Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Archive for the ‘Falling Cow Zone’ Category

Where for art thou, Falling Cow?

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, December 10, 2010

A good mate of mine, a local laddie who hates this place even more than I do, once said to me: “Do you know why we say Confucius? Because he very confuse us!”

Yeah, well, by Chinese standards that was very funny and probably qualifies as Joke of the Year. And, like all great comedy (and trust me on this one, that really was great comedy. It had them rolling in the aisles in Hefei) it contains more than an ounce of truth.

I reckon anyone who says “Man go through airport security sideways going to Bangkok” must know what he’s on about.

But he was a funny old geezer, that Confucius. Mad as a hatter, of course, and like all great Chinese in history, as bent as a nine bob note. He wore a dress, did you know that? And kept a small stable of young boys for his, ahem, entertainment. And he was forever going around saying things like “Man with one chopstick go hungry”. No one understood him then, and no one understands him now.

Despite this, however, Confucius apparently did understand his fellow Chinese rather well, as illustrated by this wee gem: “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame”. “An oppressive government is more feared than a tiger” is another tasty morsel at his feast of wisdom.

I think Confucius would have understood all too well the morals and motivations of China’s present ruling dynasty, but I’m not entirely certain that he would have approved of his name being associated with a world-wide spy network, or a charlatan ‘prize’. That said, he would without any doubt have laughed his ass off at the clowns who handed out that prize last night…

The so-called ‘Confucius Peace Prize’ was created by the mandarins in Peking last week in order to show the world that people from Norway are bad. Or something along those lines; it never was terribly clear what the award was actually for, which is just one more reason why my friend’s joke is so apt. Something about the Chinese viewpoint of peace, I think, which means putting people in prison if they look at you funny.

The nominees were: the 11th Panchen Lama (selected by Peking after the real 11th Panchen Lama was made to disappear), a Chinese poet no one has ever heard of before (but who conveniently holds a post at the Ministry of Culture), and six ‘international figures’ who were not actually named. But the winner, who was selected after a nationwide online poll that organisers later admitted didn’t take place, was former Taiwanese vice-president Lien Chan. Chan wasn’t there to receive the prize, because he “was unaware he had been chosen or even that there was such a prize named after the famed Chinese sage”, according to his office. And so, his prize was given instead to a six-year-old girl. No one knows anything about her, except that she is the daughter of one of the committee members, and he is now taking care of the RMB$100,000 prize money for her. Questioned by reporters as to the nominee selection process, the committee chairman replied it was “a very long and complicated process. We can discuss this in the future”. He then departed hastily.

Chinese authorities have denied that this award is in any way linked to the highly respected Nobel Peace Prize, awarded this year to Liu Xiaobo for his two decades of non-violent struggle for human rights, saying “Norway is only a small country with scarce land area and population … it must be in the minority in terms of other relatively large numbers concerning the conception of freedom and democracy”. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: “those people at the Nobel committee have to admit they are in the minority. The Chinese people and the overwhelming majority of people in the world oppose what they do.”

Confucius would have loved it. And the Nobel Committee will have the last laugh of all.

But nobody goes away empty handed at MyLaowai (the internally-renowned and very-famous-in-the-world award-winning scholarly resource). And so I dedicate this Falling Cow Award to the assclowns in Peking who seem to think the rest of us are all too stupid to see them for the yellow-tailed bamboo monkeys that they are. China, the joke’s on you.

And my deepest respects to Liu Xiaobo and the thousands of other genuine peace activists who are now either under house arrest or are languishing in Chinese prisons. Because if this country is to have any future at all, it lies with them and not with the thugs and criminals who are currently in charge.

Falling Cow Award
When called an idiot sometimes is better to be quiet than to open mouth and remove all doubt.

Posted in Democracy, Falling Cow Zone, Human Rights, Media | 89 Comments »

Happy Birthday, Falling Cow

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, October 1, 2009

I’m constantly being reminded that China is the most ancient country in the world. It’s something that people are obliged to mention at least once every time they meet a foreigner. “Yes, I do like the new BMW 6 series convertible, did you know that cars were invented in China, the oldest country in the world?” is a fairly normal example. Personally, I wouldn’t be too quick to admit to coming from the country that has been developing longest for the least net gain, but that’s just a personal bias. ‘Five Thousand Years and Still Developing’ might be a catchy slogan, but it isn’t one that I’d want greeting tourists as they stepped off the plane in my country.

