Wuhan Ciayou!

We arrived in China on Halloween in 2017, more specifically my wife Emily, our youngest son Wyatt, and I arrived late after a flight delay in Hong Kong. We stood in the airport wondering where we were going to go next and not looking forward to sleeping in the airport. Eventually we got all that sorted, and we were set up in a very nice apartment and a very friendly neighborhood.

Soon I was teaching in Weiming Optical Valley campus in Guanggu, a district of Wuhan often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley for its abundance of tech companies. Wyatt enrolled in grade 9 at the new school. During my second year, the school hired our oldest son Adryan to teach math and science. Finally, our family was together earning a comfortable living and looking forward to the future.

I taught for two school years, and then after the summer holiday I moved to Weiming’s larger campus in Wuhan’s Dongxihu district. Wyatt enrolled in grade 10, and Emily adjusted to a new area.

Sometime after Christmas this year we learned of a new virus. It didn’t have a name yet, but we already knew its origin and that it had infected a few people from the market. Other than people who live close to the seafood market, no one else was too bothered.

On New Year’s Eve January 31st, we were planning to have an end of term dinner celebration at a local hotel. We were told later that afternoon that dinner would be postponed as some of the food had been sourced from the seafood market. Okay, we’ll eat at home. We headed home and had a nice dinner. We settled in for the night. Monday morning, we went to Tianhe airport. We flew to Shanghai for the beginning of our tour of Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. It was beautiful. Shopping, eating, shopping walking, taking photos, and oddly enough – more shopping.

After the tour ended, we spent a couple of days with friends in Shanghai. Thanks Nancy Michael and Gabby. We took the fast train to Wuhan. Eight-hundred and forty kilometers and four hours later, we arrived.  Lots of coughs, sniffles and some sneezing in the station and on the train and then the station afterwards.  Oh well, that’s the price of traveling during cold and flu season.

We arrived home about 4:30 on Monday afternoon. It was nice to be back at our apartment. as nice as the hotels were, there is no substitute for your own bed.

On Tuesday morning both Wyatt and Emily had coughs and sore throats and I had a bit of a tickle. Normally we would just let it go, but the talk of this virus was becoming more insistent, so we decided to go to the clinic. We arrived at a mostly quiet clinic and were examined and diagnosed as cold, cold, and sore throat.  Take this, this, this, this, and don’t do that. Done and Dusted.

We did a quick shop and headed home. Wednesday morning life, as it sometimes does, changed.

A full lockdown was in place. It was suggested that we don’t go out. Although we weren’t restricted to our apartment, we were advised in messages texts and phone calls to stay put. We bundled up and got out to buy water rice in a few essentials. Most stores had already closed on the Tuesday and people had left for the annual pilgrimage to visit family. After all was the Chinese Spring Festival. The streets were deserted.  Although I joked with Wyatt to watch out for zombies, I wasn’t feeling much levity. Then we turned the corner, and they were about 20 Walkers wearing quilted pajamas and an assortment of grey green blue and pink surgical masks. At least the apocalypse won’t be Monochromatic.

The most difficult thing about this isn’t the fear, it’s the inconvenience of doing things.  Shopping, taking out the trash, and staying in touch with people in new and uniquely annoying ways. Surgical masks, gloves, and a layer of clothes you must clean as soon as you get home, add an extra layer of complication to everything.

Unfortunately, it all begins to fray your nerves ever so little. the annoyance builds and you find yourself biting your tongue, or unfortunately not biting it soon enough. We have been getting on each other’s nerves. I can be a bit of a smart ass at the best of times and this is not a time for flippant remarks. I occasionally slip up.

Emily is very focused, and on task. She keeps the ship moving forward. The occasional gales of boredom, tension, and irritability are weathered. We stick to routines we get up early and make our beds. We use the bathroom. We do what we must do. Take a shower and brush our teeth. We have breakfast together like we do every day. The difference now is that we don’t leave the house and go to school. So, we do some exercise, read, watch videos, talk, and try not to dwell on things.

Emily has her Korean dramas. Wyatt has his studies and computer games to keep him going. Lately my focus has been on interviews. The first was with CNN’s Rosemary Church, the second with a UK freelancer, Shane Raymond. Then Hina Alam from the Canadian Press interviewed me, and the story took on a new urgency for our family.  If this situation wasn’t surreal enough already, it soon would be.  News outlets began calling, skyping, texting and tweeting requests for interviews.

During the interview with CNN’s Rosemary Church, the primary issue from previous conversations with Emily crystalized. The idea that we would stay was no longer just a vague concept, it was a direction to take. Emily and I had discussed what we would do, and we also talked about what we should do if things went south.  What should we do? We asked each other.  Only one thing to do, wait and deal with what happens.

Flying out without our family isn’t, and never will be, a viable option. We predicted that since Emily and our oldest son Adryan are Indonesian citizens, that Canada might not allow them on the flight. A few days later, our prediction came to be. 

