Educating Mao ※

May 2011

Educating Mao

1 May

Subject: Potential Serious Teacher (lloyd Gretton)

Dear Australian ### ### ###,
lloyd Gretton a native of New Zealand currently residing in China, is requesting to be considered as a potential candidate for your posted position.

2 May

Subject: fifty minute train ride to Luoyang

Dear Dad
Today I had a quiet day. I finished reading the life of King Henry Ⅱ.
The King revived and made standard what became the jury system that replaced trial by water – which has a remarkable similarity to water‑boarding.
The King was however betrayed by his wife Eleanor and his sons. Two of whom became Kings of England, their names were Richard and John.

In the evening I went with Daniel to the bar down the road, a nice place that has just re-opened.
I had a few whiskeys which Daniel insisted on paying.

Tomorrow morning, after seven am, I will take a fifty minute train ride to Luoyang. It is a city on the opposite side of Zhengzhou. It has over six million inhabitants, and was the first ancient capital of China. There are friends I have encountered there I want to meet.


Monday being May Day is a public holiday in China. In the second century AD, emissaries of the Roman Emperor visited Luoyang.
I had never heard of it until yesterday!

I plan to return in the early hours by train on Tuesday morning. So your next email may not be until Wednesday morning.

I did my washing and house cleaning this morning.
Love from Lloyd

2 May

Subject: My health

Dear Lloyd
I have been in hospital again. I have prostate problems, but not serious. I find this computer very difficult to operate.

Scott is coming to stay with me next Monday for one week.
Love from Dad

3 May

Subject: From Ami


Hi, Lloyd,
It's so bad that missed your call in the morning, caz my phone ran out of battery.

We've got 8 different kind of museums in down town. The one I work in is called "the Duke of Zhou Temple" (Zhougong Miao) which is located on 21th Southern Dinding Rd. The museum opened everyday from 8:30am–5:30pm.

Have you been to the Luopu park? Which is the longest park in China.

Luoyang is getting more and more beautiful and the weather is pleasant too. I love my city.

It's quite easy to find a job for native-english speakers. There are a couple of wife and husband who are both retired are teaching English in Luoyang technical institute and they both enjoy their life here in the city very much. I met them a couple of times.

Please let me know which train you will take and I'm going to meet you at the train station.

Do you wanna try one of the saunas? (where we can stay over the night)

I'm looking forward to meeting you on saturday.
Best wishes.

Subject: come to Luoyang early

Hi, Lloyd,
How about like that? Please come to Luoyang early in the Sat. morning and then you come to the temple (I'll send the address to your cellphone in Chinese so you may show it to the driver) then I'd show you around the old temple and then we'll drink some tea and have some snacks while I'm working, then we go to eat at 1:00pm when I'm done with my work and then we go to have a walk in the park and then you go to teach and then if it's late you go back to your hotel (which hotel do you usually stay when you are here?) and if it's not too late we go to do shuffle dancing near the department store.

We'll decided what shall we do (sth. you wanna do) on Sunday.

We can try sauna next time. How is it?

Subject: train arrives about nine am

Hi Amy
I was travelling on the train in the morning and might have been asleep. I am now in my apartment in Gongyi.

The train arrives in Luoyang from Gongyi about nine am. As you work that day, I suggest I go myself to your museum on Saturday morning after I arrive. You can give directions to my taxi driver. You can show me around the museum and maybe I can help you in some way.

After your work finishes we can spend the night at the sauna. That sounds lovely.

On Sunday evening I have business to attend to regarding my English work in Luoyang so we can say goodbye to each other then.

If we are happy with each other, the next Saturday we can meet again in Luoyang and do something else.

Looking forward to it!

Subject: a train muck-up

Dear Dad,
I am feeling very tired as I did not spend bedtime because of a train muck-up. I am now back at my apartment in Gongyi.

I will send a fulsome email when I have had some sleep.
Love from Lloyd

4 May

Subject: my bachelor's pad

Dear Dad
I am feeling tired again as it is nearly eleven o'clock at night. I had two classes today.

In the evening I had dinner with Sissy at the Good Coffee restaurant. Sissy only has student activities at the Communist functions at the College. So unfortunately I will have to finish at the College in July. Already without my initiative I am being contacted in China and Oman for other positions.
There may be a university college position coming my way in Hanoi, Vietnam in July.

I missed Tuesday's eight am class because of my late return from Luoyang. The train guards barred my entry onto the train because it was overcrowded and I had only standing room.
I tried to find a taxi to take me to Gongyi but the drivers gave me a drive around as none had heard of Gongyi.
No reference to it yet from the college. I plan to arrange an extra class next week to make up.

I have arranged a room and bathroom with a key in Luoyang in return for giving free English lessons to a court official and her daughter. On Saturday I plan to go back to Luoyang to spend the night there in my bachelor's pad. I also have a friend who works at a museum in Luoyang who wants to spend time with me.

I met Daniel in the evening. He is planning me to give a talk to the culture club at the college. I plan to talk about the Chinese literary classic The Monkey King and its t.v. cult popularity among New Zealand youth.

I hear you have had more time in hospital. I hope you are feeling better.
Love from Lloyd

Hi Ami

Hi, Lloyd,

I have rooms in the Tian Li where I teach a class after seven pm on Saturday. I sleep the night there.
I will be free again all Sunday. My rooms are in the Tian Li building mall.

Tianli sounds familiar to me. I might be very near to my temple.

We should go to the sauna on Saturday evening or Sunday. I haven't been to one for years.

How about we decide till we meet?

I return to Gongyi on Sunday evening or night. If you would like us to go to a restaurant and bar, is there an Irish bar in Luoyang?
I don't like loud party music. I love quieter places that have live bands that play old western pop songs or Irish music.

I'm afraid that we don't have Irish bar. But there's a very nice western style resturant.

Perhaps I should point out, I pay for all the time we are together.

Thank you. It's very kind of you.
Have got to go. I'll write more later.