Now, about China being the oldest country in the world… that isn’t exactly true, but Ill concede that there is a history in this region that goes back a long way, almost as far as some European countries, in fact. Let us examine a few details together:

China, better known as Red China, formally known as the People’s Republic of China (and known by everyone who has ever visited as the People’s Republic of Cheats), was founded October 1st, 1949, after the legally elected government was overthrown by communist rebels. How old is China? Sixty. That’s younger than my father, and come to think of it, he’s in better condition mentally and physically too (though he has no plans to be World Hegemon that I am aware of).

To be fair though, when Chinese talk about how old China is, they are not referring to the PRC. They are talking about their culture. Fair enough, that’s reasonable, even if we are to overlook the fact that there is more culture in a pot of yoghurt. So, how old is the culture? And what is this ‘China’ that the Han are so keen on?

China: A History Lesson.

The first thing you need to understand is that the Chinese don’t know how to measure time properly. Really, I’m not being facetious, they really have no idea of dates and stuff. To them, all the entire history of the universe is measured in terms of Dynasties. Everything from the Big Bang on is subject to rule by a Chinese Dynasty. Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s just the way it is for these people. Unfortunately, the truth is that most of these ‘Dynasties’ did not actually exist in the sense of actual historical fact. Take this one for instance:

Xia Dynasty (ca. 2,070 BC to 1,600 BC)
This was the first ‘Official’ Dynasty, if we look past the even more dubious Dynasties of Homo Erectus et al. Most serious scholars doubt it’s existence, though most will concede that primitive people were scratching a living out of the mud and grass at the time. They probably used fire, and this is why the Chinese claim to have been the inventors of Fire. Hey, you know what? That’s a good enough story that I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt – China has certainly existed since 2,070 BC. Let’s have a look at a map of contemporary China, shall we:

Xia Dynasty 2,070 BC – 1,600 BC

The first actually proven Dynasty, as indicated by actual evidence, was the Shang (1,600 BC to 1,046 BC). However, what is referred to by the Chinese as being a ‘Dynasty’, was really little more than a collection of villages, without much in the way of a unifying power structure. It was, by any meaningful yardstick, no different to Neolithic Europe. The various tribes did apparently possess conceptual art, and scratched pictures of stick figures in shells – the Chinese today claim that this proves that Chinese invented language, but this was no more a language than are chickens scratching their claws in the dust.

The Shang was followed by the Zhou. This was a real Dynasty, or ‘nation’ as we would say. It ran from 1,045 BC to 221 BC. This means that the Zhou got started around the same time as the Iron Age was rolling out product in Europe, the Phoenician and Tamil civilisations were using advanced systems of writing, and the Assyrians (amongst others) were getting started on the Empire Building game. The Zhou were a motley collection of military states that relied heavily on technology such as the chariot (imported from the more advanced Central Asian states) and heavy state control. Some have claimed that the Zhou understood iron-working, and this may even be true, but it was a bronze-age culture. Let’s take a look at the Zhou, shall we?

Zhou Dynasty 1,045 BC – 221 BC

It is incorrect to think of the Zhou as one happy nation, as there were in fact many small nations, each fighting tooth and nail for power over the others. This was a kind of Dark Ages, but the Chinese like names that sound lovely, so they call this the ‘Spring and Autumn Period‘. It was followed by the ‘Warring States Period‘, which was more of the same, but worse. In all, the Dark Ages lasted from the 8th century BC to 214 BC, when China’s first real Chairman seized power. His name was Qin Shi Huangdi, he was a raving homosexual who took to wearing women’s clothes around the palace, and the state he founded is regarded as the model for the first truly Chinese state. Here’s what it looked like:

Qin Dynasty 214 BC – 206 BC

The Qin Dynasty was short-lived, but it set the management style for all future generations of people to be ruled by China. That style consisted of brutal oppression of the masses, rigid control of the people by the state, and absolute power of the Chairman. Everyone was to speak the same, think the same, and act the same. Oh yes, Mister Qin had a very pronounced impact indeed! In the 20th Century, Dictator Mao Zedong was known to have studied Qin Shi Huangdi very closely, and styled his new People’s Republic closely along the lines of the Qin Dynasty. Mao even went as far as practising man-love too. Who says history never repeats?

The Han came next, lasting from 202 BC to 220 AD. The Han are the ethnic group that today exercises total control over all territory garrisoned by the Red Army, including Tibet, East Turkestan and even parts of Mongolia. At the time, however, they were far smaller, as can be seen here:

Han Dynasty 202 BC – 220 AD
The First Chinese Dynasty

The Han Dynasty grew by granting neighbouring states the ‘status’ of Autonomous Regions, which over time came to be absorbed by the Han via forced immigration. Despite this, in actual warfare the Han lost at least as many battles as they won, and frequently signed Treaties with their enemies as a means of avoiding being carved up in return. No such Treaties were ever meant to be honoured, of course. Nevertheless, however you look at it, the Han were successful in consolidating Chinese power, and were in fact the first properly Chinese Dynasty. China is therefore definitively 2,211 years old, at least in terms of culture.

