Saturday, October 18, 2008

Homecoming Week

The college I am teaching at has about 10,000 students with an old campus and a new campus.

I am on the old campus and am happy that I don't have to commute the 30 minute bus ride to the new campus that is isolated on the outskirts of town. The old campus is right in the middle of "downtown" Qingyang. Everything I need and want is in walking distance, even the yarn store and the big outdoor market. Right outside the back gate there are a line of street vendors selling candied fruit on a stick and fried sandwiches filled with potatoes, eggs and whatever else you may choose from a smorgasbord of choices.

This week I haven't had to teach two days because there has been an old campus Sports Meet and Chorus Competition. On the old campus there are five departments: P.E., Chemistry, Physics, Music, and English. Each department recruited a team for the Sports Meet and students competed in Track and Field events hoping to bring glory to their department, competition in the name of friendship. And what do Caitlin and I do? We teach the English students a cheer:

u-g-l-y, you aint got no alibi, you ugly, yeah yeah, you ugly
m-a-m-a, we know how you got that way, your mama, yeah yeah, your mama
d-a-d-d-y, you dont even know that guy, your daddy, yeah, yeah, your daddy
c-u-t-e-, that’s the way you wanna be, like me, yeah, yeah, like me
c-o-u-s-i-n, thats the only place you’ve been, yeah, yeah, your cousin
n-a-s-t-y, thats why go home and cry, you nasty, yeah, yeah, you nasty
b-u-t-t, thats the way you look to me, butt ugly, yeah, yeah, butt ugly

Yep. It's a fun cheer maybe not so appropriate for a Sports Meet in the name of friendship. We rationalized though that most of the students wouldn't understand it anyways even though all students have been learning English since primary school.

Last night I went to the Chorus Competition. The auditorium was filled with students. Attendance was mandatory for Freshmen and Sophomores. Each department had a choir of about 100 students singing two songs from Chairmen Mao's era. In between each department's performance while students left and filled the stage, there were solo performances of singers and electric traditional instruments played to the background of that cheesy New age like electronic music that is created with a keyboard.

This week has been like homecoming week where any student who wants to gets to participate in singing and sports. It isn't just the elite athletes or the best singers who get to participate. No. It is anyone and everyone. Instead of a spirit of individualistic elitism, it is a spirit of community coming together to create well-rounded students. The college provides opportunities for students to study and learn academic subjects as well as opportunities for the spirit.

2 comments:

Satya Rao said...

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Anonymous said...

that is so wrong :)