Pages

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Balloon Sculptures, Singing, and a Pelvic Thrusting Dinosaur: The Grand Opening of a Jewelry Store in Ganzhou, China

When I stopped by a jewelry store with a notable logo on the afternoon of its opening day in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, there were a few customers inside, but all was otherwise quiet. Especially given the hot weather and low pedestrian traffic at the time, this wasn't so surprising.

When I stopped by again later in the early evening, the weather had cooled down and the activities to celebrate the grand opening had heated up. Given what I have seen at a variety of promotions elsewhere in China, I wasn't too surprised to see somebody wearing an inflatable Tyrannosaurus costume entertaining people, especially children.

person in inflatable Tyrannosaurus costume entertaining


At an entrance to the store, somebody else was creating balloon animals and sculptures. I have seen the same thing at a number of jewelry stores elsewhere.

Balloon artist making a balloon model for a girl


There was also a stage set up besides the store. While I was there a woman sang, also not so uncommon for events likes this one.

But then things came together in a way that wasn't so typical in my experience, and it was something to behold.

I didn't know a Tyrannosaurus could move like that.

On reflection, the movements were somewhat similar to how some cockatoos dance to music. Not only are birds dinosaurs, but the Tyrannosaurus is more closely related to a bird than to a Stegosaurus. Perhaps that's what the person had in mind, though I am not aware of any birds dancing quite the same way.

In any case, the dancing felt a bit surreal to watch. I can't put the experience fully into words, so I have shared a bit of it in the video below. Although the Tyrannosaurus stopped dancing, or whatever it was doing, and returned to other activities while I watched, I kept filming a bit longer. There is more to observe than just the dinosaur, though it steals the show.

Take a look:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Curiously Misleading Logo: Not China Gold in Ganzhou

Late last night I saw preparations for a new jewelry store in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province. I called it a China Gold store in my post, in part because the logo for the store appeared to be a merger of the letters C & G and I didn't know they hadn't yet placed all the characters for its Chinese name on the storefront sign. The logo seemed unfamiliar, however, which caused some rumblings in the back of my mind.

Today the sign was complete, and the store was already open for business.

opening day of a new jewelry store (中国金銀珠寶) in Ganzhou


With the full Chinese name displayed, "中国金銀珠寶" (Zhōngguó Jīnyín Zhūbǎo), I realized it wasn't a store for the chain I had previously had in mind, 中国黄金 (Zhōngguó Huángjīn). Zhōngguó Huángjīn uses the English name "China Gold", a literal translation of the Chinese name, and the stores are franchised by a large state-owned enterprise based in Beijing — China National Gold Group Corporation — which also commonly uses the name "China Gold". I shared a photo of a China Gold store earlier this year in a post about International Women's Day Sales in Jiangmen, Guangdong. Their logo is visually distinct from the one used by the store in Ganzhou.

I didn't see any English names at the Ganzhou store today. The best I could easily find online relates to the Hong Kong registration of a company with the same Chinese name. They used "China Gold Silver Jewellery", also a literal translation of the Chinese name. I can't see a CGSJ acronym in the Ganzhou stores's logo though.

Whatever name the company would prefer to see used in English, their logo is not only notable for its similarity to the Chanel and Gucci logos but also for it capturing the acronym of a well-known competitor's English name. Both issues seem unlikely to be coincidences. The logo probably wouldn't leave either Chanel, Gucci, or China Gold very happy.

New China Gold in Ganzhou

Preparations for a new jewelry store in Ganzhou
Late night work for a new jewelry store on Dongyangshan Road in Ganzhou





Correction: I previously captioned the photo indicating the jewelry store was China Gold, in part due to the apparent CG acronym in the logo. However, it isn't a China Gold store. More about that in a more recent post here.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Late Night Tangerines in Ganzhou

You can't always find tangerines for sale around 11 p.m. But tonight in Ganzhou I got lucky.

tangerines for sale in a motor-tricycle cart


Good tangerines . . .

