Daily Archives: September 19, 2010

Ye of delicate stomachs, do not read this…..

Written by Paul Adkins

A news reporter friend of mine is aghast at the tip he has received. So aghast that he is looking to run down the facts on this story and get it onto the world’s airwaves.

The story that he is following is that some unscrupulous street-side food vendors are selling cat meat as lamb. They achieve the flavour match, so the story goes, by soaking the cat meat in sheep urine.

I warned you not to read this.

I am not sure how my friend is going to prove this story, much less how he will report it. How does one go about it? Approach your local food vendor on the next street corner and ask him? Trace the deliveries back to their source and find trays of meat soaking in liquid? Send samples to a laboratory? Certainly not via a taste test.

If he does get enough facts together to put a story together (he is a TV reporter), then this story is set to go viral. He works for a major news outlet, and has had stories go around the world before, so it won’t be the first time for him. Though I doubt he will want to be remembered as the guy who broke the “cat meat/lamb piss” story.

I hear you asking, and I have to say, I see very few stray cats here in Beijing…..

Lunar Lunacy

Written by Paul Adkins

China sometimes cashes in on its 5000 year history a little more than necessary.   I know there are some traditional people out there in the Middle Kingdom, but the lunacy that is this week is one example of how this country is not yet in the 21st century.

There’s a full moon coming up on September 23.   In the lunar cycle here in China, that represents mid-Autumn.   An excuse to have a two-day holiday, and to give gifts of “moon cakes” – hideous delicacies that everyone gives away, but nobody eats.   Try googling “moon cakes” to get more information on these little monsters.

But more to the point, the authorities declared that since Wednesday and Thursday are public holidays, therefore Friday should also be a day off, to connect with the weekend.   But since Friday doesn’t qualify as a holiday, therefore all Chinese had to work yesterday.   Government offices, SOE’s and most Chinese businesses were open for business Sunday.

So we get a one-day weekend, a to-day working week, then a 5-day break.   Great for the workers, true.   But this arrangement pays absolutely no heed to the fact that China is part of the modern world.   Virtually no foreign businesses were open yesterday, and most of my foreign friends told me they would not be going into the office yesterday.

Apart from the Middle East, virtually nowhere else in the world was open for business on Sunday.   Yet Wednesday to Friday when the rest of the world does want to connect with China, we will be closed!   I do not understand why the authorities solemnly stick to an archaic calendar which does nothing except to sustain superstition and create disruption.   Why not simply move the holidays back one day to Thursday and Friday?

Consider the case of an Australian friend of mine.   Her older son goes to primary school (which was open yesterday), but her younger son goes to Eton pre-school (which was closed).   Her husband had to work yesterday,  but Wednesday he has to travel.   Then on Wednesday, the older boy’s school will be closed, but Eton will be open.

To those of you who are clients of AZ China, I will still be checking emails, even if I can’t answer your question until all the factories and offices re-open.   By the way, we sent our Chinese staff home at lunch time yesterday.

By the way, we also have October holidays coming up.   October 1 to 7 will be public holidays here in China, to mark 61 years since Chairman Mao took over the country.   (That’s the other irony – the authorities pay homage to ancient superstitions and beliefs from the 5000 year old lunar calendar, then give us a week off for an event that was meant to clean out the old ways.)