Expat Protest and WHO

Today the Chinese government allowed a small expat anti-war protest in Beijing. Even the English language China Daily has reported on it, albeit it in an alternate reality way with regard to the stopped Chinese student protestors. Some delicate balancing going on here between the government criticising the US, stroking the US to make sure […]

Kunming Life

I’ve been in Kunming for three weeks now, and it’s a pleasant place to live. I’m studying at the Center of Chinese for Foreign Students Yunnan University. The university is very eminent for a place so remote from Beijing. This is because during the Cultural Revolution lots of academics either fled or were exiled here. […]

Some Photos

I finally got round to finding a computer I can plug my digital camera into, so I’ve added a few photos. Go to the March archive page and scroll down. You can find a photo of the terraces at Bac Ha in Vietnam, and one of the pig on the back of a moto. By […]

This Blog is Censored

With that provocative title, you might expect that the Chinese government have clamped down in a purge on me, or perhaps the Vietnamese secret police have chased me across electronic borders. Not quite, this is self-censorship. And, no, I don’t mean the unconscious “censor” from psychology, or the very conscious way that I select which […]

Unhappy New War’s Day

It’s slightly unnerving being in a foreign land when your country is going to war. There isn’t much fuss about the war here, it doesn’t affect China that much, only some potential economic damage relating to oil prices. A couple of people today talked to me about it. The main concern, presumably one that comes […]

Mandalay Monastry

This week I was tidying up my notebook, and found the notes from a conversation I had with a monk in a monastry in Burma. I promised at the start of January that I’d write about it, and now I’ve got round to it. So we go both back in time to the end of […]

Arrival in Kunming

The bus journey to Kunming was less exciting than the train ride to Kaiyuan, but was nevertheless very atmospheric. It was quite a small bus with maybe 20 people on it. They all wore thick, warm coats, and looked like important working people. They sat quietly, in a disciplined way, with their hands lightly resting […]

Night with The Journalist

The Journalist enthusiastically showed me round Kaiyuan in the evening. It’s a clean, bright, bold place. With wide boulevards, and cruising cars. Lots of pucker shops, but not at the gluttonous extremeties of a Ho Chi Minh City department store, these were clearly targetted at a substantial middle class. People were all smart and confident. […]

Goodbye Playboy, Hello Journalist

The train journey along the Red River from Vietnam into 云南 province (Yunnan, Cloud South) is stunning. I embarked at 河口 (Hekou, River Entrance) , the border town, armed with only half a bottle of water and no food. The Playboy kindly met me in the morning, albeit half an hour late. I’d given up […]

Welcome to China!

The population of all the other countries I’ve been in during the last three months (Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) is about 200 million. The population of China is about 1250 million. If I took the perhaps reasonable attitude of spending time in a country proportional to the number of people who live there, then […]