Showing posts from 2012
Happy Holidays to all. Grading is finished and we are getting ready for the long journey to see family and friends. I've just written a Christmas letter that you can see at the following:

Happy Holidays from Todd and family

Sorry for not posting much in recent months. A New Year's resolution for 2013 is to post at least once a month. I've been much busier than expected these last months.


Reflections: Gerry Benedict

I haven't posted to my blog for quite some time. After my last post I was busy with teaching and preparation for a one-week trip to Heidelberg, Germany in April. I went there to teach a class in Cross Cultural Communication at a US Army base as part of the master's degree program in International Relations through the University of Oklahoma. I have done this sort of thing many times over the past ten years. It was spring in Germany when I was there, with cherry, crabapple, wild cherry, and other trees in bloom. Spring flowers such as tulips and lilacs were out. It was very beautiful and reminded me of springtime in Upstate New York. I'll post some pictures later.

After my return I spent a couple of weeks in Macau to finish the semester. Then with finals graded returned to Norman, Oklahoma. So that's a brief update on my travels.

What inspires me to post is the sad news of the passing of one of my high school teachers, Gerald "Gerry" Benedict. (I learned about…

Moved In!

Today I unpacked the last of the boxes of my books and put them on the shelves in my office. I have 6 book shelves and more than enough space for my books. This is fantastic! It really helps to work in a space where I have ready access to my books, unlike my tiny office in Oklahoma where books were hidden and often out of sight (and out of mind).

Here are pix of my office as of March 15, 2012.

Reflections on Iron Lady

I haven't posted for some time. I've been busy recently. Last weekend I went to Guangzhou (Canton) for the weekend on a research trip. I interviewed three young women, asking questions about dating, marriage, and relationships. This is a continuation of previous research that I did in Taiwan. Guangzhou is a big city. The subway system is great for getting around. The food is great. People are friendly. But the air quality was terrible! I was glad to get back to Macau where I felt I could breathe.

On Friday evening I went to watch the movie, Iron Lady. It stars Meryl Streep (fantastic acting as always) who portrays Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first, and thus far only woman to serve as Prime Minister. I'm old enough to remember M Thatcher, and perceive her like her counterpart, Ronald Reagan. I did not agree with her economic policies, but admired her for her toughness. The film does a nice job presenting both the successes and failures of her tenure as PM. But what is m…

Apartment Found

I've been busy the past couple of weeks trying to find a suitable and affordable apartment in Macau. When I came for my job interview June, 2011, I was led to believe rents were not that expensive. But, the situation is not what I expected. Yes, there are plenty of jobs here in Macau and business is booming. But that also means there is great demand for housing as many people are moving here. So after looking at 3 bedroom apartments, and not finding anything that I felt reasonably priced, I decided a two-bedroom would have to make do. On Saturday morning I found one that had some nice features to it: good location, near shopping, the university, and bus stops, next to a wooded hill, fully furnished, and the back door opens to a private access rather large balcony that is on the roof of the building (even though it is on the ground floor, if you can imagine that. Hint: the building is built into a hill.) I paid the deposit on Saturday and will sign the lease for one year with the o…

Time Passes

It's been a busy week for me in Macau. I completed and turned in a document that has the "Methods" section for research activities I plan to carry out this year with support from a Univ of Macau grant. Then I learned that I had to turn in another form to recruit and advise PhD students. I finished that this week. On Friday, a potential student came to me and asked if I'd be her sponsor. So that was fast! Fortunately she is a journalist and teacher and does not need funding. That means I can supervise both her and one other funded student. I'm also preparing documents for my work permit, and my daughter's stay permit. And finally, I went to my first Cantonese language class on Wednesday. I've signed up for a 30 hour class that meets Monday and Wednesday evenings. My first impression is that the teacher is good and course materials helpful. I hope to gain a basic knowledge and then improve my speaking and listening ability on my own.

