Archive for October, 2011

Sport and Leisure in China…..Part Two.

October 23, 2011

I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Beautiful Game and despite efforts to become a hardcore aficionado, haven’t got beyond the near novice stage. This can be explained by the need to fertilise other interests and the time zone problem since most games come on at some ungodly hour before dawn.

However, even a novice knows that Wayne Rooney is a little bitch, Alex Fergusan is sorely in need of elocution lessons and that Ronaldo would benefit from a really good stiff arm tackle. To make matters worse, we now find that Ronaldo has joined Radiohead and that very small man Tom Cruise, and opened a Weibo account.

It must be really galling for Chinese football fans to be tweeted by Ronaldo: “Did you catch my three in twenty minutes the other night?”

Forget all this stuff about China’s military ambitions, desire to be accepted at the top table with developed Western nations as an equal, etc. The Chinese people would happily settle for a national team which would make regular appearances in top-tier global competitions. However, as all are aware, China’s national team is an embarrassment beyond definition, and here WIKI captures its dreadful record in all its ignominy.

And, you can see this one coming. According to Wei Di head of the CFA:

“Chinese football has degraded to an intolerable level. It has hurt the feelings of fans and Chinese people at large,..”

And to make matters worse, despite a new Spanish coach who is a blow-in at the end of his career:

“Compared with our neighbours Japan and South Korea, Chinese football is lagging far behind,…blah blah”.

You don’t need foreign media sources to chart this descent through the U bend. The China Daily HERE does a perfectly good job.

China’s soccer team coach Jose Antonio Camacho delivered the report about the match against Iraq to the Chinese Football Association (CFA), admitting a gap between Chinese football and his expectations, Guangzhou-based Soccer News reported Thursday.

We can not request too much from him, the time left for him is too short to do more, and Chinese football has unique characteristics,” CFA deputy chief Yu Hongchen was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

They are on the verge of being eliminated at the first round of qualifier for the 2014 World Cup, and need to win the rest of the three group matches – a feat which is considered mission impossible by fans. 92.4% of the 65,696 people polled were pessimistic about the future of China’s team, according to an online survey by portal website Sina.com.

While I leave it to the Dear Reader to define these Chinese characteristics, an easy job which I will ignore, Chinese fans have few excuses and cannot complain about the lack of sporting infrastructure as reported by the Global TimesMore Stadiums than Sports.

So what’s the strategy. Well after pissing all over Japan after various contrived incidents in the past 20 years:

A group of high-ranking Chinese sports officials (AGAIN) headed for Japan Tuesday afternoon, hoping to bring back the secret behind the island country’s stunning soccer success over the years, Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post reported Wednesday.

These visitations have been regular events over the past decade, and the Japanese have now reached a state of Zen bemusement;

“So many visits are just futile, I haven’t seen any changes in Chinese soccer,” ex-president of JFA Saburo Kawabuchi is quoted as saying by Oriental Morning Post. Same China Daily link.

Consequently:

Statistics show that there are only 7,000 registered young soccer players under the age of 18 in China, while in Japan that same group’s number is 500,000.

And the consequences!

Well, China PR PIPS Albania in football. Something to really gloat about at the Peoples Consultative Congress. NBA, probably the most successful franchise ever to enter China, will continue to sell even more of its shitty merchandise to Sino-teenagers. Young Chinese folk will become increasingly passive Wang Yue Yue (Happy Happy) observers. Ronaldo will continue to clean up in China selling Pepsi.

And the only time visible opportunity China will have to achieve a full sporting erection FSE is if Liu Xiang wins the 100 metres hurdle in London in 2012. And since I been jeering at that pathetic boy stooge for ages now, we end here.

Endnote. Thanks to Lost Loawai for the Happy Happy reference.

I thoroughly recommend Justrecentlys interview with Catherine Yeung from the Under the Jacaranda Tree blog HERE.

Fight the Power (Isley Brothers) UPDATE. I finished the last entry with a reference to the Lusaka Times which has been in my favourites for ages due to Sino-mining ventures there. HERE is a read on a winning outcome against International Thief Thieves.

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Musical Miscellany….

