September 20, 2009

Anyone heard of Banquiao Dam?

Filed under: China,politics — Kim @ 9:37 am

At a recent University of Nottingham in Ningbo conference (China’s 30 years of ‘Opening up and reform’:Continuities and Change ) Jeanette Barbieri and Li Nan gave a paper called: The Spectacle of Disaster Citizenship: A Debordian Perspective on Wenchuan which looked at how the CCP had managed the PR of last year’s big quake.

Inevitably, there were comparisons with the 1976 Tangshan quake, but then during the discussion afterwards one of the History Profs piped up that actually China has had 3 huge disasters in the last 50 years. There are of course the well known and much discussed Tangshan and Wenchuan quakes but he claimed that the third is very rarely talked about. The Prof put out the question to the 50 odd collection of Western and Chinese academics: “Has anyone here heard of “Banquiao”? No one had, or at least if they had they were not admitting to it. I chased the Prof up later about it and he gave me some links to follow.

It was indeed a huge disaster in which “approximately 26,000 people died from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected.” From what I can fathom, the disaster was caused by a freak typhoon but was made much much worse beacause Cultural Revolution era politicians ignored the advice of expert hydrologist Chen Xing.

It even has its own Wiki page now. So word is getting out.

September 17, 2009

Delicious Irony

Filed under: China,east-west,food — Kim @ 5:19 am

Can’t remember why, but I found myself reading Peter Mandelson’s Wiki profile and came across the below. Old, but priceless…

In 2008, melamine added to Chinese milk caused kidney stones and other ailments in thousands of Chinese children, and killed at least six. To show his confidence in Chinese dairy products, Mandelson drank a glass of Chinese yoghurt in front of reporters. The following week, he was hospitalised for a kidney stone; despite the apparent irony, the events were probably unconnected.[25][26]

August 29, 2009

Duck Censorship

Filed under: blogs,China,politics — Kim @ 7:08 am

Stumbled upon this link and thought I’d check it out.

Could I access it? Could I duck.

Ironic? Annoying! Too much stuff is blocked these days. I wanted to use YouTube many times during a teacher training course this summer. A course held in China for the benefit of Chinese teachers is being deprived of useful input because of paranoia and ignorance. The CCP Censors are a bunch of duckwits.

June 4, 2009

Nothing happened?

Filed under: China,culture,politics — Kim @ 3:39 am

First song, first line. RIP

May 29, 2009

The Irish problem…with solution

Filed under: culture,politics — Kim @ 1:21 pm

The Irish problem.


A middle-aged Irishman is in a dark and dirty prison. He has been there for a very long time, has not shaved for weeks, and is thin from insufficient food. He has recently had an extremely painful ear infection which he thought would make him deaf, but was refused medical attention for weeks. He should not be there, he is in a prison simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is innocent and is being held for belonging to a certain culture.

An Englishman is in the room with him – he looks at the Irishman with an imperious eye “What in the name of fuck are you talking about you ridiculous Irish aborigine?” He speaks in very precise and very mannered English English, “ It always amazes me that the race of apes from which you descended should ever have acquired the basic rudiments of language. Your diction is unfathomable. It is only matched by your audacity, you maggot-faced, pea-brained piece of pus.”

The Solution

The Englishman was John McCarthy and the Irishman he was ‘so cruelly taunting’ was Brian Keenan. They spent four years together as hostages in Lebanon. The invective against the Irish was taken verbatim from Keenan’s “An Evil Cradling”.

This is the Irishman’s account of how the Englishman helped him during a severe and prolonged bout of gastroentiritis.

Lying exhausted with an agonized embarrassment I watched my friend clean the mess off me without complaint. He was a very proper nurse, diligent in his work and tender in his passion, never once complaining of the filth he had to dip his hands into and never once complaining of being constantly wakened in the night by my retching and by my bowels exploding…The buffoon, the fool, the comic was a man of vast tenderness, a man of compassion.

His account of their friendship is hugely moving and they are two brave and wonderful men. Brian is very conscious and proud of his Irishness, John oozes and uses his Englishness. To me, they are examples of ideal human beings.