Workout Log 8 Sep 2012: “the spirit that dwelleth by herself in the land of ice and snow”

Prospect of Enormous Faded Kent Cigarette Sign from the 1960s on the Side of a Warehouse in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, 7 September 2012

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

30 minutes free dance to Journey to the Line, Sweelinck, L’Enfant, the Mission, etc.

For if the situation is dramatic, and it is, you’re not self-dramatizing, and even if you are, so what. If there’s a basic failure in the family considered as a unit we can excuse self-dramatizing especially as a survival tactic.

Yesterday my first full day at work. The K3s and K2s are though little children, kids that know the shot, and grizzled veterans of school, but the K1 kids tend to weep. Strangely enough, English teachers are for Asian kids a source of remote, arms-length acknowledgement of their pain, that is (das ist) the pain of Asia. Hong Kong does not believe in tears and kids here have to suck it up. But quite casually, we foreign teachers can just be ourselves, which is to say more affable and friendly than many Chinese teachers, while focusing on the mission, which is teaching English.

It is a rare privilege in contrast to executive technical and professional jobs to have to cultivate a little emotional warmth on the job because then you go easier on yourself. I probably would have made a good flight attendant but last I checked, I am too tall.

Nap time was rough for a Young Brute set up a howl and would not be comforted, so I put him down, assisting the teacher, with the Dutch National Anthem, a surefire way to put children to sleep by the fifth of fifteen verses:

Of Nassau, and Orania, a true Dutch prince am I!
The crown of fair Hispania I ever honored high!
My Fatherland I guarded with mild and faithful hand,
Yet now I am discarded, robbed of crown and land!

But then little Soon Mei-Ling set up a howl and I had to sing to her. But soon the whole classroom was zonked out and very peaceful as the geeky teachers and I brooded like spirits over the deep over our charges.


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