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The Bar (ON-TOPIC) / Re: How to Snail Mail a Letter from China to Tunisia?
« Last post by Escaped Lunatic on April 06, 2021, 03:52:47 PM »
Get a letter sized envelope from a stationary/office supply/school supply store and take it to the post office.

Two notes:

1.  Make it VERY clear which address is "To" and which is "From" or you could end up mailing the paper back to your apartment.  Have a Chinese friend assist you in putting To and From both in Chinese and English.

2.  You'll also want to have your friend write Tunisia in Chinese under the To address.  That gets it pointed to the right country and the address as supplied by your banker will be sufficient once the letter is shipped to Tunisia.

It's been awhile since I sent a "normal" letter, but I seem to recall it was only a few RMB (as opposed to quite a lot more for EMS).

Delivery times are typically unpredictable.  Throw in the current pandemic and they are more unpredictable.
The Bar (ON-TOPIC) / Cambridge Kid's Box, Best General English Software?
« Last post by Ivyman on April 05, 2021, 09:55:37 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I was reviewing the site for Kids Box.  I have used it in my training center.

1.  Although part of it is propaganda, the site says:

"It has a partnership with the Cambridge CELTA YL/TKT Young Learner Module."

"It is the only general English learning course for the TKT YL Syllabus" etc.

2.  Do you guys think it is the best for kids?
The Bar (ON-TOPIC) / How to Snail Mail a Letter from China to Tunisia?
« Last post by Ivyman on April 05, 2021, 09:51:59 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I have a bank account in Tunisia.  My lawyer in that country says I need to snail mail a single signed piece of paper.

I need to snail mail it to him.  If it saves me lots of money to do it slow mail, instead of overnight, I can wait two weeks, a month, to get it delivered if need be.

1.  What service should I use in China?

DHL, China Postal Company, etc.?

2.  Can anyone type that info in Chinese, etc.?  I am clueless about how to actually buy it, etc.
Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well.

I appreciate the Saloon a lot.

My micro-company, in London, has made a small online course for IELTS.  An ex-examiner for ten years helped make it.

Anyone can PM me, as for the next two weeks, I can give it away for free.

Supposing this really is a great course, that can be sold either for 50 RMB, or given away for free, who would appreciate it most?

Training institutions, students who want to travel abroad, etc.?
The Champagne Cabana / Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Last post by AMonk on March 29, 2021, 08:32:42 PM »
 agagagagag agagagagag agagagagag akakakakak

 axaxaxaxax axaxaxaxax cecececece :respect:

Thank you for sharing
The Champagne Cabana / Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Last post by Escaped Lunatic on March 29, 2021, 05:35:40 PM »
What a week it was.

More school visits than I can count.  Got to see 3 of my current sponsored students at their schools.

Then there was the wedding on Friday. akakakakak akakakakak akakakakak

It was AMAZING.  Every time the women wearing the silver moved, the jewelry made very pleasant sounds.  Quite a bit dangled, so it was lucky my cats weren't there.  They've have interpreted all the jewelry as cat toys. ahahahahah

I was slightly surprise the bride wasn't wearing silver jewelry, until the groom and his family and friends showed up.  They brought her jewelry with them on a large tray suspended beneath a bamboo pole.  (sadly, this wasn't put on until late in the evening, so I had to settle for pics and videos).  There were piles of other gifts, including a couple of thoroughly tied up geese also suspended from a bamboo pole.

My limited Mandarin was useless, since most of the talking, shouting, singing, etc. was in the local Miao dialect.  Songs were sung, questions were asked and answered, the groom and some of his friends had to try playing jump rope wearing their socks on a slightly spiky rubber mat.  Finally, after the groom and his friends had to down several rounds of alcohol, he got down on one knee.  It looked like the ceremony was going to end quickly.

Instead, the one of the bridesmaids shoved a phone in front of his face and demanded he start reading some lengthy text.  From context, it appeared to be a detailed and highly amusing set of wedding vows (there didn't appear to be any vows required from the bride).  He finally finished and tried to present flowers to the bride.  She pushed them back and extended one hand, with her ring finger slightly raised.  Once he gave her the ring, he was finally allowed to give her the flowers and complete the ceremony.

We all then wend around to the courtyard beside the house for the wedding feast.

I waited until the wedding feast was wrapping up and some people were leaving before sending a message to the bride and to the girl I sponsored (she's now graduated and is also the bride's best friend) thanking them for the most wonderful birthday present ever.  My girl was missing at this point and we were walking back to the cars.  She wrote back to ask what I meant.  I told her it was my birthday, and that I didn't say anything earlier since I didn't want to hijack a wedding.  She told me she was dropping her sister off and that she'd be back in 10 minutes.  Then the bride and groom showed up where we had the cars and also congratulated me.

My girl's skills are impressive.  Somehow, in a tiny little village that's in the middle of nowhere, she found a small birthday cake for me.  There wasn't time to eat it at that point.  We walked into a field across the road to take a few pics and 4 older Miao women from the groom's family decided this looked fun, so joined us.

In the evening, my charity group did the most unsubtle surprise party ever.  After we got back from the wedding, I went for a walk in "Old Town", which is the tourist area around the river.  One of the charity's office girls started texting me on WeChat wanting to know when I'd be back.  I didn't have a specific plan (other than relaxing and eating some VERY rare reduced-fat Cheez-Its while sitting somewhere with a nice view).  I told her I might stay another hour or so, unless there was some specific plan for the group to go do something.  She said there was no plan, but also kept saying I should come back ASAP.  I did stop to enjoy the view from one of the bridges while finishing my Cheez-Its and then started working my way out of the maze of streets in Old Town.  As I was coming back, she kept wanting to know how much longer I'd be.  I could have shared my GPS location, but by this point, I'd figured out what was up.  Instead of GPS, I  sent an occasional picture of the shops I was walking past (she was a sponsored girl from FengHuang before moving to Dongguan, so knows the area).

