• Creative Metanonfiction,  Letters,  MFA

    Mistakes Were Probably Made

    As of this writing, 67 internationally recognized authors from around the world have petitioned to City University of Hong Kong to re-open its MFA Creative Writing Programme, the first of its kind in Asia, unique for its multicultural faculty and student body.   Although there is some circumstantial evidence that the CityU of HK MFA closure is politically motivated, I am beginning to believe the closure is primarily due to ill-informed decision making.  However, due to the utter lack of transparency in this matter, many possibilities currently co-exist.  It’s a Schrodinger’s Cat kind of thing.   Professor Hon S. Chan, an alumnus of the Maxwell School of Public Policy at…

  • MFA

    61 Distinguished Authors Protest Closure of City University of Hong Kong’s Creative Writing Programme

    May 12 update: 61 authors protest closure of City University of Hong Kong’s Creative Writing Programme. On April 27,2015 the students and faculty of City University of Hong Kong MFA Program received news that it has been “discontinued”. The CityU Senate’s decision was made without consulting the program director, Ms. Xu Xi, a prominent Hong Kong based writer with ties to New York City, and its rationale for closure appears to lack any substance. This is related to a global trend in which the Liberal Arts and Humanities are becoming more and more marginalized, devalued, and underfunded in an era of unprecedented wealth creation. CityU faculty, alumni, and students are…

  • Teaching

    A Day in the Life of a Fake Teacher in the Real China

    One day I found myself squealing like a pig in front of children.  I pushed my nose up, grunted, and oinked.  We were playing a simplified version of charades.  It was a Sunday afternoon in the bleak of January.  And this being China, it was bleaker than bleak.  The dean of my university had loaned me out to a private high school as a “favor.” My latest rendition caught the students’ attention.  Girls stopped texting and boys ceased roughhousing long enough to look up and shout “pig!” in unison.  I asked the teacher if they’ve played this game before, adding, “They’re very confident.”  Either the blood of Shakespeare coursed through…

  • Teaching

    Teaching British Romanticism in China

    I’ve been procrastinating. A recent trip to Montana left me in a swoon. Now it was just a Movable Feast.  But I needed to get back on track and prepare a lecture on American Romanticism & New England Transcendentalism. As I wrote this students were reading excerpts from The Scarlet Letter, The Raven, Song of Myself, &, Moby Dick. Each excerpt consisted of just 4-10 pages because that was all to their anthology. Luckily I was here to remedy the situation with my “traveling library”: 3 Norton anthologies, and several paperback novels. So this unit on Romanticism wrapped up the first half the semester. We started with Thoreau’s “Reading” to…

  • Podcasts

    The Government-Issued Literature Textbook

    I describe the government-issued anthology textbook for Chinese Students. It is good, but has the obvious deficiency of containing only snippets of the greater works. A story by Steinbeck, for example, has only one chapter.  So this is just one reason why I began the semester with an allegorical novel about following your dreams.