Thursday 29 July 2010

How China Shot Me Out Of The Blogosphere –

Or for a more dramatic, horror movie-esque title: THE BLOCKS!

Well, hopefully, you should know by now (because it has been in the news) that China has some nationwide blocks on the internet. One of the more well known examples is the Tiananmen Square filter.

If you go to (or and type in Tiananmen Square, the picture that should come up is the one of the guy in front of the tank (or three):

It was taken during some of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and became a symbol of one man finally thinking enough is enough and standing up to the national regime that he obviously had a problem with.

It looks like he was on his way home from shopping, his small grocery bag clutched tightly in his fist, maybe for his dinner. Or his parents'. Or his and his wife's.

That picture, to me, literally speaks a thousand words – the words of one man’s story that, where we, the world, were allowed to catch maybe a paragraph.
Maybe even the page before the end.
We will never know.

However, when you search 'Tiananmen Square' on Google China ( you got….nada. Well, not nada. But you didn’t get the same electric image that many people in the West thought of when the words ‘Tiananmen Square’ are mentioned.

So that’s what I knew before I went there. After I got there, I also discovered that

- Facebook

- Youtube

- Megavideo

- (google affiliated!)

Were all blocked too. In essence, my social life was now extinct. Which was highly unfortunate for me, since 1) This blog is on and 2) Almost all of my favourite blogs are on too. What I found highly ironic was that wordpress was allowed, which had been one of my blog options but I freaked out when I realised I’d have to pay $3 a year.

I know, I know, I’m a wuss. But I’m also a student! *mournful face*

And when they said no Youtube videos, they literally meant no Youtube videos, even if they were embedded in one of the blogs or websites that I could read. Trying to watch TV was a nightmare, because Megavideo is usually the only player that works and it was blocked and for some reason, it would never let me see search results, so that was a dud as well.

I. Was. Gutted.

Like a fish.

After a while, I just gave up.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to access facebook in China, but not in certain areas apparently. And it wasn’t even like a big flaming message came up saying “ACCESS DENIED, BIZNOTCH!” It just came up with the message that usually comes up if my network connection is feeling dodgier than Gary Glitter at an orphanage.

So, driven by boredom, I started watching Chinese TV. And my goodness – it’s addictive! I had absolutely no idea what they were saying in the shows, but you can usually read between the lines to get the gist – I mean, an interrupted about-to-kiss moment is the same in any language. And now that I’m back, I really miss it. I couldn’t watch TV at my house because most of the music channels have a lot of half nudity. I know it sounds really tame, but this was like reverse culture shock. Especially since the second video I saw was Katy Perry’s California Girls.

Squirty whipped cream, Katy? Really? Really?

Yeah. So. No T.V for me for a while*

*Using the internet to look for my TV shows online doesn’t count, the important difference being that I can control what I want to see. Apart from pop-ups, of course.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

*Embarrassed Look*


Hi there.

I haven't posted in a while, and it's appalling *bows head sadly* I have been writing, but it's taking me a while to get to grips with this blogging thing - for example, I keep saving my posts and then have no idea how to find them.

Also, a distinct lack of a camera is crippling me immensely. I think I'm going to keep going and then when I'll get a camera, I'll update.

Because that is how I roll yo.

Friday 23 July 2010

Cravendale FTW

Even though I am not a fan of dairy products....Oh, Cravendale milk adverts, I do love you!

"My milk! Ohh, fresh!...Milk! Milk! In my bath!"

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Movie Quote

On the plane home, I watched a Korean movie called 'Kill Me, Kiss Me' because I thought it was based on one of my favourite Korean manga books ever.
It wasn't.
Premise was a suicidal love-sick girl and an assassin who fall for each other.
I loved it.
And I loved this quote, as translated from the Korean:

"Love is the greatest energy that moves people"

How sweet is that? Stick that in your Christmas cards, Clinton!

Tuesday 20 July 2010

One of those moments...

I'm typically skeptical of The Sun newspaper full stop, because I think it's a newspaper full of nonsense; a newspaper that's badly written and that seems to take joy in dispensing ignorance wherever it goes...

But if this story is true...about Nigerian parents who gave birth to a blonde haired, blue eyed child:

black parents white baby

Blue-eyed blonde Nmachi, whose name means "Beauty of God" in the Nigerian couple's homeland, has baffled genetics experts because neither Ben nor wife Angela have ANY mixed-race family history.

Pale genes skipping generations before cropping up again could have explained the baby's appearance.

