Yesterday, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and drank a cup of instant coffee. Then I read the news on my smartphone while taking a nasty shit. A poor woman from rural China has four daughters. Unfortunately, her husband just died of heart disease. So now she is forced to support her kids on eighty yuan a day—which comes to roughly twelve dollars. The family subsists on rice and vegetables. Mom simply can’t afford meat.
The mainland is a Dickensian nightmare. In Beijing, lots of apartments cost over a million dollars. And the city does have its fair share of wealthy business tycoons. But the average guy on the street can barely scrape together enough cash for bus fare. Take the Foxconn workers, for example. Those are the boys who assemble our iPhones. They only earn a hundred dollars a week, plus room and board. The wealth gap is stunning.
I must admit the truth. Sometimes, living in China makes me feel morally corrupt. In comparison, South Korea is a joyless shithole, but at least the peninsula has a strong middle class. Furthermore, Korean healthcare kicks ass. You get great service for very little money.
Oh well. If push comes to shove, I can always go back. I have a permanent resident visa.
I walked to work by myself. Rice-Boy Larry is suffering from a very nasty cold, so The Dragon Lady gave him the day off. I got to my classroom at 7:30 a.m. and called Ken the Chicken Man on WeChat.
I said, “Your brother seems to have an infection in his chest.”
He said, “Is it pneumonia?”
“I hope not. He’s going to see a doctor today.”
“That kid is always sick. Do you remember the year when he caught both Influenza A and B?”
“I do. But Larry’s been the picture of health for the last twenty-four months. The only problem he’s been struggling with is his big toe.”
My youngest son is a pudgy healthy-looking kid. With that said, he’s suffered quite a few lung infections during his short time on Earth. In fact, he’s been hospitalized for pneumonia on three separate occasion. Luckily, he seems to be getting healthier as he grows older.
Ken said, “My health insurance runs out when I turn twenty.”
I said, “Graduate from a university as soon as possible and get a good job—because being uninsured sucks giant ass.”
I met my tenth graders at 9:30 a.m. A girl name Wendy Song arrived late. It was her eighteenth tardy of the semester.
I said, “You have a detention.”
She said, “I’m not coming.”
I said, “The school rules clearly state that a detention shall be given with every third infraction. If you don’t like the policy, then you should talk it over with the principal.”
She took a smartphone out of her bookbag.
I said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m calling my mother. I’m going to tell her what a dictator you are.”
“Could you please speak to her in the hallway? You’re disturbing the class.”
She left my room in a huff.
I genuinely like my students in spite of their spoiled snotty behavior. They simply can’t help themselves. Most of them are pampered rich kids who get no discipline at home. Therefore, I do my best to forgive their occasional outbursts.
Fortunately, things took a turn for the best. Mom refused to come to her child’s rescue. Consequently, Wendy was subjected to a mild ass-chewing from the principal, and she served her detention that same afternoon. Justice ruled the day.