The Last Week

So this is the beginning of my last week in Changchun, and my last week living in China  and Asia for the forseeable future at least. It’s quite stressful and hectic having to move, decide what to take home; pack; throw-away; say good bye to friends; stock up on things to take home; get things made; plan things back home; and doing those things that I’ll miss most/regret not doing here.
The weather now is almost perfect, not as hot as other summers I have experienced and so very comfortable for doing anything outside. It’s been 25-35C with a breeze and low humidity, blue skies and that constant Changchun sunshine.

My current contract situation is still going through the motions, It will take time but I suspect eventually something will happen. Despite what you may think from reading my previous posts, I’m pretty laid back about all of this, I’m so used to these kind of situations happening – they are not unsual.

Just sometimes It’s frustrating and this probably comes out through my writing. In a perverted way, I enjoy testing the procedural nonsenses and trying to solve such problems. I like challenges. It provides an insight into the inner workings of organisations that I would otherwise never have an opportunity to see, however good/bad the outcome may be.

The Chinese have a  saying 百闻不如一见 bai wen bu ru yi jian-
meaning seeing something once is better than hearing it 100 times – you really don’t know what its like until you’ve been there yourself.

I’m lucky as I can just walk away from this, tell others, forget and move on. Many are not so fortunate, I am aware that what I have experienced/ing is just the tip of the iceberg.
Indeed, outside the provincial government offices on one of the days I went there, was a group of maybe 30-40 employees sitting on the steps, protesting over corruption. A few of them were holding placards, each with a different character on it, when read – I didn’t understand all of it – said their dept (Jilin province government hygiene dept) was corrupt. I think this is unusual though I have seen pickets like this before outside various government offices in Changchun (esp around renmin guangchang).

I just wonder if you got 10 laowai standing outside one of these government buildings protesting with placards, whether this would prompt action faster? It certainly would spread the news fast…

Some people have emailed me saying saying ‘well if you dont have to go there, why bother?’ If you don’t have to experience something that isn’t all good then why experience it at all? Life is short, right?
For me the answer to this is that If you never even bother to ‘go there’ then you don’t even give yourself the opportunity to see what might happen, what things coud be like. I believe its worth taking the risk if only to realise that you wont do the same thing again, I think I’d feel regret in the future at never doing something , never even finding out.
It’s kind of a paradox, in that its sometimes easy to complain about how things are not fair here; how you often can lose out; how you can find yourself in difficult positions through no fault of your own; But, in a sense, part of this is what makes the place such an enigma – for me at least, things are much laissez faire and free.
In my life here, I am seldom bored, Life is never monotonus. It’s certainly a challenge and at times very tough, but I never wake up in the morning and think ‘this is just another day’.

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