Category: "Brendo In China"

Thoughts on China

Some people have asked me how I feel about all the protests and backlash against China and the upcoming Olympic games so I figured I would write a little bit about it and if folks wanted to comment we could have a little discussion. Let me start off by saying that I agree 100% that there are serious human rights violations occurring in the country. That being said, I think the reaction of many Americans and other western countries towards China is offensive and counter-productive.

First of all, you have to understand that some of the values we hold are not the same as the values held by the average person in China. While we uphold the idea that personal freedoms are the most important thing, most Chinese uphold the idea that the body, the nation, is the most important thing. This is seen in many different ways, most recently in the way the Chinese are uniting against the attacks on their country from Western protesters. It's creating a very polarizing atmosphere and I believe is very detrimental towards all the work that has been done over the last 30 years to get China to where it is now. If this trend continues, we'll get from China exactly what we think is happening now, only it will be real, and probably worse.

In my time spent living in China, I heard many horror stories from survivors of the Cultural Revolution and the tragedies that occurred under Mao Tse-Tsung. I could see first hand that while there is still a lot of progress to be made, things are definitely headed in the right direction. Yes, there is still lots of poverty and horrible things occurring, but compared to just a few decades ago, things have improved in leaps and bounds. While I do think it might be a little too early, having the Olympic Games in Beijing can only lead to good things. It raises awareness both about the good things occurring in China and also the bad things and hopefully will bring these issues to the forefront so they can continue to be addressed in the proper fashion.

I've heard people I know and respect say some horrible things about China and its people and it makes me sad. That's a billion plus people they are writing off and dismissing as vile and evil. Change takes time, folks. Let's keep it rolling in the positive direction. I know it's a complicated issue, especially with the situations in Tibet and Taiwan, but it's definitely not as black and white as some would make it out to be.

posted by | 04/22/08| 01:33:29 pm| Thoughts and Ideas, Brendo In China| 4 comments »

More on China and web censorship

We haven't talked about this for a while, but today I heard a very informative and balanced report on China's internet censorship on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer podcast (feed). The report talks about a company called UltraReach that provides technology to Chinese citizens to get around the Great Firewall. I'm sure they use technology that's similar to what Brendan and I used to give him full access to the web. The report includes a round table discussion on the issue. They deal with the impact of companies like Google and their choice to cooperate with the Chinese government. You can subscribe to the feed or download the mp3 file directly.

posted by admin | 04/19/06| 04:30:50 pm| In the News, Brendo In China, Podcasting| 1 comment »

More China Photos Up

Rene and I in Xian Gallery :: China

Now that Danny has the Gallery up and running I decided to upload the rest of my China pictures. Check them out. I divided them up by places I went to. If any of my China friends are reading this and have any pics to send, go ahead and do it, especially if you have Thailand pictures. I don't have any of those.

posted by | 08/15/05| 04:26:11 pm| Site News, Brendo In China| Leave a comment »

Am I Weird?

So I'm looking through all my China pictures just now and all I can think of is this: Did that actually happen? I know that is a strange thought to have, but dude, sometimes I still can't believe the last 10 months of my life. Actually, I can't believe the last five years of my life. Things just kind of went nutso the moment I got in my Honda and drove east towards Wisconsin. Away from Biola, away from my friends, and into a land of mystery. What in the world was all that for? I'm back, and all I have to show for it is some pictures, a piece of paper that supposedly tells me I'm smart but hasn't been able to land me a job, and a whole lot of crazy stories. Oh yeah, I also have a nice new bunch of buds and this site. So I guess it all makes sense. It's still weird though. Now that I'm back sometimes I wonder if it wasn't all just a dream.

posted by | 07/21/05| 11:05:04 pm| Brendo In China| 3 comments »

The Next Step

I've made the decision not to return to China. I strongly believe it's for the best. Right now I need to focus on staying healthy mentally and being around people I love. So I'm finally moving back to Southern California. I have no idea what I'm going to do or where I'm going to live, but I know things will work out. If anyone has any leads or anything, I'd really appreciate it. I'll be in the L.A. area all next week to scout things out and visit with people. I also have to figure out what I'm going to do for a car and stuff as well. Not to mention my very large medical bills from being here at Link Care. I'm hoping my supporters can help me out in that. Also, if anyone has a sample resume they're willing to send to me so I can get mine started, I would really appreciate it.

posted by | 04/19/05| 09:00:01 pm| Brendo In China| 3 comments »

Fantastic Harbin Ice Festival Pics

R Todd King: China Photos 2005 - Harbin Winter

This guy's Ice Festival pictures are way better than mine. Check them out. I'm bummed I didn't make it to the snow festival. I'll have to check that out next year.

posted by | 03/30/05| 11:44:45 pm| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Driving For Books

I finally finished The Dark Tower series, reading 5 of the 7 books since this summer. That's 3184 pages. I also recently started reading a book my counselor recommended, Codependend No More. It's really great and has helped me make some sense of a lot of things in my life. However, I can never be reading just one book at a time so I had to go in search of something new. Today I decided to go to Borders. This involved driving a car for the first time since August. I borrowed one of the cars here and drove the 5 miles to the nice shopping center here in Fresno. I call it the nice shopping center because it has a lot of trendy restaurants and stores while most of the other shopping centers here are glorified strip malls.

I ate at Rubios (yum!) and then went over to the black hole of time that is also known as Borders. I can never spend less than an hour at one of these places. I always find some book, magazine, or graphic novel to sit down and read. I love perusing the outrageously priced DVDs and CDs. Especially now since I've been missing out on a lot of this stuff. So when I came upon the Freaks and Geeks I absolutely had to have them. They're sitting on my coffee table right now. I also bought the Hunter S. Thompson memorial issue of Rolling Stone. I'm sure it will be a great read as well.

I can honestly say that I haven't missed driving at all. Parking is a pain in the butt, especially in crowded shopping malls. I don't mind being a passenger in heavy traffic, but having to drive in it is another story. I wish everywhere was like Hong Kong with its first class public transportation system. I would never drive anywhere.

I guess I'm looking forward to the weekend. It's starting to get hot and there really isn't much to do here. Hopefully I can come up with something fun to do tomorrow.

posted by | 03/12/05| 12:40:53 am| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

While I Was Sleeping

So I woke up this morning at 6:00 AM. I was wide awake. I forgot what it was like to have a morning routine. Before my vacation I was waking up with just enough time to shower and get out the door. Then when I was on vacation morning simply did not exist. So I woke up this morning, went about my business, and promptly crashed again at 11:30 AM. When I woke up it was much later. I think the jet lag still has a hold of me. I think it was because my body is still trying to tell me that's it tomorrow. Anyway, hopefully I'll get over this soon.

posted by | 03/06/05| 12:14:05 am| Brendo In China| Leave a comment »

Yay for WiFi

I found an open WiFi connection here so that is fantastic. Things are going pretty darn well. Just got off the phone with Gringo. If anyone else wants to give me a ring, e-mail me for my phone number. I met with my counselor for the first time today. It went very well and I am happy with the direction we are headed. The jet lag is still bugging me. I took a long nap this afternoon and now I am totally not tired. I went grocery shopping and was so amazed at everything it took over two hours to leave the store. Yeah. I'll leave you guys with a picture my buddy Seth sent me of us at the Harbin Ice Festival.


Hope everyone has a good weekend.

posted by | 03/05/05| 12:02:01 am| Brendo In China| Leave a comment »

Time Travel

Tomorrow I am leaving Harbin at 8:00 AM. I will be arriving in San Francisco at 10:45 AM the same day. Ah, the wonders of crossing back over the international dateline. I am excited about coming back to the States for awhile, but I'm also nervous. I know I'm going to experience some major culture shock. Hopefully I can get past all that and work on getting better as soon as possible. The next time I post to this blog I will be back in the U.S.A. Crazy man, crazy.

posted by | 03/02/05| 07:34:06 am| Brendo In China| 2 comments »

More Baby Steps

I wanted to let you guys know what is going on in case I can't give updates for awhile. I'm pretty sure I will be able to, but you never know. I met with a psychologist that works for my employer today and together we decided that the best option for me right now is to take a sabbatical in the States and go here. This way we can figure out my medication needs and other things and in a month or so I will be able to come back to Harbin and resume my life here. So I'm leaving sometime in the next few days. Please be thinking of me. If you want to come visit me while I am in Fresno, please let me know! I would love to see some familiar faces. Thanks again for all your thoughts and your encouragement.

posted by | 02/26/05| 08:58:06 am| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Chef BrendoMan

I look like crap in this picture because I've been sick but I took it anyway because I was successfully able to make Zucchini Casserole all on my own.

cookingissomuchfun (Small).JPG

I've never baked anything before so this is a pretty big achievement for me.

posted by | 02/22/05| 01:09:56 am| Brendo In China| 9 comments »

Still Sick

This weather is really beating the crap out of me for the moment. I can't feel my nose anymore from blowing it so much. Gah. I think my sickness was the reason I got upset over Honzo's announcement that he's moving his site to his own domain. If anything, I should be happy that my friend is upgrading to having his own space. Maybe for a moment I was jealous. I'm willing to admit that and I apologize. So congrats to Honzo for this move. He'll still be posting here on the blog, so that is awesome.

