Stephen Chappell's Blog

Dr. Norman Bethune (Bai Qiuen), the heroic Canadian doctor, who died helping the Chinese people during the anti Japanese war, is probably the best-known Canadian in the world. This is due in part to the large population of China as well as Mao Zedong's eulogy to Bethune, which all Chinese were urged to read.

Don't make promises you can't keep otherwise you are most likely to disappoint people. So, when I promised my students that I would return in 3 years to attend their graduation, I was determined to keep that commitment.

Notes from Beyond the Middle Kingdom

After several years of somewhat stagnant growth, Anqing has been developing at a good pace recently, both in the commercial and residential sectors. For example, for years the city had only one major supermarket chain called Jin Hua Lin. Now however, we have two new international stores (Carrefour and Auchan, both from France) and RT Mart from Taiwan.

Recently I had the good fortune to be selected by Anhui Television to be featured on a program called “Experience Anhui”. This program is shown on their international channel and its focus is about the lives of foreigners living and working in Anhui. The TV crew spent 3 days following me around the city and the college. To be frank, I was rather exhausted when all was said and done.

Notes from China

It is not unusual for immigrants in Canada to do their utmost to try and maintain parts of their cultural heritage and the Chinese community in Canada would certainly be a good example of this. For instance, many of them celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with great gusto allowing Canadians of all backgrounds to enjoy the festival as well.

As a foreigner teaching English in China you are bound, sooner or later, to be invited to a Chinese wedding. In fact I just attended one a few days ago in the lovely city of Chizhou.It’s only a couple of hours away by bus from Anqing, where I have been teaching English to college students for several years.

Each year I get a lot of apples from my students as a Christmas gift and this year was no exception. This is a unique Christmas custom in China, especially popular with young people and oddly can be traced to homophones*. In Chinese pinyin Christmas Eve is PING AN YE (the evening of peace) which sounds like apple- PINGGUO.