Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At Least There Was...


Friendship [/ˈfrɛnd ʃɪp/]: A co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis.

I am part of all that I have met
(Lord Tennyson)

I don’t like to be part of a group but on the other hand I like to be part of groupS.

I’ve always been like that…I’m claustrophobic when it comes to be part of a small group that do everything together, see each other all the time. I like to have my options opened, I’m like a bee going from flowers to flowers or groups to groups. Being between two groups in the expat community serves me right… I usually have at least 2 groups to mingle with: the Frenchies and the English speakers and even within those two groups I tend to have sub group.
Maybe it’s my tendency of getting bored too easily or not wanting anyone to know every single thing about me.

I would be the first one to tell you that when you start to move around like we do (Expat’) you need to connect to people as fast as you can because you won’t survive without them. They are not your family but they almost become. Friendship abroad develops way faster than anywhere else because you share so much with each other, not only time but the ups and downs of your new life abroad. You might think that you have all you need back home but it’s not the same. It’s not the same talking on the phone and sharing you joy and sorrow around a cup of coffee. Your friend back home will be there but they cannot understand what you are going through, how could they (unless they lived where you are living right now). Expat are a breed apart. Unless you’ve done it yourself you’ll never know what it feels like. You might read about the cultural shock, but unless you experience it yourself you’ll never fully understand.

So all the people I met along the way being for 1 hour, 1 day, 1 month or 1 year you will always be part of me and I’ve cherish those moment spent together. I have been greatly enriched by our friendships.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin (1903-1977) - author, diarist

Sunday, June 28, 2009


..."You Know You..."

Some of those are already so true for my kids! (My favorite: *)

You know you went to an international school when...
* 1) You can't answer the question: "Where are you from?"
2) You speak two (or more) languages but can't spell in any of them.
* 3) You flew before you could walk.
4) You have a passport, but no driver's license.
5) You run into someone you know at every airport
* 6) You have a time zone map next to your telephone
* 7) Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times (or six, or seven times...).
8) You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
9) National Geographic (or The Travel Channel) makes you homesick.
10) You read the international section before the comics.
11) You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.
* 12) You don't know where home is.
* 13) You sort your friends by continent.
14) Your second major is in a foreign language you already speak.
*15) You realize it really is a small world, after all.
16) You feel that multiple passports would be appropriate.
17) You watch a movie set in a 'foreign country', and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera.
18) Rain on a tile patio - or a corrugated metal roof - is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
19) You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.
20) Your wardrobe can only handle two seasons: wet and dry.
21) Your high school memories include those days that school was canceled due to tear gas, riots, demonstrations, or bomb threats.
* 22) You get back to your home country and seriously cannot remember the currency exchange
* 23) You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
24) You automatically take off your shoes as soon as you get home.
25) Your dorm room/apartment/living room looks a little like a museum with all the "exotic" things you have around.
26) Half of your phone calls are unintelligible to those around you.
27) You go to Pizza Hut or Wendy's and you wonder why there's no chili sauce.
* 28) You know the geography of the rest of the world, but you don't know the geography of your own country.
* 29) You have best friends in 5 different countries.
30) It takes 24 hours to reach home in a plane
* 31) You can only call your parents at 8am and 8pm
32) You never really use a seatbelt
* 33) School trips meant going to a different country
34) Your high school football team had to play against itself.. if it had one
35) When you were in middle school you could walk into a bar and order a drink without being questioned
36) You got sick a lot and often had food poisoning
37) It wasn't unusual to find a lizard or cockroach in your house
* 38) You got to go home twice a year ...that’s if you're lucky
39) Home almost felt like a museum
* 40) You are a pro packer, or at least have done it many times
* 41) Living out of a suitcase, you find, has it pros
42) You bump into your old teachers all the time
43) Family photos you sent every year took months to arrive and often were in front of some exotic statue or endangered animal no one has heard of
44) Your check from your parents takes a month to reach you
45) Talking to your school office and getting signatures from your parents is a week-long event
* 46) When you return to the States you are overwhelmed with the number of choices in a grocery store (I stood by the chocolate syrup for about 20 min. because there was a whole row)
* 47) You literally have real friends (not Facebook friends) from different schools all over the nation on your friends list
* 48) Everyone had a 'staff'; maid, house cleaner, driver and babysitter
* 49) Most of the 1st graders have cell phones
50) You get excited when a relative sends a video tape of regular TV with commercials. It’s in ENGLISH!
51) There was only one grocery store. Usually at the embassy that resembled the ones at home.
*52) Once you get home you miss your adopted home and visa versa
53) You are never content in one place, be it city, state or country for long. You're a mover.
54) You never had a job until you reached college
55) Blackouts are quite common, yet after a while no one seemed to notice and sometimes you would find yourself doing homework to the light of your phone or flashlight
56) Class reunions are not at your old school…not even close
57) Police, imported from a different country, guard your school...carrying machine guns
58) You know everyone else in this group, because he/she went to school with one of your friends
* 59) Your passport has more stamps than a post office
60) When the power cuts out and you sit there wondering when the generator is going to kick on... only then you realize there is no generator
* 61) When you carry converters because you actually realize there are different types of outlets
* 62) When people give you funny looks because you are a gold or platinum elite member of your airlines
* 63) When you constantly feel like you have to catch up with TV programs, actors and other people or songs you are not familiar with
* 64) You don't think it’s strange that you haven't talked to your best friend in a couple years, but you know you will always have a unique bond
65) You wake up in one country thinking you are in another
* 66) You don't feel at home at home anymore
* 67) When a friend talks about their dreams of traveling across the world to a secluded country and you can give them all the best restaurants and places to visit. You're like the traveler guidebook.
* 68) You don't even bother to change your watch when traveling
69) You hate subtitles because you know there is someone that can make an accurate translation…you!
* 70) When you have little or no contact with he locals but are best friends with people across the globe
71) When you think everyone else is a foreigner in a county foreign to you
* 72) When something unusual happens and it just doesn't seem to faze you as being something unordinary
73) When you speak many broken languages at once when you are drunk
* 74) When your friends take you to an 'ethnic' restaurant as a joke and you can read the menu, order food for them and actually stomach the meal
* 75) When you start introducing yourself followed by your country of origin....
76) Your yearbooks are all different; made of fabrics known to that area and have stuff like elephants on them. It’s your favorite keepsake.
77) Famous people like Uma Thurman went to your school and you had no idea until you researched (AES)
* 78) You have to change your passport because it's full... not because it's expired... and this several times during your school years
79) Paying a cop is not considered a bribe
* 80) You've dated people from other countries
* 81) You start to keep your experiences overseas to yourself because people look at you as though you are spoiled for having the opportunity to indulge in a new culture... sad
82) You are afraid to go back to visit your school because you know no one will be there that you used to know, they all moved
83) You have the opportunity to intern at your Embassy/Commission over summer without qualifications
* 84) When you have free accommodation in any city you travel to around the world because some friend from the old days lives there!
85) You're scared of going 'home' because you haven't been there in so long, and changed so much, that you think people might not like you anymore
* 87) You have more than one driver's license, none of which are valid at home, that, or in college, you still can't drive!
* 88) You always have to think which side of the road to drive on
89) When you greet someone you start bowing or kissing them on both cheeks.
90) When you and your siblings know different languages or at least studied different ones.

Friday, June 26, 2009



The day has finally arrived… boxes are being packed and on their way to Norway. One more week left in an almost empty apartment. This will give us great excuses to dine out and visit one last time our favorite restaurants around town.


and Moved!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

D/J -10

...Wo Shi Beijing Ren*

You Know You're a Beijing Ren When...
Everybody love those lists (my favorites are in italic).

  1. You've been spit on countless times
  2. When you go back to your home country, you try to bargain in shops
  3. Stop signs? Traffic lights? What?
  4. You never look both ways before crossing the street
  5. Going to the Great Wall is really boring
  6. You have tons of designer clothes, none of which are real
  7. You own movies on DVD before they come out in theaters
  8. 5 kuai is a big tip to give a taxi driver
  9. You don't think it’s weird when you see hundreds of people trying to squeeze into one bus
  10. It's not weird when 50 year old construction workers check you out
  11. You've been called lao wai
  12. Bing tang hu lu!!!!
  13. You love the pollen in spring because it's the closest you get to snow
  14. Getting clothes tailored is cheaper than buying them
  15. Manicures, pedicures and massages aren't considered luxuries
  16. Anything can be put in the back of a truck (flowers, humans, beer, chickens...)
  17. Nothing is official. Nothing is against the law as long as you don't get caught
  18. Guards don't have guns, they have sticks
  19. There is no legal drinking age
  20. You are "very good friends" with numerous shopkeepers
  21. Liu kou shui is yummy. You buy it by the box
  22. Horn honking means nothing. It's just a habit.
  23. You learn to appreciate a taxi driver that actually wants to take you where you want to go
  24. You get excited for the winter sweet potatoes
  25. Everything you own is from Ikea
  26. You don't drink water. You just don't
  27. Sparks fly when you move your blanket
  28. Your lips, hands, skin, and hair are always dry
  29. You think Chinese food from your own country is disgusting
  30. You get really excited when Wikipedia is unblocked
  31. You add an "er" to everything you say in Chinese. (Sanlituner, wan er, zai na er?")
  32. It doesn't bother you when people stare. You just stare back.
  33. You no longer clean anything; you know the dust will be back in an hour.
  34. You carry toilet paper everywhere and you are very good at using a squatter
  35. You stock up on toothpaste and toiletries whenever you're in your country
  36. You have multiple piercing your parents don’t know about. And a tattoo.
  37. You buy lava lamps at the black market
  38. You sleep better on night trains than in your own bed
  39. You love fang bian mian
  40. Roads go in rings
  41. You have to pay to use the bathroom. It's easier to go in a bush
  42. You can tell anyone exactly how many days there are until the Olympics
  43. You can spot a tourist a mile away
  44. You know how to ride the subway
  45. You've gone for a wild ride in a san lu er che
  46. When you're watching a DVD, it's not strange to see people's head popping up, from when it was filmed in the theater.
  47. You can always see cranes. No matter where you look.
  48. If you can't find a place you're looking for, chances are it's not because you're lost, it's just been torn down
  49. You don't buy or wear white clothes; they'll be gray by the end of the day
  50. You love Beijing and you never want to leave!

* I'm a Beijinger

Monday, June 22, 2009


...Seal(ed), Delivered - Part II

One last shopping stop… Chop making. Because I couldn’t leave China with only my self made chop !
Jeffrey had his own signature engraved!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

He Said: "I'll Be Back"...

...And He Is

Barely time to land that we whisked him to Sofitel Wanda for a Father’s Day Brunch

Jeremy's calendar

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They Make What...

...Beijing Really Is

Typical Beijing “Small Jobs"

A few examples among many others

Click on the picture to enlarge
Click on the "Back" button of your browser to come back to this page

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Not Sleeping...

...I'm Just Resting My Eyes*

It is safe to assert that few Chinese have insomnia. On the contrary, the ability to sleep anywhere, at any time, is downright stunning.

It's always the right place at the right time

But the cutest of all is this one:

"My parents are wearing me out"

Two great websites to see more people of the "Sleeping Giant": Bernd & Eric Leleu

* Jeffrey’s favorite quote

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We Are Still Breathing...

... Barely!

Good thing we had 23 blue sky days in April*; the best April since 2000 (and 73 blue sky days in the first 3 months of the year or 81.1% of the total which is 6 more blue sky days than in the first quarter of last year) because June is not going to qualify!
500…That’s the end of the scale!

If you want to know what we are breathing when we go outside check twitter

Yet Jeff (and Chloe) never suffered from asthma… I wonder what Norwegian pure air will do to us!!!

* A blue-sky day is when the city's API falls below 100, meaning there are no health implications. However we shouldn’t get too excited over the “clean” air since The Beijing EPB claims that the average PM concentration during this month was 120 ug/m3 which is still well above China's national air quality target (100 ug/m3) and six times higher than the WHO recommended guideline (20 ug/m3).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Better Remember To Bring A Tote Bag...

...Next Time I'm In Uganda

And I thought we had it bad in Beijing when they switched to the no free plastic bags policy last year

Any person caught using plastic bags in Uganda from early 2010 will be jailed for three years or be fined an equivalent of 1,500 dollars, press reports said Saturday, quoting government environment lawyers. The penalties fall under the country's revised law on the waste management act, which will be put into effect in January by the state-owned National Environment Management Organization (NEMA), The New Vision quoted the organization's lawyer, Christine Akello as saying.
Uganda's finance minister announced a ban on the sale or use of plastic bags during the reading of the East African country's national budget on Thursday and ordered all factories manufacturing the plastic bags to wind up business.
Discarded plastic bags - too thin to be reused - are a major polluter in many African cities, where they clog up rivers and pile up in mountains.
Government further said that taxes of up to 120 per-cent will be levied on imported plastic materials currently on transit into the country. (EarthTimes)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beijing's Sky Is Crying

...Over Our Departure!

