A Glimpse of Xiamen


After seeing some photos of Hankou at 0000, I felt like doing a post or two of China. Perhaps I have been reading way too much of The Economist lately, but I cannot help but feel that the world (America?) has such an antagonistic distorted view of China as the big bad dragon that threatens to challenge America's hegemony. When people of think of China they focus way too much on Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen that they forget some parts of China is still rural and traditional. As if on cue, my father just returned from a trip to XIAMEN (廈門) where he took many wonderful photos which I will share you today. Apparently, Xiamen is not too far from Hong Kong at all and sits across the strait from Taiwan. I had to wiki that due to poor Chinese geography from so many years of British education at the ex-colony. I am going to blame the Brits for my ignorance! Heh. That aside, it is only when I see pictures of old buildings that I dream of being an architect and follow my parents' footsteps. It would be wonderful to apply ANDO TADAO (安藤 忠雄)'s thinking of marrying the old with the new. That said, it is sad to see that despite China's growth at breakneck speed, it sometimes does not have the matching wherewithal and knowledge to preserve whatever old relic that survived the Cultural Revolution.



19 comments:

e'clair said...

I agree with what you wrote about protecting what is left of pre-cultural revolution architecture... And am myself preparing part of a post on Hong Kong's own natural beauty (I haved focused on the walking trails, hope to finish it today). It seems to me that there are many misconceptions of what China is all about, and your post is really neat because it presents an alternative image. Here's my vote for more related posts in the future! :)

Joy said...

@e'clair - are you at HK at the moment? That is too awesome. Well I can't wait to hear your two cents on the matter too. Thank you so much for all your encouragements. Sometimes there's so much hostility between the two I wonder if we're on the brink of WWIII. Everything's looking a lot like Germany and Britain from back in the day. Let's not let history repeat itself, shall we?

Kay said...

Wow, what stunning architecture! I'm sadly one of those few who are only vaguely familiar with the major cities, and look forward to more posts on the matter!
x

steph said...

what a beautiful post with amazing pictures of a less visited place in China. Personally, I've been to those touristy cities that you have mentioned - Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (Shen Zhen) and as beautiful as those places are, it's the "rural" scenic sights of China that really captures my attention. Not too sure if you've seen my post on my recent company retreat to China but I posted about this water town- Zhou Zhuang. Simply breath-taking, it's almost as if time stood still and that we have been transported back in time.

Am enjoying ur blog alot, will follow regularly! And also, thanks for dropping by my blog :)

Phara said...

Stunning shots! I do agree, people seem to forget about those parts.
They shouldn't, it's so beautiful.
X

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Gorgeous post! I am jealous of your travels!

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Joy said...

@Kay - thanks for all the support :)
@Steph - great blog you've got there. it's really motivating to read for a lost little young'un like me here.
@Phara - thank you. I feel like to every country has their own "other" side you know?

hearttypat said...

aren't these round houses traditional Teochew houses? or is it Hakka?

Joy said...

@Hearttypat - They're Hakka. FYI, Xiamen is in Fujian province so I'm 99.9999% sure it's Hakkanese. Wow this is the first time I've heard 潮州 as Teochew. Thanks for teaching me something today :D

Hannah said...

Your father's pictures are stunning. I would love to visit these parts of China one day.

Krissy (Shimmer Like Gold) said...

We're so "sheltered" from what the real China is like here in North America. It's kind of sad, really, because it looks like such a beautiful, beautiful country. I'll admit, until very recently I really had no interest in China, but I've become quite intrigued by it as of late. Most of my knowledge really only comes from art history though. It never used to be on my list of places I'd like to go someday, but it's not only joined my list, but gone up quite a ways.

e'clair said...

I am not in Hong Kong now, but grew up there, and later returned there for a brief spell to work, so am a Hong Konger by heart.
It is interesting what you said about education; I didn't know that post '97 education continues in colonial style.
About the hostility: all I know is that when I worked at a paper before and after '97, we had to change the way we referred to China, if I remember correctly, "upcountry" was a word we used. But the words did not change the feeling of tension I remember.
On another note, I am sad that so many HK movies have to be in Mandarin now. I love Mandarin, but my heart will always belong to Cantonese, because I learned it first. (Which is not to say that I remember it anymore.)

Laurent [aka Kitchen Chick] said...

Splendide découverte, d'un autre âge, d'une autre planète...

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Stunning pictures ! It make me want to go there :)

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flower child vintage said...

it looks like a beautiful country...

0000 said...

Lovely photos! I'm of two minds regarding rural China. On one hand, rural China is extremely poor, and it could really use development: hospitals, proper roads, well-funded schools, etc. On the other hand, certain historical establishments should be preserved. Unhappily, China has met in the middle: rural cultural sites--particularly sites inhabited by ethnic minorities--are converted in tourist attractions with the main objects of tourism being the people who live there. For most people living in such establishments, their ancient homes become shops or museums, their clothes become the photo ops of tourists, etc. It just seems like such a shame that entire ethnic minorities and their ancestral homes have been commodified in such a manner--even if it helps the local economy and preserves the architecture.

Sarah said...

wow, it looks sooo beautiful! these photos are just incredible! xxx

le pearl said...

They are so perception-altering images right there. Thankyou for sharing.