Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Much Needed Break - Chinese Do The Darndest Things

China has one newspaper in English and it’s called the China Daily (there are probably more, but this is the one that you see in all the hotels). On page three everyday is a section called China Scene. It details important news stories from all around China. Only one part of that previous statement is true. If I were to write the sentence again I would say “It details hilarious bits of nothing in spectacular headlines.”

Because I’ve been so busy lately and haven’t had time or proper motivation due to sleep deprivation to edit another entry, I’ve decided to copy, word for word, letter by letter, the China Daily News China Scene from September 23, 2005. I would like to make smart-ass comments after each one, but it’s really not necessary. I find these very entertaining, and is likely the least profane post I will ever make.

- Very tired Lucas…..

Teacher has facelift to impress new students
Elderly people in Jinan are increasingly turning to cosmetic surgery. An example of this is 67-year-old teacher Wang, who underwent surgery to remove wrinkles and eye bags.
Wang came out of retirement to resume teaching, and wanted the surgery to lessen the age gap with her students so she could communicate more easily.
Experts warn that seniors should be extra careful when considering cosmetic surgery, as diseases like hypertension and diabetes can make cosmetic surgery unsuitable.

Farm allows city dwellers to return to their roots
For only 500 yuan (US $62) a month, Jinan’s urbanites can return to nature by having their own small farm.
For this price, city dwellers can purchase a plot of land, and grow their own vegetables with 30 kinds of seeds and technical support.
This project is in New Century Farm Park, and there are initially 60 plots available. Free planting, tools, water and electricity are provided.

Groovy grannies have finger firmly on pulse
Getting up at 2 am to watch football? Staying up until 10 pm to watch soap operas? Pop music booming out of stereos?
Sounds like a typical Shanghai of 20 year-old right? Actually, this is the daily routine of a switched-on group of senior citizens in the city’s Taiyuan Road, aged between 80 and 90.
Never wanting to lag behind the times, these old folks wow the locals with their inventions, poetry and depth of knowledge of contemporary pop culture.

Marriages flounder on sea of misconceptions
The divorce rate has increased fast in China’s big cities. A recent survey revealed that each day in Shanghai 75 couples break up, an increase of 40 percent from 2003.
Marriage analysi Shu Xin said that there are many misconceptions among divorcees. The most common is the thought the next partner will be better.
Other Problems include impatience in communications, attempts to alter a partner’s personality, and the belief that marriage is a burden.

Children struggling to understand traffic
A recent survey has shown that 60 per cent of Shanghai’s traffic accidents involve children of migrant workers.
These children’s knowledge of traffic safety is very poor. Ninety per cent don't use underpasses or pedestrian bridges, and 40 per cent have never been taught about traffic safety by their parents.
School busses were also criticized, as they are overcrowded and dilapidated.
Safe Kids Worldwide, the non-profit organization that conducted the survey, says it will gradually implement education programmes at the city’s 200 schools for migrant workers’ children.

Loving neighbours ease handicapped man’s pain
A 64-year-old woman in Guangzhou has looked after a mentally handicapped neighbour for a decade. The 42-year-old neighbor became ill 38 years ago after suffering meningitis.
Because of his disability, the man was often bad tempered. However, with the kindness the neighbour and her husband showed, he gradually overcame his anger, and began to get on well with local people.
The old couple were very sad when they learnt that the handicapped man and his family were moving away a couple days ago.

Student aims for stars with sci-fi writing
A 12-year-old sci-fi nut in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, has discovered a love of writing.
She wrote a story of six brave warriors who flew to Mars, battling to survive in the crushing environment. Her classmates were so taken by the story they urged her to continue writing, and now she devotes all of her spare time to it.
However, her parents demanded that she stop, as it might damage her academic performance. She wouldn't give up that easily, and continued writing. She plans to finish the books in the next two to three years, and adapt them to a cartoon series.

Development leaves giant banyan tree in shade
Hong Kong’s biggest banyan tree is on the verge of death, and the government is doing everything it can to rescue it.
The tree, nearly 200 years old, is 18 metres tall with a trunk diameter of 4.3 meters.
It began loosing leaves abnormally this year, as the roots were damaged during the redevelopment of the garden.
Officials have demanded an improved growing environment for the tree, and fingers are crossed for it’s speedy recovery.

Hong Kong theme park battle heats up
Ocean Park in Hong Kong is set to undergo a HK $5.5 billion (US$71.43 million) expansion, due to be completed in 2010. The project will double it’s entertainment facilities.
Operators said it would introduce more animal species to the park, such as killer whales and penguins.
While newly opened Disneyland focuses on cartoon characters, Ocean Park will highlight ecology and the environment. Operators insist the two parks are complementary, offering more choice to visitors.

Butterflies to flutter in new Guangzhou park
A new attraction in Guangzhou’s Panyu District called Million Sunflowers Garden will open soon. The garden will boast 30,000 green and white butterflies dancing among the flowers.
It is the first successful attempt in Guangdong to mass breed butterflies. It is difficult considering the climate and environment there is not favourable.
To keep the butterflies from moving elsewhere, millions of attractive plants and foodstuffs have been planted in the garden, such as American pagoda trees, butterflies’ favourite food.

