Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The thing about the past is...

It's not stagnant. Much like history, which is written by the victors, it changes with time and circumstance. It's vulnerable to alteration, and manipulation, and if not for the efforts of the vigilant and valiant, it can disappear like smoke.

I'm reading two books about China that came out over the past year -- I wanted to read them this summer and would have if not for the Olympics -- and I'm struck by two separate but related passages:

Peter Hessler, Oracle Bones:

The [Nanjing Massacre] memorial featured signs in Chinese, English, and Japanese:



Philip Pan, Out of Mao's Shadow:

There were dozens of other graveyards with victims of the Cultural Revolution scattered across Chongqing. The party demolished them all after Mao's death. The cemetery in Shapingba Park has survived, Zeng said, but the government "wants it to erode and deteriorate naturally. It wants people to forget about what happened. But I think it would be a tremendous loss if this history were forgotten, because it was cast in the blood and tears of the Chinese people. Furture generations must learn these lessons so tragedies like this don't happen again.

"In the future, when people visit this cemeery, the words on the tombstones won't be visible anymore," he added. "I hope my written record can fill in the blanks."

Monday, November 24, 2008

A brief note from the U.S.

When this site returns, the content will be different -- more focused, relevant and interesting. No more random pictures, and no more self-indulgent cat stories. I have a personal blog for that.

As for when I'll write regularly on here again, that is still in the air. Trying to return to Beijing in late-winter/early-spring. Process may be expedited if I'm introduced to job opportunities before then.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The most amazing sentence...

From the NY Times:

Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

Read that a few times over. Barack Hussein Obama has been elected president of the most powerful country in the free world.

Only in America.

POSTSCRIPT: This entry was posted almost word-for-word in my other blog, but it's worth it. An incredible night.

From Hong Kong with love: What you looking at?

A preview...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pictures of the day

Via good friend Reid, still of Beijing:

The first picture is of Darlie toothpaste, which longtime China residents will always know as Darkie toothpaste -- what it was called before someone politely informed the company that you can't, even in China, name a product darkie.

The second picture is of Omo detergent, which... well, who knows.

China and Taiwan agree on trade

More later, but this breaking news from AP is worth is own post:

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Negotiators from China and Taiwan have signed an agreement that expands passenger flights and allows shipping links across the Taiwan Strait.

The deal approved Tuesday increases the number of weekly passenger flights between the two sides from 36 to 108. The agreement also allows 60 cargo flights per month and direct shipping links.

The historic session came a day after Chen Yunlin — the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Taiwan in six decades — was greeted on arrival by anti-China protesters waving signs, calling him a communist bandit and rallying outside the legislature.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

China's peasant Olympics

Straight out of The Onion, except... it's real. And would you believe this is the sixth time it's happening?

QUANZHOU, China (AFP) – Two months after China's elite athletes dazzled the world at the Beijing Olympics, the sporting prowess of its 900 million peasant farmers is getting its turn in the spotlight this week at China's 6th National Peasant Games.

Time's China blog has pictures, like this one:

Video here from AFP. "This is our Olympics," says a rural Chinese girl.