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Chinese Style of Celebration

 

 

English: Traditional Chinese wedding attire

 

Contemporary red envelopes

Contemporary red envelopes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is something to be said about the Chinese when it comes to the question of celebration. And celebration not quite in the sense as generally observed by most people. Being a Chinese myself and having been largely Western educated with the benefits of having lived one score & ten years of my life in Australia, I can safely tell you that the Chinese are the most assiduous economic seekers.

 

They work both hard & smart without really ever taking a break or a holiday.

 

Before the introduction of modern way of business & labour operation, the Chinese as I know them work 24/7. Their holidays mean work & more work, as I would always say “Hard work will not a person kill, but sheer idleness will.”

 

My own grandfather & father lived by this philosophy, and in all the years of my father’s natural life, who raised up the nine of us siblings literally with the skills of his two hands, he had only been to Singapore and once to India with a cousin of mine. Needless to say, my grandfather known as “Mopeng Kaya” by the local Malays, never went anyway for holidays.

 

From thew womb to the tomb, the Chinese will never fail to celebrate the great & memorable occasions of birth, wedding & death.

 

Baby’s Full-Moon Celebration

 

30 days after being born, a Chinese baby is held in high esteem & will celebrate the occasion known as the “Full Moon” with red eggs, yellow rice & chicken curry, distributed far & near among all relatives & some close friends. It’s a real big thing.

 

 

Character represents “Longevity”

 

The other question of birth has to do with birthdays and not just any birthday. It is mandatory to celebrate the 60th & the 80th birthdays. These two great days are significant in the life of the Chinese. Red is the colour to go by in all the celebrations as in the distribution of red packets containing even sum of money known as “Ang Pow”.

 

Chinese “Ang Pow”

 

Chinese wedding celebration knows no limit too. The grandeur of its celebration spells the status & wealth of the people concerned. Rolls-Royce limousines as bridal vehicles & other luxurious imported vehicles make the scene.

 

 

Chinese wedding traditions

 

 

In life as in death, celebration goes on. Celebration mean eating. Food is the medium of celebration. The size of the banquet depends upon the economic status of the celebrants & also upon the significance of the day. There is also the question of “saving face” or as in Singapore they would express the notion of “Kian Soo” (not to lose out). In the Western world, it’s worthy in keeping up with the Joneses but for the Chinese it’s more by outdoing your relatives, friends & neighbours. Of late it was reported of a wedding banquet for 808 tables held at Liede Village, Guangzhou,

 

That is how celebration takes on the progressiveness of immensity.As a nation, there are other great festival celebrations such as Autumn Spring Festival or known abroad among the Chinese folks simply as Chinese New Year celebration, an occasion to match Christmas, or if not to outmatch it.

 

National holiday such as this create great havoc as great problems arise out of the need to cater transport for mass movement of people – a MUST-GO-HOME kind of thing to celebrate. But these days,the Chinese are beginning to take holiday trips locally to places of interest or abroad for their holidays. With millions on the move, that itself create the atmosphere of celebration.

 

With redness prominent everywhere & the ding & the bang of “noise” fill the air. It’s more “noise” than “music” with the classic display of lion dance & dragon dance for bigger occasions. These dances are performed with great kung-fu skills & artistry – nothing short of great gymnastic performances.

 

A picture is greater than ten thousand words. Here’s a slideshow to depict the colour, size & immensity of Chinese celebrations:

 

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Canton Tower (Guangzhou TV Tower)

Canton Tower  (Guangzhou TV Tower)

‪中文(简体)‬: 在建中的广州电视观光塔(2008年)

‪中文(简体)‬: 在建中的广州电视观光塔(2008年) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I first visited Guangzhou in May 1989, it was like an “gigantic village” – dirty, ugly & teeming only with people & bicycles. It wasn’t a pretty sight except for White Swan Hotel, a five-star splendour, where we stayed. To attract foreign tourists five-star hotels were being first built.

Then what greeted me in the late 1990s and 2000s is staggering & beyond my widest imagination. Simply unbelievable!

There weren’t many places of interest in the old days except the Five Rams’ Statue, Dr Sun Yat Sen‘s Memorial, the zoo which housed some Panda bears & shopping mainly at Friendship Store. However, we had the taste of the famous Guangzhou cuisine & it was good. In a word, we were totally unimpressed as first time visitors.

Today, Guangzhou is different!