October 23, 2011

I have not welcomed digital recording methods because it kills the warmth in saxaphones and pianos.

Picking up on the last End Note, some more Fela Kuti from Black President recorded in the Netherlands, 1981.

Black President - Fela at his peak.

ITT International Thief Thief – Parts 1 @ 2.
Join this with the OWS movement. On second thoughts, look out Sino-investors in Africa.


In 1958 Art Blake took this now famous photograph of all the jazz musicians in Harlem for Esquire magazine.

For copyright reasons, go here. Heck, pls google images: Equire jazz musicians Harlem 1958

Theolonious Monk turned up last in order to make sure no one outdressed him. He was also wearing his trademark spectacles with dappled bamboo frames. The ones you often see in older Japanese movies

While in Harlem a few years later, Bob and Earl. The Monkey, The Hitchhike @ The Limbo.

Do the Jerk – The Larks.

Dyke and the Blazers – We got more Soul (and so has KT)

Something tropical…..Horace Andy

Finally, something sweet…….Gregory Isaacs

If that didn’t improve your sex life, I give up.

Sport and Leisure in China…..Part One

October 22, 2011

Getting a jump on the silly season here, and no, this is not about banquet gluttony and KTV adventures, surely the most popular leisure pursuits of the PRCs cadre/business classes.

And if you want a lurid photos of this mainstay leisure activity and foundation plank of the chinese economy, forget it. So, like most Sino-blogs purporting to offer valuable insights into Chinese culture rather than cheap titillation, lets begin.

(Truth to tell, I did do an image search for something KTV- representative, but all I found was a number of loawai plus Sino-hookers making horses asses of themselves.)

Harley Davidson of Milwaukee has been attempting to redress the import/export balance with plans to have 16 dealerships in China by 2016, with 7 dealerships open to date, and gross sales of exactly 268 of these archaic, two wheeled behemoths. As you would surmise, engine size, road bans and noise restrictions have put a head lock on expanding sales among the young, stupid and filthy rich.

Consequently, as reported by Bloomberg Business Week:

The company also has begun supporting riding clubs to promote the brand, says (Harley CEO) Wandell, who rode in a rally from Beijing to the Great Wall in April. There are chapters—called Harley Owners Groups, or H.O.G.—in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, and Hong Kong. Every weekend, the Shanghai H.O.G. gathers at a Sinopec (SNP) gas station on the city fringes before heading into the countryside. Bikers have to go around the nearby city of Hangzhou, however, because it bans motorcycles

So lets got to China Daily US soft power edition and meet Yang Wei an Easy Rider Bimbo from Beijing who describes her Harley riding experience thus:

It (the Harley) helps me experience the freedom that is absolutely impossible otherwise. It is hard to express in words, but I feel like the one when birds hover in the air, fish swim in water and sturdy steeds gallop on grasslands,” says Yang, wearing a cropped hair cut with yellow highlights, white-painted nails, black jacket and blue jeans – typical Harley wear – in an interview with China Daily.

Now a photo of this outlaw poet and note the silly fucking hat.

Easy Rider Bimbo

Read the rest of the article HERE and die laughing at the hyperbole.

I would not be jeering except for the fact that Harley Davidsons are dated, monumental piles of nuts and bolts junkyards, and riding one is a bit like driving a caravan or camper van.

Now, if Ms Yang ditched the fucking hat (why is it that all Asians have adopted this cowboy lite version?), developed some cleavage and drove something decent, we would be applauding.

1971 Truimph Bonneville

A bit of customisation is called for however: British racing green, dropped bars, Bates megaphones and a full Rickman-Matisse kit. The babe is optional.

The Reader is welcome to suggest other rides, but lets keep the conversation real, so forget about Vincent Black Shadows, legendary Nortons and similar.

And our regular feature. Sorrow, Tears and Blood by the late, truly great creator of Afro Beat Fela Kuti (RIP). A piece about Western colonial repression in Africa, which can now be updated to include China, if you read the Lusaka Times, etc.

I strongly recommend Black President which this track is taken from, and if you become hardcore, Open-Close and other earlier stuff like Confusian.