We made our third trip out to the market. We saw even less people out than before. When we arrived at the store the door was locked, and a few people were standing close to the entrance.  There was a large orange notice on the door.  I couldn’t get close enough to use my phone or my translator to understand the note.

Eventually the doors opened, and people entered.  They weren’t rushed, but they were deliberate and focused. People bought their eggs, their milk, their water, and their rice.  They queued.  They weren’t jovial or conversational, but they were polite, patient and orderly. This is one of those instances where I reflect on the impact of technology in our lives.  As purchases are being scanned, most people are paying with their phones, using Alipay or WeChat-Pay. These are the two most popular mobile banking apps.   Anywhere else we’d be paying with paper money or coin, keeping people waiting longer and increasing the risk of infection from touching the money or each other’s hands.

On January 30th, I stayed up late to talk with Matt Galloway on CBC Radio’s ‘The Current’. Matt asked why we had decided not to join the planned evacuation.

I spoke about the 14-day incubation period and the fact that a asymptomatic people could unwittingly spread that Coronavirus. I mentioned the danger of being in the recycled air, for ourselves and for other passengers.

Matt asked if I could understand why other Canadian’s might want to leave.  ‘Completely, I mean you want to blow this popsicle stand and you want to go home. You’ve got a baby, you’ve got young children, you’ve got a life. You want to get out.

I do not judge anyone in that way. You make the decision for your own family.

Of course, the main issue for us is family. My wife Emily, and our youngest son Wyatt are here with me. Our oldest son Adryan, on the other side of Wuhan, has been effectively isolated since this began. No cars, no buses, no trams, no taxis, no subways – so he has no way to cross this enormous city.

On January 5th the Evacuees arrived at Tianhe airport, at least those who could arrange transportation. We later found out that the Community Services Department has set up a program with drivers offering free taxi service. We shared this information in our WeChat groups, and I shared it with as many media outlets as possible.

For us there will be no evacuation. Even though I am satisfied that safety concerns have been addressed, Emily and Adryan’s citizenship means that they won’t be allowed on the flight. We will wait this out in safety, and in the hope that this Coronavirus will soon die out.

Our hope is not just for our family, but also for the people of Wuhan. The average citizen and the front-line volunteers and medical professionals. They struggle to save lives. Wuhan Ciayou!

Online Teacher Training Course

Teacher Training Course with AP Teacher Training Institute

Key to Your Future

Key to Your Future

APTTI offers a wide range of teachers training courses, keeping in mind the need of all teachers. We help teachers qualify for an international teaching career and get acquainted with the latest teaching methodologies and strategies to teach worldwide.

 Apply Now

In association with International TEFL Canada

Globally recognized TEFL/ TESOL Courses

International TEFL Canada is a globally recognized TEFL body providing certifications, associations and memberships for TEFL or TESOL candidates across the globe. Our organization comprises of people with decades of experience in the ESL field and had taught across the globe. We continue to bring together expertise on the subject in order to give candidates the best in the ESL teaching world. APTTI is a proud to be an institutional partner of this organization in providing globally recognized TEFL Course.

International TEFL Canada

Why Aspiring Professional Teachers Training Institute (APTTI)

Aspiring Professional Teachers Training Institute is a premium international teachers training organization with an extensive range of courses for teachers. The international standards of online teacher training courses are developed by qualified academicians with years of experience.  We have our academic mentors from across the world and presence in Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East.

  • Learn Everywhere Anytime
  • Internationally recognised certificate
  • Highly Qualified Tutors
  • Certificate & Diploma Courses
  • Thousands of Satisfied Teachers
  • Wide Range of Teachers Training Course
  • Flexible Payment Options
  • Free Updates & Support

Teaching certificates by APTTI can help teachers get better teaching opportunities. We make sure our students learn from the best and enhance their skills during the process. We as an organization believe that better teachers make better futures thus we make sure your training is comprehensive and beneficial.

Apply Now

Living in Wuhan

We had a nice unexpected holiday, so we had a chance to relax. It was much needed as I had a flu to get over and on Sunday we had a chance to explore the neighbourhood a bit more.

These are photos from this morning as Wyatt and I prepared to walk to school. They were taken as Wyatt intoned mournfully, “Oh Dad, you’re so embarrassing.”

Speak Yourself to Success

Hello Surabaya !!!

Join us.

It’s all here.

Public Speaking with Bahasa Indonesia and English. Topics include leadership, making a presentation, Marketing and dealing with anxiety. Learn how to prepare to be a Public Speaker. Time to invest in more knowledge.

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

9:00am to 3:00pm

IDR 300,000 per guest

IDR 500,000 per couple

(Incl. Lunch & Coffee break)21458039_1935728033233603_2302443648415707030_o

Hotel Amaris Address: Jl. Kedung Doro No.1-3, Kedungdoro, Tegalsari, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur

Register Today by Whatsapp 0812.8320.7399

Join TEFL Indonesia

Join us in June(mostly)

May 29th New TEFL course in Surabaya http://www.teflindonesia.com

Contact https://twitter.com/TeflIndo

Improving your life shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg

http://indonesia.affordabledegreeoverseas.com/

Dual Degree: Is it possible to get two degrees at the same time?

Dual degrees, or double cohorts, have been around for quite some time. They exist in real life, and they’re actually affordable. No longer the sole province of armored avengers and somber cape-wearing playboy billionaires, the dual degree gives students the chance to finish their studies with two complementary but equally marketable skill-sets.

A dual degree program in International Business and Intercultural Leadership would give graduates a serious advantage over the competition. The program exists, and it is affordable.

Presented by a respected Thai University and an American university, working together to create a concentrated four-year program.

Lamar University and Siam Technology College have a program which meets most budgets,  educational needs, and career aspirations.

The degrees

Lamar University and Siam Technology College Dual Degree Program

• BGS in Intercultural Organizational Leadership from Lamar University
• BBA in International Business Administration from Siam Technology College

The universities

Lamar University was founded in 1923 and is has a current enrollment of more than 15,000 students. Lamar University is one of the fastest growing colleges in Texas and is a member of The Texas State University System. Lamar University offers more than 100 educational programs of study in the most dynamic career fields leading to Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees. The 292-acre campus in Beaumont is about 90 miles east of Houston, Texas and about 25 miles west of Louisiana.

Siam Technology College, founded in 1965 as Thailand’s first Technology College under the name Siam Institute of Technology, and the first private technology college in Thailand, is a private education institution under the Office of the Higher Education Commission in Thailand. With over 10,000 students, STC is also one of the fastest growing institutes of higher education in Thailand.

Location and Contact Information

46 Jarunsanitwong 10 Road Tha Pra, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok, 10600, THAILAND
Siam Tech: 028785000
Office Phone: 0628432988
+66 (0) 87-541-9896
Admissions

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Disturbing and Familiar

Watching the president elect’s inaugural address last Friday I was struck by two things; one: that this was a remarkably coherent speech, and two: that bits of the address were eerily and disturbingly familiar.

The coherence was not expected as the President’s streams of consciousness, ramped up by contempt and vitriol, are rarely focused or logically ordered. A recent speech at CIA headquarters supports this opinion.

The president started off well. His respectful tone towards Chief Justice Roberts, Presidents Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Carter were appropriate and dignified. His exclusion of Mrs. Clinton was perhaps not nice, but one wonders if ‘President’ Clinton would have mentioned Trump or Bernie Saunders. Trump then got to the meat of his discourse. In a movie-trailer worthy synopsis, he pointed out the perceived problems with the ‘carnage’ happening in the United States.

He proceeded to isolate the USA, on the way to making it great again. ‘From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.’

The familiar echoes were the ‘giving power back to the people’ and ‘building with American hands’. And then there was the Charlie Sheen moment, when ‘America will start winning again, winning like never before.’ The echoes of Bane, of John Frederick Paxton, and oddly of Bernie Sanders, seem at odds with a speaker, who rarely evokes anyone but himself.

The imagery of an American heartland littered with broken people, rusting dreams, and crumbling infrastructure is not altogether untrue. Coming from the newest resident of the White House, the statements seem a tad disingenuous. To be fair, the image of the 45th president striving mightily to protect people, and using every breath in his body to change the course of mighty rivers may fill some with hope.

Now comes the big moment. ‘Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who ‘are all talk’ and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it.’ I am reminded of the scene in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian where the talk is all of ‘not just talking’.

‘The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.’ As if the point needed to be underscored.

That this individual, so long divisive, so long derisive and so often disinterested in anyone but himself, could talk of healing, of racial harmony, of a shared creator. That he could speak of caring what happens to a child in Detroit or Nebraska under whatever sheltering skies he may see in his mind’s eye. These statements can only bring back the impassioned question of Joseph Nye Welch, “Have You Left No Sense of Decency?”.

 

Truth shouldn’t be just a matter of opinion

Dear Politicians, you need a demerit system. You start with 100 points and each lie costs you two, five or 10 points. Fudging the facts = 2 points. Stating opinions as facts = 5 points. A whopper of a lie (70% to 100% BS), or the refusal to admit something you were videotaped or recorded saying =10 points. Each of these will result in a fine and/or wage deduction. You only get 100 points for each elected term. Once you reach 0 points you will be asked to go home, and you lose benefits and pension.

Where would this lead? I would think a significant number of politicians across the ideological spectrum would not last more than a couple of months. Citizens of supposedly democratic nations are much too accepting of, or perhaps overwhelmed by, false promises, outright lies, and carefully crafted omissions.

What has led us to this precipice? Voting(or not voting) is often less about policy than it is the initial spark of self-fulfilling prophecy. The scraps of willful ignorance, obtuse apathy, and blind acceptance make efficient kindling for the bonfire of our freedoms.

Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays
Seasons Greetings

Save