Tianamen means ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’. The square is reputed to be the largest square in the world. And indeed it was! We were there on a Saturday and the place was packed with humanity!!! I reckoned that there were probably 20,000 people in the square that day! Many of them were tourist from other parts of China, patiently lining up to pay their respect to Mao Tze-Tung in his mausoleum.
The most vivid recollection of Tianamen Square in my mind was that of a chinese man standing in defiance in front of a chinese tank. That was man years ago, during the massive crackdown by the Chinese Authorities on people demanding democratic freedom.
However, on that Saturday, there were no tanks nor were there any demonstrations. It was all peaceful and cold. Standing there amongst the the myriads of people, I felt small. The vastness of the place just overwhelmed me. The buildings were so big, it made our Midvalley Megamall looked like a toilet! With that kind of size and magnitude, it’s hard not to feel small.
Don’t know where these ladies came from but they sure had colorful clothings.
The National Muzeum
Tianamen Square. The portrait of Mao Tze Tung overhang the entrance to the Forbidden City
The Great Hall of The People
The National Muzeum in Beijing
Chairman Mao’s mausoleum in the distance
Part of our tour group.
Feeling cold and hungry in Tianamen Square. Btw, I am wearing here my ‘Hugo Boss’ jacket bought for a song at a bazaar the night before. Took a bit of bargaining skill to bring the price down from RMB380 to RMB100. It’s a nice piece of clothing, very professionally done.
Kite flying in Tianamen Square
Chinese soldiers. There were many of them. I think they were posted to work in the Forbidden City.
On the 3rd day of our tour of Beijing, we visited the Tianamen Square (Tianamen: Gate of Heavenly Peace). It was tough chasing after this little boy to snap a pic of his …well, behind! What a funny piece of clothing! I guess it makes sense…you can just squat and poop or pee without having to take off your pants!! How come they don’t make such pants for adults???
Recently our ‘representatives of the people’ had a field day in parliament complaining about the poor standard of the civil service. The new buzz word now is ‘poor delivery system’. They spoke with much passion, as if it’s something new, or perhaps the scales have suddenly fallen from their eyes now and they are suddenly aware at how appalling the civil service is. As far as I know, the civil service has always been appalling.
It all started with one politician complaining about the rude treatment he received from a doctor in the emergency room of a government hospital. He was peeved that he was unceremoniously ushered out of the room; blaming the doctor for not realising who he was and the fact that he was the one who brought the victim to the ER.
I don’t know the real situation then or what emotions transpired then; but I have my fair share of woes dealing with VVIPs who come into the ER throwing their weight around, demanding this or that, behaving like absolute maharajahs. And most times, their conditions do not even warrant emergency treatment. And these VVIPs usually comes with an entourage, a bunch of well-wishers (I don’t want to use a more unpleasant word-which describes an intimate anatomical contact between the contracted orbicularis oris of one person and the VVIP’s gluteus maximus) who do not nothing more than stand around, look important, suitably concerned and totally obstructing the smooth flow of work in the ER.
Perhaps that doctor was rude. Maybe he has worked 48 hours non-stop prior to that. Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he was just to tired to care. Or maybe he was stuck in the OR the last 8 hours retracting the liver so some surgeons can operate with a clear view.
I don’t know how that politician behaved. Was he rude too? Did he throw his weight around?
Who to believe now? Judging by the results of a poll recently (Read my article on 19th April, 2006), I am more inclined to disbelieve the politician….
You learn something new everyday and here in Beijing is where I first heard of the word ‘Cloisonne’. It’s an ancient art, originating from Beijing and became very popular during the Jing Tai period in the Ming Dynasty. Because blue was the dominant colour, it was also known as the Blue of Jing Tai. We visited one such factory in Beijing where normal dull looking copper was transformed into beautiful pieces of exquisite art.
Some examples of the beautiful Cloisonne vases
Tiny strips of copper were painstakingly stuck onto the plain copper vase
A job that needs very delicate hands and loads of patience
Not to mention perfect eye sight too
Next enamel was slowly filled into the gaps between the copper strips
Various dyes were used to colour the hardened enamel
These were freshly painted items
Hottest job around as this lady ‘fires’ the enamel in a kiln. The temperature within the kiln was about 200 celcius. It’s nice and warm in winter, I am not too sure it’s nice in summer! She has to fire the items repeatedly to get just the right shine
Next, the item is sent for polishing
And more polishing…
The final products – Cloisonne plates
Cloisonne chopsticks anyone?
We didn’t buy any of the products. They were expensive and also because it would be difficult to carry them around. And they will probably be destroyed anyway in my home with my 2 kids running wild. Thank God for digital cameras. If you can’t buy them, at least ‘snap’ them!!