Excerpt from Chapter 7 The Poor Chinese
The bath is to soften your skin in preparation for cleaning it, which you either do yourself in the shower, or for which you pay an attendant to rip the dead skin off your body using a cloth. The results are astonishing, and once you get over the pain and the embarrassment of lying naked in front of just everybody there, and having the attendant's hand touching and brushing against every crack and crevice of your body, the experience is refreshing. It is simply amazing how much dead skin they can rip off you. I have at times taken the most thorough shower possible at home, then gone to the bath house and had the attendant clean me with my own cloth, and sat amazed at how black that cloth had become.
One night after I got out of the bath I went to a shower and the only available shower head was beside a boy of about 11 or 12 years of age. He immediately started speaking with me in English. He was quite enthusiastic and extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with a foreigner, even if his English was pretty basic. After about 20 minutes of standing there talking to him whilst onlookers tried to get him to ask me specific questions, we both left to go get dressed. As it turned out, our lockers were side by side and I had opportunity to meet the boy's father.
Both the boy and his father begged me to give him private lessons and I finally agreed, provided that there was no payment involved, for it was stipulated in my contact that I could not earn income from teaching outside of my school. Despite my insistence on receiving no payment, they kept turning up with gifts of fruit and cartons of cigarettes. I was not then and nor am I even now, interested in teaching private students, but when I encounter a student with a love of learning I find it impossible to refuse to teach him/her. It was this boy's enthusiasm which motivated me to teach him, not a chance to earn anything. Furthermore, given that we had met in a public bathhouse, it seemed pretty obvious to me that his family was poor. I did not wish to receive any form of payment at all from them.
A couple of months into our private lessons, it transpired that I had scheduled a lesson for him without realizing that it fell on Christmas day (2004). I had received many invitations to dine with many different people that day and since I couldn't please everyone, I decided that I would hold a dinner and invite everyone to my place. When I realized that I had scheduled a class that night, I got Tobias to call the boy's family and tell them of the change in plan and asked them to join us for dinner. They were quite please to accept the invitation and toward the end of the evening, they extended an invitation to me to join them for dinner in their 'new' home. That home was anything but poor. The house cost one million rmb to build and was shared by the parents, the grandparents and an uncle and aunt. The family owned a factory which made plastic medicine bottles and piping and after dinner they took us on a tour of it, pointing out in the process that 4 machines in particular had cost about 6 million RMB. I had been teaching a 'poor' boy without knowing that his parents were extremely wealthy. I had assumed that they were common folk simply because I met them in the local bathhouse.
....I knew one person who thought it was disgusting that I go to a bathhouse and otherwise adopt the 'baser' customs of the Chinese. According to her own words, the Chinese 'don't know any better'. While I can understand that from a foreign perspective that one can always just shower at home, I really do love to soak in a nice hot bath. When I would go mid morning or mid afternoon when the place was pretty deserted, the attendants used to fear that I would fall asleep in the communal bath and drown.
Personally I think that unless you have learned to live as the common Chinese live (and that is about three quarters of a population of 1.3 billion people) how is it that you can say that you have 'experienced' the cultures and customs of China? As expressed in a recent press release: "The plane travels to many cultures, yet one does not merge with these cultures". (James Tarantin "The Equation")
Frankly I think that some foreigners, particularly the ones younger than I, just grew up prudish. If you yourself are prudish, or if you found this chapter hard to take, then I suggest you pay heed to the titles of some chapters and perhaps skip them.
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2013 Social Commentary Articles
Giving the Finger to Comrade GOOGLE's brand of Communism
By Comrade R.P. BenDedek
August 26, 2013
I have come to the decision that the only thing I can do is take a page out of Comrade Google's 'Little Red Book' and say: 'Screw You!' Comrade Google didn't like the way the Communist Government of China kept changing the rules. Comrade Google would not submit to a 'totalitarian authority'. Comrade Google decided to pull up stakes and leave. Is there a lesson to be learned in that?
Get rid of your Baggage People
Aug 21, 2013
Einstein is purported to have said: 'Insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result'. The 'pastors' I mentioned above, were real people; people who did their best to get me to believe and do as they did. In each of those cases 'prior to being caught out in their sins', each of those pastors spoke ill of me, slandered me and did their best to control and manipulate people I knew. They did me a lot of injury and caused me a lot of grief.
Terrorism the Media doesn't want to report on
by R.P. BenDedek et al.
August 13, 2006
Every time Israel takes action against Hamas in Gaza and starts blowing up tunnels, the 'western activists' start gushing tears from their eyes and blood from their hearts. The purpose here today is simply to provide information to counter the irrationality of 'agenda driven' activists who seek to control the emotions and minds of the silent and somewhat mindless majority. I am still 8 years old, hospitalized in critical condition. Screaming from pain. Bandaged from head to toe. And my head is not the same. No longer full of golden long hair. The head is burnt. The face, back, the legs and arms, burnt. I am surrounded by family members, but my mother is not with me.
Political Islam is full of hypocrisy and lies
by R.P. BenDedek
August 11, 2013
Politicians care only for themselves and nothing for the truth unless it suits their purposes. What they do call truth is usually nothing but lies! The general population - never seem to notice when radicals of all nationalities, religions and persuasions turn to 'ad hominems' rather than to logical debate when someone disagrees with them. The honest man will argue his point honestly. The perverted man ignores the argument and attacks the man (ad hominem) as though truth is not found in discovering and weighing the evidence and facts but in the character and 'Politically Correct Nature' of the person speaking them.
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
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"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls