Category Archives: Zhengzhou

Bye-bye China

Farewell speech – Zhengzhou, China – Decem­ber 2010 – Thor May Forty years ago I was work­ing in a large gov­ern­ment office in Syd­ney. There were many desks in the room, and my desk was the least impor­tant. At the desk … Con­tinue read­ing

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The Big Parade At Dragon Lake

The deal was 8am. I’m a just-in-time guy, but here she was knock­ing on the door at 7:15. Jeez. Can I offer you some break­fast? We sat look­ing at each other across a big wooden cof­fee table, the golden drapes … Con­tinue read­ing

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The Cigarette

Win­ter morn­ing light had bro­ken clear and cold, so early that night’s shad­ows were still about and a wispy moon hung in the sky. A small col­lec­tion of street food ven­dors had already parked their hand carts by the col­lege … Con­tinue read­ing

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Choose Your Game

On the wrong side of the rail­way tracks in Zhengzhou city, cen­tral China, you can find some ugly old con­crete class­rooms built around a small paved sports ground. It is a rail­way tech­ni­cal col­lege to train nurses and logis­tics stu­dents, … Con­tinue read­ing

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The Earthquake

The earth­quake: I was run­ning back to my apart­ment from the class­room for some­thing, and didn’t feel a thing. The other for­eign teacher here stag­gered out of her apart­ment and said she thought she was dying. I told her to … Con­tinue read­ing

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A Child Goes Missing

Each evening I walk for an hour or two, and some­times one of the stu­dents tags along. This is won­der­ful, since she can bring mean­ing to the blur of Chi­nese street life around us. Yes­ter­day, she pointed out a tragedy … Con­tinue read­ing

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Post Office Blues

The Chi­nese Post Office con­tin­ues to excel. We’ve had scraps before. This was the out­fit that wouldn’t let me send Christ­mas cards in dif­fer­ent sized envelopes, or send copies of my the­sis to an Aus­tralian uni­ver­sity in any box but … Con­tinue read­ing

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Chasing Out The Devils

Zhengzhou has been under heavy attack for sev­eral days, appar­ently to chase out accu­mu­lated dev­ils. These aren’t minor explo­sions, though I have been dodg­ing small boys for a cou­ple of weeks. The streets are cleared of the usual surg­ing crowds … Con­tinue read­ing

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A Christmas Story

This city of Zhengzhou is show­ing me new faces at every turn. There are vast pres­tige com­plexes and broad tree lined avenues alongside sce­nes that come straight from Hogarth’s Eng­land. As the sea­sons change you can move from balmy autumn … Con­tinue read­ing

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Well, hello again

Thor’s China Diary began in 1998, from Wuhan where I taught in a cou­ple of uni­ver­si­ties. The air was dif­fer­ent then in more ways than one. They gave me a lit­tle green book list­ing all the things that for­eign­ers were … Con­tinue read­ing

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