I'm preparing to ru…

Comment on Taiwan's recent Presidential Elections

I was watching the Presidential election in Taiwan with interest these past months. While my sympathies were with Tsai Ing-wen, I thought that Ma Ying-jeou would probably be re-elected. While he did not do all that he promised 4 years ago (what politician can claim that), and he seemed too close to China, my sense is that he did not do a bad job. Certainly the opening of direct flights with China, greater academic exchanges, tourism, etc., are positives. Taiwan's economy is very much connected with China and needs to be given space to grow in that way. Politically, however, the people of Taiwan are not interested in being ruled from Beijing. Most see themselves as "Taiwan Ren 台灣人" first, and some sort of cultural Chinese "Hua Ren 華人" second (or perhaps third). Taiwan does not see Beijing as the center, and I doubt that will change for this or the next generation. Tsai Ing-wen ran a great campaign and projected a professionalism and vision for Taiwan that was po…

First day of class after Chinese New Year

Classes began today after the Chinese New Year break. It's good to have things open and to see people on campus again.

Back on the home front, my son, Robbie, ran a fantastic time trial, 10.62 100 m fly, and 24.10 200 m standing start. Last year he pulled his hamstring early in the season and couldn't compete. Hopefully this year he'll stay healthy. His coaches told him his 100 meter time would count as the 2nd fastest in school history! He gets his fast twitch muscles from his mother and not me. I never ran faster than 26 sec for 200 m.

Those interested in seeing news from Macau, I recommend the Macau Daily Times. It doesn't have a lot of news, but gives some information about what's happening here.

I've just updated preferences allowing for comments. So feel free to comment.

Sunny Day in Macau

Today the sun was shining after a foggy and cold morning. In the morning I went on a long run, going from the University of Macau campus to the trails of Coloane, then running the long circuit of the trails, and then heading back, for a total time of 2hrs 4 minutes. I've signed up for the Taipei marathon on March 18 and need to increase my mileage to get in shape for the race. So I'll have to increase the runs to 2:30 to 3 hours. The run was great! The only problem was lack of water. I didn't plan well and failed to bring any with me. But on the way back, after leaving the trails, I had my bus pass and hoped to use the money on my card to buy water, which you can do at convenience stores here. There was an Esso gas station near the bus stop. I went in to see if I could swipe my card for water, but there was no machine set up. The man in the store was nice and gave me a bottle for free. I guess I looked like I needed it!

Later at noon I took the bus back to Coloane, stopping…

Year of the Dragon

It's Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon, "my year." The University of Macau has the week off, which gives me some time to get caught up and do a little exploring. This past week I went to Dongguan, China and visited a friend there. They treated me very well and took me on a trip to nearby Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We had wonderful meals and did a lot of shopping! I also met people from many parts of China and the world. The few people I met had stories similar to those narrated by Leslie Chang in her book, Factory Girls. "Jackie" is a 30 something woman from western China. She came to Dongguan about 10 years with no money, little education, and few connections. Now she is a successful manager in an international company. Likewise "Tiger" came from western China with only a junior high school education at about the same time. He now drives a nice car and handles orders in his shoe company that are made by Taiwanese managers. I also met a musician f…

Macau Musings

This is my first posting from Macau. These first few days have been busy as I’ve been filling out forms and navigating the local bureaucracy. Progress has been made on many fronts, although I’m not “finished” yet. The bad is that there is a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. The good is that resources for accomplishing what I want to do are available.

I’m just getting to know and understand the students at the University of Macau. I’m teaching two undergraduate classes this semester, one in Interpersonal Communication and the other in Intercultural Communication. Both are for non-majors. Most students are local residents of Macau. A sizeable minority come from other parts of China, and some are international. In my intercultural class I have two students from Japan who are English majors. They are polite students. Yet what is bothersome is that many come to class late. I’m trying to break this habit by commenting on it (it is disrupting to me when they come in 10-20 minutes late …