June 1, 2008

Sleepless beijing

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:10 am by changisme

Warm summer night, raindrops no longer patter on the window. This is what summer is. I lay on the slippery and cool bamboo sheet savouring the sleepless moments and my fathers light snores.
When the plane took off, I had a strange feeling of uncertainty, was I leaving home or going home? As for now, I still don’t know.
When I stepped off of the plane, the wave of dry heat envelopped me, I had longed for it for so long that I prepared for this monumental ceremony. I strippe down my sweat shirt and jeans leaving the tank top and boy shorts on. Somehow, doing this right before custom and in the open area of the brand new airport, number 3, felt very exhilirating. The new airport had a train, just like those in Chicago and Dalla. It’s just as enormous. At the mean time, both the new and the old airport are under use, but all the international flights are in the one.
At the custom, a little boy asked his mother in front of the signage that says "foreingers", "Wo mama shi zhongguo ren, danshi wo shi zai jianada sheng de, na wa shi shen me ren na?" I born by Chinese, but I was born in Canada, what kinda boy am I? The mother looked at him didn’ t know what to say, and the little boy answered himeself, "Ban la ban, ba." Maybe I’m half and half. The mother didn’t deny, it’s probably as accurate as it could get at this point, or maybe… they are, um.. they are just a different species of alien on their own? 
My dad stood in the forefront of the crowd in between the sign of name and travel agencies. He still look the same, to me anyways, a few more white hairs probably. He still carries the same big smile with the same lips as mine. He pushed my luggage out into the open, where all the cabs lined up like fabulous babes in uniforms. The new looks of yellow and green is certainly fresh and exciting to me. The drivers are still the same though, and bookmark, this is the part that feels like home, after the summer weather. The cab driver had a thick Beijing accent and asked us if we could say a closer destination to screening guy ouside. Aparently, the system work like this, if a cab driver takes a job that is within 40K round trip and returns within an hour, he doesn’t need to line up again, but our home is probably just over the 40k mark. So, at the screening person in the bright yellow vest, we wound up saying we were going to somewhere closer. Half way through the trip, the driver actually stopped along the the curb and opened the front panel of the car and pulled off the milage meter. LOL It’s so home.
My dad lives in the building my cousin and aunt used to live and where I used to spend some weekends and summers. It’s the same red brick walls and narrow cement staircase. My dad hauled the big suitcase up to the sixth floor. Oh, the only difference is that now, they have the apartment calling security system and the card key for the outer door. it’s quite strange to be in such an old building where vines thickly covers the bicycle shack.
My jetleg was all over the place, so I took a shower and rested while my dad watched TV beside me. It felt like the safest place in the world, with the old TV streaming into my ears. After awhile, we went out and bought some yogurt and crackers and watermelon and stopped at this little restaurant. It had bright red walls, as red as the chilly pepers in almost every dish. We ordered tofu and cabbage stew, which we didn’t expect to be spicy, but tasted soo good, and Xiao Chao Rou, some stir fried pork shops with jalipenos. My dad had a beer. He looked really happy and ate and talked with sweat rolling down his forehead.
According to him, there’s an interesting phenomenon in China now, due to the earthquake. Since, so many people died, the public is donating a lot more money and giving a lot more support than other disasters in the past. Big corporations are donating a lot too. This is not the strange part, the strange part i that, people ranked the companies by the amount they donate and started boycotting those that donated less. They called the boycotting list the "Iron Cock List", meaning they are stingy. there are a few public figure became either very red or very black due to the public reaction, mostly on the internet. I think many older generation corporate leaders did not expect the amount of public power the internet has, especially since they were not used to media having so much public input before. One of the public figures is a very successful rea estate leader. He had a very positive image before due to the many things he did and refused to do in the past. This time, apparently, he donated 2 million because according to him, the council has 10 million each year budgeted for donation, and they’ve already spent 8 million. The bad thing he said was that donating 2 million should be appropriate and people shouldn’t donate too much. I think he might have meant that people shouldn’t compete like that, but in any case, it caused the most significant uproar in the internetsphere and he had to apologize in public, and wound up donating 100 million, which some other big crporations also did. But his bad name is made, now people are refusing to accept his apologies and said that he probably jsut wants to squeez into the real estate market during the time of the rebuilt.
I guess I’m quite glad that the public has such influence now, but with such a enormous population, the strong influence could be scary. Also, I think my worries lie less on how much the corporations are donating, more on the potential corruption that could occur in handling these large sums of money over the next months or even years.
Alright… I’ll try to sleep again.


  1. Nicolas said,


  2. olee said,

    welcome to beijing, welcome home, my chang!!!!i\’m really jealous while reading between the lines and feel like that i\’m just on ur side by every step. just the same i had on my arrival in beijing too. so home, so familiar, though so many changes and for a foreigner it\’d be just a new world comparing to the last few years. but to me its somehow still the same. i live in my memory and have always my dreams in beijing.it\’s sooo lovely to read every detail u wrote, especially the food-part! haha watermelon oh my love° i just cant get rid of those summer tastes in beijing – watermelon, peach, lychee and ice noodle (liang mian) which r definitely luxus here in germany or u just cant get it anywhere. it\’s so nice to read and imagine how\’s ur dad doin, it\’s hard to imagine how much it means for ur family to have u home again. enjoy the time in beijing!!!i know it\’s hot there as it used to be. but that is just a part of summer in beijing, u know that, right? (ni men jia mei kong tiao ah, bao beir?!)

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