Monday, August 27, 2012

Morning dance in an inner-city square, Xining, China



Xining is the provincial capital of Qinghai province in western China. Located at an high altitude (about 2,200 metres above sea level), the city is one of the most populous cities in the western region, having about 2.2 million residents by 2010. I had a chance to stay there for about one week as part of my field research in September 2008. Among the many aspects of the city that caught my eyes during my stay, it was very interesting to see people of all ages and gender doing what appears to be a routine morning dancing exercise. Rotating a series of gestures and going around slowly in a circle, they all seemed to be quite well accustomed to the beats and melody, while not a single persons seemed to be hesistant about their moves. I understand Chinese people are often seen early in the morning or (if in summer) late in the evening, indulging themselves in various group exercises such as Tai Chi and quite often, classic waltz, and I have seen many with my own eyes, but not to this scale. The entire plaza was filled with a number of small circles, repeating the same dance moves, and this was at around 8.30 am in the morning. It was actually quite enjoyable watching them, and made me feel like dancing (though didn't have the nerve to join in…). The plaza was one of the results of the city's urban redevelopment projects in order to change the look of the city and attract more tourists, and apparently, the local citizens were ready to 'occupy' the space and spell out their own way of appropriating urban space.

Location: Xining, Qinghai Province, China (http://goo.gl/maps/MwwCZ)
Date: 20 September 2008
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Urbanised Village and its Struggle to Survive



Description:


Urbanised villages in China refer to former rural villages that have been engulfed by urban expansion. Having lost farmlands, villagers invest heavily in dwellings to gain rental income from migrant tenants. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in China’s Pearl River Delta region. These villages struggle to resist impending threats of demolition, though they give in eventually one after another, as is the case seen in this picture.

(originally submitted to LSE Photo Prize 2012 competition and shortlisted)

Location: Xian Village, Guangzhou, China
Date: December 2011
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Absorbed in her Study, Xining, China



Description:

While families in China struggle to provide education for their children, girls are more likely to fall behind boys in terms of receiving fair opportunities. While roadworks were going on in the entire section of this busy street located in the central district of Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining, this girl show how much she was determined and willing to commit to her study.

(originally submitted to LSE Photo Prize 2012)

Location: Xining, China
Date: September 2008
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Child and Bamboo Stick



Description:


In this neighbourhood located in central Guangzhou, China, tensions are heightened due to impending demolition and residents' displacement. For most local residents, continuing their lives after displacement becomes a real struggle, but for now, the child’s major concern is to get the paper-roll back on the ground.

(originally submitted to LSE Photo Prize 2012)

Location: Liwan District, Guangzhou, China
Date: September 2009
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Charlton House, London

여름방학기간이라 학교에 가지 않을 때 가끔 오후 시간을 보내는 곳. 옛날 지역영주가 거처하던, 자코뱅 Jacobean (제임스 6세 통치 당시, 16세기말 - 17세기 초) 스타일 건축물이다. 19세기 중반에 발간된 것으로 보이는 어느 책에 소개된 스케치와 오늘날 사진을 대비해 보면 약간의 차이를 보이지만 잘 보존된 것을 알 수 있다. 좀 더 최근에 지어진 것으로 보이는 건물 오른쪽 부속건물에는 도서관이 있는데, 종종 무료 음악회가 열리곤 한다. 낮1시라 동네 노인들이 주로 오는 듯한데, 지역주민들에게 의미있는 문화행사인 듯 하다. 본 건물에는 까페가 있으며, 일본어를 가르치는 학교가 자리잡고 있기도 하다. 


Charlton House in London as shown in a book published in 1858, and how it looks today. It's a lovely local gem. The bottom image from 1858 comes from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charlton_House,_Kent.jpg#