The joys of Anhui Province

Another great monologue and great comments, too. I’m a little late to this, but don’t miss it — the comments are sizzling right now.

Update: Hmmm, looks like Hank decided to take it down. You’ll have to take my word for it, it was very heartfelt and I related on more than one level.

The Discussion: 18 Comments

I am not taking side in this matter. I don’t know very well who Hank is but that particular monologue sounds very emotional and “impulsive”. Did Hank really want to “end his marriage” over the cold weather? Overall it doesnt bode well for him as a responsible professional. I think in any profession, one should be expected to display character and emotional restraint about personal matters in public.

February 12, 2005 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

Ouch. Here’s a modified version of what I just posted there:

“I lived in China a looonnng time ago (25 years) and at a young age but I think I can kind of relate. You get to a point where everything is too much and too hard and too complicated, where nothing works right, you’re tired of feeling like a freak, etc. I had a melt-down over a shirt. I was really paranoid about spending money and finally broke down and had a couple of shirts made, and they screwed it up, doing it the way they always did it rather than the way I’d asked it to be done. And I just had a melt-down, a full-on rant in the Friendship Store, about what a stupid place this was and how incompetent everyone was and how sick I was of it all. Afterwards I felt like an idiot and wondered why it was so big a deal to me. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it represented everything else that had frustrated me during my stay.”

Time and distance helped put all of this in better perspective for me – or maybe just forgetting. I’ve toyed with the idea of returning to China to live, but believe me, I will have done a lot of research into where and to do what first. You have to find a comfort zone – I’d like a smaller city but I don’t know that I could deal with someplace as isolated as Huaian.

And yeah, I’d want the Starbucks.

February 12, 2005 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

Other Lisa,
Are you the same Lisa from Los Angeles? Its nice to see you have your own blog now. You look pretty young, why were you in China 25 years ago???

February 12, 2005 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

Looking at the pic again, from the communist clothing in the picture, that pic was taken 25 years ago.

February 12, 2005 @ 4:11 pm | Comment

Yep, that’s me! Why was I in China 25 years ago? Errr…well, I guess that’s a topic for another post in my nascent blog. Briefly a friend of mine from high school’s parents were in the first group of Americans to teach English post GPCR, and we went there to visit them and kind of…hung out. And yeah, I was pretty young. that’s me with one of my classes – the sign on the wall was the inspiration for my Yahoo handle.

February 12, 2005 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

JR, maybe you need to be familiar with Hank and his situation. Since i read his site all the time, I understand exactly where he is coming from, but I think to a newcomer it might seem extreme.

Lisa, I will put up a post about your blog soon. I’m just not in much of a mood to post.

February 12, 2005 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

Thanks Richard. I’m new to this whole “blogwhoring” thing and have no particular expectations – nor am I really clear on the etiquette. So that’s much appreciated, whenever you get around to it.

Would that I could email Hank a bottle of Jack and a double latte, stat!

February 12, 2005 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

No I didn’t really want to end my marriage over cold weather. Yes, I can certainly understand your feelings about my irresponsibility and professionality. Yes, it was impulsive and emotional, but I always like to stay in touch with the human factor, and I think that’s why so many people read me, though I have to admit personal retraint plays a great deal in my choosing not to publish some of my entries. Maybe if I had more exercised more restraint, and had a computer readily accessible at the time, I wouldn’t have published it–no, I take that back. I never would have published it.
It was a bad China day in rural Anhui Province. That particular entry was written off the cuff, and displayed much of the angst I was feeling at that time, because it was so friggin’ cold I couldn’t feel anything else.
I thought that entry was the worst one I have ever made, but it was honest, a kind of momentary lapse of reason and judgement, as I went into incognitive ranting and venting, plus I didn’t draft the entry. I was just typing the damn thing in a Chinese home and had to get out of there in less than 30 minutes. The nearest thing to it would be like if you sitting next to me in the cold outside and we were hovering over an outdoor fire, and bitching together I guess.
Lisa, I am now back in Huaibei, where I am enjoying the soothing relief of Doctor Daniels, as well as retorting on my blog.
To be candid, I almost deleted that entry, but it generated so much interest, which baffles me, since 70 percent of my entries go through numerous revisions and editing, I let it remain for posterity–despite the lack of restraint on my part. I am seriously considering getting out of blogging for good this time. This has nothing to do with readers or their comments. I do think JR is correct and this is something I need to contemplate seriously.

February 12, 2005 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

Grab the lemon and make a lemonade. If you hang in there(maybe not in Anhui), you will see that the sun will shine again soon … you’ll see.

=) waiting for spring in the frigid North East USA

February 12, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

Hi Hank – nice to make your virtual acquaintance – I’m enjoying your blog – and I toast you from here in Venice, California.

February 12, 2005 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

Hank, don’t delete it — I thought it was a great post because it was so raw, honest and visceral. Well written, too, but that goes without saying.

February 12, 2005 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

To me your material deserves to be in a personal diary of yours, like a private diary under lock and key, not blasted all over the world. I was in China for 7 years and felt great frustration for months if not years, and I was living in the great cities of China, not a podunk place like you are in.

My point is you chose it, why don’t you change it and quit the beefing.

February 13, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment

There are a few good China blogs out there, but as a student (and an occassional blogger) its hard to keep up with all of them. I used to read laowai monologues, however I haven’t in a long time. The most recent post was shocking, and as a Chinese (if only half) I found it to be a bit insulting. I’m happy to see Hank’s apology on here and can understand having a tough day, being pissed off, and writing things that later are a cause for regret. I think that the post should remain, but the apology should also go up. I have traveled through areas that are depressing shitholes in China and I’m open to talking about them, but there are also such places in the US (though on different scales and for different reasons)…

February 13, 2005 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

Pete and Chengb02,
I will consider your suggestions. Yeah that posting was extreme. Of course, when I wrote it, those were my feelings, but sometimes, emotions need to be put on a leash and guided sensibly in writing; if not, it comes out sounded like a full-tilt, rambling vent of spew.
When I re-read that posting upon my return here to Huaibei, I found myself torn between shame and, well, laughter. I don’t dispute that my emotions at that time of writing that entry were exactly as I wrote them; however, as JR pointed out, it’s the impulsiveness that denotes a lack of responsibility and professionalism.
As far as an apology, I hope that my future postings will convey some semblance of one. I will always include the good and the bad of living here, including the good and the bad of myself. I think it’s important to face China but also face it as a westerner; I am not completely whole or one with the experience. Futhermore, I am never ever convinced that any westerner is, and especially I am not convinced when he or she pontificates as if he or she is. Anyway, I’ll eat crow on this one, and since I’ve been married for one year, I’ve gotten quite good at eating crow.

February 13, 2005 @ 5:36 pm | Comment

Note – Hank took down the post and replaced it with a heartfelt explanation of his feelings at the time.

We’ve all been there. Brave of him to put it in print. Hope he returns to blogging soon!

February 13, 2005 @ 8:19 pm | Comment


Familiarity breeds contempt…it comes with the territory. I enjoy your postings of life in China, warts and all. Your occassional error in judgement is still infinitely better than all that politically correct patronizing fluf on the web about how friendly the natives are from places in the Third World.

It’s all about context. Keep posting.

February 14, 2005 @ 6:19 pm | Comment

totally agree with schtickyrice! Esp the bit about: ‘politically correct patronizing fluff on the web about how friendly the natives are from places in the Third World’. Spot on. And great blog!

February 25, 2005 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Hi. Mr. or Mrs. Chinese I want to do business in China in your provience, housing anyone to talk with?

Attorney Bushman

September 5, 2005 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

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