Too m any blood fake-blood capsules in the mouth there. there gang. There is-too much fake-blood, generally. Must it alway sbe your cliche-MORE. And , boy, do they love the Mexican stand-off scene, bound to be at least one in every movie/show, and hold the gun up high and point it directly between the other's eyes! Many seem to feelTHAT'SA  MORE DRAMATIC scene that transfers to the big-screen- you know having the entire gun always seen in the frame. Nonsense. It's overKILL, plain and simple, but they wouldn't do it unless Chinese audiences koved it! (April 30, 2015-Kim P)

"Tigers and Flies..." WHAT A STENCH.

During the most recent sitting of the People's Congress and the CPPCC(law-making body..), the focus and media coverage centered on the issue of corruption and how the gov't was looking to "clean house".. in its own ranks, the military, and business. How no one was immune to prosecution.., so they coined a cute, reusable csatch-phrase, "tigers and flies" to mean fron generals to captains, from CEO's to workers, threir search would castch and bring to justice any found guilty of corruption. Of course, in such a huge poulation we shouldn't be too surprised to learn that thousands were investigated and several hundred brought to trial for accepting  bribes, nisuse of funds, etc..... The effort should be applauded; it is full of good intent. However the end result was the creation of several dozen more laws and policies to tighten the regulaqtory hand. Problem , I see with that is there were already laws and guidelines in place which so many outreached hands ignored-and that their investigations really skirted the main causes which-hardly unusual- are once again tied to economics:low salaries and take-home pay for many which immediately makes them vulnerable to the whispered bribes of corruption offering them some easy money to help with family expenses! More laws and policies is just like adding more bars to the already barred jail cell.Might look harder to break out of..., but if they managed to do it with seven bars, thery will find a way with nine or ten!Again-I know it go against your very grain, China-but MOREis not always better!  (March16,2015-Kim P.)


 I've heard, again and again, now, reporters, anchors and featured talk-show hosts on state[=sponsored English news channel loudly, proudly, repeatedly proclaim how the  fundamental precept of China's foreign policy for years has been never to inolve itself in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation.. I see. Then perhaps someone might explain to me how it was that same China gave significant military aid to  Vietnam's communist revolutionaries against those colonial French occupiers!?in the 1950's?Or, by the time the 60's had rolled in, how China firmly backed Hanoi in her struggles with the suppying mortars, trucks, some tanks, their version of M.I.G. fighter jets, and even training fighter pilots in her territory, and, of course manpower!

Or how she (China) sent at least 300,000 troops into North Korea (Oct, 1950!), and as third as many motorized military vehicles.  I 'm waiting...?I realize I'm just a layman, but to my untrained ear that sounds a lot like "involvement" inside another country's borders....Waiting to hear the qualifications...   Wasn't "domestic struggles"(March07,2015-Kim P.)hope I don't grt in trouble for this..? But , Hey!

Liar, Liar, pants on Fire

"Reward &Punishment.."

It's taken me awhile to even get this far(give or take ten years..)in understanding the cultural gap:but much of the Chinese psyche is premised on punishment, not reward or merit.If children, here don't do well on an important test or perform their absolute best musically, athletically...whatever...some of them EVEN have been so conditioned, they might ask their parents to punish them.And blaming, finger-pointing. Quick case-study using my better half..

If I were to have a fall out of my chair, sure-there's a cursory check to see if I;m O.K., butone of the first things I would modt likely hear is,"What did you do?"This while I still lay a crumpled heap on the floor. The'blame-game' is the last thing you want or need in such a predicament.

Same with accidentally breaking a drinking glass. To me, the what or how is next to irrelevant and only a parent or someone else looking to scold,,or attack! That really doesn't matter now, the milk's been spilt, the man's on the floor Whereas in much of the West, the emphasis would be on the welfare of the fallen person, and to help right them if at all possible. I would think that putsa ridiculous strain/burden on many of them.(Feb.25,2015-Kim P.) 

"Come On, People, Please!"

Strange,I know, but it makes me think of a line from the corny movie, "Mars Attacks!" where one of the invading soldiers addresses human(or vice versa..?)s,"You Little People- why can't we all just get along?!!. Well China''s foreign policy in which many in gov't and media take gret pride is never to  involve itself in the domestic affairs of another sovereign nation.Great-and FURTHERMORE to sit back and mercilesslycriticize those that do-especially if other said country is America.So, instead it continually issues the 'feel-good' statements of support like,"We strongly urge and hope all participants cease hostilities and return to friendly open talks where a peaceful, diplomatic solution can be found....(?) Might as well be issued by the U.N. -it's just as meaningless. Stay off the battlefield entirely, and remind everyone of your gumanitarian forays and aid campaigns!(Feb10,2015-Kim P.)

