Epistle 13 of Leon's China Chronicles


*****Moon's Day, April 5, 2004*****

At first, I was inclined to skip epistle 13, because the number 13 is associated with bad luck, and in numerology, with DEATH.

And then, I got to thinking, "How apropos!"  You see, April 11th is the third anniversary of my wife's death.

I really don't like to talk/write about it... so I won't write any more about it.



My son has developed some kind of infection in his throat, bronchial tubes, nose, AND even his eyes.  It is not uncommon to have infections in children's eyes, because they wipe their noses, then wipe their eyes.  Well, candidly, it is more common in my son's case than in other children's cases.

A lot of people get sick here at this time of year, because of the sand storms.  The bacteria from the sandy soil rides "piggy-back" upon the particles of dust, and it gets into your nose, mouth, and eyes.  Plus the temperature is crazy at this time of year.  It's hot some days and freezing other days.  It all depends upon which direction the wind blows...

If the wind comes from the North, it will be a freezing cold day, because that wind comes straight down from Siberia.  And, in Siberia, I think there are only two temperatures:  freezing and f****n freezing.

If the wind comes from the South, it will be a very, very warm day.

If the wind comes from the West, it will be a sand-storm day, and mildly chilly.

If one doesn't mind the temperature changes and doesn't get plenty of sleep, one's immune system will not be able to fight off the bacteria.

I was sick with a serious sore throat for a whole week and yet, I had to teach with a sore throat.  Teaching requires one to talk, and sometimes talk loudly.  This does not help the healing process.

Anyways, I can't stand these Chinese doctors and Chinese mothers with regards to taking care of my son.  I mean... they tell me what to do (or give advice), and what they say to do is totally insane.

Today, I asked some of my coworkers to accompany me to the hospital with my son (and for my son's benefit).  I needed their assistance because no one speaks English at the hospital.  The two coworkers who accompanied me were mothers.

First off, the doctor said that my son was sick because he was too hot.  She asked if our home was very hot.  I answered that on the contrary, it was generally warm, but definitely NOT too hot (in fact, sometimes too cold).  Then, she saw that I was feeding my son juice.  And parenthetically, it should be noted that I only give my son the nectar of REAL fruits. I do not give him that artificial crap, which is a sugary syrup with artificial flavoring, and artificial coloring in it.  So, the doctor says, "Don't feed your son juice.  It has too much sugar, and sugar is bad for the body for two reasons:  makes the body too hot, and bad for the teeth."

Now, that if I were feeding my son the artificial crap, I would tend to agree.  However, I only feed him the best quality of anything.  I was irate, because the two mothers were translating and agreed with the doctor, saying I should stop feeding my son juice.  This torqued me.

My son, as much as I try to get him to eat fresh fruits, will not eat them.  So, the next best thing is fresh fruit juice, which has been preserved in air-tight containers to preserve freshness.  In fact, I was giving my son Kiwi juice at the time and Kiwi has more vitamin C than any other fruit, except Papaya, and my son won't drink Papaya juice.

So, saying don't drink juice has got to be the most inane thing I've ever heard in my 35 years of life.  First of all, sugar is a carbohydrate, and humans CANNOT survive without carbohydrates.  For you bio-illiterates, a carbohydrate is basically water (hydrate = H20) plus Carbon (C).  The human body is 90% composed of water and carbon.  So, to tell me that one should not intake carbohydrates is pure nonsense.

Furthermore, my son won't eat much when he is sick, because he loses his appetite and his throat hurts.  So, drinking fluids is the only way I can get any nutrition in his body.  I also give him fresh, whole milk, mixed with formula to give him the other nutrients that juice cannot give, such as lipo-proteins, which are VERY necessary to mammalian life forms.

Then, by the time we finished getting an injection at the hospital, it had warmed up considerable outside.  In fact, it was 11:30am.  It was a warm, sunny day, with a slight breeze (from the West).  In the taxi, it was quite hot.  My son started to flush and sweat from every pore in his body and started to cry, (obviously because he was uncomfortably hot).  I took off his overcoat and sweater to let him cool off.  I even rolled down the window to let some cool, fresh air in.  Then, the two mothers in the back started getting all excited, insisting that I put his sweater and coat back on, or else his condition will get worse.

Now, I ask you:  If you son is flushed and sweating profusely, would you put a sweater and coat on him?

They also insisted that I roll up the window.  I rolled up the window to shut them up, but I refused to put my son's sweater and coat on, despite their insistence.

It was a warm spring day, and the car was like a green house, trapping the heat from the sun.  My son had five layers of clothing on.  It was no wonder he was sweating!  Even after I showed the mothers that my son was sweating, they still insisted that I put his coat on.  I really appreciate their translation assistance, but...

Furthermore, the idea that one should drink pure water (and their is no such thing as pure water anyways), but anyways, the idea that one should drink lots of water is a good one.  BUT, to disclude other water-containing liquids in favor of water, is just non-sense.  It makes me impatient and frustrated in dealing with people who have no knowledge of how the human body works.

The human body has what is called a "large intestine".  The function of the large intestine is to extract water from the "left-over" food(s) in the body.  It extracts water from everything eaten or drunk.  A malfunctioning large intestine results in diarrhea (watery excrement).  So, by drinking fresh Kiwi juice, my son gets plenty of water.

The problem is when drinking things like carbonated drinks and beer.  Yes, they have water in them, but the body cannot metabolize the water because of the other ingredients.  The molecular compound, CO3 (carbonate), is not digestible, and therefore is passed right through the body (coming out in the urine).  Same thing with beer, which is why you pee so much when you drink beer.

I never give my son carbonated drinks (and even if I did, he wouldn't drink them, 'cause he doesn't like them).

So, anyways...

I had a bad day...  until....



I brought my son home from the hospital and we went to MY school's cafeteria for lunch.  My son was complaining about the pain from the shot he got in his buttocks.  Then, out of the blue, stands up, comes over to me, turns around, pulls up his shirt, bends over and says, "Dad, kiss it better." (In Korean).

I smiled, and said, "No, I'm not kissing your ass."

That was pretty funny.  Made my day.



I always make my son say, "Please," when he wants something.  So, now he makes me say, "Please," when I want something.  He's too funny.


****Odin's day, April 7, 2004****

Today culminates the seven day period from April 1 (April Fool's Day).  Since I only teach each class once a week, some classes had to wait until today to receive their April Fool's joke from me.

I did the old finger-in-the-box joke.

A couple girls almost threw up.  They definitely were pale and sickened by the appearance of the (my) finger in the box.  The boys all wanted to touch it to feel if it was real.  One girl (and only one) was actually fascinated by the apparently severed finger, and was disappointed to find out that it was my finger (still attached to my hand).

It was great.  I loved doing it.  No one hear has ever heard of the finger-in-the-box trick, so it worked like a charm.


My son, Titus, shades his eyes from the sun.

@ a Tibetan Buddhist Temple Grounds,

in Tongliao City, Inner Mongolia,


I'm not sure what that thing is behind my son.  It revolves hoizontally around an axil.  All the writing on edifices of the temple grounds were in Tibetan writing.


My son at the Tongliao Zoo

Sacred White Cranes in the cage behind.


My son in front of his kindergarten.

It is a Mongolian Kindergarten,

So you can see the Mongolian script above the Chinese script

Note:  all the pics above were taken in March, when it was still cold.



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