China News

Normally I dont post headlines, but these range from the silly to the outrageous (in a bad way). I needed to share them so we can move away from this American bubble we sometimes get caught in and see what’s happening around the world. Here are some headlines from China in the last yr:

Silly and funny:

Twisted #1:
Twisted #2:




Happy Chinese New Yr! 恭喜發財!


年年有餘! 萬事如意!

Yr of the Tiger 4708! My husband is a Tiger and I’m carrying a Tiger Cub in my belly right now! 😀

For the first time, I get to go 拜年 with my husband. His parents are in HK for the holidays so there’ll be no official new yr dinner for us – darn! But, we’ll still be visiting his grandma, god-parents, aunt and uncle tomorrow. My husband has oranges at his home and some boxes of chocolates to give out. For the first time this yr, I also had to go through a list with him of who to give out 紅包 to! Since we’re married now, we have to give to all the little ones. It’s kinda nice to put the nice new crisp bills in the packets. And we’re starting small cuz you have to increase each yr! =O I get to give to my god-daughters, my cousin and baby sister whose birthdays are this wk, a spiritual daughter of mine whom Tom and I have ‘adopted’ as our daughter, and a bunch of our friends’ kids, not to mention my husband’s cousins’ kids. Thank goodness we really only have his side of the family to worry about!! And they’re a small group compared to mine. Otherwise, we’d go broke! 😛

One of my friends was gracious enough to give my unborn baby a 紅包, too!!! So sweet!! ^_^

Bulk Posting

I need to be like my friend, Maggie Smith (hey there, Texas! :D) and post anything and everything all day long! Seriously, I’m envious of Maggie. She works hard all day, takes care of her 50 adopted cats at home, makes healthy food from scratch, attends kick-ass parties, and still has time to be an Ajah Head and make multiple entries on multiple blogs, tweet and update her FB status. WTH!?! She’s amazing.

There are several things I should be posting about anyway:

Double happinessMarriage – First yr! 😀 So far things are great. I married the most amazing man in the world. ❤ Already getting the baby questions, but back off! We’re waiting a few yrs. So now you know. 😉 It’s good for us to just enjoy time together and also I’m super-busy with the other things I should be posting about:

Everyday Chinese for Children

Everyday Chinese for Children

Work/Teaching – I’m working harder than ever before to make my lessons more efficient. Now that I know how to create a good Chinese lesson, it’s easier but more complicated, if that makes any sense. I took a course last Fall at Hunter College on Chinese Teaching Methodology. It was totally a God-thing. My professor turned out to be the author of my textbook!! =O (Didnt notice that til the 2nd day of class. :P) It was also all in Mandarin, which was really good for me. I’m feeling Mandarin-deprived ever since marrying into a Cantonese-speaking family. =/ It’s terrible for my input (how much Mandarin I hear), which I need lots of in order to keep my fluency. Need to watch more soap operas… >_> [But honestly, now that I think about it – why do I put so much pressure on myself to be so fluent in Chinese anyway? o_O I know I love the language and I’m surrounded by the ppl, and I may as well be Chinese… but. Yea, there’s a ‘but’ remaining. Sometimes I put too much of a burden on myself and it isnt fun anymore. :(]

So back to the lessons thing. Yea. It’s great to have the basic structure, and to know how my textbook was set up so I can get the most out of it. But, it does complicate things because I need to think through every single aspect of the lesson and map out how to get from one point to the next. This is called Backward Design in education lingo. I love it; it’s just not a cake-walk. I am putting all my lessons on powerpoint so that I can have my materials already set when I walk in the classroom. I am also using flashcards to reinforce the lessons. Most of them I have from the curriculum, but some I have to make. The powerpoints are the hard part b/c they have to contain the content in an engaging way. I think powerpoints are already engaging, but sometimes kids need to see fun stuff, too. For one of my reviews at the end of a lesson, I have pictures of cartoon characters like Harry Potter and Bart Simpson, as well as celebrities like Michael Jackson, and superheroes like Superman for them to identify using the new verb structure. My husband thinks one day when I have them all done, I’ll be able to sell them. Interesting thought. I’ll connect with my prof on that and see what she thinks. 😉 Anyway, I have an avg of 32 kids per class now and 8 classes total trying to fit in a half-sized classroom… Yea. It’s tight… and smelly. 😛