posted by | 02/20/05| 04:27:45 am| Brendo In China| Leave a comment »

Temperature Shock

freaking cold.PNG

Man, I am all dried up from this temperature change. My nose is so stuffed up I can't even blow it. My lips keep getting chapped. I've been drinking tons of water. I think I'm getting better though. This is what happens when you go from 80 degree weather to below freezing. Good times.

posted by | 02/17/05| 09:15:09 pm| Brendo In China| 1 comment »


We made it safe and sound to Thailand yesterday. So now I'm chilling out in Chiang Mai until our conference starts on the 1st. It's really nice here. Hot and sunny. The exact opposite of Harbin. They have Baskin Robbins, Sizzler, Burger King, and a ton of other great stuff here. They also have cheap movie theaters! I'm on way to go with a friend to see The Aviator in a few minutes, so I'm really looking forward to that. While Hong Kong was a very fun experience it was quite the bustling city. This is more laid back, especially once we go up into the mountains for Conference. I'm also sleeping on a soft bed for the first time since I left Missouri. So that's good. The internet cafes here are cheap and have laptop hookups, so hopefully I'll be able to check in on a somewhat regular basis for the next week.

posted by | 01/25/05| 01:56:28 am| Brendo In China| 2 comments »

Hong Kong Pictures

Here are some pictures of me in Hong Kong. It's been great here so far. We are leaving for Thailand on Monday. I'm pretty excited for that, but I will miss HK as well. There are so many cool things to see and do here. Yesterday was probably my favorite day. We went to Lantau Island, which is very beautiful. It's very different from the bustling city. The city itself is quite amazing. There's a fairly large zoo area smack dab in the middle of the city on Hong Kong island. It was pretty darn cool. They even had a jaguar and a very large python. I have some more pictures I will put up later when I have a better net connection.

posted by | 01/21/05| 05:21:37 am| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Hong Kong

Whew! It's been a really fun and somewhat crazy week. I'm in Hong Kong right now. We got here yesterday. Xi'an was pretty darn cool. We actually stayed in Weinan, a city about an hour away. The Terra Cotta warriors were pretty darn cool and the city itself was neat. Lots of historic sites and such. I'll have pictures when I get back.

Last night we stayed in a somewhat ghetto hostel. It wasn't too bad but when I called Curtis and told him where we were he responded with "You're staying where???" After that I was kind of freaked out. Then some events transpired where Curtis and his wife Christy needed someone to stay at their apartment to watch their cat so we are here for the rest of our stay and that is cool. We are actually on Hong Kong Island. There is a taco place nearby and they have Vanilla Coke here so it is already awesome. It's rather funny right now because people are bundled up here in down coats and such like they are in Harbin except it's 60+ degrees outside. So my friend Rene and I are walking around wearing t-shirts and everyone is staring at us. It's awesome to be able to wear a t-shirt oustide again.

That's basically what is going on with me. I'm having a great vacation. Glad to see you guys are keeping things going here. Hope all is well with you.

posted by | 01/16/05| 02:43:47 am| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

In The Books

I'm officially done with my first semester as a teacher here. I finished calculating my last grade just now. All I have to do is turn them in to my boss tomorrow. Some of my friends from another province are coming in tomorrow and we are going to the Ice Festival on Saturday. On Monday we are off on our train journey to Xi'an with an overnight stay in Seping. I'm really excited to see the Terra Cotta warriors. Unlike Harbin, Xi'an is a very ancient city so there is lots to see of historical interest. I'm also super pumped about Hong Kong and Thailand since they will both be much warmer than here. It's been a crazy five months, thats for sure. I'm glad I have you guys and this place to keep me sane sometimes. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world, but it's had its ups and downs so far. I guess everything does. Not to mention the whole post-college stress syndrome thing. Anyway, that is what is going on with me. Posting on my end might be sparse for awhile, especially after Monday. If you'd like to contribute to the blog and don't have a user account, let me or Danny know. We'd love to have you here.

posted by | 01/06/05| 02:04:12 pm| Brendo In China| Leave a comment »


So I got a new coffee maker yesterday. I don't think it boils the water long enough, because I have been puking since 5 AM this morning. Gah. Gah indeed. I can't give my final exam today. I can't eat anything. On the plus side of things, I found a Skype Answering Machine that actually works. Give it a try if you like. My Skype username is brendoman in case you didn't know.

