Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A little black spot

"there's a little black spot on the sun today,

it's the same old thing that was yesterday"

-king of pain

Look for the two kites trapped in the high tree top.

"i can feel sorrow but not regret"

mia farrow, in a movie i will not name

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daqing Dragons

Here are a few dragons I found at the Jiu Long Tan restaurant. jiu = 9, long = dragon, tan = not sure.

Pat in Daqing

I guess if Kyla gets her own post so should you Pat. Good old high quality Haerbin beer. Nothing better ... when it's cold, that is.

Kyla in Daqing

Just wanted to post something lighter. I have been reading and viewing information about Unit 731 this evening.

Kyla liked the other picture I posted of her so I thought I would post another.

Kyla is a new young Calgarian who is working at EF here in the Xin Cun district of Daqing. She now lives downstairs in what was my apartment.

Looking good Kyla'r!!

Unit 731 2

There are still a few elderly Chinese people in the north and central regions that bare the external wounds of anthrax infections but all here are taught to remember what the Japanese did 70 years ago.
Another Youtube search line: THE FOOT OF ALL EVIL - 1/2
will give you an idea of what these individuals endure.
This search line will take you to a documentary about the lasting effects of anthrax infections. Again you may not want to watch.

I have added to this post a picture of a Chinese family that I followed through the museum. The mother stood sternly behind her 9 year old son as he read every piece of information. An interesting choice for a day out over the winter vacation. It was saddening and simultaneously imploring. I found it striking to see this child being forced to think about those things which I at my age find difficult to comtemplate.
There are no Japanese in Daqing, not even at the cooks at the Japanese restaurant are Japanese and no one here is particularly interested in ever visiting Japan. Understandible I supose.

Unit 731

I had never heard of the Chinese hatred for Japanese. I knew that Chinese people hate to be mistaken for Japanese but here in Daqing it has become blazingly clear the reason for such abhorrence. I traveled to the government sponsored museum located just south of Haerbin. It is the sight of the infamous (as I have now learned) Japanese Unit 731 station. It was once known as the worlds leading medical research centre. It was externally known as the "Water Treatment Facility" but inside one of the worlds worst wartime atrocities was taking place. This Japanese run facility studied the effects of a diversity of pathogens, diseases, and torture on the human body. As well it was the leading research site on germ warfare. All test subjects were innocent civilians most of which were local Chinese villagers.
My trip to this museum was frightening. Auschwitz terminated a larger number of people but Unit 731 did far worse things. Far worse.
I have done some more research on-line and would think it best for only the strong to watch the following Youtube video (search line: Unit 731 Japanese Torture & Human Medical Experiments). This search line will bring you to an awful account of what took place in this part of China between 1937 and 1942. It is harsh but the 19 minutes it takes to watch it will change your view of what the Japanese were like.
I traveled to this museum and took a few pictures but did not think to take a picture of the crematorium chimneys that stand ambiguously far from the main building. I found a picture on line that resembles what I saw and also added a wartime photo of the full facility. The long narrow building to the left of the square shaped central facility is what still stands today.
As well I have added an interesting picture of a Japanese monk who visited the memorial that is deep inside the thick, brick walls of the main entrance of what was once the sprawling Unit 731 facility. Also, I have added here a picture of one of the only Japanese Unit 731 workers who testified in China's defence about the atrocities that took place. I added these two pictures to remind us that apologies can be made and that the world is not what it was then.
No formal apology or compensation has even been given to the Chinese people.
This museum has appealed to UNESCO to be designated a World Heritage Site. I searched to see if it received this status but could not successfully find out if it had.
"This is not just a concern for China. This a concern for humanity." the museum curator

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lantern Festival in Daqing Pic 5

Lantern Festival in Daqing Pic 4

Lantern Festival More Pics 3

Lantern Festival More Pics 2

Uploading problems so I'm posting one at a time. Tedious.
Nothing like candied-apples and balloons to make a festival complete.

Lantern Festival Daqing More pics

Lantern Festival in Daqing

I am a little late posting these pics but I have been busy doing extra classes in order to get everything wrapped up for the end of next week. I don't have time to tell you much about the Lantern Festival other than it falls on the first full moon of the Chinese Lunar New Year. This year the moon was at its fullest and brightest in 52 years and there was a secondary lunar eclipse (which means there was a partial shadow that dulled the moon around 10:00pm but did not block it out completely). The night was beautiful and clear with a soft breeze. Perfect for fireworks and lanterns. We went down to the government square to see the fireworks. People set off little paper lanterns with candles inside them. It was eerie to watch as these little glowing UFOs coasted silently off into oblivion and blinked out.

I was happy to have a chance to mingle amongst the locals who were as always excited to see foreign faces and were proud to see us joining them in celebrating their uniquely Chinese traditions.