So yesterday I was woken up very very very EARLY by these students. At around 7am on a saturday all of the students were on the soccer field engaged in military Training Marching drills. There were trumpets and drums recordings screeching at full blast over the loudspeakers waking everyone within the school compound. Every year the first year students in Beijing go off for 8 days of intensive military training where they learn to walk, march, and drill as young members of the PLA and prepare for their lives ahead as cogs in the Chinese political/military machine. Members of the PLA come to campus and teach the students everything they need to know to be “Good Citizen’s” and how to respond to state emergencies. It is a long day begining at 6:30 am and ending around 9:30 pm, during which students are at the mercy of the military leaders. More than a couple students have been overcome with exahustion and have passed out due to the smog in the morning and the general intensity of the program. I for one cannot wait for it to be over, only 4 more days and then they all get a long weekend at home before moving on campus full-time. I am sure they will need it.
Today you get an extra picture. Last night I went out with colleagues to an area of town called Sanlitun that is the “modern” section of Beijing. One of the main location points is the GIANT video screen in the middle of the shopping area. Right now it is showing fashion videos, but sometimes there are movies, sometimes childrens shows and in front a fountain that lots of people in the hot summers. When I think of Asia, after my experiences with modernity in Shanghai and Seoul this is what I think of.
Today I am off to run some errands while it is still daylight, who knows what I will see along the way, but you can be sure another picture will be up tomorrow.