Wandering China

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

Surge of people on move set to hit peak [China Daily]

77.3 million people were moved in the first Chinese New Year period between Jan 19 and Feb 2 according to China’s Ministry of Railways (helmed by Liu Zhijun). This peak period for domestic railway travel in China is known as 铁路春运.

Staggering numbers are fast becoming a norm in the understanding of China’s scale, and what is heartening from this report is that volunteers are pitching in to help travelers out (the dominant number being poor migrant workers) – “One day, I helped more than 70 passengers with their luggage and, after all of them got on the trains, it felt like my legs were almost paralyzed,” Liu Chen, student.

– – –

Surge of people on move set to hit peak
By Yan Jie and Cheng Yingqi
Source – China Daily, published Feb 08, 2011


A father, traveling from his hometown in Anhui province to Jiangsu province carries his son during a stop-off in Xinyu, Jiangxi province, on Feb 7, 2011. Photo – Xinhua

BEIJING – China’s railroads and highways will see their busiest day of the Spring Festival holiday on Tuesday when the number of travelers returning to major cities hits its peak, just as a cold snap sweeps across much of the country, the ministries of railways and transport said on Monday.

The Ministry of Railways said on its website that there had been a sharp rise in the number of travelers leaving smaller cities on Monday bound for such places as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The ministry said the number of people on the move on Tuesday is likely to make the day the Spring Festival travel peak.

The nation’s roads are also likely to be at their Spring Festival maximum on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Ministry of Transport reported on Monday on its official website. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Automotive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Influence, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), People, Population, Social, Spring Festival, Transport

Eventful Sunday – 15th Day of the Lunar New Year [Opinion]

This is the fifteenth day of the Chinese Spring Festival. Also known as the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) based on the ancient Chinese lunisolar calendar, the fifteenth day is ‘yuan xiao jie’ (元宵节). Its literal translation means – the ‘first evening’, being the first full moon after the Lunar New Year. And that’s how I have learnt over the years to tell the time of the month. Every time there’s a full moon, I know it’s either the first or the fifteenth of the lunar month.

It is a day when the Chinese gather to eat ‘tang yuan‘ (汤圆) – some very tasty glutinous ball treats. Been loving it for decades. I recall spending the entire day making them with my mum’s instructions in the younger days. In a world reveling in the cult of speed today, we simply buy our ‘tang yuan’ from the supermarkets.

The day is also celebrated as the Lantern Festival, so this is when you will see the Chinese walking around with paper lanterns illuminating the streets. There are reasons for this, and it is rooted in deep spiritual beginnings. Candles are also lit outside houses so that wayward spirits may find their way home.

The fifteenth day also marks the official end of Lunar New Year festivities. So, friends – this marks the end of the overwhelming (sometimes overbearing) red and yellow decor and firecrackers our friends from around the world have to bear when it comes to this part of the year.

To celebrate this day in a special way, I made my way down (with parents in tow to help translate – I still am a a very slow reader of Chinese text) to the Chinese Heritage Center at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, two places extremely rich in Chinese culture in Singapore (or deeply rooted seats of Chinese soft power sown a long time ago). The University was started by the Overseas Chinese of Singapore in 1955, the first Chinese-language university in South East Asia. Built by the Hokkiens (the largest Chinese dialect group in Singapore at 41% according to the 2000 Singapore Census), the university was funded by people from all walks of life – and amazingly – labourers and rickshaw pullers were remembered for playing a significant part in raising the funds needed.

At the Heritage Center, I found this. Already from the 19th century, American caricature have been portraying the Chinese as monopolizing the manufacture of all goods and services (look at how evil and predatory the Chinese are made to look…I am pretty sure this is not how Chinese look, but that’s for another story). Two hundred years ago, the Americans already knew and predicted the reality of today. I am certain not many imagined the actual scale it would reach. After all, China back then was still known as the ‘Sleeping Dragon’ –

Photo: Taken from the NTU Chinese Heritage Center. 28 Feb 2010

The second piece of news to share is this, and this I did not know until today. Facebook is blocked in China. I  think I can see why. Facebook can be a great stirrer of things big and small. Have a Chinese friend (living in Melbourne) who could not accept me as a friend when she was back home in the mainland for the holidays. She told me, “This has to go into your book.” And here it is – starting with the blog.