5 May

Subject: your lovely letter

Hi Ami
Thank you for your lovely letter. Sharing a sauna with you will be a delightful thing. I will leave it to you to decide when you are ready.

I have your phone number and can give it to the taxi driver to ring you. My cellphone is not reliable for text messages. Perhaps you can give me your phone number again.

If you can arrange our activities, that will be great. I will arrive Saturday morning and have to leave Sunday night.

I will be finishing at my university college in Gongyi in the first week of July. Then I will have time off in my country New Zealand.
You mentioned you know teachers in Luoyang. Maybe I can find a teaching position at a university college or high school in Luoyang from the middle of July.

I will soon be inheriting money from my estate and plan to set up a teaching college, maybe in Luoyang.

If you have any ideas that might assist me, don't hesitate to tell me.

Subject: Back at home

Dear Lloyd,
I managed to get out of that horrible hospital a few days ago. I have a cather fitted with a bag attached to my leg. Most unpleasant.

I have a nurse who comes to my house each morning at 7am to shower and dress me. Beverley comes at 8 am to give me my breakfast.

The hospital nurses were all big fat Maori women who resent looking after Pakeha men in their hospital and are useless as caregivers.
Love from Dad

Subject: your feeling about the belligerent Maoris

Dear Dad
Your email is troubling. I know your feeling about the belligerent Maoris.

Harawira is now claiming to represent all the poor in New Zealand. That is a hopeful sign. I fear though the media will do everything it can to ferment more racial hatred.

I had one class today. After it I prepared for my talk tomorrow night at the culture club.
It will be about two men who lived in China a thousand years apart and had a strange relationship.

The first man was born near or in Gongyi and travelled to India. At that time all the lands of China, Central Asia and India were predominately Buddhist.
The second man wrote the novel we call in the west, Monkey, which is based on the adventures of the first man.
Monkey became cult television shows in Asia and the West.

I completed the chapter on the kingship of Richard the Lion Heart. The chapter mentions the "Old Man of the Mountains". He initiated the cult of the Assassins.

His direct descendant became President of the League of Nations.
Love from Lloyd

6 May

Subject: Pinyin is just phonetics

Hi, Lloyd,
I'm always glad to hear from you.

It's really discommodious if one doesn't speak the language where (s)he stays. I'd be glad teach you some daily Chinese (by Pinyin) when we meet. It's very easy for you to learn Chinese Pinyin, caz Pinyin is just phonetics.

Running schools in China will be very good business. Caz we have so many kids and every couple only have one kid and the parents don't care spend much on their kids education.

The Luoyang Teacher's University might need foreign teachers. I'll find out.

We have many luxury saunas here in my city and all my family love to stay in sauna during winter, especialy my little niece, who's 5 years old. It seems that my little nephew, who's only one year and 8 monthes, loves sauna too, because he got very excited whenever he is sauna.

I'm a fan of sauna. Sauna makes me relaxing.

I'm looking forward to meeting you.
Best wishes.

Subject: my lack of Chinese language

Dear Zinning
I have had many difficulties because of my lack of Chinese language.

I have excellent teaching qualifications. I will forward you attachments of my documents and a picture of myself with an Iraqi student that you might show to the Teacher's University.

I, alas, would be a slow student as I am no good at learning foreign languages!

My rooms in Tian Li have no washing facilities. That means a sauna on Sunday morning would be very practical. You can show me the procedures in the sauna. Without an English speaker I would be lost. I can then shower and wash and have my morning shave.
Then I will be all spruce for time in Luoyang on Sunday until Sunday night.

I will give you a ring tomorrow from the railway station and the taxi driver will take me straight to your work place.
Lloyd xx

Subject: Don't worry

Hi, Lloyd,
Don't worry.
I'll take care everthing after we meet.

Subject: three classes today

Dear Dad
I had three classes today. That always leaves me feeling very tired.

In the evening I did my talk on the two Chinese scholars to the cultural club. It went down well. After it I had a whisky at the new bar and restaurant down the road. I had a dinner, compliments of the culture club at the teachers restaurant.

Tomorrow morning I will be going to Luoyang to meet my friend Ami at the local temple museum. She is looking for a position for me at the Teachers University in Luoyang.

Luoyang is a much more suitable city for me. The Teachers University also sounds much more suitable as it should be entirely academic. How strange that I thrive with academic students and was such an academic dud myself. In the evening I will sleep overnight at the free supplied bachelor pad in a big building in Luoyang.

There is no washing facility at my pad. Ami has mentioned a sauna. I am interested how that will shape out.

I plan to leave Luoyang on Sunday night. You may not receive an email on Sunday morning.
Love from Lloyd

7 May

Subject: letters received

Dear Lloyd,
I love receiving letters each morning but I find replying quite difficult. My sight is not good and trying to type is difficult.

Scott comes on Monday for a week. I fell out of bed last night.
It will be comforting having him here.

9 May

Subject: Meeting on Sunday

Dear Lloyd,
I'm glad to know that you've applied and sent your stuff to the teacher's college.

I planned to go to the college tomorrow afternoon. But now I don't think it's necessary for me to talk to them let's just wait and see how it goes.

I'm looking forward to meeting you on Sunday.

How about we going to visit the folk custom museum which is the first museum I worked for when I gratuated from a teacher's college.

Take care.

Subject: I am interested in folk culture

Dear Ami
I am so happy to receive your email tonight. I am always interested in folk culture.

I can meet you in the morning on Sunday. After your work is finished, we should take the taxi or bus to the museum.

As I said before we will make it a relaxing day.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: applied for a position in Luoyang

Dear Ami
I have now applied and sent required attachments for a teaching position at Teachers University in Luoyang.

Another College in China in a northern province has sent me a offer of a teaching position from September. If it is offered, I will instead accept a position in Luoyang.

I am looking forward to see you again on Sunday. We will make this a relaxed time.

