Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bits and Pieces

I have been teaching art to kids in an after school program recently. The classes are held in the rarely used club house of an ex-pat villa area- a place that feels like a fake American movie set when you walk through.

After setting up yesterday I had 20 minutes to wait for the kids to arrive so decided I'd make use of the bar and have a cup of coffee. I ordered a latte, and the girl behind the bar jumped into action- I think it was the first drink she'd prepared all day. She frothed up some milk, and poured it into a tall latte jar, and then prepared two shots of esspresso- back-to-front order, I thought, but at that point I didn't really care. Then she realised if she poured the coffee into the milk the froth would be destroyed. So she carefull spooned the coffee in with a tiny teaspoon- one spoon at a time. By the time I got the coffee ten minutes later it was luke warm, but by god that froth looked good.

My teaching assistant, a young Chinese woman named Erica laughed and said: "We Chinese are diligent, but often not very clever". Her words, not mine.

I have also been doing some freelance voice-over audio recording for text-books and English language audio tapes in the last few months. Last week I was doing a recording in the top floor of the Population Services Bureau building. After the taping, we were waiting for the lift to take us downstairs and I was looking at a dirty, old, black medical chair in the hall. I pointed out that with its rudimentary metal stirrups it looked like a gynocological chair, and the sound technician said that it was actually an abortion chair. "Look," she pointed. "The big hole at the end of the seat there collects all the waste and that pipe there connects to the drains. So, let's go get lunch!".

Population Services indeed. EEeeeeewww!


Mignon said...

First, that latte story totally reminds me of the lighting in your apartment. In fact, I think about that lighting all the time, and have told several people about it, as representative of the Chinese diligence/lack of forward thinking...

Secondly, I've often wondered at how normal/mainstream abortions are in China. The matter-of-fact way in which that woman described the technicalities is interesting...

Louise said...

Yeah the lighting is absurd. Phil says China is like a computer with all the software but none of the hardware to run it properly.

And the abortion thing got me thinking too- I'm going to have a chat with a few of my female Chinese friends and check it out- the attitude and reality of it here. I do know that in cases of aborting a second child it is pretty much accepted and encouraged due to the one child policy, but what I am really interested in is for unmarried girls or first "accidental" pregnancies in a married situation.
I'll report back to ya!

philippe said...

Almost there babe! Not quite the super geek yet (I'd be proud of that if I were you, I've sunk with that ship a long time ago!)

Anyhow, it's: "All the hardware without the software" - software being the logical part of the computer that makes it work "smartly"... thus the part that lacks so often over here in China.

Louise said...

oops! I stand corrected!!