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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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Brick Boy in Nepal


My name is Brick Boy. I live, work and die in the Kathmandu valley. The valley contains hundreds of brick factories. Millions of people like me work here. It's our fate.

A woman I never met carries them at a construction site in Bhaktapur. Exciting.


The factories are owned by rich people. We plant, harvest, cull, clean, stack, carry, haul and sell bricks. Bricks are an essential way of life. They get formed, stacked, sorted, assembled, counted, controlled, and used. Like me and the others.

We are a tool of production.

I've got a mind to give up living and go shopping instead.

My future is safe and brilliant.


Chinese Factory School #8

Good afternoon students. My name is Mr. On. It rhymes with song, gong, long gone.

It is 17:10 p.m. If it was 18:01 p.m. I would say good evening, however it is still afternoon. It is late in life. Class will meet twice a week for two hours. Show up on time, do your assignments and be prepared. Nothing more, nothing less.

We are gathered here today in the glorious Chinese Communist Party People's Appliance Factory #8 to begin our basic simple English lessons. Your supervisor informs me that you are here both by choice and chance. You have the choice. This is your chance. Am I clear? Do you understand me? Choice and chance. 

Now. I know. Most of you have been working since early morning in the factory. It is the end of another long mind numbing grueling tedious day on the killing floor. English has brought us together. You face unique and amazing challenges to acquire a foreign language. To use said target language with meaning. To hopefully become fluent. It will require your undivided attention, focus and electrical energy. 

You will practice speaking, reading, listening and writing. These are the four basic skills. Writing and speaking are active. Reading and listening are passive in your learning process. 

Learning occurs in the context of task-based activities. In other words you learn by doing. You do and you understand, as we say, said, did, done.

We will cover, in exhaustive detail, four important appliances and their English A/C D/C lets see connections. They are: washing machines, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens. 

These machines are now essential in everyone’s life. You know this because it is your job to put them together. It’s like English, putting words together makes a simple sentence. Some have meaning and some are gibberish. Many words are useless idiomatic semantic syntax which is not the same as personal income tax.

Open your head, heart and mouth. Eat English.


The skin I Live in

A film by Pedro Almodovar.

All the thematic elements your little heart desires.  A meditation on memory, grief, violence, degradation, and survival.







There is an old fable about a bird and an ogre telling his daughter where his soul lived.

“Sixteen miles from here is a old gigantic tree. Around the tree are tigers, bears and scorpions. On top of the tree is a huge snake. On top of the snake’s head is a small cage and inside the cage is a bird. Inside the bird is my soul.”

hello big brother sings FaceLost in china

losing face in china is a state crime

punishable by death

Myths suggests that behind the explanation there is a reality that cannot be seen and examined.

Myth has been defined as truth trying to escape from reality.

A myth is a story of unknown origins, sacred stories of created religions based on belief, containing archetypical universal truths.

They are in every place and no particular place.



‘Quick! Into the tunnels!’

They sat sweltering, crying, still. Hearing the dull roaring threaded whoosh as steel and iron napalm canisters thudded, this tremor, shredding forests, fields, homes danced into flames. Heat soared over tunnels bathing them in sweat. They went deeper. Deeper, following hollow carved earth trails. The earth swallowed their breath, their bones fertilized soil. Ancestor bones cried in their sleep.

The sweet silence, save all the crying and wounded after all the foreign devils packed and left, fleeing in terror as peasants streamed down from the mountains, out of caves and tunnels, poling rivers, attempting to escape, walking on water, drinking all the oceans in their creation myth, draining lands of blood, driving them into the sea. A blue green sea danced red.

This easing down of their voice flowing between crumbling sand, crushed red bricks laid haphazard. Cement walls blocked everything but the sound of their anger, frustration and repressed bitterness in life’s twisted fateful reality.

Their memory was a fiction and this fiction created their memory.