I tried to ring you today but your phone was busy.
Love from Lloyd xxx

Subject: A fall from bed could be dangerous

Dear Dad
I can't quite understand why you fell out of bed. Maybe you should make a point of moving to the middle of the bed instead of settling on its edge. A fall from a bed for anyone could be quite dangerous.

I met Ami on Saturday morning in Luoyong. She is a lovely person. She is a bit over forty and her English and cultural knowledge is first rate. Her job is security guard cum tourist guide at a temple museum. We stayed at the museum until midday when her job finished for the day.

Then we went to a Good Coffee restaurant and had a meal. Then we walked to the river front. Then we went together to a spa and spent the night there.

The next morning we did various things.

Ami said she will this week look for a new job for me at a college in Luoyong for early September, the start of the new semester.

I got back to my apartment at about eleven o'clock at night
Love from Lloyd

Subject: feeling better

Dear Lloyd,
My computer was playing up so my typing was very poor. It seems to be better this morning.

I went up to the hospital last Friday but they said the catheter must stay. This is no trouble as it is quite comfortable. I will be called up again sometime this week.

I will be most happy if you land a job at Luoyang.

Scott arrives at lunch-time. I am looking forward to his visit.
Love from Dad

Subject: Scott is looking after me

Dear Lloyd,
Nice to get your email. Scott is here looking after me this week and next week Paul and Dawn will be home.

I get morning help and evening help now so am being well looked after. I have learnt how to operate the catheter better now. It is actually quite simple.

I had Tina here to cut my hair today. Scott says it looks pretty cool.

He and I will go shopping tomorrow.
Love Dad

Subject: a college position in September

Dear Dad and Scott
I sent you the email below that has offered me a college position in September in a city close to the North Korean border. The position sounds marvellous. But the region is not my cup of tea. However I will certainly take it if I cannot get a position in Luoyang. The Luoyang Teachers University is always advertising for foreign teachers. I applied for a September position there today.

Today I had one class. In the evening I went with some of the male teachers to a Mongolian restaurant for dinner. The food was quite good. Certainly much better than the Mongolian food in Mongolia. I don't engage much in conversation in these environments for the simple reason my hearing stops me from understanding most of it. We were supplied with the Mongolian native spirit, fermented then distilled horse milk. It is the same process that makes brandy out of grapes. I drank only a little bit having tried out horse milk ice-cream in Mongolia. I settled mostly for their tea-like Chinese beer. The restaurant staff were terribly anxious to find out where I was from.

I got a book out of the library. A collection of famous English short stories.
I got an email from Ami. She is very happy after our time together and is planning our time together on Sunday.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Potential Serious Teacher(lloyd Gretton)

We have favorably reviewed your favourablys for teaching in China and would like to offer a position in Panjin, Liaoning province, PRC commencing September 2011.

The college offers private and free accomodation. Class length is 45 minutes, average number of classes is 20 per week. Class size is approximately 25 students whose ages are 20 to 22.

We provide medical coverage and a contract completion bonus plus full pay for the time off during January and February.

The salary that we are prepared to offer is 7000 rmb per month.

The documents required to issue an invitation letter by the Chinese Education Bureau are as follows: copy of passport; copy of certificates and degree; copy of recent CV; 2 reference letters; digital photo (head and shoulders)

A medical will be required prior to entry into China

Please advise your interest at your earliest convenience.
Helen Li

Subject: Potential Serious Teacher (lloyd Gretton)

Helen Li
Thank you for your offer of a position. The College conditions seem excellent and suit my teaching methods. I will immediately let you know my decision.

I have all required documents. Would you provide an air ticket from Auckland New Zealand to the College and what is the date you would like me to be in the College apartment?
Lloyd Gretton

Subject: Returning to Luoyang

Dear Ami
I got back to my apartment past eleven o'clock at night. Now I am getting ready for class tomorrow. I will make a discrete enquiry about visitors to the college.

I plan to return to Luoyang on Sunday morning. You can plan what we should do that day. I suggest we don't go back to my apartment. Maybe we can visit the island.
Love from Lloyd

10 May

Subject: Delighted for you

Dear Lloyd,
We are so pleased that your future career in China seems to be turning out as you hoped. Getting to know the local people can be a great advantage so keep up the good work with Ami.

I am finding life much more pleasant now that I have Scott. We expect Paul and Dawn home on Friday. It will be good to be all together again.

We will look forward to hear more of your new position.
How you do get around!
From Dad

Subject: Ride on a horse

Hi, My Dear Lloyd,
I won't work on Sunday and I'll be free all day long.
We visit the museum and we might ride on a horse too.

No matter what we do, we're together. I wish you'd enjoy your stay in China.


Subject: English lessons in apartment

Hi My Dear Ami
I will see you on Sunday morning. You can meet me at the station at half past eight and we can go straight to the museum. I last rode on a horse in Outer Mongolia seven years ago. We had horses in my childhood in New Zealand. See you soon.

Perhaps in the evening we can have a lesson in Chinese and English in my apartment. I want a quick course in Chinese to help me in China. We can just be teacher and student together to any (unlikely) visitors.
Huggs Lloyd

Subject: sounds good to me

Dear Lloyd,
All sounds good to me. I just came back from a spa, the girl did a very good massage. Mom and I supposed to go back to the spa the day after tomorrow.


11 May

Subject: New contract

Dear Dad and Scott
The new Chinese College sent me an invitation letter and a contract. I this evening scanned them and emailed the signed parts back to them.

I am not sure what I would do if the Teachers College in Luoyang suddenly offered me a position. I have had no reply from them.

College in northern China would mean absence from Ami. But absence does make the heart grow fonder.

I had three classes today. I had an extra one in the evening to make up the missed one of last Tuesday. I sweet talked the class monitor to not recording the missed class. I said it would save her from a lot of paper work.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: sounds good to me

Hi Lloyd,
Dad and I are very impressed with your new teaching position in North China. Perhaps you could give us some geographic detail so we can look your location up in the Atlas.