At around noon the sky seemed like it couldn’t hold all the tears anymore and started to cry. Maybe in an attempt to show us and remind us how it feels like to live in a country when it can be very dark in the middle of the day (in the winter because in the summer we’ll barely see a dark sky) Beijing was plunged into darkness.
The Sky is Falling - Part II
(almost to the day, 2 years later)

The meteorological Bureau of Beijing said that the capital city is experiencing its longest period of rainfall. [...]
The humidity in the city exceeded 95 percent. Visibility in some areas in the city was lower than 300 meters in the morning [...]
The city's average rainfall was 14 millimeters in the 24 hours. The heaviest rain was in the northeast part of Beijing, which had 68 millimeters.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Will miss that too…

山竹 (ShanZhu), 荔枝 (LiZhi), 杨梅 (YangMei)
Mangosteen, Lychee, Red Beyberry

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So Many Things To Do...

...So Little Time

D/J -20. I can believe in 3 weeks we’ll have to say good bye to Beijing. Until then I’m a busy bee, multi-tasking even more than usual!

What should I do first?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pride But...

...No Parade

If the 2008 Olympic Games was Beijing's coming-out party, last week it was finally Shanghai's turn. The city of 20 million held the country's first ever gay pride festival.

Shanghai Pride featured seven days of film screenings, plays and panel discussions capped, on June 13, by a blowout bash. There were drag shows, drumming and (symbolic) same-sex weddings. But there was no parade. Public gatherings are verboten, and organizers decided it wasn't worth the risk.

Though references to same-sex pairings dot the Chinese literary cannon, the People's Republic has taken a hard line on homosexuality. Sodomy was decriminalized in 1997, but it was not until 2001 that the Chinese Psychiatric Association ruled homosexuality was not, in fact, a mental illness. For the majority of China's estimated 30 million homosexuals, discrimination, isolation and stigma persist.

The government's hands-off approach is sometimes called the Triple No Policy: no approval, no disapproval, no promotion. It is the Chinese equivalent of "don't ask don't tell," an opaque tactic that critics claim leaves both activists and ordinary people caught in an invisible web of rules that dictate when and how you can and -- or can't -- be gay.

It's a start

Wednesday, June 10, 2009



After July 1st, all international companies selling personal computers inside of China will be required to preinstall government software that will block access to "harmful" content. It claims that the "Green Dam" software is designed to specifically keep porn from kids, but given the government's history of blocking browser access to a wide range of content, critics aren't so sure.

Information technology industry organizations have appealed to China to drop the initiative. Testing by independent software engineers has found that besides protecting children from pornographic content, Green Dam is also capable of filtering and blocking political content, and carries serious security risks for those who install it

And since nothing replace human “touch”

The city will seek to employ at least 10,000 “internet volunteers” before the end of this year to monitor “harmful” websites and content, said an official at the municipal authority’s information office.
Chinese local governments and Communist party branches often pay web commentators to influence online opinion. But it is unusual for officials to admit the practice and the big recruitment drive gives a rare view of the resources China uses to try to control the internet.

As civil servants, many low-class officials are designated to do a part-time job in work time. Which is rumored as "5 mao party".

They are asked to spend some time on internet everyday. Their jobs are to post or reply in popular forums, in order to control the direction of the public voice. Rumor has it that these civil servants will get 0.5 RMB per post, so they are vividly called "5 mao party" or wumaodang (5 mao = 0.5 rmb or 5 cents). By some estimates, these commentary teams now comprise as many as 280,000 members nationwide.

Internet Black Holes

Notification regarding requirements for pre-installing green filtering software on computers

In order to build a green, healthy, and harmonious online environment, and to avoid the effects on and the poisoning of our youth's minds by harmful information on the internet, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Civilization Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, and Ministry of Finance, in accordance with the Government Procurement Law, have used CCP financial capital to purchase one-year exclusive rights to use “Green Dam Youth Escort” Green Online Filtering Software (hereinafter referred to as “Green Dam Youth Escort”) along with related services so that the whole society may use it free of charge. After comprehensive testing and pilot use, the software has been shown to effectively filter harmful content in text and graphics on the Internet and has already satisfied the conditions for pre-installation by computer manufacturers.
– Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

According to the Epoch Times, hackers in China had accessed the keyword library and administrative codes, revealing only 2,700 keywords relating to pornography, and over 6,500 politically sensitive keywords. Chinese users of the software have apparently found that it injects a DLL file into Internet Explorer that prohibits the usage of FreeGate, one of the programs commonly used to bypass the Golden Shield Project.
According to tests conducted by a group of IT professionals in Hong Kong in June 2009, the software not only filters incoming contents, but also monitors the activity of the computer user. An example is that if the computer's user types "June f0urth M@ssacre" with the Notepad or Microsoft Word application, the application will be shutdown automatically without any notice. It is alleged that the Green Dam software also initiates unknown outbound internet connections which might be used to report activities carried out on the computer
The Green Dam Youth Escort recognizes pornographic images by analyzing skin-colored regions (hence the ban of pictures of pigs). However the software is incapable of recognizing pictures of nudity featuring black- or red-skinned characters but sensitive enough to images with large patches of yellow that it censors promotional images of the film Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. (Wikipedia)
The software runs only on Microsoft Windows, so Mac and Linux users are ignored

Green Dam Girl

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's That Time Of...

...The Month Year Again

When I woke up this morning it was raining like it never rained before in Beijing or at least like it wasn’t a “natural” rain. I couldn’t figure out why they would have wanted rain at this time of the year (no national holiday in the next few days, no long period of drought…). Then it all became clear when I step out of our apartment complex which is located next to a famous school (School n°55) and I saw the hordes of parents waiting patiently outside the gates. But of course it’s Gaokao time. Construction sites near school were asked to be quiet, cars have been diverted and since it was way too hot in the past couple of days something needed to be done to lower the temperature.

Kao means test, and gao, which means high, indicates the test's perceived level of difficulty—and its ability to intimidate. It is China's SAT—if the SAT lasted two days, covered everything learned since kindergarten, and had the power to determine one's entire professional trajectory.
Students become aware of the gaokao, the sole criterion for university admission, at an early age. Pressures and preparations begin accordingly. All schooling, especially middle- and high-school curricula, is oriented toward gaokao readiness. Students often joke that it takes 12 years to study for the test. The results of the exam determine the student’s entrance to college, or not, their future major, and which university they can attend.

In Beijing, the prompt students were given was “I have a pair of invisible wings” (我有一双隐形的翅膀), a line that comes from a popular song sung by Angela Chang (张韶涵). Students were required to write at least 800 characters in any form of writing apart from poetry.

Apparently cheating on the gaokao is not an option: The penalties [for cheating] are severe: a student convicted of peeking at a neighbor's paper is never allowed to take the gaokao again, and his name is entered in a public database for prospective employers' perusal.
Stressed the parents? no!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

D@Lai L@ma received In France…

...…By Paris' Mayor

Well I guess France will have to send more people to smooth things with China. Not sure we have any more former Presidents available!

China opposes Paris mayor awarding Dalai Lama (Xinhua)

BEIJING - China protested the awarding of "honorary citizen" to the Dalai Lama by Paris mayor, saying it posed "grave interference in Sino-French relations".
"We feel strongly disgruntled and is resolutely opposed to Paris' award for the Dalai Lama, regardless of China's opposition," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
Earlier reports said that Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe on Sunday met with the Dalai Lama and conferred him a certificate of "honorary citizenship" at a ceremony in Paris.
"This was another overt provocation against Chinese people after Paris' city council voted last year to give the Dalai Lama 'honorary citizenship'," Qin told a regular press conference.
"Such a move stirs a strong indignation among the Chinese people," Qin said, noting that inevitably, it would severely undermine the cooperation between Paris and related Chinese cities, and gravely disturb China-France relations. […]
The China-France relationship was confronted with severe difficulties not long ago due to Tibet-related issues, and now the relationship got back on the track of healthy growth under the joint efforts of peoples with insight from both sides, Qin said.
"We hope France would join with China in cherishing the hard-won achievements in bilateral ties, carefully fulfill related agreements between the two sides, make efforts to remove all disturbances, and promote the healthy and stable development of the relationship," Qin said.
Qin urged Paris to stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and immediately correct its wrongdoing. […]

The Chinese government has a hard time understanding that the Mayor of Paris and the French President are not from the same political party and do not have to agree. It is inconceivable for the Chinese to understand the concept of a Mayor of a (major) city doing something against the President of the country.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Would You Like...