posted by | 12/23/04| 06:41:52 pm| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Back From Freezing

I got back from our little ski trip awhile ago. I didn't actually get to go skiing though because they didn't have boots my size. It turned out to be cool though because it was only a little bunny hill with a tow rope and I got extra time to drive a snowmobile around. That was fun, but it was freezing. I hope to have some pictures later. We also got to go bowling, which was cool. After three games we got a little bored and came up with a new game called "Eight Ball Bowling." This entails using only 8 pound balls, throwing them as hard as you can, and the winner is determined by who finishes the fastest. My team won but was later disqualified because Peter, my teammate, was not using an 8 pound ball. I also bowled an amazing score of 34 during this round. Oh yeah, it was really stinking cold up there in the mountains. It's pretty darn cold here too. According to Weatherfox it is 5 degrees F and snowing outside.

After we got back we decided to go to the new Carefour (a huge French-owned supermarket chain) nearby. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. It was a total mob scene because the store just opened yesterday. It took me over an hour to get through the store and out of checkout. Small everyday tasks such as grocery shopping and going to the post office turn into wonderful ordeals here. That's the fun part of life in China. It was also interesting to witness a few fights in the checkout lines. Fights between Chinese people usually don't get physical. They do involve a whole lot of yelling though and large crowds gathering around to gawk at those fighting. This does not allow for an easy check-out experience. I got some Milk Chocolate Magnum bars though, so it was worth it.

And now that leaves me way too tired to do a podcast, which is already late. Maybe tomorrow. Hope you all had a good weekend.

posted by | 12/19/04| 09:04:53 am| Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Ski Trip

I had my last classes today. Now I just have to give my final exams next week and I'm done with my first semester of a teacher. Since I'm not that far removed from being on the receiving end of a killer final exam, I'm really having a heart for my students. I mean, most of them are taking like 11 classes this semester. I don't want to contribute to their insanity. My freshman final is a pretty easy written test and my sophomores have to do demonstration speeches. I don't think it's too bad. So we're celebrating the end of the semester by going on a little ski trip, paid for by our wonderful school. I'll only be gone from tomorrow afternoon until Sunday evening, but I'm pumped.

In other news, we got our plane tickets all worked out for our mid-year conference travel. I'm taking a mega train ride (24 hours I think) to Xi'an on January 10th with a bunch of people. Then my friend Rene and I are flying to Hong Kong on the 16th. We'll hang out in Hong Kong for 8 days and then it's off to beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand, where it is about 70 degrees warmer than it is here in Harbin. Also, I'll get to see a real movie in a real movie theater. And eat donuts. I'm definitely looking forward to it all.

For Christmas we are just hanging out here and exchanging gifts with each other. We also are planning on having a Mexican feast, since my teammate Bethany had a huge jug of salsa sent to her. Mmmmm... salsa. I haven't had salsa since July. That's insane. So that's what's going on with me. Things are good. I want to thank you all again for your kind words and helping me keep this site alive, since it's my main link to the States right now.

posted by | 12/17/04| 07:57:50 am| Brendo In China| Leave a comment »

Busy Weekend

No, I'm not dead. Maybe the rest of the crew is though. Dustin, one of my old friends from San Diego who is teaching in Shenyang right now, came to visit. It's been fun. Another good thing is that we finally have our travel pans for vacation pretty much finalized. Also, classes are over in two weeks, my ROTK Extended DVD is on the way, and I finally got my hands on the Seinfeld discs. So yeah, things are pretty good. Yeah, you know my life is exciting when two of the good things going on are DVD related. Heh. Oh yeah, I'm also finally feeling better, so that is also good.

posted by | 12/11/04| 10:45:23 am| Site News, Brendo In China| 1 comment »

Lions and Tigers and More Tigers

Last weekend I went with some friends to the Manchurian Tiger preserve here in China. Here are some pics. They're too big to display here on the page, so I'm just putting up text links.

In the caged bus

Here There Be Tigers

White Tiger

Outside the Park

Feed The Birds...

posted by | 11/11/04| 07:30:10 am| Brendo In China| 4 comments »

NPR in China

NPR : On the Road in China

Check out this great NPR feature on China.

posted by | 11/11/04| 02:51:08 am| Brendo In China|

So True...

From cells to bells, 10 things the Chinese do far better than we do A comparative list compiled by JAN WONG @

I can honestly attest to the truth of all of these. I don't have a cell phone yet though. I was waiting until I had purchases some necessities for my apartment. I'll probably get one next week. Then maybe I can MoBlog.

posted by | 11/05/04| 11:10:55 am| Brendo In China| 2 comments »

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