After the Han Dynasty fell over, lots of people took turns at running the place, including Tibetans, Turks, Mongolians, and other groups who are today referred to as ‘minorities’, but it wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty raised it’s head that ‘China’ got put back together again. The Tang (618 AD to 907 AD) were arguably the only Chinese Dynasty who were even vaguely enlightened, making Buddhism the State Religion and encouraging trade with the nations to the west. The Tang benefited greatly from the import of technology and ideas from Europe and the Middle East and represent the high water mark of Chinese culture. They also managed to successfully invade a number of regions to the west. Here’s how things looked at their peak:

Tang Dynasty 618 AD – 907 AD

Following the Tang, the region fell back into the Dark Ages, but things looked up with the advent of the Song Dynasty. The Song were not Han Chinese, although the Han today claim otherwise. It was during the Song that the so-called Great Inventions took place. The Song were defeated comprehensively by the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, and nearly all of East Asia became part of the Mongolian Empire. The Chinese today claim that Genghis Khan was Chinese, and thus that China during the so-called ‘Yuan Dynasty’ extended as far as Europe, but of course that is nonsense. After the Yuan Dynasty collapsed (the Mongols never really were much good at administration), large parts of their territory were administered by the Ming Dynasty. The Ming were Han, the men wore dresses and nail varnish, and they inherited a large chunk of land from their former overlords:

Ming Dynasty 1368 AD – 1644 AD

During the Ming, there was constant war with the neighbours, and large empires such as that of Tibet frequently sent them packing. Despite this, the Ming were a strong state, and consolidated their power over ‘minorities’ by forced military colonisation and a huge secret police force that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The Ming invented the philosophical concept of ‘sinification‘ of other ethnic groups by these, and other means.

The Ming were replaced by the Qing who, being Manchu, were as Chinese as the Song and Yuan had been. Despite this, the Chinese today claim that the Qing was also Chinese.

The next, and most recent, Chinese Dynasty was the Chinese Communist Dynasty (1949 AD to present), founded when the legally elected Government was overthrown by Communist rebels. Their leader, Mao Zedong, has gone down as the most brutal dictator in human history, being responsible for more deaths than Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined. The brutality of his reign is largely overlooked by Han Chinese today, as he possessed the virtue of hating foreigners even more than he hated his own people. During the Communist Dynasty, China has more than doubled in size, by invading and annexing many of it’s neighbours. Quite an accomplishment, and one which the Han people are keen to continue with in the future, if the feeling on the streets is anything to go by. They are celebrating their 60th birthday today. Many of the men have also taken to mincing about in the streets again. There’s a definite pattern there.

China, sixty years old and going on five thousand, happy birthday. Here’s your Falling Cow:

Happy Birthday, Falling Cow
Year of the Falling Cow

Posted in Annexed Territories, China, Falling Cow Zone, Festivals et al, Lies & Damned Lies | 74 Comments »

Falling Cow Auction – Update

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Dogs Or Chinese

Posted in Falling Cow Zone | 1 Comment »

Christie’s To Auction Falling Cow!

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, March 2, 2009

ChinaDaily, the propaganda mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, had this to say recently:

China fights to stop sale of looted relics.

China Tuesday demanded the auction of two looted historic bronze sculptures in Paris be canceled, saying it broke international conventions.

The auction seriously violates the country’s cultural rights and interests, and hurts national sentiment, it said.

A Paris court on Monday ruled against stopping the sale of the sculptures, rejecting an appeal filed by the Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe.

The heads were taken from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace when it was razed by invading French and British forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

“The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) has formally informed the auctioneer of our strong opposition to the auction, and clearly demanded its cancellation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a news conference.

“The Western powers have plundered a great amount of Chinese cultural relics including many precious items robbed from the Old Summer Palace. All these should be returned to China,” Ma said.

Potent stuff and, I’m sure you’ll agree, well worth further consideration. So here at MyLaowai HQ, we went to work finding out what all this hullabaloo is all about…

The Qing Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty (or Manchu) ruled China from 1644 to 1912, but the really interesting thing is that they weren’t Chinese. The Qing were in fact Russians (specifically, descended from Jurchens, a Tungusic people who lived around the region now comprising the Russian province of Primorsky Krai). They didn’t like the Chinese, they didn’t trust the Chinese, and they most certainly didn’t see themselves as being even remotely related to the Chinese, who were after all nothing more than chattel in the eyes of the ruling Manchu. They famously forced all Han Chinese men to shave the front of their heads and comb the remaining hair into a queue, on pain of death. To the Manchu, this policy was a test of loyalty and an aid in telling friend from foe. For the Han Chinese, however, it was a “humiliating act of degradation” that went against their traditional Confucian values. The order was so deeply unpopular that it triggered strong resistance to Qing rule until at least the late 1640s. Hundreds of thousands were killed before all of China was brought into compliance. As a result of this ‘Queue Order’, to this day the Chinese hold a deep aversion to queues of any kind.

The Opium Wars. In 1793, the Emperor of China stated to the British Ambassador that China had no use for European manufactured products, and that as a consequence, Chinese merchants would only accept bar silver as payment for their goods. The British and French governments eventually sought alternative payment options, one of which was opium. The Chinese Government, which held a monopoly over the growing, production, refining, distribution, and export of this profitable drug, responded by banning foreigners from the Opium Trade altogether, and seizing or destroying stocks of opium held by foreign traders.. This led to a bit of a scrap (later referred to as the First Opium War) between the East India Company and the Chinese Government, which was resolved when the Chinese Government agreed to play fair and by international rules, and signed the Treaty of Nanjing. This is generally regarded as signalling the end of China’s isolation.

The Second Opium War came about as a result of international demands that China open it’s markets to foreign merchants, exempt foreign imports from illegal ‘internal transit duties’, stop acts of piracy, regulate the coolie trade, and give permission for foreign ambassadors to reside in Beijing. The Chinese Government completely rejected all such demands, and furthermore refused to honour the terms of the Treaty of Nanjing that it had signed. That was followed by an attempt to poison the entire European population of Hong Kong. However, local bakers, who had been charged with lacing bread with arsenic, bungled the attempt by putting an excess of the poison into the dough, in sufficient quantities to be detected. Criers were sent out with an alert, averting disaster. Enough was enough, and the international community responded by telling the Chinese to play fair and by the rules, or else face the consequences. All parties then signed the Tianjin Treaty, which essentially granted permission for foreigners to travel in China, and forced the Chinese Government to pay compensation to British merchants for the illegal destruction of their property. The Chinese, predictably, did not honour the terms of the Treaty they had just signed, and insisted the British meet for ‘peace talks’. When the British sent an envoy to these ‘peace talks’, he and his entire entourage were arrested and tortured, with some brutally murdered. The international community discussed the destruction of the Forbidden City in order to discourage the Chinese from using kidnapping as a bargaining tool, and to exact justice for the mistreatment of their hostages. The final decision was further motivated by the torture and murder of almost twenty Western prisoners, including two British envoys and a journalist for The Times. The Russian envoy Count Ignatiev and the French diplomat Baron Gros settled on the burning of the Summer Palaces instead, since it was “least objectionable” and would not jeopardize the treaty.

The ‘Looting’ Of The Old Summer Palace. There are a number of competing theories one must consider here. They are:
The “I was sold these goods by Chinese officials” Theory.
The “This stuff was stolen by Chinese citizens and later sold to foreigners” Theory.
The “All foreigners are to blame for everything, always” Theory.
Personally, I tend to subscribe to a combination of the first two of these Theories, based on the testimony of my Great Great [etc] Grandfather, Captain Angus MacLaowai of the Royal Engineers. He was actually there at the time and his will made note of the fact that the items from the Old Summer Palace he left to his family (and which I today possess), were legally purchased from Wang Xiansheng, a Chinese trader in Beijing. I’ll be damned if I give back something that was legally purchased, just because a Chinese trader stole them in the first place.

Putting It All Together. So, the original makers of the items in question were not Chinese to begin with, but Manchu. The war in question was fully justified and was in fact caused by the Chinese Government not keeping it’s word. And the items themselves were not stolen or looted, but were in fact legally purchased in good faith by innocent foreigners. Christie’s auction of the rat and rabbit bronzes did not break any international agreements and the pieces’ legal ownership has been “clearly confirmed.” It all seems pretty clear to me.

What China Didn’t Mention. There’s something curiously missing from the ‘fire and brimstone’ reporting from ChinaDaily, and that is the fact that the current legal owner of the bronze heads offered to give them to the Chinese Government, free of charge. That’s right folks: Pierre Berge (partner of designer Yves Saint Laurent) offered to return the pieces to China in return for a pledge to improve human rights. That’s it, just a little promise to start behaving responsibly and treat their own people a little bit better. The Chinese foreign ministry dismissed his offer as “just ridiculous.” The Chinese Government went on to say that it demanded the statues’ return, but the French government said it received no official request from Beijing, and the sale went ahead. Berge is offering the proceeds to fight AIDS, while the Beijing-based Global Times is accusing France of “hurting China’s feelings”, as usual.

A Late Twist. A Chinese man said Monday he was the mystery collector behind winning bids for two imperial bronzes auctioned at Christie’s over Beijing’s objections, and that he made bogus offers to protest any sale of the looted relics.

Auction house owner Cai Mingchao said he made the $36 million in bids for the bronze rat and rabbit heads by telephone last week when the pieces were auctioned in Paris as part of a collection owned by the late French designer Yves Saint Laurent.

“What I need to stress is that this money cannot be paid,” Cai told a news conference in Beijing. “At the time, I was thinking that any Chinese would do this if they could…”.

Cai, an art collector and expert on relics, is the owner of Xinheart, an auction company in the southern Chinese city of Xiamen.

And Now, Another Auction. As the current legal owner of a number of items that originated from the Old Summer Palace at the time the Chinese were taught their lesson, I am well within my rights to dispose of the goods in any manner I see fit. I am offering one of these priceless family heirlooms to the New Beijing Museum, free of charge, in exchange for a pledge by the Chinese Government to improve human rights. The piece in question is a bronze that the MyLaowai Family refer to as the Falling Cow.

The ball’s in your court now, chaps.

Falling Cow Auction. Bidding Starts Soon.

Posted in China, Falling Cow Zone, Human Rights, Lies & Damned Lies, Wang Xiansheng | 9 Comments »

The Year of the Falling Cow

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As I noted back in February ’08, the Chinese have long named their years after the things they eat. Last year, for instance, was the Year of the Rat. When the Party announced it, I asked the question: why not have a Year of the Sirloin Steak?

Well, readers, it appears that they have heeded my advice, and named this year, the Year of the Sirloin Steak Cow!

Which is nice.

Since I started this humble magnificent award-winning blog, I have been literally inundated by an email from a reader in the United States of Americaland, asking how this whole Chinese Year thing works. And it’s a fair question, too. Let’s face it, the entire civilised world (and even parts of Australia) considers a year to be the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun, rounded off to the nearest day for accountancy purposes, 365 days (366 once every four years). It’s all rather simple and effective. Yet the Celestial Kingdom of China considers a year to be something to do with how many times the Moon has flown around Beijing, and thus the length of the year varies wildly from, er, year to year. If you see what I mean. And what’s with naming them after local delicacies?

Wot the Planets are Made Of. The Chinese year is complicated (naturally) by the fact that it is also influenced by how many times the entire Solar System revolves around Beijing. The effect this has on the year, is explained by both the materials from which the various planets are comprised (according to scientists and researchers at the Chinese Space Academy), and the dominant life forms that live on them (according to the Chinese Xenobiological Institute). Thus we have:
* Venus – Metal (White Tiger)
* Jupiter – Wood (Azure Dragon)
* Mercury – Water (Black Tortoise)
* Mars – Fire (Vermilion Bird)
* Saturn – Earth (Yellow Dragon)
Note also that this is in fact the correct order in which the planets appear.

According to Chinese mysterious astronomy, a person’s destiny can be determined by the position of the major planets at the person’s birth along with the positions of the Sun, Moon and comets and the person’s time of birth and Zodiac Sign. The system of the twelve-year cycle of animal signs was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter, divided by twelve for reasons that must have seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, then rounded off to the nearest year. There’s also some blather about dividing the whole lot by two and calling it Yin or Yang, but as that’s something to do with your kidneys, no one really cares.

The point is, since we have five planets, and twelve year cycles, the Chinese calendar is therefore 60 years long. Which coincidentally is how old the country is this year. Happy Birthday, China!

The Zoo. In Chinese science, the twelve years are animals. These animals also represent the personalities of the Chinese people who are born in that particular year. This system has been rigorously perfected and scientifically refined over five hundred thousand years of Chinese civilisation, and is known to be absolutely and completely accurate.
* Rat – Manipulative, vindictive, mendacious, venal, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming. But nevertheless delicious.
* Cow (now Sirloin Steak) – Stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding. The horns, intestines, anus and hooves all make for great eating, but the meat just never seems to taste right – only a laowai could eat something like that.
* Tiger – Restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish. Just about every part of a Tiger’s body can be used to make medicine that is scientifically proven to increase the length of your Wang.
* Rabbit – Moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, lazy. Good fun to torture to death then eat.
* Dragon – Arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, eccentric, grandiloquent and extremely bombastic, prejudiced, dogmatic, over-bearing, violent, impetuous, brash. This is the only animal that Chinese won’t eat to extinction over the next decade, mainly because they already have.
* Snake – Loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious. But sublime when mixed with fermented rice water. The bile and blood are particularly good for your vitalkidneyfunction.
* Horse – Fickle, arrogant, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn. It’s rumoured that people in barbarian lands use these food sources for jobs of work, but doesn’t that seem wasteful?
* Sheep – Moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer. Those no-good separatists in East Turkestan Xinjiang eat this all the time, so naturally it’s pumped full of Depo-Provera for their own good.
* Monkey – Egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious. But wonderful when served correctly, i.e. tied down with the skull cut away and the still-living monkey able to enjoy the experience of you scooping its’ brains out with a porcelain spoon.
* Chicken – Critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated. The feet and spine are considered the best parts, but the gizzard is a firm favourite at funeral celebrations.
* Dog – Cynical, lazy, cold, judgemental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome. The meat is best when it is filled with adrenaline. This is produced by the animal just before death, by the careful application of electric shocks and/or burning of the skin and paws.
* Pig – Naive, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic. An animal that is nearly the perfect food source, and as such is therefore forced upon the Muslim populations of the occupied country of East Turkestan and throughout China.

