Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Travel: Yunnan from the sky

20 luguhu ligedao DJI_0026070618.jpg


Filed under: Infrastructure, Peaceful Development, Uncategorized

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall


Tucked away in a secondary road in Balestier is the former Sun Yat Sen Villa. Just over a hundred years ago, it was the Southeast Asian (Nanyang) headquarters for Sun Yat Sen’s revolutionary activities with the Tong Meng Hui secret society.

The funds and support he raised here with the Tong Meng Hui had a role to play in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty – marking the end of millennia of dynastic rule in China with the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. The Republic of China was established, Asia’s first. It had a western style parliamentary system although that didn’t last long.

Few Singaporeans, nor northern mainland Chinese know about the existence of this place which in our minds, a glaring blindspot.

First, it makes for a worthwhile visit to understand that Singapore’s relationship with China goes back a longer way than Deng-Lee relations, or the post-LEE post-Terrex new normal. Second, that Singapore had a hand in the birth of modern China. Sun Yat Sen visited Singapore nine times between 1900 and 1911. The villa was gazetted as a national monument in October 1994 and is now known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

Altitude: 200feet / 60m

#NeverForget Singapore’s #SeaState
Shot with the DJI Mavic Pro

Filed under: History, International Relations, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Uncategorized, , , ,

Travel: Guilin, Guangxi Autonomous Region


I recently spent 10 days in China’s Guangxi Autonomus Region as well as Hunan Province. Whilst I have travelled to China many times before, this is the first time I’ve visited with an eye in the sky – a flying camera. Here are some aerial panoramas of my travels there.

The first two panos below are of Guilin’s Karst-filled horizons. The bottom two are villages where China’s ethnic minorities are largely, self-determining. Each travel to China reminds me that China is not a monolithic entity. And that their population of close to 1.4 billion means 1.4 billion stories and agendas, all pretty much on the same roller coaster ride emerging from a century of mistakes they’re not keen to repeat.

In this part of China there are hardly any heavy industries and the sheer number of domestic tourists I met suggests to me again a blindspot the rest of the world is not privy to. China’s domestic market is enormous.

guilin 1 DJI_0041-49 Pano.jpg

guilin 17 DJI_0042-50 Pano.jpg

guilin 19 DJI_0036-43 Pano.jpg

guilin 21 DJI_0008-16 Pano.jpg

Filed under: China Dream, Chinese Model, Mapping Feelings, Tourism, , ,

A step back to move forward. Hello again!

Dear reader, it’s been a number of years but I’m back.

I’ve taken time off to work on my book on China’s rise and it seems timely that I return to the blogosphere to continue sharing my thoughts now that the book’s probably a year away from completion. I was in Guilin with a flying camera in the Guangxi Automous Region recently. The objective was twofold –  to get an updated first hand impression of what China’s periphery has been thinking about and doing, and second to document China from the sky. I returned with a number of aerial photos and look forward to sharing them here.

guilin 5 DJI_0014-29 Pano.jpg

So, hello again!

Wandering China

Filed under: Back to China, Uncategorized,


Greetings readers, the Wandering China blog will be taking an intermission till further notice. I thank you for your kind support.


Filed under: Uncategorized,

Survey: Singapore’s response to China’s rise: Online Media and the formation of public opinion

It has been a while – – –

Greetings readers *especially if you are from/based-in Singapore – if you have a few moments to spare, I appreciate your input for an online survey. Your inputs are deeply appreciated as it will provide important data for this twenty-first century update of modern Singapore’s response to China’s rise.

>>> Please click here to proceed to the survey hosted on surveymonkey.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Research Objective in a nutshell: To study the impact of online media / web 2.0 on how people in Singapore form opinions about China’s rise.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. There are 38 questions in total, the majority of which are either multiple choice or based on a rating scale. Inputs will be collected and analyzed after the questionnaire closes on [June 15, 2014]. Responses are collected anonymously and will used solely for research purposes.

Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/policy/privacy-policy/ for more on privacy policy.

