Beijing gets the APEC blues « Week In China

The impressive thing about this story – from my conversations with Chinese friends here in Shanghai – is that many people respect the leader for admitting that the blue sky was an unfulfilled goal. Yes, it’s hard to be judged by international standards that were not used a hundred years ago when the UK, for example, had skies similar to armageddon. I wonder how long it will last, that people here have more hope that pollution will be tackled. Shanghai’s pm2.5 seems to be lower than it was two years ago, in my visual estimate. (I have not studied the data at all.) I am impressed, then, that Xi has managed to persuade some of society here that he understands the issue and intends to deal with it. It’s the first time I have seen and heard this in China.

This photo and quotation are from Week In China, a resource written by HSBC I now use in class here in Shanghai.

Thousands of factories have closed down during the summit period and there were no firecrackers at weddings, no fires at city food stalls and even no burning of paper flowers by grieving relatives for their dead.

The clean-up effort seemed to work. This year’s Beijing marathon may have been run in air quality 16 times worse than the World Health Organisation’s safety minimums. But leaders at the summit hotel on Yanqi Lake on the outskirts of the city woke up to skies that netizens were soon calling ‘APEC blue’.

Perhaps realising how the media was picking up on the phrase, Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned it during his speech at the summit dinner on Monday. “These days the first thing I do in the morning is check the air quality in Beijing hoping the smog won’t be too bad so that our distinguished guests will be more comfortable while you are here,” he told the audience. “Some people call the clear blue sky the APEC blue – beautiful but temporary and it will be gone after the APEC meeting. I hope and believe that with persistent efforts the APEC blue will be here to stay.”

The vast majority of locals are sceptical that the clearer conditions are going to last. And clarity wasn’t wholly forthcoming on a number of other issues at the summit, too.

via Beijing gets the APEC blues « Week In China.


I have met some people with interesting names recently. It makes me think about why we have a tradition that names should be similar. I actually named a friend once; they wanted a Western name and couldn’t find out which one was most popular.

In the past week I have met Raven, Latte and Yoyo. They are all people, not pet animals.

Have you got any better names to share?

11th November: The West and China

Some of you know how important this day is, but for different reasons.

In 1914 it was the day WW1 ended.

In China it is now known as Single Day (11.11) and is the biggest shopping day of the year.

I can’t see this ever catching on in my country, the UK. I hope not.

Bad translator

Bad Translator

Often (but not always) the best definition will still retain some of the original meaning but this doesn’t really matter as it allows you to discuss what is right or wrong with each groups original definition in a way that will maintain their interest for longer than if you were just discussing it on its own!

via Making definitions fun!.

Thanks for the good idea, Tutor2u. I will use it.

Funny yoga photos

Last Sunday I started a project with a friend of mine, Nicole. She teaches yoga at Y Plus in Xintiandi, Shanghai. She wants to encourage people in China to do yoga anywhere, any time.
I have been doing yoga for a year, on and off, mostly off. One day, she will be taking my photo. Until that day, I’ll enjoy watching others smile as she makes it look easy in public places.





Travel time

My main question at this time of year is how to prepare for my travel. Which stuff to take? Which camera? Which bags? Which laptop or not at all? How to backup photos? I will add to this one as I work it all out.

Shaoxing – 2014-06-11

Cycling up north



This was a great tide even though I did it alone. I saw some mates at the end. It’s good to have a goal. Shanghai roads are scary at times but evenings are calmer. My new bike is the grey one. It’s very fast despite having only one gear.