More Garage plus extras

October 21, 2011

I was intending to update my Bo Xilai – Chongqing file today, but it appears that I wiped my recent updates on The Dark Princeling who has been exercising my attention for sometime NOW.

China’s very own power couple:

Bo exhibiting his best shit eating smile

Peng Liyuan: his PLA punch

Now John Garnaut of the Sydney Morning Herald has done a sterling job reporting on China’s version of Donald Trump. A scroll thru his reports HERE is well worth while. If you are unaware of this cheesy modern warlords existence, HERE is an overview.

However, Garnaut has seriously blotted his copy book here in tubbyland with this recent REPORT on some of China’s Princeling’s revulsion at the corruption, nepotism, lack of morality, ethics etc which exist in the Sino-social formation today. In fact, all the qualities which make China watching such delicious fun

This is a real head scratcher, given Garnaut’s path breaking past reportage of dirty deeds and family connections at the top of the food chain.

Now that we have the value-added stuff out of the way, it is time for Part Two – Garage Sounds – and where better to start than the Chocolate Watch Band.

I go for these two, the first for its boss bass line

and the second for a ton of reasons, including the fact that it was the closing track in the final episode of The Sopranos.

A fitting manifesto for Tony as he walks thru his hood, pondering the collapse of a proud US crime tradition, and the fact that he was reduced to sorting out inter-Family squabbles over the allotment of local garbage collection contracts. The latter beinga fitting statement on the condition of Contemporary American Capitalism.

Many versions of this one – all pretty good – but I will ignore the Frog compere and go with this one.

I have already written about the illustrious history of Louie Louie HERE, so let’s throw in Richard Berry’s obituary HERE and The Sonics version.

For the link-lazy.


Left click to enlarge.

And if you have potty mouth, here are the alternate lyrics:

Louie, Louie,
grab her way down low.
Louie, Louie,
grab her way down low.

A fine little bitch, she waits for me;
she gets her kicks on top of me.
Each night I take her out all alone;
she ain’t the kind I lay at home

Each night at ten, I lay her again;
I f–k my girl all kinds of ways.
And on that chair, I lay her there;
I felt my boner in her hair.

If she’s got a rag on, I’ll move above;
It won’t be long, she’ll slip it off.
I’ll take her in my arms again;
tell her I’d rather lay her again.

Believe it or no, Glendora was written by that old crooner Al Martino. This retro garage version by The Slickee Boys can be found on Battle of the Garages, Voxx Records, 1981.

This is serious, Mum.


And if you don’t own this essential slab of vinyl, you don’t get to go home with the drummer.

Shaking All Over written by Jimmy Heath aka Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. This song lubricated the relations between boys and girls on the dance floor across the length and breadth of tubbyland during his snotty teenage years.

I go for Vince Taylor and His Playboys version from a very early BBC film clip. NOTE Vince’s leather attire which explains why he was a failure in the UK and BIG in Frog Land.

Where would Stanley Kubrick be in Full Metal Jacket without this lyrical behemoth?

Back to Oz with The Missing Links. I just love this since I met the singer one morning early, decades later, while waiting at a zebra crossing all dressed up in the power suit, feeling crucial and off to work and my fawning secretaries.
We had a great conversation, since I had been listening to the Links super rare LP while in the shower earlier. When I shared this highlight of my life at the staff meeting later that afternoon, the Director called in the dog catcher.


And finally.

And Dear Reader, in case you are drawing any character-conclusions, forget it. I’ve been listening to Richard Tauber the great opera singer this week.

End Note. As I’ve encountered the most appalling musical taste since entering the Sinosphere, this is the first in a series designed to instruct and educate.
Jitney by Cecil Taylor from his Silent Tongues LP.
I was fortunate to see him perform a 70 minute version of this piece in all its discordant, shards of sound glory.

Enjoy.

Finally, this is strictly for my benefit.

Recommended Website: http://www.isidorsfugue.com/
Highly recommended Team for consistently great photography.

The Worship of Gold Idols, Lunatic Ideas and Poorly Constructed Infrastructure

October 13, 2011

As I was expelled from Bible class for smoking, smirking and lustful glances at female class members, I can’t dredge up the perfect quote to accompany our Gold Calf.