We are sure that your friendship with Ami will continue to flourish as absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

We are having warm damp weather here though nothing too serious. Poor Mary is totally fed up with the ongoing earthquakes – there was another 5.3 just yesterday. You might like to send her a cheer up email as I feel she is getting quite down. I will ring her today.

John Gretton is in Thailand. He and Tam too felt they just couldn't stay any longer and have joined the great exodus out of the city. They are all modern day refugees really – it is only now that every one is realising the long term costs of this to everything and everyone.

Bill English will release his first post quake budget today. We are all bracing ourselves as there just isn't enough money to go round and to keep the education, health and welfare systems going.

We are borrowing from the Chinese at a rate of millions per day. We are all paying for the excesses of the last decade when every one lived well beyond their means. We thought our house prices would continue to go up and we would all end up rich this way. Complete nonsense of course – how did we manage to fool ourselves for so long? Most of the debt in NZ is private rather than public. So we can't even blame the Gov'ment (as much as we might like too, and as happy a habit as that is).

For all this we are all still living in a democracy – the worst form of Government except for all the others!

Love from
Scott and Dad

Subject: Western cultural revolution

Hi John
I read with interest your latest column. In China the first English speaking generation are in general being badly served by their English education. They went into English in the same era as the English speaking societies started forgetting its rules.

That has meant now one has to almost surreptitiously teach grammar. The big wigs speak a developed form of pidgin English and look askance that English has any rules. Fortunately, family ties remain strong and their neighbourhoods are stable and thriving.

However while they survived the Maoist cultural revolution, it will be harder to survive the western cultural revolution. The latter is less blatant but more insidious.

I will have a new position in a Chinese University College near the border with North Korea from September.

My brother wrote today that everyone is holding their breath for Mr English's budget. He is a Wellington bureaucrat. I suspect you are too busy to take so much notice.

Nice weather now in South China.

12 May

Subject: New teaching position

Dear Dad and Scott
The position is in Panjin city in the province of Liaoning. That is on the border with North Korea. That region was bombed by the U.S. and a nuclear nuke attack was advocated on it by most Americans during the Korean war.

While it is interesting, I remain disappointed my application for a new contract was not renewed by ChengGong. It seems I travel the world as a peripatetic grammar teacher. When I settle down in New Zealand I will have my revenge with my 'far right' book Why Johnny Chan Can't Read English. I will explain why being semi-literate secures you employment in ESL. These kind of books get their sales on Amazon. They are reviewed by their readers and sold online.

That means I will not have an income in New Zealand between the second week of July and the end of August. My end of year contract provides an air ticket out of China but not return to China. My work visa runs out on 9 July. So I plan to take the College provided air ticket to go to Vietnam. There I should be able to find a period of employment before the new College. I could also perhaps find such a short-term employment period in China. So I regret I won't be able to return to New Zealand in July.

I should be able to get esl teaching in New Zealand. Employers are interested then suddenly decline before I start.
Maybe they google my name! When I am in Vietnam I will try again to repair Sargon Press. Vietnam has complete freedom on the Internet.

I had two classes today. Jackson arranged for me to take out a restricted book from the College Library. It was such a business I don't think I will ask him again.

It sounds awful about Christchuch. One day a name will be reserved for the Christchurch refugees if one does not already exist. I will write an email to Mary but she never replies.

I am at present reading a short story by Thomas Hardy about smugglers on the English coast line in the 1830s. Intriguing stuff.

I disagree with Churchill's comment about democracy. Democracy always has a short life span when it is run by opportunists rather than aristocrats. Syd Holland started the rot in New Zealand. John Key will finish it.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: three classes today

Dear Dad and Scott
I had three classes today. That has left me feeling somewhat worn out. I have put out some feelers for other teaching positions. I don't want to be not receiving income for any period. Bitter experience has taught me that.

Several invitations to apply for Summer jobs have been offered in China. There is also a lady in Hanoi Vietnam who is looking for positions for me when I move to Hanoi in the second week of July. She has the unfortunate name of Dung.

In the evening I went down the road and had a few beers and a bowl of peanuts.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: three ladies meeting

Hi Mary
Scott asked me to send you an email. From what I hear Christchurch is still in the thrall of its earthquakes. I hate them myself.

From what I can understand Trevor, you and your two younger daughters are in Christchurch. Michaela is pursuing her dreams in Melbourne.

Both the Grettons and the Dimonds came up the hard way so I suppose that helps. Christchurch appears to be resembling Beirut. The Beirut once rich population found inner strengths and pleasures in stronger neighbourhoods. There is a book I read in my college library about Beirut during the civil war by a Friedman. Tourists enjoy the new charred ambiance of Beirut which has now mostly rebuilt.

I will be completing my contract in July. I have a new University college contract on the border with North Korea that starts at the beginning of September. In the meantime I plan to live in Vietnam. Maybe find a temporary school there. For my bonus my College will provide me with an air ticket to Vietnam.

It is now quite a nice climate. I have met a neat person in the city Luoyang which is about an hour from Gongyi. Luoyang was the first capital of China. I have been given a free apartment by a mysterious lady and her daughter in Luoyang which I can take my new friend to. This Sunday we will go horse riding. I am a bit concerned the three ladies will all meet each other at the same time!

Subject: King John

Dear Dad and Scott
Today I had one class. I spent the afternoon in the library reading Bryson's The Lost Continent.

In the evening I read Hume's history of King John. He was a complete disaster like recent presidents. However out of his disasters came the Magna Charta.

Magna Charta

The people then had more power and wisdom than we do. At least those who were not living like the field beasts.

Are you getting Harawira saturation and fatigue?
Love from Lloyd

14 May

Subject: Climbing a mountain

Dear Dad
I spent today climbing a mountain with other teachers at a local temple sanctuary. We took the college bus to the temple. Julia came too under college regulations. I took a cable car part of the way and walked up a track to a swing bridge. We could see the temple further up.

