Posts Tagged ‘China’

Mini Monks in Nepal

If you're new here, please subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Mini MonksWhen I signed up to work with Mindful Medicine Worldwide I was able to request my location so I chose to work in Chapagaon, a rural location just outside of Kathmandu. The clinic is on the grounds of a Buddhist teaching monastery. A teaching monastery is where boys age 5 to 18 come to live to learn to be Buddhist monks. That’s right, there are lots of mini monks here, running around in burgundy and yellow robes.

One of the perks of being in this clinic is getting to treat the mini monks, whether it be rubbing Neem oil on their heads or dressing their many cuts and scrapes. (What the hell is Neem oil ? Why, it’s a wonderful Ayurvedic antimicrobial, antifungal, skin healing plant oil that has a gnarly funk to it.)

In my head, before I came here, I had thought how peaceful it would be to be next to a Buddhist monastery. I had pictured rolling green hills and monks chanting in unison at dusk. Monks in training are actually quite noisy; they’re learning to play horns, they chant out of tune and tempo. Every morning at 9:30 and evening at 7:30 they come into the clinic using the little English they know, “hellloo, hello, helloo?” I massage the Neem onto their shaved, fungus-infected heads, not bothering to wash my hands in between. A few of them roll back their ears to show crusty spots where I apply a Chinese herbal balm to it. Another shows me the chunk of skin missing on the bottom of his foot and points to the Calendula. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Volunteering in Nepal, A Personal Story

Amy in NepalThis metal monkey just turned 30 and is a body worker. I have been a body worker and holistic health practitioner for 6 years. It’s my life, it’s who I am, it’s what I do and the motivation for most of my endeavors. I am also currently working on a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine so that I can become an acupuncturist and herbalist. I’ve made it halfway through the 4 years it takes to accomplish this, that is, 4 years if you don’t care about having a life.

I want to have a life! I want to experience things, people, and places as well as be in love with Chinese medicine. To become an acupuncturist you have to be passionate about it, you have to love people, and you have to be driven. It’s not an easy path but it’s very rewarding. To be a Chinese medicine practitioner is to give your life to it, to live it, and to be an example. At least that’s what they tell you. To become a traditional healer, you have to do hours of rote memorization, you have to study relentlessly, and you have to get to a point where you just don’t give a shit any more and then try to remember why you’re there. You have to half ass your way sometimes and choose your battles.

So, I needed a break. A good break, a real break—not just the measly two to three weeks you usually get in between trimesters. (Yes, school is year round.)

I’ve never been to Asia before and here I am studying Chinese medicine. So much is lost on me because I don’t innately know the culture. Asia is huge; it encompasses places like Nepal, China, Tibet, both Koreas, and Japan. I’m not a very experienced traveler; I’ve been to some of the standard locations in the U.S. , as well as to Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. None of this could really prepare me for what it’s like to come to Nepal. I knew I had to get the hell out of dodge and take a break from school before I went crazy, stopped giving a shit, and stopped learning. Read the rest of this entry »

 

China’s Solar Valley Shines Brightly

Himin Group's Sun-Moon Mansion

Himin Group's Sun-Moon Mansion

This rabbit recently hopped over to the city of Dezhou, in Shandong Province, to partake in some Earth Day festivities with a few friends. While there, I learned more about the greening of China and the significant role Dezhou plays in this cleantech movement. The future certainly looks bright for 德州!

Did you know that Dezhou is one of the leading global players in solar technology today? The city boasts a thriving research and development, manufacturing, and tourism center and those in the renewable industry often refer to Dezhou as China’s Solar Valley. The Chinese government has supported the cleantech movement in this region through preferential tax benefits and other various policies that helped attract top firms to Dezhou. In just a few short years, China has become the leading manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels around the world. It appears China has really stepped up in a significant way to promote sustainable technology.

According to the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), there were 1.12 million renewable energy jobs in China, as of 2008; the association believes more than 100,000 new jobs will be added each year in China going forward. The solar industry in China is very robust and is currently experiencing a growth rate of nearly 30 percent a year. It is China’s stated goal to have 8 percent of their electricity generation come from solar, biomass, and wind by the year 2020. The government plans to subsidize renewables to the tune of $450 billion over the next five years to help meet this goal.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Going Dark at Earth Hour

Don’t panic if the world around you goes dark at 8:30pm Saturday!

Join this dragon as it celebrates Earth Hour with the rest of the world!

World-famous landmarks, including Egypt’s pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and Beijing’s Forbidden City, will go dark Saturday at 8:30pm local time, as millions turn out the lights for “Earth Hour”, a rolling grassroots movement aimed at tackling climate change.

Now in its fourth year, the campaign promises to be the biggest ever with thousands of cities and towns in 125 countries, 37 more than last year, pledging to take part.

Sydney’s iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House will kick off the energy-saving marathon, with Egypt’s Pyramids and Sphinx, Italy’s Trevi Fountain and Tower of Pisa and all major landmarks in Paris to follow, led by a five-minute blackout of the Eiffel Tower. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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?

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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?

 

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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!

Read the rest of this entry »