April 25, 2005
More Korla Photos
I've uploaded a second volume of photos of my life in Korla, including my trip to Tiemenguan (The Iron Gate), for those of you who are interested. As usual, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment if you're so moved. Thanks!
April 22, 2005
The China Syndrome
So, I've been getting questions from some of you about the recent large protests against Japan in China's eastern cities. In terms of my experience here in Xinjiang, there's really nothing to report. No protests, no anger, no nothing. The Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda motorcycle shops are all still intact. I suppose the authorities are a bit more wary of getting people out here in the west all riled up, if you catch my drift. I have been following the news via the Internet, however, and would like to direct people to two excellent articles on the topic: one in the New York Times by Howard French, the other in The Observer by Jonathan Watts.
I'm not saying that anti-Japanese sentiment among Xinjiang's Han Chinese doesn't exist, or that they're not filled with a fierce nationalism. Quite the contrary, actually. I've heard from some of the other English teachers here in Korla that in-class excercises have sometimes elicited disturbing comments directed towards the Japanese. For example...Q: What do you dream of? A: I dream of having an atomic bomb so I can drop it on Japan and kill all of the Japanese. Hrmmmmmm.
I decided last weekend to ask some of my students for their thoughts on Japan, and was pleasantly surprised to find that not all of the students were itchin' for a fight. Most of the students said something along the lines of, "Japan is very, very bad because they killed many Chinese." There were a few, though, who said something like, "I think Japan is a great country because it has many big cities." It seems that there is some room in the tightly controlled mind of a Chinese schoolchild for a bit of nonconformity...
April 16, 2005
Rumblings (Social & Geological)
There have been some interesting developments here in Korla over the last couple days.
First, in a rare Chinese show of organized discontent, Korla's taxi drivers have gone on strike. From what I understand, taxi drivers until now haven't had to pay any taxes. I suppose that situation couldn't last forever, and the local government has decided to charge cabs ¥4000/year to operate. So, getting around town has been a real pain-in-the-ass for the past 72 hours. The strike seems to be weakening, however, as I've spotted a number of taxis around town recently with their license plates either blacked-out or completely removed...trying to hide their identities from the roving possies of angry cabbies.
Even more interesting, from my point of view, were the geological rumblings that rousted me from my slumber yesterday morning. It was about 8:30 am Xinjiang time when my bed started shaking...a feeling I hadn't felt for somewhere on the order of 20 years time (since I moved east from San Francisco). Being on the sixth floor of my building probably amplified the shaking a bit. I've scoured the web for any information on the earthquake, but with no luck. If you check out the map on this site, however, you can see that seismic activity is quite frequent in my neck of the woods.
April 14, 2005
Alright, alright. I know I haven't been blogging much lately, and if you're pissed, this entry isn't likely to satisfy your raging bloodlust. I just wanted to acknowledge Musing Under the Tenement Palm, Taschenrechner, and the Asia Expats Web Ring for linking to my site in recent days! Thanks.
April 03, 2005
I've managed - against all odds (that is, a slow Internet connection and crappy computers) - to upload another set of photos, this time of my trip to Turpan (Tulufan). You can check 'em out by clicking here. Be sure to leave a comment or two, if you're so inclined.