All change, please!
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Worse: DON’T CALL ME “DOCTOR FENG!”… I have not yet been “christened” a “Doctor” since I have still got to get my final dissertation done right… a la KFC (“We do chicken right!” and stuff like that)…
DON’T CALL ME “TEACHER”, EITHER! In China, every last soul calls a teacher — well, “teacher” (老師). That don’t work out fine for your David here. He prefers folks to straight-out address him as David. Buck naked, we are all the same: we can all eat, drink, go to the toilet and take time off in bed. We’re the same be our skins black, white or yellow. So I don’t for a split second buy the fact that “a teacher is ‘superior’ to a student”. I don’t buy it.
I look up very well to the Western world, where you call a teacher by his family name, plus “Mr” or “Ms”. I look up even better to the world of “personal communications” (so to speak in jargon-ese), where David Feng is just simply “David”. Hence my preference for my students to outright call me David. I don’t want for a second to be referred to as Doctor Feng. It just confines me to that Ivory Tower I never wanted to be in at all. It’s un-Mensch, as Guy Kawasaki might say. A Mensch of a teacher realizes he’s an equal amongst all the other students.
I sure hope my fellow students can nick away some knowledge he or she will put to use one of these days, but I hope even more that chez my lessons, students and teachers can act as equals. In this long stroll in the Edu Trail, it’s much better if the head of the team doesn’t put off airs and acts more like a guy in the midst of a group than an absolute dictator leading it. That’s just my way of doing lessons: I don’t do titles, I do outright human language…
…and I seriously mean that. I’ve had a few nasty trips on the CRH3C trains from Beijing to Tianjin and back. 30 minutes between the two metropolises sure was sweet, but I once shared a 2-abreast seat with a drunk, farting chimney. The dude next to me smelt like a Mao-era chimney, and when he talked, out came the strongest stench of tobacco. I think what would have made it even less harmonious would have been a bit of flatulence. Gaddhafi did not have it any easier… he farted on TV (no, seriously)…
It’s on that very same issue of uncontrolled farting — or, to be more precise — on the topic of bad manners, that I’m about to let myself loose here on my territory. When I came back at the age of 10 in 1992 during a brief summer holiday visit to Beijing, I was shocked when this local came onto the streets of Wangfujing and let phlegm fly right in front of me onto the street.
I saw this article that Elliott Ng shared on Facebook that the Gap is about to close a fair number of stores in the US while opening a good number more here in China. That’s got me a little worked up. The Chinese spend a great deal of money — both at home and especially abroad — but they’ve poor manners (sad to say) and that makes them lose a great deal of face. I have a pretty dim view of the coal mine CEO who got his “farmer wife” an LVHM bag while farting in first class on a plane (with a load of mistresses no less). China and its people have the money but not the morality. I think no nation is “sane” (so to say) or at least “OK” or “in good standing” without both balanced — or both present and correct. I find it offensive that “my people” (the Chinese) go outside of the Chinese mainland and start spitting, smack in the midst of the Champs-Elysees. You are, of course, entitled to your legal income, but shouldn’t you entitle yourself to some modestly good manners as well?