Thursday, December 10, 2009

500 lb Pig in the Middle of the Street

Random Notes From This Week:
1. I can’t breathe. Air pollution in Taiwan is up 150% from normal. Industrial chemicals, traffic emissions, seasonal allergens, and high island humidity cause me daily asthma attacks where I have become chained to an inhaler. Despite this, I still insist on running three to four miles a day, and last week I ran a mile in 5 minutes and 45 seconds. The picture above is from my recent trip to the Chinese Medical University Hospital to have my breathing checked. Vital Stats:

Height: 177.8 centimeters
Weight: 71 Kilos
Blood Pressure: 118/82
Resting Heart Rate: 60
Oh, by the way, this is the old geezer who beat my breath score. I even checked with the nurse to confirm. Basically, despite my best attempts at staying healthy, Taiwan has given me the lungs of an 80 year old man.

2. There are a series of insipid inspirational quotes that hang over the urinals in the men’s rooms of each floor in our school. Some gems include:

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing your dreams.”
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
“Reach for the moon, if you miss at least your among the stars.”

Then directly beneath each is a picture of a pig with a surgical mask and a caption which reads: “Please show sympathy for the cleaners by aiming your urine stream into the bowl.” I read these everyday while invariably peeing on the floor.

3. A week ago Eva spoke to me for the first time all year. She came up to me in the hallway and asked for help on her writing. We ended up sitting for twenty minutes as she just talked and talked. At the end, she was surprised I was so interested in Chinese pop music and that we should talk again. I smiled warmly and agreed. Of course, I have zero interest in Chinese pop.

4. Today in class I looked up and three boys in the back where rubbing cleaning lotion on their ping pong paddles.

5. Last week in China, 11 children ages 9 through 12, were trampled to death as a cram school let out at 9:15 at night. The children were part of a 400 student stampede down a flight of stairs on their way home. School directors have been put on paid administrative leave. At our International School, we have the same problem of boys running in the halls, last week crashing into a teacher and causing swelling in his knee. To combat this, the foreign teachers have set up times for hall monitoring to keep the students safe. This morning I saw three boys recklessly fly down stairs past the school Director who did nothing and so I calmly turned the boys around and made them descend the stairs again. Not to be outdone, the school’s Director also pulled the boys aside and scolded them for ten minutes on not having their shirttails tucked in. He made sure I noticed his stern discipline.

6. Today while walking to the post office, I turned a corner and a 500 lb pig was standing in the middle of the street. Traffic was being diverted as a shop owner was quickly trying to lure the sow back inside with a handful of carrots.

Only in Asia.

1 comment:

  1. HAHA. Way to shout out about the ping pong paddles. I love it :P