Goodness, these last two days have blown by! A few memorable clashes with the exhausting Shanghai summer heat and bam, the precious weekend is gone. Well today was a good deal of fun. John and I stayed cooped up in the sanctity of our A/C’d office. Actually, we weren’t that lazy: Lenni came over to tutor John and Wu ayi’s daughter Carol came by for her English lesson. The Wu and I are working out a trade: I tutor her daughter and her family watches Remy and Martin next time we go out of town. No more pick-ups and deliveries to the kennel that’s about an hour away. Remy and Martin survived puppy prison just fine, but Jialiang’s services are getting a bit pricey, and they’re never giving me a good deal (without me having to haggle for it every damn time!). Anyway, Carol’s level of English is decent, particularly her reading and pronunciation. It just goes to show– working for a foreign company and being forced to use a new language every days plays a key role. Carol’s pretty young– I think she was born in the 80’s, but she brings a nice energy without any bullshit. For example, she told me that they live with her maternal grandmother. And she said as a matter of factly that she didn’t have much of a relationship with her grandmother. Her gma had wanted Carol to be a boy, so ever since her birth, she wanted little to do with the disappointment. See what I mean? Just another example of women getting the shorter end of the stick. In arguing about “extinction” of the Gou legacy, my father tried to argue that despite my marriage (after which, most Chinese would consider me an Eshleman), I was still a Gou. He said my kids would count as descendants to the Gou line (does it sound like we’re talking about royalty or what?). More over, my father insists that Johnny and I were treated equally and fairly. I’ll admit, the gender preference wasn’t extreme as it could have been, but Johnny certainly wasn’t subjected to curfews post-high school. Nor has he ever been pressured to improve his cooking and cleaning. Nor has he been criticized for being too direct or assertive. Ahh but that’s all water under the bridge right?
Anyway, speaking of why feminism remains relevant today, check out this article on Virgin Airlines’s plans earlier this year to install urinals shaped like a woman’s mouth in their executive clubhouse at JFK Airport. It’s an old story but I’m still fuming about it. Believe it or not, the designer was a European woman. She claimed people were overreacting to her creation, which was intended to be fun and quirky. The public uproar was yet another example of people not having better things to do with their time, she claimed! She then insisted that the picture of a man urinating in a woman’s mouth never even crossed her mind when designing the piece. Meanwhile, Bathroom Mania’s marketing materials stated, “Kisses, the sexy urinal, makes a daily event a blushing experience! This is one target men will never miss!” These people have some nerve!
In happier news, can I tell you that Jaime Oliver is my new hero? I’m not one for cooking (though I am one for eating), so his recipes and cooking tips are of little interest to me. Still, he writes a nice blog– it’s simple yet honest. And after reading about his charity Cheeky Chops and his new restaurant Fifteen, I felt so inspired. From the Cheeky Chops website, “Jamie Oliver had long been thinking about helping unemployed young people by offering them a leg-up into the world of catering. ‘Having not been the brightest banana in the bunch myself, I realized that my biggest weapon in life was the determination, enthusiasm, hands-on and “actions speak louder than words” approach my father taught me, and I wanted to get this across to others, especially those interested in food.’ Jamie’s ideas got whittled down to one main one: ‘to train a team of unemployed kids with an interest and passion for food and to open a new first-class restaurant in London to be run by them.’ And so, the charity Cheeky Chops was born.” Cool dude, eh?