5 June 2013: I hired the money…didn’t I

20 minute first-thing workout: 100 supine (that is easy) pull-ups, 100 steps for the first time, with 50 being on the weakened leg! Hurrah! Looking forward to my usual 20 minutes in physio workout this afternoon.

Grinding through Kant makes Adorno’s commentary almost recreational, it is so modern and clear. I shall try to post today my thoughts about the Kantian “manifold” as possibly a Turing machine’s input tape (can we output to the tape?)

Talked with the chief oncologist here, Dr Chiu, about yesterday’s blowup at Queen Mary. I know my file recognizes my poor emotional control as a potential problem since I peek at it (I believe I am justified in so doing since the file belongs to the patient…sort of). The solution in retrospect to having nil by mouth before a scan would be to bring food and not expect it to be provided…although I did get a simple Spam sandwich after my colonoscopy.

There’s a danger of getting treated as a mental case which wouldn’t be pretty and which would endanger my discharge if this anger isn’t kept under control.

Lack of social graces: inability to express love: I get a letter from my younger brother and sadly all he can do, when I asked real questions, is enumerate how many good jobs his wife and daughters have. That is great, but “a good job”, although deemed so important in my family, isn’t going to make one a loving husband.

Eventually it blows up. I’ve been taking love in the form of support from my Lamma friends and perhaps this causes my anger since how can I reciprocate.

My late son, when my coworker offered to buy his dinner, carefully ordered the most expensive item on the menu since he was “on vacation” from his poor Mom’s stress-filled world of scarcity. I didn’t have the heart to chastise him.

The Father’s world calls homeless people “homeless jagoffs” as did the security guard at the Border’s in my Dearborn neighborhood in 2000. I was so offended even tho I wasn’t homeless, but Fathers regard homeless men as rogues who need to take a moral inventory.

Whereas I live in a maternal world now where women push my wheelchair and bring chocs. I have gotten out of the wheel chair but I need to start redressing the choc situation. I need to rent a suite at the Peninsula and bring in a chocolate sauce waterfall machine, 100 magnums of French Champagne, and several flats of beer, and invite all people who’ve helped me.

I need to redeem Timon of Athens in th’old play…he buys things for false friends at the beginning of the play and they abandon him when his overuse of credit is exposed. I need to rent the suite at the Peninsula at the end of this movie, not the beginning, and HSBC may have something to say.

I am jiggered if I cannot figure out why I should NOT pay the HSBC debt which at the current rate will be retired when I am 70. I should live so long, as they say. Actually, I plan to, and with the assistance of an old friend I am properly managing my income for the first time. I’ve asked HSBC to forgive part of this debt as a compassionate gesture, but I also said, in the very same memo, that if I was NOT given this break, I WOULD pay the debt in full UNLESS death intervened. I could not but say it since it’s the truth. I hired the money, as Calvin Coolidge said.

He also went to church one Sunday. When Silent Cal came home, his wife asked what the preacher talked about in his sermon. Coolidge said “sin”. “Well, dear, what did he say about sin?” “He said he was against it”.

I do not consider debt to be a personal or social failing; I am not “against” it like Cal’s preacher. I’ve documented Paul Krugman’s expose of the Excel spreadsheet error in Reinhardt and Rogoff’s paper that justified “austerity” in 2010: free market ideologues sniff with contempt for net debtors like me and do not notice that we often use debt to improve our lives or to help friends as did Antonio in the Merchant of Venice: he goes to Shylock for the famous loan secured by a pound of his flesh.

But an aporia, a strain in the text, a contradiction appears in the play. This is that Shylock, the very image of the highly liquid net creditor, has to go to Tubal to lend him, Shylock, enough to loan money to Antonio. So one wonders where does Shylock, or HSBC for that matter, get any moral authority as creditors? Shylock is a net creditor merely because his membership in the Jewish community of Venice allows him to tap Tubal; I hope I am not being anti-semitic in noting this.

HSBC poses as a net creditor but it’s not the case, as far as I know, that in the cellar of that Norman Solomon building there are dwarves or flying monkeys guarding HSBC’s gold. No, HSBC is a conduit entrusted with the hard-earned money of people like me owing to previous bank directors’ reputation for probity…that of John Bond, for example: but the new director, although an Oxford man, was of all things some sort of damned pugilist at Oxford. Which lowers him in my eyes as a bank director. I have been in fights, but I do not want my bank director to do likewise. I would vastly prefer that the new fellow had played tennis or ran cross-country, like a gentleman. I mean, what does he do? Visit deeply leveraged chaps like me and offer to fight for the balance? I’d be honored to get in the ring even in my delicate condition, and go a round with the chap for possible debt freedom but alas! my cancer and his sweet science might get me killed, if honorably and in the matter of a knight.

Just as governments can use debt, even in excess of 90% of GDP, to accomplish needed social goals, I used it to connect with my kids and to continue my self-education in a world where the child support had to be paid on time. Nobody carries me or makes my life easier, with two exceptions: my father’s thrift and generosity enabled the legacy and now Grantham cares for me. But I am applying for a job, an interesting one with a Western employer of some fame, to be taken soon. Perhaps that will let me repay debt faster, and it would certainly be fun to accomplish the tasks they want…editing and writing.

We’ll see! I need to research how the salary would impact my pension (as foreign income it may not) and how humping to work would affect my health: based on my experience here having to hobble to the Internet it may extend my life.

I dream of teaching really hard, and really meaningful seminars on Kant and Shakespeare. In the Shakespeare class we would read the Collected Works, even the Two Noble Kinsmen (sigh), with only one day allowed for a double read-through (reading the play text twice is an A level requirement). Then, the day after, we would watch the BBC version with subtitles “on”. Perhaps we might also find an online lecture on the play from the likes of Marjorie Garber.

Then, a paper would have to be written in one week due with no bullshit at the start of next week’s class.

Brutal? Damn right. People today are always snarling like a bunch of Fascists at the failings of professors yet in a class they expect to be excused from writing, from reading, from staying awake. The teacher in secondary school and the university prof needs administrative backing to go “abusive” and start making real demands on her students.

My “grand high” Kant and Shakespeare re-readings and other projects (such as showing how at my former employer I would analyze a sonnet at several levels) are meant to publicize the teaching methods of a guy thrown into real university teaching as an adjunct in the USA and here a dogshite pseudo-prof in a free market who is anything but pseudo.

I learned more yesterday on how word of mouth about my seriousness in teaching spread amongst the aunties: but like the Three Stooges I was never told how in demand I was, to dampen down my demand for just compensation. Like Moe Howard, I have little to show owing to this chicanery, but I do note I have something to show (Mandatory Provident Fund, baby).

You have to get people by the balls here in Asia. There has been an influx, from the mainland into HK, of highly coiffed, elegantly dressed and falsely dynamic ethnic Chinese and Asian “English” teachers who aren’t native speakers and in many cases suck, but they are superficially attractive to Chinese learners, whereas we decrepit Gweilos are uncomfortable reminders of a colonial past. I have to soak myself as much as I can into Chinese philosophy and the language, without in the latter case getting sidetracked into trite “conversational Chinese” to be independent of East and West. Quite a challenge at this late date.


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