Seminary – Need a separate post on this one actually so I can really talk about how it’s been. (And it’s been GREAT!) Only attending part-time is still a lot of work, esp in light of what I said before about how I’m working extra hard on my lessons this yr. I’m keeping up with my work, though, and that’s all that matters. Weekends are my friend. 😀

Pastoring – I’ve had a self-imposed break since May due to wedding planning, actually having my wedding and then going off on Honeymoon. So, now with the new school yr starting, I also re-start preaching. I’ve been wanting to do a series on Gender Justice, with special emphasis on developing a theology of gender, and particularly of womanhood. This yr, the church’s themes sort of lend themselves to my new series, so it works out well. I’ll be blogging about this on the church site I set up: Sometimes, I may re-post here, or link over. Dont really feel like repeating. 😛 In case you’re interested, my messages are being podcasted. So if you go to the site, you can check the SERMONS page for the links.

Cooking – ah, yes! Finally, learning to cook. And not just cook, but cook healthily. The great thing is that my husband already knows how to cook a lot of stuff, so he’s been taking care of that for us! (Love you, hunny!!) I feel I’ve really been gypped in this dept. Aside from not learning to cook at home as a kid, growing up in America really lends itself to lazy eating. I’ve been amazed to discover more and more how much I’ve been duped by the system. (So, that explains my obesity! >_<) Today, I made my own meatballs (first time and slightly tasteless, but I MADE THEM!), and my own pasta sauce (yay, diced tomatoes!! This one I liked. 🙂 ), and penne from a box. Ok, not so healthy there, but when I learn to bake my own bread (gonna go there soon!) then I’ll learn to make my own noodles. Seriously, the more I see stuff in the supermarket, the more I’m like, “dude, I can totally make this!! Why am I wasting my money?! o_O” That’s how I feel now. I’m gonna make it my business to learn the art that is cooking. In the process I’m hoping to get healthier and unload this extra baggage called WEIGHT that I’ve carried for so long. And how can I not mention BENTOS??! I’ve posted on my attempts before. They’ve been pretty lame of late – just leftovers and nothing fancy. But, soon and very soon. Dont worry. You’ll see. 😉 I’m actually thinking of teaching my 6th graders (Asian Studies SHOP class) about them. Maybe we can make them! Should be uber-fun!

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

Books – Havent showcased anything I’m rdg in a while. I’ve actually been trying to capture time to read for leisure, but it’s tough with all I have going on. 😦 Still, I have snatches of time. I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter & the Order of the Pheonix when I have a few mins to wind down before bed. Actually, it’s really important I wind down before bed b/c usually my mind is racing with what needs getting done the next day and it’s hard to fall asleep. My doctor had to give me a ‘calming vitamin’ to take before bed so I wouldnt be so anxious. I think it’s a personality-slash-occupational hazard thing. =T Still, it’s always good to re-visit old friends and that’s how I feel when I pick up a book I love. I’m hoping to re-read HP5, HP6 and HP7. Then I’ll move on to some smaller books. I was in the middle of The Good Fairies of New York and then got sidetracked. 😛 I need to hurry and get thru the HP books so I’ll have the luxury of re-reading the whole Wheel of Time series before I tackle the last book (#12) in the series. They are actually releasing it in 3 parts, I believe, so I have time before they all come out. Still, it’s a lot of ground to cover!! I may need to re-read them while still staying on top of my seminary reading and readings for my sermons as well as just reading the other new books on my shelf. I swear, I need to sell all my books. They are seriously growing stale on my shelf! 😦 Ok, I’ll keep some – like my HP’s – I would never part with those!!! But, the others have to go! >_<

Did I say this was a bulk post?

