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Posts Tagged ‘Dalian

Scenes from Dalian 2011 Beer Festival

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First a view outside the Paulaner tent as I wobbled out to find a taxi!

Beer celebrations on Aug 6. The German Oompah band had them singing, dancing, standing and baring their torsoes!

I snapped these images with my iPhone 4 and downloaded to my laptop!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/08/06 at 23:56

This picture confirms my agnosticism about India’s economic future

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This picture of chaotic traffic in an Indian city says much of it for me.

The picture says it all. Not one city bus in sight! And the road looks hopelessly blocked. Indian cities = urban chaos!

Everyday I travel several kilometres thru streets in Dalian that seem busy but on the whole not chaotic. Bus fare is cheap and buses are very available offering a dependable service. They are not the most comfortable conveyance but 10 km trips are completed in less than 15 minutes. Cross city taxi rides don’t cost much (about $3CDN) and travel times are manageable. Dalian is a second tier city in China and has a viable infrastructure with good in-city transportation, plentiful drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity and rental housing.

From what I read not even the best organized city in India can offer a viable city infrastructure and the country doesn’t seem to have the kind of government that can deliver it in any foreseeable future. This is not the picture of an emerging world class economy!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/06/16 at 21:30

China plays “military head games” with the US & others

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A Reuters news item discusses future use of the Varyag, a medium sized hand me down aircraft carrier now docked in Dalian harbor. This kind of “news” about China’s naval plans must be sourced out of some part of the US Defence industry. After all, this semi-hulk has been in Dalian harbor for several years and is seen easily from Dalian roadways.

But the real military head games are being played elsewhere according to this link.

A new missile attack ship and on the ground evidence of a Chinese stealth fighter seem to get more visibility than the poor old Varyag.

Since “news” is often the leading edge of propaganda, it makes me wonder what is really going on here, especially since the US Secretary of Defence announced sizable military budget cuts this week. Whose “news” is this stuff!

During the “Cold War” there was lots of “news” about the imminence of Soviet military domination. Now we are being treated to “news” about China’s newly developed military capabilities. Is this just the latest version of “let’s frighten them so we can get our way”?

Since the US is and has been since WW II, the global paragon of flaunting its military toys, can it be surprising to anybody that China is now doing the same thing? When will India turn up in these military equipment annals?

One thing that seems encouraging is that a respected Taiwanese military analyst seems calm about all this “news”, calm but circumspect:

But for one top Taiwanese security analyst, rumors of the runway test and China’s other upgrades have already achieved their key objective: to mess with U.S. war planners’ heads.

“It’s a very effective deterrent on the minds of strategic planners in Washington,” said Lin Chong-Pin, a former Taiwan defense official who teaches strategy at Tamkang University. “The Chinese don’t have to do anything in the future. Their announcement has already thrown a monkey wrench in strategic planning for U.S. action in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

I live and work in Northeast China – Dongbei. So I tend to pay more attention to the Korean context. Taiwan Strait seems much farther away. But that’s little comfort in this age of ship and aircraft borne missiles!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/01/08 at 18:09

That time of the year when we think and talk about religious matters

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Belly dance, by Brazilian dancers
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Last night, Xmas night, I was in a Chinese restaurant in Ganjingzi, a new and expanding neighborhood near the Dalian International Airport. I was the guest of Sherry Cai and Bin Qui, her husband. It seemed  like a normal Chinese dinner in an average to good area, lots of fresh seafood.

And then there was a sort of night club show with pretty girls doing a sort of belly dance routine, an MC who recognized the only Laowai in the restaurant, yours truly. I guess this was more evidence in these good times in China, that the Chinese enjoy parties and celebrations as much if not more than many other places I have lived.

So I am in an Xmas mood this morning and couldn’t help feeling touched by these thoughts written by Alan Wolfe in a review of an interesting book about the connection between religion and culture. Here is a telling excerpt from that review:

We are, in addition, witnessing the severing of religion from the cultures within which it was once embedded. Religion and culture have long existed in an uneasy embrace. Catholicism is presumably a universal faith, yet long before the reforms of Vatican II allowed Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular, Brazilian Catholicism owed as much to its South American roots as Polish Catholicism did to its Eastern European ones. Islam sought to conquer the world, or as much of it as it could, yet it was intimately connected to the Arab culture in which it was born. The only reason we do not find the term “secular Jew” puzzling is because we appreciate that Judaism is both an ethnic and a religious category. Much the same can be said for many of the other world religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism.

If religion is in decline in the modern world, Roy argues, so is culture. On the one hand, we have multiculturalism, celebrations of diversity that somehow wind up making all cultures look and feel alike. More important, we face globalization, today’s true universal faith, which subjects all local customs to the laws of the market. Under the influence of both, religion loses whatever affinities it may once have had with the cultures that sustained it. Jakarta, the capital of the world’s largest Muslim country, lies some 5,000 miles from the holy city of Mecca, and even Mecca, Roy argues, has lost much of its specifically Arab character.

I am a declared Agnostic about all  religion and especially about the intersection of religion and North American politics. Here the reviewer and the writer point out that religion begins in a cultural context but it tends to cool as its original cultural connection wanes and withers. Is that what happened to me? Did my cultural unrootedness lead to my Agnosticism? I think that could be the case.

In Dalian I am a Laowai but I don’t feel a strong cultural attachment to that connection, since most Laowai here seem to share a very shallow and uninteresting cultural view, at least here in Dalian. Oh, I can’t pretend to be Chinafied but I do enjoy my cultural connection with them better than I do the connection with Westerners. Maybe I just prefer to seem different because that’s what I have always felt in whatever city/community that I lived or worked in.

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Tonight I am feeling in tune with China/Dalian

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Map of sinitic languages
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It could be a personal illusion, but the real sense of making my way here is with me tonight and it feels euphoric.

I did a few real things today and got paid for it with a promise to pay more later. And I got a real prospect of marketing into a big market later this week.

How can I not think I am making some kind of headway? And I doing it with Chinese associates, even though I speak nominal Mandarin. The secret it finding the right associates and I seem to have found one rough jewel, Dean, and my own assistant, Scott, who feels more reliable and worthy of trust.

I have to say to the blogosphere that doing business in China boils down to finding the right Chinese associates. Although I will add this proviso! I am at the beginning of the commercial journey, the very edge of the beginning!

But if you think that my feelings of good existence comes down to marginal commercial success, let me set you right. I have a feeling of good life! I am usefully employed with prospects of better things, I have good Chinese and foreign friends and business associates. I have business connections with Chinese and Chinese organizations that I built myself. I am happy that is working, or seems to be.

I enjoy lots of good wine, spirits, cheese and crossover cuisine at home. I have good convivial friends for dinner and light partying thereafter. I have a warm and cooperative connection with one family that owns a respectable manufacturing company and I do more than English training for them.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/05 at 05:06

Life evolves in Dalian

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A few days ago I complained here about email harassment.  That is now being turned around. We are talking civilly about the ways each of us is living and working in Dalian. It is not yet a full blown reconciliation but we are working on it, each in our own way. We have set aside all divorce plans and are actively working on extending the lease for the Wanda Erqi apt we have been occupying since beginning of March 2010.

To those who have expressed support thx! For others, we wish you well!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/09/30 at 19:30

1931, Sep 18 the Mukden Incident which started WW II in Manchuria

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The image below is one of a set of brilliant photography by Big Picture, my all time favorite source of excellent and memorable images. It shows the current state circa 2010 of the monument in Shenyang memorializing the Mukden Incident which was the first action of WW II in SE Asia:

This was the flash point in Manchuria which lit into a savage Sino-Japanese conflict which is still ill-remembered in China, 79 years after that event.

Update 2010/11/17

I travelled to Shenyang by train two weeks ago. The day was overcast in Dalian, but our air seemed clear enough. I can’t say as much for the air within 100 kms of Shenyang (the city of Anshan) and in Shenyang. Dark, foul looking and not a pretty site!

Is that bad air a relic of Shenyang’s heavy industry past, or just a continuation of a malign and ghostly Japanese presence? The last time I flew into Narita Airport, this past February, its air looked and smelt clean. So what is it about Shenyang? I guess it’s just dirty Chinese industry!

Japanese troops entering Shenyang, China durin...
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Soldiers of Imperial Japanese Army leaving Oka...
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Cleaning up the big oil spill in Dalian!

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I am very surprised that the Govt of China and Liaoning allowed international photographers to get these images. But it is kind of contrary programming when you consider how BP acted in the Gulf of Mexico. Dalian comes off with a better cleanup image than BP does!

Here’s some of the human cost of this cleanup in Dalian Harbor:

Scooping it out of the seawater was one way to get it cleaned up!

Even women were pitched into this battle with oil gunk on the beaches and in the water of the Bay of Dalian.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/08/01 at 00:20

Lapham’s Quarterly, a treasure that I want to subscribe to

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Zhongshan Square in the city of Dalian, Liaoni...
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Here is the latest, a chart of Friends, lover and  family of celebrity artists.

In  certain ways I feel cut off from that world of arts and culture epitomized by Lapham’s Quarterly while I’m in Dalian.

My days and nights are dominated by teaching and promoting Globish interests. I expect to soon begin training at 2 different companies in Dalian. The first is a small to medium sized industrial automation manufacturer in Dalian Development Zone. The other is a large international service company, NTT Communications, which has a big backbone IP network in China and many service offices across the middle kingdom.

But I pine for cultural enrichment from the likes of Lapham’s Quarterly. I will have 21 days in August and September to get back to that cultural connection.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/06/10 at 16:53

There are many things I credit my access to the world wide web for

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The History of Western Philosophy
Image by Garry Ing via Flickr

but I could never have imagined that having it this morning would provide me with a loose connection to Bertrand Russell by way of a video of Stephen Fry discussing his views about philosophy and ipso facto Bertrand Russell. Then this afternoon I was in a imported foods store in Kaifaqu, one of Dalian’s Development Zones. Imagine my  surprise that there I would find one thick paper back copy of Russell’s “The History of Western Philosophy“.

Many years ago I was much younger and felt the need to connect with a mind like Russell’s. One day I bought a beautiful hard cover edition of the same book. That volume was full of color photos, paintings and illustrations, while this one has no illustrations. But this one was inexpensive, which happens to be the case for many excellent English volumes that can be bought in China. That’s a niggly detail, you may think, but it is part of this time in my life in China.

As time goes by I am discovering more than one reason for being in China now. All this wasn’t part of a wisely thought out plan on my part, but the time seems to be ripe for what is happening these days. A lot of what’s happening has to do with the importance of the English language to Chinese people and international business efforts in China, especially their commitment to outsourcing the intelligence and ability of their educated and trained people to the Western World via modern computer based networks and software.

It’s not all a rosy situation. There are many negative things about living in Dalian. But I seem to be doing better this time with the help and support I am getting from my wife Emma.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/05/09 at 04:46