"BZZZZZ-A Wasp in the Hive!"...."

 A Foreigner(?)in the Middle Kingdom? A monkeyin the wrench, a wrench in the engine, an engine in the fly's ointment Yeah, that's me..., and ,sure, I'm not the only one. I'm a very large white man with brown-blond hair and green eyes who likes his 'meat&potatoes' in a vast sea of tiny, dark-haired, brown-eyed Chinese who eat rice and cabbage by the ton. Anomoly-Plus. And I'm disabled professional in a wheelchair  . That leaves me "crawling" pretty close to the ground where I am daily mingling with the blue collar crowd of sweep-cleaners,waitresses and construction workers... many of whom, it seems, can spend half an hour discussing the price of celery. Many  are nose-to-the-grindstone, scraping out a living for themselves and families;it's all about the money-how much you earn, where to buy the cheapest whatever, the best deal in the neighborhood, where to save four cents here and twelve cents there.I find it tedious and simplistic-though certainly understandable.As a salaried,professional teacher, I've rarely,if at all, had to trouble myself with such things.For me, more of a concern was whether I'd be able to reserve a favorite campsite for those summer holidays!(Feb.07,2015-Kim P.)

"Somehow They Manage."

Planning and Design. Forethought. What If. I find most of my friends display an apalling lack of it.

In many of the older, decrepit brick houses, windows are often added, after the wall has been completed. All you need is a sledge hammer to knock out ten or twelve of the bricks and "voila" If you find it's too cold come the fall,you can just brick itup again, no problem, or as is said all-too often , here, "Mei-shi"(doesn't matter.). Plus, there's a lot of indecision in almost every aspect of the culture from language to cooking to driving.Most intersections have an official "U-turn" lane for trhose who have finally figured out they're going in the wrong direction.Oh, yeah.Even within my own circle, there are those who will not take time to label contents while packing for a move.Why? Because THEY know what's in that box. When I point out that THEY  might not be at the other end to help open it, all I get is shushed.You see things and end up wondering how they manage- but they DO MANAGE somehow-that's the wonder. After all , it was their kinsmen who constructed the Great Wall.  Whew.(Feb06,2015-K.P.)

"Excuse Me!"

Not to pick on her too much-because she has nothing in the toolbox to defend herself with but my aide will mop the same floor 10-12 times in one three-hour session. Of course that is always with the lights turned off. Not that she's environmentally-conscious or anything, but would prefer to do a poor job of something over and over, rather than do it well once; I wish I could say it's just her-but unfortunately it could be a far-reaching country-wide metaphor. Even when she opens and holds the door for me, she will be ushering me in while still standing in the middle of my path to get there. Every day, then I have to encourage her to move to the side to allow me access and entrance. Like the diligent parking attendant waving you into a spot that is clearly taken...? Thanks, I'll Wait.(Jan.20,2015-Kim P.)

My aide/helperdoes several things every day that leave me shaking my head One, is at the grocery store, she will fill my bag with items purchased and add in my wallet which holds our apartment key-card. I'm always grabbing it back out, so it will be one of the last things we put into the bag-because we will need it first on our returnThe second is , she will hold the door open for me and usher me to go in, but she doesn't move entirely out of the way-so I run over toes every other time.ADHD? (Jan.19,2015,Kim P.)

"Letting Go..."

oIn this terribly long,slow process of my recovery, I've learned there are very importantplateaus,transition points you reach. Dastardly uncomfortable to say the least, but you have to push through them and your fears to get to the next level.About three years ago ,now, was the lbiggee for me where for a year I had been doing morning walking on the ground floor on the ramp leading into our building-holding the handrail, as I went. One morning as I stood up from the chair, steadied myself to begin the walk,an overwhelming urge and confidence swept over me to say 'I don't need to use the handrail, and so I took the first unassisted 'free-walking steps. It was terrifying, and at the same time exhilarating to stand up tall-all six feet of me-and look around at the world, again, from that perspective! Well , I just had two of my most productive days yet in our new home- vicinity, and have felt somewhat of a mental surge as of I may be on the cusp of another breakthrough, a transition to all new-heights, expectations and routines.If you get almost too-comfortable in your routines then you know you're close. I have been feeling that wayately. Where did this come from? I'm sure it had something to do with the American documentary I watched that featured  the U.S. gymnast who is missing BOTH her legsand yet tumbling fast down a long matgoing from hands to stumps/bum... and smiling all the while!! (Jan.19,2015-Kim P.)

lCrabs, also, are very engaging to watch becauseof their frenetic gesturing, their soldiery commotion, and great expenditure  of energy and effort just to get from here to there-it can be exhausting for the onlookers just to watch such slow,meticulous business.He'll evetually get to where he's going, and was eating every step of the way. Ask him and he will most certainly tell you he's made PROGRESS, without one forward step.    (Dec30,2014-K.P.)

"There is no other-China."

For once, I heard it finally acknowledged by a native journalist-commentator on air, in fact, that Chinese-his fellow countrymen/women were prone to selfishness and egocentricitywhich he attributed to twenty years of the one-child policy/little Prince/Princess phenomenon;they were raised to see only themselves as important and largely ignore"other." I've seen it hundreds of times, and continue to... every day. People will park and leave bicycles, scooters, motorcycles even, at the base of ramps going up into public buildings.. impeding anyone else's entry or use of that ramp. Particularly disturbing for folk like me in wheelchairs.But there were no disabled people there when they parked it, got off and left. Even better is when a small group of them(4-5) stand in the middle of the ramp and find tha spot  a particularly comfortable place to be and chat,socialize. When I suddenly appear and need to use the ramp, I'm then met with some disdainful looks at breaking up their party.  (Jan.18,2015-Kim P.)

Oliver Twist THOUGHT so , too-"Can I Have Some More please?"

Pretty as a picture!Lovely wife, Miranda in Vancouver

?tHIS, TOO IS A NUMBERS GAME OF SORTSwhere thereiare certain cultural psyches around the world,often ancient societies where a deeply held belief permeates much of life and the landscape.,where five heads are better than two, eight waitresses is better than three, and serving seven individual separate dishes shows greater abundance, prosperity and celebration thanmixing them all together and serving them as one dish.People? In some places, more is simply the guiding principle to be followed in every aspect of life wherever possible. I'm not so sure, myself. My western sensibiklity interjects there around the point of efficiency. Why would a waitress make three individual trips to bring knife,fork and spoon when all could easily be carried in one trip?  Unless..., perhaps, you were TRYING to look busy and busier than you are...?  Nah? Couldn't be! (Dec23,2014-Kim P.)

"The Numbers-Game"

I continue to struggle daily with my understanding of the business world-save for the fact it's quite clear those in it have more of a leaning to Sciencethan to Art; they're very comfortable being awash in numbers and statistics-which,sorry, I remain suspicious of.. Y-O-Y figures show a 12.7% increase over last year's figure. Unemployment has dropped  8.4%(..and eventually, as a footnote, they will begrudgingly admit that that decline was due largely to anincrease of service-sector jobs where most workers makeminimum wage and live in near-poverty conditions, and aspire to good blue collar work."Two legs good, Four legs better"-George Orwell in his "Animal Farm" The numbers refer mostly to widgets and widget-making, whether the widgets take the form of cars, computers jeans, or children's toysThey're still widgets.(Dec.22,2014-Kim P.)

"Still,aDancing Bear"

,After this latest trip of four days,an uncomfortable one and a half hour flight.  (lots and lots of smiles, glad-handing from people I've genuinely come to love and cherish-and who treat me like royalty, I am still often left to feel like a dancing bear at the circus, pushed, poked, prodded first to go here, do this, do that, come here, eat this drink this.....I am at once swarmed and dictated to-my every movement; nice in some respects, I'm sure but it is also an environmrnt that is non-stop, continuous and utterly, nicely exhausting. (Dec.21.2014-Kim P.)

"Whoah, Baby!"

-if you're a slow reader-About 30 babies are born every minute in India, and about 34 in China;in the time it took you to read this-if you're a slow reader- the world's population increased by over 60 new people!        K.P.

"Pardon Me!

Apologies all-I have been remiss. I ad fully intended to wish everyone a HAPPY WORLD TOILET DAY back on November19th. What most of us here in the west take for granted, almost fully one-third of the world's population do no have or use-flush toilets.(One in three people srouind the world do not have)Around since early in Minoan civilization, even Queen Elizabeth1st had one though, apparently, she used infrequently because the noise it made while flushing was a bit alarming, scary for her... (Jan.20,2015-Kim P.)

