09/25/10

The downside of Guangzhou Asian Games

It reminds me of Beijing Olympics. Before the event buildings and places of historical value were demolished. There are numerous news about that in the online newspapers and you might me interested to read some of them: The New York Times and The Times.

And to be fair there is a piece of news from the other point of view: Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Right now Guangzhou is getting ready for the Asian Games just a few months away. Renovation of all kinds is taking place as we speak. In the university island, where I live, they have built walls to surround the villages. In the picture they had just started but now the walls have been finished. But what is the reason to built these walls?

What I think

Next to my village Nanting there is a one stadium where some competitions will take place but there is also a wall around another village which is far away from the games. So one reason comes to my mind. They want to hide the villages from the visitors’ eyes.

Good thing is that the villages have become more cleaner and buildings have been improved. But lots of restaurants had to close their doors and make room for new ones. At leas one building in Nanting was demolished and the villages were strongly against it. I think the walls were made to hide, but isn’t it always interesting what is behind it? And I am worried will these walls still stand there after the games. And is there still more negative consequences coming?

What Chinese think about this

I wanted to have a Chinese perspective to this issue so I asked my Chinese friend. He just laughed like Chinese do when they don’t know what to say and dropped the conversation. After that I decided to ask them anonymously over the Internet and got six replies.

They are all students in their twenties and five of them will work for the games and the last one would like to but can’t.  All of them think that it is beneficial for Guangzhou to host the Asian Games and it’s a chance to develop the city. On the disadvantages side only one of the respondent took a critical view:

“in fact ,here the city planning is not very good in itself ,the governmen take some inappropriate actions almost are disposable and they just cure the symptoms, not the disease, which is a waste of resources and time”

When I asked is it acceptable to have the walls around the villages three of them said yes, two of them no and one of them absolutely no.

Yes to the walls:

  • “It is acceptable,as we know, security is of great important”
  • “It’s useful to make the environment cleaner and more tidy.”
  • “maybe it is the best way to prepare for the Asian Games ,because it is totally muddledness in Nanting and Beiting,which is hard to renovate in short order,the other advantage is that it not only protect the people who live in Nanting and Beiting but us who want to go there for buying, from the noise and the dust given by the vehicles,it is more safe”*

No to the walls:

  • “yeah,I saw it.I don’t think it is good to do this.I think the reason why they did this was to cover the shabby house. It is the so called image project.”
  • “i don’t like it,it just scratches the surface,and they are make of iron and steel ,here is in subtropical zone and it is hot,especially at noon ,the walls will increase the temperature ,which let people feel worse”*
  • “i hate they did it this! It is not necessary! Just for the face! so badly!!!!!!!!!”
  • “i think it is not only waste of money,but obstruct people to know more about the village,about the environment”

One of the respondents had arguments both agreeing and disagreeing the building of the walls. His answers are marked by *.

Conclusion

The image and the face of the city is important to Guangzhou. I am sure there are lots of positive sides with all the renovation and improving. For example there are new subway lines coming soon and it will improve the public transportation.

But why they fail to keep it all positive? Why to try to hide some interesting parts of the city like the villages? Have there been more demolition in the other sides of the city? How everything will work during the Asian Games?

One funny consequence to the games is that bars close earlier than before. At least that is one anonymous Chinese answer when my fellow exchange students asked why Babyface (a bar) will turn lights on at two o’clock. (When the customers surely could keep dancing until the morning.)

09/23/10

Can I Have All The Festivals?

Last night we celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival. There are many stories to that festival as you can read from a blog Life Behind The Wall. I begun thinking how many festivals a year I could celebrate. I can choose from the Chinese and from the Finnish ones.

There are seven official public holidays in China according to Wikipedia. New Year, Chinese New Year, Qing Ming Festival, Labour Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day. Two of them are the same in Finland too (New Year and Labour Day).