In line with the Stratosphere Casino Hotel Tower in Las Vegas, the world’s ‘highest’ Ferris wheel‘ is set to open for business on top of a 1,480ft tower in Guangzhou China – with passengers riding in see-through pods. As compared, this development may not be as daring & adrenaline-pumping as with the Stratosphere’s. (Refer: Stratosphere Casino Hotel Tower, Las Vegas on Wed. 19 Sept. 2012).

Built on the 450-meter-high Canton Tower, known as the Guangzhou TV Tower, the amazing wheel consists of 16 pods holding a total of 96 fearless thrill-seekers.

Each capsule is just over three meters wide, and built using a special macromolecule material which allows a 360-degree crystal clear view.

Just think about this – 15 years ago some of the leading business journals scoffed when Coca-cola announced they were going into China and one remarked “How can the Chinese afford to drink Coke when a can of Coke would cost the equivalent of a week’s salary?”

Chinese companies are now competing with the likes of GE, Westinghouse, ABB etc to build power plants and massively sophisticated infrastructure – and beating ALL of them hands down!!

NOBODY CAN COMPETE WITH CHINA!!

Countries and companies that align with Chinese companies will become super powerful as China and Chinese companies have a long tradition of “Guan-Xi”. In Australia, BHP-Billiton is one such company that is laughing all the way to the bank, for China is building one Sydney-sized city every five days. Did you know that by the year 2025, China will have 219 cities with more than one million inhabitants, compared with 35 in Europe today and 24 cities with more than five million people. Also, 40 billion square meters of floor space will be built – in five million buildings. 50,000 of these buildings could be skyscrapers – the equivalent of ten New York Cities.

Slideshow of more images:   

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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Vagrancy Problems in Cities

 

 

 

When visiting the Independence National Historical Park, a United States National Historical Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation’s founding history in the summer of 2012, we saw this couple sleeping on the public bench. Here’s the picture:

 

This was early in the morning & the Park daily activities were beginning to stir and they were totally oblivious to the awakening environment.

 

Homelessness is severe and growing in cities the world over and certainly not the kind of image any city would want to project. Except for Singapore, that “spit & span” city of the world, most other cities have a fair share of such problems.

 

In Taipei, I have seen people sleeping in shopping centre car parks. In Hong Kong, under the bridges & just about any sheltered areas are targeted. In Perth, a generally clean city where I live, parks & public places are not spared. You would expect that cities in developed countries would be spared when compared to the squalid slums of the third world countries.

 

From East to West

 

Vagrants have found their niche to rest.

 

 Slideshow

 

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Especially in downtown areas, one category of homelessness is especially problematic: Vagrants sleeping on benches, panhandling, relieving themselves in public, bathing in library restrooms – and costing taxpayers a lot of money.

 

Non-profits and volunteers are working diligently to address the problem, providing food, beds, rehabilitation programs and jobs counseling. But shouldn’t the government be burdening with such responsibilities?

 

In Guangzhou, China, the city authorities have taken the negative approach of constructing concrete spikes under the spaces of bridges to prevent homeless people from sleeping there, much to the annoyance of the city’s citizens.

 

Arrest & jailing the offenders is no deterrent for the hard core. They call it “three hots and a cot.” This is an expensive approach but to no avail. Some spent one or two nights, some spent weeks or months there, all at $60 per night. Most were back on the streets in a day or two.

 

With more homeless people flocking to big cities, the government should take a more humane approach to provide adequate care for those who live at the bottom rung of society, instead of leaving them alone or even expelling them numerically without any sense of human compassion.

 

Vagrancy problems are being perpetuated needlessly without any well planned strategy. In all cases, city authorities have learned that charitable organisations with their well intended “enabling” programs do not address the homeless’ plight. Enablingcomes in the form of hot meals in several locations, official tolerance of sleeping in public places, short jail stints, a shortage of rehabilitation programs and well-intended but gullible people who respond to panhandlers.

 

Robert Marbut, a top US consultant who has studied homelessness, has this to say: “We don’t help the homeless by enabling them.” Marbut’s approach is simple: Stop making it so easy to be a vagrant; make it more desirable for vagrants to seek help; and then redirect resources to assist them in a better calculated effort.

 

A transformation program will be to include education, rehab or training program to become more productive, shelter buildings & rigorous law enforcement.

 

Despite existing good programs, in the wake of economic misfortune many more are being left homeless – jobless men and women, often along with children – and in genuine need of help.

 

Achieving a humane, open and inclusive society where the vagrants are treated as equals still remains a challenge that requires the wisdom of the government.

