Yunnan ladies thread

Yunnan ladies.jpg

The Discussion: 42 Comments

Just curious Richard if you knew this or not, but did you know Lewis “Scooter” Libby is actually an accredited author. Decades ago, after serving with the State department in Japan he wrote a fictional book. I have heard it entails lots of kinky sex (bears/little girls) scenarious. Who would have thought there would be a correlation between straight-laced Republicans and depraved sexual fetishes, certainly not me.

November 9, 2005 @ 6:36 am | Comment

Jing, check out this New Yorker article for excerpts of Scooter’s opus, plus a rundown of other Republican “erot1c” prose…

November 9, 2005 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

In Britain we have a long, fine tradition of conservative hypocritical perverts…:) did you guys hear the story of the conservative politican in the uk who was found hanging in his sitting room wearing a pair of fishnet stockings, an orange stuffed in his mouth and his unmentionables hanging out?

right wingers eh? tssk….

November 9, 2005 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

Yikes. The place I used to work, years ago, had this book that was a psychological study of powerful men and their sex lives. It went into why people in positions of power seem to need to “up the ante” and increase the level of risk to get the thrills they wanted. I don’t really remember the conclusion, but it seems to be some intersection of repression and the arrogance of having the power to think you can do whatever you want.

November 10, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

And on a completely different topic:

WASHINGTON – House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.

They also dropped from the budget document plans to allow states to authorize oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts โ€” regions currently under a drilling moratorium.

The actions were a stunning setback for those who have tried for years to open a coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil development, and a victory for environmentalists, who have lobbied hard against the drilling provisions. President Bush has made drilling in the Alaska refuge his top energy priorities.”

November 10, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

Continuing private discussion with Ivan, Raj and ACB which is probably incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t take an interest in current UK events. (Apologies to those readers of other nationalities.)

I dunno how to describe my accent, but it’s posher than estury-English and less posh than someone who attended Roedean, or even a GPDST school. (Posher than the Spice Girls, but way below the Queen in RP stakes.) Having said that, in linguistics classes, the teacher always chose me to demonstrate an RP accent – most embarrassing, but it was in Scotland, so she didn’t have much choice.
Completely random comment: My sister just submitted an offer for a flat in Wallington.

Back to the police: it later occurred to me that when ACB said that the police required more powers in Britain he could have been referring to the current anti-terror bill. British police claimed that they needed to detain people for up to 90 days without trial in order to combat terror. However, as Michael Howard pointed out, (and I do hate to agree with a Tory, but there you go) the police had failed to provide a single example of a case where they had actually needed this power. Thus, Tony Blair just suffered his first commons defeat in 8 years.
Far too little, far too late, but…I guess it’s a start. Now they need to reject some more of the Prime Minister’s current mad schemes.

November 10, 2005 @ 1:26 am | Comment

Just got this from the Canadian embassy:
On November 4, 2005, Chinese authorities advised four- and five-star hotels in China, including Hong Kong, of a possible terrorist attack in the weeks ahead.
Canadians in China should maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, particularly in commercial and public establishments.
Any ideas?

November 10, 2005 @ 2:03 am | Comment

This just in from the US embassy:

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security informed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on November 10 that Chinese security authorities have determined that the source of a reported threat against four and five star hotels in China is not credible. The United States Government is not aware of any other information of any threat against hotels in China, including Hong Kong. Our warden message of November 9 on threats to hotels is therefore retracted.

November 10, 2005 @ 2:26 am | Comment


As you yourself know, my British English accent is dire. When I try to speak Queen’s English I end up sounding like Freddy Mercury (if you can see the joke in this, you have far too much free time).

When I mentioned police power, I most certainly was not speaking about Adolf Blair’s Guantanimo JR bill. I actually meant that the police should be able to act against people without fear of being accuse of brutality or racism. The British police force needs more imunity.

November 10, 2005 @ 12:37 pm | Comment


I notice that the US deficit has just hit a new record high.

November 10, 2005 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

I used to work at a porn store. It was my first job but still sticks with me. Many [power people, ir. local gov’t , local big wigs, frequented the store, it was very paralizing. I wish I never worker there. No surprise scooter wrote of bear porn.

November 10, 2005 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

Hello! I got an email from a friend the other day – does anyone know anything about this ‘ant wine’? frankly i am unsurprised by the results…..

“I was thinking of you the other day actually because we admitted a guy to Intensive Care who was repatriated from China. Apparently he was travelling around with a Chinese friend and they went out drinking one night. They didn’t drink excessively but they did drink something called ant wine and some local spirits (they were in Yunnan at the time). The next morning they couldn’t wake him up and he’s been in a coma more or less since. The condition he has is called toxic leukoencephalopathy (which has bascially destroyed a lot of the nerve coatings within the brain) and they think it may have been caused by drinking these spirits or ant wine (the toxicology department at the hospital and in HK tested him for virtually every toxin they could think of but nothing has really come up so they have diagnosed him by exclusion basically). Do you know anything about ant wine? Have you ever heard of it? He was originally in hospital in the Honghe region of Yunnan”

November 10, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Have you seen this in the guardian….those naughty chinese people…..tssk!,7369,1639929,00.html

November 10, 2005 @ 9:14 pm | Comment

“Ant wine” – now that sounds really scary. I sure hope it’s not true.

Thanks for that Guardian link. There are a whole bunch of cool articles on China in that paper today but i don’t think I’ll have time to get to them. I love the descriptions of those “delegations” the CCP is always sending over to the UK:

After the deaths last year of 21 Chinese cocklers at Morecambe Bay, the Chinese government sent over what was described as a “police delegation” to help identify the dead men and offer any other assistance to their British counterparts. However, the delegation was suspiciously big, leaving MI5 worried that it contained spies. “MI5 took certain measures to counter them,” said a well-placed Whitehall source.

ยท After 58 Chinese stowaways were found dead in the back of a lorry in Dover, the Chinese government again sent a large delegation to help Kent police identify the men before the trial last year. A member of the team was later found logging on to the police national computer. It is unclear what he found out.

ยท One British company anxious to develop its business with China recently invited a delegation to visit its factory in the UK. The Chinese authorities sent a delegation, but only a few of them turned up. The rest were believed to have travelled around Britain inviting themselves to defence and research establishments.

November 10, 2005 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Hi–Haven’t heard from you in a while. Hows everything?

November 10, 2005 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

You guys haven’t heard of ant wine? Geez, where have y’all been, under a rock? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Someone gave my mum a bottle, when she was in the hospitral recuperating from a nasty car accident. Apparently it’s supposed to be good for curing all sorts of ills. ^.^*

November 10, 2005 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

I’ll write an email, I promise. Busy with work.

November 10, 2005 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

More about perverted upper class English twits: There’s actually a club (I THINK based at Oxford) of occasional transvestites, dedicated to King Edward the Second. (I THINK it’s called the “Gaveston Society”, but I forget whether Gaveston was Edward’s lover or someone else’s.) And their motto is something like: “Blessed are those who have seen but NOT believed” (ie, not believed that they’re real transvestites. Although, sometimes they really are. Which is hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t understand England.)

And more, for Dish, and ABC and other Brits:

Thanks for being good sports about my incomprehensible teasing about class and accent etc ๐Ÿ™‚ You mentioned RP, but you know the old question: “Received FROM WHOM and BY WHOM?” ๐Ÿ™‚

Some years ago I actually humbled an old marginally-upper-class Cambridge graduate (a horrible snob) at the pub after a club meeting, when this old twit boasted that she had won the “xxxx Award” for Literature. (The Award was named after a Victorian/ Edwardian poet.) Turns out that THAT poet, Sir xxxx (later Knighted), was my great-great-grandmother’s cousin (upper working class), and I produced a photo of him from my wallet. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Well yes, I keep a photo of him with me – poetic inspiration, you see….)

Oh and about the origins of the affected upper-class accent/mumbling (entirely different from BBC/RP): The English aristocracy began to affect the habit of mumbling and hemming and hawing, during the reign of George the Second – because, he was a first/second generation German, and his English pronunciation was shit.
(His dad, George the First, spoke no English at all.) So, whenever George the Second met with his courtiers, he would stammer and stumble and mumble, “ahem, hm, hrm, ah yes, harumph”, whenever he spoke English. And his good courtiers began to imitate the habit, to flatter him. Thus the habit of mumbling became fashionable among the English aristocracy in the 1700s. I shit you not! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to hear what English sounded like in Shakespeare’s time (well, SOME kinds of English), your best bet is to go to the mountains of Virginia or West Virginia. The best fossils of Late Medieval (or Early Modern) English (like 1400 to 1650) are in the American Appalachians.
In the 1920s an American Musicologist made a research trip to the mountains of Virginia, and she heard the locals singing old ballads like “Barbara Allen” in the OLD melodies which have long since been forgotten in England. But even today, in SOME parts of America, the old (almost medieval) English music and dialects still survive.

Or, if you want to hear what Chaucer sounded like in 1380, your best bet is Australia. (Or parts of London, but Australia is even better.) The foundation of Australian is the old London dialect (mixed with other influences of course), which Chaucer spoke. The East End London dialect seems to have changed relatively little from 1350 to 1800 – when the English began to settle Australia in earnest – and so, the best fossilised remains of Chaucer’s London dialect, today survive mostly in Oz. ๐Ÿ™‚

But really, doesn’t it kind of make sense, to imagine Chaucer as an Australian? And can’t you almost imagine an Australian supplement to Canterbury Tales? “There was a Knight, a Prioress, a Miller, and an Ozzie Surfer…..and here follows the Surfer’s Tale….(cue the music for “Home And Away”….)”

November 11, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

Ivan, I have also heard that interesting idea about Appalachian English. Another version holds that Texan English is the closest thing to Shakespearean English, a chilling notion indeed (“Romeo, wherefore art thou?” –> “Howdy, Romeo! Where the hell are ya?”).

However, others have told me that the claim is controversial, and not necessarily accepted by English linguists. Maybe someone can add some details?

On a similar note, I have also heard that the French spoken in Quebec sounds (to Frenchmen, anyway) rather like 18th century French.

Okay, predictions, anyone? 250 years from now, American English scholars will point to what place as the best version of “fossilized” 20th century American English???

My wild guess: Hawaii. I’ve known a few Hawaiians, and I’ve noticed their pronunciation seems more precise than “mainlanders” (e.g. you can clearly hear the second “d” in “didn’t”, mainlanders say something closer to “din’t”).

Other guesses?

November 11, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

Quebecois has always been laughed at by the French as having the same accent as the poorest, most denigrated area of France. I always found it fascinating that such echoes of a socio-economic group in another part of the world and another era are still heard. Kind of like the Cockney Falklands English…

November 11, 2005 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

I’d check out what Bill Bryson says on the subject, either in “The Mother Tongue” or in “Made in America”, except somebody’s stolen my copies of both books.

November 11, 2005 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

re those mascots…made me laugh too…”Have five little boddhisatvas turned up in Beijing as manga aliens?”

November 11, 2005 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

this is the only thing I can relate to a possible ‘ant wine’

there are species of ants that produce formic acid as a defense mechanism. formic acid if you ingest it goes through a stage where it’s formaldehyde, which is pretty bad for you. methanol also is oxidixed to formaldehyde I think. so maybe ant wine is methanol. did the guy go blind too?

November 12, 2005 @ 1:19 am | Comment

Don’t know if it’s been posted by anyone else, but Jonathan D. Spence (the prolific historian of China) is giving a couple of lectures here in Taipei this Monday and Tuesday. One’s at NTU and the other at the Tunhua Eslite Bookstore. For more details go here:

November 12, 2005 @ 5:23 am | Comment

Hey Richard,
I know this is totally off-topic, and you’ve surely found much better quality accomodation since you asked about hotels in Taiwan. But in case it helps anybody else out there, I was just in Taipei a while ago and had good luck with the Taipei Hostel on LinSen North Road. It is awfully grotty, but at NT 500 a night for single rooms (additional discount for weekly stay) I dealt with it. The central location and free internet was a must for me.

Here’s their website:

November 12, 2005 @ 6:03 am | Comment

I know this is getting booooring, but just to let you know that today is the first day in ages I’ve been able to see all the pictures (inc Yunnan ladies) and the comments without having to use a proxy.
Confused about why? Yeah. But anyway….

November 13, 2005 @ 1:59 am | Comment

dishuiguanyin wrote:

I’d check out what Bill Bryson says on the subject, either in “The Mother Tongue” or in “Made in America”, except somebody’s stolen my copies of both books.

Dish, you didn’t loan those valuable books to Ivan, did you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

November 13, 2005 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Finally- the tpd opens without the need for any antifascist device.

November 13, 2005 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

Thanks Laowai. We don’t know if the guy is blind as he went to bed then didn’t wake up. Will let you know if i hear more. i passed on your information.

November 13, 2005 @ 8:37 pm | Comment

Actually, a form of Elizabethan English is still spoken on remote Tangier and Smith Islands in the Chesapeake Bay off Virginia. The islands are populated by decendants of the original settlers, Cornish fisherman who arrived in the 1600s.

November 13, 2005 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

Hey did you know that you are at the top of the google list for a search of “peking duck”?

Not bad!

Bathroom Review

November 14, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Comment

Help someone-
Here at work my computer forbids me from remembering my details, so I have to constantly retype my name and email address. Any suggestions?

November 14, 2005 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Oh! According to the New York Times, Hu YaoBang is going to be rebilitated!

Richard, please post the good news

November 14, 2005 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

Yes, I saw this a few hours ago. It’s on my plate…

November 14, 2005 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

Bill Bryson is good. (Although I plead innocent to stealing Dish’s books.) He’s a midwesterner (from what I call the “true” Midwest, Iowa, Missouri, that area), and (although I haven’t been out there in many years), at least until recently many Midwesterners had especially high literacy rates and wonderful old-fashioned American pronunciation.

Vincent Price (one of my heroes) is a good example. Many people mistook his accent for East Coast, or even English, but he’s from Missouri.
Older generations of Missourians sounded like him, almost like some of the English. (Also, TS Eliot, Missourian)

I THINK Bryson was the one who wrote, “If you want to imagine how the English upper class spoke in the 1600s, think of Yosemite Sam.” And in those days especially, the English aristocracy behaved like a bunch of wild men – kind of like stereotypical American cowboys. ๐Ÿ™‚

November 14, 2005 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

I will vouch for Ivan – he’s never been anywhere near my bookcases.
I find that Bill Bryson is a great writer with just the right mix of erudition and humour.

November 14, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Among us American Male Chauvinist Bluestockings, we use a baseball metaphor for getting into a woman’s bookcase:

1. Getting near her bookcase, “First base.”

2. Touching one of her books, “Second Base.”

3. Opening one of her books, “Third Base.”

4. Taking the book home and leaving her there, “Home Run.”

November 14, 2005 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

PS, books are better than Women, because:

1. A book doesn’t ask you to stop reading late at night,

2. A book never changes what it says from one day to the next

3. You can take a book home with you for only around 20 dollars

4. When you finish one book, it doesn’t complain if you put it on the shelf and open another one for a while

…..(thinking of more, give me time…)

November 15, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

Ooooh, THIS is why I’m really careful about who I lend my books to…

November 15, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment

The scarey thing is, one of the people who comments here quite often actually has been near my bookcases…. I can’t remember if he got to third base or not.

November 15, 2005 @ 1:23 am | Comment

I’m zipping this thread up. Please continue above.

November 15, 2005 @ 2:05 am | Comment

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