Archiv für Juni 2009


The new CCTV (China Central Television) headquarters has been openend together with the Olympic Summer Games in 2008. Due to its shape the building is called ‚the trousers‘ and it sure is a really impressive piece of architecture. But unfortunately it is not liked by too many people of Beijing and therefore someone decided to put the office tower right next to it on fire (that’s my own assumption maybe it was also just an insurance scam or maybe I‘m completely off and this was really an accident caused by some very bad coincidence who knows?!).
The Tower burned out completely it even seems strange that the whole facade is somewhat melted since Beijing has a efficiently-working fire squad…
Now the CCTV tower is closed until the burnt building is torn down which of course takes some time since there is an investigation about the cause of the fire.

*21.8.2009: I had the chance to talk to the architects of the burnt building. They told me that they tried to visit the tower one week before the fire happened since it had been finished back then but couldn‘t access it. They also told me the cause of the fire which happened to be fireworks of the Chinese New Year party celebrated by the employees of the building…*

the building next to it completely burned down

news news news

Well I do understand that the death of Michael Jackson is tragical and I‘m sure we‘ve lost a great artist (though I think we have lost him already years ago) but this is insane. He has 5 (later that day even 6!!) articles among the headlines of the day and that was basically the same across most other news agencies (even those I consider rather reputable). I do understand that for example the conflict in Iran is getting a little more quiet (though there is a(n aggressive) reason for this) but it’s nonetheless a lot more important than the death of one person. Same goes for the upcoming elections in Germany there is barely anything about the parties‘ strategies on the news. What is wrong with this?

new era

We came by this nice apartment building last weekend and to be honest you find them anywhere here. But when I saw the name of the building I had to smile. ‚New Era Apartment‘ is funny and sad together. I remembered the nice computer game ‚SimCity 2000′ that I used to play (back in the days). The purpose of the game is to build and organize a city from scratch (the user is something like a ‚higher power‘ who is controlling and observing everything from the birds perspective). The city eventually becomes a ‚Megacity‘ with only skyscrapers. I guess the game wasn‘t too wrong about this transformation process maybe it really is a new era. I just hope that the next stage with the ‚glass bubble buildings‘ will not come true and instead people are taking a step back and get smaller buildings. Maybe the climate change is also helping a little with that..8-).

buildings in ‚Aberdeen‘ a part of Hong Kong Island

screenshot of ‚Sim City 2000′

click on the image to get a 3D application (like Google Maps) of Hong Kong

what does she know?

We went to a bar last night and this was the wallpaper in the mens toilet. The photo doesn‘t show it but it has this very nice 3D-effect also when you move to either side (I guess that’s why the flash came out as this linear stream instead of a circle). Nice idea but the bar wasn‘t too great; a beer was 5 (!!!) Euro (I know the ambience of a bar should not be determined by its beer prices but it definitely goes along with it). I would call that insane even though I‘m aware that I‘m in China but the supermarket down the road sells the 0,66 bottle for about 40 Cent.

ever thought of buying a new PC in China?

[…] The news comes as China tries to make sure all new PCs sold in the country are fitted with filtering software. […]

I just found this article on BBC and was a little surprised when I read the above. Though as always it sure makes sense in the thinking of the Chinese Government.
That kept me thinking then. Isn‘t almost every computer sold in western countries produced in China? Mine is I checked it a while ago just to make sure. So should I consider this a possible security threat or am I just being paranoid?
I guess I‘m overreacting a little lately as I find the edges of the ‚Chinese internet‘ more oftentimes.

same procedure as every monday

I have heard it several times but never got up to see it until today. It was too hot already around 7:30 this morning to stay in bed any longer so I got up and finally had the chance to see this glorious ‚monday morning‘ ceremony of the school next door. Every monday they pull up the national flag (I guess every week two other kids are given the honours) and of course sing the National Anthem (listen below). Some announcements are made, some kind of little sports activity is exercised and then the new school week starts. Sometimes they also sing a birthday song for a kid whose birthday is on that day.

Forbidden City

Tian‘anmen Square

car bomb restriction

I can understand the sign on the left (no honking) and the one in the middle (no parking/stopping) but the sign on the right is slightly confusing. Are they seriously trying to regulate or rather restrict ‚car bombings‘ with street signs? This is by far one of the most ridiculous signs I have seen then…

All three signs are on the western edge of Tian‘anmen Square above a road that leads into the Governtmental area.

Kevin Cyr

Kevin Cyr is a Brooklyn-based artist and illustrator. His oil paintings include many different versions of ‚Campers‘ inlcuding the one above that I find especially particular when I see the vast amount of rickshaws here in China.


Beijing People

Oh what a lazy day…This is my third and last post for today.


‚Die Perlenkette‘ (‚the pearl necklace‘) is the name of a German radio show that was (I think it isn‘t anymore) on air on a small local radio station in Heidelberg and Mannheim. I found it while searching for information about a band that I was listening to on another radio station. Their playlists include a very nice, easy-going summer music (mostly indie, whatever that means…I still don‘t get how Bloc Party and Beirut can be put into the same category for me they‘re quite different) and their shows can be even downloaded on their website. Definitely worth a listen even if you don‘t understand what they say. It’s not important anyway.