In the evening I went down the road and had dinner and a few beers.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Scott has returned home

Dear Lloyd
Scott and I had a wonderful time together. I am sorry that he has gone home but he has his responsibilities to his girls.

Paul and Dawn returned to NZ yesterday. I have not spoken to either. I have a crowd of girls helping me. I need help now to dress and shower.

I should really be in a home with full care. I find working the computer quite difficult.
Love and best wishes from Dad

Subject: At the railway station

Dear Ami
I will be seeing you at the railway station at about half past eight on Sunday morning.
Huggs Lloyd

15 May

Subject: Bin Laden

Dear Dad
I spent the day with Ami. I took the morning train to Leoyang and met her at the station entrance. We had coffee and lunch at Good Coffee. Then we visited her friends and had dinner at ‘a cocktail party’ – actually just snacks and fruit juice.

We went shopping and I purchased a new belt and new sports shoes for our planned hike to the mountains next weekend. We had supper at her friend's house. There I saw some English language Chinese television.

Then she saw me off at the railway station at nine pm. I was back in Gongyi in forty minutes.

She has been introducing me to her friends as Bin Laden.

Love from Lloyd

16 May

Subject: one class this morning

Dear Dad
I had one class this morning. In the afternoon I went to the college library and finished reading Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent.

It was written twenty years ago and the signs of the rot are clear.
Love from Lloyd

17 May

Subject: two classes today

Dear Dad,
Today I had two classes. In the afternoon I had a meal at Good Coffee restaurant. Then I purchased yogurt and oranges at the supermarket.

In the evening I went down the road and sent more scanned documents to my new College. Then I had a dinner and a beer at an outside restaurant.

My new college is miles superior to ChengGong. The salary is almost double. It is situated a short distance from Shanghai and Beijing. It has a water front and river reservoir.
Love from Lloyd

18 May

Subject: shocked and dislodged

Hi Lloyd
Here is my new address. The other one is going to be deleted so you will need to update your contact file for me please.

Thanks for your interesting email. Yes I should try and get myself into a positive frame of mind about the spirit of Christchurch but really we are all so shocked and dislodged from our bearings that it is hard to be positive.

The weather here has been delightful – both the end of summer and now autumn – which just seems to rub salt into the wound as it could have been such a great year. I went on a running weekend in Blenheim last weekend and it was so nice to get away.

Trevor is back from 2 weeks in the USA today, it is good to have him here again.

I hope you have a nice time in Vietnam.

Subject: two classes today

Dear Dad
Today I had two classes. In the afternoon I scanned and sent documents to my new College.

In the evening I went with Daniel and a student friend of Daniel down the road to a new place for food and beer. It is a place superior to anywhere else I know in the locality of the College. It has an Italian outside cafe ambiance.

I got an email from Mary. She seems to have got into a depression about the Christchurch situation.
Love from Lloyd

19 May

Subject: letters received

Dear Lloyd,
Delighted to learn about your new college. Sorry I cannot write more often but my sight makes this difficult.

Paul and Dawn came for coffee this morning. I will be visiting Leighton House on Tuesday morning for lunch

Subject: Stoicism

Hello Mary,
The Romans had two rival philosophies on how to live. The most popular was Epicureanism, the other was Stoicism.

Maybe you should think of yourself as now living the Stoic way of life. That is from adversity and struggle, you gain inner strength and wisdom. Modern society does not encourage that.

Years ago when I found out I could not pursue a normal kiwi way of life, I went into a steep depression. I got out of it by the healing power of time. Your family survived unharmed. You take the good things that happen like Christchurch's new weather and take natural pleasure in that and try not to look back constantly on what it was before.
Maybe you should get some books on the pioneers of Christchurch.
Anyway that is all I can suggest.

It is difficult to get information out of Dad. How is Michaela doing? Are the other daughters back at their schools? What is John doing and is he in communication with his parents?

On Saturday and Sunday this week I will go to Luoyang and go up a mountain with Ami. I can't get communication with the other two ladies. But I still have the key of the apartment they gave me. Ami is setting up her own special apartment in Luoyang where she is planning to set up a business of two weeks holidays for foreigners.

I have been writing her advertising brochure for Facebook. Its headline will be – Luoyang: First City to Know the West. That is an allusion to the city being the first Chinese capital and first city to receive emissaries from the Roman Empire.

Subject: I'll try to be stoic

Hi Lloyd,
Thanks for your email. Yes you are right about looking forward. I have just had a reasonably large earthquake during my lecture this afternoon out at Lincoln. This is the first biggish one I have had while lecturing since Feb 22 and it made everyone pause but we didn't go under the desks. I'll try to be stoic but the quakes are constant reminders.

Dad has been going downhill by all accounts. It would be so good now if he could get into the Home as he needs more constant attention. It is crazy but he has to be assessed as needing full time care. Scott has just been there so that has given Becky a break.

Michaela is getting on very well indeed in Melbourne. She has full time work at an Italian cafe called Cavell. They all think she looks Italian. She has a lovely apartment up the road with her Kiwi school friends Jessie and Slade. She has had work from the moment she got there but she has continued to have interviews for office type jobs. She has just been offered 20 hours a week for a large law firm as a corporate assistant.

I think that will be quite good, and then she will be able to do a paper at Melbourne University which is practically next door to her apartment. Her apartment is in a block of 300 apartments run by the YMCA for the Uni, it has a gym, large outdoor pool, function room, sauna, 24 hr security guard, receptionist etc so it's perfect. She auditioned for a role in the Uni musical on Sunday but didn't even get into the chorus so her days of singing may be over. She destroyed her voice by over belt singing when she was younger and particularly when she was sick. But she's resigned to the fact she will have to pick another career and is now thinking Finance. She has always been a great one with money.

The other two girls are doing well at school. They have also both now got jobs at the local wee supermarket one day a week - it is the only one left standing for 15kms so it has become very busy and they've increased from 2 tills to 7 tills and consequently hired more staff – so there's one positive out of the quake. Alice went off for a three day tramp yesterday into Arthur's Pass as part of her Outdoor Education class. Sadly she forgot her dinner sausages and lunch ham so it's going to be a hungry first night. Maybe one of the boys will take pity on her.

