Dienstag, 24. April 2012

China`s view is slightly different.

As there are a lot of maritime military maneuvers going on in east asian water these days, with all East and South East Asian nations, the USA and Russia involved, and China until today having 16 unresolved territorial disputes over islands and ressources in the west pacific with virtual every neighbouring country, I present you two interesting links to this topic, one in german, one in english, for further reading:

aus der Zeit: "Maritimer Machtkampf in Ostasien" (german newspaper article, 2 pages)

and from the "International Crisis Group": "Stirring up the South China Sea" (english report, 50+ pages)

And as a teaser, China`s view of itself - as seen by everybody opening and using the "Google maps" of China, "baidu": Notice how far the dotted frontier line goes south `till close to the border of the Phillipines, Vietnam and Malaysia. And Taiwan, as goes without saying, naturally is shown as part of Chinese territory....

 (click on pictures to enlarge them)

Montag, 16. April 2012

North Koreans celebrate their "Great Leader"`s birthday everywhere.

Kim Il Sung ruled North Korea from its foundation 1948 until he died in 1994, first as prime minister, from 1972 as its president. The cult that he created about his persona and his family lasts until today - even though he`s dead for almost 20 years now he officially still is head of the country as "Eternal President" and "Great Leader".

His birthday is a  national holiday in North Korea - and as he would have turned 100 this year, the celebrations last three days - not only in North Korea....

....but also everywhere else in the world, I suppose. As we are in Shenyang only about 300 km away from the border, naturally a big amount of exchange students at my university here come from North Korea - and each and everyone of them came to their class today in a black suit and original Kim Il Sung - pin on their lapel. As you can see in the picture with three of my class mates official celebration protocol even allowed a personal touch by leaving individual choice for a suitable tie to themselves. Or maybe they all only have one, don`t know.

I didn´t dare to ask if they really were doing it out of  free will  (as e.g. most Irish do with wearing green on St.Patrick`s Day allover the world) or if there`s at least one member of the notorius North Korean secret police among the exchange students who would notice if anyone wouldn`t obey. But they really got a little upset as one other student asked who Kim Il Sung was again - in their opinion it was impossible how someone could not know of him.

Well, happy birthday, Great Leader, and so long, I guess.....

Montag, 2. April 2012

Smoking in the car allowed? No. Pets? Of course.

Had a rather unusual encounter at a cab ride yesterday: The driver had his pets, two loudly chirping finches, in a small cage cramped into the middle compartment between driver and front passenger seat:

Birds are still a quite popular pet here in China, especially singing birds - whenever you cross a big square or stroll a park you´re likely to see (mostly) a retiree sitting beside one or several cages with a singing bird in it, hung  in a tree in  the afternoon sun to let the birds enjoy some fresh air (or at least what counts as that here in Chinese cities...) and get them to chirp and sing.

For me it`s always a little strange to see those finches, titmice and whatnot else in cages, as those are mostly birds considered "wild animals" in my home country. But then, there it`s popular to have budgies, parrots and canaries as pets in cages, and I doubt they would enjoy their freedom less than any other bird....

The two finches in the picture had food and water in the cage but seemed a little frightened by their home moving along with the car all the time. I consider letting your pets live in your car a rather stupid idea....

Sorry for delays.

For a couple of weeks now our internet connection at home doesn´t work as it`s supposed to. Sometimes the speed is normal, often it`s slow, and most of the time unfortunately there`s no connection at all.

And so far we haven`t found out what`s the problem.

Makes it harder to post things here, especially when uploading pictures is involved. To keep this blog going I´ll skip the second part of Bangkok`s sites and´ll continue with short posts about life in Shenyang - after almost two months back here the memories of what I´ve done in Thailand start fading anyway.....