Archive for the ‘Asian culture’ Category

The Bund 2.0: Rebirth of a Shanghai Icon

Bund Ah, spring is now upon us, and this rabbit enjoys the greenery all around; it is a time for rebirth! In Shanghai, one of the most iconic symbols of the city—The Bund—experienced a rebirth of its own. On March 28th, after nearly three years of renovations, the Bund reopened to the public. On that Sunday, scores of locals and tourists alike took their first stroll along the renovated 2,000-meter riverside promenade.

The project wrapped up just in time for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Visitors will surely experience a more functional Bund as they marvel at the aesthetic buildings built in the early 20th century. This certainly is not a cheap venture either; the restoration is part of Shanghai’s overall RMB 300 billion World Expo investment.

Han Zheng, the mayor of Shanghai, pointed out some of the more notable changes to the riverfront:

  • Area for public activities increased by roughly 40 percent; the Bund can now accommodate up to 800,000 visitors on peak days.
  • Six-lane tunnel built beneath the Bund to mitigate traffic congestion on surface streets.
  • Improvements to the public transport network and the flood-control infrastructure.
  • Tree plantings along the banks of the river and installation of 2,000 park benches.

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Google in (and out of) China

nochinamapMoments ago Google decided to close its China-based search service and redirect Web searchers to an uncensored portal in Hong Kong. (See this MarketWatch article for more info. Likely this move will be blocked by China so let’s wait to see what happens.)

As it continues to develop more and more into a super world power, China’s impact on the world is growing, effecting everything from the stock market, Internet, international business, to the value of the dollar. Chinese culture continues to submerge with other cultures worldwide, especially in America, where we are so very connected by the Internet and world trade. (See our earlier post, The Asian Hot Pot That is America.)

This dragon figures it’s time to brush up on the home country so began digging on the Internet in America (where the Internet remains mostly uncensored, even to dragons)!

Though written for college students, check out this great resource on China: 50 Lectures to Learn about the Past, Present, and Future of China. Got a greater understanding about what makes China tick! Even this Chinese dragon learned a lot from this resource!

So what’s your favorite resource for news on Asia? And how do you feel about Google getting out of China? How do you feel this decision will impact the Internet world?

 

Live Webcast from Sacred Fire Dhunis

Come be a part of the groundbreaking first LIVE webcast from the Sacred Fire Dhunis of numerous, rarely seen, powerful potent yogis, naga babas, matajis, tantriks, and other sadhus from the various lineages and akharas. Many of these ascetic Yogis stay hidden away at their retreats high in the Himalayas and only come down sometimes for these Kumbh Melas.

No need to get up! Peer through the looking glass into the extreme of the Himalayan yogic tradition right from the comfort of your home!

Attend two webcasts a day for 5 to 7 days between 4/7 and 4/17! (Each webcast should be 2 to 4 hrs in length.)

The 2010 HARDWAR MAHA KUMBH MELA DHUNI WEBCAST PROJECT IS ON!!!

JAI MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

 

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – brrr

Harbin_Ice_FestivalThis dragon recently flew over to frigid northeastern China to visit the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Didn’t enjoy the chilly Siberian winds but the amazing art made it well worth the journey! (Even a cold-blooded creature like me gets cold when icicles start forming on my scales!)

This festival,  one of the world’s four largest ice and snow festivals, includes humongous ice buildings built from the frozen waters of the Songhua River, gigantic snow sculptures, and ice slides. (Kind of an icy version of Burning Man at night!)

I loved the multi-colored night lights that illuminated the sculptures from both inside and outside. Really cool to see the brilliant and dazzling lights against the dark night sky.

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Yeah to Google in China

This dragon applauds the stand Google is taking over censorship and hacking in China. This is what Google said in their recent blog (yeah to the power of blogging)!

“We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all,” the world’s leading search engine posted on its official blog yesterday. “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

This dragon is especially shocked by the possibility that the Chinese government might have been hacked into Google to monitor the email accounts of human-rights activists.

What would it truly be telling the world if the Chinese government resists Google’s demands for an impartial search engine, or if the implied accusations against the government that it hacked into Google are true?

Even the White House on Thursday backed Google’s decision to no longer submit to China’s Internet censorship:

“We will be issuing a formal demarche to the Chinese government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably early this week. It will express our concern for this incident and request information from China as to an explanation of how it happened and what they plan to do about it,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

And from China (not very meaningful in my opinion):

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday at a regular press conference that “China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law.”

Google is in a tough place. It knows that bad things are happening to its service in China (such as hacking and censorship), and it thinks it may have to pull out of China. But is that the right thing to do? What do you think?

