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Archive for May, 2008

The Chinese Classroom Posted by on May 21, 2008

At first glance, it’s the picture of a certain ideal: a teacher standing at the head of a classroom with a piece of chalk in one hand, the students listening attentively and hanging on the teacher’s every word.  The students are quiet and reasonably well behaved, repeat like a chorus what the teacher asks them…

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Surviving the Banquet Posted by on May 19, 2008

“Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson The art of the business deal here in China goes one step further than the boardroom, and it’s in the arena of the banquet hall that many a deal can be made or unmade. A banquet is a way of…

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The Earthquake Posted by on May 13, 2008

Letter Home, May 12, 6:44pm Just wanted to let you know all is well here in Beijing. Of course, why wouldn’t it be? Well, I was sitting here this afternoon on my couch on the 18th floor when I started to feel like maybe I was a little drunk. Or dizzy. Or dreaming. You see,…

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Do You Have the Tone, Please? Posted by on May 11, 2008

One of the first challenges for the Western speaker of Chinese to overcome in learning to speak Mandarin Chinese is the introduction of tones to a language. In English, a rising or falling tone does little other than indicate emphasis: The whiny “What do you waaant?” as opposed to “What do you want!?” Not so…

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The Pace of China Posted by on May 8, 2008

Life in China is much as it is everywhere else in the world, but with a few subtle differences. Just as a proud culture of dog walkers exists in the West, China has its bird walkers. Old men out for a stroll carry with them their caged birds and congregate in the parks to listen…

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