Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Chinese Whispers: New Year of the Snake in Beijing

Happy Chinese New Year! 恭喜發财,新年快乐!

Right now as I am typing away, outside sounds like a war zone even after 3 days into the New Year celebrations. It's pass 12am here in Beijing but there's no sign of rest with the firework going off outside. Sometime they get so loud that makes me jump... hopefully it will calm down soon, the pass few days it went on until 2 in the morning!!

On a different note, New Year celebrations in Beijing have been rather adventurous, wried and wonderful with mix feelings. This is the first time I am spending the New Year here(at least what I could remember) with lots of my family, such a shame that I couldn't spend at least a new year with my grandfather as he passed away last year. I wish he was here with us to share the joy and love together... miss you dearly granddad.

Beside spending time with the family and stuffed myself to death with great traditional food, I've been to two festivals, both very well known in Beijing. The first one I went with my little cousin; it wasn't what I was expected at all, going to chinese churches where people pray every year. Should of known better though as it was kind of obvious they are not into that…
Anyway, here are some pictures from both of the festivals and the area where I live:

festival flower 'oriental cherry' selling on the street

Ditan Park (Temple of Earth) celebration festival

Traditional transport available for hire 

Many children were sitting on parent's shoulder to get a good view of the festival, as well as keeping them safe 

Countless decorations everywhere, these are mini red chinese lanterns made with paper 
As I wondering around the festival I can't help notices there were people wearing masks as they walked pass. The air pollution is really bad in Beijing particularly in the central area. For the pass few year as the development growing rapidly by the day, the pollution level also getting worse and worse. It doesn't help that fireworks goes off all the time for the pass few days, my lung feels like I've been smoking 10 cigaretts all at once! However, we were quite lucky as the wind picks up to clear the smog; clear sky was somewhat a rare backdrops for the festive landscapes.

plenty of people wearing masks  

The lights on top of these buildings lite up the thick smog at night 

The smoke from fireworks don't help with the smog at all 

Typical sights all over small towns in China right now

As we were wondering around these festival, food stands are all over the place. All wried and wonderful food, as well as some 'food' that I don't agreed with at all, crocodile meat and immature chicks in particular: 

A big pot of chicks in the cooking where a women and her son were temped to buy 

Could it taste that much different with grown chickens that had a life at least? 
In my opinion, thats pretty wrong, they've hardly been in this world before their life ends. I understand that in the wild it happens all the time but these little chicks were bread for that purpose only, while they probably taste like normal chickens anyway. In the wild its natural selection and at least some will make it through into adulthood. Unfortunately these little chicks don't have that chance to see the world properly… maybe they should really step back and take a look at what they are doing to these poor animals. We are not even talking about a decent life style, but the chance to stay alive for just a little while was taken away from them. If only they can see what they are doing... but unfortunately they are too busy stuffing their face in and not even thought of where the food came from and how they've lived, or lived at all. It really makes my blood boil!


Crocodile meet on sale at one of the festival

It's more like a dare-to-eat thing and they are clearly not very busy, why kill? 
There was a stand that sells crocodile meat as well. They've even got a citificate from the local food department for selling croc's meat. Dead crocs were hanging in front with a few heads just sitting on the table, simply to prove that its real croc meat they are selling, more of a dare to eat type of thing. To be fair though most people walk passed would say 'errr' and walks away, then why do they kill these animals?

On a different note, there was also a whole skinned cow on a huge stick with its head still attached, simply to show that what you are buying was indeed cow meat. Personally I think its GROSS and destroys my appetite, while I can't see anyone blink an eye about it. The sight of seeing the store owner counting money in front of the skinned cow really gets to me, its an image that will stay with me for a long long time. I am not saying that it was wrong to do so because it was bread to be eaten and fair-enough for the owner to count his income which no doubt supports his family. But seeing the combination at the same time and having the dead cow on show was something else.


A skinned cow with the head still attached was on show behind one of the food stand 

The image that will stay with me for a long long time... 

Anyway, I couldn't star at it anymore and decided it was time to go. But as people all gather around for activities, shows and food, it was like a wave that carries me around even when i was trying to walk in the opposite direction! As the crowd was moving everyone around I can't help noticing all the rubbish and wasted food laying all over on the floor, even though there were bins everywhere. It reminds me of going out in Nottingham, England at the weekends; all kinds of food and rubbish all over the floor as 3am approaches and people getting into taxis heading home.
However, here in Beijing most people who were eating stood over the bins that were overflowed badly, and eventually started to stack rubbish next to the bin instead.

An on-site cleaner picking up the trash and kebab sticks on the floor 

A HUGE amount of wasted food and kebab sticks were collected for the dumpster 

Emptying all the rubbish, while IMO they should at least recycle the wooden sticks 


After all, things to look forward is that nevertheless, China IS changing, slowly but sturdily and for definite. Most importantly it's this generation and the future generations that changes, which will make a huge different when they grow up and take on the important tasks, to sustains the country as well as the environment and conservation matters. People like us sees differently and with the ever improving education system and must-change attitude toward conservations, we will get there quicker than ever before. Media organisations such as Wild China Film are doing so much in terms of educating children in schools, colleges and villages, to teach them the importance of preserving wildlife and enviormental conservation
My wish for 2013 is that, in the short coming future, we will see the importance of global conservation and be one of the leading country to promote this matter and to perserve what we have left, as well as influence others and the future generation to do even better!



3 comments:

  1. Very informative post Jacky with some quality photography. These images and words remind me off Singapore when I was there about 1992 although most of the stuff on sale in the markets was alive, yuk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a very upsetting times for me bob, it was hard enough just to see it but to write about it was a different matter... I hope changes will be made in the near future, for all the better and all around the world!

      Delete
  2. Air pollution is absolutely a big issue. The only problem is that people are not aware of pollution. They don't have time. In this scenario we need environmental services.
    For info. on Environmental services- http://www.inisenvironmentalservices.com/

    ReplyDelete