Tag Archives: dog

A Sichuan dog barks at the Sun – Nicolas Anelka off to China?

Anelka to Shenhua?

The Chinese idiom a sichuan dog barks at the sun 蜀犬吠日 (Shu quan fei ri) is used to indicate being suprised at something being normal, due to one’s ignorance. During the Tang dynasty Sichuan was a foggy place (now it is just polluted) and when the Sun came out it was a rare occasion. So the dogs barked, thinking something strange was happening.

This link is pretty tenuous. Yesterday, I got pretty excited and started barking at an article in the Sun linking Chelsea forward Nicholas Anelka to Shanghai Shenhua. Apparently, Anelka was being offered £9.2 million per season to join the struggling Shanghai outfit. Where these numbers or stories come from is anybody’s guess.

According to the Sun (and the Mail), Shenhua also recently appointed Miroslav Blazevic, 76, as their new coach. However, standards of journalism at these national papers are clearly not very high. Not only was the Anelka  story a load of tosh, but it is also quite clear that Blazevic is not the manager of Shenhua. Blazevic took the job as national team coach for China, then didn’t qualify for the 2012 Olympics and is now working in Iranian league football side Mes Kerman.

Shenhua’s coach is of course Croatian legend Drazen Besek. To verify, here is a fantastic video of Besek, doing what some managers in the English Premier League should do. One of the Shenhua players ‘collides’ with another on the field, he drops to the floor as though mortally wounded. Besek has none of it and rushes on to the field, tells him to stop faking and picks him up.

Although football fans have come to expect transfer rumours to be just that, they still manage to sell newspapers and generate stories where there are none.

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Filed under Dispute, EPL, Football, News, Sport

Bawtry dog-meat scandal – wait, am I being stereotyped?

Zhang Lijia’s Guardian piece ‘Dog meat at a Chinese restaurant inYorkshire’ – why do such myths spread? was prompted by the story of a Chinese restaurant that has been put in financial difficulty by a local rumour of a diner choking on retired racing greyhound’s microchip.

While I have sympathy for a business that suffers due to vindictive rumour mongering, the article presents a number of strands of criticism that don’t really tie up.  Zhang takes the opportunity to comment generally on the fascination of westerners with the oddities of Chinese cuisine, calling our obsession a form of racism.    To my mind, she throws out the “R” word too freely.

I understand her frustration, for example, that UK prime time television documentaries on China are more likely to end up with a donkey penis feast than a serious social discourse.  However it is hard to deny that examining the eating habits in other countries can be educational and entertaining.  And for those who are interested, programs on China’s social, economic and political issues are also common (recently, BBC Four’s excellent Storyville series Law of the Dragon).

Always an alternative

But I was most surprised by Zhang’s claim that although “China has a fabulous and sophisticated cuisine, westerners always focus on the tiny percentage of what we eat that is weird”.  This seems factually unsound.

Chinese food is one of the globe’s “3 Grand Cuisines”, a feature of every UK high street and a major draw for visitors to China (and perhaps part of the reason some stay).  However it is reproduced, Chinese food is hugely popular worldwide, and not for being weird.

But secondly, since she brings it up, there is no way that it is only a “tiny percentage” of what is eaten in China that people in the UK might consider weird.  You can eat dog.  Generally, many more parts of many more animals feature on menus.  When living in Dalian I saw the phrase 天上龙肉 地上驴肉 (In heaven dragon meat, on earth donkey meat) adorning restaurant exteriors.  But nobody’s going to force you to eat anything you don’t want (note: that is not true).

Some elements of Chinese, or any other, cuisine may not be to everyone’s taste.  But Zhang doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the majority take an interest in aspects of cultural diversity for making the world a more interesting place.

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