Quanzhou: Never a Dull Moment

City of Light

Opening number of Quanzhou Municipal Government’s short-lived multi-million yuan musical extravanganza, City of Light

Careful readers, or perhaps my stalkers, may have noticed me mention that the past few months I have made my home in Quanzhou, Fujian. Quanzhou is a fascinating city historically. It boasts one of the few surviving Manichean temples in China, the tombs of the Companions of the Prophet, Muslim missionary friends of Muhammed who supposedly brought Islam here, where a Hui community once (not so much anymore) thrived, the remains of a Hindu temple established by Indian merchants, and was known as Zaytun by Marco Polo. It was also the setting for the (probable) historical fraud before 1421, namely City of Light, supposedly a translation of the work of an Italian who beat Polo here by a few years.

Quanzhou is also home to escaped Burmese pythons, security guards who want “Being Able to Walk in 260kg Iron Shoes” to be an Olympic Sport, sterile mothers who give birth to pocket sized babies, con artists who use electronic voice changers (subscription rqrd, stupid Shanghai Daily!), the one and only Huaqiao University, and the Fujian – Taiwanese Kinship Museum, which begins with a giant portrait of a tree (one people, one root!) made by gunpowder burns and maps showing that Taiwan was linked to the Mainland once upon a time by land. Like half a million years ago or something, but that’s how they start out. You get the idea. It’s a big museum.

So it’s a fun place, but all that might change because some Cain and Abel type trouble is goin’ down:

Two Taiwanese fishermen were feared to have been kidnapped by Chinese fishermen while at sea on Monday… Liao Chien-huei said he had attempted to call his father and brother by cell phone, but failed to reach them. He said among the eight Chinese workers, three were newcomers from Quanzhou. Liao said he suspected his family members had been kidnapped by the Quanzhou crew or some group working in collusion with them.”

Ahem. Richard, I have been authorized to relay the kidnappers demands to you, the duly appointed blogging representative of Taiwan here at Peking Duck, which since the Ming Dynasty has been recognized as the key arbiter in these cross-Straits People’s Court/Ricki Lake type dramas. My Geraldo to your Wopner, as it were. Their demands are as follows:

* Stop making fun of our accents and saying we’re from Jiangxi. That’s too low.
* Stop jacking up the price of mangoes.
* Stop rigging cross-Straits cricket fighting championships.
* Stop telling that joke about how you made all “three direct links” with our sister.
* Fulfill your promise to introduce us to the girls of S.H.E. at that club you told us about.

There was a demand about A-Bian, but in the end they decided life was funnier with him around than without. I await your counter-offer.

SIDENOTE: This thread is not intended for a tiresome debate on Chinese astronomy.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

I am Jessica Copeland. I do not listen when I am asked to drop an argument that a) is irrelevant, b) is not being pushed in the post and c) the host has repeatedly asked me to drop. I have so much to say: why don’t I get my own blog?

November 17, 2006 @ 3:41 am | Comment

Note from webmaster: “Rej” is “Jessica,” who is banned.

November 17, 2006 @ 4:18 am | Comment

Great post, Raj, but it would be funnier if the fishermen had been returned – in all seriousness, do we have any idea why the Chinese would capture them?

How on earth did you ever come to live in Quanzhou? Do you recommend it to others? (I’m thinking of my next trip to the mainland.)

November 17, 2006 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

@Richard: I think Jessica’s “Rej” name got you confused, I wrote this not Raj. I’m watching for breaking developments, though I didn’t check todays paper. I assume that there will be some sort of cooperation with mainland authorities, and it might not be a kidnapping. Perhaps it was…. [looks at camera ominously] murder!

I ended up in the QZ because my girlfriend was here. I like it, most of the time.

November 17, 2006 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

Sorry Dave. It’s all clear to me now. I was wondering what Raj was doing in Fujian! ๐Ÿ™‚

November 17, 2006 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

For those who still claim Zheng He never even reached nearby Australia; here is science:

The trading between China and her neighbors, from the Persia to Indonesia, New Zealand thrived several thousand years ago, possibly before the birth of imagined Jesus. Sailing such routes in known known โ€“ cannot be called explore for the Chinese.

November 20, 2006 @ 4:16 am | Comment

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