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lotus Flowers, Bridges, and a Sculpture at a University Pond in Ganzhou

Recent posts (here and here) featured scenes from parks in Ganzhou, Jiangxi. To continue the theme, below are a few photos taken on a rather hot afternoon at Bajiao Pond (八角塘) at the Jiangxi University of Science and Technology campus on Hongqi Road in Ganzhou.

lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotuses and a bridge Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


curving bridge, sculpture, and lotuses at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ganzhou Xiangqi

A quiet game of xiangqi today at the Zhang River Right Bank City Citizens' Park (章江右岸市民公园) in Ganzhou:

men playing xiangqi at a park (章江右岸市民公园) in Ganzhou

Dancing, Cards, and a Liberation Monument at Ganzhou Park

A few scenes from Ganzhou Park in Ganzhou, Jiangxi, on a rather hot afternoon . . .

people dancing at Ganzhou Park
Dancing to music


people playing card games at Ganzhou Park (赣州公园)
Playing cards without music


10th Anniversary of Liberation Monument (解放十周年纪念碑)
The 10th Anniversary of Liberation Monument (解放十周年纪念碑)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Not in Africa: A Brief Story of Taking the Train Out of Guangdong

boy sitting on luggage shaped as a seat
In a waiting room at the Huizhou Railway Station
(photo doesn't include the children mentioned in this post)


As I approached my seat after boarding the train in Huizhou, the 8-year-old boy who would be sitting across from me excitedly announced to his mother and younger sister, "A European!"

Before I could helpfully correct him, I heard him less certainly suggested another possibility. I then decided it was now best not to correct him.

After all, I'm not identified as an African every day.

The train's seats were sold out, and there were a number of people who had bought standing-only tickets. It had been a while since I had taken a non-high-speed train like this one, but most things seemed the same. So much life.

As the train began moving, I found it hard to get excited about being on the train for another five hours. Yet I knew most people were likely in for a longer ride. Anybody there for the final destination still had more than 27 hours to go. Five hours now seems pretty good. Did I mention my ticket cost less than eight American dollars?

It took some time, but eventually I entered a train-Zen state of mind. There was so much to take in. The 8-year-old boy and his sister carried on at times, but, unlike their mother, I soon appreciated the entertainment. For what it is worth, my brother and I at that age would have been far less peaceful under such conditions.

Now I am in Ganzhou. No, that's not a typo for Guangzhou. I could've made it there in much less time. I'm out of Guangdong province and now in Jiangxi province.

This is my second time in Ganzhou, but it has been a while. More about this place, so far from Africa, another time.

Oh, that boy and his sister . . . they still had more than 4 hours to go after I disembarked the train. I'm guessing mostly all went fine.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Unlucky Duckies in Huizhou

Today on a street in Huizhou, Guangdong, I saw a bunch of a ducks restrained in a truck.

ducks restrained in a truck


I don't speak duck, but some of them sounded as if they were complaining. If so, it would be hard to blame them. I didn't stick around to see if I could learn their fate, but I feel safe guessing it isn't anything they'd be happy about.

For a more cheerful, or at least more free, duck story, there's my confrontation last year with a mighty duck in Xiapu, Fujian.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Eight Assorted Thursday Tweets About China

In terms of news about China I saw in my Twitter feed, today felt especially heavy and had much to digest. Below are some those tweets which made their way onto my screen and especially caught my attention. Most include links to to relevant pieces. I deliberately left out tweets providing some discussion on a topic that I have covered at length before and is in the news once more. I hope to address the topic in a later post.








Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Chance Chat in the Park with a Uyghur in Southern China

trees in a park
Another park in another Chinese city

Not so long ago on a quiet day at a park in southern China, I saw a man with two energetic children. After saying hello to them, the man and I started talking. I soon learned he was Uyghur and from far away Xinjiang, where he still had family. Having recently read reports about deteriorating conditions for Uyghurs there, I asked about their situation.

Sounding and looking like he had felt compelled to utter the exact same words not just now but many times before, he first explained his pride in being a Chinese citizen and his support for the Chinese government. Then he returned to his gaze to me and explained how the situation in Xinjiang wasn't at all good for them. What he shared was depressingly consistent with what I had previously learned.

I thought of the conversation today while reading a piece recommended by Josh Chin:


An excerpt from Gene Bunin's piece:
At one point last year, I made an effort to see a friend in Xinjiang who had deleted me [from WeChat] but whom I really wanted to see. Navigating our friend networks, I set up a time and a place, and we met. In retrospect, I almost wish we hadn’t. Our lunch together was an incredibly silent and awkward one – there was too much to say but everything felt taboo, and there were entire minutes when we just sat there. It didn’t look like anyone was monitoring us, but my friend looked really worried all the same. When I passed him samples of a book I was working on, he only cast them a glance but didn’t flip through the pages. When I asked him if a mutual acquaintance of ours was still around, he told me that he “didn’t know” that person anymore, before adding: “Right now, I don’t even know you.”

I too will recommend reading "How the 'Happiest Muslims in the World' are Coping with Their Happiness". And I will wonder what has happened to the man, his children, and the rest of his family since our chance discussion at the park. I didn't ask for a way to contact him in the future. That might have been better for him.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Cat and Dog Debate the Best Peppers for Steaks in a Restaurant Chain Ad in China

Houcaller (豪客来) is a widespread Western-style steak restaurant chain in China, and I have seen it, and some imitators, in numerous cities. A recent promotion of theirs recently caught my eye as I was passing a bus stop in Shenzhen.

Houcaller ad for red pepper and black pepper steaks


The ad features a red pepper steak with bones and black pepper steak without bones. The ad asks who is more correct in their tastes. The cat apparently prefers the red pepper steak and the dog prefers the other. I would have associated a preference for bones more with dogs, but maybe the black pepper would win them over after all.

Beside the dog is a Chinese phrase which can be interpreted as "Dare to be black" or "Of course, black". But it's also a bit of pun, presumably intended, because in slang the phrase means "dare to mock yourself".

I haven't tried either of these steaks, so I can't help settle this debate. I think the last, and perhaps only, time I went to a Houcaller was about 8 years ago far to the north in Anyang, Henan. It was a fascinating experience. I'll save that short story for another day. No cats or dogs were involved.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Room With Better Views than Internet Connections

Regarding the tale of my problems uploading photos and such, all is much better now. A change of location did the trick. After easily connecting to the internet with a VPN, I tested things out by uploading a photo to Blogger which, like most of Google's services, is blocked in China. All went well. And I haven't had any major problems since.

To celebrate, here are two photos taken from the room in Shenzhen where I experienced much frustration with my internet connection:

view from a room on a high floor in Shenzhen


view from a room on a high floor in Shenzhen


At least I enjoyed the view, even though you could say that some of it was blocked.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dreams of Being Able to Easily Upload a Photo

My uploading / VPN woes continue. By this time tomorrow, I hope to be somewhere where I don't need to walk to an elevator lobby and stand with my laptop in order to upload a photo or send an email. Yes, I dream big.

Since the previous two posts touching on this topic include photos of shirts I have seen in Shenzhen, I will continue that theme.

two young women walking together; one is wearing a "Please, consider me a dream" shirt


Now, I might visit some sites that aren't blocked in China. Oddly enough, I'm finding that browsing online without using my VPN is unusually fast, including for unblocked U.S. sites. I don't think it's a dream.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

An Accumulation of VPN Frustrations in Shenzhen

Fives days ago I wrote:
I had planned on sharing so much more this week, both in terms of photos and thoughts. And I have more than enough to share. That's not the problem.
I didn't identify the problem though. It had to do with something I mentioned eleven days ago:
Yesterday I spent a lot of time troubleshooting why sometimes websites loaded at decent speeds yet I couldn't upload anything. As I am in mainland China, I wondered if the Great Firewall had something to do with it, since I was using a VPN to access blocked sites.
The problem significantly worsened. Browsing online with my VPN had become painful. And even one inconvenient trick I had found to upload photos no longer worked. However, visiting sites not blocked in China while not using a VPN was rather painless. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen video from a U.S. site load so quickly in China before.

I am still not sure what is causing the problem. But I suspect my best hope is in something that has worked in similar cases before: change locations. Fortunately, at least in regards to this issue, I will be doing that soon.

Along with what I wrote five days ago, I also shared a photo of a shirt on sale at Dongmen in Shenzhen. Two days ago at Dongmen I saw somebody wearing the same shirt. Tonight I finally managed to upload it.

young man wearing "Black White; Water Accumulates Into The Ocean" shirt


And the world turns.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

An Accumulated Thought From Shenzhen

I had planned on sharing so much more this week, both in terms of photos and thoughts. And I have more than enough to share. That's not the problem.

For now, here is a shirt I saw tonight for sale at Dongmen in Shenzhen.

"Black White Water Accumulates Into The Ocean" shirt


Hard to argue.

Monday, July 16, 2018

World Cup Spirit at Restaurants, Bars, and Urinals in Shenzhen, China

Unlike at a mall in Hong Kong, I didn't come across any malls in neighboring Shenzhen showing every FIFA World Cup match. However, I did see some bars and restaurants in different parts of Shenzhen which were promoting the World Cup or showing games, such as these two eating & drinking establishments which are next to each other at the Central Walk Shopping Mall:

Shewhy British pub in Shenzhen decorated for the FIFA World Cup


Thai Joy restaurant & bar at the Central Walk Shopping Mall in Shenzhen decorated for the FIFA World Cup


There were other bars, at least some of which are popular with foreigners, showing matches at the same mall. For part of the third place playoff match between Belgium and England, I went to The Brew. Even though I showed up late, I was still able to get a table with a great view.

view of a TV partially blocked by a man sitting in front of me


For the championship match between France and Croatia, I decided to watch from my hotel room, in part due to it beginning at 11 p.m. China time. Fortunately, my a combo of a fast enough internet connection, a fast enough VPN connection, and Telemundo meant all went reasonable well. I couldn't understand most of the Spanish commentary but "GOAAAAAALLLLLL!" was pretty clear.

And finally . . . I saw an especially unexpected sign of the football spirit in Shenzhen in restroom urinals at several different malls.

urinal with a miniature football (soccer ball) and net at the bottom


I didn't hear anybody shouting "GOAAAAAALLLLLL!"

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Bubble Wrap Cat and Uploads

Yesterday I spent a lot of time troubleshooting why sometimes websites loaded at decent speeds yet I couldn't upload anything. As I am in mainland China, I wondered if the Great Firewall had something to do with it, since I was using a VPN to access blocked sites.

So . . .

I have one photo I took in Shenzhen which I managed to upload as a test.

cat sitting next to a large roll of bubble wrap


Yes, that it is a cat proudly standing next to a fine roll of bubble wrap.

Yes, I had to walk to the elevator lobby with my laptop to make this happen.

Yes, it is more complicated than that.

Maybe this post will publish. Maybe it won't. But that cat will have plenty of bubble wrap regardless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

An Apartment Visit and Another Activist in Jail in China: Two Post Liu Xia Departure Links

After years of detainment despite never being charged with a crime, yesterday Liu Xia left China. Here are links to two relevant articles, both from Agence France-Presse, published today:

1. In "On the eve of freedom, a glimpse inside Liu Xia's flat" Becky Davis shares her recent visit to Liu Xia at her home in Beijing:
Judging by her apartment on the eve of her departure from Beijing to Germany, Liu Xia seemed completely unaware of her impending freedom -- or perhaps unwilling to believe it.

AFP on Monday evaded tight security to gain rare access to the fifth-floor duplex apartment.
Perhaps the Chinese government deliberately allowed Davis to slip by security as a test to see if Liu Xia would follow a "request" not to say anything about an upcoming departure.