Most of the holidays in Finland are religious nowadays, but they have their old meanings as well. Because I do not belong to any church I celebrate my holidays the old way. The biggest festivals besides the two mentioned above are: Easter, Midsummer, Independence Day and Christmas. The most important one being of course Christmas.

In total that would give me eleven holidays or festivals to celebrate. (Sure the Chinese National Day for me is just a holiday and don’t have any bigger meaning.) I like festivals because they keep the traditions alive and offer a nice break from the normal living with job or work. I would like to learn more about the stories behind the festivals so later I could pass that information on to the next generation.

Coming next is the National Day but I don’t have any plans yet. It would be nice to go travelling but at that time millions of Chinese are travelling too. I should also save some money for the rainy days to come.

Do you have any plans for the holidays? Or which festival is your favourite?

09/15/10

Why I Love China?

I was trying to be funny. Today at spoken Chinese lesson was my turn to have a three minutes presentation about anything.

An easy choice would have been to speak about Finland, but I thought that is too obvious. Then I thought about talking about my travelling in China, but realized that everyone knew about the places where I have been. But finally I chose my topic: 为什么我爱中国?Why I love China?

The first four reasons where the ordinary ones: culture, history, language, food and things like that have been always very interesting for me.

But the ultimate reason to love China is, well are, of course men! Just look at the picture on left and you see what I am talking about.

Or maybe you don’t because many Western girls seem to be totally missing the charm of Chinese guys. I would say “well more for us” if it wouldn’t sound so frivolous.

Sure I have to admit that the guy in the picture (Wu Jincheng / Takeshi Kaneshiro) is half Japanese and half Taiwanese. I also like Jay Chou (Zhou Jielun) but he is also from Taiwan. But maybe we aren’t going into the politics right now. Even the situation is little bit difficult between the mainland and the island, I would still call them all Chinese.

Seriously speaking there are numerous reasons to love China, and to hate China. Which side will you pick?

Picture from takeshikaneshiro.org.



09/10/10

What To Do If Rats Take Over Your Home?

I was so afraid. For some reason I woke up at five in the morning. It was surprisingly silent moment in China. But then I heard some rustling sound. I didn’t want to believe it but I had to ask a second opinion and woke my boyfriend up. Before I even started telling him what I heard he said 老鼠! (a rat!)

In no time we were both standing on the bed, afraid that it would attack! I was still hoping it to be a small cute mouse, but after turning some of the light on it ran beside the wall. It was ten centimeters long plus the tail! That point we got even more scared.

That morning was also the first time I found out that rats can jump pretty high and climb even higher. Later that day I read from the net that only one centimeter wide hole is enough for a big rat to enter inside.

With a mop as our weapon we managed to open the door and chase the rat away. But after coming back from my morning lessons I saw that a rat had been inside after that. Did it come back or didn’t it leave? I went straight downstairs and told my landlord what had happened. He came up and installed a metal mesh to our previously almost open bathroom window.

The whole afternoon I spent blocking all the places that rat could possibly get in. But only later we found out that there was a hole next to our air conditioner. It seems after installing it for me they forgot to fill the hole on the wall or just didn’t even think about it.

I was very nervous when getting to sleep. I listened all the noises and thought the rats were coming even it was only the wind. Luckily I manage to fall asleep and discovered the next day that no rat had visited our home. But I know that when the sun will set today I will be checking all the places again and again and only after that can feel save.

Photo by korobokkuru.

09/4/10

My favourite dishes in China

菠萝牛肉

The first dish usually goes quickly.

Pineapple and Beef.

牛肉炒面

It’s a battle. Rice or noodles? This time my favourite won.

Fried noodles with beef.

酸辣大白菜

In Chinese it’s called big white vegetable.

Sour and spicy Chinese cabbage.

宫保鸡丁

I think the chef almost forgot the nuts.

Kung pao chicken (spicy diced chicken).

What are your favourite Chinese dishes?