China Pavilion (Legacy of Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo)

Long after Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo has gone, the China Pavilion still stands magnificently. This striking immense red structure is the first building you’ll see upon entering the Expo Park & the last one upon leaving.

It’s certainly reflecting the theme: Better City, Better Life.

It’s China’s gift to the people & to the world.

Play YouTube Video

Timelapse and video shot on Canon 7d and GoPro Hero HD 
for SeeChina.org.cn and Danwei.tv 
by Janek Zdarski

The main structure of the China Pavilion, “The Crown of the East,” has a distinctive roof, made of traditional dougong or brackets, which date back more than 2,000 years. The dougong style features wooden brackets fixed layer upon layer between the top of a column and a crossbeam. This unique structural component of interlocking wooden brackets is one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture. Dougong was widely used in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-467 BC).”

The contour design of the pavilion is based on the concept of “Oriental Crown, Splendid China, Ample Barn, and Rich People,” to express the spirit and disposition of Chinese culture. The pavilion has a core exhibition area on the top floor, an experience area on the second and a functional area on the first. China’s achievements in urban development from ancient to modern times are shown as the core theme of the pavilion.

The China Pavilion sits right next to the Expo Boulevard and the Sun Valleys, which act as the center of the Expo. (Slideshow Below)

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Painted the same red as the Forbidden City, the China Pavilion consists of four pillars with 6 floors expanding out and up. The 30 meter high roof is constructed from 56 wooden brackets (dougong), which represent the 56 minority ethnic groups of China. Additionally, nine folded scripts engraved on the surface of the building list the short names of China’s provinces.

Designed by He Jingtang, the director of the Architectural Academy of the South China University of Technology, “the Pavilion includes many energy saving technologies. The exterior of the structure offers a temperature buffer zone and natural ventilation for the interior, and the inverted shape of the pavilion acts as shading for entire building as well as the courtyard below. The roof of the structure includes eco-friendly landscaping and harvests rainwater.”

The China Pavilion, also known as the Oriental Crown, represents the spirit of the people of China and is one of the 5 permanent green buildings on the Expo Park converted into a national history museum.

Video hosted by Nancy Merrill below showing the background to its construction:

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Karaoke Dinner Night Celebration

By P Chong                                                                     Sun. 3 October 2010

It’s a pity that celebration doesn’t last, no matter how joyous or jubilant. Our friend Tom, a retired engineer, bears a significant birthday which coincides with the National Day Celebration of the Peoples Republic of China. I thought we’ll give him a celebration that he won’t forget with the Roasted Suckling Pig as the big surprise. It was in a way to bid farewell to my two visiting sister-in-laws Anna & Jenny from Singapore & Malaysia after their month long stay as our guests, and last but not least, to welcome Michael our visiting “Singing Lawyer” cousin from Johore Bharu with his wife Lily.

As with our usual practice, it’s customary for the invited guests to bring along a dish to share. I must say there was a good array of delicious food display with every choice to satisfy the hungry stomach. Wow . . . the speed with which the roasted suckling pig disappeared from hand to mouth told me  too clearly that other dishes are of little compare.

13 Kg Roasted Suckling Pig

We were lucky to have the presence of Dr Yap Chin Fah, the “Singing Doctor” to render his expert hands in cutting up the 13 kg pig. Just look at the photos.

Birthday Boy Tom with his Architect Wife Florence

Dr Yap Chin Fah scissor cutting the pig with his expert hands.

Heng, a lawyer by profession, an international chef as a professional hobby, rendering a helping hand. (Below)

Four at a time elected to play mahjong
Tom & Florence Ong
Karen Chiang singing in Mandarin
Dr Yap Chin Fah - "The Singing Doctor"
Michael teoh - "The Singing Lawyer"

There was no shortage of Karaoke singers. Melody flowed . . . joy glowed . . . and we all had a wonderful time.

Some unfortunately couldn’t sing because of cough!

Miscommunication

By P Chong                                          Tues. 7 September 2010

Miscommunication occurs due to failing to communicate clearly. There could be a lack of clear or adequate communication or people merely hear what’s said without really paying close attention through listening. Communication too can be misconstrued, misinterpreted & understood giving rise to a lot of complications and unwanted problems.

In most cases, we get different meaning of the words than they intended. Even body language can create a different impression, though in place of verbal communication it can be most effective.

Miscommunication can lead to misunderstanding, argument, hurt & anger and to the extent of creating personal conflict.

Communication Illusion

Who’s being heard?

Here’s an interesting picture on how miscommunication occurs based upon a written memo from the CEO to the staff of a particular organisation, as it filters through the hierarchy rung of management.

By the time the message reaches the bottom rung from the Supervisor to the staff, it is all distorted & reduced to just one sentence. The whole essence is filtered & lost in its downward transmission.

