Woke up early again today at 4.30, mainly because it gets light here so early and also that I have really thin curtains in my bedroom.
It’s all because of the artificial one- time- zone, that China runs on. Being on Beijing time and being some 550 miles north east of Beijing, it gets dark at 8ish when it should be 9.30ish and gets light at 3.30 rather than 4.30ish. I’ve just looked this up, Changchun is at 43° north latitude, London is at 52° – Changchun is at the same latitude as Marseilles in the south of France so it shouldn’t get dark until very late in the evening!

It’s okay if you happen to live along or near to the Beijing parallel – which includes the important Eastern coastal cities and Guangdong – but elsewhere in China – for me anyway- it’s totally ridiculous. I often talk about this with my students and they don’t even think about it, and find it strange my asking. But I guess if you’ve lived here all your life and known it know other way then would find that a strange thing to ask.

So are there any advantages to the sun coming up so early I ask myself? Well, you could start work earlier – which the Chinese do; much to my annoyance when woken up by someone cutting sheet metal with an angle grinder at 5am! In theory you can start work at 4 or five and work through ’til 5 – which may explain how the Chinese build things so quickly.

I remember during the winter vacation I went to Xian (500miles to the west of Beijing) the sun was coming up at 8.30 in the morning and it getting dark at 7 at night – in February! I am told that in Tibet and Xinjiang (2000miles from Beijing) the only people who use Beijing time are the state controlled railways and the TV stations!

finally another post!!!!

Massive Update.

excuse the terrible grammmar and speling – its late!

So i’m back! And i’ve now got reliable (relativly!) ADSL and able to access this website allbeit through a backdoor. Anyway, i’ve been thinking about updating this site for ages, but never really got down to actually doing it! so here goes…

Well, lots has happened since my last and rather brief update. I’ll try and remember it all.

So it’s now almost August, and i’ve finished my contract with 长视. It’s been truely an amazing experience. Many strange things have happened – too many to remember!! – but overall its been a real eye-opener as to how people in this country live their lives and how they think. It’s been a real learning experience.

So come April I was considering my options. I was thinking about staying at my present university, but was also considering other places. My decision was made for me by the department ‘leader’ who told another foreign teacher to tell us (the three youngest teachers) that we

” don’t care about our students” and that we “look down upon our students”

Where this bile came from i don’t know, but sadly this meant that I was going to work elsewhere for the next semester. Interestingly, I spent the next two weeks with my classes using the discussion topic “do you think that David does not care about his students” and ” Do you think that David looks down upon his students”
This proved to be a really good topic, and I felt extremely privileged that my student’s unanimously disagreed with these statements – infact many were shocked. Others said that it’s quite normal in China for your boss to say things like this, that it is normal for bosses to not like their subordinates! To any Westerner this makes no sense whatsoever, also in the west its slander and discrimination but that’s another matter…
It’s one thing making informed critisism, but unjustified slurs are pointless – esp. from your boss!!!

From my experiences here in China I have come to the conclusion that there are many, many things that I will never fully understand, however i respect that things are different here and I am a visitor to this country – so to act (like some foreigners) and complain that its not fair or unlike their home country would be wholly wrong and stupid. enough of this, back to what i’ve been doing!

So I sent my CV out and I got a dozen or so job offers from all over China – ranging from Fujian in the south to Haerbin in the north. But anoyingly most were from institutions in either Beijing or Shanghai, both places that I refuse to work in for various reasons. Mainly because they are too western for my liking!

One day in early May I received a telephone call from someone claiming that they wanted me to work at Jilin University next year – naturally I was suspicious, I thought it strange for her to call my mobile number – but all was to be explained whenIi met up with her at their office. What I was being offered was two four month contracts (two semesters) working at the computer science department starting at the end of August and finishing June 2006. They offered me more money per month and fewer hours a week (16 hours against my current 20) but no vacation pay. I got paid for last Feb and March, even though i wasn’t working -it’s fairly standard practice at universities in China.
After about 3 weeks of negotating and various ammendments to the contract – which I wrote myself – we agreed and signed up. I learned a lot about negotiating, you tell them what you want, they say well that’s not possible, but howabout this. You argue, then come to a compromise – in my case, they were offering to pay overtime 100¥ for 4 hours a week extra taking my hours up to 20 per week, also they arranged my schedule so that I will only work in the morning, 8-12 mon-fri. It works out that my takehome pay each month will be almost double what it is now – but overall its about the same, because accommadation is not included.

I spent three weeks or so trying to find a place to live that will be near-ish to my new work – which means living in the southern part of the city, some 13km from where I have been. I live in quite a nice place now, its on the 6th floor or top floor, and is very light unlike my lst place which was a dungeon.
I’m now living in my new place the other side of town, it took several trips to move all of my junk that i’ve accumilate over the past 9 months or so.

The other week i got my internet connection set up, it’s really quite good 1mbt, and for only ¥1000/£70 a year for everything including modem, wires, installation etc! It seemed only right that I upgraded my computer to something halfway decent, my laptop is stoneage technology, and can’t really handle being online all the time. Therefore, i went to the centre of town to this huge computer centre, and a friend of a friend who works there managed to get me a computer built to my specifications and at trade prices!! (it’s funny things like RAM, CPU,CRT,USB,DVD,CD,card, exactly the same in chinese as english; allbeit spoken with a chinese accent like ‘usber’)
I wanted the specific components, the best in my eyes for what I want to do, so that it will be upgradable for a few years to come. The only thing I didn’t go for was the fastest CPU as this is really expensive – but when the price drops I can simply upgrade!
Here’s the spec for you techies:

ASUS k8n – with 7.1 speaker surround output/1394
AMD 3000+ CPU
Maxtor 120gb/7600 HD
Nvidia gfx 5950 256mb
1gb RAM
19″ philips LCD monitor
A case that is so cool, it has a large lcd dispay on the front that tells you all sorts.

All of this cost me ¥5100 or about 350 quid – which i think is a steal. Even at normal prices it would be about ¥7000 – there is no VAT to pay or any other sales tax on computer parts as they are made right here in China, and only foreign goods here have the big sales taxes imposed on them.

A drawback to being here is that my english has deteriated, i have subconsciously stopped using contractions , idioms, cliches, slang – and im sure that i enounciate my words more clearly. So when I come back i’ll probably sounds like a retard for a week or two! Also I sometimes forget a word that I want to say or I pronounce the word wrong – I know this is because I am learning a east asian language totally unrealted to english.

more to come

my MSN is davidcrompton (at) – i have a webcam and mic now!!!