inside thoughts on China and beyond

China

Chinese Dream

In 1963, Martin Luther King spoke his legendary words: “I have a dream” and within days it became the dream of millions.  Exactly 50 years later, Xi Jinping revealed his slogan: “Zhongguo meng” the “China Dream” (also translated as: Chinese Dream). That was months ago, and millions are still wondering what he meant by it.  (more…)

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Photo Story – Schools of Hope

Photo Story – Schools of Hope

May 2013

Victor Hugo once said: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison“. This is surely true here, in the Land of the Yi, around Xichang. Long have the local people of the Yi ethnic minority lived in extreme poverty that lead many of previous generations into alcohol and drugs abuse, leaving deep scars in the younger generation. Here, a few determined teachers with small budgets but great hearts have started schools for the Yi children. Many students walk hours through the mountains each day to come to school, their school of hope…  (read more)


Earthquake Expert

There are those days you will never forget. They stay with you forever. Not that we always want to, but they do. Just take a second. While reading this, I’m sure something is popping up in your head ‘while we speak’ so to speak. And for your sake, I surely hope so. No life can possibly be so boring that it has not one moment of deep hardship or glorious fortune, not one moment of lonely obscurity or unbridled fame; not one moment that you will always remember. All that to say: today was just one of those days. (more…)


Portfolio – Land of the 4 Seasons

Portfolio – Land of the 4 Seasons

April 2013

I’ve always appreciated seasonsAll seasons. Each season has its own particular beauty and drama. And just when you start getting bored with one, the other is knocking on your door or banging on the windows. Chengdu doesn’t really have this; it’s either hot or cold, with only a few transition days in between. But as soon as you reach the Tibetan mountains, the song ‘Four season in one day‘ comes true. Here are some impressions of these majestic and at times mysterious seasons….  (read more)


Fleeting Freedom

20130402_106-2You know how big-city life and a busy job and, now I’m at it, a family, can make you feel confined; imprisoned in inevitable routines and unchangeable habits. Tired. Then it is time for an escape; time for wilderness and raw freedom. Then it’s time for the Tibetan mountains. And so I planned a 10-day trip to Sertar monastery high up in the far western mountains of Sichuan and made the necessary preparations: talking with insiders; watching the latest news; taking my altitude tables. All was fine -that is to say; as fine as can be expected in these parts- and I was ready. How little did I know… (more…)


Superstition and other Luck

Fireworks were shot into the sky -twice, mind you: first on Chinese New Year’s eve and again fifteen days later – and devils and other evil fled from China, to the far ends of the world. Scared. Although I wouldn’t be surprised that they were, more than anything, scared of the polluted air. And I would flee too, if I could, (more…)


Red Alarm

AQI

(Monday 174 red)  The sun is shining -though somewhat watery. The sky is blueish and the temperature is just right. The peach trees in front of our kitchen window are blossoming -spring is in the air! These are those rare days that I just can’t stop myself from running. Running my lazy winter sweat out. Loosening my stiff muscles. Pumping blood through my vessels and spring air into my lungs. Reason to rejoice, was it not that there is more in the air. More than meets the eye. It’s called pollution. (more…)


Re-post: Photo Story – Chinese New Year, China

Photo Story – Chinese New Year, China

February 2013 (re-post from February 2011)

This is the second of 2 re-posts about Chunjie; Chinese New Year. Enjoy it!

Just like Christmas and New Year’ eve in Europe and Thanksgiving in the US, with its family visits and presents, for the Chinese, Chunjie is the big thing, turning all of China red with paper lanterns  and firework … (more)


Re-post: Chunjie Rush

This is a republishing of a post from 2 tears ago… My first republishing ever, and the first of 2 about Chunjie; Chinese New Year. Enjoy it!

Just like Christmas and New Year’ eve in Europe and Thanksgiving in the US, with its compulsory trips to the family and overload of presents; for the Chinese, Chunjie (Chinese New Year) is the big thing: money is spent, presents are bought, trips back to family and hometown are arranged. The great migration. (read more)


Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom

Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom

February 2013

The One Child policy has lead to a dramatic surplus of males and a problematic shortage of future workforce, most of whom, to make it worse, are considered the overly spoiled xiao shihuangdi (=little emperors).  But is China’s youth really a spoiled generation? Have a look for yourself… (read more)


Exit Xichang

clothIn America, striving for happiness is as fundamental as the Declaration of Independence itself. In China, it is the government’s worry number one, as it has been for centuries. To maintain a ‘harmonious society’, they are working hard to keep the people happy. But happiness doesn’t always come easy.  (more…)


Portfolio – Walls of China

Portfolio – Walls of China

December 2012

My neighbor is building a wall around his house. I’m not sure why, because our neighborhood already has a high ands well guarded vence to keep out the dangerous and the poor. It reminded me that this was the first things I noticed when I came to China years ago: everywhere were walls. Walls around the country; walls around neighborhoods; walls around gardens ands houses.[…] above all and regardless the reason, it seems a result of the deep-rooted distrust that is a fundamental aspect of the Chinese culture. This is a small impression of life amongst the walls of China. (read more)


The Oak Wood Room

The Oakwood Room

They came from America, from France, from Germany, from all around the Western world as a matter of fact, and some even from Japan. They were meeting on the 179th floor of the state-of-art skyscraper that was finished only 5 years ago, covering the alleys far below with her constant shadow. For a short while it was the world’s tallest building. (more…)


Power Lines

It’s a routine that goes back for many, many years. You will recognize it each time you visit a Chengdu school, or any school in China for that matter. It’s a routine that brings back long forgotten memories. It’s the routine of lining up; and it is not just at schools.  (more…)


Portfolio – Men at Rest

Portfolio – Men at Rest

November 2012

In a booming economy in this land of opportunities, one needs to be purposeful with time. Moments of rest are crucial.  Though it would be unfair to say that only men (read: the males) rest, they do seem to devote more time to it. Here a reflection of men (now read: men and women) at rest. (read more)