Golden Idols strike through Highways to Nowhere, Malls etc

We are all too aware of the 08 and beyond building frenzy in China after the banks turned the loan spigot on to full, so lets focus on some of the more creative ways these loans were spent by provincial officials. While no needing to borrow for their building ambitions, the inhabitants of Huaxi Village, Jiangsu Province showed those wannabees in Dubai how to do it in style.

Huaxia Village Jiangsu

The 60th Floor - On your hands and knees

Zhou Li, deputy party chief of ( the 2,000 individuals who form the village-shareholders), said: ‘The building is a symbol of collectivism’.

It has taken four years for the work to be finished on the 74-storey hotel and residential block at a cost of 3 billion yuan (£301m).

Read full article HERE, and note where I pilfered the above photos.

The gold ox cost 31m English pounds, and the whole gig is intended as a tourist attraction. After the novelty wears off, its hard to envisage this phallic structure fulfilling its intended function. Aside from its massive energy requirements, it will probably end up comping high level cadres and their floosies. Perfectly rational behaviour.

Lets review some of the exceptions.

Take the poverty-stricken county of Dancheng in central Henan province. Officials there spent $1.3 million on a sightseeing rail line with a replica steam-powered train, although there’s little to see but farmland. The locomotive overturned on its first day in operation last year. It’s now sitting idle at a park.

In the remote city of Ganzhou in southern Jiangxi province, officials splurged on a $45-million mechanical clock tower touted as the largest in the world. But so far there have been few visitors; officials haven’t finished paving a road to the site.

“There’s nothing to see,” said one local travel agent. “It’s just a building. You can see it but you can’t go inside.”

What sort of linthead cadre came up with these ideas?

Earlier this year, a small city in central Anhui province announced plans to spend more than $44 million on a hotel designed to look like a pingpong paddle.

The Funing county government in eastern Jiangsu province spent $7 million on a park and ersatz Sydney Opera House that houses a hotel and restaurant. Think iconic white “shells” slapped on top of a large brick box — and no opera.

Read full article HERE and no, don’t submit your own examples as I’m trying to be economical with bandwidth.

Highways to nowhere, ghost cities HERE for a pretty good compilation, so lets look at the provincial account books.

The Telegraph provides the short version on the post 08 building splurge and the mountain of debt piled up by provincial governments HERE.

However, if you have time this Special Report by Reuters China’s debt pileup raises risk of hard landing is the one to read HERE.

Long, detailed, highly recommended, and it builds on the path-breaking provincial debt number crunching undertaken by Victor Shih, both on his China Elites….. site and in The Diplomat. I have linked them so often by now, if you are still unaware of Shih’s research, it is homework time.

While Justrecently and I discussed provincial debt and related matters HERE, I want to focus on a money quote found in the above Reuters Special Report.

“…..investment bank Credit Suisse called Wuhan one of China’s “top 10 cities to avoid”, warning in a report this year it would take eight years to sell off its existing housing stock, let alone the tens of thousands under construction.

Wuhan Urban Construction Investment and Development is the largest government financing vehicle in the city, employing 16,000 workers and sitting atop total assets of 120 billion yuan.

Despite its debt woes, Shen Zhizhong, a deputy director at the vehicle’s media office, argued his firm should not be blamed for the profusion of red ink.

“What we do is all decided by the government. We don’t have any project that belongs to us,” Shen said, adding it was “unscientific” to ask his company how Wuhan plans to pay off its debt. “We are like a sportsman, not a coach or a referee. How can you ask a sportsman something only known by a coach or a referee?”

I suspect that Beijing realises that it is now about to reap a world of economic trouble, and reports are coming through thick and fast.

Clamping down on the underground banking system and promising credit access for SMEs HERE.

Central Huijin, an arm of China’s sovereign wealth fund that is in turn an agent of the State Council, has started buying the shares of Chinese banks listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong to pump up prices (after they took a serious cold shower). NYTs HERE.

Finally, China Daily reports HERE that the Ministry of Railways will offer tax breaks on interest for new bond purchases in the hope of paying off part of the actual (lets not think about pending} shitload of debt owed.

These are the kind of news reports which tell us about the future trajectory of China’s economy, and they are well worth the read.

Finally, reality could be taking hold in Beijing since they also just allocated a large sum to repair many of the crap dams built in the ’50s and ’60s, which would threaten numerous cities if it rained for the proverbial forty days and forty nights.

And, on that Biblical note.

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To expand.

Meet Boss Sun in Wenzhou who played both sides of the dual credit society – In Cooling China, Loan Sharks Come Knocking – and holiday camped his staff, lost, disapeared himself and then somehow returned to the fold.

“My capital chain broke completely,” he said in the interview. “I was driven to foolishness by the debts and was forced to flee.”

The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/business/global/as-chinas-economy-cools-loan-sharks-come-knocking.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2″>HERE.

Following Artistic Failure, Oz youtube musical pigout.

October 10, 2011

Woke up yesterday morning circa 4.00 am right out in the piney woods with artistic ambitions ie recording intense birdsong on the voice recorder in my phone. The abundance of bird life turned in a stellar performance, while the whipbirds practically stole the show.

Rather than turn up with a high-end Shure mic and Nagra VI digital audio recorder,I wanted to see what could be produced with the most basic technology. (Truth to tell, I was inspired by a recent photographic exhibition taken on mobile phones without the benefit of any digital manipulation.) Net result: download problems which require a bit of technical support yet to be organised.

As Mike at Loawai Times has been writing on matters musical – excellent writing, even if I loathe and detest his musical choices – I felt the need to go lowbrow and capture a few of my snotty juvenile memories after a quick dose of youtube.

Where to begin?

Lets start with GTK aka Getting to Know which came on around 6.20 on the ABC four nights a week. Mandatory stuff for troubled teenagers and delivered on an old Healing B/W TV. You know the model. 23 inches of fuzzy sepia images which stood on four legs.

(“We’re with GTK, Bernie sent us”. Thanks Mark.)

And then be confronted by Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs in full roar.

Now, lets go back to the beginning of family television viewing time.

And in the beginning pre-Beatles there was Oz surf music of a quality right up there with California’s Dick Dale, the Ventures et al.

The seminal band in my youth was the Purple Hearts who played every Sat morning at the Primitif coffee shop. Second stop after checking out the new Carmody Street clobber sold at Westminster Boutique.

From The Telegraph

Kicks by The Librettos: There you go Mike. Killer intro hook.

Most folk have regrets of some sort. Poor career and/or marriage choices, etc. Mine was failing to see The Creatures live, although I often saw them on the above telly, usually with the Andrew Loog Oldham introductory challenge “would you let your daughter get into a panel van with one of these animals?”

Don’t worry. The daughters are now old hags, while The Creatures have entered the Oz Pantheon of Immortality:

Black Diamonds (also covered by the Wombats a retro US garage band in the ’80s).

The Others, an Adelaide band, probably from the suburb of Elizabeth, where the ten pound Poms settled en masse with many going on to produce a number of memorable bands.

And lets finish this embarrassment with Sorry which was The Easybeats first single, which I can recall seeing practice in an old movie theatre in Cairns in late ’63 when I just out of short pants.

There you go. Enthusiasm tops instrumental proficiency any day of the week.

Addendum. I would be remiss if I didn’t include Ever Lovin’ Man by The Loved Ones, their one and only reunion. Still my top single of all times.

Vocals to die for.

Some late additions.

Coloured Balls - Channel 9 with Mike Jeffrey - KT personal collection

And finally FOCO HERE where politics, art and music formed a critical alliance.

Note Membership Cards on right.
You are reading the holder of No. 14.

Who can forget The Curry Shop for the particularly nihilistic punk scene. More ODs than the Pink Mansion.

Okay. Enough KT

Shanzhai Everything and Shameless Self Promotion

October 1, 2011

It had to happen with recent reportage of PRC’s very own version of Chinabounder. Not going into extreme detail here, since anybody with half a weblife is aware of Chinabounder’s virtual exploits with Ting Ting et al, and the ensuring human flesh search to locate this foreign bad element, only to find that our overactive pants man was a keyboard hoax.

