Now with scorpions and naked frogs!
A wall mural on Baita road, Kunming.
Each of the cartoons is about a metre high, a series of public information posters aimed at government officials. My translation is very loose, and I’ve added bits to make the meaning clearer.
The key character not shown below but written repeatedly on the wall around the posters is “廉” lian2, which means integrity, honesty, incorruptibility.
With bribes of gifts in his house he felt uneasy,
so he sought advice from Zhuge Liang
who gave him a wise answer.
He opened the scroll and the message read: Confess!
Don’t accept dinner invitations as a bribe, nor dine out using public funds
Don’t take monetary bribes
Don’t indulge in vice, don’t visit houses of ill repute
Assess yourself often using the Three Represents as your yardstick
“Your exemplary leadership is important!” says the boy with the People’s democracy t-shirt to the boy with the Party democracy t-shirt (meaning that first democracy should be established within the party then used as an example to be followed by the People).
This poster is aimed at the wife of the official (the bit after the “=” is my own interpretation to make it clearer):
Be considerate = Take care of your husband at home, he works hard as an official.
Be charitable = Donate to worthy causes
Be patient… “As an official you should stay on the right track.” [The characters in white say “The Virtuous Wife.”]
Be tough… “Don’t you come in this house [with your dirty money]” = Help your husband to resist bribes
Above door: Govern for the People
Left door: Supervise public opinion
Right door: Supervise the media
White characters: Meet [the People] with total sincerity and honesty
Next to these cartoons is a long poster with an image of a cormorant, a lake and a snow capped mountain. Over this image is a large amount of text with stories of righteous officials from different dynasties, and how they dealt with bribery and corruption. The stories range from Southern and Northern dynasties (5th – 6th century AD) up to the Qing. It strikes me as odd that they use examples from imperial Chinese history as models of good government, but when I asked Chinese friends about it they didn’t see anything strange.
In Haiyan village southwest of Dianchi lake, Stone Dragon Temple squats on a hillside that looks across the water to the Western Hills.
The first temple on the site was built in the early Ming dynasty (14th century), with a wooden plaque inscribed in the Chongzhen emperor’s own script, “The pine trees in the wind, the moon reflected in the water”. Rebuilt during the Qing dynasty, it was once a large complex where local magistrates would hold open air feasts taking in the view across the lake.
During the anti-Japanese war (1937–45), when Kunming was under threat, the Kunhua provincial high school for girls (an institution of some note) made the temple its temporary home. There were over 1,000 students and several hundred teachers living here. Under headmaster Yang Jiafeng the school was a centre for the new progressive teaching, including printing of the Shanghai based journal Women’s Voice .
In the 1950s the statues and the entrance halls were demolished. During the 1970s’ Study from Dazhai period, the Lake View Pavilion and another temple hall was destroyed and the temple trees cut down to make way for fields of crops. Of the ten inscribed stone tablets (records of major historical events), only one survives. One temple hall was left standing, as were four trees (Cupressus funebris) over a century old. In 1986, it was listed as a protected cultural relic. In 1999 the local village committee spent some money on repairs, and organized 12 village elders to look after the place on a rotation basis.
Now the local government, in conjunction with a large real estate company, is rebuilding the temple from scratch – the existing old buildings will be demolished, though some of the stone carvings and tablets will be saved and replaced in the new building.
Shang Kaiwei owns and runs a chain of driving schools and several taxi cab firms. A successful businessman in his sixties, he has long been a collector, though his collections are a little diverse. They include Mao badges and photographs from the Cultural Revolution, laughing Buddha statues, weird crystal formations, American-made toy cars, bonsai, millstones and antiques.
|Millstones||Photo of Zhu De meeting Mei Lanfang.||Each draw contains over one hundred badges, a collection of thousands.|
These hand-turned millstones were used to grind various grains and legumes (soy beans and peas) into a paste. They’ve now largely been replaced by machines.
The car collection….
It may be a little difficult to make out from the photo, but it’s a model of President Kennedy’s car just before a shadowy figure poked his head above a grassy knoll.
Christmas supplies available at Yunfang wholesale market in Kunming (云纺商业区) under and behind Carrefour on the Double Dragon Bridge bustop (双龙桥), south ringroad. In Dali go to the Purple Cloud Traders Market (紫云商贸区).
The following is pretty much how all the Kunming weddings I’ve been to have been organized (these pictures are from my sister-in-law’s):
First the groom and his family come to the bride’s home. Through begging and bribery (the hong bao – little red envelopes of money – shoved under the door), the groom has to convince the bride and bridesmaids to let him in – they usually make the most of this, getting him to serenade his true love, agree to do all the washing up for a year, etc.
Once the groom is allowed in, he has to find the bride’s shoes which have been hidden somewhere in the bedroom.
|Once the shoes are found, the groom washes the bride’s feet – supposedly because this is the only time he serves his wife, who now has a lifetime of servitude to look forward to. But this is a throw back to less enlightened times, before the glories of Communism and equality of the sexes.
The bride and groom offer tea (敬茶) to the bride’s family, and in return receive hongbao.
|The groom then has to carry the bride from the house to the car. She’s not supposed to touch the ground, which can be a killer if it’s a sixth floor apartment.|
|Next the entire wedding party is chauffeured around the city in expensive cars (rented mostly, with a few lent by well-to-do relatives). There is a stop off for photos somewhere scenic, beside Dianchi Lake or at the Expo Gardens, before going to the hotel.|
The hotel is the venue for the main event, a feast for friends and co-workers. The bride and groom greet guests at the entrance accepting more hong bao, the bride gives a cigarette to male guests, and lights it. The tradition of giving red envelopes of money means that the couple getting married actually make a profit, and the more people you invite the more money you get. This has led things to getting out of hand (there are even cases of people holding a second wedding when they are a bit short of cash).
When the guests arrive at the hotel banqueting hall, the couple go up on stage and are teased by a compere, usually in a good humoured way (like the best man’s speech in a Western wedding), and the parents are invited up to say a few words.
The bride changes again (she changes several times throughout the day – Western white wedding dress and red Chinese qipao/cheongsam is standard), then they go round all the tables toasting (敬酒), often changing again to see people off (送客).
|The last event of the day is nao xin fang (闹新房), which much like a stag night is a chance for the bride and groom’s close friends to torment them before they become mature adults.|
Traditionally it takes place in the bedroom of the couple’s new house, but nowadays usually the hotel where they had the banquet will provide a room because it gets messy – food fights, people getting drunk and sick – so the hotel can take care of the clean up. The bride and groom have to play various games, such as the bride having to move an egg from one of the grooms trouser legs to the other using only her mouth, or the groom has to find peanuts hidden in the brides clothes. Luckily my brother-in-law had drunk himself unconscious by this point, and so was spared.
The photo above was taken when the couple were still in the restaurant toasting every table. Their friends gave the bride a glass of baijiu and wasabi – at this point, the bridesmaid (or best man) can take the couple’s place when drinking.
From a shop in Little Dragon Jewelry Bird and Flower Market in Kunming (take bus 69, it’s right across from Kunming University of Science and Technology ). Click on the image below to see a larger version.
The local information service that you access from using your mobile’s SMS, like Shanghai’s Guanxi service, will soon be coming to Kunming. Unfortunately, as the city is slightly behind Shanghai in the international metropolis stakes, they will only be offering the service in Chinese, but it will work the same way. Send an SMS with the name of a restaurant, a company or even a short description (Kunming driving school) and you’ll get the contact details sent back to you. The number, when the service is launched later this year, will be 50120.
If you want some mobile phone excitment to tide you over, there is the Yunnan news-to-phone service which has only been around for a couple months. Known as Spring City Mobile News, it has been put together by the Yunnan Daily, with content from its own paper as well as Spring City Evening News, Dianchi Lake Morning Post, Yunnan Economic Daily and others.
News content covers Yunnan, China and international stories, as well as finance, sports, and entertainment, and costs RMB 5 per month. Send the message “01″ to the number “08878″ to subscribe. Subscribers can also customize the service by choosing different versions depending on preference (”best of”, “entertainment” etc).
There are over 8,700,000 mobile users in Yunnan province as of the end of 2005, a phone for one in five of Yunnan’s population.
The company behind the SMS information service is DNS (新网互联), www.dns.com.cn [in Chinese].
Information about the news-to-phone service is in this Yunnan Daily article. [in Chinese]
Spring City Mobile News《春城手机报》 chun1 cheng2 shou3 ji1 bao4