Entries by virgostone

The Alex Barteau Trilogy: FORBIDDEN VOICES . . . FOREIGNERS AND EMPERORS . . . SMS: THE SCAMMERS ______________________________________________ What would you do if you were a foreigner teaching in China? ______________________________________________“Don’t do it, Alex,” Tony shouted. “No,” Hans agreed. “They will be embarrassed,” he added in his jaw-twisting German accent. “Embarrassed?” Alex echoed. It was Thanksgiving, and the International Affairs Office was hosting a dinner for the foreign teachers and some of the Chinese teachers. They occupied two large circular tables in adjoining dining rooms upstairs of the hotel restaurant across from the main campus, the restaurant where Alex and Jerry ate on the first day he arrived in the city. Joining them were the three Fu Wu Yuan ladies who worked for IAO. Again, members of the hotel staff served as waitresses in their green and gray short skirt uniforms and Big Chief Dr. Zhu drafted Little Chief Jeremy to pour the water, wine, and Snow beer. To their table, they brought turkey that had been sliced in large flat pieces with a turkey head propped up in the center of the serving plate. Before they were seated for the meal, Alex stood away from one of the tables with Tony and Hans. They complained to each other about the teaching situation in the English Department, and Tony groused about how his students had told him that Chinese teachers sometimes sold to them answers to exams in advance. All three of them balked at the idea of submitting blank copies of their exams to the department prior to the final exams, one of the requirements given to them verbally — not in writing; however, when Alex suggested that they talk to school administrators about what the department was doing, his two colleagues abandoned their tough stance and turned their vehemence against him. “Yes. You will embarrass them.” “Okay. Fine. Let them be embarrassed.” The room seemed to grow warmer. The colors in the wall, the varnish of the woodwork, and the clothing of those seated around him seemed to increase in brightness and richness, like the colors on a television screen that seemed to overflow the boundaries of the characters and objects when someone turned up the contrast. The faces of the other diners at the table became as blurred as their over-lapping voices, and the sounds and images seemed to swarm together like a flowing combination of melted butter and syrup. “Don’t do it,” Tony again demanded. Tony used the assertive tone that he often used in bars when he began comparing universities in America with universities in Canada. Since he was a Canadian, it was natural that he regard American universities unfavorably during a comparison, but when his diatribes became more and more often launched from the bottom of his cups, only to be joined by Jody with her comparing an American education with a supposedly superior one from Britain, Alex decided to stop joining them for dinner – dinners that usually devolved into later visits to a bar where Marie’s drinking led to her sitting at the table in a sullen stupor and Tony’s drinking led to his being increasingly generous with his fatuous and unsubstantiated rhetoric. “You can’t point out their flaws and errors in this country, Alex,” Hans continued. “They don’t want their positions to be made more difficult by complaints from below. They only want to hear compliments from below. That’s why they hold dinners for the Chinese teachers and demand that they attend. They want to be given face.” Hans and Tony were so emphatic that Alex felt cowed. He didn’t know what to do with his indignation. Had he already started drinking Snow beer from the green bottles, he might have been relaxed enough or confident enough to shift into response mode, not that being more forthright with his colleagues would have guaranteed any recovery of face on his part. _ 1. www.smashwords.com/profile/view/chukkgarard/ 2. www.alternate-world-of-cjg.com