People only hear but not listen!

As a general rule,since God endowed us with two ears & one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk.

No Hearing, No Seeing & No Talking

Picture of misery

Picture & Illustration Source: Google

The Chinese Tradition of Marriage

By P Chong                                                                               Sat. 4 September 2010

The Chinese Character for Double Happiness

There are three events in life that the Chinese really celebrate:

  • marriage celebration
  • the birth of a child (full moon celebration)
  • Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)
  • Birthday celebrations are not a norm, except the landmark ages of 60, 70, 80 & all that . . . Celebration on the negative side will be in the event of “untimely” demise of the dear departed including Qingming Festival (All Souls’Day).

Red is Auspicious

Without order chaos exists. Even mechanical things work on a system, from a simple clock to the planetary system of the universe. If any part of the system should break down, the whole mechanism stops to function.

By the same token, it is true to say of the human society. It can only function properly with a system or order, otherwise chaos will prevail. This is a verified truism as exemplified by the way Chinese society is structured & conducted with particular reference to the question of marriage, which reflects the great importance attached to the concept of the family unit. The way the Chinese address their nation as their “national family” bespeaks the significance of the basic family as its core. Thus the way the individuals conduct themselves can make or break the hierarchy.

There is much to be said about arranged marriages in those days. Whatever your modern misgivings with ideals of love & romance, these marriages did come with problematic packages. The go-in-between and both the in-laws first investigated all details of the young man and lady in respect of compatibility with particular reference to their “animals” of birth, as whether it’s the year of the rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat monkey, chicken dog and pig. It’s astrology of an unique kind. The West would refer it as consulting the stars. There is much truth in that the characteristics of the personality do spell out clearly by the animal year of birth. Taking such precautionary steps avoid the pitfalls of marriage.

Talking of surprised or problematic packages in marriages, brings me to mind of a fictional story. It could well be true beyond your wildest imagination . . . it’s so funny, ridiculous & amazingly laughable.

This is seriously Funny . . .

Two men met at a bus stop and struck up a conversation. One of them kept complaining of family problems. Finally, the other man said: “You think you have family problems? Listen to my situation.”

“A few years ago I met a young widow with a grown-up daughter. We got married and got myself a stepdaughter. Later, my father married my stepdaughter. That made my stepdaughter, my stepmother. And my father became my stepson. Also, my wife became mother-in-law of her father-in-law.”

Much later the daughter of my wife, my stepmother, had a son. This boy was my half-brother because he was my father’s son. But he was also the son of my wife’s daughter which made him my wife’s grand-son. That made me the grand-father of my half-brother.”

This was nothing until my wife and I had a son. Now the half-sister of my son, my stepmother, is also the Grandmother. This makes my father, the brother-in-law of my child, whose stepsister is my father’s wife, I am my stepmother’s brother-in-law, my wife is her own child’s aunt, my son is my father’s nephew, and I AM MY OWN GRANDFATHER!”

And you think you have FAMILY PROBLEMS!!!”

Moral: Order prevails, otherwise chaos assails.

China’s Leaping Achievements

History of China

By Paul Chong                                                                              Sunday, 29 November 2009  A Chinese By Descent, An Australian By Consent

President Hu Expounds China’s Views On Development

China can boast of its silk and tea culture long before any other country in the world. Even the technological plough was first discovered in China. By and large, all discoveries were directed towards peaceful use and the enrichment of life and culture, as with the gun powder. Now the world is witnessing an unprecedented quantum growth in China – all within one generation!

China Foreign Reserve    World No. 1

China Oil Consumption    World No. 2

China Trade Value              World No. 3

China Economic Output    World No. 4

Latest: China is the richest nation in the world.

‘Xiang Qian Zou’ – The Road To Riches

The Road To Riches – A Nation of Bicycles To Motor Vehicles

Of the nations in the world today, China stands out progressively tall and strong. It is as though a sleeping dragon is finally awakened. This appears to be the fear of the West. Though an economically strong China is good commercially for all the trading nations in the West, politically China poses a great threat. It is feared that “once China stands up, it won’t topple or be toppled.” That was why precisely Napoleon in his wisdom decided to let China be and not to rouse her.

In retrospect, China is undoubtedly the world’s greatest civilised nation over a continuous period of thousands of years – a civilisation undiminished and unbroken, unlike past civilisations like Egypt, Greece, or the Romans. By any reckoning, China should have by now be far more superior than the rest of the world. Why not?

