Category: China

  • Begging to Differ

    The majestic mountains, the intensely deep blue sky with its blotches of white clouds, the grand architecture of Lamaist monasteries and temples, the distinctly handsome features of the Tibet people, their nomadic tents with herds of yak, sheep and goats — who cannot be impressed?  Words fail me, as they often do, so I suggest […]

  • Pain in the Wrist

    My earlier bout with tenosynovitis had cooled off several months, but had announced its return soon after my arrival in Wuhan.  After a month of tolerating it, I decided it was time to seek medical help. Secretly I hoped Chinese physicians might have some alternative approaches of coping with the malady — which I believe, […]

  • Valedictory to my Students at ZheDa

    My Dear Students: My year of working with you in Hangzhou has come to an end, and I am back at my home in Atlanta.  Inevitably, these first days far away from the year’s events demand my reflection and analysis, catalyzed by the questions of my friends and colleagues here: “So, how is life in […]

  • The Ambitious, but Honest, Rat

    [click on photographs to enlarge them] It is no coincidence that my arrival in and departure from China a year later are linked to the Lunar New Year. The festival is the most important in China, such that its vacillation with respect to the solar calendar — for all official purposes China uses the Gregorian […]

  • Lutheran Karaoke

    karaoke |ˌkarēˈōkē| noun a form of entertainment, offered typically by bars and clubs, in which people take turns singing popular songs into a microphone over prerecorded backing tracks. ORIGIN 1970s: from Japanese, literally ‘empty orchestra.’ To add to the general festivities at year’s end, Prof. Yang sent his minions off on a Friday afternoon, at […]

  • What’s for Dinner II

    [No prurient photos along with this posting] In College, my favorite professor was an anthropologist, Earl Count by name, lately deceased, who also held a divinity degree. One of his hobby-researches was into the practice of placentophagia. The dots Count connected were these: 1. the abrupt transition from the pregnant state to the post-partum state […]

  • Caught in the Act

    [left-click on any image to enlarge it] Now that the rampage of year-end feasting has subsided, I take time to consider the spectacular Chinese art of eating. Not of cooking, of eating. First of all disabuse yourself of your mother’s admonition that what goes into your mouth is not intended to come out. Your mother […]

  • Shock and Awe in Hangzhou

    [click on a photo to enlarge it] “Xixi Wetlands” is a laudable attempt to preserve some of the original marsh environment in northwest Hangzhou. That has been the direction-of-choice for Hangzhou urban expansion — you’ll recall my earlier note that the new Zhejiang University campus is built on a swamp. The Xixi effort seeks to […]

  • Of Mice and Matriarchs

    [mouse click on a photo to enlarge it] On my hotel room wall in Hanoi hung a print of mediocre artistic quality, but provocative content. Stretched out on the long horizontal axis was a bridal procession — I suppose in the Vietnamese tradition, but familiar to me as Chinese tradition. Ranks of musicians and well-wishers […]

  • Where have all the flowers gone?

    [mouse click on a photo to enlarge it] The tale goes like this. During the Cultural Revolution, when intellectuals were sent to the countryside for a little re-education, Yunnan Province was regarded as the ultimate boondock, the place for the most incorrigible of intellectuals. Then the old guy died, and things began to relax, and […]