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Ice Girl in Banlung - 8

In China everyone is safe and happy, Leo said to Ice Girl one torrid day in Banlung, Cambodia.

They sat on an operating table next to a sewing machine and an umbrella.

I cut, you talk, she said. A drop of sweat from her nose landed on a block of ice.

It’s called THE SYSTEM, he said. Brainwashed. You see this in all Asian educational systems. Laconic students shuffle in, remove their brains, soak them in a cleaning solution, which is not the solution for fifty tedious minutes and replace said gray matter at the end of class. It’s endemic.

Big Brother is always watching you.

Save face.

The fear of public humiliation is greater than the fear of death.

Intention is karma.

Tell me about your life in China, said Ice Girl.

After completing five years of a night soil shit job in the Re-Education Through Labor experience for having the courage to question Authority I visited my family graves in Sichuan. I offered prayers and burned incense. I prayed for strength and humility. Then I walked east. Fortune smiled on me.

I worked as a facilitator at a private business university in Fujian. I faced eighty stone-faced freshmen in a long cement tomb. Desks were bolted to the floor in groups of four. It was a required speaking class. They had year zero English skills. I gave two a test. How are you, I asked a boy. I am 18. How old are you, I asked a girl. I’m fine, and you?

I paired eighty off, boy girl, boy girl. They didn’t like this. They got used to it.

Will someone please share a story.

A girl raised her hand.

The less I do, the less likely I am to make mistakes, and the fewer mistakes I make the less I am criticized, then I feel no shame.

It’s easier to do nothing, said one clever robot.

Correct, I said, you’ve both expressed the essence of your cultural and intellectual education.

That’s a long sentence filled with verbs and significant philosophy, Ice Girl sang, waving a Blue Zircon reflecting 10,000 things in an elegant universe. Don’t let school interfere with your education. Say more. 


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