Map of the “Middle Kingdom”

Of the many reasons why China did not progress beyond its initial lead in technology and discovery, the main cause of which can largely be attributed to its inward looking policy . . . viewing all territories outside the Great Wall of China and its boundaries as barbaric in nature. This nationalistic pride and closed door policy led to its seclusion, totally depriving itself from the inter-change of ideas and exposure to new scientific developments and industrial growth. While China lavished in its culture, philosophy and essentially non-materialistic form of development, it began to lag behind the West in terms of economic industrial growth. In preserving its civilisation from being tainted by corruption, disruption and deterioration, it never knew new growth, development and discoveries elsewhere in the whole wide world. The “Middle Kingdom” realised too late the encroachment of other nations upon its shores and territories. Countries like Britain, Portugal, Japan were making inroads into China through modern superior arms of war instead of its age-old “kung-fu”.

Zhejiang – Economic Zone

To grow, to progress is to change. Sentiment must give way to progress. There is no room for inhibition to changes. Change needs to take place before growth and progress can be attained. It’s attitude more than aptitude that scales the altitude. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the great former prime minister of Singapore, is credited for the great strides achieved by the City State. His visionary ideas have no room for inhibition or sentiment to change or any hindrance.

Now, what a change has come about as a result of Deng Xiao Ping’s visionary concept of “Xiang Qian Zou”. In Mandarin, it means “Forward Move”, but by replacing the middle word with the similar pronunciation, it becomes “Moving Forward With Money”. This started a great frenzy for the Chinese striving for monetary progress in all spheres of work and life. China has made a quantum leap – a country virtually with no phone to the modern technology of mobile phones! But capitalistic way of life does have its price. A single generation can witness the most remarkable change & progress. Transformation just sweeps aside all inhibition, resistance and sentiment.

Greed always breed a profound loss of goodness in mankind. Simple honesty, truth, kindness and compassion are lost in the process. The dollar sign is etched prominently on the foreheads of goal-getters. It is evident to an outside observer that the whole civilisation is transformed overnight. China, in its forward economic stride, has done away with its traditional large families, and its door is wide open to the corrupt western way of life. There is a price to be paid, for consequential results cannot be avoided.

Like most economies in the world, the road to riches often affect those who are involved, largely the urban folks, leaving behind a vast majority of the rural peasants. Even then great disparity may result among the urbanites. Encouraged by the concept of “Xiang Qian Zou” and ‘you’ve got to be in it to benefit it’, waves and tides of migrating movement are emptying the youth from the rural and pastoral areas. China is vast country where hundreds of millions of the peasant still labour and toil and are poor by comparison with the urban rich. No doubt, this is creating a set of social chaos unknown before.

Hong Kong, for instance, is a magnetic attraction for mainland Chinese. Tens of thousands cross the border which still has the immigration formality with number restrictions. In 2002 this number has been lifted and the hours of opening has even extended to 12 mid-night. This is largely due to the fact that the constant stream of exchange of people movement just keep on going growing bigger and bigger. The benefits work both ways. The affluent mainland Chinese pour money into Hong Kong, and the Hongkees likewise do the same in respect of investing in cheaper and more attractive housing in Mainland China.

On the more positive & human well being aspects, China has done itself proud by alleviating poverty for the great mass of the population. Consider this report by World Bank: “China has maintained a high growth rate for more than 30 years since the beginning of economic reform in 1978 and this growth has generated a huge increase in average living standards.

China’s sustained growth fueled historically unprecedented poverty reduction.  Based on household surveys by the World Bank, the poverty rate in China in 1981 was 63% of the population.  This rate declined to 10% in 2004, indicating that about 500 million people have climbed out of poverty during this period.’

Update & in a lighter vein:

China, now second largest economy in the world, has 19% of the world’s population, but consumes

. . . 53% of the world’s cement

. . . 48% of the world’s iron ore

. . . 47% of the world’s coal

. . . and the majority of just about every major commodity.

In 2010, China produced 11 times more steel than the United States.

New World Record: China made and sold 18 million vehicles in 2010.

China currently has the world’s fastest train and the world’s largest high-speed rail network.

China is currently the number one producer in the world of wind and solar power.

China currently controls more than 90% of the total global supply of rare earth elements.

In the past 15 years, China has moved from 14th place to 2nd place in the world in published scientific research articles.

China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.

 As at the end of March 2011, China has accumulated US$3.04 trillion in foreign currency reserves- the largest stockpile on the entire globe.

 Chinese consume 50,000 cigarettes every second …Not an enviable record though …

And here is the secret to the Chinese miracle: There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.

So it is PORK that is driving China !! ENJOY YOUR PORK !

Now . . . you know why we eat “bak kut the” to be one in spirit with our China cousins.

Comments

Your comments are invited.

What problems do you envisage for China in this economic crisis?

How would the rest of the world, particularly US, react or act towards China?

What role do you think that China is likely to play on the world stage?

Do you think that China would follow the path of US & change its basic peaceful co-existence policy?

Any others?