Swine Flu – Catch it, Bin it, Kill it!

So how serious should we be taking swine flu? Is it a real global pandemic or just the latest story for the media to dance around with blazing torches? Yes, close to 100 people have died due to the virus, and unlike other flu strains the majority of humans have no natural resistance to it, but then again, cases outside of the United States and Mexico have been mild. Continue reading Swine Flu – Catch it, Bin it, Kill it!

China’s ‘groundless’ grasp of irony

chinese-soldierThe Chinese Government has responded strongly to reports by foreign media sources that China is the source of the current outbreak of swine flu. A spokesman from the Ministry of Health, Mao Qun’an, said the reports were “regardless of truth and scientific common sense”. The Agriculture Minister descibed them as “groundless”. Confused? And with good reason. There are no such reports. There is no available evidence linking the current outbreak of swine flu to China, and no one has said there is. Continue reading China’s ‘groundless’ grasp of irony

Chinese Women Murdered in Sydney

On November 13 last year, the decomposing bodies of two Chinese women were discovered in their room in Auburn, Sydney. According to an article in the Australian over the weekend, police are “baffled”, but things seem pretty clear to me. Some of the facts: Continue reading Chinese Women Murdered in Sydney

The pin is pulled, now wait for the bang…

Championed by the United States, India is now allowed to engage in nuclear trade. This is despite India’s continued refusal to sign up to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Basically, they’ve been given a key to the back door. Condoleezza Rice is in Dehli at the moment to iron out the details of the arrangement which will be good for India, the USA and also Australia, who will likely begin to supply India with uranium. Continue reading The pin is pulled, now wait for the bang…

World Watch: A Clear Power Shift

The standings in the medal tallies at the end of the Beijing Olympics were China, the United States and Russia, which I suppose is pretty unsurprising given the amount of money that is able to be thrown around by them. Post games, the most interesting sport to watch is these three countries jockeying to establish position on the world stage. Continue reading World Watch: A Clear Power Shift

10 Reasons to go to China (Part Three)

Six down, four to go. I’m not drawing out getting to number one because I have a tendency for melodrama (even though I do) but instead because in the great tradition of holiday slide shows, I didn’t want to bore people with hundreds of photos at once. Plus it would have been a pretty long blog entry and would have taken me ages to edit all the photos down to a manageable size.

I think we’re down to number four, which would have to be The Slightly Odd and Kitsch:

This first snap is from the zoo near Xian where we saw the panda, and also the monkeys in horrible conditions. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but there was a spruiker out the front (this picture isn’t the spruiker, it’s mum. Sorry mum, I bet you hate this photo. Just be happy I haven’t posted the one of you posing as a terracotta warrior) and they were trying to get children to come inside. So it’s either a day-care centre or a haunted house, I’m guessing.


And then we have a couple of dwarfs hanging out by their cottage. I found this in the middle of one of the beautifully peaceful gardens close to the Forbidden City. They were having a tulip festival at the time, as you can see from the foreground.


My uncle, Tony, is a bit concerned that I’ve got a thing for women with guns. That’s not entirely true. Demi Moore in GI Jane does absolutely nothing for me. I have though, developed a liking for oil paintings of Asian women in communist military uniforms holding some kind of machine gun. I can’t explain it really, and it’s probably best if I don’t try.


Number Three is Dragons:

I was in love with dragons long before I discovered that it was my animal in Chinese Astrology. Maybe it was because of The Hobbit. In true Libran arrogance, I’ve always thought the dragon was the best animal of all to be, because it’s the only one that isn’t real.

China played right into my hands here. The lovely beasts were everywhere, and evidently only the Emperor was allowed to wear dragons on his clothing (I think I might go put my dragon shirt on). This first one, in royal yellow, is at the Temple of Heaven Park and is made entirely of flowers.


When I was wandering around the Shanghai Museum, where this next picture was taken, I had a real ‘oh-my-god, I’m-an-idiot’ moment. It happened when I realised that there was a pretty good reason that the English called ceramics like this ‘China’. What can I say? It’s lucky I’m so pretty.


Dragons were all over the place. This next picture is some stonework on one of the walls of the Forbidden City.


And this one’s just outside of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.


In Chinese mythology, the Dragon had nine sons, and the eighth one was a lion. Chinese Buddhism adopted these and so you can see lions like these stone ones all over the place. Usually, they come in pairs – one with its paw on a ball (like this one) or else on the belly of a baby lion.


Drum-roll please for Number Two in SansIcarus’s Highly Subjective and Totally Arbitrary Top Ten Reasons to go to China: the Bund Tourist Tunnel:

The Bund is a strip of colonial buildings alongside the river in Shanghai, and on the other side of the river is Pudong, which is high-rise heaven. You can take a boat across, or the subway, but that’s no fun! Instead, why not take a Halflife-esque capsule through a laser wonderland?

Brilliant. See you next week with number one.

10 Reasons to go to China (Part One)

Leaving aside the obvious highlights (like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, which are good, yes, and certainly reasons to visit China), here is the beginning of the countdown of my China Top 10.

Bear in mind that this is outrageously subjective and based only on visiting three major cities in three weeks. It’s just an excuse to post some videos and photos I took. Continue reading 10 Reasons to go to China (Part One)