There was no chance to sneak into the hotel.  She was waiting in the doorway.  In the elevator, I told her I needed to run to my room to use the restroom.  Even before getting my door open, I could hear the crowd 2 doors down in the room the charity's founder was in.  Since it was a long walk in a drizzle, I took a moment to change my shirt, but not before sending a message saying "I think I'll take a shower, see you in 15 minutes" - just to hear the anguished reaction from down the hall. ahahahahah

As expected, there was a crowd wedged into the founder's room.  They also had a bigger cake.  After blowing out the candles, I ran back to my room to grab the cake my girl had given me.  I should have brought it with me when I first entered and said - "Does anyone want cake?" while walking in, but only thought of that later.
The Bar (ON-TOPIC) / Re: Any Good Group Work Activity Suggestions?
« Last post by old34 on March 24, 2021, 04:41:08 PM »
Similar to The Marshmallow Challenge using uncooked spaghetti instead of paper and each tower has to be topped by a marshmallow. A lot more fun. Spaghetti is easy to find these days in China but marshmallows are a little more difficult. If you have a local 7-11, they usually carry them.

Google Spaghetti Challenge. There's a lot of stuff on the web about it including a PDF handout you can use for pre-teaching and an interesting Ted Talk for debriefing.

The BS-Wrestling Pit / Subjective causation
« Last post by Calach Pfeffer on March 23, 2021, 12:45:49 PM »
"Western" culture, the one that started with the ancient Greeks in Europe and spread out from there, taking influences from various places, getting parsed through medieval Christendom, being turned into the Renaissance, chugging along as the industrial Revolution, becoming Science, Twitter and Facebook, always had notions of causation. Aristotle got it going as answers to Why questions. But the modern version, the one we associate with science, didn't start until, well, science did, the seventeenth century. That's when "causation" came to mean objective cause, or the modern version of "efficient" cause, different from Aristotle's efficient cause in that now everything had a cause, and any cause you find yourself considering motivates nothing or is in no way special as an entity because it is merely the current end point of a perhaps infinitely long series of causes and caused events.

That kind of objective causation - a notion of causation that entails determinism - is (modern) "western" in the sense that "western" people have it built into their normal understanding of the world and non-"western" people don't. Chinese, for instance, allow for subjective cause. In the physical world, sure, let's all be determinists. But in the social world, and anything infected by social understanding, what is causal in one context need not be causal in another. Having a personal belief that causes you to act one way in one context need not cause you to act in the same way in another context. This is not the same as a notion of discretion, of having a sense of other people's tolerances and being able to bide your time in your self expression. If you believe that murder is wrong but the group of people you are with are beating someone to death, being discrete about your personal beliefs isn't going to get you out of prison time. But if the social context were to be considered a cause of your temporary belief that murder, when you're with these people at this time in that place, is ok....

Murder is an extreme example and it won't happen like that in real life. But the notion that social context causes you to be a different person, at least temporarily, is probably something that needs exploration because it seems to explain a lot.
The BS-Wrestling Pit / Re: China's endgame?
« Last post by Calach Pfeffer on March 22, 2021, 12:31:51 PM »
The U.S. and China Finally Get Real With Each Other

The exchange in Alaska may have seemed like a debacle, but it was actually a necessary step to a more stable relationship between the two countries.

Thursday night’s very public dustup between United States and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Biden administration’s first official meeting with China, may have seemed like a debacle, but the exchange was actually a necessary step to a more stable relationship between the two countries.

In his brief opening remarks before the press, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would discuss “our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.”

Blinken’s comments seemed to catch the Chinese off guard. The last Strategic & Economic Dialogue of the Obama administration, in 2016, began with a conciliatory message from then–Secretary of State John Kerry and resulted in a declaration identifying 120 different areas of cooperation.

In response to Blinken, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, said that because Blinken had “delivered some quite different opening remarks, mine will be slightly different as well.” He spoke for 16 minutes, blowing through the two-minute limit agreed upon in torturous pre-meeting negotiations over protocol. “Many people within the United States,” he said, “actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.” He went on to say that “China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights.” He also took aim at U.S. foreign policy: “I think the problem is that the United States has exercised long-arm jurisdiction and suppression and overstretched the national security through the use of force or financial hegemony, and this has created obstacles for normal trade activities, and the United States has also been persuading some countries to launch attacks on China.”

As the press began to leave, assuming that the opening remarks were over and to make way for the private discussions, Blinken and Sullivan ushered them back in and challenged Yang, telling him that “it’s never a good bet to bet against America.” Determined to have the last word, Yang and China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, responded again. Yang began by saying, sarcastically, “Well, it was my bad. When I entered this room, I should have reminded the U.S. side of paying attention to its tone in our respective opening remarks, but I didn’t.”...
The Bar (ON-TOPIC) / Re: Any Good Group Work Activity Suggestions?
« Last post by Escaped Lunatic on March 19, 2021, 03:51:16 PM »
Ever try the "build a tower" exercise?

Break the class into teams (4-6 people per team).  Give each team 10 sheets of printer paper, a paperclip, and a small roll of Scotch tape (or local equivalent).

Using ONLY those materials (and only communicating in English), build the tallest tower possible.  Set a time limited in the range of 10-20 minutes.

Naturally, carefully inspect the tallest ones for "extra" materials.  If you want to reduce the chances of extra paper being introduced, see if there's any colored paper available instead of issuing generic white paper.
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