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Update History

13 January 2013

A Better Never Did Itself Sustain Upon A Soldier’s Thigh

People talk to me all the time. Too often, in fact. If I were an anonymous face in the crowd I could probably get away with walking to the local opium den without anyone bothering me. As a local celebrity, I cannot so much as throw my bag of garbagie in the middle of the road without some stranger straining to bask in the warmth of my international fame.

The most frequent comments I get from random admirers are “Why you so handsome? I wish me/mine son and/or husband will be making of so attactness” and “You blog is most greatest blog is ever was, but is needing more recipes”. There is little I can do about the former. Baby Jesus made me as stunning as I am and the men in your life as banal as they are for a reason. Ours is not to question why. I have complete control over the latter.

Starting today, I will intersperse amongst my indelibly perceptive observations my incontrovertible opinions on mankind’s greatest works of film and literature. I will also share my recipe for banana muffins.

I had intended to begin with what I have no doubt would have been such a brilliant review of William Shakespeare’s Othello that Coleridge himself would have ejaculated in his own grave were he able, but I simply cannot get over what a bitch Othello is. I do not mean that the play is difficult to read or ingest. I mean that the character Othello is a punk. He thinks his wife is the shit, but totally caps her ass just because Iago talked smack about her. When I first read it, I was like, dude. I read it again recently and if I ever find Othello’s Facebook page I am so spamming the shit out of him.

The Moor of Venice? More like the Douchemoor of Venice.

Instead, we have an e-book version of a blog. Same difference.

An American Teacher In Taiwan” by Ken Berglund is based on the famous blog of the same title and author. It is advertised as a guide to teaching English in Taiwan. I feel this part is misleading as much has changed since the author escaped to his homeland. Even if the labyrinth of Chinese bureaucracy was somehow the same today as it was five years ago, or even five months ago, no single person can give anyone a comprehensive view of the horrors that await them should they feel the need to follow in his footsteps. The arbitrary rules and regulations change from person to person and are enforced at whim.

However, this e-book is also advertised as “One writer’s experience about living, working, dating, finding love, and raising kids in a foreign country.” As a personal memoir, I cannot question its veracity. I can only confirm that many of the obstacles in adapting to life in a Chinese culture that the author experienced are universal to any American, or possibly even Canadian, in similar circumstances.

Mr Berglund relates an incident wherein he is induced to enter a “special” KTV by women of liberal morals and is only able to leave the establishment after forfeiting an unacceptably large sum of cash. Any robust red blooded male who has set foot in any Chinese country for more than twelve hours can relate to this situation.

If you want to know what kind of paperwork you must fill out and have stamped in triplicate to live in the Land of Scooter, this book will not help you. If you want to know what the people are like and how different their customs are from your own, this book covers a broad range of expatriate topics.

Some would say its range of topics is too broad. A guide to living in a foreign land or a travel guide should have a more narrow focus. But as a memoir, there is an even balance between personal insights (the part about his erectile dysfunction brought on by too many betel nuts) and general anecdotes (Chinamen be wacky). For this reason among others, I think this should be marketed as a memoir and not any kind of handbook.

While this e-book is probably more interesting to Americans who have lived or are now living in a foreign country, it is written in such a casual narrative that even a xenophobe who has never set foot outside of Itawamba, Mississippi might find it enjoyable.

I give it five muffins.


Anonymous said...

price to high

An American Teacher in Taiwan Fan said...

Only a cheap Asian bastard would say that $2.99 for a 356 page book is too high.

美國人 said...

Hold the phone. Where do you get $2.99? The Amazon page says $4.99.

Ken Berglund said...

The book is $2.99 here in the USA. It should be for sale at the equivalent price in India, England, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada, and Brazil. I guess if you don't live in those countries, the price will be more. I have no control over what Amazon charges in the countries where their empire hasn't reached.

That being said, it is definitely worth $4.99. The awesome photos are worth the price alone, since you can see pictures of me, random Asians, and the person who runs this blog.

美國人 said...

Not only are there pictures of the stunningly handsome person who runs this blog, but there are pictures by him as well. Did you give him any credit?

Ken Berglund said...

I think I mentioned that you took the wedding pictures in the "Wedding Day" chapter.

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