This blog is now five years old. Can you believe it? Time really has travelled fast. I started this blog when I was laid up after back surgery in Shanghai, China, and in turmoil because my wife was nine months pregnant and we were facing a rather uncertain future. Now, I am living in Shiga, Japan. My family and I still do not have a steady income and our finances are dwindling, but we are at peace. God is providing for all our needs, despite our own fecklessness and worry.
In the beginning, the blog was on Blogspot, but I pulled it from there and shifted it to WordPress because Blogspot was being blocked by the Chinese government and WordPress was still functioning. The last time I checked, however, this blog is certainly on the Chinese government blacklist, despite all my efforts to keep it off. I wonder why? (Now, a cyber-squatter is occupying what was my url at Blogspot, so don’t go there.)
Looking back, here are the top ten posts for this blog, ever, excluding some early posts for which I have no data because they were on Blogspot.
The Chinese military has confirmed that it has a new aircraft carrier. The yet unnamed vessel is actually an unfinished Soviet-era aircraft carrier originally named the Varyag, bought from the Ukraine about a year ago for $20 million, and now being refitted. It is widely believed that the Chinese are in the process of building two more aircraft carriers on their own.
Here then, is the Chinese aircraft carrier fleet, along with its specifications:
Here is the US aircraft carrier fleet, along with its specifications:
(This was linked to by Andrew Sullivan, for some reason, giving the blog its first real viral post.)
This is a rather shocking–and revealing–blast from the past. Shortly after the the 2008 election, Sarah Palin was invited to take questions at the Republican Governors Conference. Jack Thompson of Human Events describes the scene:
The Republican Governors Conference Press Guidelines promised that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would “take approximately 20 minutes of questions” at today’s morning press conference. Instead, this press conference, attended by 150 local and national media and taped by 26 video cameras, disintegrated into a fiasco when Texas Governor Rick Perry shut it down after only five minutes and four questions.
Eight other governors assembled on the stage, all men, seemed visibly uncomfortable with the “Palin at center stage” format. When Perry stepped in front of Palin at the podium to announce it was over just as it was getting started, Palin looked irritated, and the media shouted, “You’ve got to be kidding,” “This is ridiculous,” “Come on,” and “We were promised more questions.”
Forty minutes later, at a larger gathering attended by most the seventeen governors at the Conference, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard may have given the reason why Palin was reined in: envy. Said Kristol, “This is not the Republican Governors Association. This is really the Republican Presidential Candidates Association.”
Here is a video of the press conference. While it is impossible to tell exactly what went on between Perry and Palin, it is obvious that Perry was displeased with Palin being on the stage, and that Palin was visibly uncomfortable by what transpired.
Many people have seen and commented upon photos such as these, of China’s so-called ghost cities:
(Many more photos at the link.)
To be fair, not all of the new construction in China will go to waste. There are many, many complexes of new villas and apartments that have been built near large cities that are being lived in and used. At the same time, depending upon the city you visit, there are large swaths of new construction–including skyscrapers–which are unoccupied, and sometimes even unfinished.
4 Why The US Is Still The Number One Economy In The World, And Will Remain So For A Very, Very Long Time
(After three years, I still maintain that this is true, despite claims to the contrary. To see why China has not and will not pull ahead of the US anytime soon, read this. Note that the Chinese government agrees with my assessment.)
Last week, China slid ahead of Japan as the second largest economy in the world behind the US. The economic rise of China has caused a lot of soul-searching in Japan, and some deep misconceptions–along with hand wringing–in the US.
Is China a more innovative, modern, and prosperous society than the US, as some commentators seem to believe? By every measure, certainly not.
Is China in any way an economic threat to the US? Are you kidding?
All we have to do is look at the numbers to see why the Thomas Friedmans and the Cassandras of the world are full of horse manure when it comes to China’s economic “prowess” or “might”.
Many in the US would be surprised to discover that Japan has never been the number one economy in the world–people seem to have had the impression that it had surpassed the US years ago. So, when they hear that China has surpassed Japan, they think that the US will soon fall behind.
(I have no idea why this post went viral, but it did.)
German designer Iris Schieferstein is enamored with the idea of using dead animal parts to make clothes and other decorative items. Orange News explains:
Iris Schieferstein, 45, spends months creating high heel horse hooves, stilettos from snake skins and sandals sculpted from doves.
Ms Schieferstein, who designed a pair of horse hooves for Lady Gaga, sells the shoes for up to £3,900.
She collects the dead animals from her local butcher in Berlin, then spends a week stripping out the meat and bones from the animal’s feet before the skin is sent to a tanner to be preserved.
The sculptor then sets the skin – complete with fur still in place – around a shoe model before doing any needlework to add insoles and lining.
She said: “I love horses and I love shoes so I thought this would be perfect. Horses have a beautiful walk and I wanted to recreate that with my footwear …
“Once the shoes are made I wear them to make sure they work, although they would not be suitable to wear around the house.”
I have a good friend–let’s call him Mr. Habbib–who is a devote Muslim. He lives in a Muslim country, and is trying to emigrate with his family. However, for a variety of reasons, he cannot get a job or qualify for a visa overseas.
He wants to leave his home country because armed thugs have taken over the streets, and are using terror to force others to conform to their brand of Islamism. My friend and his wife simply want to have a normal life. They can remember a time when they could go out to the movies together, or go on a date to a restaurant. However, those days are over. They cannot even go to the park as a family without facing some form of harassment and threats. His wife is well-educated, but suddenly she cannot safely leave the house alone to go shopping, much less get a job. While they are all prisoners in their own home because of these thugs roaming the streets, she is effectively in solitary confinement.
According to CBS, this is a controversial and politically charged work:
Really, it is hard to see it as anything but a fair comment.
If the painting is politically charged and controversial, I wonder what CBS would say about these images?
The first time I saw this image, it was just a thumbnail on a webpage, and I could not make out the face:
“Just another clichéd statue of a Chinese leader,” I thought, as I moved on to other news.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that it was a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. for a national memorial in Washington DC.
As it turns out, the statue is indeed an example of Chinese communist iconography. Malcolm Moore, the Telegraph’s Shanghai correspondent, reports …
(From what I can tell, this gets most of its traffic from people looking for child porn. This is yet another sign of how degraded American society has become.)
This is dangerously close to inappropriate, but such is the world we now live in:
This picture, apparently from the French (or francophone) blog Mojito, is no doubt meant for humor, but there is really nothing remotely funny about it–in so many levels it is tragic.
We are being targeted by Islamofascists so full of hate and blood lust that they would rather kill themselves than live in a world where we exist. In the face of this, the TSA and the President are engaged in a bit of bureaucratic CYA: It doesn’t matter to them how many people they inconvenience, how foolish they look, or even if there is another attack and hundreds are killed–they just want to avoid blame at the ballot box if America is attacked again. The result: Innocent children are treated like criminals and Americans are humiliated for no good purpose. Meanwhile, an illustrator sees it to find humor in the tragedy by likening it to pedophilia.
Do we shake our heads and give a rueful laugh, do we cry, or do we do something about it? And if we are to do something about the situation, what can (and should) we do? Herein, lies the biggest tragedy of all–we are increasingly in a world without good answers, where as much as we want to turn back the clock and live in the past, we can’t.
Such is the world we face on this Thanksgiving Day, 2010.
(H/t The Looking Spoon)
While living in China, I deliberately tried to keep my posts about China to the barest minimum, so it is odd that so many of my top posts have some Chinese element to them.