See, debate … and buy

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Went to shopping and … see these orchids. They’re just drop dead gorgeous, I could never get enough of orchids. I debated. Took a few pictures. Debated. Then bought this plainest one.




image orchid 6.29 image lower

Orchid 6.29 higher image image image Orchid 7.2 8am

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Chinese City Defends Dog Meat Festival, Despite Scorn

I don’t eat dogs, but appalled by the finger pointing at people who do eat. What’s the difference between eating dogs and other animals? Many Chinese find eating cow horrifying because agrarian society such as China depends on cows to do the hard labor in the fields like the tractors. Funny this is written by a Chinese – I don’t find often read a byline by a Chinese on NYT – they’re usually credited at the bottom as the researchers.

Is this a Chinese way to tell people who appalled at eating dogs to shut up?


YULIN 榆林, China — It was the night before the summer solstice, and the tables at a streetside food stall here were set for the annual feast: steamed pumpkin, sautéed morning glory, smashed cucumbers and cold-skin rice flour noodles. At the center of each table were the two traditional dishes most essential to the celebration here: fresh lychees and heaping bowls of stewed dog, pungent with ginger, garlic, dried orange peels, bay leaves and fennel.

It is this last dish for which Yulin has become notorious, thanks to an annual dog meat festival that ended Monday, and the locals have heard enough, thank you.

“Why do people always pick on Yulin?” asked Tang Chengfei, 24, a recent university graduate who was sitting at one of the tables. “Haven’t you seen how the Japanese eat live bullfrog sashimi?”

Indeed, it is the perceived hypocrisy of the critics that seems to most annoy residents of this bustling city of seven million in the southern region of Guangxi, which borders Vietnam.

Dog meat for sale at a market in Yulin on Wednesday, ahead of this weekend’s celebration of the summer solstice with banquets of dog meat and lychees.Q. and A.: Peter J. Li on the Clash Over Eating Dogs in ChinaJUNE 18, 2015
Dog meat vendors and local residents stood on cages of dogs as animal rights advocates protested nearby on Saturday during the annual dog meat festival in Yulin.Yulin Dog Meat Festival Proceeds Despite ProtestersJUNE 23, 2014
Dog meat on sale ahead of the dog-eating festival in Yulin. Animal welfare advocates have called for an end to the event.City Aims to Play Down Its Dog Meat FestivalJUNE 17, 2014
With pet ownership growing rapidly in China, the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival has been canceled.Dog Meat Festival Is Canceled in ChinaSEPT. 29, 2011
video In Thailand, Tracking the Dog TradeNOV. 1, 2014
“I understand the other point of view,” Mr. Tang said. “Many people feel a special bond with dogs. But we grew up around dog meat. For us, it’s normal.”

Yulin, whose lush subtropical surroundings are said to be the birthplace of the legendary imperial beauty Yang Guifei, has become the target of a fast-growing animal rights campaign, which has made its residents feel increasingly under siege and at times defensive.

Led by domestic and international activists, animal lovers have called on local government officials and the Chinese public to put an end to eating dog meat and to the often gruesome practices that accompany the nation’s largely unregulated dog meat trade. More than 10,000 dogs are said to be served at the summer solstice celebrations in Yulin each year.

Celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Gisele Bündchen have rallied behind the viral social media hashtag #StopYulin2015, while an online petition addressed to the Guangxi governor and China’s minister of agriculture had gathered more than four million signatures by Tuesday.

“Dear Morons: Stopping the #YulinDogMeatFestival is less to do with them being dogs & more to do with them being tortured and skinned alive,” Mr. Gervais wrote on Twitter last week.

In China, where the issue of animal rights is given more space for debate relative to most grass-roots causes, opposition to the festival has become increasingly vocal.

Over the last few weeks, millions of messages condemning the culinary tradition have flooded Chinese social media. Protests and vigils organized by animal rights advocates were held across the country over the three-day holiday weekend, while more than 40 activists from around the world traveled to Yulin last week to champion the cause, many for the second or third year in a row.

The campaigners notched a big win last year when the Yulin city government, in the face of mounting criticism, distanced itself from the festival by declaring that it was not a sponsor and that it would strictly enforce food safety regulations.
Despite the rapid growth of the movement, however, animal rights advocates say they are encountering increasing difficulties communicating their message to the people who matter most: the residents of Yulin.

