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"Nothing is more powerful than habit." Ovid*, a Roman poet, gave me a call and reiterated his belief in his Ars Amatoria ("the Art of Love") written 2000 years ago. |
He was ABSOLUTELY right, and how could he know our Club members so well?
Sue, Alhaji's quasi-sister friend, has fallen into the habit, since she joined the Club one month ago, of introducing a new English teacher of her training school to the Club. The retail dealer of teachers brought Grace over 3 days ago, a beautiful girl who was always striving to make English easy for the Chinese to learn. Have Melanie and Jessica missed any Sunday gatherings from the time when they became members of the community? Barely. And that's the reason why they are getting more and more beautiful in my eyes. As long as Hudson, the retired president, shows up Sunday mornings, we know he's still alive and has not flown to the Philippines yet. He's joined most of the Club gatherings over the past years. He set the record; as I can testify, not because of his commitment, instead, simply out of his habit. Joyce, repeatedly, cancels her dating every Sunday and shoulders more responsibility than before because of her Habit First, and Husband Second Theory. It's, undoubtedly, harder for Lillian to kick the habit of joining the club each Sunday, considering her stay with the Club for almost 3 years as well as her husband in Switzerland these days.
Perhaps, Claude's joining-the-club habit has worsened to be obsession. With his in-school daughter and in-hospital wife in Vancouver, Canada, Claude, the host of the 3-member family, instead of flying across the Pacific, raised his hand the weekend before and volunteered to be the host of the Club's June 17th gathering. I arrived at 9:30, and he was there already. Did he get there a night ahead? What's more, he brought another laptop, a Sony. I asked about his IBM x60, and he said IBM was for his work. Gee, he bought the Sony for his hosting preparation.
In spite of his conservatism, as confessed before, Alhaji, to all our surprise, initiated an unprecedented opening as the Club president 3 days ago. He took out a piece of paper out of his pocket, unfolded it and read aloud in his calm, magnetic and ritual voice. He was, surely, the top choice to interpret for H.E. Chairman Hu Jintao when announcing the opening of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He read about an imaginary profile of Hudson, presumed to be a graduate of the Manila University and President-elect of the Republic of the Philippines due to his political and economic achievements.
When ushered to the podium, Hudson, the temporary Filipino president, expressed, besides his honor and gratitude to be invited, his confidence that CD English Club would be the best club in the world under the leadership of Alhaji and Joyce. He emphasized the aim of his one-day visit to China to strengthen the bilateral relationship of the two countries and the two peoples, and finally, extended his invitation to all his audiences to visit the archipelago of diversity and hospitality. Really hope all that will come true, President Hudson and Club's Philippine tour.
Hardly had the outburst of the audience's laughter and handclaps about the performance diminished, when Claude sprang onto the podium to unveil his maiden hosting. In spite of his debut, He was fulfilling his duty without turning a hair. He brought two newcomers, Grace and Bill, onto their feet in line with the lady-first principle to introduce themselves. You've known Grace's occupation and career goal already. As to Bill, a CCTV man previously, went to Malta, an Island in the Mediterranean, and then UK to study and work. Now he's become a full-time outward-bound trainer, a job paid for playing team-building games with the payers.
Claude got ready a handful of paper slips with impromptu speech topics written on and his audiences were vying with one another to have their weekly try. In response to Claude's topics, Lillian announced she'd like to have 2 babies, 1 boy and 1 girl, once China's Birth Control Policy became flexible. Sue summarized the particularities of Chengdu, her hometown, although her speech sounded, more or less, like an advertisement about investment and migration to Chengdu, which President Alhaji was always, esp. publicly, opposed to. Ellie briefed about her education background and enumerated her reasons to work in Beijing rather than any other cities. Keely said something extremely important, but, sorry, I've forgot.
It was so kind of Frank, a part-time MBA professor and full-time chief engineer, to give us a free lecture about service industry. He distinguished service from manufacturing, broke down service sector, and explained the characteristics of service. May I suggest we should address him Professor from now on, in order to express our sincere thanks and admiration to him, and, perhaps, to get more free and informative lectures?
23 members were divided into 5 groups that morning. 4 groups, according to the topics prepared by Claude, discussed about transnational marriage, marriage between Chinese and foreigners, while the other group shared stories of their life turning points. Group discussion is a very important part of CD Club, so is its subsequent presentation training section. Open-mindedness is in the favor of most of the members towards transnational marriage, and Flora pinpointed that many Chinese men, out of jealousy, disliked Chinese girls to marry foreigners. It was so difficult for Bill to, in his presentation, repeat so many stories of his group about their life turning points, so, as requested by Claude, he concentrated on his own. We were greatly impressed with the string of his turning points, peaks and valleys, we, however, have to warn him now that he should not be modest about his English and public speaking skills any more. Otherwise, he has to buy us a big dinner at some 6 star hotel.
It's been Claude's habit to be very straightforward. He used to be a doctor, but he quit later. He regretted giving up such a profit-making job, he said and laughed loudly 3 days ago. His mockery about the existing medical system and the overall doctors' working ethics might irritate hospitals, which were his business clients. His humor escalated when he commented about transnational marriage. He called for more and more transnational marriages, by which, he believed, the genes and blood of the Chinese would be optimized constantly. It reminded me of his wild language 2 years ago that more Chinese should migrate to the United States and several generations later the Chinese descendants could be elected the President. Claude's statement, half joking and half serious, was across Bill's line. Bill strode up to Claude, took his place, told a story of a tragically failed transnational marriage, and warned all the members to be very careful.
I was absent from the 2 club gatherings due to my trip to Dalian and some cities to the north of her. I felt uncomfortable, a sort of headache, every Sunday morning during the trip. I called Barbara, whom, I found, was attending training in Shanghai that week. "I could not make it because of my training. And I had a cold." Maybe, going to join Sunday gatherings is already more than habitual for many members; it may have become a physiological necessity, instead. Could it also be the power of CD Club?
* Ovid: 奥维德，古罗马著名诗人，长篇叙事诗《变形记》的作者。
[ Last edited by skylinker at 2007-6-21 12:53 PM ]