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Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

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.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Shirts for Sale in China: Still Supporting Jesse Jackson

Admittedly, I didn't predict any presidential political campaigns in the U.S. would inspire a little bit of fashion in China 30 years later.

"Jesse Jackson '88" shirt for sale in Jiangmen, China
For sale on the 2nd floor of Wuyi Plaza in Jiangmen, Guangdong

Monday, April 9, 2018

Political Art: Trump Gives Orders to Japan's Prime Minister at an Aircraft Carrier Restaurant in Jiangmen, China

While looking across the street at the Rongji Plaza shopping center in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, one of the signs perched on its roof especially caught my attention. I soon felt compelled to check out the Jin Li Ao Aircraft Carrier Restaurant (金利奥航母主题西餐厅). A dining experience with aircraft carrier ambience could be something to behold.

The 3rd-floor restaurant features Western-style food with a heavy emphasis on steaks. I assume this is not standard fare on China's single combat-ready aircraft carrier, but admittedly I have never eaten there.

In addition to a variety of steaks, the restaurant in Jiangmen includes a large structure with features similar to a miniature aircraft carrier. At the ship's bow sits a jet.

mock fighter jet with child inside


And a helicopter is ready for takeoff on the stern.

mock aircraft carrier helicopter


Both the jet and helicopter are open to visitors. Set between the two on the aircraft carrier's flight deck is seating for diners. There is also seating next to the carrier and in another section of the restaurant with a tropical theme. The servers and hosts all wear sailor uniforms.

To me, the most remarkable aspect of the restaurant isn't the aircraft carrier or the two vehicles on it. Or even the extensive variety of steaks on the menu. Instead, that honor belongs to some artwork in the restaurant's lobby area.

mural of Donald Trump pointing from a ship and Shinzo Abe made to look like a shrimp


After pondering the piece a couple of times, I asked a host who had earlier invited me to take photos about the intended meaning. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: What is happening here?
Host: Oh, it's just a picture. There's no meaning.
Me: Is that Trump?
Host: It's just a picture. It could be anybody.
Me: Um, how about the other person. Is that Japan's leader?
Host: Nobody in particular. It could be anybody. It's just a picture.
At this point, I figured the conversation wasn't going anywhere. I strongly suspected he was deliberately avoiding an explanation and appreciated that this was far more than "just a picture".

A minute or so later he asked, "Oh, do you think that looks like Trump?".

After I confirmed I did he replied, "Well, it could be anybody."

He smiled throughout our conversation.

Good times.

So my best current take on what is going on here. . . Well, it sure looks like a deliberate depiction of President of the U.S. Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe. Abe's appearance as a shrimp may be connected to a politically provocative meal served to Trump during his visit to South Korea last November:
The menu at South Korea’s state banquet for Donald Trump has left a nasty taste in Japan, after the president was served seafood caught off islands at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Japanese officials have also complained about the decision to invite a former wartime sex slave to the event, held earlier this week during the second leg of Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia.

Conservative media in Japan labeled the banquet “anti-Japanese” for featuring shrimp from near Dokdo – a rocky outcrop known in Japan as Takeshima. Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands, which are administered by Seoul.
China makes no claim regarding these islands, but it does have a similar dispute over the Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, currently controlled by Japan. Many in China would applaud the meal served to Trump in Seoul.

The island in the background looks like a possible match to the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands (would be easier to confirm if Trump weren't blocking a portion of it). Perhaps Trump is ordering Abe to deliver an apology (big in China) and hand over the islands. Although I wouldn't bet on this scenario happening, even forgetting the shrimp part, many Chinese probably find it far more plausible. At the very least, Trump would certainly gain a huge number of fans in China if he achieved something like this or even tried.

So perhaps the restaurant dreams of a visit by Trump. Maybe that is why they feature steak. It is one of his favorite foods after all. They better have some ketchup though.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Time Rex

pedestal missing most of a once-attached stone sculpture of an animal


Yesterday I was thinking about putting together a picture-heavy post about a temple I had recently visited in Jiangmen, Guangdong. I thought it could make for a good change of pace from previous posts.

Then I took a look at Twitter.

My reentrance into that world happened to be shortly after the first reports of Donald Trump firing the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. I quickly got sucked into the drama of various people trying to put the pieces together and figure out what it all meant.

I use the word "drama" because, admittedly, that's a large part of what kept my attention. Yes, the news was quite important. But ultimately, if I hadn't learned about the details for another day or two, there wouldn't be any negative effects for me. There was no likely decision I was going to make during that time which could have been impacted by it. If anything, it would be beneficial to wait. As news breaks typically some of the information is wrong and many relevant pieces are missing.

Sure, it could have been different if I desired to contribute to the discussion. But in this case, I wasn't planning to.

I followed along on Twitter nonetheless. I clicked links to stories that quickly became outdated as new information came out. Watching it all play out was stimulating.

Once I pulled myself away, there was too little time left to put together a post.

So, in the end, Rex Tillerson was still gone. And a chunk of time I could have used more productively was also gone.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Presidents Day Prologue in Jiangmen

This past Sunday while I was in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, I had forgotten the next day would be Presidents Day in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, the holiday doesn't receive much notice in China.

Nonetheless, I experienced some presidential . . . spirit that night.

Donald Trump mask for sale


The Trump mask for sale at the small trendy shop led to inspired conversation. I still have a few questions about why they were selling it, so I'm just filing this one away.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Language School Wants to "Make Taiwan Great Again": Cheers for Donald Trump in Taipei

During my travels the past couple of years I have seen images of Donald Trump in a variety of settings, such as at a newsstand in Taiyuan, on the wall of a noodle restaurant in Hong Kong, and at a stall selling paper cut portraits in Shanghai. The past few weeks it was an advertisement on a building in Taipei that most caught my attention.

Cheers language school advertisement with "Make Taiwan Great Again" and image of Donald Trump


The "Make Taiwan Great Again" slogan which accompanies the image of Trump on the advertisement for Cheers International Education Group is a clear play on Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan. While the use of English in advertisements isn't uncommon in Taipei, it is especially fitting given the focus of Cheers: foreign language training.

The Cheers page on Facebook features the same slogan and image of Trump:

top section of the Cheers International Education Group's Facebook page


Trump is depicted making a sign with his right hand, as best as I can tell not one which has been captured in an unaltered photo of him. Since the thumb is extended it isn't a standard horns sign, though perhaps a horns sign was intended. The hand sign does match the American Sign Language sign for the acronym "ILY" — standing for "I love you". But there's a twist here. The palm should face towards the object of the love. So the hand sign in this case could be interpreted as "I love myself".

Whatever the advertisement's designer had in mind, that a language school in Taipei would use Trump's message and image in this way raises questions about how he is perceived here. I am not aware of any scientific polling results on the matter, but both positive and negative opinions about Trump could be found in Taiwan when he was elected. Anecdotally and more recently, I have come across a mix of opinions as well. For example, when Trump came up in a conversation with a Taiwanese friend who strongly dislikes him, she commented that a surprising-to-her number of people in Taiwan view him positively as President of the U.S. due to his business background. And a local political activist I met mentioned that some Taiwanese hope Taiwan's next president will be like Trump for the same reason.

So while The Trump Organization could see the advertisement as impinging on their brand, Donald Trump may first see it as indicating some of his appeal abroad. A bigger test, however, may be whether a Taiwanese politician ever prominently features Trump in a positive fashion as part of a political advertising campaign. Barack Obama can already claim that achievement.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Integration: Fusion and Adaptation" at the Wuhan Art Museum

"Integration: Fusion and Adaptation" is the fourth and current exhibition for the Wuhan Ink Art Biennale at the Wuhan Art Museum. As described at the museum:
The preceding three exhibitions present a chronological sequence of perpetuation and development, transformation and innovation, in Chinese ink painting since Ming and Qing periods. "Integration" showcases the richness of contemporary ink art through works that are rooted in tradition yet present new ideas, pieces that are more avant-garde in creative concept and method, as well as pieces by foreign artists working in ink.

One piece on display features Chinese calligraphy, common at art museums in China.

