Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bean's Belly

Some pics from this evening:

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

My man Fu Qiang

Has just opened up a shop selling his CDs (compilations of music he digs) and art. He takes pictures and uses software to make his own impressions. pretty interesting stuff. You can check his site out right here.

Here is a picture of Fu that he manipulated into an oil painting-type image:

Here is a picture that he put together of his shop:

And here is my lady and Chen Lin, chillin in the tea foyer of Fu's shop:

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hafiz is my man

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Yunnan Trip

So i finally got my camera battery from the Bad Monkey. I left it there on the last day of me and Bean's trip to Yunnan, so I haven't been able to access my pics since then. So here are some pics and descriptions of the trip we took 12/27 to 1/2 ...

This is my friend Huang Jun, a Kunming native, and his lady Thearanee, from Thailand. They came up from Thailand to celebrate his father's 60th birthday and before the festivities we had some local 挂桥面 Cross the Bridge Noodles.

Story goes, a loving wife brought her man noodles on the daily. He worked a little bit away from home, and she had to cross a bridge to get there. When she showed up, the noodles were always cold. This angered them both. He didn't say anything, being a good man and all, but she wasn't about to have her man eating cold noodles. So she thought about it and came up with a plan: she would cut up all the ingredients and put them in the bowl and bring a pot of boiling hot water along with her. So when she got to his place of work, she placed the bowl in front of him, poured in the hot water and mixed it up. Worked just fine.

That night, they made passionate love.

Me and Bean went to the 翠湖 Cuihu Lake in the middle of Kunming and walked around it three times. Siberian black-headed gulls migrate through here every winter and everybody loves it. The gulls eat good, the kids squeal in the winter sun and i get to take pics with my lady.

I got a bit more, put them up in a day or two.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

I can't stop laughing at Western businessmen

I don't even know where to start laughing and where to end. It doesn't matter. For years and years people like me (but with better jobs) have been saying that China has some issues and we need to help them along, but the money-men always trumped everything by drooling all over each other in attempts to get into the China market.

"Can't push the gov, nononono they might not let us cash in ..."

Now, only now, at the end, do they realize. And so I have to laugh at them.

The mainstream has caught on to the glaring reality: China's bureaucrats and businessmen always hated and despised you. They stole your stuff, smiled in your face and sold you shit and now they don't need you anymore. So Time Magazine whines. Big time China Hand and Businessman supreme, AllRoads, jumps on the band wagon: "Did we get suckered?"

Of course you did fool. Then again, I know a lot of people who made it rich here (me excluded, hence all of the Schadenfreude) and they basically took a good look at the China business scene, saw it for what it is and jumped in and swam in the feces with all of the other sharks, diving for doubloons.

And this guy here, Paul "I told ya so" Midler. I feel ya Paul. I told a lot of people too. You ain't the only one who saw the signs and such, that feeling. I know it. Hope yer book sells dawg.

I gotta laugh. Even though, now that the drooling suits are hating on this modern China and the Chinese netizens are hating on this modern China, the big bad bureaucrats and their brainless, soulless New Rich cronies might have to bring in their bigger, badder even more brainless PLA bully to keep this country from Gorbacheving. Or not.

I am headed out to take a walk in the sunshine (THAT'S RIGHT SUNSHINE IN THE DU!!).

Holla atchu.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

redemption is just one way of saying

my job is
to pull you back from the brink of darkness
protect you from the prince of shadows
show you the flower in all seasons
keep you fed, fat and giggling
give you a blanket when its cold
build a home for you to waltz in
shore up the foundation when it crumbles
so that i might be
the man i've always wanted to be

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So, what now?

I find myself asking this question after reading stories like this one by the late Michael Kreca. This information is not new to me -- the fact that FDR, Churchill and Stalin steered America into a war that did not need to be fought. The consequences reverberate today in the Empire that emerged from the rubble of WWII. So.

I know. I agree, disgusting piece of work. In fact, I see the parallels with today's wars. I catch myself (and ninjas are forced to listen to me) yapping about the WWI roots of the current War on Terrorism.

