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Monday, May 20, 2019

One Last Photo for a Special Return in China

Last week I posted a photo of a location significant to this blog and later I posted a photo of the same place taken from a different vantage point. Before revealing all, I will share a photo of the same location also taken on that first night of my return but from a vantage point that offers a far more iconic view.

street market at night in China


Do you see it now?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Taiwan Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill Today: A Look Back at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade

people holding up a large waving rainbow banner at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Big news today out of a Taiwan:
Lawmakers in Taiwan have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The vote came almost two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law -- which said marriage was between a man and a woman -- was unconstitutional. The panel of judges gave the island's parliament two years to amend or enact new laws.

On Friday -- only a week off the two-year deadline -- lawmakers in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.
Over eight years ago, I shared some thoughts about stumbling upon the 2011 Taiwan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Taipei:
Seeing people freely and openly march for a social cause in a land rich with Chinese culture felt surreal. Nothing like this was possible in mainland China where I had been living for over five years. The parade also brought to mind several friends who had repressed their sexuality but felt comfortable during their college years to "come out".
I then shared a personal account to demonstrate one way that decreasing LGBT discrimination would not only obviously benefit the LGBT community but heterosexuals as well. While I still agree with the main point I wanted to make, I later wished I had expressed myself much better (reading it makes me cringe now) and, perhaps more importantly, done so in a separate piece. That way a post which included a video and numerous photos could have been much more focused on the people who had marched and rallied.

So to finally rectify my mistake to a degree and to provide some more context and color for what happened today in Taiwan, without further ado I will share here the video and 16 photos I shared before plus 14 more photos I haven't previously shared of a parade eight years ago in Taipei that was part of paving the way to a long sought and significant gain in rights for many.




2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young man holding a sign and dressed up in a maid's outfit at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


people holding up a large waving rainbow banner at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Photography on the street at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young women hold signs that say free hug and LGBT at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young women hold signs that say "Follow Your Heart" and "Equal Love" at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


paraders carrying signs at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


paraders at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


police policing  at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


two young men with rainbow flags at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


"LGBT Fight Back! Discrimination Get Out!" sign at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


same two young women who are dressed with minimal covering and vines at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


two young women holding hands with Chinese writing on their backs at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade
The young woman on the right has “我是夏娃” written on her back.
It translates to "I am Eve".
The other has "我爱夏娃" which translates to "I love Eve".


Android Robot mascot and people wearing shirts with two Android Robots holding hands and a rainbow flag at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


group standing behind the sign Promise Giver Christian Action Network


two young women with rainbow stripes painted on their left cheeks


man in bondage outfit at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


man dressed up in colorful women's clothing and wearing a large wig at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


stage at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


Young men being photographed at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Another Photo for a Special Return in China

The previous post apparently didn't provide enough hints about the significant place (to me and this blog) where I recently arrived. So here is another photo taken from a different, but still not iconic, perspective on my first night back in the city:

outdoor market at night in China


The photo includes at least one significant additional clue. The wonton street stall isn't intended to be it, but perhaps the wontons help too.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Special Return in China

About two weeks ago I arrived in a city I had explored a number of years ago. I was eager to return not only to see what had and hadn't changed and learn more about life there, but also because the city holds a special connection to this blog and my blogging experience. Relevant to the connection, there was one place in particular I especially wanted to seek out. Off the top of my head, I only had a vague sense of its location relative to the hotel where I had stayed long ago. I worried that if I couldn't find it, I might not even be able to be sure whether that was do due to an incomplete search or the location being significantly transformed. Cities can change quickly in China, and it had been a while.

After checking into my hotel, one in a different part of the city than the one I had stayed at during my previous visit, I set out that evening to walk around. I didn't look at a map, just let my wandering instincts take over, and wasn't intent on finding the special location that night. Nevertheless, after almost 40 minutes I was surprised and excited when I saw it in the distance. When I later looked at a map I discovered that without realizing it I had taken a route that couldn't have been much more direct.

So here is a photo taken that night which captures a vantage point that makes the location's significance far less apparent than some others would:

outdoor market at night in China


Now it is time for a return of the old game "Which city in China is this?" Normally, I wouldn't think people would have much of a chance with this photo. But in this particular case, reader's have real reason for hope. You don't even need to be a China expert to figure it out. And although digging deep into this blog (and another particular site) could significantly help in identifying the city, you needn't go far at all to see why I was so happy to find this location again.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Stairway to Missing Rooms in China

I try not to be lazy. But yesterday I just didn't feel like taking the stairs.

exposed stairway without railings leading up a partially demolished building


This isn't the only time recently when I looked at some stairs and thought "nope". More about both of those locations, which are in two different cities, later.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Chengguan on the Street in Wuzhou

I have some Wuzhou chengguan (Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau officers) stories to tell another day. For now, here's a photo of a pair chengguan during a less dramatic moment:

Chengguan in Wuzhou (梧州城管)
Near Pantang Park on what is identified (similar to another branch of the road) as Dieshan 2nd Road (蝶山二路)

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Bird Falling From the Sky in Macau

A few days ago while walking down a pedestrian lane off of Largo Maia de Magalhães in Macau's Taipa Village, I froze when I unexpectedly saw something small fall straight down from above 15 feet directly in front me. The object landed with a clearly audible thud and cracking sound.

I continued forward, and to my surprise found a small bird — I believe a sparrow.

dead sparrow on the ground


Although there were some high ledges on a nearby building, straight above was only sky. Perhaps the bird had experienced a heart attack while flying. On closer inspection, one of the bird's legs slowly moved and it slowly opened and closed its eyes a couple of times. I am not an expert on birds, but given how it had hit the ground and its current condition I felt confident I was witnessing its final moments of life or postmortem reflexes.

In either case, it felt wrong to just leave the bird in the middle of an area where there were many pedestrians who could unwittingly step on it. So I picked up the bird. It didn't react. I then looked for the most fitting nearby location.

After relocating the bird and noticing similar birds flying around, I went to a nearby public restroom that I knew had soap and washed my hands. I then returned to the quieter side of a tree to take one last photo of the bird that I had seen come out of the sky for its last time.

dead sparrow next to a tree

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

An Icy Post to Post for a Post

Folks, my apologies for posting very infrequently lately. I can't blame it on a lack of things to post. The situation is quite the opposite.

Much more is on the way though. Really. Before that, I'm not sure what to say. But I did see one intriguing suggestion this evening for something to do.

"eat ice" shirt


I'm already convinced, as long as it's good ice.

More later . . .

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An Interspecies Confrontation in Wuzhou

small dog barking at a cat in a defensive posture


I witnessed the interaction in the above photo while walking in Wuzhou this afternoon. Most of the time, the cat, which wore a collar, stood its ground in a defensive posture while the dog yapped at it. Although the cat didn't seem to be in serious danger, I later tried blocking the dog a few times to give the cat a chance to more safely flee. The cat didn't take advantage of the opportunity, so I left life as it was on the otherwise peaceful street.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Core Socialist Values of a Fallen Planter in Wuzhou

Within sight of a new core socialist values sign in Wuzhou a row of planters serve to block vehicles from entering a pedestrian street. Today there was a small tragedy.


a knocked-over planter


After I took the above photo, a woman who had been sitting nearby rushed over and told me I couldn't take photos like this one. She then explained that somebody would be arriving soon to fix things. I guessed she didn't want me sharing what she considered to be a bad look. But I simply wished to capture a moment of everyday life which also spoke to issues regarding design.

Since I was photographing in a public area an inanimate object presumably of little concern to the Ministry of State Security or the Ministry of Public Security and the woman wasn't wearing a uniform, I felt I didn't need to be worried about being negatively affected by at least one of China's core socialist values — rule of law. So I exercised another core socialist value — freedom — and took one more photo for context.

planters used as a blockade for a pedestrian street in Wuzhou


Yes, the woman was still watching me, perhaps thinking I was not following one of the core socialist values — civility.

About two hours later, I returned to the same location. The woman was gone. And the problem had been fixed.

So I will happily share a photo which speaks to yet another core socialist value.

harmonious upright planters
Harmony

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Posting the Values Again in Wuzhou

China's 12 core socialist values are displayed at many (many, many) locations in the country. Now there is at least one more new sign in Wuzhou to remind people of them.

men placing Chinese characters on a sign that will display China's 12 core socialist values
Monday alongside Da'nan Road


man completing a sign of China's 12 core socialist values
Wednesday