Week 6 – Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2016

Dec. 6, 2016
Rudi Kiefer

Lexus! Porsche! Volvo! Mercedes! BMW! Audi! Just when I thought I was done marveling at the costliness of the cars in the side streets, someone parked a Maserati at the entrance to the apartment complex. I’m not jealous, just bemused. My 25 year old Chevy van would make a nice contrast to these slick automobiles.

Incidentally, prices at these malls here are quite substantial, even to a western visitor with a currency exchange advantage. For the Chinese middle class, they must be painfully high, especially for fashion. Maybe that’s why so many people are wearing inexpensive, cotton-stuffed nylon winter jackets and run-of-the-mill blue jeans.

Speaking of Walmart: it’s part of the CapitaLand Shopping Center, in gallery below. Unremarkable exterior, but prices in the stores and eateries, including KFC, are more consumer-friendly than in the big malls.

Throughout that entire shopping center, they’ve been playing Christmas songs for two weeks now. “Jingle Bells,” “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” and a “Partridge in a Pear Tree.” Hope they don’t have “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Really, the last thing I’d expect at a Chinese store entrance would be a jiggling, singing Santa Claus robot. But alas, there is one.

Tuesday: Looks like the rain will stay away for quite some time, even into next week. Of course, the price to pay for dry feet is a challenge on the air quality front. The frequent rains during the first three weeks helped clear the atmosphere. We may not have such wet conditions for a number of days.

Wednesday: An innovation! Before I put this unit together, I wasn’t aware of “Spaced Repetition” as a method for study and memory retention. It looks quite promising. Not suitable for in-class use, this is for students with reading assignments, and implementation takes several weeks.

Essentially, one repeats a topic at ever-increasing intervals, unless it slips from memory in between. In that case, it goes back to the start and gets reviewed daily until it sticks.

Personally, I plan to try the method for learning Chinese phrases. About time… I’m tired of feeling like I’m illiterate, deaf and mute around here.

The weekend approaches! One more task: By invitation from the dean of education, I present a talk to the faculty in his college. It seems to be well received. Unlike most students, they are happy to ask questions. In turn, I’m happy to answer them. Topic: cross-cultural differences and teaching methods. Having so many pictures comes in handy for illustration.

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