End of Semester Vacuum

It’s the end of the semester. You might expect me to be busy with schoolwork, but I’m really not especially busy because all three of my graduate-level courses are based on essays which don’t need to be turned in until the beginning of next semester. So I have all summer to work on those. The one undergrad class I’m taking to make up credit, Modern Chinese (现代汉语), does have an exam. So that’s probably the only traditional exam I’ll have to take at ECNU.

Despite the lack of exams, I find myself very busy. I’m busy with ChinesePod as well as with a variety of other things. Most of all, my mind has been extremely busy lately, mulling over all kinds of developments. Maybe at a later date I’ll write about some of those things, but for now the time spent on personal reflection is usurping the time I might spend on quality blog writing.

I must say, though, that Joel Martinsen at Danwei.org has been writing some really great stuff lately. It’s great to have him combing the Chinese web for us. His latest gem is the translation of a story he calls Disability Certificate (scroll down to the story, at least, if you’re not interested in the analysis). Whether or not the story is true, I think it really captures some truths about China.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Heaven forbid mental activity of any kind should get in the way of blogging. Remember your responsibility to the huddled masses! Blog on!

  2. Lennet,

    I would never shirk my blogging responsiblity!

    Fear not, I can handle mindless blogging, no problem…

  3. They should have put all those zombies to work blogging.

  4. So I have a question for you John. When you write these essays — being a non-native speaker, even if you are at an amazing level, they’ve gotta be checked by someone, right ? Do people get sick of being asked to check stuff ? (Especially when it is l00ooo0ng, unlike the 1 page practice essays I used to write in beginners Chinese class.) Because I know I dreaded being a native English speaker in China — all sorts of little buggers I barely knew CRAWLING OUT OF THE WOOD WORK, even non-Chinese, begging me to check their essay/thesis/THREE VOLUME BOOK.

  5. Justin,

    Yeah, I do need to get my essays checked. I wouldn’t put my friends through that, though. I hire a tutor to check them for me.

  6. So, John …

    What do the ECNU students think of their foreign teachers? Dopes? Buffoons? Good teachers? All of the above? I’ve always wondered. Please spill the beans, if you have any.


    A (maybe justifiably) humble foreign teacher at your fine institution.

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