Friday, December 25, 2009

Blue Sky! Can you hear me now?

Christmas in Beijing

My cousin and I are celebrating the holiday together here in Beijing, China...last night we strolled down WangFuJing and stopped by the Catholic church only to find vendors selling Mardi Gras styled masks and devil's horns. It was a spectacle...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Temple of Heaven - Beijing China

Today my cousin and I visited The Temple of Heaven located a bit south of Tian'anmen on line 5 of the subway (tiantandongmen).

My favorite spot was the Circular Mound Altar, which is most significant this time of year! This is a photo of my cousin Elliott looking regal as he poses.

The Circular Altar has three layered terraces with white marble. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven and hope everything would be good in the future.

Another important building in Temple of Heaven is Imperial Vault of Heaven. If you look at it from far away, you will find that the Vault is like a blue umbrella with gold head. The structure of it is like that of Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, but smaller in size. The structure was made of bricks and timber. The Vault was used to place memorial tablets of Gods. White marble railings surround the vault.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a big palace with round roof and three layers of eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent four seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter; the 12 posts along the middle circle represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen (Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichens). The roof is covered with black, yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of white marble and has a height of six meters.

Thanks to: for the intel!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaching The People's children

This entire video was shot with an iPhone 3GS, converted to .mov files and edited in FCP.

I accompanied my BLCU classmate, Nils, to a local school for migrant children. Many of the children who live in Beijing don't have access to "proper" schools and attend schools like the one in this video, which rely on assistance from volunteers.

Video project for @therefore's Digital Video class.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Meeting the German Ambassador to China...

Today I accompanied my friend, Carolyn, and a group from Tsinghua to meet with Germany's Ambassador to China: Michael Friedrich Wilhelm Schaefer.

We were greeted by Conrad, a friendly young German, and given a short tour and Q&A session. He reminded us that November was the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall being taken down and said they had many events in celebration of the reunification of Germany.

He then took us to the Ambassador's residence where we meet with the Ambassador for two hours of Q&A. I was impressed by the hospitality and relaxed Question and Answer format - it was a truly unique experience.

It was the first time I had the opportunity to hear a German Euro-Centric perspective. So often here in China things are polarized between US and China, but the Ambassador framed the perspective of the EU as an entity that, collectively, surpasses the US in it's economic significance. He was openly able to evaluate the challenges the EU faces while clearly stating the significance of the Union, which as an American was a unique perspective to hear.

He also said that China was not only a 'responsible stakeholder,' but becoming an equal shareholder.