Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nishiki-Koji Market is 1200 years old

I guess this is the oldest market in Kyoto. Started from the Heian period (794-1192),as a public market, it grew famous to become known as the Kitchen of Kyoto. You can find almost everything that is needed to prepare Japanese food here ( that is what "Kyotian", Kyoto people, claim ). Now most of the shops here sell traditional japanese food ingredients, from pickled vegetables, fresh fish and vegetables, and miso. There are some small restaurants as well.

I guess this shop (picture) is the biggest shop here selling pickled vegetables. You just name it, they have all kinds of vegetables pickled, ... from radish, cucumber, cabbage, chilies, carrot,bamboo shoots, etc....

Monday, April 18, 2005

Starman Chris Waple

I was never a fan of English songs. I was always a fan of Hong Kong and Taiwan superstars. That is why a "banana man" ( a Chinese who doesnt read Kanji) like me can read Kanji without attending Chinese School (haha, thanks to Karaoke)

If I am not mistaken the first Chinese songs that was translated by my sister into Romaji is "Flying Butterfly" by The Little Tigers. (XIAO HU DUI).

Not until Upper High School that I started to pick up some English CD`s. The first English CD that i bought was Take That (single CD, How Deep IS Your Love)...don`t laugh, but they were really popular in Malaysia in the 90`s.

Well, little did I knew that there were millions of other good English songs until I met this English friend - - Chris Waple.

I think Chris is a very good singer... sometimes much better than the original singer....
I particulary like Creep (by Radio Head) wanna listen to this animated version of Creep ? Here you are

But I think Chris could carry the song as good as Radio Head is.

Another song well sung by Chris is Starman by David Bowie.

Recently, after getting Dell PC in my lab, haha, i have downloaded several Chris`s favourite karaoke songs....(so next time I will not be singing those Chinese songs again....haha)

And since then, these phrases keep playing in my head.
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie
******* Chorus of Starman - David Bowie

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Only Oriental Thing About Me Is My Face... The Soong Sisters .. COming SOON

Sorry , I am busy lately. (Hanami, classes and etc)

So i think the best way to know more about the Soong Sister is to watch the movie "The Soong Sister"

The Rainy Night at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

He relished Japan's harsh winters and the academy's strict regime, later boasting that they allowed him to nourish his appetite for "eating bitterness.

He married the famous Soong`s sisters ( Soong May Ling ).

In 1949, after a long battle with Chinese Communists for control of China, Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek was forced to flee with what remained of his troops to the island of Taiwan. There, he reestablished the Nationalist government and served as its president until his death in 1975.

Chiang Kai-shek left behind a prosperous economy that grew into a genuine democracy.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

PET Bottle Dragon

Tribute To The Father of Modern China...

Recognized by Chinese everywhere as their country's modern founder, the physician-turned-nationalist failed in his dream of unification

I do not have any deep understanding of why Dr. Sun Yat Sen became one of the most highly admired and respected figure in Taiwan even after after watching the movie The Soong Sisters.

But once I stepped into the Dr Sun Yat Sen memorial hall, and looked at this figure, tightly guarded by 2 static real soldiers, I was suddenly moved by this solemn if he is dissapointed with the tension between Taiwan and China.

All blood is red in colour, but still not all blood can be mixed !

Sun Yat-sen
Born Nov. 12, 1866 in Guangdong province
1879 Studies medicine in Hawaii
1895 Leads first insurrection against Qing dynasty
1905 Develops "Three Principles of the People"
1911 Qing dynasty is overthrown
1913 Kuomintang, the party he founded, wins national election but is soon expelled from parliament
1925 Dies March 12 in Beijing

In the turbulent and tangled history of modern China, Sun Yat-sen holds a unique place. Claimed as a personal inspiration and political guide by the most bitterly opposed political parties, he is known to millions as "the Father of the Chinese Revolution." Yet his own life was a constant scramble for livelihood and influence, he spent much of his time in exile, and almost none of his cherished schemes came near to fruition. The twin strands of inspiration and failure define the relationship between his life and the history of his country.

Born in 1866 to a farming family in southeast China, not far from Macau and Hong Kong, Sun received a few years of local schooling in traditional Chinese texts. At 13 he moved to Hawaii, where his elder brother had emigrated. Three years of study in a Honolulu boarding school run by the Church of England were followed by more than a decade in Hong Kong, where Sun was baptized a Christian and gained certificates of proficiency in medicine and surgery. He practiced medicine briefly in Hong Kong in 1893.

Yet Sun was not typical of the rising class of Westernized Chinese intent on their own professional advancement within the swiftly changing tides of late 19th century imperialism and colonialism. He was a Chinese patriot of a more traditional kind, an admirer of rebels who had pitted their lives against the ruling Manchu dynasty (or Qing) and was at home within the conspiratorial worlds of Chinese secret societies. His head was filled with dreams of strengthening China from within by drawing on its natural resources in conjunction with new technologies, and he tried to interest powerful officials in his schemes for economic development.

By 1894, however, China was sliding into chaos as the Manchu dynasty weakened and Japan defeated China in a brief and humiliating war. The main prize of victory for the Japanese was the island of Taiwan, which was ceded by China and made a Japanese colony. Sensing the time was ripe for an uprising, Sun returned to Hawaii, where he used his earlier contacts, along with some of his new friends in Hong Kong, to form an underground society dedicated to reviving China. Sun returned to Hong Kong in 1895 and attempted to lead an insurrection in southeast China. He failed. At the Chinese government's request, the British banned Sun from Hong Kong. For a time, Japan became his base for new revolutionary activities. After he was banned there, he lived in various countries in Southeast Asia. He also traveled widely in Europe, Canada and the United States, seeking funds for future uprisings, all of which failed because of faulty planning and lack of adequate weapons.
By 1905, Sun began to develop a more coherent set of guiding principles. These became, in turn, the ideology of a broader-based revolutionary society that he founded at the same time. In this new ideology, which he termed the "Three Principles of the People," Sun sought to combine the fundamental aspects of nationalism, democracy and socialism. Over the years, Sun developed these ideas into a comprehensive plan for restoring economic and moral strength to his country, first by expelling the Manchus and then by curbing the foreign powers. He also hoped to free Chinese from graver forms of social exploitation by building a central government that would counter the rampant forces of capitalism in industry and of powerful landlords in the countryside. It was Sun's view that, in the early stages of China's regeneration, the country should be controlled by a rigorously structured central party, dedicated in loyalty to him personally as absolute leader. But through a carefully calibrated period of "tutelage," the Chinese people would be introduced to the principles and practices of representative government, until finally the tutelage would end and China could emerge as a strong, full-fledged democracy.

Sun Yat-sen had extraordinary tenacity and great persuasive powers. During his long years of exile he was able to keep acquiring funds--especially from overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and North America--and to hold his own against political rivals, within and outside his organization, who held different views of China's destiny. Thus, when the Manchu dynasty at last collapsed in 1911, in some measure because of the ceaseless pressure exerted by Sun and his revolutionary followers, he was named provisional President of the new Chinese republic. But Sun was shrewd enough to see that he lacked adequate military strength to hold China together, and he made the bold decision to transform his revolutionary organization into a mainstream political party. The Nationalist Party (or Kuomintang) won more seats than any of its rivals in China's first-ever national elections in early 1913. But Sun and his party still could not curb the emerging powers of the new military and political strongmen. Late in the year he was forced once more into exile, and Kuomintang members were expelled from parliament.

The last decade of Sun's life was spent trying to establish a more effective political and military base of operations. He was aided by a dedicated group of followers who strongly believed in his vision for China and by his second wife, Soong Ching-ling, whom he married in 1914 while in exile in Japan. Some 26 years younger than her husband, Soong had an American college degree and came from a wealthy cosmopolitan family. She was also highly intelligent and politically radical. After 1916, when they returned to China from Japan, the two were constantly shuttling between Shanghai and Canton (now Guangzhou), the cities that seemed to offer them the best potential political bases. By 1923 they had settled on Canton, where Sun assembled a viable government supported by local military figures and by members of the old parliament. There were also new allies, like the young military officer Chiang Kai-shek, who was later to marry Soong's younger sister.
But most important of Sun's new allies were agents from the Communist International in Moscow, who had been instrumental in founding the Chinese Communist Party in the summer of 1921. Two years later, these agents persuaded Sun that if his Kuomintang nationalists would ally with the communists, whose numbers were still small, they could tap into the enormous latent energies of China's peasants and industrial workers, who were just beginning to emerge on the political landscape. Apparently convinced that his organization could control the communists within its ranks, Sun agreed to a formula by which individual communists could enter the Kuomintang as members. In return, the Soviet Union provided Sun with military advisers, arms, ammunition and technical help in strengthening his political organization.

Sun's goal was to use these new military forces to expand his Canton base so that he could break the hold of individual military leaders in south China and eventually link up with sympathetic forces in north China, thus creating a new, reunified government. He was greatly encouraged by an invitation from powerful northern militarists in 1924 to meet with them to discuss future reunification moves. Though ill and tired, Sun undertook the journey, stopping off briefly in Japan on the way. Arriving in Beijing, he was so weak that he had to be taken to his guest house in an ambulance. Doctors speedily found that he had inoperable liver cancer. He died in Beijing in March 1925.

Sun's corpse quickly became a complex political symbol. His body was preserved and kept at a temple on the outskirts of Beijing. Crowds of ordinary people and a mixture of generals and political figures came to pay homage. In an innovative use of new media techniques, phonograph records of Sun's political speeches were played on loudspeakers and film clips of his public appearances in Canton were flashed on a screen. Three-and-a-half years after Sun's death, Chiang Kai-shek was at last able to lead the reunification army from the south into Beijing. But Chiang purged the communists from the Kuomintang, starting a process of confrontation and civil war that was to continue for the next 20 years.

As victors, the Kuomintang reclaimed Sun. They built him an immense mausoleum near their new capital of Nanjing and sent his body across China by railway in an impressive mourning cort夙e, making his burial an event of political enshrinement. Sun's writings thereafter became the central ideology of the Kuomintang on the mainland and later in Taiwan. The communists, after their victory over nationalist forces in 1949, also claimed Sun for themselves, citing his insistence that a communist alliance was essential to the political development of China.
So it is to this day, in both China and Taiwan, that Sun's strong personality and oddly mixed political fortunes remain a central part of the national memories of revolution and transformation. The doctor was never able to heal the divisions among his people, but they remain united in their reverence for his efforts.

Excerpt from from
By,Jonathan D. Spence teaches at Yale University and is the author of several acclaimed books on China

The Not So Nice 101

The journey continues with the exploration of Taipei city

The most eye-catching or maybe eye-soring building in Taipei is this 502m, world tallest building. I wish to apologize to the Taiwanese reader for my negative comment on this building.

It isn`t because 101 took over Petronas Tower as the world tallest building that makes me dislikes this "full of Feng Sui" features building.
Perhaps the architect tried so hard to comply with the Taiwanese clients` demand who wanted something different from China mainland sky-scapers and like usual wanted to show that Taiwan is more "Chinese" than the Chinese themseldves in the mainland, that they (the architect) ended up decorating 101 with too many Chinese features.

Luckily there is no Batik or Wau ( Malaysian traditonal kite ) featured on Petronas Tower.
Petronas Tower is still my favourite sky-scraper (although it is not locally designed).

The Taipei 101 Building standing at 508m as the world tallest building.
(Petronas Tower, Kuala Lumpur stands at 452m)

The are many Chinese feature on this building inculding this Dragon Backbone, use as the roof truss in the Taipei IOI Shopping Center

The Mezzenine Floor

Shin Kwang shopping arcade near Taipei 101.. everything here costs an arm and a leg..!!!

So.. this is the forbidden photo

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A typical night market in Taipei

The colour is as good as its taste

A bowl of happiness ! Sweet and warm.

Tofu-fa (bean curd) + boiled nut + sweet syrup.. will make yor body "puru-puru"

Rice Noodle in Sticky Gravy... plus deep fried fish cake

Meat Ball with Noodle

Nah, it is just starch made frog-egg-like sweet dessert...uw..yummy desu yo !

Japanese strawberry may be bigger .. but they dont have the Strawberry Bijin (Pretty Lady) hahaha

We have the Taiwan famous "Preserved Egg" Bijin here.

"Pin Nang" eaten with calcium carbonate paste will make you HOT and DIZZY !

Sea food in Dan Tsui