Tag Archives: This is China

T.I.C. – This is China – Blocking still works

Congratulations to the Great Filter Wall… it is alive and well, and doing it’s job. 

I’ve only heard rumours about why things are so slow here now, but I’m guessing they are right… It’s hard to create a digital ‘movement of the masses’ when connecting digitally, (and especially to the spaces where this happens), is painfully difficult. 

VPN’s (that bypass the ‘Great Filter Wall’) have been hit hard, even mine that has been stellar so far required me to get a new address from support to link up. Instead of linking through Hong Kong, my connection must now go through Los Angeles to connect. The slow internet, plus the longer connection route means it takes longer to connect, longer to load pages and impossible to do things like watch a video.

Teachers here with Yahoo or Hotmail will say to me, “What did your email say? I can get into my inbox to see you’ve sent an email, but I can’t open the message.”

I created a “Funhouse” for our club days, for a group of primary kids, and they have seen it, but not visited it yet. I did get to read the scrolling book that I pre-loaded the first day, but since then the internet has been useless and sending them to image-rich websites would be a useless activity. (I loaded the Funhouse link above to get the address to link it here and the page has yet to load as I type this.) 

So, blocking works. But at what cost. I’m scared to introduce Weebly to my staff because although it’s a great blogging platform that works here, I can only seem to get the editor to work after school when no one else is on the system. I know someone at Intel who says he can’t even upload work related photos on his home line. How many other businesses that rely on the internet are pulling their hair out? How do you do business in a connected world when the connection is severed? 

I don’t turn on Tweetdeck at work anymore because I don’t want updates to steal bandwidth from my teachers. I’m a disconnected principal that enjoys being a connected principal

The reality is that I’d like to think that information is free and accessible to all, but 1/5 of the population of the world have a filter on information, news… and learning!

T.I.C – “This is China” – Midnight Chinese New Year Fireworks

I was in Beijing for New Year’s Eve, December 31st, and midnight came and went without a single firework going off. I looked out my window of the 20th floor and saw one building that had a “Happy New Year” Sign down it’s side… that was it! Last year we were home in Dalian from our holidays on the Saturday after the Chinese New Year, the first set of fireworks went off at 4am, the constant noise of fireworks started at 6am, and I think at about 2:30 in the afternoon I looked at Ann and said, “I think we just went 3 minutes without hearing a firework go off”. Seconds later they started again, and I don’t think we had another 3 minute break until 1am! But, we were not treated to the visual bonanza Heather got at midnight in Beijing on Chinese New Year this year. Thanks to Heather Davis for sharing the video! 

T.I.C. – “This is China” – Community


There is a Chinese school right behind ours, and their main entrance to our shared field and school is at the side of our building. It snowed last night and when I walked by their entrance there were about 15 parents and a few older students shoveling the front walk.

Many hands make light work:-)

I’m sure there are a few small communities around the world where this could happen, but living in a city of 6 million and seeing this community effort makes my morning!


*Update: There is more to this story… See the rest on my Pairadimes blog. 

T.I.C. -This is China – ‘Chinglish’ store name


‘Chinglish’ – A product of individual words being translated literally from the rather metaphorical language of Chinese into English… directly, and without consideration of the meaning of the sentence.

This photo is of a hair salon: “The Dream Satisfactory Sends The Cosmetology”

I’m on the Qing Guay, (light rail public transit), as I type this on my phone, and the announcement for the arrival at the next station in English says, “The (Station Name) is here.

I’ve often seen terms like this on places like the FAIL blog, or with the term ‘English Fail’ attached, but I disagree! What I see here is a willingness to TRY, and that is key to learning.

I’m so hesitant to try with my limited Chinese that my learning curve is more like an unscalable cliff! Here in Dalian, I’ve seen many fearless English learners that want only to improve and don’t think of their limited ability and mistakes along the way as failures, but simply as opportunities to improve. There is a valuable lesson to be learned here!

Still, some of the Chingish I’ve seen has been irresistibly funny, and I’ll share a few on my Daily Ink.

T.I.C. – This is China – Haircut Anyone?


Yesterday I turned my video off a few seconds early. At the next corner, this was the scene. A bicycle, a chair, a sheet to cover the patron, a pair of scissors, a comb, and a battery-operated shaver. That’s pretty low ‘overhead’ for this ‘street barber’. I’ve tried a lot of different street food, but must admit that I pay a bit more for an indoor haircut!

(I asked before taking the photo.)

T.I.C. -“This is China” #1 – A small back-street in Dalian

via datruss on qik VIDEO (Mouse over the image to press play.)

This is less than a 5 minute walk from our school, and it’s a China you don’t see when you visit Beijing or Shanghai and do what the tourists do. A block up was a barber cutting hair on the street corner. I’ll share that photo tomorrow.

For the next few days I’ll share a number of different sights and sounds and ‘Chinglish’ phrases that help to make this a wonderful experience here. There are many hard-to-describe events and circumstances that happen here and our staff will say T.I.C. – “This is China”. I’ll use this same term to celebrate and share in the adventure our family is having here.

Just to put a little perspective on T.I.C. – one of my teachers shared her elevator ride to her apartment with a neighbor and her goat today… T.I.C.