Filed under: Communications, Education, International Relations, Media, Politics, Singapore, , , , , , ,

Please bear with a period of change

wanderingchina intermission

Please bear with this intermission as wanderingchina re-formats for 2014. A new format is on the way – the aim is to cast a wider net  of media coverage – per post.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the results of the past two online polls.

Respondents were largely optimistic about China's continued rise.

Respondents were largely optimistic about China’s continued rise. (Please click  to expand)


A quarter of the respondents feel the China will never take over the U.S. as number 1. For those who felt that China would end up taking over, 50% see this happening in the next 5-20 years. (Please click to expand)

Filed under: Bob's Opinion

China is getting better at influencing media outside China [Quartz] #RisingChina #Media

Flooding headspace to gain consensus.

– – –

China is getting better at influencing media outside China
by Lily Kuo
Source – Quartz, published October 22, 2013

China doesn’t just exert heavy control over state media; its influence over media outlets outside China is expanding, according to a new report by Freedom House.

For the past three years, the government has been investing millions of dollars in a global soft-power push. State newspaper China Daily publishes inserts of its English edition in major Western papers from the Washington Post to the New York Times. China’s Central Television, or CCTV, has hired dozens of experienced reporters from the US for its Washington bureau and rivals other foreign operations like Al-Jazeera America.

According to the report, China is also doing things like offering free editorial content to Latin American, African and Asian news organizations that can’t afford to send correspondents to China. It’s also subtly exerting influence over Chinese-language media in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese diaspora communities.

China has donated aid money, for example, to state-run media in Africa and Latin America and flown their journalists to China for training. Left-leaning countries like Bolivia and Venezuela have also bought communications satellites (pdf, p. 20) from China. In Southeast Asia, governments with close diplomatic ties to Beijing, like Vietnam and Cambodia, appear to be pressuring their media to let up on criticism of China.

Please click here to read the entire article at Quartz.
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Journalist’s Call for ‘de-Americanized World’ Provokes Alarm in U.S., Fart Jokes in China [Foreign Policy] #RisingChina #deAmericanization

Kneejerks to Xinhua Op-Ed  that does not represent broader Chinese views.

The op-ed hit something of a sweet spot for shutdown-traumatized Americans, touching on, as Max Fisher at the Washington Post put it, “the dual American anxieties that we are letting down the rest of the world and that China is finally making its move to replace us as the global leader.”

– – –

Journalist’s Call for ‘de-Americanized World’ Provokes Alarm in U.S., Fart Jokes in China
by Liz Carter
Source – Foreign Policy, published October 16, 2013

As fears mounted this week about a possible (and now, it seems, averted) U.S. government default, the U.S. press stumbled upon an Oct. 13 editorial in Xinhua, China’s largest news agency, calling for a “de-Americanized world” in light of Washington’s fiscal dysfunction. News outlets including CBSUSA Today, and Bloomberg picked up the editorial, while the Los Angeles Times ran a story with the headline “Upset over U.S. fiscal crisis, China urges a ‘de-Americanized world.'” CNBC emphasized that Xinhua was a “government voice,” and that the editorial was “government propaganda” intended for local readers. The op-ed hit something of a sweet spot for shutdown-traumatized Americans, touching on, as Max Fisher at the Washington Post put it, “the dual American anxieties that we are letting down the rest of the world and that China is finally making its move to replace us as the global leader.”

But what much of the coverage failed to mention is that the article appeared on Xinhua with the byline Liu Chang, indicating that the editorial more likely represents the views of Liu (who is identified simply as a “Xinhua writer”) and his colleagues rather than China’s top leaders, or “China” itself.

Please click here to read the entire article at Foreign Policy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Communications, Culture, Foreign Policy Magazine, Ideology, Influence, Internet, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), U.S., xinhua

Sorry for the intermission!

Of late, my efforts have been fully diverted to working on getting a solid block of writing out for the dissertation .

I apologise for the intermission. Wandering China will be back fully running back 15 October. In the meantime, the Twitter feed will remain alive and kicking!

Filed under: Bob's Opinion

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July 2020

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The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

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Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

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Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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