Its hard to stay De La Rocha, when Wu-Wei beckons smiling from the riverbank.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Du

Here is a little list of cool spots in Chengdu. This is actually a VERY incomplete list, but its a good start. holla.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Pig Fat

I've been using a lot of pig fat in my cooking recently. Yushi's dad dropped by and left two big bowls of lard, a pile of Chinese herbs and a comment on my latest essay on China. The pig fat is for daily use, the herbs are for the month of rest Yushi will need (according to the entire China Granny Nation) after the birth and the comment ... well it was to let me know that he's got his eye on me.

I got this funk from Big Scott when I was in California. Just in case you don't know, I urge you to check out the following:

William DeVaughan
Betty Davis
The Brothers Johnson
Eddie Bo
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and just for good measure
The Decemberists

If you don't know Bill Withers, disregard the above and listen to him first, then you are allowed to proceed.

Man i love this music so much it makes me feel so good every day it makes my fingers move and my voice just lets go and i walk around in my snuggies singing and when i see Yushi round the corner in my old chupa i let out a laugh cuz she looks like a funky monk with that big belly and the faux fur sleeves rolled up so she can chop jiu cai up for jiaozi ...

"Can we pretend, that from now on, there is no yesterday ...
Paint a portrait of tomorrow, with no colors from today
There is a love that shines in your face sometimes
that takes my feelings and wraps them around your knees
but there is a shadow that is hanging in your heart sometimes
that makes my feelings turn back in on me ... "

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Friday, January 15, 2010


here is a short essay on Haiti and Chengdu and some of the similarities and differences in the disasters that struck here and there.

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Lu Guang's Photography: Pollution in China

Makes me real nervous to see pics like this. I know that pollution is everywhere, but seeing it up close and personal like these pictures by Lu Guang is still disturbing.

For an English translation, go to ChinaHush's post here.

In related news, here is a small story about "grow houses," which are houses built quickly by farmers who believe their land might be taken soon. If they manage to register a building, the compensation they receive can be higher. Ignore most of the text and the comments, except this one here:

“The non-existence of truly legal private land in this great socialist motherland probably also complicates matters further.”

You hit the nail on the head. That’s not the complication, that’s the reason for the phenomenon reported above.

The fact that people don’t actually own their unincorporated (non-urban) land and can be dispossessed quite easily is the major reason to engage in such tactics as these. If the government is going to dispossess one anyway, that person is given incentive to maximize whatever payout the government is going to make. I suppose in a system with transparency in government development plans, as well as clear and private land title, private developers would buy up well placed land, the government would lay clear claim (and pay fair prices) on the land it actually needs for the infrastructure itself. The farmers would make money, the developers would make money (building concessions, etc.), the farmers might even make enough money to start businesses in private developed companies… on the flip side, the government’s costs would not be artificially low, and it wouldn’t make any money renting out concession properties it developed itself.

Its fair to say that the government can see a clear advantage for itself in the current system: Its only expense to maintain the status quo is money for chengguan and demolition equipment to knock down these “grown houses” every day."

by Dr. Jones, Jr.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Ancients said:

"And I wish that I were not any part
of the fifth generation
of men, but had died before it came
or had been born afterward.
For here now is the age of iron ...
when guest is no longer one with host
nor companion to companion
when your brother is no longer your friend
as he was in the old days."

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"Don't be Evil" -- Tell that to Wall Street

After Google announced that it might leave China, Wall Street and other stock exchanges around the world reacted in typical fashion, by buying Baidu stock and selling Google stock. Baidu's stock jumped by at least 12%, while Google's slid by about 1%.

For the money-men -- the same people, let us not forget, who caused the real estate bubble, the ensuing collapse and rise in unemployment, who received billions from the government and are now giving each other BJs and bonuses -- these men (and women) are the core of what allows China to censor with impunity and keeps companies here way passed the point of violating their own principles.

In the world of capital, evil is rewarded and Wall Street's "golf clap" for Baidu's unexpected "good fortune" is a perfect example of evil at work -- or perhaps better said, a perfect example of the unwillingness to do good.

Sock it to 'em Google!

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Thinking about my brothers

The army drums cut off human travel,
A lone goose sounds on the borderland in autumn.
Tonight we start the season of White Dew,
The moon is just as bright as in my homeland.
My brothers are spread all throughout the land,
No home to ask if they are living or dead.
The letters we send always go astray,
And still the fighting does not cease ...

Maybe one day I'll write something like this, when Facebook and Gmail and cell phones are dead and gone and only the moon knows what my people are doing.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google unlocks the vault!!!!

Everything the Chinese government has blocked is now available via Google, including pictures of Tiananmen, articles on Free Tibet and the Dalai Lama and everything else.

According to Google's own stats, the most searched for terms in the past 24 hours were Tiananmen and the Chinese for it 天安门

And this picture here says it all:

"Google is a Badass!"

This comment here says:


"Facebook lets you connect with your people, Twitter lets you talk with your people, Google lets you read what you want to read, Youtube lets you see what you want to see ... so they have been banned!!!"

Bet those hackers didn't see this coming.

Stick it to 'em Google!

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Google fed up with China

You can check out the full article on Google and China here at Chengdu Living. Check it out and leave a comment.


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Monday, January 11, 2010

China reacts to Avatar the Movie

Avatar the movie opened up in China on January 4th, 2010. Lines stretched for blocks outside of most every theater in the nation for the next week as waves of Chinese went to see the next stage in movie evolution, 3D fantasy on a Hollywood scale. I went on the 6th and from the first few seconds, when water droplets from the crygenic sleep chamber floated right in front of my face, I sat agape and fascinated by the visual spectacle. All around me, I heard the elated gasps and shrieks of an enraptured audience.

What followed afterward, all across the world, was an analysis of the movie's visuals and message from dozens of perspectives. In the US, editorials criticized the movie for employing the same old "white guy saves the natives" guilt-fantasy that has been the theme of many a movie, from Dances with Wolves to a New World. In China, the reaction to the message was no less intense, but focused on a much more immediate, more Chinese problem. The problem of Home.

For the past 20 years, China has been playing catch up, economically, with the rest of the world. China as a nation is catching up with the big boys and is many ways surpassing them and an integral part of that success has been the real estate boom that has turned villages like Shenzhen into international powerhouses and forever transformed the skylines of every major (and minor) city in China. China is urbanizing very quickly and the long-sought after goal of turning farmers into factory workers and laborers is close at hand, but the sacrifices made by millions of Chinese in the name of their Motherland and Progress is starting to tear at the social fabric.

The theater fell silent near the middle of the movie when the Nav'i were forced to watch their home, the Mother Tree, be destroyed and razed to the ground. The silence was full and begged for expression. At the time, I thought it was the pain shared in a theater and did not realize how big the outpouring of comments and essays and blogposts would be the very next day. On popular blogs like Mop, hundreds of comments compared the destruction of the Navi'i home with the widespread demolition of homes across China. Other sites, like ChinaSmack and EastSouthWestNorth translated fragments of these posts for foreign consumption, but they could only give a small taste of what was really boiling underneath.

One essay in particular, posted on the wildly popular, is an emotional and in depth response to the rampant demolition of peoples' homes. The essay does not deal with the old, cultural neighborhoods and their value as historical relics, but goes into the very emotional idea of one's home. The author questions whether or not Chinese today actually can call any place they live in a home, because in China one cannot "own" a piece of property, but only "rent" it for up to 70 years. Not only does one never actually own the home or the land one lives on, but the local government can at any moment change their plans and decide to build a road through your neighborhood. Even more galling is the fact that private developers and local officials often conspire to get rid of poor workers and farmers, then use the land to build (or not to build) high rises -- the government forces the people off of the land with minimum compensation then sells the land to the developer for a good price, after which the developer sells the land and any improvements to the growing affluent class of Chinese that are thoroughly enjoying China's economic miracle. The workers are left with inadequate compensation and the destruction of their community.

The comments on this essay are also revealing, in that the majority of them express the same disgust for developers and officials and fully half of the responses say "we are waiting for you to be erased," because essays like these, stories like these are suppressed by the government in order to maintain social stability.

A case in point is the recent tragic death of a woman in Chengdu, who climbed to the roof of her home in November 2009 and set herself on fire in full view of onlookers, police and the demolition crew poised to destroy her home. The woman, named Tang Fuzhen, has a very typical story: in 1996 she built her home here and lived for 10 years without any interference from the authorities. In August of 2007, the local government decided to build a waste management plant near her home. In October, they told her her home was illegal and she would have to leave.

This story, although one of thousands of similar tragic tales, swept through the web like wildfire. Netease quickly deleted their coverage of the story, but not before thousands of netizens left their often angry, but mostly hopeless remarks.

Avatar, or more specifically the spectacle of Mother Tree falling in flames, has brought the anger of the netizen and the tragedy of the common, poor laborer into everyone's living room. People who normally would not even think of such things, just go about their daily business in a fast paced growing economy that requires fast wits and daring, these people are suddenly talking about the pain of losing a home and the absurdity of "renting" a plot of land that cannot be passed on to children or grandchildren. This is a matter of great concern for Chinese parents. The family structure here is still very strong, even after years of being battered by wars, famines, revolutions and unfettered capitalism. For a Chinese to not help his children buy a home is still very rare, so with each demolition and accompanying tragedy, this very deep-rooted need -- to provide for one's children -- is threatened.

It is very revealing to see that many Westerners, especially Americans, choose to see the guilt/fantasy of the white man redeeming himself and saving the planet.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crib finalized

Contract signed. The crib is real nice, we is happy. I wish I could show you pics, but i have to wait till those greasy bastards at the Bad Monkey send me the battery I forgot at their bar. (Excuses ...)

The house has two big courtyards, a lily pond, a chicken area, two floors, three pear trees, four peach trees, two tangerine trees, a host of bushes and herbs and stuff that I don't even know about and I think there is some sort of fig tree too.

So its all good.

If you are interested in China matters, check out Sisci's new essay on Atimes.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chengdu Living

Spent all day yesterday cooking up various meals and eating them on the spot. I've been brewing the soup for two days (into the third) now and its got sausage and taters and pork and garlic and ginger and all sorts of other random stuff in it. I keep imagining an inn back in the day with some unnaturally rotund innkeep's wife with huge moles on her nose and a shawl shuffling back and forth, dropping things into a bubbling cauldron. Big bearded refugees dip in and sip from cracked bowls and grumble, cuz its the first warm thing they've had.

that's my soup.

We also made wontons and sweet mushroom porridge and this weird corn meal thing and fried up some greens.

Today I go to sign the contract on my place out in San Sheng Xiang -- the flower town i lived in in 2007-08. These guys who own the spot are really amazing. They are the ones manufacturing fake eggs and trying desperately to hoard more money whatever the cost -- they are on the low end of the totem pole and the jealousy of small town small village cash competition seems to drive them nuts. I get to sign a contract with one of these fine individuals today. His God is money and it sometimes feels like i am talking to a different species. My man Zhuang helped me haggle and watching Zhuang and Yushi talk with this guy really tired me out.

Nevertheless, I should be getting everything together today.

You all should check out -- its where some of these fine stories will come out in time. We juststarted this site, but its coming along nicely and we'll be doing this for some time. So stop by and holla.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A new leaf

As you can see, I have changed a few colors on the blog. let me know what you think.

I have been writing for again, have a regular column coming out, not yet sure exactly which days, but I will let you know. The first one I wrote in a while got me called an asshole and a racist. *yawn* happens all the time.

Things are good on the home front. Yushi is hating the way pregnancy is treating her body right now. she is a huge pumpkin. her hips are moving in weird positions and what hasn't grown is sagging. takes a lot of hugs to make a woman feel better.

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