As many as 10 million dogs and four million cats are consumed in China each year, according to animal rights groups. Credit Adam Dean for The New York Times
“The environment is much more hostile than ever before,” said Andrea Gung, the Taiwanese-American founder of the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, based in California, who visited the festival again this year. “Before, the dog meat sellers might cut off a piece of dog flesh and throw it near you. Now, they are much more aggressive. The undercover police had to step in to protect me.”

The condemnation of Yulin has contributed to a growing us-against-them mentality here, with many people saying they are being unfairly singled out.

Locals say the moral hypocrisy over the eating of animals is a bottomless grab bag. What about the consumption of beef when cows are considered sacred in India, they say, or guinea pigs in Latin America, or dogs in Korea or turkeys in the United States? What makes eating dog meat any different from eating the flesh of chickens or pigs, they ask?

“I feel like the activists would be making better use of their time addressing issues like the global water shortage or kidnapped children instead of making things more chaotic here,” said Yu Ping, 48, a Yulin resident and a preschool teacher. Ms. Yu, like many residents, insisted that the dogs eaten in Yulin were specially farmed, while animal rights groups say that a large percentage of the dog meat comes from stolen pets or strays.

Dog meat is not widely consumed in China, but it is a long-established part of the diet, particularly in the far south and north. As many as 10 million dogs and four million cats are consumed in China each year, according to animal rights groups.

The processing, like that at any abattoir, is not for the squeamish.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday at Dongkou Market, the main source for dog meat, most of the shops were dark and quiet except for a small slaughterhouse.
Dog meat was part of the offerings at an annual feast. Credit Adam Dean for The New York Times
Through an open door, a man in a white T-shirt could be seen working silently in dim fluorescent light. With a small club he bludgeoned dog after dog, pausing periodically to move the dazed animals with tongs clamped around their necks.

In the back alley behind the slaughterhouse, five men, some shirtless, worked with boiling vats of water and blowtorches to prepare the carcasses for Yulin’s specialty, crispy skin dog meat.

A small group of animal rights activists stood silently outside in the alley, documenting the scene with photos and video to share with the news media and with lawyers who are gathering evidence for a potential court case. Behind them, a group of men who did not identify themselves were shooting video of the activists, and later followed them back to their hotel.
By afternoon, Dongkou Market was open, and the scene was transformed. The range of food offerings on display was impressive, from everyday vegetables to ram heads, about $8 each, and live civets, which were selling for as much as $580 an animal. Farther down the market, across from the now-silent slaughterhouse, butchers lined across three aisles hacked away at gold-skinned dog carcasses on thick wooden blocks, as customers, some still sitting on their motorbikes, placed orders for dog meat at $3.50 a pound.

Not far away, a commotion erupted at the outdoor animal market. Yang Xiaoyun, a 65-year-old animal rights activist, had arrived, bracing herself for yet another day of dealing with dog traders looking to capitalize on her willingness to pay above-market prices to rescue dogs and cats.

On Saturday, Ms. Yang, a widow who runs an animal shelter in Tianjin, had spent more than $1,600 to rescue about 30 dogs and 60 cats. Her actions have drawn criticism from other activists, who say that it only encourages dog traders to set aside surplus stock for Ms. Yang to buy.

“A life is a life,” Ms. Yang says.

On Sunday, however, she was forced to leave the market after being swarmed by passers-by and traders threatening to torture the animals unless she bought them. As she drove away to the temporary shelter she had set up to house her rescued animals, the crowd of dog traders continued with their taunts.

“We are also dog lovers!” they yelled. “We are dog meat lovers!”

Huang Yufan contributed research.

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We the juror II

Been there in 2011 Not much has changed at the county supreme court since. First pix is the old court house. Pix 2-4 the current one and its lobby. Parking lot 14 is for the jurors.
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At 8:45, potential jurors begin to check in. This time, the security guards by the entrance wear bullet proof vests. Didn’t see that last time. imageThe orientation is held at the big hall to the right (if you enter the building from parking lot 14). A short film, doesn’t look like aged is shown, about the process and what means to be a juror. The atmosphere is respectable and proper. Right side of the line was for those with questions.

After the movie, a man takes the mike takes over. Juror selection depends on the court cases. He walks us through the process, where the phone booths (no cell signal inside, at least in the area the jurors are), internet ready computers and lounge (on lower level) are. Also the time frame one could expect. . 12:30-2pm is the lunch break. Days end at 5pm, could be early. Some jurors would be dismissed today while others could be called back tomorrow. Each jury duty call would exempt one for the next six years – as if being a juror is a drag. To some it is and I’m sure to others, it’s a welcoming thing.