Chinese Calligraphy: Excerpt from Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (2012) by Michael Cherney


Less common is the calligrapher's home country — the U.S. — and the topic of the writing, which is captured in Michael Cherney's title for the work: Excerpt from Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (2012).

South Korean Shin Young Ho's piece Liquid Drawing_4207 (2015) doesn't include calligraphy, but it does have ants.

Liquid Drawing_4207 by Shin Young Ho


Li Huichang's Groan No. 66 (2015) has neither calligraphy nor ants, but there is still much going on.

Li Huichang's Groan No. 66 (2015)


One of the more colorful pieces at the exhibition is Paradise (2008) by Huang Min.

Paradise (2008) by Huang Min


Finally, the piece I pondered most was Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe.

Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


Like many others on display, the large piece of art is worth a closer look.

closeup of person in Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


closeup of people in Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


The Wuhan Art Museum has much more. One sign indicates this exhibition was supposed to have already ended over a week ago, so I am not sure how much longer it will be around. In any case, the Wuhan Art Museum is free. You just have to scan your Chinese ID card to open an entrance gate. If you are a foreigner, don't worry. You can walk around the gate — no need to stop.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Visit to the Halo Cafe in Guzhen, Zhongshan

Today in Guzhen, a town in Zhongshan I will say more about in later posts, I unexpectedly saw a Halo Cafe.

Halo Cafe in Guzhen, Zhongshan


Since I had just mentioned two other Halo Cafes in a post yesterday, I felt compelled to take a closer look (and write this light post now).

inside Halo Cafe in Guzhen


Their menu lists a variety of drinks:

Halo Cafe takeout menu

Halo Cafe takeout menu


I went with a simple double espresso.

double espresso at Halo Cafe in Guzhen


Some will take issue with the cream (I also don't use sugar). But it looked like a double espresso. It tasted like a double espresso. And unless an incredible placebo effect was at play, it had caffeine. It cost 15 yuan (US $2.25), cheaper than then 20 yuan for a Starbucks double espresso.

According to the barista, Halo Cafe originated in Zhongshan and has spread to some other nearby cities, all in Guangdong province. I still had many unanswered questions, but I chose to leave him in peace. So I will just leave it at this for now. Well, except for one more thing . . .

In the outdoor seating area there was a claw crane game. These are very common in places such as shopping malls. I wouldn't have given it much notice, but this claw crane had an unexpected theme.

4th July crane claw


Happy Independence Day crane claw


I think it is only fair to ask why the American coffeehouse chain Starbucks can't show some similar spirit in China.

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Because he's a ...": A Young Man in Bengbu, China, Succinctly Explains Why He Doesn't Like Barack Obama

Not long after finishing a post about people giving nazi salutes in Germany and the U.S., I stopped by a pedestrian street in Bengbu, China, for some late night food and a break from the bad news. As I waited for my corn on the cob to be grilled at a food stand, I spoke to several locals. To my surprise, one person said he recognized me. Indeed, a mutual friend of ours had shared a photo including me.

Soon a young woman and a young man approached. The young woman introduced herself as an American. Her English wasn't fluent, and she spoke with a strong Chinese accent. She said she had been born in the U.S. in a way which suggested to me she hadn't grown up there, but I didn't inquire further. The young man was from Bengbu.

The light conversation soon meandered to American politics. I learned the young man liked Donald Trump. He then added he liked Clinton as well. From the context I assumed he meant Hillary Clinton. It was an interesting mix, but again I didn't inquire further. I just hoped my corn would finish cooking soon.

A little later when it came up that I liked Barack Obama, the young man quickly replied he did not.

Somebody saying they liked Trump and Clinton but not Obama truly piqued my curiosity, corn or no corn. So I asked, "Why don't you like Obama?"

With a self-satisfied smile, he cheerily replied in English, "Because he's a nigger."

I looked away to gather my thoughts. After a brief moment, I turned towards the young woman and said, "Please take him away."

Her reaction suggested she understood why I had made the request. In any case, without any further words exchanged she walked away with him. A few moments later I glanced back and saw them talking. I hoped the young woman was able to explain things to some degree.

I have no illusions about the amount of racism in China. There's a lot. And many times when I have come across it in individuals, I have tried to better understand and constructively push back. I have never responded like I did the other night in Bengbu before, but the choice of words and manner of delivery hit me. In the heat of the moment in an informal setting, I sought a way to make an impression that might have some tiny bit of positive impact when, admittedly, I wasn't sure I was in the right frame of mind for constructive conversation.

A few years ago in Chongqing, China, I met another young man who also expressed he didn't like black people. In that case, I engaged in conversation, but what followed also caught me by surprise:
After I pushed back against some of his following points, he sat quietly in thought, and I wondered if I had made an impression. A minute or so later he broke his silence and asked, "Are there people in America who don't like black people?"

I replied, "There definitely are." I assumed he was curious about racial issues in the U.S. So I thought it could be valuable to shed some light on the immense challenges the country still faces, despite recent progress.

But before I could continue, he triumphantly declared, "You see. So I'm right."
And so I must question whether the young man in Bengbu would have expressed himself in the same manner without news such as that about white nationalists and white supremacists in the U.S. making its way to China. I don't doubt racism would exist in China without any American influence. But perhaps some in China feel emboldened by what they see happening in the U.S. now. As somebody who would hope the U.S. could use its soft power for good, it is an especially troubling question to consider.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stars & Stripes on a Boy and Motor Scooters in Bengbu, China

Today at a pedestrian street in Bengbu, Anhui province, I briefly met a little boy wearing clothing with a red, white, and blue stars & stripes design.

little boy wearing clothing with a red, white, and blue stars & stripes design


Nearby, I saw a familiar stars & stripes design style on a motor scooter.

motor scooter with US flag design in Bengbu, China


A very short walk away from there, I saw another type of stars & stripes design I have also seen before in China.

motor scooter with "Go With Me" US flag design in Bengbu

"Go With Me" US flag design on front of motor scooter


And across the river, I saw yet another red, white, and blue design.

motor scooter with red, blue, and white stars


All of this happened to come across my path in a span of less than 90 minutes. I saw more related designs later in the day and none of them struck me as out of the ordinary. The designs raise questions about American influence, or soft power, in China. In the next post, I will share a disturbing example of how that influence may be having an impact in an unfortunate way.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Nazi Salutes from Chinese in Germany and White Nationalists in the U.S.

There is a certain irony in Chinese traveling all the way to Europe only to get arrested for expressing themselves in a country where they were far, far freer to express themselves. Over a week ago two Chinese citizens visiting Berlin, Germany, apparently thought it would be a grand idea to take photographs of themselves giving the Nazi salute in front of the Reichstag building. This was, in fact, a really bad idea for several reasons including that:
The Chinese citizens are now facing charges for "using symbols of illegal organizations" which could carry a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years, according to the police.

The Nazi party is banned in modern Germany, and its symbols and imagery can only be used for purposes such as teaching or historical research.
However, they should feel fortunate no passersby responded as one person did this past weekend not far away elsewhere in Germany:
Police say a drunken American man was punched by a passer-by as he gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute multiple times in downtown Dresden. . . .

Police say the American, who is under investigation for violating Germany’s laws against the display of Nazi symbols or slogans, had an extremely high blood alcohol level. His assailant fled the scene, and is being sought for causing bodily harm.
It isn't clear whether these men were expressing support for any Nazi ideals. But in the U.S. this past weekend, white nationalists took things to another level, a clearly intended level, by protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia, while carrying a variety of flags, including the Nazi flag, and giving the Nazi salute. One man who had previously shown much interest in Nazis plowed his car into another vehicle near counterprotesters setting off a chain reaction causing multiple injuries and one death.

There have been many powerful and thoughts thing written about the protests, the violence, and the reactions. I will simply share one of the powerful images widely shared this past weekend which especially spoke to me:


The photo actually appears to be from a protest last month in Charlottesville. One of the earliest postings was on Instagram (source of the above image). There was also an early Facebook post that identifies the officer as Darius Ricco Nash, who responded.

Regardless of when the photo was taken, it speaks to the events of this past weekend and to many others. And it is a very American photo. There is both bad and good in that.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Bit of Bengbu on the Fourth of July

Two days ago in Bengbu, a city in China's Anhui province, I spent the evening trying to celebrate the Fourth of July. Like a big part of my reasoning for choosing to visit Bengbu — appreciating the sound of its name — I saw it as a way to mix things up and learn things I may not have otherwise learned about China. I don't have as much of a story to tell about the night as I did a few years ago for a Fourth of July in Hengyang, Hunan. And while I did find much of interest, it would make more sense to share most of it in other contexts. Still, I have a bit of story . . .

The night started more fittingly than I could have ever reasonably expected. Seconds after heading out, I saw a Stars & Stripes themed motor scooter driving off.

American flag themed motor scooter in Bengbu


While I have seen scooters with an American flag design in China on occasion before, including one other in Bengbu, the timing here was wonderful. This really happened.

Later in the evening, I saw a scooter with a design seemingly inspired by a country who played a large role in making the Fourth of July happen.

British flag themed motor scooter in Bengbu


I see these British-looking designs on motor scooter far more often, so this was less of surprise.

After several nighttime snacks including two local items and one Big Mac, I stopped by a small convenience store to buy a celebratory drink. A Bengbu brand of baijiu struck me as a grand idea, and I jokingly asked a young girl who was eager to help whether she liked it or not. With body language playfully suggesting she wasn't exactly telling the truth, she said she did. Her mother (I presume) and I laughed. Good enough.

girl holding bottle of 皖酒王


So for 15 yuan (about U.S. $2.20) I bought a bottle of Bengbu Baijiu — not its name based on the Chinese (皖酒王), which more emphasizes its Anhui roots, but I like how it rolls of the tongue.

During a discussion with the taxi driver as I headed back to my hotel, I wasn't surprised to learn she didn't know July 4 had any significance in the U.S. But I was a bit surprised when she said she liked drinking this brand of baijiu. And I gotta say, as far a cheap baijiu goes I found it to be pretty decent. I didn't finish it though. I had more explorations planned for the Fifth of July.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thousands of Americans Remembered at a Memorial in South Korea

The War Memorial of Korea in Seoul covers thousands of years of Korean military history, with an emphasis on the Korean War. One particularly affecting section of the memorial displays the names of service members & police of the Republic of Korea who were killed in various wars & conflicts and the names of service members in the United Nations Forces who were killed in the Korean War.

For today's Memorial Day in the United States, below are some photos taken this past weekend that capture portions of the display with more than thirty-thousand names of Americans "whose noble service and ultimate sacrifice preserved the freedom of the Republic of Korea".

outdoor display of names at the War Memorial of Korea


wreath with the words "IN MEMORY OF THE FALLEN"


names of service persons from Arkansas who died in the Korean War


names of service persons from the Virgin Islands who died in the Korean War


flower on top of an engraving of the Earth


names of Americans who died in the Korean War on display at the War Memorial of Korea


names of Americans who died in the Korean War on display at the War Memorial of Korea


names of Americans who died in the Korean War on display at the War Memorial of Korea

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Donald Trump Needs to Line Up for Noodles in Hong Kong

A few months ago in Shanghai I suspected there was something China wouldn't let me forget. And this past weekend, I was reminded of it yet again by a mural on the side of the Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

mural on the side of the Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


Here is a closer view of the section with yet another artistic interpretation of an iconic Donald Trump expression.

mural of a noodle cart line with a man offering assistance to Donald Trump


The sign next to Trump says "Please line up here". It looks like the man next to him is trying to help him.

If Trump does get in line, he might recognize somebody.

mural with a line of people including Barack Obama

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sugar Painting in D.C. and Zhongshan

Thanks to a friend in the U.S., on Saturday I saw a video from NPR of traditional Chinese sugar painting at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The video, at least in part, is worth watching if you haven't seen sugar painting before. And even if you are familiar with the practice you may find it soothing to watch, for example after having read a lot of political news and commentary.

I told my friend I have seen people sugar painting set up on the sidewalk or at street markets. I debated over the right word for describing how often I see it, but it seemed fitting that the very next day at a popular pedestrian street in Zhongshan I saw a booth selling a variety of sugar painted figures.

sugar painting booth in Zhongshan, China


butterfly sugar painting figure.


Typically I see less formal setups for the sugar painting. When I stopped by the sugar painter was off doing whatever sugar painters do when they aren't sugar painting — so no video from me. All of the figures, presumably with the exception of a large fish on display, were 10 yuan each (about US $1.46). I have seen more elaborate figures made by sugar painters elsewhere, and perhaps this sugar painter would do something in that spirit on request. Whatever the case, this is just one of the many examples of sugar painting I have come across while going from one city to another in China.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Faded Glory in Xiapu

American-flag design socks with Walmart's exclusive Faded Glory label for sale
Socks with Walmart's exclusive Faded Glory label for sale at a Walmart in Xiapu, Fujian Province

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tied to Trump in China

The woman sitting across from me looked out the window as the train crossed the unusual border between between Hong Kong and mainland China. We had 18 more hours before the train would reach its destination in Shanghai where we would pass through an immigration control point within a country we hadn't left. As the train later made its way through the city to Hong Kong's north, Shenzhen, the woman and I began a conversation. Upon learning she was from Shanghai I said, "Nong ho!" — "hello" in the Shanghai dialect.

Upon learning I was from the U.S. she said, "Trump."

The outcome of the U.S. presidential election had been decided more than a week earlier and the news was still fresh. Shortly after the one word statement, the woman expressed her disappointment in the election's result. At one point, she sharply outstretched her right arm, tilted her head slightly to the side, and contorted her face. I couldn't place the expression, but it was clearly made in a derogatory manner. The unmistakable Nazi salute left a much larger impression.

Her expression then became somber, and she quietly said, "I'm afraid of him."

During the next couple of weeks in Shanghai, almost every time a stranger asked me about my nationality, whether while waiting in a breakfast line for deep-fried dough-sticks, riding a metro train, or doing another everyday activity, I heard the same one word response. Sometimes people expressed a wish that Hillary Clinton had won. Sometimes they asked how Americans could make such a choice. Only one time did somebody express positive feelings about Donald Trump.

Then Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and raised questions about the One-China policy — surely not a way to win over the hearts and minds of most people in China. Presumably anti-Trump sentiment in China has only grown since then. After leaving Shanghai and traveling to several other cities in China, I have heard Trump-related comments less frequently, but they continue to be negative. For example, while I was at a street market in Xiapu, a county of small fishing villages in southeastern China, a woman angrily derided Trump over his Taiwan comments. All I had said before, in response to another person's question, was, "I'm from the U.S."

People who inquire about my home country and express their feelings about the President of the U.S. don't necessarily represent all Chinese people. But I haven't had regular experiences in China like these since the days of George W. Bush's presidency. Trump hadn't even been sworn into office yet, so I wonder what may be in store for the future.

I may have little control over my government, but it is far more than the Chinese people I meet have over their own. So I refrain from complaining that occasionally I have to answer for the decisions made by my country. Sometimes I will see a silver lining in a nonthreatening negative response and use it as an opportunity to share some of the diversity of views in a country far away. Particularly with people who rarely, if ever, meet foreigners, impressions are made when an American explains that they too believe invading Iraq was a huge mistake. That they too are deeply troubled about what their president-elect may do.

At Yuyuan Gardens, a popular destination in Shanghai for tourists, a few shops and stalls sell paper-cut portraits. You can have one custom-made or buy an already-finished portrait. Old standards and some more contemporary options are typically offered. Two years ago I saw a portrait of Edward Snowden grouped with the more common portraits of Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, and Michael Jackson.

When I recently returned to Yuyuan Gardens with a visiting relative, I wasn't surprised to see a portrait of Donald Trump displayed — a small sign of how much the world had changed since my last visit. But I was surprised by the familiar image of Trump used by the artist. The portrait's spirit significantly differed from the others.

And I suddenly had an answer to a question I had long given up trying to answer. That was the expression the woman imitated on the train to Shanghai.

That is what China won't let me forget.

portraits in style of traditional Chinese paper cutting including one of Donald Trump with an unusual expression