""What's Next, China..?"

wMy experience, again, but I've met and know a lot and worked with many  who don't seem to PLAN very well, plan ahead you know. Even my first excellent fulltime job as English trainer in Beijing found me regularly approached at my desk/cubicle and informed the department was having a meeting. "When?"I would naively ask, ""So I can put it in my calender." "No-now," would come the reply  with a related tugging at my elbow. Cooking gets the same sort of respect:one cursory look inside the refigerator determines what will be minced, shredded and stir-fried, tonight. What about tomorrow night? We'll see, with a shrug of the shoulders. Maybe it's more simply how the west is geared largely to oven-cooking and baking/roasting which requires time and planning-it can't be dome quickly most often, and you have to know you have all the 'right' ingredients a day or two before..;in other words, you have to PLAN! (Dec17,2014,Beijing-Kim P.) 

"Cutting Corners..."

In much of what I see here, and in much of what many do at work(from driving cars,moving/packing, cooking, cleaning, painting... they will cut corners. This is especially dangerous and pertinent to me as a disabled man in a wheelchair when I'm trying to cross a street at an intersection-yep, just helps spice-up my day.Somewhat disconcerting on a higher level when I think of how many have gone on to become airline pilots, leave alone cargo/baggage-handlers who are responsible for securing doors...! Ah, well, Dec 14,2014-Kim P.)

"A Day in the Life of..."

I let it naggle me... how, once we let her (my helper/aide) in, two things are immedidiately apparent: she is talking and won't shut- up until she finishes and leaves to go home, and the second she will have her hands on the mop within 60 seconds- like the donkey or ox, almost happy to have the harness pulled over its head and the bit placed in its mouth so that it can once more start its endless revolutions around the millstoneShe is unfailingly a tedious gossip when we're out and about. Its mindless work, boring, repetitive- and she knows exactly what is expected from her, so it's easy. In fact some days I have to almost pull the mop away from her because I need her help putting my jacket on so we can go outside in the not unreasonable cold so I may do my daily walking exercise regime. I like the cold. I like going outside; I'm usually chomping at the bit myself to get the day underway!Maybe we go the grocery store to buy onions. I choose three and put them in our bag. She puts those I've chosen back onto the display table and chooses three others more to her liking, worthier for cutting board and dining table. Back and forth. Back and forth. I have a tremendous disdain for being double-guessed- that can be the sole prserve of my wife, perhaps, but not of an undereducated strange woman in our employ. Bigoted? Oh, you bet. Snob, I guess-I prefer the compsny of bright, witty people, it's true. (Dec 14,2014-Kim P.)


In this far away place, I've seen more than a few times, someone give the back of their hand to a child, or pet dog(one used a switch/branch) for not coming fast-enough when called.Another curious moment  is watching someone go into this ridiculous, clownish mode where all movements are turned into these highly exagerrated gestures, when a small child is near and they want to get its attention-trying,desperately to show everyone else present that children love them, and how good they are with kids!Like most of the conversation, there is no subtlety, no quiet, hushed ,understated tone;everrything is stylized, dramatized for effect, and done with big volume I turn around inthe grocery store check-out line to see what's going on with the man yelling behind me-when I turn, there is only a man standing, talking on his cell-phone.(Dec.14,2014-K.P.)


I came to the successful show late, myself-"The Big Bang Theory" that is.And I soon found it ,like so many other people, to be the best-written, smartest,funniest show around. But I could not believe the firestorm of controversy at the beginning of the current season when the show's only 'eye-candy','Penny', played with zest by Kailey Cuoco, the beautiful and curvaceous next door neighbor cut her locks and showed up with a short'bob' style in the opener! Social media was all-abuzz, once again proving my assertion that far too many people today have absurd amounts of time on their hands.They liked and missed her long blonde locks! Give me a break.  Like Radar on the beloved M.A.S.H. changing the style of his eyewear! A six on the Richter scale! Archie Bunker changing chairs..?  Whoah! Stop the Presses Mostly female viewers., I'm guessing, as the men put much less heed into that sort of thing. Once maybe, if we were wanting to drag her-as a prize- back home to the cave.(Dec12,2014-Kim P.)

tHE Dragon Softens ?"

   "The Dragon Cleans Her Lair"

There is hope, sfter all. Now Chna and her folk are not especially known for their manners/politeness,(spitting, nose-picking, budding-in) even if that is seen through western sensibilities... But through several state-sponsored advertising campaigns these days), it is trying to promote and encourage a kinder, nicer, more thoughtful populace:IThe ad's show people doing rude,thoughtless things/behavior and then (poof!) turning into cavemen suddenly.. to show how uncouth and primitive their actions are: from eating stinky food on crowded subway cars,throwing litter out of car windows(which I've seen done both here and in Canada, to bumping into people with your backpack on a crowded subway or not giving up your seat for an elderly or pregnant woman! A kinder, gentler dragon Personal experience still has me seeing a lot of cavemen...When you're used to having people clean and pick-up after you, it's easy to get lazy..(Dec12,2014-Kim P.)


However, one niggling question remains for me-because these are all ad's I've seen on their English channels;I wonder and hope the same are being broadcast on their Chinese channels-otherwise it is postcard-perfect again and shown just for the benefit of English-speaking foreigners like me!!  (Dec12,2014-KimP.)

"Jacked-Up Double Entendre!"

"The Mouths of babes and Indian Ambassadors...?"

At the B.B.Q. send-off bash for me(on the left) in summer of2003(prior to China departure) with colleagues Isobel, center and dear,late friend Tom 'Boyo' Henderson on right On Tom's rear deckThere was a Jacuzzi,too(over my right shoulder, background where we sang the theme to "The Green Berets" a few times)

Out of the mouth of an Indian ambassador recently in Beijing and interviewed by state T.V., and then subsequently echoed several times by reporters and anchors -all about the chaos caused by protest movemrnt in Hong Kongs' Mong Kok shopping district: "It's simply not right that the needs or demands of a few should influence or dictate to the majority..."  Ironic, perhaps?! And what does the central gov't in Beijing do, may I ask...? Of course THEY have the best interests of the people in mind, right!?   Yeah-go read "Animal Farm"!   (Dec.08,2014- Kim P.)

"Innies &Outies?"

My guess is that there are probably very few -if any-break-in's and home-invasions here, due in large part to the fact apartment doors are like naval watertight, solid steel heavy monsters, so when the doors are closed they're like impenetrable prison cells.

Like the Great Wall, I suppoise, the doors help keep most of the badees out, but they also rather close and lock-in the residents; this helps keep unwanted foreign influences limited and at bay but also serves to make the people rather insular. And , if you shut out the outside world, then before too long all you see is yourself and maybe your own family-without ever swimming that's unrealistic shrinkage!(Dec08,2014-Kim P.)

"The China Fix"

I. IShould be good then for a few minutes, maybe even an hour or what regularly happens if you do a bad, incompetent repair job of anything.9Sept.2014)    Kim P.

Is it being sloppy and silly to mop the floor fifteen time, then with dirty water, with the lights off in the room-diligent and dutiful, or wasteful and inefficientI tend to believe the latter more, myself.It often presumes to know best when inbtruth, seldom does. (Dec12,2014-KimP.)

"Poor Choices."


.After theA- bombs of 1945, because of the utter, complete devastation leaving what looked to be a lunar landscape behind, the points they were aimed at and ultimately hit were termed "ground-zero".Where the ruin began. Lunar landscape comes to my mind regularly here in my adopted second home of China; the ground is nearly devoid of anything resemblimbling real soil: it is grey-brown dusty dirt and yet still amazes me that with just a little eco-friendly chicken leavings, it can produce the size and amount of produce that it does year after year! Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Oh, well-not being much into next-to meaningless platitudes I shall be critical of her,here, occasionally- as a way of recording some of my thoughts seeing her, the 'Great Dragon' through my twisted, Western perspective!    C'est la vie, n'est pas.                Kim P.

Could have been doubly filed under 'whine cellar'. too this one. It's the not seeing anybody else but yourself and your needs/objectives... selfish, self-serving. If the boss says be sure to clean and dust in my husband's computer/work room, then you start dusting the keyboard even when his hand is there and his fingers pecking away at the letters! Or, you might have determined to wait a few minutes until he's gone and the area is free.....but no!You shouldn't try cleaning the toilet either... if it's in use!Ofr course, for her-my aide/helper, she's just trying to do the task assigned to her... so that's a good thing, isn't it?  (Dec.02,2014)  K.P.

Once with a former helper when I was still unsteadily doing 20 yards of cane-walking beside a wall, the rubber foot-stopper at the end of the cane fell off, and instead of waiting for a safer , more opportune moment, she actually tried to put it back on right then-WHEN 'M STILL WALKING UNSTEADILY AND RELYING ONIT!? WHAT!!? 'Fraid so.   (aug.27,2014)   K.P.

Apple-cider and red wine VINEGAR are both very good for us. Earliest use was 10,000 years ago! It has strong anti-oxident properties whichprolong the aging process and reduce risk of cancer!(Dec04,2014- Kim P.)