2. In "Chinese democracy activist sentenced to 13 years for 'subversion'" Joanna Chao reports an example of how human rights remain a significant issue in China despite Liu Xia now being free:
A prominent Chinese political campaigner was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Wednesday, a court in central China said.

Qin Yongmin was found "guilty of subversion of state power," the Wuhan City Intermediate People's Court said on its official website. . . .

The European Union on Wednesday criticised a "deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in China, which has been accompanied by the detention and conviction of a significant number of Chinese human rights defenders."
And the world turns.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Liu Xia Free and Out of China After Years of Detainment for No Crime

Post updated with additional tweets and attributions at 5:42 p.m.

Nearly one year ago, Liu Xiabo died in China. Today his wife Liu Xia, who faced her own long and difficult journey, is finally free under more positive conditions — as reported by Suyin Haynes in Time:
Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, has left China for Europe after eight years under de facto house arrest.

Family friends said that Liu Xia boarded a flight from departing from Beijing on Tuesday headed for Berlin . . . .

An accomplished poet and writer, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest by the Chinese authorities in 2010, after her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize but was unable to collect it due to his detention on political grounds. She had never been charged with a crime and was placed under close state surveillance. Concerns for her health mounted after she was heard in an April audio recording saying that she was “prepared to die” under house arrest following the loss of her husband.

The recent lack of high-level official condemnation over Liu Xia's previous ongoing detention was striking. Jane Perlez in The New York Times reports Germany played a key role in her release and provides one reason for the relative quiet:
European diplomats had said over the last several months that China had left Ms. Liu in limbo as a show of resolve against Chinese human rights dissidents, despite aggressive efforts by Germany to press for her release.

After Ms. Merkel’s visit to Beijing in the spring, the Chinese authorities let the Europeans know that if Ms. Liu’s case was not publicized, her release would be possible, a European diplomat with knowledge of the case said.

Although Liu Xia is now in Europe, as reported by Catherine Lai and Tom Grundy in the Hong Kong Free Press she may not yet be entirely free.
Patrick Poon, researcher for Amnesty International, told HKFP: “It’s really wonderful news to hear that Liu Xia is eventually able to leave China. She has been suffering depression. It’s good that she can receive medical treatment in Germany now. Her brother Liu Hui is still in China. Liu Xia might not want to talk much as she would be worried about his safety.”

So some are calling for her brother to take a similar voyage.


Some see positive signs in the news that extends beyond Liu Xia's freedom.


Some don't see Liu Xia's release as a sign of broader positive change inside of China.


But the news may still suggest something about changes outside of China.


I found Liu Xia's detainment extremely troubling and feared she would meet final circumstances similar to her husband's. So it is heartening to see she will now be in a far better situation, to say the least. Hopefully she can recover her health. And may she find it possible to safely express herself.

"Created by Liu Xia during the time of Liu Xiaobo’s labor reeducation in 1996-1999, the 'ugly babies,' as Liu refers to the dolls, are positioned in tableaux that evoke confinement and repression."
Source: Columbia University's The Italian Academy

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Hong Kong Mural: Donald Trump and Barack Obama Still at a Noodle Cart

Early last year I came across the Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) — a restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong — and noticed the mural on its side. Remarkably, its depiction of a line of people waiting for noodles cooked at a cart included both Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

So a few weeks ago I was curious to check up on the restaurant. Much had changed in the world since my previous visit, but I found the mural appeared to be exactly the same.

Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


See the earlier post for close up photos of the mural. Obama is smiling while he waits in line. Trump isn't in line and is making a familiar definitely-not-smiling expression. I had eaten just prior to passing the restaurant, so I am still not able to offer any opinion on the noodles. But it seems that if there's a line, nobody gets to cut in front.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Dinosaur Dining on Bus Passengers in Hong Kong

The "Meet The T. Rex" tram wasn't the only example of dinosaur-themed vehicular advertising I recently saw in Hong Kong. In the other case, the vehicle was a double-decker bus instead of a double-decker tram.

