Month: May 2012

Tank Food

Here are pictures of some meal choices at the restaurant where we had lunch today.

Starting with the Two Eyes on One Side Fish (a rough translation of the Chinese), it is exactly that. Unlike the manta ray, the eyes structurally seem to be on one side. The mouth opens and closes out from the body. I didn’t see what is on the flip-side of the fish, but it does seem like it adapted from the vertical to the horizontal.

For lack of a better name, I’m gonna call this one a hairy crab.

This is Elephant Nose, which is supposed to be quite tasty (it can also be quite expensive).

And, this basket is full of Sea Sausage

As my colleagues and I watched, some of the sausages retracted their foreskin*to show their heads, which looked similar to those of eels.

No word on whether the sausage could be ordered with a circumcised option.

*If you don’t like the term, please suggest to me a better option.

Beijing Air Pollution (Oh My!)

I’m sure folks have seen the barrage of reports about the horrible air quality in Beijing. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of it on very bad days.

Well, today I’m going to show you six that you’ll probably not see on Western media. Be sure to click on the last one, it is a composite of a few shots that I took from the roof of my apartment complex.

Phonebooth Cleaner

Photographed this man today cleaning a phone booth. He had a bicycle with cleaning equipment in the basket. I think he’d probably just finished removing whatever peel-and-stick advertisements there might’ve been applied to the structure, washed-off whatever graffiti there might’ve been, and was in the process of buffing it out when I took the shot.

Mood darkens in Beijing amid crackdown on ‘illegal foreigners’

For today’s lesson on bias, sensationalistic, one-sided, and generally crappy reporting, please first read this article:

Mood darkens in Beijing amid crackdown on ‘illegal foreigners’

Okay, let’s start here:

The most noticeable example has been the uploading of a video onto the Chinese video sharing site Youku of a foreign man sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in Beijing.

Wait… a woman is allegedly raped by a foreigner, is caught on video tape, and this is article primarily deals with how foreigner are being inconvenienced by having their papers checked?Where’s the news story about the rape? How about statistics regarding crimes committed by foreigners in China?

Oh, and here’s a link to the video which the CNN article didn’t include:

He’s clearly caught doing something wrong to the girl. Then, after he passes out in the street, Chinese go out of their way to protect him from others who might do him harm, and keep him safe until the police arrive. Yeah, sure seems like there is a clear anti-foreigner bias happening there.

Now onto this about the crackdown and this event:

Police deny the incidents are related, but in the minds of both foreigners and Chinese they are.

Where’s the investigation that is supposedly part of reporting? They are absolutely related. Agencies who deal with foreigners were notified that this alleged rape was committed by a Briton on an expired visa, and were told to let their HR contacts warn foreigners to ensure that their papers were current and were carried with them.

I want to state that there have been no mass riots, no protests at embassies, no flag burnings, nothing. Try to imagine what the response might’ve been in the US if a similar alleged crime had been video taped and so widely viewed. Or, think about how the Japanese reacted when there were rapes by US servicemen.

Going back to the title of the article:

Mood darkens in Beijing amid crackdown on ‘illegal foreigners’


My mood hasn’t darkened, nor has those of the other foreigners I know. Heck, I wasn’t even aware of the crackdown until I read this article and then talked to my wife about it.

One thing that is not talked about at all is that China actually has a functional national ID system. Basically, a social security card with a photo on it. Every citizen is required to carry it with them. In other words, foreigners are just being asked to follow the same rules as everybody else.

Am I more likely to be asked for my papers than the average person living in Beijing? Yes, definitely. I’m a damn foreigner!

Do I have a problem with it? Absolutely not. I’m here at the will and pleasure of the Chinese government, and the expectations regarding this have been made crystal clear from day one.

btw, I did let my visa lapse once. I was escorted around by a police officer to the various places to get it rectified (I’d asked him to please turn the lights on in the squad car we were in, but he laughed and said he couldn’t). Yes, I had to pay a fine and, yes, I had to apologize to some bureaucrats and swear, swear, swear that it wouldn’t happen again, but that was it.

Wednesday Eight of Nine

Here are eight of nine shots that I took during a walk around the neighboring hoods and thought were worth posting. The ninth, of two ducklings and a chick next to each other, couldn’t be uploaded because the ingrate firewall is interfering with my upload extension from Lightroom and I just don’t want to employ a workaround right now.

The Naked Janitor

Before the site at the  Tsinghua Science Park was closed down, and we were relocated to the “countryside” office of the new Oracle building, I used to workout at a gym in the lower level of one of the towers. It was okay. I mean, plenty of machines and free-weights. The changing room was a bit small, and the showers were a bit dingy, but nothing too terribly bad.

There was a janitor who spent a lot of time in the changing room. Would read magazines or newspapers when he wasn’t cleaning the area or busy with his duties in the rest of the gym. I think older. Seemed like a nice guy.

In any event, when it would come time to clean the showers, which was later n the evening but still during working hours, he would often strip down to nothing and clean them. I was kinda surprised when this first happened.

Not that it doesn’t make sense. I mean, why get one’s clothes wet cleaning a shower?

I’ve noticed over the last five years here that the Chinese are so much more about nakedness than in the US. As examples, in some of the spas I goto, it isn’t uncommon to see father and son naked in a pool, or a masseur (most often clothed) tending to knotted muscles of a naked client on an open massage table.

Xiao Mao and the 105

I’ve had a 105mm AF Micro Nikkor for a long, long time. I’ve maybe used it a couple of times. Decided to dust it off today and give it a go. Here are two shots that I took.

Both were taken with the camera (not that cat) hand-held. Xiao Mao was sitting on cat perch.

Of course, being a child (or a child of children?) of the 1960’s, this came to mind when looking at the second picture: