September 15, 2007

An Inspector Calls

Filed under: Dalian,language — Kim @ 2:38 pm

Next week my University has a big and ever so very important government inspection. A bunch of experts from Beijing are coming down to check out how Dalian University of Foreign Languages does its stuff and we lowly provincial teachers are going to try to wow them so we can get a good grade, and thus more students and more money. It’s being taken very seriously indeed and so I am, of course, anxious to do my bit and not let the side down.

All of which means that I’ve been bloody busy recently preparing lectures, schedules, and course descriptions, and typing out lesson plans. This semester I have to give a lecture series on Discourse Analysis (looking for patterns of organisation in text, basically) and since I’ve never given a 90 minute lecture before – let alone 14 of them – I have had to put in quite a few hours of preparation.

The week after next I hope to have time to blog/breathe easily again.

Till then.


September 4, 2007

Davos does Dalian

Filed under: Dalian,east-west,politics — Kim @ 4:30 pm

For the next few days Dalian will be on its best behaviour and is preening itself after an almighty tart up. Many of the dozens and dozens of buildings under construction (this place is one huge building site) have been speedily polished off in the last few weeks, a few of the long vacant buildings have been miraculously renovated and occupied during the last few months, the city’s traffic has been halved by ordering even and odd numbered registration plates off the road on alternating days, and every available nightlight is on and twinkling away.

It’s impressive.

The reason why – if ya didn’t know already – is that the World Economic Forum (the suits who have their winter meeting in the small Swiss town of Davos every year) is having its inaugural summer summit here in Dalian. And it’s going to be a “meeting of the new champions” no less. The World Economic Forum site has this to say about these up and coming movers and shakers

the “new champions” are a new generation of companies that will fundamentally change the global competitive landscape. We call them Global Growth Companies. These business champions come primarily from rapidly growing emerging markets, such as China and India, but also include fast movers from developed economies.

Hurrah for the new champs! Splendid chaps! I am so glad our planet’s future is in their capable hands!

And I wonder if any of the good citizens of Dalian know of the reason why most of us common “non-corporate” western folk know of Davos…namely because in recent years it has become a focus, and flashpoint, for anti-capitalist and anti-corporate protestors. These guys are mostly romantic (grungy?) students, radical lefties and anarchists, I guess, and broadly speaking I don’t hold with much of what they say….but I am definitely on their side when the Swiss police starts firing rubber bullets at them! Or even when they just use water cannons.

So, what I would really like to see is a few hundred Dalian pranksters dress up in their Mao suits and Mao badges and march down the People’s Avenue/Renmin Lu waving their little red books and shouting “Down with the Capitalist Running Dogs!” at the top of their voices.

What would the police do about that I wonder? After all, Mao is on all the bank notes and is still widely revered here, and China is actually a Communist country run by a Communist party. Isn’t it?

So come on then…who’s up for it? Let’s get some placards and some megaphones and get on down to downtown Dalian for some rubber/real bullets and deportation/death action.

See you all there! Who wants to live forever anyways!

It’s been nice knowing you all.