Jurassic World movie ad on a Hong Kong bus


Similar to the trams, Hong Kong's double-decker buses are commonly covered with a single advertisement. In the above advertisement for the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the special setting offered the opportunity to make it look like some of the passengers are about to become a snack. Most Hong Kong buses are safer than this.

For those wondering how I photographed the bus from this angle, I must admit it required a quick reaction, especially since I was heading the opposite direction. And of course I was sitting on the second level of a tram. Unfortunately (fortunately?), it had no dinosaurs on it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Surrounding the Dolphin Sculptures in Jiangmen and Hong Kong

Next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen, Guangdong, earlier this year I saw a sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen


More recently at Tsuen Wan Park in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, I saw another sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins in Tsuen Wan Park in Hong Kong


In both cases I couldn't find anything indicating the name of the sculpture or the artist. Notably, they are both partially surrounded by structures. But the structures are rather different in style.

And that's as deep as I'll go with these dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins bordered by classical columns in Jiangmen

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Flower Ice Cream and Giant Hummingbird Mural in Hong Kong

Happy Fourth of July to the U.S. folk. Remember, fireworks don't work without fire. And rose-shaped ice cream attracts giant hummingbirds. Goodness can result from both of these things. But nothing is totally safe, so please take care and have a joyous day. Those giant hummingbirds are enchanting yet ravenous.

mural of a girl eating flower-shaped ice cream next to a large hummingbird
Alongside Shelley Street in Central, Hong Kong

Monday, July 2, 2018

Looking Across Victoria Harbour from a High Place

Posting has been intermittent lately, but I plan to return to a more regular schedule soon. For now, here is a view from Hysan Place in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, looking northward across Victoria Harbour:

view from Hysan Place in Hong Kong looking northward across Victoria Harbour


More later . . .

Friday, June 29, 2018

That Isn't Just Shanghai: An Incompletely Labeled Photo Taken From Space

After a quick look, one of the examples in the recent Quartz article "Can you recognize the world’s most famous cities from space?" (HT Ray Kwong) didn't appear to be a city familiar to me. So I was surprised when I saw it was labeled as Shanghai.

nighttime view from above of urban areas


After a closer look I quickly found the distinctively shaped Huangpu River which flows through Shanghai, but it was in an unexpected location on the far right side. Had this been a photo of only Shanghai, I feel confident I would have easily identified it. But this photo captures quite a bit more than a large part of Shanghai. Approximately the entire left half is actually Suzhou — a neighboring city in Jiangsu province. Labeling the photo as "Shanghai" is plainly incorrect.

I later sorted out that the photo, taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station in 2012, was originally posted on NASA's Earth Observatory website. The post includes another version with labels marking both Suzhou and Shanghai.

Suzhou and Shanghai at night


The post also includes a photo taken from a similar vantage point during the day in 2002.

photo of Suzhou and Shanghai taken from the International Space Station


Another photo in the Quartz piece includes two cites as well — Antwerp and Brussels. In that case both cities are identified. The Brussels metropolitan area has over 2 million people and Antwerp just over 500,000. Suzhou is one of China's most prosperous cities, has its own subway system, and the entire prefecture-level city has a population of over 10 million people. Good noodles too.

So please, don't ignore Suzhou.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A "Meet The T. Rex" Tram in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's population is greater than 7.4 million people. According to a careful examination of my web traffic statistics, most of them didn't read my post about the Tyrannosaurus rex currently on display at the IFC mall. So fortunately there are other ways for Hongkongers to discover they have an rare opportunity to see a South Dakotan dinosaur for free. The other day while I was across the street from an historic building in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, a tram rolled by with a "Meet the T. Rex" advertisement.