Now that this menace to PRC femininity has outed himself, and Chinabounder aka David Marriot has faded from public memory, a stalwart Chinese citizen – one Mr Li, the senior editor of a cultural magazine in Zhejiang, demonstrates true shanzhai spirit:

“The author of a sex blog that detailed the seedy antics of a Chinese prostitute and captivated hundreds of thousands of followers has been unmasked as a married man up to nothing more devious than plagiarizing foreign literature.

Lin copied foreign literature, translating the works into Chinese and writing one piece a day on the microblog as the “Diary of a Sex Worker.” Shanghai Daily.

Nice cultural contrast here. The Casanova Complex versus Pure Monetization.

As much as I dislike the site, Danwei provides half decent background for the uninitiated HERE.

…………………………………………………….

Having just visited the Hidden Harmonies Blog hoping to find mention of the esteemed new award – the Confucius Peace Prize CPP – I encountered a deathly silence from that diaspora of (insert your own descriptor here) on all matters Confucian.

It appears that people have been jeering in the wrong direction RE: the Confucius Peace Prize debacle. This includes the denizens of Peking Duck HERE as well as others, and here I refer your to Loawai Times pretty decent blog roll HERE, where you can show some initiative and do your further research on the CPP.

Apparently, if Edward Wong of the NYTs HERE is correct, it was all about a departmental turf war and competing guanzi networks following the emergence of a competing Confucius World Peace Prize CWPP.

The NYTs paywall. Sorry folks, google the article yourself.

The money quotes.

“The ministry supports the World Peace Prize, but my Confucius Peace Prize is the first and only,” Mr. Liu said. CPP

“They are trying to have a monopoly on Confucius prizes,” Mr. Wang said. CWPP

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Now most serious Sino-scribblers have reinvented themselves over time, quietly forgetting the fact that they cut their teeth on that tabloid ChinaSmack.

Not so this scribe, with this UPDATE on that ghastly Sister Feng now working as a manicurist in Brooklyn.

Surely, she must be the last person still believing in the American Dream:

“America is still a place where anyone can succeed. I can open a small business, develop into a big business, take it public and then global,’ she continued”.

…………………………………………………….

Moving on to weightier economic matters.

…………………………………………………….

Have to get this on the record first.

Recall Liu Xiang the 100 metres hurdler during the 08 Potemkin Games. China’s sporting accountants spent approximately a quarter of their 08 R @ D budget on Xiang, hoping that he would take gold in this marque event.

A product of the PRCs sports training gulag – glory for the CCP/Motherland and all that shyte – Xiang crawled off the field of glory on his hand and knees like a mongrel dog. He also got a free pass from the People’s Premier Wen next day, when the prick should have been consigned to the glue factory.

Having literally traversed miles of posters exhibiting pretty boys vacant features peddling Pepsi Cola while in Shenzhen, I always wished him unwell, only to be thwarted by the CCP which has just appointed him an official in the Communist Party Youth League HERE.

…………………………………………………….

Back to those economic matters.

While providing a decent link eludes me here, Wenzhou a major centre for China’s private economy, , was also a pioneer in eat the wounded, take no prisoners capitalism, after Deng opened the door.

Again, and without going into extreme detail, bank loans to SMEs in China dried up a year or so ago. In consequence, many small business types turned to underground banks which charged interest rates which would have done Tony Soprano proud.ie. interest up to 200%.

Well, many of these SMEs borrowed to the hilt, and now that they face repayments in a declining export market, have decided to put all their available RMB in a hold-all and do a runner, some going so far to fake/shanzhai their own suicide.

Net result
. Workers left with unpaid wages, some pissed off first and second wives, the impending collapse of the underground banks PLUS financial wipeout for the individuals who put their funds into these underground high interest tontines. Go into detail HERE and again the NYT article paywall issue.

See also China Daily and Asia Times Online.

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Finally, a blast from the predigital 1974 past with our site monarch being sighted at 8.07 and 21.36. Don’t be fooled by all the nicotine and alcohol and be impressed by the haircut.