Archive for February, 2013

Gong xi fa cai! Happy Chinese new year 2013!

February 9, 2013

Gong xi fa cai to all of the Asian’s out there celebrating the new year which is tomorrow, Sunday February 10. In Melbourne, there’s various large Asian hubs, and they generally stagger their celebrations over the week before and after the main day. The city of Box Hill will be going off right about now, with its usual hub of delicious food tents, while in Melbourne CBD’s Chinatown, the main celebrations will be tomorrow.

I will head into town and hopefully get my twisty Korean potato snacks on. Each year there’s also a large hawkers market set up out front of the Crown Casino, which I am sure will also be full of delicious meals.

Back on the Chinese mainland, some two million people will be on the move with the new year. Regardless of how much money a person has, it’s expected that they make the trip back to see their family. In many cases – particularly those of the migrant workers, it’s the only time in the year that they see their loved ones. Could you imagine only seeing your wife just once in an entire year? Your mum? Your children?

In years past, the train stations have been the main hub of these horrific travel periods, but increasingly, as a rising middle class appears, airports will become increasingly chaotic. The growing accessibility to air travel should alleviate some of the burden on the rail system – but by only a small amount. Each year, tickets are difficult to get, moreso considering that in China, you cant buy them in advance. You have to purchase tickets a mere five days out from the time of traveling – something that really goes against the western notion of planning in advance.

But still, at least there’s not the massive snowstorms of recent years – which would have been hellish to say the least.

Happy Chinese new year! I hope 2013 is a prosperous one, and NOT full of snakes 🙂

China – land of mishaps.

February 1, 2013

I read up on Chinese news on an almost daily basis, and I am continually stumped by the sheer ridiculousness of the stories that I see. This one today has to take the cake…at least, it’s up there.

In a nutshell: A truck loaded with fireworks on a very high bridge on an expressway in Henan province has promptly exploded, causing the bridge to collapse. WTF!!!!! They have reported the number of deaths to be in the 20’s (so more likely in the 50’s), with cars having been pushed off the bridge, with others having been crushed. I swear to god – this is almost as good as the newly opened, massively expensive CCTV building in Beijing burning to the ground due to fireworks going off next door…or the policemen dying from fireworks explosions as they tooled around with them, having created a massive fireworks bonfire instead of disposing of them properly.

The list goes on and on. The entire country is full of these incidents. They’re not sure with this one where to point the blame. Was it simply the size of the explosion that caused the collapse? Was it the way the fireworks were packed in the truck that set them off – likely just stuffed in there. Or was it a shoddy bridge design? It’s highly likely a little from column A and a little from column B.

Just the other day, a massive sinkhole swallowed several buildings in Guangzhou – caused by workers digging a subway tunnel out from beneath it.

China is widely criticized for skimping on proper safety standards in its mad rush forward – hell, just ask any Chinese miner how they feel about their job. These stories are as ridiculous as they are horrifying, and they are practically a constant feature in any news report focusing on the mainland.

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