Make sure you don't forget your lunch when you go up the mountain with Ami – she sounds very interesting and entrepreneurial.

John came back to CHCH but with the intention of heading back to Thailand – I'm not sure if he has left yet as he doesn't keep in touch.
Love Mary

Subject: Arguing about Bin Laden

Dear Dad
I had an email from Mary today to give me family news. It seems that John is making a new life for himself in Thailand and Michaela in Melbourne. I think they have both made the right choices.

I had one class today in the morning. In the afternoon I read some short stories by famous English authors. Then I went down the road and tried to download a movie for my students next week. I had dinner at a cafe there with some beers.

I made peace with Daniel at his apartment. We had had an argument last night about Bin Laden.
Now I will check out if I was successful with my downloading.
Love from Lloyd

20 May

Subject: Today I had three classes

Dear Dad,
Today I had three classes. So I was quite worn out.

Helen from my new college in Panjin emailed me new documents. Next week I will have to go and have more medicals. My health certificate expires on August 25. So I am going to try to convince the Government office to rubber stamp this new examination.

In the evening I went to a very good chicken restaurant with four other male teachers. Daniel was not invited. Everyone finds him a good person but too gloomy.

You may not get an email tomorrow night as I will be in Luoyang with Ami. We won't be climbing the mountain as the weather is too cloudy.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Visit Folk Custom museum

Or we can go to the spa on Saturday in the morning and then visit the folk custom museum in the afternoon.
How is that?

Subject: Free massages

Dear Ami
I will see you at the railway station between eight and eight thirty Saturday morning. I suggest we have coffee at Good Coffee, then we go to the spa where we will have free massages. Then we go to the folk custom museum in the afternoon.

At night we stay at my apartment in Luoyang. I now have a eiderdown there so it will be much cleaner. There are books there and we can help each other with our languages. Or you might like instead us to spend the night at another of the spas.
You might like me to give more help for your new apartment.

On Sunday we can decide what to do.
Love from Lloyd.

21 May

Subject: Your letter received

Dear Lloyd,
Thank you for your letter. It is so nice to get a letter from you each morning. I can then take it to read with my morning coffee at the double doors on the sunshine.

I am pleased that you are mixing more with your fellow teachers and as for the trip up the mountain with Ami how romantic. Tell me more.

I had just completed a letter to you when Debbie came in to say coffee was ready. Just at that moment your letter disappeared from the screen. Debbie who is thoroughly conversant with computers showed me how to save documents in drafts so I have done so with this.
Love and best wishes from Dad

23 May

Subject: those cursed quakes

Hi Mary
You are still getting those cursed quakes. I have never heard of anyone who got a kick out of them. I feel the worst aspect of the middling ones is you don't know how any will end.

In effect you and Trevor and the girls experienced a war zone. You are now living in a post one. The closest I got to that was during the Springbok tour when the central part of Auckland was under siege. It was only thanks to the much maligned professional police I got out of it safely.

On Thursday or Friday Ami will be giving herself a urine test. She is either having a phantom pregnancy or you are going to have a nephew or niece. It happened in the other lady's apartment.

I assume Dad is not admitted to health care because the care homes are state subsidised. We have to protect the tax payer! I think they only have cot cases and he is better at home. He reads my email every day and suns outside. People take him for constant rides in his car and minister to his every need.

It is good to hear about Michaela. Show biz is a very unstable life. First it demands perfect talent. Then you must have either a support system or something oomph like Kylie Minogue's eyes, Otherwise it is endless repetitions of three minute auditions. With my rather unusual eyes I might have done well. But these days to succeed at drama school you have to learn how to also sing and dance and pretend to be such things as a tree.

It is very sad about John. I feel he is letting us go and taking up a new life style as an expat in Thailand. I assume he is collecting his disability in Thailand. He is lucky his wife has stuck with him. The Thai common people are very generous and will take him into their community. He should be in a much better position over there.

Subject: I am going to be an Auntie

Let me know if I am going to be an Auntie!!!

Subject: Your e mail of 21st

Dear Lloyd,
Is Panjin, the new college, close to Shanghai? Tell me more. I find these colleges much different from the NZ set up. Very interesting.

Tomorrow I go with Becky for lunch at Leighton House. Beverly will drive me there in my car. It needs exercising to keep road worthy.

I got my hearing aid wet a couple of days ago and it has been in the warming cupboard ever since. We went to the hearing aid place to fit a new battery and the dear thing started to work again!
To get a hearing aid wet is usually fatal.
Love and best wishes from Dad

Subject: rules about protecting my property

Dear Dad,
As I wrote we didn't climb the mountain as the weather was cloudy. Instead we spent the night at a spa and the next morning did various things. Ami took me to a public garden and we looked at some historic sites of the Shang dynasty of the eighth century B.C.

Unfortunately my glasses appear to have slid out of a taxi while I was trying to get someone to tell the taxi driver the English meaning of railway station. Losing glasses while traveling is quite a dangerous situation as I could not read my ticket. The railway officials eventually brought me back to Gongyi on another train more or less under supervision. I have another pair in the apartment. They will do for the time being. I try to make hard rules about protecting my property but it seems I still have the odd lapse.

I found on my return a letter from Sissy. She is very excited as she has been put on an exchange school with Taiwan. She will be in Taiwan for three months.

Good that you can save documents in drafts.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: I should wait till 27th

Dear Lloyd,
I wish you had a good trip back to Gongyi.
I think I should wait till 27th to take the test. It's useless to be in a hurry.

Please send me the new school's name and advertisments of our business.
I tried to get the key asap.

Take care.
Love Ami

Subject: Ami's med test

Dear Ami
My trip back was a bit of a disaster as I lost my glasses and could not read the ticket.