Filed under: Bob's Opinion, Greater China, Soft Power, Spring Festival

Happy Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year marked worldwide. Source - Xinhua

The Spring Festival is officially here. A prosperous new year everyone! To check out the celebrations across the globe – have a look at the photo coverage by China’s Xinhua news agency. As the Spring Festival falls on Valentine’s Day this year, here is something a little more tongue-in-cheek, check out this report by China Daily on ‘Spring Festival or Valentine’s. Dilemma for lovers’.

As far as the Chinese diaspora has spread, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated. I do trust and hope it brings about harmony and prosperity for one and all, for apart from its Chinese cultural beginnings, it is another opportunity for people all around the world to get together and get some seriously good food and company for our picture postcards in our heads.

Am off for some more extended family time – will check back tomorrow!

Filed under: Spring Festival, xinhua

State leaders extend Spring Festival greetings to nation

I have returned home to Singapore this festive period to spend time with family. Soaking in the Chinese New Year festivities is always great, and as I age, the more important I find it is to spend time with family. I think this transcends both East and West.

Maybe a personal first step to bridge this divide will be to take some time off calling it the Chinese New Year, even though that is what I was brought up with and have come to know for decades (maybe it is just a Singapore thing). Lunar New Year, or the misnomer of the Spring Festival (it really is winter in China right now, but of course it comes with a stronger cultural meaning than a meteorological one ) so it means something for everyone across the board.

Happy Spring Festival one and all!

“To win is not difficult at all, but to keep winning is very difficult.” Chinese President Hu Jintao

– – –

State leaders extend Spring Festival greetings to nation
Source – China Daily, 13 Feb 2010

”]BEIJING: Chinese leaders offered their Spring Festival greetings to people across the nation Friday at a gathering to mark the new Lunar New Year.

President Hu Jintao chaired the gathering of more than 4,000 people from various sectors of society.

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, Hu, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, conveyed festive greetings to all Chinese people and thanks to China’s friends around the world.

Premier Wen Jiabao, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a speech.

The past year was an “extraordinary and uplifting” year for China, in which, facing an unprecedented international financial crisis, the country took resolute measures with confidence and calmness, promptly reversing the downward economic trend and taking the lead in the global economic recovery, Wen said.

He said people celebrated the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China last year, and “the nation’s glorious achievements have greatly inspired people’s self-confidence and pride, enhanced the cohesion of the Chinese people, and boosted the country’s international prestige and influence.”

“To win is not difficult at all, but to keep winning is very difficult,” he said, adding that persistence is the basis of victory.

In 2010, China will face a more complicated situation, both at home and abroad, the Premier said, calling for all to “keep a sober mind and an enhanced sense of anxiety about lagging behind.”

Priority should be given to “persistence in taking economic development as the central task, forcefully promoting reform and opening up, transforming the growth pattern, accelerating the economic structure adjustment, and doing a better job responding to the international financial crisis, in order to keep steady and relatively fast economic development,” he said.

“All the things we do are aimed at letting people live more happily with more dignity,” he said.

“We are going to work harder during the new year to effectively solve the problems concerning people’s livelihood, try hard to create more job opportunities, and continue to enhance the income level of rural and urban residents, in order to let people do their best in their proper place,” he said.

Efforts should be made to improve the social security system to ensure all people enjoy their rights to medical- and aged care, and housing, he said.

Wen said the government should forcefully develop education in order to promote educational equity, boosting its quality and granting each child access to schooling.

Other leaders, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang, also attended the gathering.

Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important traditional Chinese festival and an occasion for family reunions. It falls on February 14 this year.

Filed under: China Daily, Culture, Spring Festival

100-day-old white tiger cubs greet Tiger New Year

Source - (Xinhua/Lin Yiguang)

100-day-old white tiger cubs greet Tiger New Year
Source – Xinhua, 11 Feb 2010

White tiger cubs of about 100 days’ old play in an enclosure at the Yunnan Wild Animals Park in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Feb. 10, 2010. The white tigers in the zoo attracted huge crowds as the Chinese year of tiger approaches.

Filed under: Culture, Spring Festival, xinhua

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