China Research

Hong Kong 2011 - First Week

Where to even start? I arrived in Hong Kong June 2nd and it has been an amazing first week. I have had the opportunity to come to HK and experience all that a massive international city has to offer. Including the traditional Chinese restaurants hidden from one place to another, the British environments located around Central, the breath taking views and extreme geology of the region. Hong Kong is truly an amazing city with more to offer than I could handle in just two months. But this is nothing short of what the past students and others I have talked to said to expect! Perfect.

To the right of my computer desk out my window is obviously tall buildings but there is also the landscape in the background. Every morning and night working at my desk I get to sit here and see that. In the short time that I have been in HK so far I’ve done several different things. A couple of the adventures so far that really have stuck include the hike up to the Garden after the stop at Victorias Peak. Did you know that the police man at the Tram station stands in a box still with no movement for the entire day - no a bead of sweat?! It is truly astonishing. It could be because he is made of wax but we won’t make any assumptions! From the garden sitting on the ledge you can look over the open water and see faint misty islands in the distance, that is what I call true serenity. I’d rather be no other place.

Has anyone heard of The Stanley Buzz? Let me know when it gets around to you - I’ll elaborate. I actually had the pleasure to meet the creator of The Stanley Buzz, very interesting stuff. The Dragon Boat Festivals in Hong Kong are a massive get together of boat racing teams, their fans, locals, food vendors, t-shirt vendors, fabulous beer, whole pizza - they don’t sell it by the slice if you’re ever here for the DBFs, and many other things. The Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration. (proceedings courtesy of chineseculture)┬áLike other Chinese festivals, there is also a legend behind the festival. Qu Yuan served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States (475 - 221 BC). He was a wise and erudite man. His ability and fight against corruption antagonized other court officials. They exerted their evil influence on the Emperor, so the Emperor gradually dismissed Qu Yuan and eventually exiled him. During his exile, Qu Yuan did not give up. He traveled extensively, taught and wrote about his ideas. His works, the Lament (Li Sao), the Nine Chapters (Jiu Zhang), and Wen tian, are masterpieces and invaluable for studying ancient Chinese culture. He saw the gradual decline of his mother country, the Chu State. And when he heard that the Chu State was defeated by the strong Qin State, he was so despaired that he ended his life by flinging himself into the Miluo River.Legend says after people heard he drowned, they were greatly dismayed. Fishermen raced to the spot in their boats to search for his body. Unable to find his body, people threw zongzi, eggs and other food into the river to feed fish, so hoped to salvage his body. Since then, people started to commemorate Qu Yuan through dragon boat races, eating zongzi and other activities, on the anniversary of his death, the 5th of the fifth month.

To make a long story short- The Dragon Boat Festivals are a great representation of deep past Chinese culture, but it is also by far much more than that. I will try to post a video of the festivities on this blog, no guarantees. Aside from all the fun sight seeing I’ve just figured out what my project will be while I am here and now I can get started on preliminaries at HKUSD a separate campus from where I am staying (At HKBU) and after I fabricate a semi-natural environment for the soft coral to survive in and I’m sure they will make it I will start the actual experiment at yet another spot called SWIMS. It is on the South East corner of the island way away from cell phone service or internet! I will have to re-fabricate that same environment in the out door tanks provided at SWIMS and stay to do 24 hour measurements as well as daily and nightly from day to day depending on what and when. It will be very exciting & will give me the opportunity to not only work with Hong Kong Baptist University but also two other universities and their facilities.

I’m currently reading a book by a Chinese author named Xinran. The novel is called Chinese Witness- Voices From A Silent Generation. She is a Chinese journalist who moved with her sun PanPan to Britain but still followed absolutely everything taking place in Mainland China, especially for the years after the “Mao Liberation” took place. Her special interests were in interviewing older generations that have lived through so much to see if they would open up and describe to the younger generations what really has been taking place in China. As Xinran says, it is very uncommon for the Chinese to open up and speak as individuals for many reasons, including that their vocabulary at times does not permit them to. They may only know how to answer political questions or questions that they were taught to answer growing up even if it wasn’t what they believed or thought. I’m far from finishing the book but I plan on keeping anybody updated on what it actually says. She does get some good interviews, even from Mao’s Chief Executive at the time - which is astonishing.

For Now,