home Room Teacher to ensure that they do. Between various conference calls, meetings and introductions there has been good coffee and ample time to down tools to think of a plan of action. I am terribly excited about the coming semester. Even amongst these COVID-19 times there is a lighthouse and beacon when we look in the right places.

Dàlǐngshān town isn’t far away, and in the relatively short time since I first went to Dàlǐngshān, the place has grown and has modern districts, several branches of Lauren’s Pizza and even a Walmart. There are universities and amongst the Guangdong Medical University is just over the road from me and DG University of Technology (东莞理工学院) isn’t far off. The lake has one large section that is completely free of cycles and cars. There is a parallel cycle route below a highway and under a cooling tree canopy. Cycling around the rest of the lake is a must. It is a great spot for tourism with backdrops of Huawei’s impressive European-style town and numerous picturesque places along the way. Lotus leaves, lush green sprawls, flowers and bird call should be abundant. Around the many tranquil pathways, you can see Tai Chi, yoga, dates holding hands and families flying kites. I can’t wait to hang up my hammock sooner or later.

“I feel invigorated.” – Those were my words spoken to a new colleague on Friday. The evening was finished with a leaving day drink for Calum from Murray’s F.C. He’s only moving to Shenzhen but felt the need to arrange a leaving meal and drinks. I didn’t attend the meal as all new team members of Tungwah Wenzel International School were treated to a splendid buffet meal at the stylish Dongcheng International Hotel (owned by Tungwah/Donghua group). Even the coach journey was on a Tungwah group coach. They own factories, gardens, estates, hospitals and schools. They’re a sizable group and well-known in this region. Between the blooming peach and plum trees of Dongguan, the group’s assets aren’t far off. The ministry of optimism within my head is thankful for such a great opportunity. My only regret is not buying a crane from the car park exhibition at the Dongcheng International Hotel. Dahan Construction Machinery have some great pieces, ideal for placing hammocks within.

There are plenty of places within a short cycle ride now. Tongsha lake and the parks around it are just a stone’s throw away. Dalingshan Park is between here and Houjie. I’ve already cycled back to Irene’s Bar for a sandwich. There’s much to see and do in the area that I have yet to explore. On my doorstep, I will find the Tongji Bridge (通济桥 Song Dynasty, 920-1279) and cross that bridge soon. It will help me forget my worries. That’s the literal meaning, I believe.

“Quite apart from its meaty content, we believe we have found a real dramatist” – Gerry Raffles of Theatre Workshop speaking about Shelagh Delaney’s play A Taste of Honey.

Every story should have a beginning, an end, and some middle parts. There should be a plot, a setting with characters, some form of conflict (because something must happen), and a resolution (the smooth end). Some books carry the resolution or conflict over a series. That is life. Some things drag on. Others happen and fade away. There is no one-size-fits-all story to life. There will le a logical following and flow to a story because they must run smoothly to allow the follower to tag along. British dramatist and screenwriter Shelagh Delaney (who featured on album cover Louder Than Bombs, by The Smiths) intended A Taste of Honey to be a novel. It is a very famous play now. The drunken working-class single mum of Helen, and a daughter called Jo have spread from the monotonous 1958 skyline of a desolate Salford to London’s West End, Broadway, BBC Radio 3 and the Royal Exchange Theatre amongst other places. Peter, the wealthy southern lover of Jo’s mother Helen and a black sailor called Jimmy feature alongside a camp art student called Geoffrey. It is a complex and heavily questioning piece of drama. Class, gender, sexuality, and race are dissected which for mid-twentieth-century Britain was highly risky. The stars have followed the play with Stockport’s Sally Lindsay, a cluster of soap TV stars and Dr Who extras, Joan Ann Olivier, Baroness Olivier, DBE (born 28th October 1929) and notably Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury DBE joining the productions. A certain Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) has also featured on the stage for this production. From Salford to Home and Away to a Galaxy far, far away…

But, right here, right now my story at Dongguan’s Tungwah Wenzel International School has just began.

Preview one.

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do / S’mae / Namaste

So, today I learnt that if you the below into Microsoft Word and hit enter, something happens. Try it. Not amazing, but certainly different.

Lorem =(5,5)

In fact, I could not type it easily, because everytime I hit enter, it happened. Why did I need it? I didn’t. It just came when I was watching a YouTube video on how to make word clouds. Common words like it, the, a, and so on are removed. I wanted to see common words from this blog of over 301,000 words to see what words stand out. I imagined City and Manchester to dominate. The result is as per below (2000 most common used words):

word cloud blog 3rd June 2019 b

I did the same on the 120,000 word novel that I have written. Yet to be published. This is the first preview, in a way. Here is that result:

NOVEL WORD CLOUD

再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye / Hwyl Fawr / Dhanyabaad / Alavidā

Unfinished pieces of writing.

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

I found four unfinished pieces of writing.


#1 The signals are there. All signs point to misdirection. The bright colours fade to grey. There is no disco ball on this journey. The next few moments may decide if the rainbow reaches a pot of gold or a muddy pond of I’ll repute. What is the destination? A journey into the unknown. Nothing is certain but endless entropy and the final closing of your eyes. But, don’t we all deserve a little more? No. Fate is reaction after reaction with reflected deflections and noodles shaped highways. The soul, that vehicle of being craves a smooth journey, but what will the voyage bring? When is it our time? If not now, when? [March 2018]


#2 Can you do your best, if your fate is in the hand of others? Can you feel love, alone? Can you fly high, when your feet are stuck in concrete? Can the uncertain, make the certain less certain and more foggy? How vague is the fog that shrouds the darkest night? What news can deliver the righteous sight? If you support and ask for no support, will you feel held up as the sea covers up your feet? Where are you? Where are you, really? Are you here? Or, did you leave long ago? What happened to make this so unclear? This night, this eve, this moment of fear. Or, I could… [March 2018]


#3 When all else fails, or you feel low, there are always places to go. Beyond the days that make you feel blue, between the skies ever so grey, there are words looking for you. They’re everywhere, in orders so plentiful, ensuring life isn’t dull. They won’t hold you tight, or try to end a fight, but they are here, here alright. [October 2017]


#4 Things I like: 九层塔 jiǔcéngtǎ (basil); 番茄 fānqié (tomato); 柠檬草 níngméngcǎo (lemongrass); 迷迭香 mídiéxiāng (rosemary); and 熏衣草 xūnyīcǎo (lavender). I like them because they make mosquitoes fuck off. [March 2018]


I could finish them but I don’t feel I want to. They can stand alone, with no completion in mind.


We are the champions! 我们是冠军!

We are the champions of England! 英格兰的冠军!

City made it double! 曼城是双料冠军!

The boys in blue will never give in. 蓝色军团从不妥协!


 

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