 

When targeting to prevent homeless people from sleeping in public places, government can sometimes take the extreme step. For instance, in Guangzhou sharp concrete spikes were built under the city bridges. Too many homeless people used to congregate there under the bridges and some even cooked there posing danger.

 

Concrete spikes under under bridges or flyovers are a waste of land. Hong Kong sets a good example in making use of these lands to build main bus stations for passengers to easily recognize or garbage sorting stations.

 

In living day to day, under today’s living conditions with growing economic & social problems, unemployment & home foreclosures, life is difficult enough as it is. Why make it so hard for them to survive or force them into a life of crime?

 

In the final analysis, which is more important, people’s lives or the city’s image or appearance?

English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop...

English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sans abri à Tokyo. Español: Persona sin hogar, en las calles de Tokio. Türkçe: Evsiz adam, Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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White Tigers

 

White Tigers

White Tigers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park Guangzhou, China)

A great animal theme park & resort

is a must-see destination.

In 2005, it was awarded as a national AAAA scenic spot.

It’s home to some 130 rare white tigers.

White Tigers do not exist in the wild, they are purposefully inbred in captivity to meet the demand of the paying public. The kind of severe inbreeding that is required to produce the mutation of a white coat also causes a number of other defects in these big cats.

The same gene that causes the white coat causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain, thus all white tigers are cross eyed, even if their eyes look normal. They also often suffer from club feet, cleft palates, spinal deformities and defective organs.

YouTube video below:



Located in the biggest city Guangzhou in south China, Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park is the biggest animal theme park in Asia, covering an area of 130 hectares. Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park combines science research, tour and science education, aiming at “protecting wildlife and natural resources”. Since it opened to the public in 1997, the park has already received over 10,000,000 tourists.

Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park is also known as the heaven of animals, as there are 460 species, among them there are many international endangered animals. For example, there are more than 130 white tigers born in Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park, which covered over 50% of the whole amount of this species on earth. Besides the white tigers, there are white lions, white kangaroos, red-headed Cranes, Flamingos, Pygmy Hippos, polar bears and so on.

The park is the best place for tourists who are keen to be close to nature & animals. Inside the park, visitors could get as close as they can to the animals, feed the animals by their own hands, as well as take photos with the animals.

 Slideshow of more white tigers:

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It is a great family holiday destination.

And white tigers are such a great attraction.

There are also a good many white tigers to captivate you in the confinement round the resort hotel restaurants.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Starbucks Coffee

By P Chong                                                                   Friday, 8 April 2011

That irresistible aroma of the famed Starbucks Coffee . . . with the absolute guarantee that every cup of their coffee tastes exactly the same, whether you’re drinking it in New York, London or Beijing. Its growth has been phenomenal and its franchised set-up surged ahead of time. It is a trendy thing to be meeting friends over a cup of coffee especially among the young.

So anyone for a “Frappuccino” ?

1971 to 2011

The distinguishing mark is the logo of the company which over the years has seen some changes with much the same colour scheme.

Let’s just be wary about the genuine from the ingenious fake . . . going by their logo sign. You might be caught with the coffee choked on its way to your gourmet stomach!

At first glance, you hardly can tell the difference. To the non-discerning coffee drinkers, they may be drawn to the”drummed-up” premise by the price attraction.

These three ladies are happy to be drinking “Starbucks” coffee for only one dollar! Look! The logo is the same or similar! But upon closer look, the colour scheme of the logo may betray – but it’s certainly says “One Dollar Coffee”.

 

Well, coffee is coffee. After a day’s outing & shopping, they are glad to be drinking coffee & resting their weary legs. We found this “One Dollar ‘Starbucks’ Coffee” in one of the big shopping malls in Guangzhou.

They say it can only happen in China when it comes to fake goods and imitation stuffs. The reflected glory renders tremendous flattery to the genuine one.

Now, how about this? Is this flattery or insult?

As Perth resident, I’ve searched high & low for the presence of a Starbucks Coffee outlet, until I received in the mail yesterday:

Please be advised that there I have checked the WA business names register and I can confirm that there are no ‘Starbucks’ businesses registered. This is consistent with the information provided on the business’s website http://www.starbucks.com.au/ which shows the business has stores in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria only.”

So, are there any enthusiast to venture into “Starbucks” new creations?

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park, Guangzhou, China

By P Chong                                                                        5 March 2011

Names of the 12 pandas

For the first time these Pandas were on show at the recent 2010 Asian Game in Guangzhou

Chime-Long Xiangjiang Safari Park, covering an area of 130 hectares and located in the biggest city Guangzhou in south China, is the biggest animal theme park in Asia. Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park is located in Dashi Town, Panyu District, Guangzhou, 35mins from the heart of Guangzhou City. It’s a popular week-end outing place for Hong Kong residents, especially parents with kids.