Of course, this is the simplified version for stupid laowai who couldn’t possibly understand True Culture. The actual, accurate, true version works something like this:
While a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the Year of the Dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (five elements x 12 animals in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) , 12 months, 12 times of day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical (as critical as the system of keeping track of what hour of the day it is – there are twelve in total, beginning at 11 p.m. of the previous day and ending at 1 a.m.).

So, just to get it all in perspective, most of 2009 and a part of 2010 is to be known as the Year of the Sirloin Steak, or Ji Chou (which means Stinky Chicken – I don’t know why). It will be a Sirloin Steak tasting of Earth (meaning it will have been cut up in the dirt). Expect visits by Yellow Dragons from Saturn, and if you are a Wood Person, bad luck (Earth is afraid of Wood. Wood needs to fight very hard to win over Strong Earth).

Year of the Sirloin Steak, is it? More like Year of the Falling Cow.

Year Of The Falling Cow

Posted in Falling Cow Zone, Festivals et al | 7 Comments »

Holy (Falling) Cow Batman!

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, December 27, 2008

When any Empire wants to display its artistic achievements to the world, it’s customary for it to build the Pyramid of Cheops, the Lourve, the British Museum, or something similar. The Chinese Empire is no different, and in 1933 Nanjing, former capital of the Empire and a city with a reputation for warmth and hospitality second only to that of Pyongyang, was chosen for the site. When the awe-inspiring Nanjing Museum opened its doors to a suitably impressed public, the reaction of the world was that of wonder. The Imperial Authorities themselves claim that the Museum “now numbers among its extensive collections some 2,000 first class treasures of national and cultural interest. Should you be fascinated by the long and cultured history of China, then this Museum is a ‘must-see’ for you. Let it be an absolutely indispensable part of your itinerary… Even the most uninitiated of visitors will be left speechless in the presence of such artistic beauty and richness.” Bold claims indeed. Let’s see how it measures up…

As one enters the grounds, the first sight one sees is a collection of sculptures of all the Emperors, including that of the current Emperor, Hu Jintao (insert):

Beyond are two buildings, the first of which is currently host to an artistic celebration of thirty years of Opening Up Under Communist Overlordship. This incredible collection of Art represents the work of every great artist since the Communist Dynasty seized power in 1949. No expense has been spared to exhibit it in all it’s stunning splendour:

The second building is home to what is described as “someone’s work”, which may seem somewhat vague until one considers the fact that if anyone in China had done any work, it would automatically qualify for inclusion in a museum, for the enlightenment and wonder of future generations. Unfortunately, security was very tight and I was not permitted entry to the magnificent structure. I did at first wonder at this, but the tight security all became clear to me as I wandered around outside, and chanced across a detachment of the People’s Liberation Army 2nd Artillery Battalion encamped in the woods nearby:

Overall, I was tremendously impressed at the fact that no stone had been left unturned and no corner left uncut in the Empire’s display of it’s artistic talent and power. They even thought to include a children’s play area, designed by China’s greatest sculptors:

Verdict: Entry to the Nanjing Museum does not require a ticket. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that entry is free. It is not free at all. It will cost you your soul at the very least. This honestly does represent the very best collection of Art that the Chinese Empire can assemble, and for that reason, it is a clear winner of a Falling Cow Award.

Nanjing Museum: A Tribute To Ineptitude

Posted in Falling Cow Zone | 33 Comments »

Falling Cow Zone!

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, October 31, 2008

I was wondering the other day, why it is that certain animals are picked to be ‘National Animals’. Could it be because they possess certain attributes that they share with the national character of the nations concerned? On a whim, I decided to check it out…

Bald Eagle: chicken with a superiority complex and an antisocial streak. Check.
Gallic Rooster: strutting pompously around, like it owns the farmyard. Check.
Kangaroo: name means “I don’t understand”. Check.
Xiongmao: does nothing but eat, sleep and shit all day long, and is hopeless in bed….

Wait a minute. Xiongmao? What the hell is a ‘Xiongmao’? It turns out that a Xiongmao is what the Chinese call a Panda. But why? And if they call a Panda a Xiongmao, then where does the word Panda come from?

First up, Xiongmao means Bear Cat. Right. Because it’s an interesting combination of bear and cat, yes? No, actually. A Panda is neither a bear nor a cat, nor any combination of the two. It was long classified as a raccoon, and although some people now insist with some justification it is a bear, no one has ever considered it to be any relation to the cat. Where the cat part comes from is anyone’s guess, but hey this is China and anything is possible.

So, why does everyone else call it a Panda? No one knows. Not one single person has ever come forward and claimed that they invented the word. So perhaps we should be calling it a Xiongmao, because that’s what the Chinese call it. Except that the Chinese also call it Pi, Pixiu, Mo, ZhiYi, BaiHu, not to mention White Fox, White Leopard, and Tiger/Bear. And meng shi shou (beast of prey), bai bao (white leopard), shi tie shou (iron-eating beast), and zhu xiong (bamboo bear). Also, a banded bear (huaxiong), a catlike bear (maoxiong), a bearlike cat (xiongmao), or a great bear-cat (daxiongmao). Jesus titty fucking Christ! I’m sticking to ‘Panda’ after all!

Some Facts About Pandas

FACT! Some Panda’s have actually learned KungFu and have qualified as Grand Masters. They can perform all the secret Arts of WuShoo and can fly through the air like Michelle Yeoh. That’s pretty cool, unless they land on you.

FACT! Panda’s are known to enter Chinese cities at night, where they eat the bamboo scaffolding at construction sites, causing many buildings to collapse. There was a particularly bad infestation of Panda’s in the city of Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, in early May 2008.

FACT! Panda’s are black and white. So was the 1964 classic ‘Doctor Strangelove’.

FACT! Former Communist Party boss Deng Xiaoping regularly smoked cigarettes made from rolled-up Panda skin. He was also the inspiration behind millions of mothers telling their children that “smoking will stunt your growth”.

Some Panda Myths

Myth: The Panda comes only from southwestern China.
Verdict: Untrue. Panda’s in fact were widespread in Burma, Vietnam, and throughout East Asia as far as Beijing and eastern China, until they got eaten nearly to extinction by the local yokels. They’d be extinct now, if not for the efforts of the World Wildlife Fund, and various other international organisations (contrary to what the Propaganda Ministry says, no Westerner killed a Panda until Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt Jr shot one, on an expedition funded by the Field Museum of Natural History in the 1920s. Good for them).

Myth: The Chinese Communists give Panda’s to other countries as part of their diplomatic overtures.
Verdict: Bullshit. China has never, ever, given a Panda to anyone. They have, however, rented them out to zoos all over the world at extortionate rates. The Communists typically charge a million dollars a year, which does not include the building of special facilities, special dietary costs, or salaries for Communist Party ‘experts’ who must be hired along with the Panda. If you want to rent a Panda, you will also be required to spend around a quarter of a million additional dollars per year for unspecified ‘equipment’ that the Chinese Communists deem essential for the Panda’s well-being, but which they keep in China and never show to the public. A few tens of thousands of dollars will also be expected to pay for China’s ‘Panda conservation research’. Finally, if your Panda has a baby, you must pay the Chinese Communist Party hundreds of thousands of dollars on top – and you don’t even get to keep the baby fucking animal, because it belongs to China, too! Very little of this money goes to Panda research or conservation in China. Oh, and your zoo attendance figures won’t go up either, so don’t think that you’re going to be selling any extra admission tickets.

Myth: The Panda is a Protected Animal.
Verdict: Hahahahah! There’s a restaurant not far from where I live, where they serve Panda cooked a variety of ways. I’m not a big fan of it myself, as it tastes a bit like horse, but the kebab’s with fennel seed are quite tasty. And in case you think this is illegal, then take it up with the Police and Party Officials I see eating there on a regular basis.

How did the Panda become China’s National Animal?

Several decades ago, Chinese experts sat down and made a list of all the native animals that had not yet been eaten to extinction. Unable to choose between them, they named both ‘National Animals’. Actually, they named them both ‘National Treasures’, but then the Chinese always use strange words. The other animal was called the Crane, but they’re as common as muck, and besides Japan has better Cranes anyway. Panda Xiongmao it was.

Anyway, I was wondering the other day, why it is that certain animals are picked to be ‘National Animals’. Could it be because they possess certain attributes that they share with the national character of the nations concerned? Hmmm…

Xiongmao: does nothing but eat, sleep and shit all day long, and is hopeless in bed…. Check.

Xiaongmao? Panda? Iron-Eating Beast? Falling Cow is more like it…

Fuck the Panda.

Posted in Falling Cow Zone | 7 Comments »

The Award Formerly Known As Wet Pussy

Posted by MyLaowai on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In an effort to be more harmonious, and to celebrate both 5,000 spam comments and 5,000 years of ‘Culture’, I’ve decided to give the Wet Pussy Award a facelift. That’s right folks, instead of focusing on those traitorous laowai who have gone over to the Dark Side, we will from now on be looking more closely at the rich tapestry of Chinese Culture. I will, every month, review a major Chinese contribution to the World.

Oh, and there’s a new name, too:   The Falling Cow Award. Nice.

I will start with one of the finest museums in the country, the Shanghai Natural History Museum.

According to the official blurb,

The Shanghai Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the largest museums of natural sciences in China. Located at downtown Shanghai, the museum features some British traditional style and covers an area of 12,880 square meters.

Prepared in November 1956, the Shanghai Museum of Natural Sciences opened the Division Museum of Animals to the public in 1960, and the Division Museum of Plants in 1984. The building for exhibition of samples covers a floor space of 3,053 square meters. The exhibition halls of the museum are situated in the Shanghai Botanic Garden and cover a total space of 4,726 square meters.

The museum has a collection of 240,000 samples, including over 62,000 pieces of animal specimens, 135,000 plant specimens, 700 specimens of the Stone Age, and 1,700 specimens of minerals, which are of high value to research on natural evolvement.

The largest exhibit is a dinosaur skeleton of over four storeys high. There are also some rare species, which cannot be found elsewhere outside China, on display, such as a Yellow River mammoth, a giant salamander, a giant panda, and an alligator from the Yangtze River. Besides, the museum boasts more than 60,000 volumes of documents and books on scientific research.

The museum features four exhibition halls: the Hall of the History of the Ancient Animals, the Hall of History of Ancient Anthropology, the Hall of Animals and the Hall of Plants.

It’s a load of hooey, of course. A dilapidated falling down building that hasn’t seen any basic maintenance since the British had it stolen from them by Communist rebels, with a few bits of rocks and a tatty stuffed animal or two on display, hardly qualifies as a museum in my book. That said, it actually isone of the largest museums of natural sciences in China“, which just goes to show the value Chinese people put on education and science.

There’s a wonderful walk-through exhibit that shows the evolution of Man, from terrible ape-like Africans, to the classical-Greek Caucasians, to the Han Chinese. It’s not only guaranteed to offend, it’s ‘Historically Accurate’ as well. The best part is the signs that explain it all from start to finish. Here’s what they say:

About 10-20 million years ago and after having undergone many vicissitudes and frustrations, the natural selection, the adaption and arduous labour, one branch of extremely highly-developed apes, known as early apes, finally brought about their gradual transition from Ape to Man.

As soon as human beings appeared, the human society took shape.

As early as 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, there were ancients living and multiplying in the Shanghai District. Scientists have unearthed more than twenty-five ancient sites ranging from the Neolithic Age to the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Period, obtaining large numbers of precious cultural relics. This is a splendid local history created by our Shanghai ancients.

F-F-F-Fantastic! But not nearly as wonderful as my personal favourite, the Vertebrates Hall. On display was a sampling of the various ways in which Chinese people prepare for consumption many of the unique animals and plants to be found throughout China, for example:

Following that, you walk past a few moth-eaten stuffed mammals and birds, and see before you an enormous map of China, Tibet, East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Taiwan. This map has marked on it many of the species that Han Chinese have eaten to extinction during the last hundred years:

For a ‘developed modern city’ with a population of over twenty million citizens, the showcase of and richest city in a nation of one and a half billion citizens, a nation that can put people into space and can afford the world’s largest standing army, it’s all quite frankly a bloody disgrace. Granted, it only cost me five kuai to get in, but even so I felt ripped off. Chinese people, get your arses to the British Museum at once and see what Culture actually looks like. Alternatively, try any of the Smithsonian sites. Or take a look at some of your neighbours such as Japan or Thailand and see how they do it there. I didn’t see 5,000 years of culture reflected in “one of the largest museums of natural sciences in China“, what I saw was far nearer the 5,000 spam comments I’ve deleted from this blog.

And for that reason, I award the Shanghai Museum of Natural Sciences the inaugural Falling Cow Award:

Shanghai Museum of Natural Sciences – Falling Cow Award September 2008

Posted in Falling Cow Zone, Wet Pussy Awards | 2 Comments »