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After the orientation, a female clerk comes to collect section ABC (keep the D section as the ID). Everyone is waiting to be called into a Empaneling Room, where both side of attorney meet the jurors and select. The jurors learn about the case and the attorneys get to ask each juror a question or two. Mostly about his or her background, what does she or he do, etc.

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It differs from Demi Moore’s The Juror (1996), when the jurors selection was in an open room.



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Chinese foot binding: so wrong

Chinese foot bindingThe Guardian reports on the Chinese foot binding yesterday: The last women in China with bound feet: ‘They thought it would give them a better life’

During a chance encounter in the cab in Shanghai, the photographer Jo Farrell began her decade long journey. She tracks down 50 women, includes the four pictured here

  1. Si Yin Zhin, 90 years old in 2011
  2. Su Xi Rong, 75 in 2008, Shandong province
  3. Pue Hui Ying, 76 years old in 2011, Yunnan province
  4. Zhao Hua Hong, 83 years old in 2010, Shandong province

The last factory producing “lotus shoes” – the triangular embroidered platforms used to showcase the women’s minuscule pointy feet – closed just six years ago

I thought they were gone long time ago, both the ladies and the factories. Guess I was wrong.

However, Jack Mills writes:

Foot binding was outlawed in China 103 years ago, following almost 10 decades of the practice.

NO NO NO. It’s a thousand years old practice. One Thousand. NOT ten decades.

Farrell insists her photo series isn’t meant to sensationalise, but to educate us about a little-known custom.

NO NO NO again. It’s widely known fact and custom.

China has long history, perhaps as long as the foot binding cotton bandages (we actually have a saying 老太太的裹脚布 又臭又长 …), not a few days or months could digest. If one couldn’t get such little custom right, may I suggest that you stay away from writing about China? Please don’t mislead.

On wenxue city

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A dill dip

IMG_8594This dip is delicious!

  1. 1 part mayo
  2. 3 part Greek yogurt
  3. a handful dill
  4. dash of lemon juice
  5. dash of rice vinegar
  6. dash of olive oil
  7. dash of pepper

I also add garlic and cucumber.

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Sneakers with gold wings

FiFa is in the news lately, corruption and FBIs, very intrigue. The two pictures below, left is from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: FIFA II (HBO) youtube here and right is from a sneaker shop at 812 Broadway in downtown NYC, which I happened to visit last week too.

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I saw many young Asians shoppers there. Most sneakers cost four digits. A friend I went with bought five pairs for his son who collects them, from US$1,000 to US$4,000.

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The Flight Club staff said some of their inventory are on consignment.  One pair was made in Tianjin and arrived in USA February 2015 and commands US$4,000 a few months later. Wow.


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Some thing to eat: not very appetizing, not nicely displayed but they cost a lot @ Lake Pavilion. This is the first time I learnt about maca or Peruvian Ginseng or Lepidium meyenii – acquired taste:

(Aphrodisiac claims)…

In recent years, maca has been grown in China, and Peru has recently accused Chinese companies of illegally exporting maca from Peru and biopiracy, as they have applied for several patents on the plant.

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It’s better to ..

Just enjoy it: King cooked a delicious chicken the other day but I wasn’t home. So he cooked it again. What did a smart mom like Irene do? Of course telling him what to do … of course came out dry.
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Our dinner
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Collectors Club

China is the guest of honor this year at the Book Expo. The stamp exhibit uses special screw to secure the valuable scrappy papers.
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The highlight, of course is a nice young man came up to me and said he reads my blog! Holy smoke, can you imagine that? Irene now can brag that her blog is popular.  Philatelic is really a small world.

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I haven’t been to the Collectors Club in ages and some of the books are missing from its library. Hmmmmm … this is NOT nice.

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Asia Society: Xi and Mao, and visa

ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era? by Asia Society
21 May 2015, 6:30pm – 8:00pm (file 26977)
725 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street), New York, NY

image image image imageFour accomplished academics, (at one time or another, they’re or were) put up a show last night at Asia Society. I enjoyed their talk. Orville Schell moderates a panel featuring Andrew Walder (of Stanford), Roderick MacFarquhar (of Harvard) and Susan Shirk.

