We went and watched the first half day of the school’s sports days at the Teacher Training University yesterday morning. If you’ve been here as long as I have, you’ve seen it all before. The classes opted for heavily Olympic-themed ideas. Class 13 did some weird thing that looked like one of the folk dances that we used to do when I was at primary school, but they managed to mess it up because one half of one line ended up facing the other half. It appears that the chain was meant to hop forwards and backwards, but it could do nothing of the sort.
After the opening ceremony there were running races, and we wandered around watching the long jumping and shot putting. The latter was a horror because no one appears to have taught the kids how to put the shot. We watched several competitors basically attempting to throw the shot. But then again, they won’t have done a scrap of practice for any of these events in PE class. Much time was spent practising the marching for the opening. [Easy on the -ings. –ed.]
Of course, we didn’t just watch. We found that we had to go through paragraphs about the sports days written by the pupils and pick the ones which were worth reading out over the PA system. We all took turns doing the latter. A lot of them were repetitive, and a couple were downright gibberish, including one which seemed to be a translation of a Chinese pop song. Or it could’ve been a retranslation of a Western song. That is, the song was translated into Chinese and then out again. It was basically Chinglish and rather meaningless.
As a consequence of the sports days, we have the rest of the week off, but have to teach Thursday on Saturday. Why we just don’t teach on Friday, I don’t know. Frankly, this is a blasted nuisance.
Anyway, I’m set to go to Hong Kong next week. Normally, I stay put during the National Day holiday because it’s one of those times of the year when travelling can be a nightmare in this country. What rather annoyed me was that when I bought the ticket yesterday, the price was ¥600 higher than the last time. Perché? Because the airlines are a bunch of greedy, money-grubbing bastards. It’s holiday time, so the prices go up. Bah! There’s another reason for me to be away from the Mainland. It’s a consequence of the assumption that foreigners have no lives or better things to do.
If I could get a job in Hong Kong, it’d spare me all this commuting. In fact, this will probably be the last time I go to the Territory for a while since I may not go there next year at all.
[05.09.14. Very little of the preparation for Sports Days at Chinese schools has anything to do with sport. Pupils do a lot of marching practice for the opening ceremony and… that’s it! Such days also seem to be scheduled for around mid autumn (NB. Actual mid autumn, and not the so-called Mid Autumn Festival which is in early autumn when the weather can still be summer-like) when the weather is typically unsettled and we gaze anxiously at the skies hoping that it won’t rain.]