Why Haven’t China’s Cities Learned from America’s Mistakes?

UK Guardian: “Faceless estates. Sprawling suburbs. Soulless financial districts. Discredited elsewhere as fostering the worst kind of urban angst, these are the vogue in China – but change could be afoot”

Can you believe…McMansions like Rancho Santa Fe outside Shanghai? “The white picket fence defines the Chinese dream as much as the American one.” For China, California dreaming has turned into a nightmare.

China’s leaders have also inflicted Dallas’ car culture and Atlanta’s endless sprawl on their country.

From Tower Bridge to Sydney Harbour, welcome to China’s city of clones

Since 2010 China has been working to bring back the bicycles

Touring Palace of South Vietnamese Government, Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Hall (772A0254)

Lucia wrote her mother: “We walked through Saigon to the old Palace.  It has been kept in 1970’s style with war rooms, old communication equipment, and state rooms.  Last night, because I’m so ignorant of a lot of that era, I spent time reading about the Diem brothers.  What kind of Catholics were they to kill the number of Buddhists they killed and what kind of politicians to think that would succeed?

On a lighter matter, we had pho for lunch.  I read the Vietnamese food is so good because the chefs shop for fresh herbs twice a day.  That explains why the anise-tasting greens were so wonderful and crunchy in contrast with the light broth.  I want to be able to make good pho, but I think I’ll have to grow my own herbs to have ones fresh enough.  I also really liked a Cambodian dish, called Fish Amok.  Plan to learn how to make that, too.

 I’m enjoying this trip so much because I’m learning so much.

China’s News Media Is Government Mouthpiece

NYT reports a tightening Chinese government grip on journalists —  all news media in China must speak for the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping. But surely in such a vast country with a billion people, there are ways to get independent, uncensored news, opinion and analysis?

China’s cyberwar on free speech.

China Censors Your Internet.

But maybe it’s a bit more complicated. Former Wired Editor Kevin Kelly writes: “In China it’s okay to criticize government, but not okay to do anything beyond criticize.” He includes a link to a Science Magazine piece. From the paper: “Chinese people can write the most vitriolic blog posts about even the top Chinese leaders without fear of censorship, but if they write in support of or opposition to an ongoing protest—or even about a rally in favor of a popular policy or leader—they will be censored.”


Reporting on Life, Death and Corruption in Southeast Asia

Thomas Fuller, NYT: “Watching the rise of Asia during my time here, I have wondered whether there can be continued prosperity without justice. Can societies so thoroughly riddled with corruption carry through with the remarkable economic advances made over recent decades? To see wrongdoing here, sometimes all you have to do is knock….What seems to be lacking is not technology but political will to investigate powerfully connected people. Tony Pua, an opposition leader in Malaysia, calls it a culture of “forget it and move on.”

My decade here has been a time of intense ambivalence. I was enchanted by people’s warmth, congeniality and politeness. When I interviewed protesters on torrid summer days, they would often fan my face as we spoke. I learned from my Thai friends how to laugh away life’s disappointments and annoyances. I relished the food and marveled at the hospitality.

But I despaired at the venality of the elites and the corruption that engulfed the lives of so many people I interviewed. I came to see Southeast Asia as a land of great people and bad governments, of remarkable graciousness but distressing levels of impunity.

The Dog Who Grew A New Face: Kalu’s Astounding Recovery

My wife Lucia Holliday visited this animal rescue center in India in 2013 and received this video recently. It documents an amazing story.

The videographers write: “Published on Jan 24, 2016
Caution: This video contains graphic images of a severely wounded dog and his amazing recovery. We found Kalu inside of a hole at a construction site where he had gone to die. His face was severely wounded and infested with maggots. His recovery is truly one of the most awe-inspiring and miraculous recoveries we have ever seen.

“Please donate to give a second chance to street animals in India : http://www.animalaidunlimited.org/how-to-help/d­onate”