Since its opening to the public in 1997, the Park has admitted over 10,000,000 tourists as of 27 April 2006. It has successfully imported 6 lovely koalas from Australia . . . the first time any organization in mainland China – an event recognised internationally that the Park been accepted as a world class animal park. Adding to their koala’s story of success was the successful birth of 4 baby koalas (joeys) in late 2006, including a set of extremely rare koala twins. The twins are only the second set of twins to be born in captivity, with the last set being born more than 50 years ago.

Rare White Tigers

As a world class animal park, it has also bred successfully 150 white tigers all from one. White tigers are unique and they have a special spot in the hearts of the Chinese as an animal of rare fortune. A few of these white tigers are even kept in the glass enclosure of the theme park hotel, adjoining the dinning area for visitors’ viewing & photography.

Private cars could just drive through the Park, slowly & leisurely, stopping frequently for photographing a wide range of animals from creatures great & small and also to have the pleasure of feeding them. The deers would come right up to the vehicles and eat off the food from feeding hands.

The zoo is broken into 2 main sections, the “Safari on Foot” section where guests walk around a modern zoo, and a “Safari on Wheels” section where guest’s board road trains and private cars to travel through three impressive open plains sections which are the Asian Plains, Predatory zone and African Savannah.

During the recent Asian Games held in Guangzhou, Chime-Long Park had 12 pandas for display there & to welcome participants & tourists. They are so unlike other known bears, even more distinct & famous than the Australian koalas.


Kids simply love this place. When night falls, there is the world-class circus performance in all its glorious colours.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Guangzhou – Venue of 2010 Asian Games

By P Chong                                                                  26 February 2011

Panoramic Guangzhou

In the grip of nostalgia, I revisited Guangzhou in November 2010. I was first there in 1989 when it was no more than an“international sprawling village” with old derelict buildings, narrow twisted streets & lanes . . . so very crowded with both people & bicycles. Today, there is only one word to describe the scenes that greet the eyes – unbelievable! It’s a miraculous transformation!

Guangzhou Traffic Network

Guangzhou, known invariably as Flower City & City of Rams, is a historic-cultural city with a history of 2200 years. Today, it’s an economic power-house in the south of China. Its growth is phenomenal and as part of the conglomerate group of the nine cities to form the largest megapolis in the world, it will continue to spearhead the future growth of the Pearl River Delta region. (Please refer “China – World’s Largest Megapolis” on 25 February 2011).

Modern Guangzhou with 11.7 million population has everything that an international megacity has to offer – a sprawling network of highways, super bullet train network links, underground commuting network, super shopping malls, high-rise skyscrapers, parks & gardens, top-class hotels, entertainment, golf courses, theme park resorts . . . and rightly playing host to the 16th Asian Games and making it the largest & grandest ever.

CRH Bullet Train

As with all the major tourist places, first class hotels were sprouting up everywhere to usher in tourists in the 1980s. Guangzhou then boasted of its famous White Swan Hotel, located on the historical Shamian Island, the old concession zone during the late 19th century and early 20th century (where dogs and Chinese were forbidden). It overlooks the Pearl River and faces the White Swan Lake. Reached by its own private 635 meters causeway, the White Swan Hotel is only 10-minutes drive from downtown and 1-hour drive from New Baiyun International Airport.

 

Opened in 1983 and refurbished in 2002, it is still majestic though there are now many other 5-star hotels. The White Swan Hotel boasts of a total of 843 exquisitely decorated and well appointed guest-rooms. All rooms and suites are comfortably furnished and well-equipped with modern amenities. The restaurants in the hotel offer a wonderful variety of Chinese and Western food. Fitness and entertainment facilities in the White Swan Hotel include swimming pools, gymnasium, sauna and massage room, squash and table-tennis room and so on.

It is best known for its elegant design and high quality service. Its lobby is featured with a tropical waterfall and a display of many huge jade carvings. The hotel used to receive visiting foreign heads and government officials and was regarded as the landmark building of the city of Guangzhou in 1980s and 1990s. The hotel amenities even include a toy room sponsored by Mattel that provides toys for children of every age and gender.

Shamian used to be a place where foreign enterprises concentrated with a lot of western- style buildings. Now Shamian has become a beautiful city park with cafes and bars here & there.

Having stayed there during our first visit to China in 1989, it’s really reminiscent to be seeing it again after more than two decades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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