Another wall that isn‘t great at all is the Wall that separates the Palestinian Territories from Israel (for security reason…). Its controversy has long been discussed throughout the world yet the purpose of this concrete barrier still doesn‘t really seem fulfilled except by isolating the Palestinian People even more. But I don‘t want to discuss this whole issue as I also might not have the proper knowledge about it. I just stumbled across a website that as banal as it seems is a great idea. The Longest Letter (it’s on the wall) is a service of sprayers who offer to tag your very own message onto the wall. The tags are checked beforehand and political messages encouraging people for revenge will surely not be sprayed. Though it might help the people not losing their hope especially in these times as the whole conflict is getting a positive twist again. Plus the major part of the money collected by this project is flowing into charity programs supporting projects in the Palestinian Territories.

click on the photo to get more information and photos

Postal Service

Already more than 6 years old but nonetheless a great song, Postal Service with ‚Such Great Heights‘.

Great Greater…wow…

‚He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.‘ – Mao Zedong

Being in Beijing of course the visit of the Great Wall is a must-do. So we did…We decided to go to ‚Jinshanling‘ a small village about 130 km north east of Beijing since the ‚bible‘ recommend it as a nice stretch of the wall that offers a nice 4 hour walk to Simatai (yet another starting point to visit). It was indeed a great day with blue skies and despite some ‚Mongolian farmer‘ women trying to sell you souvenirs almost clear of any tourists. The sourrounding landscape is simply beautiful and certainly the Great Wall sure is impressive.
So now I truly feel like a real man.

Just in the middle of this gorgeous landscape they‘re constructing a big highway to Chengde (north-east of Beijing) that you‘re able to see (and I‘m sure to hear) once opened from the Wall above. Plus of course Simatai and Jinshangling will no longer remain the ‚hot spot‘ for a quiet Great Wall experience.

sleep sleep sleep

and you immediately ask yourself „Should I be concerned?“

And yes I do like ‚Oversaturated Pictures‘. Who cares about reality anyway?

‚Olympic Green‘ pt.2

And here is the rest of the ‚Olympic Green‘ in Polaroids.

the facade of the ‚water cube‘

inside the Olympic arena

inside the ‚water cube‘ where Michael Phelps swam all the records

the Olympic mascots dancing (and bullying each other) inside the ‚birds nest‘

the plastic for the facade of the water cube is made by BASF (we met a guy from Singapore working for BASF who told us)

visitor rows inside the ‚birds nest‘

security during the mascot dance, he could barely not smile about the puppets bumping into each other

the famous birds nest (looks impressive doesn‘t it?!…don‘t get too close though)

the birds nest from far behind with the Olympic torch still sitting on top of it

Thank you China!

Maybe I shouldn‘t start off writing about last weeks Beijing trip with the following but I was really thinking a lot about it afterwards.
Among all the sites we visited in Beijing was of course also the ‚Olympic Green‘, the area with all the stadiums, etc. of last years Olympic Games. The first thing that was already confusing was the term ‚Olympic Green‘ which is in reality a grey concrete stretch with some trees planted along the way and the stadiums to both sides. The ‚birds nest‘, the famous stadium built by ‚Herzog & deMeuron‘, looks really impressive from the distance but when you get closer you notice that after only one year it looks somewhat dirty and torn down. To some degree I‘m quite sure this is because of the Chinese ‚construction art‘ (quick and dirty) but some parts are simply left the way they were when the last visitors left the games. Inside it’s similar, but of course also impressive to see. Just walking down in the arena where all the famous sports legends walked not even a year ago is really amazing. Across the street is the ‚water cube‘, the Olympic aquatics center. The outside as well as the inside seem a lot more professional than the birds nest. Behind it along the way are several more stadiums, a Conference Centre that seems to be rebuilt or repaired (after one year???) and eventually on the far end is a park area. On the search for the Olympic village we walked the few kilometres to find out that it doesn‘t exist anymore. It’s another concrete area in the size of a shopping mall parking lot with a trash yard in front of it. In the entrance area where the most representative buildings are it’s still kept in considerably good shape but moving further along the road you realize the waste that comes along with an event like this. We eventually came along a small pavillion of the company ‚GE‘ (General Electrics) that seemed to have been something like a showroom (or similar). Outdoor stairs lead to the top where you can find a formerly beautiful roof-top terrace. The pools that must have created a very relaxed atmosphere are dried out and of course it’s dirty and trashed. Two elevators are leading up from downstairs, the doors are rusty and the elevator doesn‘t seem to work anymore. When we walked around the building we found an unlocked entrance. The building is now used by the workers (gardeners, cleaning staff) that is still working on the field. Among tables, discarded jury chairs and huge glossy prints the workers set up their housing. The inside is completely trashed everything seems like a surreal art work but unfortunately is not.
At latest here you realize that the Olympic Games are really over and what’s left behind is an unbelievable amount of trash and wasted resources.

the Olympic Village

inside the ‚GE‘ pavillion

the ‚GE‘ pavillion from outside

I guess it used to be a very relaxing roof-top terrace

a shopping mall built only for the Olympic Games now completely empty