All ideas expressed in Thor's
China Diary and The Passionate Skeptic are entirely those of
the author, who has no aim to influence, proselytize or persuade
others to a point of view. He is pleased if his writing generates
reflection in readers, either for or against the sentiment of the
Studies and Language
to Xiamen and Fujian by Bill Brown -- survival and
business info for the area, plus extracts from his books.
Some useful historical material.
advice applies to finding information about almost anything on the net. There are literally tens
of millions of internet sites out there, probably including tens of
thousands about China. You know what happens when you use a search
engine: several thousand links pop up, mostly irrelevant to your purpose.
You waste days shovelling through this muck. Among the internet pages
are also millions of personal homepages. Again, these are mostly tiny
personal ego trips, decked out with some loud graphics. However some individuals do
spend a lot of time and ingenuity collecting (or sometimes writing)
truly useful information. The best of these will be more insightful
than any corporate effort. How do you find them? Yes, it still takes
a lot of shovelling... However, one of the most useful tools I have
found for this purpose is called the webring. A webring is a
collection of sites on a particular topic. Go to a big provider like
Yahoo. Log into their webring section, and type in your topic of fascination
..... Somewhere amongst all the "Hello, admire me.." sites, you will
find someone who has already spent half a lifetime collecting all the
real links you need. Good luck!
Teaching Jobs in China
Note that many universities (but few high
schools) have authority to employ foreigners directly. They prefer
exchange agreements with foreign universities so that their own staff
can get coveted overseas trips. The demand for foreign teachers is
so great that this doesn't cover their needs though. Most institutions
lack initiative, and pick from the pool offered by the Foreign Expert's
Bureau in Beijing. It used to be possible to register with this bureau
directly. More recently they appear to be using several American organizations
(especially) as proxies (but now see China TEFL below).
To be employed as a "foreign expert" as opposed to a foreign nobody,
you generally need a Masters degree or better. This difference is reflected
in your visa status, salary, living conditions etc. Increasing numbers
of private schools are also authorized to employ foreigners, often
at better salaries to the public institutions, but they actually want
you to work for pretty long hours. They might or might not provide
accommodation, and you take your chances with actually getting paid.
The university jobs may have a few quaint perks, like three budgeted
banquets, a birthday cake and one or more visits to regional tourist
attractions. If your get a chance, eyeball the accommodation before
accepting a job : there are significant variations in standards.
writing & photography
on this site is
copyrighted © Thorold (Thor) May 2005
all rights reserved, http://.thormay.net
The Passionate Skeptic
[and what this website stands for ..]
well, do what you can, then let it be. Presidents, priests, wage
slaves, hustlers, men and women, kids, we all live by the grace
of those we love to despise...
Thor's China Diary (1998-2000)
Notes (includes Chinese cities)
Rebecca's Place - where she teaches Thor about China
Living in Wuhan ... a guide
for visitors and others (rudimentary, unfinished project)
practice "English conversation" - packed in
gate, Dali Town, Yunnan 2000
breakfast steaming - east
gate, Central China Normal University (CCNU), Wuhan
: This website may be blocked inside China, some or all of the
time. That's kind of crazy, but China's 35 million bureaucrats
(like bureaucrats everywhere) have an ancient history of obstructing
useful ideas. This is in no sense an anti-China site. However,
I am not shy about criticism where it seems deserved - and yes,
I can often be wrong. Treat me with fair skepticism too. Anyway,
if you are going to China and desperately want to keep reading
http://thormay.net , then you may need some rat cunning, like
finding a proxy IP address to dogleg through to fool the censors.
No, I don't keep a list of proxies (they are forever changing),
but the folks at this place may be able to help: http://www.peacefire.org/circumventor/simple-circumventor-instructions.html
Bumps on the SuperHighway
note that a number of the sites listed here will require the
use of a proxy address if accessed from within China.
Various arms of the government of PR China block access from
inside China to many sites outside of China. The process itself
is rather crude, so that, for example, all of the several million
Geocities sites are blocked (as of the year 2000), presumably
because one of them offended some official sensibility. In general,
anything with a political flavour about it, or social comment,
may be blocked, but the criteria seem erratic and unpredictable.
Blocking or not blocking is pretty accidental. Fairly outspoken
sites may remain untouched for a long time, until some zealot
makes a complaint. Then all hell breaks loose; (this seems to
be true of life in general in the People's Republic). Indeed, http://thormay.net seems
to be blocked most of the time, though it is by no means anti-Chinese!
The way around official blocks from inside China is to dogleg
through a "proxy" address which acts as a blind for the final
destination (your browser has a setup category for this). Asking
half-known acquaintances in an embarrassed murmur for a working
proxy is the closest most foreign residents (and knowledgable
locals) come to being guilty of "unChinese activities". Of course,
as soon as the proxy is discovered by the people's guardians,
it too disappears .... [p.s. I do NOT know of any current
: line speeds are often so slow inside of China (yes, *really*
slow), that you may conclude that a site has been blocked, when
a week later the thing suddenly works .....
** note3 : anyone setting up a site targeting a readership which is at least
partly in China should check that sites sponsored by their Internet Provider
are not blocked wholesale by the Chinese government already (e.g. Geocities
is a no-no). If your own site is blocked at a later date, there is not much
you can do, except set up a mirror site.