Walder thinks Mao did well till 1957, was the only leader who encouraged his people to attack the system he established. Mao liked disorder, disliked stability. MacFarquhar, the Brit who taught Miss Xi thinks Hong Kong is still very important to China, can’t be replaced by Shanghai, just yet. Xi is trying hard to avoid to repeat the fate of Mikhail Gorbachev. Deng’s gift to China was to unleash the people.

image image image imageThey mentioned the conversation between Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping when Deng denied there was any restriction on Chinese to go aboard/to come to USA. “10 million, would you welcome that?” Regime change is never predicted nor forecast.  China is carving the approve of USA, not from UK, France or Germany but USA.

China has achieved remarkably in the past 39 years but why isn’t she getting the respect from USA and the world?

The highlight of the night was Winston Lord who was the first one to raise his hand during the Q&A.

Today my child went to Chinese Consulate in New York to apply for a visa. As usual, the line went out of the door, around the block. With our past experience some were downright harassing, even my child was prepared to face the hurdles but ..

The black security guard was hissing everyone to turn off their cell phone, in Chinese, “guan, guan …” My child understood but a white woman didn’t who apparently had no clue what the guard was talking about. China has become wealthy couldn’t they afford to hire someone decent? 见人说人话

The adage that you only have one chance to make a first impression. But guess China doesn’t care. The New York consulate always feel like a bazaar, crowded in disarray. Last year I had a travel agency to deal with it. The small fee they charge was well worth it.

Another hurdle was the application form. It has to be filled on line and printed, handwritten isn’t acceptable. I’m thinking, why can’t they go a tiny step further, generates a number once it Once filed to save paper. Guess not.

The talk and visa doesn’t seem to have any correlation but I feel, small thing count. Maybe start from the root. Do not do things from the lowest denominator. The respect may come one day?

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Chinese are coming

This two story building in upstate Buffalo (near UB) houses 8 unites. Names posted on the mail boxes are predominately Chinese.

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The bird watcher

t2i, efs 18-55mm over the window
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Leaders become beggars

Not long ago, 1949, Chairman Mao proclaimed the independence and supported the soldiers, peasants and workers to lead the young nation. All our leaders before Xi Jinping, starting from Chairman Mao had accent some were so thick I had hard time to decipher. Mao and his band of brothers were mostly peasants.
Our parents were sent down to the countryside to learn from them, our brothers and sisters were sent down to be re-educated by them. We were dumb down … I’d think that they live in a shangri la, an happily ever after but this long article paints a very different picture. The author lists 18 points stating why Chinese farmers are so poor.

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When Lei Jun speaks English

During the launch of his phones in New Delhi He spoke English and it’s painful to listen. In this casual interview at Standorf he spoke Chinese.

WSJ surveys 10 Chinese from the streets in Beijing, on how important for Chinese to speak English. Not that important fm older people and important fm youngsters, predicable.

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the plant that flowering is from Ikea

I bought this pot of house plant from Ikea years ago. It’s fine in the shade. But the following year it began to flowering. Heeding my green thumb’s advise, I put it by the window. It hasn’t stopped flowering since, multiple flowers all the time. A similar one

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Giving advice 提供咨询

I’ve come to realize the worst advice one can give after listening to a wonderful story is: to write about it.

Writing is easy but writing well is very difficult because it’s a craft. It’s NOT for everyone.

So next time when you see someone you hate (loathing isn’t sever enough to do this), go tell him/her to write a book -:)

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The slow mo

There are Apple, Google, Amazon, Paypal and there are institutions that are still using money order. Money Order for Pete’s Sake!! I’d think by now it has distinct from the face of the earth. I often get confused in this new world. Hello, is anybody home?

The reason for the money order was bank sent a new card and we forgot to update with this institution and soon got a nasty letter saying … see you in court if you don’t …. Ok, I’m more than willing to pay up but, by now they only accept cash, or money order or cashier’s check. For Pete’s Sake it’s 300 miles from the civilization (as if). Gosh, I rushed to the Post Office and got the money order and snail mail it to them. I do mind paying the over night rate of $19.99 or something like that. Whenever that institution receives it. Talking about modernization or customer service.

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The Bush Identity

So the kid bro Jeb is running, and he’s probably will win. But can the Time magazine’s editor do a better job:
On page 38 …then found love young in central Mexico. I think is should be young love instead?
On page 40, picture caption second from right. Ok, it’s a magazine that opens flat, … It looks like third from either side. Read the full story here
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