From the middle class to the Middle Kingdom

I would like to mention to anyone interested that, starting a week from tomorrow, I will be going to Shanghai and thence, after three weeks of TOEFL training, to Tianjin (the third-largest city in China, about an hour away from Beijing) in order to teach English literature at Nankai University, the alma mater of none other than Mr. Zhou Enlai, as well as Chen Xingshen, one of my brother’s personal heroes (well, that may be an exaggeration, but a guy whose work he admires). Maybe this will not make much of a difference with regards to this site except for a few more pretty pictures, but I feel, in the interest of sincerity, that I should warn everyone that, for reasons which I am sure most of you will well understand, I may not be entirely at liberty to speak unreservedly about various sensitive political topics, at least until I get back home. I really don’t anticipate any problems, but just so that you know, I will doubtless be ready at that time to divulge any impressions of my experience that I don’t feel it prudent to mention during the course of my stay, though if any such situations arise I will try to at least give some indication of that fact. As I say, I honestly don’t anticipate this being a problem, especially as I have heard that China has opened up considerably intellectually and is now a much freer environment for discussion than, say, Singapore, but nevertheless it is something that should be mentioned, as it may possibly affect my own way of approaching various topics, even if there are no concrete reprecussions of any sort. So if those words are sufficiently cryptic for everyone, I am greatly looking forward to the whole experience, my first in Asia, and fully expect to be enamored by the adventure. Anyway, in the words of Jerry Springer, take care of yourselves, and everyone else.

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