Has there been a similar U.S. video?
I wouldn’t mind if the U.S. recruited this man, a true leader for the 21st century.
Musings and chronicles on life, work, film, culture, politics, etc.
08 Jun 2013 2 Comments
I shake my head whenever I think about this. I never thought this new job offer would become so confusing and annoying. I haven’t even been up to writing about it, though I’ve mentioned it ad nauseum to my friends. Now I’ve been approved to keep my current job so all’s well. It didn’t look good 10 days ago though. Here’s a run down.
As I said when I got the offer, I asked about housing and was told it was available for all teachers recruited from abroad. That’s why I accepted the job.
Then the new teachers got an email about 60 days of temporary housing. What? That’s not what I wanted, considering Macau’s the 5th most expensive city in Asia. I wrote to the director explaining how important housing was to me.
A week later all the new teachers got a long email and one of the items was housing. We were told that all new hires would get housing and that anyone who wanted housing had to apply for it. Is this too good to be true all of a sudden? We’ve gone from 60 days of temporary housing and the possibility of campus housing in January to immediate campus housing. That’s good.
Well, by Monday, the relief had worn off and I was back to doubting. According to a PowerPoint on how to apply for housing, everyone must apply for housing. Housing would be allocated according to job title, family size, and a few other criteria. Distinguished Professors get 75 points, Professors, 60, Associate Professors 50, Assistant Professors 40 and lowly Senior Lecturers and Secretaries 20.
Twenty?! Talk about insulting. Now I would get 10 points for getting recruited from overseas, but I am single so unless I get a live in maid, which would net me 10 more points, I don’t qualify for the additional points for a spouse or children. Since I’m new I can’t claim credit for years of service.
The contract arrived on Monday. After marveling at the Portuguese, I got an English translation. The contract states that it supersedes all other communication between the employer and employee. Seems the email promising housing would count for nothing. Also, once you sign the contract, you have to give three months notice before quitting. So if someone signs it today and finds out July 15th, she doesn’t have housing, she either works for at least a semester or pays three months wages to the school. I’m not sure how they’d collect, but that’s what is stated.
Another interesting document came with the contract. It was a booklet explaining what income and assets teachers, as government employees have to declare. Macau wants to end corruption, which is admirable. They require people working in Macau to declare property, income, investments, jewelry, boats, and airplanes owned – whether they’re in Macau or elsewhere. Employees must declare such assets with a value over 500 points. I couldn’t figure out what a point is worth, but it was interesting that they insist on this. How would they check the veracity of foreign employees’ declarations?
Not my problem as I’ll be back in Jinan, but it’s interesting.
That 20-point scheme for English teachers is just galling. I bet it indicates how we’re treated across the board.
24 May 2013 2 Comments
Explorer has been adding obnoxious ads of big breasted women, rotting teeth and cigarettes to my page. No thanks. I don’t want what you’re peddling. Ever think of trying actually add beauty to the world instead of shock?
19 May 2013 3 Comments
I got a job offer in March. A job with good pay, working on a new campus for a respected university. I immediately inquired about housing and benefits and was informed that housing is arranged. The sample contract I saw listed good benefits including health care. Since I enjoyed the people I met, I accepted the job.
I also made the mistake of not continuing to job hunt. In fact, I wrote to two contacts to withdraw my application for jobs that seemed quite good. Also, I informed my current employer than in the fall, that I’d be teaching elsewhere. My current job has been given to someone else so my only chance to remain here would be if someone had to back out.
Well, now things don’t look so certain.
I got an email from someone at the new university and she mentioned temporary housing. I inquired about the adjective and learned that new hires got 60 days of temporary housing. I was told I could get my own housing. While that’s possible, it’s not what I wanted ever. I prefer the convenience and will sacrifice space for the proximity to the campus. Also, there’s the issue of the university not coming through with what they said earlier. That’s a red flag for me. I’ve had a couple horrendous jobs and I’ve learned from them. Better safe than sorry.
Moreover, the new campus isn’t ready so we won’t teach there till second semester. If I got my own housing it would either be on the island with the current campus or on Hengqin Island where the new one is being built. The fact that we’re talking about different islands does make a commute sound like a hassle.
So I’m waiting for further information from Human Resources. I’ve been waiting since Wednesday.
I don’t like that the question that I asked in plain language and got an answer to is now void. I don’t want to move three times in five months. While I do have a good impression of the department director, I recall that at EBUS/Xiangjiang High School, I liked the program manager/director. Sometimes they really don’t have much power to solve problems. I can’t find any information about the school on the internet. Reading a detailed blog could provide some insights.
As it now stands, I’m trying to be patient and hopeful. The problems aren’t insurmountable and how they’re handled will tell me a lot about the school.
13 May 2013 Leave a Comment
I recently got a dubious looking email allegedly from Kohl’s, the retailer. I emailed them via their website to see if it was a phishing email and soon got a reply that it was legitimate, despite putting my name in ALL CAPS.
So I called as directed and found out I’d forgotten to pay a small bill, less than $14. Before I could speak to a person I had to wait a long while and then got a recording that repeated my balance and asked the same questions six, count ‘em six times.
