A Trip to the Post Office

Yesterday, on the way to the Post Office I saw this sign. I understood some of the words and the general meaning, but the exact meaning was elusive. I looked at my electronic dictionary. It's something like, "Societal order - everyone does their duty." These signs are nothing new in China, and were used with great success by Mao to convince people of... whatever. Capitalism is bad? Make a sign about it. It's one reason people will have certain convictions that might be without thought. They were told what to believe and then they create justification after the fact. It's similar to McCarthyism in the 1950s (and yes, we too had some pretty heavy propaganda in America at that time). In front of the sign are workers waiting for odd jobs (and playing cards in the meantime).

I mailed something to my parents.

Then I returned home to find these older men playing "Beat the Landlord," one of about 5 games that are very popular in China. This game is a combination of Skill and Luck, like most games the Chinese seem to favor (majiang, chess, and go are others). But like any game, money must be involved. The stakes were high (5 yuan per round), and the men slammed their cards down with an Alpha-confidence accompanied by a loud grunt.

I dropped my things off at my apartment and headed to the office for my office hours, meeting some students along the way who were cleaning the campus. If you didn't know already, that's how it works here. The classroom belongs to the students, so it's their job to keep it clean. The campus belongs to the students as well, who clean it on rotation. Each week the entire campus is cleaned by students, not a hired cleaning crew.

One of the students didn't understand why I was taking their photo for such a mundane event and I explained. "Oh," he said, "they wouldn't believe that we do this, so you are showing them."


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