29 5 / 2014

I heard lots of chattering and the occasional thump! outside of my apartment, and when I went outside to look, it was a man repeatedly hammering dough while fifteen people watched.

Nearby is the teacher’s apartments cafeteria, which opens for dinner in twenty minutes, so I figure it must be related to that and the dough was frozen?


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08 5 / 2014

Midterm Shows Bingo

I had my second round of Midterms this week.  Having modified the rubric to make it easier on them, they seemed to benefit from the practice more this time.

Their midterm was a whole class where their ten or so groups take turns do their presentation or show at the front of the room.  Some did presentations about their hometown or Chinese food but most of them did a show.

As I heard the familiar turns of Chinglish speech, the big, athletic boys portraying girls, and the quips from famous movies put in, I thought about if I made a game of watching these midterms.  Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I enjoy watching my students enjoy themselves through the medium of English language and Western culture—but, I could have a formed a personal game for myself—a Cliché Bingo.

In the center square would be an allusion to the “Jack, I’m flying!” scene from Titanic, phrases commonly seen in English written by Chinese “Oh my Lady Gaga!” “Wow!  So beautiful! “.  There would, of course, be squares related to gender:  one boy seeing another boy in a wig and enumerating the finer points of “her” beauty, the two boys waltzing together; a girl proclaiming to another girl, “Oh, my love!” in her best deep boy voice.  The girls don’t milk it near as much as the boys.  Two boys ballroom-dancing could be a square all on its own.

There could be a square dedicated to very slightly misquoting Shakespeare.  In the past week, I heard “To be or not to be, that is a question,” four times.  (I also read it that way in the scripts they gave me.)

The Legend of White Snake square.  In the past two midterms, I have seen Legend of White Snake performed six times, and I still don’t know what happens.  It always seems to end differently.  There’s a kung-fu fight; there’s a happy ending; once, Bin Laden came in and blew up a tower to kill the bad guy who had separated the lovers.  (The visual was my student Fred in shades, popping up from behind the teacher’s desk at the front, saying, “Hello!  I am Osama Bin Laden!”

A square for all the group shows that start well then disintegrate into a timid, awkward rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or “Merrily, We Roll Along.” 

I could make a “Forrest Gump’ square, even.  The most charming use of the famous Forrest Gump quote (you know it) was when, as a character who lay dying, having lost a Kung-fu fight, one of my best students bemoans, “Mama always said … life is like a box of chocolates…  You never know what you’re gonna get.  Well, Mama was right….  I got it<” then died.

17 4 / 2014

Walking around Wuyi University’s campus, I took some mobile photos to give you an idea of what it’s like.