Archive for July, 2009

Hot hot hot!

July 29, 2009

Last night as I was watching the SBS world news, the weather came on where a 3D globe slowly rotates and they show the temperature of each individual country. As it rolled around to China, it showed both Shanghai and Beijing sitting at around 31 degrees; a big jump up from the 15 degrees that Melbourne is currently (not) enjoying. I thought back to when we were there, suffering through those few months of summer where the humidity had temperatures feeling a good 10+ degrees hotter than they actually were. While a day in Wuxi might have been 28-30 on the weather charts, when humidity was taken into account, the actual temperature really felt somewhere around the 43-45 degree mark.

 

There were days that were so hot it was unbearable. You would wake up in the morning afer a night of air-conditioning flicking – leaving the air-conditioner on lead to sore throats, and would often be too cold regardless. As soon as you hopped out of bed you would feel unpleasant, but as long as you had AC, it wasn’t too bad. You’d shower and feel somewhat refreshed, then get dressed and head out for the day in t-shirt, shorts and sandals. You could never wear socks and shoes, it was simply too hot. And then, as soon as you went outside, you felt the need to shower again.

 

The humidity was various degrees of disgusting. You became used to living with a constant sheen of sweat all over your body, with large wet patches beneath your armpits. You would reach around and feel your back beneath your top and it was completely soaked – dripping. As you walked around feeling uncomfortable, you would notice that the Chinese were wearing long pants and long shirts; completely dry. While some walked around in jeans and regular wear, others – mainly older men, walked around in rolled up singlets with their big bellies sticking out, fanning themselves with hand-made bamboo paddles.

 

Some days I miss China so much that it almost makes me feel anxious. I feel like I need to go back there to get it out of my system. Other days I remember specifics such as the almost unbearable Summer and I am happy to live in a country with a much more moderate temperature.

 

Few and far between

July 20, 2009

As my life has become progessively busier my spare time to blog has steadily decreased though I promise it’s not forgotten! A lot of interesting China related news has occured over the past several weeks which I have been keeping an eye on. Firstly we had the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre pass by without issue, incident or even word. While the western nations put up articles and features detailing that particularly dark part of China’s history, the Chinese made every effort to ensure the date passed by quietly and without notice. I suspect that most of China’s youth are not even aware of it and have considered quizzing one of my former students who I email from time to time. CNN ran an interesting series of question & answer sessions with Chinese teens asking what they knew of the event and their associated thoughts and it was interesting to find that those who knew about it were upset by it, and approximately half of them were not aware of it, or gave it little creed due it sounding something like ancient history.

 

We also saw an Australian Rio Tinto employee, Stern Hu, arrested in Shanghai by Government operatives. It was reported that Stern Hu had stolen state secrets in relation to a recent falling through of a huge deal between Chinalco and Rio Tinto. While there’s been pressure on Australia’s Prime Minister to act, it’s been increasingly obvious that despite being fluent in Mandarin, Kevin Rudd has little to no influence, let alone respect, within the Chinese Government community. While old Johnny Howard was seen by many as being beyond his years, he was respected by many world leaders; something that takes time to nurture. All I know is, whether Stern Hu is innocent or guilty, I personally wouldn’t want to be held by the Chinese with a charge against my name. The Chinese are well known fabricators of mis-truths and when their mind is set on something, well let’s just wish Mr Hu luck; innocent or guilty.

 

And finally we have the violence against the Uighur minority in the eastern city of Urumqi. China has admitted to killing approximately 13 Uighurs who were reportedly attacking Han Chinese citizens and would not respond to typical anti-rioting tactics. This is not a new issue and is if anything a re-occuring event. The Uighurs have been treated poorly and it has reached a point where they will take no more. Unfortunately this explosion of anger was directed at the Han Chinese of which many Uighur’s consider their oppressors. Rioting and taking the fight to the Han Chinese however is the quickest path to extinction as the Chinese have no qualms about cracking down with a clenched iron fist. It’s amazing the comparisons that arise between Tibet and Urumqi when you look at the facts – if you can find them.


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