Friday, February 04, 2005


I was in the Hailida Preschool office a few weeks ago and some of the office staff were trying out tongue twisters in Chinese that they had found on the internet. Then the PE coach started to read them in the Shanghai dialect. Then piano teacher read them in Cantonese. They were still tongue twistery, but not as much.

Right now I'm on a business trip to Shiyan (十堰), a major minor city in Hubei province in central China.

Here are some interesting language notes. Interesting to me, at least:

This was the name of a female newscaster I saw on TV a couple days ago (notice how I always write about TV when I'm out on business and staying at a hotel? This is why I don't own a TV at home.) Her last name is gao ("high") and her given name is yue nan ("surpassing men"), meaning that her name means something like "highly surpasses the standard man". I just like the way her last name coordinates with her first name.
This is just the name of the TV series based on the 涩女郎 comic books by 朱德庸. I gotta look this one up, see if I can get it on VCD. One of the actresses is the lady from the movie 天下无贼. By the way, 贼 is the only character in modern Chinese with the pinyin zei.
Preschool kids love the Japanese action character Ultraman. It always frustrates me when kids start going off about Ultraman, because it's usually right in the middle of class. A couple days ago, one of my co-workers deftly handled this situation by pretending (or maybe she made an honest mistake) that the student had said "watermelon". I gotta use that sometime.
The name of a disco here in Shiyan. Literally, the Rolling Stone Disco. I probably wouldn't think this was so notable if I was a native speaker. Neither would I think that the...
...Mayflower Bar was notable.
That's the brand name of a banana company that serves the local fruit markets in Shiyan. I think that would make a great name for a weblog, Happily Bananas. Especially if I had a nifty picture of a stack of those banana boxes.

I want to read Hannah Arendt's book. She's the one who wrote about the trials of the Nazi war criminals, coming to the conclusion that we are all a step away from becoming monsters. I'm probably vastly over-simplifying. I think it will help foster more discussion with Chris, where we talk about what motivates people to do evil things (it's fear of death; not being afraid of death has radical implications).

I'm still looking for souveniers to take back to the US as gifts for people. I've been thinking of New Year decorations. What I've got so far are DVDs to watch and then hand off, and some snacks from Hubei.

I'm staying up very late tonight because I will be taking a twenty-six hour train ride back to Shanghai tomorrow. The bad news is that I finished Panda Sex over french fries at McDonald's last night. The good thing is that this time we will have DVDs to watch on the laptop. Here in Shiyan, I found: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Fog of War, Blind Shaft, Elephant (directed by Gus Van Sant), and a DVD of the Ibiza sunset set to club remixes of trance hits.


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