Girly men need support during army training
Are sanitary towels solely for women?
In Guangzhou, a new trend is starting for men to use them: as insoles in their shoes during military training.
Senior university students passed on the tip to the new freshmen, as blisters are frequent during the tough training. Although the students felt a bit silly to start with, they were quickly grateful.
Some on campus considered the measures pathetic, saying that young men nowadays aren’t accustomed to hardship.

Private scholarship boosts village academic level
An elderly man from a village called Wuxing near Nanchuan, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has established a personal fund to reward fund to reward students with good academic performance.
Guo Binyao, 79, moved to the village after his retirement in 1981. He launched the fund from his personal savings last year to encourage local students’ enthusiasm for study.
Anyone who qualifies for university gets a 100 yuan (US $12.3) award, while anyone who enters post-graduate studies will receive 500 yuan (US$61).
In the past year, 12 students from the village have qualified for the award.

Little babies thrown in at deep end
Dozens of babies, all less than 12 months old, took part in a swimming competition on Monday Chongquing Municipality.
The babies were fitted with buoyancy aids, placed in a small pool and given a gentle push: the first baby to reach the other side was the winner.
The event was organized by a women and children’s healthcare centre in the city.
Doctors said that swimming at a young age is beneficial to a child’s mental and physical development.

Migrant workers indexed in database
An electronic database has been estabilished in Yuzhong District of Chongquing Municipality, which has files of 20,000 migrant workers.
The database will contain details of health records, marital status, and personal skills. This should aid workers in finding a suitable role for their talents.
Another 10,000 workers will be added to the database in October.

Shortage of girls causes alarm in Yunnan
Gender disparity in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province has been a cause for growing concern over the past two decades.
A recent population survey has shown some alarming statistics. For example, the province now has 1.6 million more males than females.
In 1982, 104 boys were born for every 100 girls, and that gap has continued to grow. In 1990 it was 107 boys for 100 girls, and in 2000 110 boys for 100 girls.
One major cause of this is that prenatal medical check-ups reveal the gender of the baby, and if it is a girl, many are aborted.
Measures are being taken to tighten administration to ensure a balanced population, employment and marriage prospect in coming years.

- ok, maybe one little comment - I will personally take this action item and see to it that we repopulate the female population of Yunnan. This is a travesty, a sham, and a debacle of beauty. - Lucas

Medical journals reveal touching story of devotion
A man has demonstrated his deep love for his wife in the last 30 years by his constant efforts to extend her life.
Zhang Qinghua, 62, married Yang Jingwei in 1973 in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. However, his wife became seriously ill in the fourth year of their marriage.
Zhang has kept a detailed record of his wife’s illness and doctor’s suggestions oover the past three decades in a total of 23 notebooks.

Internet-addict boy drives mother to suicide
A mother in Wuhan tried to kill herself by jumping into the Yangtze River because she could not prevent her son’s Internet addiction.
After numerous attempts to stop her son’s addiction, the mother gave up, and threw herself into the river.
The 16-year-old-boy had indulged in Internet games for months, not eating or sleeping properly, and refusing to go to school.
Fortunately, the mother was rescued by police. The boy’s reaction? He went straight back online and carried on gaming.

Good cop bad cop confusion in handbag case
In a confusing development in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, a street gang who stole a lady’s handbag were in turn robbed by three men masquerading as policemen.
The fake cops witnessed a robbery, and were quick to “apprehend” the thieves, claiming they were plain clothes. They took the bag and warned the gang members not to re-offend.
Unfortunately for them, a regular policeman witnessed the incident, and not recognizing the men as fellow officers, he apprehended them. The street gang was also caught.

Dopey police get wrong man in drugs bust
A coal miner in Pingdingshan, Henan Province, was falsely accused by police for doping offences, and imprisoned for three months. He was also ordered to undergo rehabilitation.
Throughout the rehabilitation Li maintained that he had never touched any drugs, and he subsequently sued the police for dereliction of duty.
The local court found that the police had acted without sufficient evidence, and ordered them to pay 5,700 yuan (US$704) in compensation, and make a public apology.

Ping-pong balls from heaven cause stampede
A department store promotion went slight array in Central China’s Henan Province when over enthusiastic customers had caused a stampede and stopped traffic.
The department store launched ping-poing balls full of gold rings and bank notes from its roof in a bit to entice passers-by into the store.
Several children were hurt in the ensuing crush.

Owner sues company after new car self combusts
An irate car owner in Beijing is suing Volkswagon Shanghai Company, after his one-year-old Passat self-combusted on the street.
The man purchased the car in April 2003, but in July the next year he parked the car, crossed the street, and looking back saw the car billowing smoke. Fire services came, but the car was completely ruined.
His insurance company compensated him with 200,000 yuan (US$24,660), but the man believes Volkswagen Shanghai Company should also cover some of the cost. He has sought compensation of 110,000 yuan (US$13,564).
However, the car company has argued that the owner could provide no evidence to demonstrate the car had quality problems, pointing out that there were already 30,000 kilometers on the clock.
The case continues.

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