Monday, March 21, 2011

Chinese Democracy

Yesterday was my roommate Andy’s birthday! One of his students was going to give him a present, but then it rained and she sent him a message saying that she’d have to cancel because her gift “cannot bear dampness.” Better luck next year, big guy!

Andy’s birthday wasn’t the only big news this week. The national session of the Chinese National People’s Congress concluded last Monday. I am shocked — shocked! — to report that they decided to adopt the Communist Party’s 12th five-year plan with much fanfare and mutual back-slapping.

Five-year plan

Members of the NPC, in what looks suspiciously like a stock photo that a suburban Chinese-American Business Owners Association might use at the inauguration of a new minimall.

That the NPC session was a smashing success is not surprising. What is surprising is that minority delegates to the congress attend the sessions in traditional clothing and hats:

Big hat day

Likely response from the Han contingent: it’s nice of you to come, and I recognize your hat is the size of a watermelon and made of gold, but I don’t think you’re going to make a lot of progress here. Look how many of us there are. Come on.

This recent national democracy outbreak was accompanied by a self-government flare up on a local level: my high school students spent the past week choosing their new student body president. They had an election and everything, just like in America! One difference is that rather than being elected by popular vote, the student body president is chosen by a conference of class representatives. Another thing is that all the candidates and all the class representatives have to be members of the Communist Youth League. You know what the funniest thing about China is? It’s the little differences.

(And do you know who the new president is? It’s Lily, one of my English Corner superstars (she’s the Catholic)! Cat people: your day has come.)

In the democratic spirit, I want to talk to you about the condition of my face. My “mustache” situation has not measurably improved. Nevertheless, because my continued contact with my mustache and my consequent isolation from other human beings, I believe I have developed Stockholm Hair Syndrome, described by wikipedia as a “paradoxical phenomenon” where hostages develop positive feelings towards their captors — in this case, my mustache. To put it to you bluntly: even though my mother’s surgery is over and my task completed, I still have not shaved. And so the hostage situation continues. My captor does not threaten to kill me, but it certainly does threaten to kill my chances of ever reproducing, which, emotionally speaking, is just as bad.

Here’s a picture of the mustache as it stands today:

My mustache

Patty Hearst poses with the Symbionese Liberation Army currently hanging out on her face.

I really hope that I work up the gumption to shave soon before it forces me to rob a bank.

Here’s the connection to democracy: please post your views of my mustache in the comments. The more people who tell me it look awful, the better. I really need some motivation here. Let’s get this thing out of here. Do it for the children that my mustache makes it look like I’m sexual interested in.