...To Dance?
Doesn’t the world know that Beijingers protect themselves from the summer and cannot go anywhere without their umbrellas?
The Umbrellas Gang

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad!
Check out the videos here

I asked the cameraman of CBC if they got the same umbrella treatment and he said that they went earlier with a photographer so they didn’t but their paper were checked which took more time than usual and when he cheekily asked if today (June 4th) was a special day because of all the passports checking, the policeman replied that for Chinese people is like any other day but outsiders were making it a special day!

Friday, June 5, 2009


The Iconic Photos of the T@nk M@n...

Yesterday was May 35th (as some Chinese like to call it in order the bypass the censorship) and it’s the 20th anniversary of VIII-IX-VI-IV (another way of writing those infamous 4 numbers).

“It all started with a man in a white shirt who walked into the street and raised his right hand no higher than a New Yorker hailing a taxi,” James Barron wrote the following day in The New York Times. The picture appeared on the front page of this newspaper as well as in countless other publications around the world.

To this day, the identity and fate of the man in the picture remains unclear. A riveting documentary, “The T@nk M@n” by PBS Frontline in 2006 explored his fate. Yet still no one knows for certain who he is or what exactly happened to him. The image is largely blocked on the Internet in China. Despite its iconic status and historical significance elsewhere, most young people there do not recognize the photograph.

Few images are more recognizable or more evocative. Known simply as “tank man,” it is one of the most famous photographs in recent history. There was not just one “nk M@n” photo. Four photographers captured the encounter that day from the Beijing Hotel, overlooking Changan Avenue (the Avenue of Eternal Peace), their lives forever linked by a single moment in time. (photo from NYTimes)

Stuart, Arthur, Jeff and Charlie

And a never published one:

... And Daring The Censorship

In late February, Zhang posted without comment a Roman-numeral T-shirt design that's now making the rounds of other blogs as well as the foreign media.

VIII= 8 ; IX=9 ; VI=6 ; IV=4

Blogger's T-shirt gesture breaks taboo on Ti@n@nmen rebellion (Timesonline)

References to the 1989 army crackdown on student demonstrators in Ti@n@nmen Square are taboo in China. If mentioned at all, the protests are described as a “counter-revolutionary rebellion”. […]
His T-shirt reads VIIIIXVIIV. The photos are accompanied by a hint that reads: “Here’s a clue – these are four numbers.” […] “This year this kind of T-shirt is very much in fashion. The design is very beautiful (those who don’t understand should do some careful thinking, those who understand shouldn’t say a word)." […]
Chinese refer to the day when the People’s Liberation Army swept into Beijing to end weeks of demonstrations led by students encamped in Tiananmen Square with the loss of hundreds of lives simply as “6/4” or June 4. […]
Interview of Zhang Facai here

It also happened that yesterday was the day of site maintenance in china
Earlier this week the government blocked access to a number of popular western websites, in what was widely seen as way of controlling access to information about the events at Tiananmen Square. Among the sites that were screened out were photo-sharing website Flickr, Microsoft’s Hotmail email service and the popular online messaging site Twitter.

Check out some picture of popular website under maintenance here

What else happened 20 years ago?


  • Salman Rushdie publishes "The Satanic Verses". Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issues fatwa against him, declaring that his book is offensive to Islam.
  • US planes shoot down two Libyan fighters over in Mediterranean over international waters.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev is named leader of the Soviet Union.
  • P. W. Botha quits as South Africa's President.
  • Deng Xiaoping resigns from China's leadership.
  • The Czech Parliament ends Communists' dominant role
  • Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government. President Ceausescu and wife executed.
  • US troops invade Panama to capture General Manuel Noriega.
  • George H. W. Bush (a.k.a. "Bush Senior") becomes the 41st president of the US.
  • Cuban troops begin withdrawing from Angola.
  • Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete.
  • The Ayatollah Khomeini dies.
  • Berlin Wall comes down.
  • The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System is placed into orbit.
  • Last but not least Celine Mandaliti (future Suiter) turned 19!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

D/J - 30

...Only One More Month

So I have one more month of Blogging and I’m for once trying really hard to complete something I’ve started and not quit before the end of our life in Beijing. Because it seems like I take on a new hobby each time we move.

