Day 5: Gong Yuanr

Tai Chi at 6AM

Originally uploaded by ryanocerosk.

Classes resumed today in full force. When I missed a question in class, I was asked, “Did you not preview (the meaning of this word should be interpreted as “prepare”) for today’s class?” Now, seeing as I arrived in the classroom at 6:45AM (far before any teacher arrived) to prepare for today’s class, I was miffed. The teacher, who unlike many other teachers here had never taught in the U.S. before, failed at what I call the two-way rule: I respect you and you respect me. I put in the time for your class so don’t insult me. Now, this is not a Chinese concept where absolute respect and reverence is given to teachers without exception — it’s a one-way street here in the Middle Kingdom.

The other adventure of the day was to go to the park to interview old people. Although accompanied by some whining and grumbling from students, it turned out to be a great first “language practicum” where we learn to actually interact with people. Now, some students really do need this type of activity because it’s remarkably easy to only talk to your classmates and teachers. You may think the average Beijinger can understand you but you’re probably wrong. You may think you can understand the average Beijinger but you’re probably wrong. But some interesting insights into the life of the elderly. Most notably: the person I interviewed said she was perfectly comfortable without the support of her children. She lived alone and did her own thing. She also would be comfortable living in a elderly care facility, an imported idea since traditionally the children take care of their parents in old age.

Picture of the Day: Some old folks do their morning Tai Chi in front of a gigantic bank building. Maybe I’ll join them this weekend. I’m up at 6:30AM anyway.


One thought on “Day 5: Gong Yuanr”

  1. Now most Chinese Americans retained the traditional Chinese culture… which includes the tradition of children taking care of their elderly parents. The Cultural Revolution (CR) had done away with some of the good traditions… don’t know if the government has picked up the slack of taking care of its elderly population that now do not have any support from their children??!! On the other hand, the CR did not do away with the “teachers reign supreme” culture.


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