 

Dig the Avatar dragons

Avatar_poster_smudgeThis dragon managed to find an IMAX theater big enough to squeeze into to see the movie Avatar. (Finding dragon-sized glasses was a bit more challenging though!)

Had heard there were awesome dragons in the movie and boy, were they the coolest. Without them the battle between the native N’avi and the mean old imperialist, materalistic “civilized” people would have been lost!

Reminded me of how the early Americans treated the American Indians and the current treatment of Tibetans by the Chinese.

Also, the spiritual beliefs of the N’avi somewhat echoed some of the tenets in Taoism and Buddhism.

  • Taoism’s central principle is that all life, all manifestation, is part of an inseparable whole, an interconnected organic unity which arises from a deep, mysterious, and essentially unexplainable source which is the Tao itself.
  • Buddhist teacher Dharma Daishi shared Buddhism through incredibly rigorous physical lessons that taught people the necessary discipline required for the true Hindu meditative journey to Moksha, or release from earthly bondage, otherwise known as Nirvana.
    Buddhism also believes the a self is not subject to birth and death.

What a great reminder to us all that we are all part of the same energy (dragons and people alike!) and presented in such an entertaining way!

And I really loved the “I see you” used by the N’avi, very much like the “Namaste” said after a yoga class! (Namaste roughly translates to “I bow to you” or more poetically “The light within me honors the light within you” or “I bow to the divine in you.

But the coolest thing of all is still how the big dragon saved the day!

What was your favorite part of this movie?

 

The Power of Eight

eightThis dragon believes in the power of eights! Ever notice how many Asian restaurants have many 8s in their phone number? That’s because 8s are considered to be lucky to Asians.

As mentioned in an earlier blog about feng shui and the stock market, this dragon has been playing the stock market and doing really well! One of my continued strategies for success has been to use the number 8 in almost all of my stock trades. (For example, I’d put in a buy or sell for a stock at $12.88 or buy 288 shares. See the example below.)

8stock

So far by using this strategy I’ve doubled my cow purchasing power within the last year!

Now you know why there’s Eight Treasure Rice Pudding for the Chinese New Year, eight sides in the Ba Gua (the heart of Feng Shui), and eight arms in Patanaji Ashtanga yoga!

Try the power of eight for yourself today and send me a comment on how’s that’s worked for you!

 

Terracotta Soldiers Come to Life in US

Qin's Eternal ArmyWay cool! This dragon recently flew over to see the new exhibit “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. How rad is it to come face to face with Emperor Qin Shihuang’s life-sized eternal army. (I last saw these when my pal the emperor was just getting started on this massive project.)

I met the dear emperor in my younger days (around 250 B.C.), as he was starting to plan for his afterlife.

You see death was perceived as a prolongation of life, and an emperor’s mausoleum was his afterlife palace, mirroring the magnificence of his palatial life on earth. As an old Chinese saying instructs, “treat death as life.”

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Liu Bolin, The Invisible Man

Camo Man

This dragon has often envied the ability of my distant chameleon cousins to camouflage themselves. (Check out this amazing cousin in camo… If I’m extra good in this life, perhaps I’ll come back with that camo skill in my next life. This could a really useful skill for a big dragon!)

Speaking of camouflage, while surfing the net today I discovered an amazing Chinese Da Vinci named Liu Bolin. Some call him the “Invisible Man” and for a really good reason! (Yes, dragons do surf the net, despite our difficulties in using a mouse.)

This very talented dude’s photos have people painted to appear to be invisible or disappearing. It’s his way of showing how he feels Chinese citizens are being treated by the Chinese government.

“It is not so much the body that is concealed in the environment,” says the Invisible Man, “as the surrounding world that swallows up human beings, without giving them any option.” What a cool and a unique way to make a political statement!

See if you can find the invisible people in following pictures! Kudos to the artist and the patient people in these pictures!

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The Asian Hot Pot That Is America

This dragon thinks it’s really cool how Asian culture has co-mingled so much into every day mainstream life in America, the current lair of the dragon, where people love us dragons…

Martial Arts DragonToday in America, many of us practice yoga and meditation for stress management. (In fact, most fitness centers now carry yoga classes.) Martial arts and Tai Chi have also become popular activities for many.

In the area of alternative medicine, more and more of us are turning to Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda and Oriental therapies for health and well-being, and most people have heard of Deepak Chopra, the “poet-prophet of alternative medicine.” (This dragon turns to acupuncture when its scales get too scaly or its flames start to sputter, especially since many health insurance companies now cover acupuncture!)

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