Chan Wu



I’m sitting on a stool, in a hall, listening to a man talk about Qi in Chinese, we’re not allowed to slouch.


What an interesting turn of events. Just two days ago, after our final Chinese, business and Chinese business classes we celebrated, naturally many drinks were had in anticipation of the cultural undertakings the next week contained. A week of semi-leisure, semi-study is just what we needed.


But like a hot iron pressed into our skin between our hairline and our eyebrows, we were welcomed to a boot camp. Lured here under the false pretence of “Dim Sum”, imagine our surprise when we had to bow to our food and forbidden from talking while eating. Curfew is 10:30pm, breakfast at 7:10am, if an unfortunate soul arrives late they must literally “report” and bow to the coach.


This place is actually Chan Wu Kung Fu Academy; supposedly renowned across China, these stern task masters produce either: outstanding martial artists or cause recognised adults to revert to needlessly nonchalant adolescence, such as myself.


My rebellious side has been stirred. Solely, I believe, due to their unnecessary rules and regulations. I’ve learnt respect, don’t tell me how to do it or I’ll through a fucking tantrum. Our coaches (note: not teachers) turn a blind ear; this, in addition to my crap Chinese, creates maximum mutual misunderstanding.


Apparently, a large donation by our organiser to the Guangzhou government has gone astray. Our official welcome was just looking at kung fu equipment.


This doesn’t surprise me about China, but it apparently surprised our organiser; she doesn’t know our location or where our official greeters might be. He surprise may be genuine or it may be her revenge for our repeated truancy of the first fortnight. In which case, she got us good.


So we staged a coup. The guys and girls can’t cross dorm so our meeting were held in the secret candlelit basements below our prison cells, which is what it felt like anyway. It was exciting., I’ve never been a rebel but it is not been too late to start. We are leaving this place one way or another.




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