That’s all I have time for right now. Longest post I’ve written in a while, I think. Shows how long I’ve deprived myself. Need to blog more. If anything, this blog entry proves it!! 😛

Filling Your Bag of Tricks


That’s how I would define the lack of teaching resources for Chinese education at the junior high level. No one seems to think Chinese language learning can occur at the junior high school level. -__- This is the reason I’m blogging in the middle of my free period instead of grading papers. (Well, it’s my lunch period and I’m allowed a few mins of ‘me time’ by law.) I’m blogging b/c I get frustrated. I alone encompass the Chinese dept at my school. It’s got its pros and cons. Pros – no one looking over my shoulder. No one checking my curriculum. Not that my administration isnt helpful. They totally are! (Which is more than most teachers in NYC can say.) They just dont know what’s out there. They’re not the Chinese teachers, I am. So, I now touch the cons – I have to do the hunting. I have to contact publishers and wade thru website after website. I have to create my own teacher-made reproducibles. That is a lot tougher than it looks! Creating a worksheet which fits the needs of your kids is already hard, without having to throw in a language component. Not to mention that just to get American computers to type Chinese, I need to have my tech-admin log in first, then download the software (I highly recommend Google Pinyin), then log out, then re-log me in as a user, then add the language to my control panels, then go to Add… and find the Google Pinyin option written in Chinese all the way on the bottom of the list, add it, and finally start to use it! @__@ If you’re like me and you write only in Traditional Characters and like using Zhuyin more than Pinyin, then you’re really in trouble! >_< All this makes for a very frustrated Chinese teacher. I have no one to collaborate with.


That’s how I would describe the task of creating a fitting middle school currciulum that is language standards-based. (ACTFL standards are great!) And then creating a curriculum for each grade. I teach 6th, 7th and 8th. For all intents and purposes, even by 8th grade, they’re still at a beginner’s or Novice level in the language. It’s a matter of getting them to reach a certain level of fluency. First in listening, then in speech, then in reading, and finally in writing. Each will lag behind the other in proficiency. As a teacher, it’s extremely daunting to prioritize what to teach, even when you have a framework within which to operate. 

It is my blessing right now to be taking wknd grad classes at Hunter in Chinese teaching methodology. (Should I go for the whole Master’s program? Sigh.) My current prof is Wei-Ling Wu, the author of “Far East Chinese for Youth,” “Far East Everyday Chinese for Children” and a myriad of other workbooks, character books, teacher’s manuals, cd’s and curriculums. It’s wonderful! I love all the expertise and sympathy she brings to the table having navigated through this field for over 20 yrs. I know that with her I can fill my bag of tricks.

Filling Your Bag of Tricks

This is what teachers call getting all your materials, lessons, games, films, etc. together in order to always have something to teach – not just fill time! (Time fillers are ok occassionally, but EVERYTHING you do – esp games – should ALWAYS be educational.) Some of it has to do with classroom mgmt. (Teachers, you all know that everyday can be a crisis! 😛 ) But essentially, it’s got more to do with always having a trick up your sleeve to teach something better. I’m already using two suggestions that Prof Wu made in class these last 2 wks. Teachers – fill your bag of tricks!! Whether it’s worksheets, review games, brain teasers, sudoku, whatever! For language teachers, this is even more essential! Anything we can do to make language learning fun and exciting, esp one as difficult as Chinese, we have the obligation to do! After all, what the kids learn is a direct reflection on our ability as teachers. We may teach something, but they may not necessarily learn it. (Thank you, 吳老師!) 

This can get expensive. Esp if there are certain resources only to be found overseas. I’m constantly asking my friends that live in China and Taiwan to send me stuff. I almost feel the need to create a website where all these resources can be consolidated and used by other Chinese teachers. I’m a big internet person and I can never find what I’m looking for to help me teach all in one place. I always have 100 tabs open. It gets to be crazy. 😛 For now, I have to be content with what I have, which is actually a lot more than what I had last yr! 

So, that’s my rant for today. This is something I’m constantly dealing with – everyday, in fact. As Chinese becomes less an under-represented language taught in America, and more of a common language, I hope to find a lot more resources to help me become a better teacher.

The Calling to Be a Pastor

It’s not everyday one gets to showcase a pastor from China. =)

The Calling to Be a Pastor

By staff reporter QIAO TIANBI

Yang Min, a junior at the Nanjing Union, works on her paper 400 Year of Silence-Changes in lsraeli Theology Since the Babylonians Seized lsrael. Gao Ying on the campus of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary.

