past two days have been (yet another) excuse for Chinese to flood
the streets, discos, karaoke bars, Western style bars and various
plazas with Santa hats atop their heads and for some reason plastic
hammers which are used to emphasize a "Merry Christmas."
most Chinese know little about the whys and wheres of Christmas,
but buying and selling and having a party is easily understood from
New York to Urumqi. All of the supermarkets were draped in lights
and baubles and twine and Christmas trees with styrofoam nativity
scenes and gingerbread houses out front, and perhaps the odd Santa.
dressers, Sichuan investment corporations, Siemens subsidiaries,
English schools all took part in the festivities in some
way or another. A Christmas party with tea, sunflower seed cookies
and Elvis was the usual fare, along with a guest appearance by the
western-style bars moved me. They stand empty day in and day out,
with somewhat legible English signs advertising pizza and coffee
catching the eyes of the random traveler. The staff stand out in
the cold and shiver out a Merry Christmas as their colleagues work
feverishly to erect the white cottage and whitewash the windows.
All to boost business, mostly in vain.
teachers across the nation were treated to mountains of Christmas
cards carrying wishes of a "dreamily christmas" with "peace
and gork for all." I have the cards to prove it.
can sing jingle bells especially in the hotels offering a special
Christmas buffet of fried shrimp and sushi and other assorted foods
from across the globe.
a night for fun for foreigners it's a night to be lonely
amidst millions of well-wishers. China seems to be the safest place
for a Westerner to be, what with the plodding, cautious approach
to international relations that China prefers. With crises brewing
on every border, the average Chinese remains focused as always on
the money and the lifestyle of the nouveau riche: cigars,
art shows, flights to Shanghai and horse rides in Yunnan. If it's
from the west, it means money and status, so the new rich will be
all over it while the old poor will be gathering in dozens to watch
the explosion of rich Chinese in the past 20 years and a policy
of "neutrality" while analyzing every move will be swept
away like the old neighborhoods of Chendgu with the growing tension
across the globe following 9/11 and the growing tension amongst
the millions of borderline poor in China’s cities.
Korea is scared to death now that the US has made it clear that
rogue after rogue will be dealt with according to US wishes. Unfortunately
for Little Bush and his Band of Warrior-Scholars, the rogues of
the world refuse to stand in line to get knocked out. North Korea
sees its best chances in forcing a confrontation now while the US
is harnessing support of another decimation of Babylon.
really gets me is the hypocrisy of a nation that will say or do
anything to get the world to support war in the Middle East, while
ignoring a true threat in the Far East. Kim is not much nicer than
Saddam to his people and he has admitted to having nukes and seems
"brave" enough to use them if the US forces a confrontation.
Washington Post advocates regime change in North Korea. What
a wonderful idea. If only Japan and South Korea had NMDs that worked
to counteract the nukes that the North would definitely
use in such a situation. And of course one must look a little bit
to the west to China.
has no interest whatsoever in a confrontation on the peninsula but
is moving like a turtle in response to North Korea’s words and the
US’s warnings. Statements regarding North Korea’s adventurism, an
arrest or two and more hand wringing is all we see.
course the WTO will bring transparency to China’s processes, so
we can just wait until those regulations take effect. Then we’ll
know what the Chinese are thinking and doing about wars to the west
and rumors of war to the east.
taxi drivers are getting more and more morose about the rich-poor
gap. Every time a cop screams at them to pull over for some ridiculous
violation while a 777 or 666 license plate with tinted windows goes
honking past, I can see the rage in their eyes.
are few and far between in China, and those that do exist are reserved
for those with the right pedigree actual merit-based promotion
is still a rarity. The sweat of a million peasants swarming all
over the ruins of yet another old neighborhood runs for about 1000
rmb a month. A serious wage for peasants but the Party member
running the construction project, with his black bag under his arm,
his black China-businessman-shoes on and a cigarette in his mouth
makes 100x that amount for ... standing around and taking someone
out to dinner.
a country that celebrates Christmas with increasing gusto every
year, this situation can stand for only so long. Not necessarily
due to religious or moral awakenings spending money and drinking
all night is fun but the children of today’s migrant workers
will demand that opportunity.
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Sunnyvale, CA 94086
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