Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Bund 2.0: Rebirth of a Shanghai Icon

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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?

 

Sonabai, self-taught artist and inspiration

On a rainy day in San Diego, this dragon blew into the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park on free museum day. (There was actually a tornado watch going on outside! I love to fly in a storm but tornados really tear up my wings!)

Inside I found an amazing exhibit called Sonabai, Another Way of Seeing. For a decade and a half, Sonabai Rajawar only contact was with her husband and child! In response to this isolation, she created an entirely new artistic expression of color, light, and fun.

How amazing that she had no instruction or guidance, but was able to create such joyous art! Years later, quite by chance, the Indian art world discovered her and later gave her India’s highest honor, the prestigious President’s Award.

sonabaibookSonabai’s story clearly expresses the capacity of human beings (including dragons) everywhere to meet their challenges head on and to draw from within themselves the strength and insight to change their lives.  Sonabai found ways to transform her oppression into expressions of courage, beauty, and joy in living. What an inspiration!

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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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