The Christians that live in China are generally either born into Christian families or are new converts. After the “cultural revolution” (1966-76) churches resumed their activities and gained a large number of new converts. Gao Ying, pastor and vice president of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, was one of them.

Born into an atheistic senior government official family, Gao Ying, along with thousands of her peers, was sent to work in the countryside during the “cultural revolution.” In 1974, she came back to Beijing and worked in a factory. The “cultural revolution” launched China into a morbid decade that disrupted the normal lives of the people and distorted human relations, leaving many ideologically disillusioned and emotionally apathetic. Gao’s salvation came in the form of the father of one of her classmates, who was a pastor. It was he that opened the door of Christianity to Gao and awakened her interest in it.

It was after a church activity that Gao attended in 1980, when she was struck by the friendly, equal and trusting relationships between the Christian brothers and sisters, that she decided to be baptized and join the church. Gao’s decision was not well received by her parents, and her relationship with them became very tense. “My parents couldn’t understand me at that time,” Gao Ying recalls, “especially my mother. To her mind, religious belief was backward, superstitious and reactionary. She was shattered at my choosing a road so opposed to her own political beliefs.” Gao Ying’s conversion to Christianity was indeed a big blow to her mother, who was convinced her daughter had been led astray.

“Soon after I was baptized, I heard that the theological seminary was planning to recruit students. I was very excited; it was as if I had heard the Lord’s call and been given the opportunity to fulfill my responsibility and mission. I immediately applied to join the theological seminary. My mother could not accept my choice, and threatened to sever all ties with me. I left to take up my studies at the seminary, hoping she would eventually come around to my way of thinking.” In 1981, 26-year-old Gao Ying began her 11-year theology studies. She was among the first batch of recruited students at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary after its 15-year hiatus.

At that time, there was limited information available on religion, let alone on the theological seminary’s resumption of enrolment. The majority of Gao Ying’s classmates, therefore, were from Christian families. Most teachers in the seminary were knowledgeable senior scholars, greatly respected by their students.

From 1987 to 1991, Gao Ying studied in the UC Berkeley Seminary in the United States. In 1989, when she read in the American newspapers about the turmoil in Beijing she was seized with worry about her parents on the other side of the globe. She tried to ring her mother in Beijing for several days, but found it impossible to get through. Finally, she dialed president Ding Guangxun of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. It was he that helped her get in touch with her mother. When Gao and her mother finally spoke on the telephone, they were both overcome with emotion, and were able to reach a mutual understanding. It was in 1991, when Gao’s mother got sick and was hospitalized for 40 days before dying, that Gao returned to China.

When she arrived back in Beijing, Gao first served as a pastor in Chongwenmen Church. Formerly known as Asbury Church, it was the first church in North China, built by American Methodists. During the “cultural revolution,” it was used as a school hall, and in 1982, it became a church once more. It is now the biggest Protestant church in Beijing. Gao later took up leading posts within Christian organizations and other social positions in the Chinese capital. As she says, “I am very busy. Since being promoted to pastor, I am not involved in the more detailed aspects of the work, but do need to spend much time coordinating various church affairs. There are over 200 volunteers working in Chongwenmen Church alone, and we have activities every day. I also have lots of social activities to attend.” No matter how busy Gao is with her work, she never misses her sermon at Sunday service. Her colleagues say that Gao’s sermons are the most uplifting the church has ever heard. She modestly attributes the power of her preaching to many years’ experience.

Having studied overseas and worked for the church for many years, Gao is now vice president of the largest theological seminary in China. She recalls her experience of theological pedagogy in China: “When I studied in the theological seminary, most of my fellow students were from Christian families whose belief in God was unshakeable. Many of us at that time had a working background that endorsed our vocation. Students today are mostly from single child families, and quite a number of them are from non-Christian families and prone to the influence and distraction of secular culture. Consequently their religious belief needs to be consolidated.”

As the highest seminary in China, most of Nanjing Union’s teachers are its own graduates. This guarantees the consistency of teaching on the one hand, but restricts improvement of its teaching standards by virtue of new input on the other. Observing the large gaps between the Nanjing Seminary and those she had observed overseas, Gao decided to organize more exchange activities. To date, 80 percent of its 40 teachers have attended short-term exchange programs overseas, and one-sixth have studied abroad. In January this year, a Ph.D student in theology came from the United States to join its faculty, whose members now include five foreign teachers, including two Americans, two Canadians and one German. However, its teachers are less qualified, admits Gao Ying, than faculty members of seminaries in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the majority of whom hold doctorate degrees.

The Nanjing Seminary’s new campus will be completed this year, and its enrolment capability will increase from 170 to 500. Gao’s current concern is to heighten academic qualifications and demands on her faculty. Her projected requirement of teachers at the Seminary is that they have at least a master’s degree. As a means to achieve this aim, the seminary has been active in sending its teachers for further studies abroad, while promoting a visiting scholar program with its counterparts overseas.

Teaching and academic research in the seminary is also on the up. Study courses have been adjusted to synchronize with those overseas, and more attention is being given to serving the church rather than merely academia. Students are organized to do internships within the church in order to accumulate practical experience on the one hand, and to improve their essential understanding of their faith on the other.

“I am a noble single,” Gao says, jokingly, “I have only myself to feed, and no other family members to worry about.” Gao did not intend to remain single; it is a natural consequence of her unique life experience. By the time she had studied for 11 years in the seminary and become a pastor, most men of her age had already married. Gao’s religious beliefs also limit her range of suitable spouses.

When asked what makes a good pastor, Gao mentions the scene from the American movie The Miracle Worker: The boy who has fallen in love with Helen Keller asks for permission to marry her. Helen’s mother refuses him, saying, “Helen is a special girl, she needs the complete devotion of another person who is ready to sacrifice his or her needs to hers, which is hard for anyone other than us, her parents.” “Being a pastor also needs complete devotion,” says Gao. “To be a pastor is my vocation, not merely occupation. To me, being a good pastor is more important than anything.”

Article from China Today




新年 來了!






Firefly/Serenity & a Random Rambling about Books I’m Reading

FireflySo, I’ve been watching the DVD series of Firefly, which is a pretty good show, as far as space cowboys go, and I am doing my best not to get hopelessly hooked – esp since the series is SO SHORT! posticon


One of the things that really makes this show stand out is the Chinese they use! When I first saw Serenity, I was confused, but after reading up on it, I found that the world Joss Whedon created had the U.S. and China as the universe’s last two super-powers. Everyone in that future speaks English and Mandarin. (Sounds like a great future to me!)

In addition, they use a slew of colorful Chinese swear words I’ve never even heard of! Too bad their accents are so crappy. But, they try. For a full list (by episode) of the Chinese – not all swears – used, check here. My favorite was probably – not a swear – a phrase on Jayne’s T that said, 戰鬥的小精靈 “fighting elves.” posticon I dont think I’ve ever learned how to say ‘elves’ in Chinese, so I’ve just learned a very useful vocab word! Those who went to college with me will recall me constantly crying out for the assistance of elves. Now I know better – I should’ve cried out in Chinese!

Lost Colony

And speaking of elves, or fairies/goblins/trolls, is anyone reading the Artemis Fowl series?? I’m half-way thru the latest – #5 The Lost Colony – and it’s quite good. I love Arty! He reminds me of another mischievous 15-yr-old boy that I ❤ dearly. >ahem!<

HP7HP7 has been pre-ordered as well! (No surprise there.) I hope it’s 5000 pages long!


When does WoT #12 come out??? A Memory of Light I think it’s going to be called. I swear, I hate all of RJ’s loose ends ever since #6 – tLoC, but what can one do? There’s no WAY he’s going to be able to wrap it all up in the final novel. It better be 5000 pages long, too, tho! I want to see Egwene kick Elaida’s 屁股! Actually, it’d be a lot more fun if Siuan and Leane do it for her. We’ll see. Payback is gonna hurt big time!


And btw – 52 is almost done! (I’m so way behind, tho!) I will finish the set Hosive lent me last time and return them to him in 2 wks, so that I can get the latest ones. The graphic novel comes out in May. If Hosive gets it, I may get his whole 52 collection! Mwah-hahahahahha!

And did I mention I have the flu, I have HW to do for grad classes and I have parent/teacher conferences all day and nite tomoro? Aiya… Thank goodness for Korean soap operas! (A topic yet to come!)

后舍男生 Two Chinese Boys

Rediscovered my appreciation for China dorm life. It’s been over 5.5 yrs since I returned from China, but the images of my students’ dorms: 8-10 person occupancy in a room much the size of a small single in the U.S., have never left me. I dont know how they do it, but they are amazing. I still remember running into my students in their track suits as they were returning from their morning exercises. The campus bullhorns blared with the signal to arise at 6am with an encouraging, albeit annoying, blast of “一二三四五六七八!” repeated over and over til the exercises were done. And woe to them if they even thought about skipping out. Laura’s sophomore class decided to boycott and a wk later received in them the due penalty for their rebellion – a mandatory 2-hr run in the rain. Sore throats and head colds were the icing on their humble pie. I miss my students…

Chinese Name

HuaWhen I became fully immersed into Chinese culture, I used a dictionary to look up the right characters to translate my English name into Chinese. This is what I got:

Flores (“flowers”) = 花 hua
Jasmine = 茉莉 mo-li

I was known as 花茉莉 Hua Moli all throughout High School, Chinese School and half-way through sophomore yr of college. Then, I started dating Yoon, whom I always call, (to this day!), 오빠 Oppa. And he wanted to give his non-Korean gf a Korean name. He looked in his dictionaries (which I now own), and found:

Flores (“flowers”) = 꽃 kot or 화 hua
Jasmine = 말리 mal-li or 소형 so-hyung

We chose Hua SoHyung, even tho the “hyung” part sounded too close to a guy’s title –> 兄 meaning elder brother. I then took my new Korean name and looked up the Chinese characters corresponding to them: 花素馨 Hua SuXin. I have been Hua SuXin ever since. All throughout the end of college, my stay in Taiwan, my yr living in China, my 3 yrs at CCHC – basically throughout my entire adult career. It’s been almost 10 yrs! But, I was never really comfortable with it. I only chose it out of desperation b/c being called Hua Moli inspired too much giggling from my Chinese profs. posticon

I was thinking of getting Hua Moli to make a come-back. After all, it’s not on my birth certificate! I can change my Chinese name anytime I want! (And so I do! posticon) Bu, then I was thinking – why not combine them, eh? Why not become 花素莉 Hua SuLi? I’m not too keen on the 茉 mo part or the 馨 xin part. Most especially because it tends to be really difficult for non-Chinese to pronounce. [Not that it all really matters, since I’m always called by my title: 花老師 Hua Laoshi or “Flower Teacher.”]

So, all this to say – my Korean name, (which no one even knows anyway), will stay the same: 화소형 Hua SoHyung, but I’m changing my Chinese name (anew!) to 花素莉 Hua SuLi. And if anyone giggles… well, I wont mind so much this time.


作詞:陳家麗 作曲:伍思凱

沒有承諾 卻被你抓得更緊
沒有了你 我的世界雨下個不停
我付出一生的時間 想要忘記你
但是回憶 回憶 回憶
從我心裡 跳出來 擁抱你

特別的愛 給特別的你
我的寂寞 逃不過你的眼睛
特別的愛 給特別的你

我還聽見 你的聲音
我還不能 接受分離

好久沒買台灣音樂, 讓我有個懷舊之情的感覺, 想回去台北市上學:

Master’s program, Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a
Second Language

Admission EvaluationDocument review

Additional Requirements

1. Study planHandwritten in Traditional Chinese Characters
(2 copies)

2. Autobiography and Resume

3. Two recommendation lettersincluding one from a referee that can properly evaluate the applicant’s command of the Chinese language

4. Proof of Chinese language or Chinese learning experience

Result Date


Contact Info.

Ms. Wang / +886-2-23419812 ext. 11 or 12 /



Admitted students shall take the Chinese Proficiency Test at the Mandarin Training Center before registration. Those who do not reach the proficiency level shall take Chinese language courses as required.