Over the Christmas holidays I took a short trip around the UK, visiting my old haunts in Norwich, Cambridge, London, York, Durham and Edinburgh. Since the weather was pretty dismal it was a good chance to reacquaint myself with some of our former Empire’s first class museums (many of which remain free somehow). Read more
After leaving Shenzhen at the end of 2010 I began 2011 in a state of limbo, living somewhere between temporary accommodation in London and Hong Kong airport, while I was working on a fairly dull project. After an unexpected turn of events (getting a new job) I ended up doing something completely different and far more exciting. Read more
Last night the streets of Shenzhen were filled with the sight, sound, and unmistakable aroma of millions of fireworks being set off by people across the city as China saw in the Year of the Tiger with a bang. As with many activities here, the more noise, the more luck it’s supposed to bring. Shortly before midnight I took to the streets with my camera to capture the action (while trying to avoid getting my head blown off): Read more
While in the west it may be Valentines day, February 14th over here marks the end of the Year of the Ox and begins the Year of the Tiger. Once again Chinese New Year is upon us and the great masses are shifting around the country on their way homeward for a well earned break. Trains will be packed and prices inflated. Firecrackers will be burnt and many multitudes of dumplings will be eaten. Some will drink so much baiju that they will forget the week altogether. Read more
Over the next few weeks over 1.3 billion Chinese around the globe will be celebrating Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year / Spring Festival). 2009 is the Year of the Ox and for those who believe in this nonsense –
The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.
Over the holiday I’ll be taking a trip to the ancient city of Xi’an (pronounced Shee’an), terminus of the Silk Road and home to the world famous Terracotta Army as well as many other historical treasures. I’m not sure if I’ll have any net connection while I’m there so may not be able to update around here for a week or so but expect lots of pics when I get back.
Xin nian kuai le! (新年快樂 – Happy New Year!)
Having being born in August 1984 I fall squarely in the year of the rat (a wood rat to be precise) according to the Chinese lunar calendar. A single cycle takes 12 years to complete and with the 2008 lunar year just beginning we’ve now moved into the year of the rat which, according to superstition, will be particularly unlucky for yours truly (good thing I’m not superstitious!).
I find Wikipedia’s definition of rat people attributes particularly amusing:
“Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiacs, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organised, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power…
Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.”
Perhaps there is something in all this nonsense after all?! I found the last point particularly apt!