> 33 memories

33 memories

2008-05-06 - jjackunrau

Myrrl and his friend David are here. It’s funny to see Myrrl with someone so clueless about China. You feel sort of bad for him talking about his views of Chinese culture. He’s got a PhD in Psychology and wanted to talk about diagnosis and stuff like you’d find in the DSMIV. But he also runs an Amish restaurant. So family-owned business is a good topic too. Holly really hopes he hits some sort of too-close-for-comfort issue about Zhi Mian.

Myrrl’s telling stories of back in the day when the Jin Ling Hotel was the only skyscraper in the city, and only foreigners were allowed in. People would gather outside and just stare up at it. There was a piano bar inside with air conditioning that CEEers would retreat to during the six week SLPs when it was 42 degrees dropping to 37 at night. It was a hellish summer and no good food anywhere. Ruthie had a miscarriage. They’d drape themselves in soaked towels to try sleeping.

And Myrrl talked about Sebastian and how much money he makes playing poker. Thousands. It’s hard to motivate him to go get a job. I wouldn’t want one either. Holly talked a bit about her dream for this organic farm/guesthouse and Myrrl was dismissive, as expected. He wants Zhao Xing to learn to cook and then start a Sichuan restaurant/teahouse/massage place in Harrisonburg. “Now there’s a man with a dream,” I said. I think when he dismisses things it’s sort of an implicit challenge to show him the goods. He’s heard too much talk to put a lot of faith in it till it’s done. That’s my impression at least. Holly gets so insecure with him, even though she doesn’t want to work for MPC anymore. She’d still like to work with them but to be her own person outside that “mission field” (which is a word they use so much he laughed).

The idea of existing outside all the guanxi is so attractive to her and to loads of young people she thinks. Myrrl was saying the simplicity of life is why so many Chinese people end up going to the States. They just don’t have to play all those games. Myrrl says he intentionally subverts a lot of that with the visiting scholars, so much so they’re surprised he knows how to toast and do all that Chinese stuff when they have their farewell banquet.

He has fun trying to figure out the relationships though. If you treat it like a game it’s interesting. Peter Yuan is supposedly a really smooth political operator, as Holly saw in Kunming’s PIC this year. That was surprising but not, as he is the president of the Sichuan CCC or something. And he has the support of MPC and that gives them their connections. And Fuller wants Xuefu to go back grovelling to the seminary before he can study in America. Oh politics!

cee fuller guanxi harrisonburg holly jinling hotel mpc myrrl nanjing peter yuan poker seminary the hangman wang xuefu zhao xing