Would you like to take the transport to Chenggong College? On Thursday my classes end at midday. Just say ‘Chenggong College’ to the taxi driver at the railway station. If you go by blue bus the driver will drop you off at Chenggong gates. Another possibility is take bus number eleven in Gongyi to the college gates.
Ring me at the college gate and I will go to meet you.

I was thinking you might like to bring your kit and have your test at my apartment at Chenggong College. I would like to see the results and talk with you after it.

You can take a transport every few hours back from Gongyi to Luoyang. After I have met you, we will go into Gongyi together and buy food and my swimming togs. Then we will return to the apartment, take the test and you show me food recipes. Also I would like you to go with me to business street in the college and I take an eye test for a new pair of glasses. I have an old pair I am using now.

My new college is Panjin in Liaoning province near Beijing. I still don't know its name but it is part of an Australian business.

Once you have the key we will have a private apartment for ourselves.
My suggested brochure is Luoyang The First City To Know The West.
Love from Lloyd

PS I have corrected your text below.
I hope you had a good trip to Gongyi.
I think I should on the 27th take the test.
Please send me the new school's name and advertisment of our business.
I will try to get the key asap.

Subject: one class today

Dear Dad,
Panjin is the city of about a million people where my new college is. It is close to Beijing not Shanghai. I still don't know its name. Only that it is an Australian owned college.

You now have quite an attachment to your hearing aid.

Today I had one class. In the afternoon I went to town and had coffee at Good Coffee and purchased my week's groceries.

In the evening I went with Daniel to the nice Italian like cafe down the road and had dinner and a beer.
Love from Lloyd

24 May

Subject: the Horse Dealer's Daughter

Dear Dad
I had two classes today. I showed an American movie. It was less than an hour long. Very slickly presented, but clearly marked for the DVD and downloading.

In the second class while I was out of the classroom during break the students put on a Gothic movie. I let it continue on as it was English language.

In the evening I went with other teachers to English Corner. We talked about the Spring Dragon Festival.

I read the Horse Dealer's Daughter by D H Lawrence. The young woman in it so reminded me of Ami!
Love from Lloyd

25 May

Subject: two classes today

Dear Dad
I had two classes today. Again the students after I had shown my movie put on a horror movie. They are actually good for language acquisition because the characters speak impeccable English slowly. But I was disturbed how much the students seem engrossed by it. At the end of class time I leave and they stay watching them.

I got a telephone call from Helen from my new college. I have sent another scanned passport document to her. It seems the mysterious medical document will have to be filled in. I am still hoping I can dodge another medical examination as my medical certificate runs out on August 25. I sent an email to Julie from the office asking that she send someone to go with me to the medical centre next Monday.

Yesterday I commenced reading The Korean War book that I had purchased in Shanghai. I have to read it in the library. It is very well written. It really was Vietnam but without television and with a military genius MacArthur. Knowing Korea I am sorry other powers became involved in it.

Left to itself it would now be a mixed communist and capitalist united country with a united proud history instead of a shitty crazy place.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Riding horses

Dear Ami
Let me know when you can be with me if you don't go to Xian. Maybe the mountain walk this time.

In your erm… condition, we should not be riding horses.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Testing in my apartment

Dear Ami
I will love to see you tomorrow Thursday in Gongyi.
My friend Daniel wants to meet you.

Don't forget to bring your kit if you would like to test in my apartment.

I will be free after twelve o'clock.

Subject: Visit to Xi'an

Dear Lloyd,
I'm sorry, but I can't travel recently, because everyone in our museum will buy a new apartment and we have to wait to be noticed when to deposit.

In case they called to deposit but one don't who will lose the apartment. (I'm not sure if I made myself understood).
How about try next week?

I'm afraid that we might not meet each other on weekend either. Because all of the members from our museum will go to Xi'an this weekend. The good thing is that it's not settled down yet.

I think I'd better tell you this so you can make some other plans in case we can't meet up on the coming weekend. (I wish we could meet if we don't go to Xi'an).

About the new university you applied, Panjin, whose weather is not that pleasant comparing with Luoyang but it'll be cool in summer. It doesn't have too many visitors.


Subject: Business over my apartment

Dear Ami
I think I understand. I will be going to Luoyang this weekend to deal with business over my apartment.
Let me know if we can meet then.

I hope you have a good time in Xi'an with the museum staff if you go. I want to visit there myself one day.

When you have the test, please email me.
Huggs Lloyd

26 May

Subject: one class today

Dear Dad,
I had one class today. They were showing a movie when I arrived. The student went to change it but I said keep it going. It wasn't too bad. I thought an improvement on mine. It was a puppet kind of movie. Really for children.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day arranging sending documents for my new college. Every school has its own idea of requirements. ChengGong seems never to have heard of this medical document but is insistent on the expert certificate. Other schools think there is a regulation that bans ESL teachers over fifty five.

Julie sent me the Chinese address of the hospital for the tests on Monday. I am still hopeful I can dodge the tests by showing the hospital my medical certificate. I will take to the hospital both Julie's and Helen's phone numbers.

I had a bowl of peanuts, some tomatoes and a few beers at the cafe down the road to recover. I picked up my classroom teaching and marking files from the office. I had sent them in weeks ago. The Education Department had returned them approved.

Tonight I read some English short stories by Katherine Mansfield and Graham Greene.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: lady's period

Dear Lloyd,
I wish to meet you this weekend if we don't go to Xi'an.

Lady's period supposed to come today but didn't.


Subject: can you throw any light on this

Hi Mary,
Ami wrote tonight to say she has not had her expected period. I am so in the dark about these things, that I don't really know the import. However it does appear to be the case.

She plans to do a private test. But I think she should see a doctor if no period after the next few days.

Is there any light you can throw upon this?

Ami is a lovely person with excellent English. I would be perfectly happy to marry her. She already says she wants this.

Without marriage the child would be a stateless person.

27 May

Subject: Its probably wishful thinking

Well I would say it all comes down to how many days/weeks have gone by. A private test might not show anything up very early.