Okay, that’s American “customer service” in the voice mail age. I wanted to pay over the phone, as I have $14. I was blown away that I’d also be charged $10 to do this. Jeez. That put me in an ugly mood and made me loath to ever shop at Kohl’s again. It’s not like they’re the only place that sells clothing in my area. The clerk on the phone was nice enough, but the company’s policies are awful. And since I’m not in America, I’m not used to waiting so long for anything.
In China there are hordes of people at various places, but I’ve gotten good at avoiding lines. And in a lot of places lines aren’t so bad. There aren’t any for restaurants or movie theaters. To get in line for a train is ugly, but we manage. I’ve never had to wait for more than one person ahead of me at a post office here. Think how amazing that is since there are one billion more people here than in the U.S.
07 May 2013 1 Comment
It’s week two of this, Alternate Day Fasting (a.k.a. Intermittent Fasting). Last week I fasted on Sunday and then Thursday. It wasn’t a complete success because I was going to fast on Wednesday, but I just got tempted so I changed my second day to Thursday. Last week was a weird week because I worked on Sunday and had Monday – Wednesday off. I just think if I don’t have to work, eating will be more of a temptation – at least by dinnertime.
Tuesday I have a good schedule for my fasts. I teach from 8-10am then again from 2:30 to 4:30pm. I can skip breakfast easily enough and if I get a 400-500 calorie lunch, I’m okay for the afternoon. Then I can take it easy in the evening and go to sleep early if hunger gets to be too much, as it has.
Thursday seemed harder because I teach from 8 to noon. So the afternoon’s wide open for temptation. As far as my teaching schedule goes Friday would be a better day as it’s just like Tuesday, but Friday is typically a night to go out with friends. I may need to fast on Sundays.
Today I’ve been pretty good. I did eat some radish balls for a small supper as it’s really hard to miss dinner completely. I recall I had fruit for dinner last week.
It’s interesting how this challenges me. It’s a more intense challenge than say cutting out a food group, but because its short term and intense, I think it’ll work. I can tell myself that tomorrow I can have some chocolate or whatever. I’m not going to weigh myself the first month because this change isn’t about weight, though that wouldn’t be a bad side effect. It’s about avoiding cancer and dementia, which seem to be caused by the American diet.
02 May 2013 1 Comment
I just deleted this comment: Great words here.
Okay, there are lots of great words in English and loads of other languages.
26 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
Testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing this week. I hope we can end the use of drones.
07 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
I really was stunned and saddened to hear that Roger Ebert died. He was such a constant in my media life. I loved his writing and his lively discussions on At the Movies with Gene Siskel and later with Richard Roeper.
For a few years I took Roger’s film class through the University of Chicago’s adult ed program. It was tough to get a seat in the class. The first time I took it we watched Paul Schrader‘s films and Schrader even came to our class to screen Light of Day.
The following semester to cut down on students who would have to be turned away when the class moved from Spertus College to a screening room on Michigan Avenue, Ebert chose to focus on films by French director Robert Bresson. Bresson’s films are tough as he rejects everything Hollywood loves: surprise endings, professional actors, music, you name if it’s in a blockbuster, it’s not an element of a Bresson film. I love a good challenge I signed up again. Even in the smaller new space, the class was full and some were turned away. A lot of the people had been taking the class for 18 years by then and many were knowledgeable film viewers. Ebert never put anyone down or carried himself as if he was smarter or better than us. In fact, several times he’d point out that the only reason he was teaching the course was the roll of a die. Hardly, since he was an expert, but he conducted the class with such respect for all.
Usually the class followed the films of one director and we were able to see his evolution or what made him tick. I recall taking the Schrader, Bresson, Billie Wilder classes, but I think there were others. I do remember winning the Beat Roger Oscar contest in the class one year. Talk about a fluke. I got 8 or 10 books, one autographed, which I’ll have to dig out.
Beyond the class, Roger’s website and reviews continued me to seek out challenging films, to expand what I watched. Thus I discovered great films, old and new.
I admire how Roger wrote, how he curated outstanding web content on his blog, how he taught me to view films and how he exhibited joy in film. He wasn’t just a public intellect, he was a happy one. How often do we see that? He cared passionately about film, didn’t take himself to seriously, was honest about his likes and dislikes – even his early feelings for Siskel. He lived well. I was always awed by how bravely and openingly he continued to live and work while battling cancer.
It’s sad that he lost that battle, but we were lucky to have him all these years. For a reminder of Ebert’s passion and insight, take a look at the Chicago Tonight video, which you can watch online here.
29 Mar 2013 1 Comment
I like to think that there’s nothing but goodwill flowing about campus, but sometimes you learn something and realize that’s not quite the case.
For over a semester, one of the teachers has had a housekeeper clean his apartment once a week. The office that helps foreign teachers put him in contact with a woman who has her sister clean while she manages the company. (A Cinderella tale, perhaps?) He pays 150 rmb for two hours. That’s roughly 24 dollars. Quite a bargain!
I mentioned this agreement with a friend who’s been in China quite a long time. She told me the going rate is 15 an hour. Whoa! That’s quite a difference.
I’ve looked into this and it’s true. A Chinese friend found out it’s 15 a hour. I think a lot of us will have cleaner floors at least. (The floors here get incredibly dusty.)
I don’t feel good that the other teacher and now the guy he referred to use the first service are so overcharged. Our apartments are spartan. There’s nothing complicated in cleaning them.