Print Story Chapter 33 - a short one
By slozo (Tue May 02, 2006 at 06:55:21 AM EST) (all tags)
A quick few words to let oyu know I'm still alive. Busy as hell. School is weird. A donkey story. A love story. I'm in Beijing.

The primary school system here is so out of whack, yet I continue to try to make a difference anyway. I mean, I know I am no hero, but if I can at least encourage a few young minds to think for themselves, then I can be happy that I made a difference. The students that the Chinese english teachers think are the most successful are some of the worst, in my mind. They memorize extremely well, they only repeat what they have been told, and they rarely have the kind of bright, inquisitive nature that heralds great intelligence. But on top of all of the shortcomings of the school system are the teachers themselves, some of them determined to repeat the mistakes that they have been taught so well.

The problem also lies in the way teachers are rewarded for their work at the school. Each one gets a base salary, which works out to a pretty good above average wage in China. At the end of the month (and at some private schools, the year), they are given bonus salary. This amount starts at the same level for all teachers, with an amount deducted every time there is some infraction worthy of the headmaster's dismay. The headmaster for our school, an energetic and animated 55 year old woman, stalks the hallways during classes, looking in to see that the teachers are following her guidelines. The teachers teach in fear of her wrath.

A Donkey's Fate in China
This story was told to me by my fiancee (nee girlfriend) a little while ago, as we spoke with others about cruelties purported on animals for sadistic, ridiculous and superfluous reasons. I am only recalling what I remember here, but the story really became embedded in my memory, as you will soon see why.

The Chinese have many traditional medecines to cure many different things, and one such elixir is called  "e jiao ", pronounced "ee-jai-oh".  It is used for the treatment of ailments related to the female womb, and for the promotion of better blood circulation. It is greatly prized for its effectiveness. It is procured from the skin of donkeys, but the skin can't just be taken from a dead donkey, as the medicine apparently has no effectiveness at all then. No, the skin must be taken from a LIVE donkey, as only then is it effective for use. Now comes the cruel part - if you are at all sensitive about animal horror stories, please skip this description. Frankly, I find it quite nightmarish.

First, a large pit is dug into the earth. The "hole", later to become an enclosure for the trapped beast of burden, is made so that the donkey can walk downwards into it, and then be trapped. It ends up being a sort of grave with a ramp, so that when the animal is later tortured, it cannot move out of the enclosure, or jump out, or move much at all. The hole thus dug, the poor donkey is coaxed into his hellish grave, and I think the rear of the below-ground prison is also sectioned off so that no backward movement can be made to escape. Now the ass is trapped, with his head just above ground, and he cannot move an inch.

First, the donkey's back and sides are beaten on with large sticks. An ass can take a lot of abuse, and it's skin is tough and leathery. Nevertheless, the blows are heavy, even and steady, as the beaters are careful not to tear the skin in any way, which would ruin the medecine. After the animal is "softened up" so that it is reduced to a wimpering pulp, the sticks are put away and the next step commences immediately. The donkey remains concious still, trapped in it's earthen prison, and the torturers are careful not to seriously maim or kill the beast. Well, not yet . . . Huge pots of boiling hot water are prepared, and then without further ceremony poured onto the rough, thick skin of the donkey. The searing hot flash of pain would probably kill a human, with our thin and relatively soft flesh, but the donkey has a tough hide, so it doesn't succumb. It just brays and screams, frothing at the mouth, unable to escape its horrific nightmare. Then, in quick fashion, several men in essence "scalp" it by cutting around ears, sides and back, and then peeling it off. The scalding hot water prepares the hide well for this stage, and with some care the men can easily remove the skin from the tortured animal. At this point, it is still alive, but what happens afterward is unclear to me, as YJ only told me what she herself knows of the process having never actually witnessed it (thank goodness for that!). I like to think that the animal dies quickly then.

Other News
Uh . . . oh yeah, looks like I will get married to Yijie in China, probably in the late summer. I'll have some kind of ceremony in Canada when we finally get her there. We are both very happy together, and she has prepared herself to start a new life in Canada (and Toronto) with me. For me, it will be a big change - for her, it's a double dose of big changes . . .

Other Other News
Been real busy, with little time to relax, sit back and write a decent missive to you all. Sorry. But I am in Beijing now on vacation, and I will write up some nice stuff soon . . .

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Chapter 33 - a short one | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Congrats! Spring is the time for marriage! by atreides (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue May 02, 2006 at 07:02:34 AM EST
Though, you may want to edit out the word "fiancee" and replace it with something else if you want to make sure this diary remains archived.

P.S. Speaking of, check my entry just after this weekend. I have something big planned...

That is all...

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless

lol - I totally forgot . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue May 02, 2006 at 07:12:56 AM EST
. . . about that fiancee thing, I read about that last week actually. Well, we'll see what happens . . .

something big . . . you coming to China?!?

Oh, how slow am I . . . you're gettin' hitched too!

[ Parent ]
Well, congratulations. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue May 02, 2006 at 07:14:51 AM EST
I hope your sister found out about it straight from you first.

Excellent news.

For the poll, however, I would have liked to have chosen the first three options.

Congratulations! by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue May 02, 2006 at 07:52:26 AM EST
You filthy cultural imperialist!  If you really loved her, you'd stay in China and learn to respect her customs.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Well, I've stayed in China long enough . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:14:27 AM EST
. . . and learned enough customs. Now, it's payback time!

She will be slowly tortured by being made to watch violent hockey games with me, getting a littany of obscure and meaningless observations and lingo. Then, I will make a large sandwich with lots of backbacon and mayonnaise, covered with maple syrup. I will then sing a rendition of O Canada for all the ages (in both French and English, of course) . . .

[ Parent ]
Did you even consider staying in China? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:22:52 AM EST
If you had to, would you stay there for her?

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
This was discussed . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:39:00 AM EST
. . . before te final decision was even close

I would not have lived in China, and if YJ had not been willing to come with me, it would have been the end of it most probably . . .

[ Parent ]
Romeo and Juliet by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:42:52 AM EST
would have ended much more happily if they'd had your pragmatism.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Mmm, bacon. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:28:33 AM EST
I wish it wasn't so far to the fridge. And then you've got to cook it.

But I don't have any maple syrup. <sigh>

[ Parent ]
don't forget the revered canadian custom by 256 (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:59:01 AM EST
of Tuesday Night Pancake Parties.

oh, and Funny Hats No Pants Day.

the list goes on.

oh, and congratulations, too.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
pretty funny . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue May 02, 2006 at 09:06:49 AM EST
. . . have you started drinking early today?

[ Parent ]
early by whose watch? by 256 (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue May 02, 2006 at 09:12:14 AM EST
it's gotta be getting pretty late where you are. i'll have a couple for you.

in mexico, whenever misslake would let me get away from it, i derived a certain amount of pleasure from spreading fantastical bald-faced lies about canada when interacting with tourists from other countries. (my internal ethical barometer somehow found this hilarious, while at the same time forbidding me from doing the same with the locals).
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
But of course. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:20:28 AM EST
It would seem unfair to force her to have to deal with such terribly confusing issues as freedom of speech, belief and movement within the country, let alone miniscule levels of poverty and abundant space.

I know that I'd find living in Canada to be cruel and unusual punishment, and I guess it would also go against your own Presbyterian beliefs.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget barbaric medicine by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:25:14 AM EST
That uses witchcraft to see no-see-ums and treat the actual causes of disease.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Good point. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:30:51 AM EST
Did I mention that I'm going to use lots of your national insurance payments (about 18 month's worth at what I imagine your salary to be) so that I can get injected with mouse-human chimaeric antibodies. Is that cool or what?

So no need for Chinese medicine when the NHS will casually interbreed mice and people for you.

[ Parent ]
well by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:02:30 AM EST

"An ass can take a lot of abuse, and it's skin is tough and leathery."

Isn't that the truth.

"female womb"

In contrast to the male womb.

As for 'interracial marriages' ... not a problem, unless you attend Bob Jones University:

Excerpt from BJU Disciplinary Rules

There is to be no interracial dating.
1. Students who are partners in an interracial marriage will be expelled.
2. Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled.
3. Students who date outside of their own race will be expelled.
4. Students who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University's dating rules and regulations will be expelled."

Webmaster's Note: Apparently, all the bad press eventually forced BJU to change the interracial dating "ban" to "requiring parental permission".
[ s o u r c e ]

congratulations! by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:04:20 AM EST
I should check out China sometime...

Congratulations by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:17:32 AM EST
and that sounds about as cruel as the way they serve monkey's brains.
Close friendships and a private room can offer most of the things love does.
Oh yes, the monkey brains . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:31:55 AM EST
. . . eaten only in the region of Guangzhou, one of the largest cities in China.

The monkey is led to a special table while caged, and its head is put up through a hole in the table. While the head is totally restricted, the monkey has a nail/pin hammered into its head, rendering it unconcious. Then, someone cuts through the skin and skull, taking off the top of the head. At this time,  all guests are invited to take a spoonful of yummy monkey brains . . .

note: Monkey still alive while being eaten. Apparently, it tastes a lot like Chinese style tofu . . . so it can't be that good. No, YJ hasn't eaten it.

[ Parent ]
Congrats. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 2) #19 Tue May 02, 2006 at 09:09:03 AM EST
Although, I must admit that the way the donkey torture story seemed to remind you to tell us about the impending nuptials gives me pause.

Well by moonvine (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue May 02, 2006 at 03:30:04 PM EST
A most harrowing cruelty. Are there donkeys still braying about in China? I'd figured they would've all been eaten or dead by now. When I last visited I didn't really see many large mammals gathered about much, well except for those humans eating them or selling their meaty carcass in the markets. And not to mention freshly cut snake blood. Have you tried it?

Funny enough, I just saw . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:11:50 PM EST
. . . my first mule in China last night while walking the streets of Beijing (I'm on vacation here). He seemed well cared for, but I went over to pet him on the muzzle and head anyway to say hello . . .

Have never tried the fresh snake blood, or the ever popular snake gall bladder. Many of these crazy dishes come from the south part of China around Guanzhou, where they will eat anything. The rest of the country often looks at these dishes with the same amount of disgust as we do . . .

[ Parent ]
mixed marriages have plenty of problems. by calla (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed May 03, 2006 at 04:00:25 PM EST
But Chinese women make great wives.

Go ahead and call me a racist - but none of my friends who have Chinese wives are divorced. NONE!!!

I can't say the same for my friends who married Anglo chicks.

Congrats! again.

p.s. I didn't read about the donkeys. Thanks for the warning.

Chapter 33 - a short one | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback