#Animal Kingdom – A Modern #Fable

Would you keep a Chihuahua as pet?

Once upon a time, a little bull was born, in a far away country, speaking a different language, belonging to a herd which was persecuted by another. This little bull, let’s call him B, was one of many by his poor mother belonging to a poor peasant family in a war torn country. So little B was sold on to a passing tourist who then returned to his country of origin: United Kingdom.

All of a sudden Little B found himself in a foreign country and unable to understand a word of the local lingo. What did he have to do to fast track into this brand new world, one of many animals in the rich and fertile farmland of the South of England?

The Animal Farm he found himself in had a strict and discriminative system. As a young, semi-illiterate ‘immigrant’ bull, he quickly learnt survival skills and a will to succeed. His first strategy, courting and marrying a local English cow E. E was a bit on the ugly side and older than little B, but no matter. He was able to learn English from her, and when she was pregnant with his sons, he got his English citizenship by paternal association, the recognised status in the land of animals. Little B was no longer Little or an outsider, he became simply B, for Bull or Beast; labels did not bother him, nor did rules.

Beautiful English Countryside

Who will be King?

When E was heavy with their babies, B spotted a newcomer in the Farm. It was impossible not to notice her, a fair skinned oriental beauty standing out like an ice cool Princess among the dirty, rough crowds of the wild animals, and better still a Chiru, a Tibetan Antelope no less, A for short. So B thought: I will seduce A and make her my Queen. I will build a new world where everyone will bow to me and follow my orders, and I will transform this little, unruly land of beasts into a flashy Animal Kingdom. I will be King Almighty B.

Chiru is a Tibetan Antelope

The pursuit of Princess A took a bit of efforts and scheming, as competition was rife in the Land of the Free, and opportunities open for all. After all, this was a land which bred Charles Darwin who proclaimed that only the Fittest survive.

B was not deterred. His ambition and drive for success alone would have persuaded anyone in doubt. Soon he saw off competition from other Antelopes, bears and zebras, the whole lot. B had what it took, and his bedside manners especially convincing. So in no time at all, Princess A put down her defences and took B’s proposal, with one condition: get rid of your English cow and abandon your new born babies. When the time is right, I will give you an heir, an heir who will come from a much better stock than your stupid ugly first wife!

Is this a beast or King of Animal Kingdom?

Initially it took B by surprise and dismay, but he thought it over and took another quick look at his wife which made his decision. B and A shook on the deal, and Queen A was installed in their first home, not quite a palace, but still a cool English country mansion, served by a number of willing and obedient animals they have recruited to their household. Among them, a couple of roosters R and his wife, to produce eggs for them; a female Monkey M for cleaning the house and cooking; a flock of sheep for grazing the land; an elderly Yorkshire terrier R; another European Husky J, and a number of other minions running around the clock after King B and Queen A, at their beck and call. His Majesty even ordered a Chihuahua G all the way from South America to entertain Her Majesty. The lapdog was soothing to the eye and soft to the touch, but not much use otherwise. It kept Her Majesty occupied and in control though.

Life was good, but far far from enough. The sky is the limit, so why not reach for the stars?

They relocated to a bigger mansion by the sea, overlooking the English channel. this new farm had all the trappings of success, better location, good quality grassland, more posh surroundings and top quality animal schools for the little one. By then, Queen A had become pregnant with a `Mini Me’ and she wanted the best for her precious offspring, a mixed breed real life Prince.

For a few years, they enjoyed their time building and expanding their stock, so much so that theirs became the biggest Animal Kingdom by the sea. In time it became limiting and the King and Queen became restless. He wanted to branch out, to spread his wings.

By then they had started an importing and exporting business with overseas partners, especially the Asian Giant. So B and A took turns to travel to the land of AG and reap the rich financial rewards. People in AG land looked up to people from the Land of Hope and Glory, and AG wanted to recreate the success stories of B’s Animal Kingdom in the West, because AG has many more mouths to feed, and they needed B and A’s expertise to help them getting there. That royal treatment by this ancient land and readiness of animals in that massive kingdom to hand over cash and expensive gifts won B and A over in no time at all.

There was an added bonus for B. Although he adored his Queen, A was too cool and did her bossing around a little too often. AG Kingdom became both an attraction and distraction. The attraction was multiplied when B met a younger version of A, and this time a hairy but rather cute Panda C, a national treasure in AG land, who threw herself at B, the moment she spotted the opportunity which B brought with him.

This Panda can put on a good show!

She can shag too, whoever pays. The more the better reward!

B’s life took a more exciting turn, as he travelled frequently for the hot dates with his new mistress Panda C. She was half his age, but she knew exactly how to string him along. She was not being awarded the title of National Treasure for no good reason. Female pandas from that part of the world were well known for their diligence and shrewdness to succeed, at whatever cost. B was C’s ticket out of a small well, to show her charm and muscles in front of an international audience. After all, there was a reason why the governing AG present pandas to their friendly allies from afar. They were cuddly and cute, and they liked to have fun and entertain people, as long as these spectators pay for this pleasure.

Oh yes, they will pay and pay a lot, to watch C strip and perform. B was no exception. He was earning big, shining English bucks, and these English bucks convert to even bigger pile of AG currency. Big piles of money could do an awful lot in AG land, from Chanel handbags to skin cares of La Mer. C needed them to remain soft and cuddly, and to guarantee her hugely successful career. People pay big bucks for first rate performers, and C was more than that. Her ever-increasing bank account was firm proof of her entrepreneurship and creativity. Her youth was her currency.

Not long after their liaison which got C giddy with pleasure, her fortune rose further when she met a frog, whom she decided to kiss and make him her prince. You see, in her little heart wrapped in all that fur coat of black and white, she firmly believed in her right to have everything, a bank manager who regularly puts cash in her various accounts, and a frog-turned-prince who takes her ski-ing in Alps every winter, when the sheer size of the AG smog became too much to combat. Panda C is unrelenting in showcasing her success and status.

The Animal Kingdom is thriving!

This story is partially inspired by this book

Panda C had a love hate relationship with Queen A. They are essentially owning the same King, one in the open, and another in private. They both had his ears, his hands and his bullhood.

As for the King of this Animal Kingdom, B looked increasingly worn out and used up. Serving two competitive, powerful female animals took its toll. The Panda’s pursuit for monetary satisfaction and status was endless and ever more outrageous, while his Queen, with his sagging balls firmly in her iron clutch, will push him for bigger land, more spacious palaces, and grander transport to go faster and fly higher.

The sky is the limit, but where does the sky end?

What will happen to B’s Animal Kingdom? Watch the space!

Posted in China & East Asia, Economics & Society, Humour, Reading & Writing, Short Stories, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Controversial Conversation on #Corruption in Different Cultural Contexts

How corrupt is your country and countrymen?

“I was talking to a Brit the other day and I mentioned that a couple of people we know are corrupt. She seemed surprised that I used the word corrupt;” She said.

“Oh yes, your average British person do not like to hear anything that is not the norm, Corruption is not the norm, and it’s nasty, even if they know that it’s true,” He nodded.

“Why?” She asked, “Because they are too polite to face the ugly truth or they simply do not see people who are corrupt?”

“I think that a lot of people, especially those in the academic and university environment, try to look away from such behaviour, pretending that it doesn’t exist.”

“Well, I guess many British people think that corruption exist in other countries, such as China or Africa.” She continued, “In China, if I say someone is corrupt, people would ask how corrupt, to what extent? Corruption is so pervasive and wide-spread, and everyone knows it. There is no surprise, and to a certain extent, tolerance and acceptance. People with power are meant to be corrupt. Otherwise why do they pursue power in the first place? To serve the people?”

“Ha. Corrupt people don’t serve people. All they serve is themselves, their pockets and their ego. Nothing else. You and I know people just like that.”

“Exactly. Like employing and promoting people who are their friends even though they are not qualified, and paying their friends large sums of money out of public funds, and so on and so forth. Oh yes, we know dodgy people like that. ”

UK has one of the toughest anti corruption laws, and corrupt individuals could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, unlimited fines and closing down of companies.

“In some countries, these crook deeds are the norm, not exception, but here in the UK, it is more discreet and hidden, hence out of sight,, out of mind. Most people mind their own business, and in a sense, this makes it easy for the corruption to take place and for corrupt people to get away with it.” He is a Brit and knows what he’s talking about.

“I also think that the majority of British people take it for granted that people they work with will abide by the rules and regulations, and there are consequences if they don’t.” She has worked in a Britain long enough to know. That is one of the reasons she chose to live and work in the UK.

“Unfortunately here come some unscrupulous people who think that we Brits are stupid to stick to the rules and they decide to take risks, breaking the rules for their own gain. Of course, they think that they are clever, almost to the extent of being arrogant. You know WHAT I am talking about.”

“I even know WHO you are talking about. Oh yes, they think they are really smart, and everyone else is dumb, until, of course, they are caught out.”

“IF they are caught. As we know, in China, corrupt individuals would get a Life Sentence or the death penalty, with the bill for the bullets sent to the family. What do you think is the punishment for such people in the UK?”

“Good question. I am not sure, really. I guess it depends on the severity of the offence and how big are the financial gains.”

Following their conversation, she went online and did some research. Apparently, the UK ranked very low in terms of corruption and high being “very clean”, sitting pretty at 14, out of 175 countries being measured by Transparency International.

She picked up the conversation with him later.

“Out of 175 countries, where do you think UK and China sit in the table to between ‘highly corrupt’ to ‘very clean”?

“I would say that UK is about 15, and China is somewhere in the middle, like 80.”

“Very close, although there are people challenging the accuracy of the index. Which country is at the bottom?”

“Ethiopia?”

“Not far off, actually. It’s Somalia.”

“Corruption in African countries is pretty widespread. Not much gets done without a bribe or “incentive”of some kind, especially where government officials are concerned. It all depends on your definition of corruption. Corruption is all relative to the standards that we set. It’s like environmental standards, sometimes it depends on policing and how much purity you can afford. Developing countries do not put much effort into combatting pollution – either physical or moral.”

We must report and fight corruption!

“Recently South Koreans staged a number of protests in Seoul which brought the President Park Geun-hye into a serious scandal and subsequent impeachment. Half a million South Koreas were in demonstrations and they were so organised and orderly. If public protests were legally allowed in some East Asian countries, I wonder how many protests and how wide spread there might be.”

Sobering thought, that is.

Well done to the South Koreans! Corruption is a deadly cancer!

Posted in China & East Asia, Economics & Society, Politics & History, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#MusicMonday: You Should Be #Dancing #BeeGees

Dancing in Tenerife by the sea!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

As we welcome 2017, following a historic and somewhat turbulent year, I thought that it would be great to offer my readers a very short, but energetic and upbeat blog on a bit of music and dancing. Having just returned from two of the tropical Canary Islands (fabulous Tenerife and stunning La Gomera), where we had spent two weeks of sheer indulgence in natural beauty and views of the powerful Atlantic ocean.

The Bee Gees seems an extremely popular choice for these Canary islands resorts. Twice on two different islands, we had been treated with Bee Gees tribute bands, and I actually wrote about it once before.

Lanzarote – Fire Mountains, Fabulous Sunsets & Bee Gee Tribute Bands

I am sharing a few pictures of our holiday, as well as a few of YouTube videos to get your body moving.


Now time to enjoy Bee Gees in their original sounds! Keep dancing into 2017 and beyond!

Finally, something a little more chilled and less hectic, a video on Tenerife which I made while on holiday, with the help of my iPad.

Posted in Entertainment, Music & Poetry, Travel Logs, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking Forward to a Better #2017 With the #Highlights of #2016

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when we look back on the year and remember what we have done, or could have done better. Guess everyone will agree that 2016 has been a extremely dramatic year for many of us, even chaotic, especially for those of us who faced some of the biggest challenges that will have changed the course of history, for good.

Do you remember Brexit and Trump as President-Elect?

There are also other strifes and struggles on more professional and personal levels, not just international politics at the highest levels. Politics are everywhere and no matter where, they are troublesome and not welcome. However, in this last blog post of 2016, I am not going to dwell on those troubles and unhappy memories. I am going to focus on a positive outlook and some highlights of my life, especially exciting places I have had the fortune to visit, and family and friends I have been reunited with.

Many of you know how much I love travelling and I actually started 2016 with this New Year Resolution on the top of my list: Travel to at least one new country! I am delighted to tell you that this goal has not just been realised but surpassed. I was able to visit not one but two new countries – Utterly cool and enchanting Helsinki in Finland, and equally fantabulous Tallinn in the neighbouring Estonia.

In Helsinki with my friend Julie Yu-Wen Chen

Tallinn is Stunning!

Here are some of the reminders of the highlights of 2016, from awesome nature of northern Europe (Norway and Finland) to tropical Taiwan and sandy beaches of Sanya in China, from the palm trees of Gran Canaria (Spain) to the buzzing streets of Seoul in South Korea. It has been a truly amazing year of wondrous globetrotting.

Now it’s your chance to catch up with me if you missed reading them at the time of postings:

#GranCanaria: Sheer Indulgence of Senses and Stunning Sunsets

Reflections on a Reunion at ‘Ends of the Earth’ in #China’s #Sanya #天涯海角记忆

The Sea, Sandy Beaches and Sunshine in Sanya

#Travelling in #Taiwan (6): Reunion and Sightseeing in #Jiufen

With old friend Gary

With ‘new’ friend Meilin in Sun Moon Lake

Finding the Pulse of #Finland (2): The Helsinki #Vappu and Island of #Suomenlinna

#Norway (1): #Hiking and #Kayaking in Hardanger Fjord

It’s an adventure!

Discovering #Seoul and Traditional #Korean Food with #KimchiHouse

South Korea is full of colours and beautiful palaces and people!

With Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is celebrating the festive season, I would like to send all my family, friends and followers of this blog and elsewhere most heartfelt good wishes to you, and your loved ones.

May you all be blessed with good health, abundant happiness, love, prosperity and success in the new year! May God be with you in 2017 and always!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in China & East Asia, Politics & History, Reading & Writing, Social Media & Photography, Travel Logs, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment