Friday, July 29, 2011

Longest Post of All Time

An Experience with Busking:
One day, as I got off bus 307 at 清华园 station, I saw a guy singing next to a bus stop and he not only was getting paid, but had a circle of fans around him. He was my inspiration. As a result, I decided to take my talents with my side kick, Charles Stone (AKA Chris Bosh) to Wudaokou. Our first attempt was at the Hualian Plaza where we were promptly kicked out by security guards. But before we were kicked out, there was this one young couple that had previously studied in Australia for a few years who came and talked to us. They offered to help us with Chinese and said that most students in China would be more than willing to help Yale students learn Chinese for free. I felt really bad about their generosity because I realized that they did not understand our sarcasm... The most disappointing thing in life is unappreciated sarcasm...

wudaokou subway station
translation in broken english:
(because this was written in broken, terribly written chinese)
we go yale university
no money study china language
please help us
(if you take a pic, you have to pay. thank you for your cooperation)
However, this experience was a success, it was a lot of fun. In the end, we sang at a bus stop for a whole hour, alternating between Chinese and English songs. The most popular song was Sunday Morning. We got a total of 58RMB however the cost was 140 because I bought one of those really annoying tour guide speaker things. Still need to go back out onto the streets and sing...makin' a living is hard.

Pronunciation Problems:

  1. One day we were eating "Chinese Table" and there's been a new policy going around where students have to start ordering dishes that they want to eat. A certain student, when it came to be his turn, wanted spicy chicken. In Chinese, it is called "辣鸡" pronounced "la (4), ji (1)". However, with a slight pronunciation hiccup, he asked the waiter for "垃圾" pronounced "la (1), ji (1)", which means trash.
  2. At the train station in Hangzhou coming home from Huangshan, everyone was extremely tired and hungry. Before getting on the train, people tried to get some food so they don't have to eat on the train. Word got around that there was a place that sold tea eggs, which are essentially hard boiled eggs that are boiled in liquid containing certain spices including tea leaves. In Chinese, this is pronounced, "茶蛋", which is "cha (2), dan (4)". A hungry HBA (Harvard) student screamed out loud repetitively because he couldn't find the tea egg stall, "我要买炸弹" when he should have said "我要买茶蛋". He pronounced "zha (4), dan (4)" which means bomb. So literally, he ran around telling everyone that he wanted to buy a bomb. Luckily, most people knew this poor Harvard student was just having some trouble with his pronunciation, and was not a terrorist
Interesting Pictures From Huizhou, Anhui:
on a tourist street in huizhou, maybe he's carrying potatoes?

at a factory that makes tea cups from bamboo
no safety regulations for workers, no one bothers to wear goggles, shoes...etc

"love our country's flag, sing the national anthem, speak mandarin"
this was at a school in 汤口 where most people spoke their local dialect

the tiny little village/town that we stayed at during our trip to huangshan

my new friends were teaching me 唐诗


tea factory in huizhou
Tourist Locations at/around Huangshan:
Huangshan was easily the most impressive natural scenery location I've ever seen in my life. It was breathtaking, AWEsome and inspiring. It really made me feel minuscule and powerless. The mountains look exactly like the ones in Avatar and when there were clouds it was as if I was floating in the clouds. This region is China is particularly fertile and has a lot of rainfall. There's lots of soil trapped within the cracks of the mountain/stones and therefore there are trees growing out of nearly every crack. The trees have incredibly strong roots and many trees grow horizontally. In addition, we visited an old city in Huizhou called 呈坎. The city was surprisingly very scientific. There was a very sophisticated water system which ran through the city and the city ordinance said that the water was potable anytime after 8am til sunset and that after sunset or before 8am, people could use the water to wash their clothes, vegetables...etc. The waterway ran next to each street and the building had very tall walls in order to keep thieves outside of their buildings. A very fascinating architectural design was the ceilings of many buildings. According to the tour guide, there once was a competition all over China to create the best architectural design to prevent fire damage. Apparently, this place hailed the winner of this competition. The houses were all made out of wood, and what he did was he separated the ceiling into multiple layers and in between each layer of wood, he would fill it with sand. That way, when one layer caught on fire, of if the building caught on fire and the ceiling was burnt, an entire ceiling full of sand would drop and extinguish the fire. Very clever. Many people use Huizhou as a location for film: Avatar, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and other less known movies...etc


coolest invention ever. it's a 'self-heating' meal and there's a
bag of chemicals that you put in the container and then fill it with water
that was provided in the pouch and THEN, it gets REALLY hot and the food
heats within 15 minutes. yum

a lot of the bridges have locks on them with people's names, pretty sure
they have this in france and all over europe as well


it would've been a long fall

many of the old cities that are now tourist sites are still inhabited

i love the natural coloring of the wall

the man is traditionally supposed to sit on the left, there's a very specific
cultural norm about the setup of this living room. the vase behind the male
has a pun that means peace and the artwork behind the woman also means
peace in a different way. and when combined, it means peace! and there's
a clock in the middle so it means there's ALWAYS peace.

we went to a mountain next to huangshan that has a specific breed of
"huangshan monkeys"

national geographic submission?

film spot of crouching tiger hidden dragon


no one knows...

cable slide!

Exchange Program with Southeast University: WuJianXiong College
So luckily, a friend of mine at Yale that's from China helped me get connected with this college and in addition to IvyCouncil, an organization that I'm a part of at Yale, we formed a conference at this university. It was a real treat to go and to take the high speed train which tops at 300km/hour. The trip from Beijing to Nanjing was a mere 4 hours and it was an incredibly comfortable ride with these cool seats that can actually be rotated 360 degrees! There were also plugs in front of the seats so you could easily pass time by going on the computer. A scary thing that happened though was the day before we went back to Beijing, there was the huge train accident in ZheJiang, which is right next to Nanjing. Two high speed trains (DongChe) collided and lots of people were killed. I'm pretty sure the government is still looking into how that's even possible and what the problem was. From what I'm hearing from friends the Chinese government is probably hiding facts about the real incident, in terms of death toll and reasoning. 

For the conference, our delegation of five people spoke about America's Education System and America's Viewpoint on China. I spoke about applying for colleges in America, and other spoke about studying abroad, financial aid...etc. They also spoke about interesting topics however their's wasn't as specific to a single topic. For example, they spoke about a specific major that's offered at their college. This one presentation talked about how there was a groundbreaking experiment which allowed two frogs, one in Nanjing and one in Beijing, to interact with one another via sensory technology. It was pretty eye opening that they also were conducting research on creating an invisible cloak that would currently is undetectable by various sonar methods. Exchanging with the students was an incredible experience and they were very open about their thoughts and ideas about US China relations, and various sensitive topics. I spoke to them about their view on the Chinese government's role and what they thought the most crucial societal problems in China were. It helped open my eyes to different problems that I had never known before, and it also helped me not just see the problem, but understand its existence. This was something that I could have only gotten from going to this program, where they created a very open environment for exchanging ideas and eliminated many barriers that would have arisen if I had tried to talk about the same problems with a random Chinese college student or civilian.

Lastly, we were able to visit a lot of cool Nanjing tourist attractions. It was an overall great experience, it was nice to get out of Beijing for a weekend and also the scenery was nice. All expenses were paid for which made it that much better, and we stayed at a hotel that was directly across from where apparently Kobe Bryant and Jay Chou stayed about a week before we came in order to do Sprite commercials.

talking about application timeline made my head hurt

asia's largest train station: nanjing

tourist attraction in front of confucius temple

a huge drum in the confucius temple

our delegation and their students in front of their newly constructed library

so, prior to coming to southeast university, i had no idea who wujianxiong was. but she was
probably one of the most, if not the most influential female figures of the 20th century. this is just her
list of degrees. look her up on wikipedia. had a hell of a life.


tomb of the founding father of "modern china". there's a statue on the top of him sitting in a chair that
reminds me of the lincoln memorial

Terrible Experience with Chinese Immigration Dept
I have time to write this blog right now only because I'm not in Hong Kong. I should have landed about an hour ago actually... So originally, I had planned to go to Hong Kong for a weekend. The tickets were ordered and everything and it would have been an amazing weekend getaway from Beijing, however the entire plan kind of just collapsed as I went to the Chinese Immigration Dept. First off, I want to clarify that I'm still technically a Chinese citizen. I moved to the states when I was 5 and never applied for citizenship; I actually just finished the process before coming to China and will take the oath when I get back. Oh, how the Chinese passport has been a 负担 in my life... It's a burden. Honestly, I can't think of a single time when having a Chinese passport has given me any 优势. Forgive me for using Chinese, but I can't think of the english term off the top of my head. They say a man is born free but everywhere he is in chains, and I feel like a lot of the chains that are on me are from my citizenship. I'm not going to go into details but for this instance, I'll let you decide how absurd it is. I (first off) had to get a visa for HK because I had a Chinese passport. US Citizens: You do NOT need a visa to enter this "special rights district" that BELONGS to the P.R.C. Okay, so I'm still okay with that. I went, filled out all my forms, took my picture, waited in line, and then was deeply disappointed. I was told that I needed to go to my hometown, in Lanzhou, China to get my visa. Seriously? Am I not in the capitol of China? Nope, that doesn't matter. PRC policy says that going to HK would require me to go IN PERSON to my birthplace to go to HK. Now, because it's a 3 hour flight, I decided not to go. But it just amazes me how going to HK is so difficult, especially as a Chinese citizen, and even when I told them I don't even live in that city, and haven't lived there for the past 14 years of my life, they didn't care. No HK for me...

HBA Student Life Updates
Last week, we participated in a singing competition and Charles and I won first place along with another student. We sang 安静 and 童话, and messed up a little but still luckily got first. As a reward, we got a box of music videos of Communist "Red" Songs. Interesting. This past week was another incredibly busy week, we had 7 hours of testing today alone. 4 hours of our weekly friday test along with 3 hours of HSK, which is the Chinese Proficiency test (equivalent of the TOFEL or GRE I think). I took the high level and it was definitely beyond my ability. Many people just completely gave up. I don't think I had a chance, every section was incredibly hard and even the audio portion, which should have been my strength, was very difficult. Two weekends ago we got to go to a Beijing Acrobat showcase which was stunning. Some of the performances seriously looked like they were humanly impossible.

look closely at how they are supporting themselves..

not an optical illusion

the most under-appreciated girl: the one who has to act as the tank on the bottom

Anyways, that's all I can think of for now.
Goodbye blog.

1 comment:

  1. Panhandling is great, as a social experiment/commentary. Did any people actually take your picture, or stop to talk with you (besides the ones who returned from Australia)?