Its probably just wishful thinking – sounds like she wants to marry you, but you should think about the difficulties, costs etc about raising a child before you rush into it.
Just trying to be wise not put a dampener on the whole thing :)

Subject: My instincts are rarely wrong

I also have to consider is it my child? I have an instinct there is a child coming. My instincts are rarely wrong.

She doesn't seem devious and her actions before hand don't suggest it. We will have to wait.

If you mean an abortion, that is unthinkable for both of us!

Subject: I didn't mean an abortion

No I didn't mean an abortion just wait maybe on the marriage thing, especially if u r not sure it's yours.

Subject: three classes today

Dear Dad,
Today I showed the movie Lie To Me and sitcoms to three classes.

I got an email from Helen to say I can move to Panjin College at the latest a month before the expiry of my visa on the tenth of July. I wrote back that makes my arrival there in the second week of June. That will be long time without an income. However I will have a free apartment.

I got an email today from the College giving exam details. Exam and classes will end in the third week of June. I hope then to have my free air ticket issued for Hanoi. I will continue receiving salary until the tenth of July.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: Going to Xi'an

Dear Lloyd,
We're going to Xi'an on Tuesday.

Saturday morning I'll be a volinteer on a meeting which is about Chinese Culture and I work in the afternoon (1:00pm–5:30pm) and then I'll be off till monday 1:00pm.

When will you plan to come to Luoyang? Sat. or Sun?

28 May

Subject: Greetings

Hi Lloyd,
We have just had Frank over for lunch and he enjoyed some corn fritters.
Paul took him for a walk which tired him a bit.

He says he is not feeling well but still managed to eat a good lunch. He can no longer cope with his computer which is why you have not heard from him.

I have just printed out your last 3 emails for him to read and he has asked me to send this reply to you.

Please continue sending him emails as there are plenty of people around to read them to him.


Subject: re: Greetings

Hi Dawn
From what I can gather, poor Dad can no longer read his emails nor use the computer. Still he is up and about and still of this world.

I send him a diary of my tangled affairs. No one yearns more for a quiet uneventful life. Unfortunately, by 10 July my contract for this college is ended. I had tried to renew it but that was declined. I am furious because I was the casualty of student assessment by male retards who took their revenge on my showing up their stupidity. Half the students appear to love me, the other half to loath me. Damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Still the new college that has recruited me in China has a salary almost twice as much, classes half as many. Hopefully the better half, nearly all girls. It is near Beijing and by a river and sea side. The name of the city is Panjin and the university college is Australian. The Chinese parents cull their girl babies. So they now have a nation of girl wonders and boy drongos. Exceptions of course. Very few at least at college!

I plan to take the end of contract bonus air ticket to Hanoi Vietnam at the end of June. There I want to recover my Sargon Press site and collect a new work visa. I also have to fill in a medical document before I re-enter China. In Auckland a lovely Maori doctor filled in the whole medic without me going near a laboratory. I am hoping to find the same.
I have a friend in Hanoi Vietnam called Dung! I hope to make contact and she can assist me.

Hanoi has the world's most beautiful people in the most beautiful city, physically anyway, mass murdered by the world's ugliest and fattest!

Subject: train to Luoyan

Dear Dad, After this email I will be going to Luoyang and sleeping over in my apartment there. I will go to Good Coffee first and have a meal before I go to the railway station.

The cost of a train journey about forty five minutes to Luoyang is about two to three dollars. Ami is busy at her museum work and will be free after five thirty pm.

You most likely will not get get an email tomorrow. Only printing shops freely allow me to access the internet and I haven't found one. Love from Lloyd

29 May

Subject: a hotel that celebrates Bin Laden

Dear Dad,
I went to Luoyang on Saturday afternoon. I have now just returned close to eleven pm on Sunday night.

The apartment in Luoyang was jammed locked. So I put the key under the door and left.

I spent the night at a hotel spa with Ami and her friend Tina. Tina is a friend of Ami and has an uncertain relationship with an elderly German.

The next day we visited Ami's old museum. We finally had drinks at a hotel cafe that celebrates Bin Laden and 911.
Love from Lloyd

30 May

Subject: Today I had one class

Dear Dad,
Today I had one class. I completed showing videos.

Tomorrow after prodding from Helen, I will go in the morning to the hospital for my medics. That annoys me no end. I rang up the monitor of Tuesday's morning class and directed the class to come in the evening.

In the afternoon, I read in the library The Korean War.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: have to go to Zhengzhou

Dear Ami
I hope you are feeling better. On Tuesday morning I have to go to Zhengzhou for a medical examination for my college in Panjin.

I will be thinking of you.
Huggs Lloyd

Subject: Have you been to Zhengzhou before?

Dear Lloyd,
Have you been to Zhengzhou before? Who will go with you? You don't speak Chinese, I wonder how do you deal with it.

I got lost in Zhengzhou, even though I've been there a couple of times.
Why don't you have the test here in Luoyang?

Wish I could to with you.
Worried Ami

31 May

Subject: a ghastly day

Dear Dad
I now have the two signed medical documents from the Zhengzhou hospital. It was a ghastly day. The hospital did not give me any tests. But the doctor simply filled in the documents from my medical certificate. Chinese logic!

Now I am in trouble in the Chenggong College for missing two classes. I did not return to the college until about eight thirty pm. I had set one class for seven pm to make up for lost class.
A handful were still waiting.

Jackson has just rung up concerning missing classes and a missing apartment key. I will be glad to see the back of him. If the college complains, I am going to say I have to look after my own livelihood.

Now I have forwarded documents to Julie from Helen that will prepare me for my new visa.
Love from Lloyd

Subject: a ghastly day

Dear Ami
It is now all done. I didn't have any tests and the doctor just signed the reports. It is ridiculous I had to do this. I did it on my own.

There was a helpful person at the hospital who spoke good english. All administrative work of the college is done at Zhengzhou. That is the provincial capital.

How was your time in Xian?
Huggs Lloyd