Hong Kong tram with a "Meet The T. Rex" ad going by The Pawn in Wan Chai, Hong Kong


I have long been intrigued by some of the implications of advertising on trams and previously shared many examples in 2011 and in 2012. None of those included dinosaurs though.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A South Dakotan Dinosaur at the IFC Mall in Hong Kong

While you can now hear occasional loud roars at a mall in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, showing live World Cup football matches late into the night, you probably won't hear any roars at the IFC Mall in Central, Hong Kong. Given what is currently on display there, that is probably a good thing.

compllete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on display at the IFC in Hong Kong




According to a sign, the complete adult Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is 12 meters long and was found in South Dakota, U.S.A. The IFC Mall's website indicates the skeleton is 30% fossil bone and 70% polyurethanes fossil cast (see the blog Dinosaurpalaeo for some motivations for using either fossil bones or casts).

If the dinosaur were to somehow magically turn into its former living self, according to recent research there is at least one thing people no longer need to worry about. The Tyrannosaurus rex wouldn't be sticking out its tongue at people:
Dinosaurs couldn't stick out their tongues like lizards. Instead, their tongues were probably rooted to the bottoms of their mouths in a manner akin to alligators.

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the Chinese Academy of Sciences made the discovery by comparing the hyoid bones—the bones that support and ground the tongue—of modern birds and crocodiles with those of their extinct dinosaur relatives. In addition to challenging depictions of dino tongues, the research proposes a connection on the origin of flight and an increase in tongue diversity and mobility.
To catch the T. Rex at the IFC Mall (and to imagine it catching you despite its tongue limitations) visit the mall no later than June 27. It is a rare opportunity to see a Hong Kong mall featuring something from South Dakota.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Hong Kong Trickle of Xiangqi

A game of xiangqi next to the 30-year-old Lek Yuen Bridge (瀝源橋) in Sha Tin, Hong Kong:

two men playing xiangqi in Sha Tin, Hong Kong


people watching a game of xiangqi next to Lek Yuen Bridge


Lek Yuen Bridge (瀝源橋) in Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Large Crowd at a Hong Kong Mall Watches Japan Defeat Colombia in an Historic World Cup Match

This evening at the apm shopping mall in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, I heard a loud roar. Important context: loud roars aren't the norm at shopping malls in Hong Kong. I soon went out into the central area of the mall and saw that a large crowd had gathered.

crowd watching soccer match at the apm shopping mall in Hong Kong


Their main objective wasn't to roar but instead to watch a FIFA World Cup football ("soccer" for some of us) match between Colombia and Japan. When I arrived Japan was up by one goal. Presumably the one score in the game is what led to the magnificent roar I had heard.

crowd watching 2018 FIFA World Cup football match at the apm shopping mall in Hong Kong


The football-related festivities also included an area where people could play a football video game. The machines were hidden away, but based on the controls I think they were PlayStations.

playing soccer video game at apm Hong Kong


Nearby, though I don't think formally part of the apm promotion, people could play football on an Xbox as well.

playing soccer on XBOX at apm Hong Kong


And if that wasn't enough, there were signed jerseys of famous past football players on display.

Signed Pele and Maradona jerseys


I hadn't planned to spend much of my night at the mall, but after I saw Colombia tie the game I decided to stick around longer. Japan scored one more goal and held out for a remarkable win:
This scoreline was particularly unexpected in light of the fact that Japan had changed coaches shortly before the tournament, and because no Asian team had ever previously defeated a South American side in 17 World Cup meetings.

Japan celebrating live on video at apm Hong Kong


The event at apm was also remarkable to me since I have seen and experienced plenty of anti-Japanese sentiment in mainland China. But based on reactions, shirts, and flags, the Hong Kong crowd included supporters for both teams. I think Japan even enjoyed a solid edge in support.

More games are ahead. The immediate slate occur each day at 8 p.m., 11 p.m., and 2 a.m. local time. Staff at the mall insisted Apm will be open to show them all. This isn't extremely surprising since Apm is already known for its late night hours. I left the mall shortly after Japan won. So I can only imagine how many will watch Russia face Egypt there at 2 a.m. tonight.