One of the things I noticed about Shanghai was a lack of Communist-inspired monuments. They are here. but generally remain in places where it is expected. A more common sight are the modern statues that appear in the city's retail and business districts. Capitalism rules!
The men with briefcases is in the Pudong area, just a short stroll from the the Jin Mao tower, the first one - a woman using a cell phone - is near my office in Xujiahui. Other similar works are scattered throughout the city. I've seen couples with baby carriages and various poses of men doing business.
In Singapore, there were similar statues of everyday life - although they were renditions of of times past. Via my little odd forest's and Jean Snow's flickr photostreams come the following.:
Along the Singapore Riverwalk and surrounding the Esplanade, there are statues of things such as shirtless old men squatting on stools (as opposed to sitting) and playing mahjong and Chinese laborers toiling.
In Shanghai, you don't have statues of such things - but you don't have to go far to see laborers toiling or old men squatting on park benches.
In either city, it's pretty normal to see women on cell phones or men with briefcases , but in Singapore it would seem odd to immortalize the commonplace. I'm guessing that the absence of older lifestyle statues in Shanghai is based on the same logic.
A statue of an emaciated laborer isn't needed in Shanghai because such things aren't yet a rarity.
We saw our first in-cinema movie here just before going on vacation; checking "Batman Begins" at the cinema in Xintandi. The tickets were 70 yuan each, making it 140 yuan for the two of us (not including snacks). You can buy the DVD on the street for 7 yuan. This is one of the reasons why people don't go to movies in China (another is that the authorities only allow a handful of decent films in each year).
Still, as a fan, paying US$17 for two tickets rather than less than a buck for a bootleg DVD wasn't a big issue. What was an issue was that three times during the showing, sloppy edits in the film ruined my experience.
Naturally, I picked up the DVD to see what I was missing.
The censored Chinese cinema version of the film cuts out scenes of (a) Bruce Wayne robbing one of Wayne Industries China outposts, (b) Bruce kicking the snot out of prisoners in a Chinese work camp, (c) Bruce and Alfred ordering defective helmets from China.
These scenes were all available on the DVD. About a third of the movie wasn't, the Russian bootleggers neglected to add a reel, but I only picked it up for the censored scenes, so it was decent enough for filling in the blanks.
As the DVD was a new release, the bootleggers didn't have time to translate the script into subtitles though. So they just borrowed an existing track from errr... the Intrepreter, perhaps.
Among the highlights.:
Ra's Al Ghul is more Zen, or something.
His offer to turn Bruce evil is a lot more attractive, or it would be if Bruce wasn't already a billionaire. Still, this does provide some insight to the motivation for all of the other henchmen.
Carmine Falcone is a lot more vulgar.
Bruce's initial impression of the Batmobile is much more excited and off-the-cuff.
Bruce uses Japanese when he fires Earle.
Probably due to the success of the X-Men films, the producers decided Batman could use Wolverine's keen sense of smell.
He's also more violent; he keeps the "no-gun" rule, but nukes are seemingly ok.
Myrick, now a married man, has returned to Shanghai. I'm more active on AsiaPundit, and I encourage everyone to visit, but I will try to keep this site active with at least one post a week. I warn you though, all posts here will be self-indulgent crap.
While I was back in Canada, people often said things like this to me: "You're a foreign correspondent? In Shanghai? Wow, that must be pretty exciting!"
Indeed, it is. My life is filled with excitement and danger.
But there is also "glamor and glitz." For instance, I'll be spending tomorrow evening with a Star. Or at least a former star.
Ha! Aren't you all jealous? I'm going to meet Jeremy Miller! This guy knows Alan Thicke!
It should be a fun evening. It's an open secret that all former child stars are party animals.
I don't cuss on the other blog or on the Good Beer Blog. And I won't cuss on the just-launched Shanghaiist. But those sites are 'serious' projects and this is just a place for rantings. If I'm pissed off, this is where I'll cuss.
I won't go into details but Air Canada and Scotiabank are conspiring to ruin my vacation. I was going to call them something foul, repeatedly, but I've calmed down a bit so I'm only going to call them something foul in condensed cockney rhyming slang (that way none of you gits in North America will be offended).
The word has Germanic cognates including old Norse (kunta), middle-Dutch (Kunte) and possibly High German (Kotze meaning prostitute), which all point to a pre-historic germanic ancestor kunton. A Latin word, Kuntus, meaning wedge, might also have been an influence. The word would appear to have entered the English language during the early Middle Ages; in 1230AD, both Oxford and London boasted districts called 'Gropecunte Lane', in reference to the prostitutes that worked there. The Oxford lane was later renamed the slightly less-contentious Magpie Lane, while London's version retained a sense of euphemism when it was changed to 'Threadneedle Street'. Records do not show whether it was a decision of intentional irony that eventually placed the Bank of England there. The word has good Shakespearian usage, though even he was a little subtle. Hamlet asks whether he can lie in Ophelia's lap, 'I mean, my head upon your lap?' and then says 'Do you think I meant country matters?' and follows up with 'It is a fair thought to lie between maids' legs'. Ophelia answers non-committally to most of this. A slightly more bawdy use of the word appears in Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, one of a series of British comedy films of the 1960s, in which actress Joan Sims refers to her husband, 'The Count', deliberately pronouncing the word 'Count' with just enough room to be (mis)interpreted while still getting past the British film censors.
Ha! Chris, Phil, Matt... the madness ends here! I stomped out that silly book-tag meme with a clever lie.
Actually, it required far too much introspection. I felt a need to explain 'why' each book was important to me. That was taking pages and pages of text... for each selection.
So, instead, here's the short-answer version. I may go longer later (and I may give Alan the third part of the Singapore beer bar reviews too... heh, heh, heh.).
Number of books I own: About 1,300 give or take a couple of thousand (ed: the bottom range of that estimate is a 700 book deficit. Please fix that before you go to bed and never, never again, blog after Friday-night beers... and what the hell was that Ostrich post about?!?).
The last book I bought: North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula by Paul French < 30 word review: Cheem! Focuses on economics, not missiles. Reason for collapse of economy - read Hayek, you'll figure it out by yourself. (ed: Cheem? WTF? When the hell did you start using Singlish?)
Last Book I Read: The Coming Collapse of China - Gordon Chang <30 word review: Hyperbolic. Gets the main faultlines. Misses mark on deflation and internet; scores on banks and SOEs. Reason for expected collapse - read Hayek, you'll figure it out by yourself.
The complete works of George Orwell <30 word review: Inspired me. Did journalism instead of real career as result. Glad I didn't sleep on streets of Paris & London, but seemed like a good idea in my twenties.
The Complete works of P.J. O'Rourke: <30 word review: Discovered in Korea from "Seoul Brothers" essay. Not PC. Helped wash away seven years of liberal arts education and relativism. Critical, judgmental, opinionated, refreshing.
See no Evil - Isabelle Vincent: < 32 word review: Was Lat-Am nut as undergrad, loved her coverage. Planned to emulate, ended up in Asia. Met at grad-school lecture - she autographed book. Hung out at pub discussing Sub-commandante Marcos. Hottie. Iconoclast.
Please Kill Me - Legs McNeil; < 30 word review: Sorry you limey losers - punk was American. Not that the Republicans would ever admit it. Honest, self-critical look at rise and fall of non-movement. Plus, Ramones!
The Tick Omnibus - Ben Edlund < 2 word review: "Keen!" Read it in late 80s, haven't yet stopped saying "Keen." Obviously it influenced me ... no one else says that.
Fact: Ostriches are classified as dangerous animals in Australia, the US and the UK. Numerous incidents of people being attacked and even killed by the bird are on record worldwide. Large male ostriches can be very territorial and aggressive and can kick very powerfully during an attack. An ostrich will easily outrun any athlete.
CHRIS: Excellent, I shall abandon my plan for a shark farm and will instead raise ostrich and genetically engineer them to be my evil army. . . Lisa, do ostrich have hooves or are they web-footed?
LISA: They have claws.
CHRIS: Interesting, when they attack do they make a fist or simply claw a pound of flesh from their enemies?
LISA: I believe sir, that they have the option of doing either.
CHRIS: Excellent, that's so much better than sharks - the shark farm was a stupid idea anyway, sharks couldn't attack my land-based enemies.
LISA: I thought you were thinking of an army of cats?
CHRIS: No!!! That was last year. I then decided I wanted an army of nefarious porpoises. Then I decided on sharks.
CHRIS: Yes you see.. cats do not follow orders, but having a dolphin farm would raise suspicions..
LISA: Especially if you have a sign saying "nefarious porpoise farm."
CHRIS: I wouldn't have a sign! But people would see dolphin farm and think: 'why is he farming dolphin, people don't eat dolphin?' That would seem a bit too...
SinoEye is a new find, today the author argues that, environmental concerns aside, killing whales or sharks is no worse than killing most of the animals used in Western dishes.:
Killing is an ugly thing. Animals kill and eat each other. Humans unnecessarily kill and eat animals, this happens all over the world. More attention should be paid as to how these foods are processed, and enforcing control to prevent extinction of any species. Chinese and Japanese people have seen the documentaries too - more and more they are becoming aware of the issue. Just like how western people see their McLibel documentaries, some many decide not to eat this stuff anymore, or at least make more informed choices..... Whaling and shark-finning may be an environmental and animal rights issue, but it should not be used to vilify Asian culture.
I'm a pescetarian (see Dan for the definition of that) so I sympathize with vegetarian arguments. Still, I I have tried weird food in Asia that is non-pescetarian and non-vegetarian simply because I wanted a different experience. Thankfully in Shanghai I can eat really weird stuff without having to touch mammalian meat.:
Tomorrow, for instance we will eat these "vegetarian hedgehog hydnum balls." There's decent Chinese vegetarian food in Shanghai - which is an improvement over both Singapore and Hong Kong. Plus, where else can you find vegetarian hedgehog hydnum balls? I have never seen real hedgehog hydnum balls offered at a restaurant. If I did I would likely try them just for the sake of experimentation. But now, I'll be able to resist that temptation because I've had mock hedgehog hydnum balls.
It's amazing what can be done with soy protein. And it's healthy wonderful stuff too.
....the beer industry in China is way behind in levels of sophistication....you're talking about what perhaps the U.S. or other industries might have looked like 50 to 80 years ago when you have total fragmentation across the country. When we entered you had over 800 breweries we are now down to I think just under 400 breweries. …. there are so many cheap beers that those are definitely not brandable. We try and move our beers up into the upper mainstream and the local premium levels where you can get slightly better margin ....but if you take the vast amount of beer and if you take your normal pyramid -- probably from two thirds and down is all very much low quality, low-priced beer and that beer is certainly lacking in any sort of brand capacity.
Ahn reportedly vowed to finish construction of the Ryugyong Hotel in
downtown Pyongyang, a famous structure 105 stories and 300 m tall — but
a skeleton unfinished for 13 years. An official said experts estimate
the additional construction costs at US$500 million. Add the repair
costs, and it would come out to US$1 billion, he said.
Robert notes that some are puzzled because of North Korea's denial of - or perhaps obliviousness to - the Ryugyong Hotel's existence.:
It’s no longer on the city’s maps. Guides claim not to know where it
is. No one speaks of it. This state of affairs is made all the more
surreal by the fact that the almost incomprehensibly massive Ryugyong
is visible from every part of Pyongyang. It hangs over the horizon, never far out of sight.
Duh, that's because it's Kim Jong-il's secret lair. Even in democratic Townsville no one notices evil villain Mojo Jojo's lair.