It all started in Argentina with a casual mud podge afternoon party, because the girls and I couldn’t only do so much Spanish lesson, shopping, and champagne luncheon (ah those endless luncheon!!!) followed by framing and a little needle points (everybody needle point when they are pregnant, no?). Hobbies frenzy took on a full swing in Scotland with patchwork (made my mother in law really proud), “cartonnage” (creating object with cardboard), book binding, a little Black and White photo development and even carpentry (yes I did!). We did stay almost 5 years in Scotland hence the myriad of different hobbies! In France I didn’t have time to start on a new hobby (we stay only 10 months), girls night out doesn’t count as one does it (Heather, Emily and Missy thanks for keeping me sane!) but I decided instead to go over all the projects I had started over the previous 7 years and tackled the task of finishing the unfinished business. In China I had a try at porcelain painting but mostly it was all about computer: blogging, learning HTML and graphic design but also about photography (you want to have your camera handy every single day, because there will always be something interesting, puzzling to document). I’m in no way as good as my sister-in-law (graphic designer and great photographer) but I’m having fun learning.
As you can see I’m a real butterfly when it comes to hobby. I like the learning process but once I get a grab at it I need a new challenge. My friends here were often joking that I could do everything (I kept saying oh I use to do that, and that…), the only thing I don’t know how to do, is how to knit so they forbade everyone to teach me! Oh I’m also the laminate queen (I know, I know you are just dying with envy!!).

So before this long babbling about my hobbies I was saying that I have only one more month of blogging because let’s face it life in Stavanger won’t feel as exotic as here and you’ll probably get really bored about the posts I could put on the blog!

Day 1: Had to scrub my own toilet AND do the laundry AND think about what to cook for dinner. Exhausting!
Day 2: Trying to make Jeff fold his own socks while ironing 20 loads of laundry. Where is Ayi when you need her?
Day 3: Another blue sky day and not a sight of pollution. How I miss the surprise of finding out if I can see my next door neighbor house every morning!
Day 4: Feel depressed that nobody tried to cut in line at the grocery store.
Day 5: Home sick today. I miss the sound before someone spits just inches from your feet.
Day 6: Could visit every single website I wanted to check and so fast that I don’t know what to do with the rest of the day. At least I could go get a cup of tea and go to the toilet when I was in Beijing between page loadings.
Day 7: Another beautiful picture of Stavanger and surroundings... expect the same from the next 600+ postings
Day 8: see day 1

I think that my next project (because I ALWAYS think my life will never be as fulfilling in the next expat’ so I tend to prepare myself) will be to compile my thousands and thousands of photographs to a 1049-picture photo album. And that’s a great challenge for those looooong nights awaiting us in Norway!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


...Is On THE List

It was just a matter of time. After YouTube, Blogspot and a myriad of other sites being blocked ahead of the multiple anniversaries celebrated this year… Twitter seems to be on the banned list since yesterday, alongside MSN and the new bing.com (wonder what Microsoft did!).

Please don’t take my sunshine Facebook away.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another One...

...Bites The Dust

The end of Super Bar Street (星巴路 – Xing Ba Lu)… Apparently the place should be made into yet another mall (because the ones already built are doing so good!) unless it’s for an apartment building, or embassy or… anyhow within a week every shop, restaurants, etc should find another place to do business.
The dreadful "Chai/拆" sign

Monday, June 1, 2009



Today some kindergarten schools were closed in China due to Children's Day, but my kids’ school didn’t close. (well they already had a 4-day weekend courtesy of Dragon Boat festival!)

Jeremy came back from school and told me I should have gone to school today. Being afraid I missed a sports day, swimming gala, music concert, assembly or open day (all happened within the last month) I rush to my computer to check my Google calendar. Either I had forgotten to write why I was supposed to go to school today or Jeremy was mistaken. When I asked him what I missed he just said: Well today it’s Children’s day so you should have gone to school and I should have stayed home.

Wonder if he would have managed to do more than me from my 100+ items on my to-do list!!!

A little background (like always!):
The International Children's Day had its origin in Turkey in 1920 (April 23, 1920) and later in the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. It is not clear as to why June 1 was chosen as the International Children's Day: one theory has it that the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco (USA) gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in 1925, which happened to be on June 1 that year, and also coincided with the conference in Geneva. (Wikipedia)