Ben also stressed: "My wife is true to me. Even if she hadn't been, the baby still wouldn't look like that.

"We both just sat there after the birth staring at her for ages - not saying anything."

Doctors at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup - where Angela, from nearby Woolwich, gave birth - have told the parents Nmachi is definitely no albino.

Ben, who came to Britain with his wife five years ago and works for South Eastern Trains, said: "She doesn't look like an albino child anyway - not like the ones I've seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby."

He went on: "My mum is a black Nigerian although she has a bit fairer skin than mine.

"But we don't know of any white ancestry. We wondered if it was a genetic twist.

"But even then, what is with the long curly blonde hair?"

Full story can be found here

I'm not going to lie. My first reaction looked like this:


Most of the situations where this type of scenario arises concern I.V.F mix ups, but the fact this happened naturally is a real kick in the teeth to a lot of people who depend heavily on the genetic argument for why race is so important.Many people are simply brushing it off as a moderate case of albinism, but even so, the appearance of the baby in contrast to her family is what makes it such a good front page story.This just makes me want to side-eye 'purity of the race' people even more and if real, it may prove how incredibly complex genetics and the human race really are. We are all related, no matter how different our appearances may be - at a base level, we're all family. *Puts on dashiki and, sets alight incense, picks up guitar and starts playing"Kumbaya".*
* I love that cat. I wish I had a cat like that ^_^

Monday 19 July 2010

Using Cherry Pie to combat being an oddity...

...because that is not an oxymoron [/sarcasm]

So, I have been in China for the last couple of weeks. Hence the lack of posts (I will, ironically enough, probably post about that later).

Due to me being a complete and utter window licker, I was unable to take any photos since I left my camera at home *le sigh* >

I was learning Mandarin (rather badly) and being all studenty for an extra stretch into my summer (because, you know. That’s what cool kids do when the sun is out. Study. “Screw you relaxation! I have my textbooks!” *clutches books, shivering intensely with a feverish glee in her eyes*).

One thing I totally forgot when I applied to go is that I’m quite noticeable.

Of course, everyone within a mile radius of me reminded me of this fact when they kept staring at me.

And pointing at me.

And following me.

And taking bloody pictures and video recordings of me.

I felt kind of sorry for them, like I should dance or something, so they have something a little more than a recording of a very Simple Thing of very little brain whose body happens to produce an extra amount of melanin due to a trait that proved advantageous due to a combination of the process of evolution and the environment her ancestors habituated.

I can’t see what’s so fascinating about it, seeing as there’s an entire continent that shares the same traits *Zahara side-eye*

But it wasn’t just that – there was another black guy in our group. I’m just darker than him. And female. And nearly six foot tall. With an undefeatable desire to wear brightly coloured clothing.

Apparently, quite a formidable combination.

For the first three days, I scowled so viciously, no person was brave enough to ask for a picture with. Then I tried to change my perspective – pretended I was a model, Alek’s or Naomi’s little sister on an excursion, or Venus’ little cousin coming for a little vacation. I was famous. That’s the real reason they were staring and taking pictures.

I know I’m pretty, but really, no need to stare *flutters eyelashes*

*clutches Oscar, crying her purposefully non waterproof mascara everywhere* "I want to thank my mama and my daddy and my sisters and the caddy, and Jimmy the pizza guy - you kept me going with the carbs when I was low!"

I was thinking all sorts of fabulous, glamourous crazy.

Even my legendary level of self-delusion can only keep my going for so long


I got sick of it and started coming up with ways to get people to leave me alone. I think my favourite consisted of sidling up to them and saying in Mandarin “I speak Mandarin. And I know what you just said,” turning to walk away, turning back and declaring “And yo’ mamma’s ugly!” before sprinting for cover.

It’s not just my own paranoia – it’s the weight of knowledge of what the ideal of beauty is in this country:

- Small stature (errrrr…………*stands at nearly 6ft tall*)

- Long silk-like hair (errrrrr……*has a fro...nuff said*)

- Pale skin – for which they even carry around parasols in the sun to prevent tanning (errrrrrrrr……….. x100000)

Really, at this point, all I need is to see a bleaching advert to tip me over the edge and completely lose it, driving me into the street, frothing coriander scented breath, spitting flame roasted sesame seeds and roaring furiously at petrified bicyclists, as I unleash my fury upon this city: A ‘fro haired zilla, raging through the hutongs of China - only to be calmed by excessive amount of a brand-new joy: Warm cherry pie with cold vanilla ice cream.

Mmmm.....cherry pie.... *drools like Homer*