Tag Archives: News

That’s not OK(FC)

Something everybody knew, but would probably have preferred not to have had confirmed, has been confirmed by CCTV this week.

That something is that if you plan on grabbing a drink at KFC in Beijing, you would be 13 times better off filling your own ice tray from a public loo, freezing the cubes at home, and taking the cubes along to KFC, than lumping for KFC’s own ice cubes.  Ok, let’s say ten times better off (less convenient).

Not bothered

Not bothered

OK, here comes the science bit – a Beijing KFC’s ice cubes were reported to contain 900 colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria per millilitre.  That is 13 times more than toilet water and more than 20 times the national limit (though to my mind 45 CFUs per millilitre doesn’t sound that healthy either).

 However rest assured that shrimp flavoured potato chips have been given the all clear.

For more, see the South China Morning Post.

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Good hands!

If you’re going to find yourself hanging from a fourth floor window ledge, try to make sure you have this set of helpful Zhejiang couriers down below you.

Ideally, in these circumstances, the ground crew will have time to put a full bed-sheet plan into operation (see illustration below) – however, the gang managed to break the toddler’s fall well enough and she was left with only minor injuries.

Textbook

Textbook

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Dalai Lama under fire

Often seen as the world’s biggest goody goody, the Dalai Lama has been accused by chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Congress (TAR) Chadma Poling of paying Tibetans in areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai in China’s south-west to set themselves on fire to stick it to the Chinese government.  While Brushduck has no proof of the truth or otherwise of the these allegations, Chadma Poling has!  But he says that disclosure is not convenient.

Artist's reconstruction

Artist’s reconstruction – seems unlikely?

Further, the state-run Chinese website China Tibet Online revealed last week that Lhamo Kyab, referred to as a senior member of the “Dalai Lama clique’s education system”, has authored a “Self-immolation Guide” which aims to aims to “standardize and systematize the self-immolation behavior so as to manipulate it like an assembly line in the future”, in order to promote the Dalai Lama goals, which it says include protest against Chinese rule.  

The Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala has, unsurprisingly, distanced itself from both Lhamo Kyab and his guide.  However, the Dalia Lama has been criticised in the past for failing to denounce incidents of self-immolation.

The tragedy remains that since 27 February 2009, when a young Tibetan monk called Tapey attempted self-immolation in a marketplace in Sichuan, it is estimated that 78 Tibetans have burned themselves to death on account of their discontent with Chinese rule.   The frequency of incidents peaked between March 2011 and March 2012, following the death of Phuntsog, again in Sichuan.

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Becks to tackle Chinese footy corruption

With the exciting news that David Beckham has been named as the first global ambassador for Chinese football, Brushduck presents a quick, and sometimes accurate, guide to the essential lingo for those tracking Becks in his new and exerting role tackling corruption in the Chinese Super League (CSL):

Beckham supporting China's fight against football corruption

WATCHING YOU: “Riches and honor depend on heaven”

  • 大卫·贝克汉姆 (Dàwèi Bèikèhànmǔ): David Beckham
  • 小贝 (Xiǎo Bèi): Becks
  • 金球 (Jīn qiú): Golden Balls
  • 维多利亚·贝克汉姆 (Wéiduōlìyà Bèikèhànmǔ): Victoria Beckham
  • 高贵辣妹 (Gāoguì Làmèi): Posh Spice
  • 像贝克汉姆一样香蕉射球 (Xiàng Bèikèhànmǔ yīyàng xiāngjiāo shèqiú): Bend it like Beckham
  • 任意球 (Rènyìqiú): Free kick
  • 红牌 (Hóng pái): Red card
  • 内衣 (Nèiyī): Underwear
  • 布鲁克林·贝克汉姆 (Bùlǔkèlín Bèikèhànmǔ):  Brooklyn Beckham
  • 哈珀·七·贝克汉姆 (Hāpò Qī Bèikèhànmǔ): Harper Seven Beckham
  • 腐败 (Fǔbài): Corruption
  • 受贿 (Shòuhuì): Bribery

D-Beck’s aptitude for foreign languages is well known – see below, for example, his final press conference in Spanish in 2007 following 4 years spent with La Liga giants Real Madrid.  We hope the England legend is currently perfecting his tones ahead of his head first dive into the murky underworld of Chinese football.  “I got the ball ref!”

Have we missed any essential Becks vocab?  Comments welcome below!

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Meaty mushroom goes stratospheric

Since the breaking news appeared on Brushduck Xi’an Up Close that a mystery mushroom had been discovered in Xi’an, it seems that the fungus has become the must have commodity on account of its amazing medicinal properties.

Rare specimens have been illicitly traded on the streets:

And recipes to bring out the best of the elusive mycetoza’s special qualities have appeared online:

Predicting a 21st century gold rush I’m off to Shaanxi province to see if I can’t grab a few.  These will be available for £199.99/kg on return, cheques to Brushduck.

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Natural beauty [parental guidance]

Botanical types tend to get pretty excited about photographing plants and flowers that bear a fierce vaginal resemblance.  Can only imagine what they made of this amazing rural Xi’an find – a remarkably shaped mushroom-like plant.

Even the village elder who is over 80 years old said he had not seen such a plant before.  Poor village elder 😦

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How China flouts its laws

Read Chen Guangcheng’s piece in NY times

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Chinese in Africa (continued)

Good Al Jazeera 20 minute documentary on Chinese immigrants in Senegal.

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The Nike Detox Plan

I have just read an interesting article from China Dialogue on how top sporting brands: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Li Ning etc are getting together for a ‘detox’. The world’s top sporting brands are setting out a plan to ‘wean themselves off’ the toxins they use to dye clothing.

In August last year Nike committed to a challenge set by Greenpeace to ‘eliminating all hazardous chemicals across its entire supply chain, and the entire life-cycle of its products by 2020’

Puma have also agreed to up their game and have been taking steps to evaluate their environmental cost. They have ‘calculated that the cost their operations had imposed on the natural environment last year through their greenhouse-gas emissions and water consumption was 94.4 million euros’

I happen to be reading an excellent book on the history of cancer at the moment and just read about how many of the toxins this article talks about were discovered.

In the mid 19th century, the cotton industry was undergoing a revolution and  represented about 50% of all of the British exports, however, extracting the dyes used to colour the cotton was still a labour intensive process. The booming cotton industry led to new techniques of dyeing being developed and hastened the creation of the field of synthetic chemistry.

The new dyes that were being developed led chemists to create a whole range of chemical byproducts: solvents, alcohols, alkaloids, amides, alizarins and other non natural chemicals. It was the development of these synthetic chemicals that gave birth to modern pharmacology. They also have serious environmental consequences and it has taken a while for any clothing corporations to take notice. I wonder how long it will take big pharmaceuticals to follow suit.

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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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