Urban blight, neglected and abandoned Georgian buildings, and poor quality streetscape have long bedevilled the character of Parnell Street East, which is just off the northeast end of Dublin‘s O’Connell Street, a street apparently forgotten by Dublin City Council planners.
Be that as it may, the presence of Asian supermarkets, hair salons, internet cafes, sidewalk fruit and vegetable stalls, noodle houses, and restaurants all with their own distinctive signage also testify to Parnell Street East’s organic development over the past 20 years as an ethnic precinct.
Indeed, in many ways the bustle of daily life on Parnell Street East, the focal point for the largest concentration of the Chinese immigrants living and working in Dublin, resembles a typical Chinese (mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong included) street. The shops and restaurants provide important social gathering places for the Chinese community, while Dublin’s discerning foodies are more and more drawn to its ever expanding rich diversity of authentic and delicious Chinese and Asian eateries.
This orientation as an ethic precinct adds up to a civic asset that could be capitalised upon to incite economic growth, tourism and opportunities for new immigrants. Hitherto, Dublin City Council has yet to recognise this ethnic area as a civic asset, which sets our capital city apart from other significant international cities, such as London, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rome and Paris, all of which have distinguished multi-cultural Chinatown districts.
The completion of the Luas Cross City single track loop, with a Parnell Luas tram stop located in front of Marlborough House, will be an essential element in the regeneration of the precinct. It also presents Dublin City Council with a unique opportunity to build, following consultations with the Chinese and other local community stakeholders, on the ethnic character of the street by creating a vibrant district of local businesses and traders that consolidates the distinctive ethnic diversity of the precinct.
Plant more trees, consider making a space for an oriental style park or garden, play to the strengths of the street and its community. Above all talk to the residents who have reinvented Parnell Street East.
The photographs above depicting every day life on Parnell Street were shot over a two days period, March 4th and March 5th 2017 (Copyright @ Niall J. O’Reilly 2017)
…..Or at least that’s what reading between the lines would appear to reveal as being the over-riding objective. Today in an address to the European Parliament’s International Trade CommitteeRichard Bruton TD, Ireland’s Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, stated:
“..It was evident at the last Summit that there is considerable richness and potential in our relationship with China. We would like to prepare the ground for the next summit so that the conditions would be ripe to launch negotiations for a landmark investment agreement with market access..”
The paragraph immediately preceding this statement refers to FTA [Free Trade Agreement] negotiations with Japan and India, while further down in his speech the Minister speaks of FTAs with individual ASEAN members.
While the specific language used in relation to China talks about “…a landmark investment agreement with market access..”, given the overall context in which the speech was made, the implication is clear – an FTA between the EU (European Union), China’s largest tradingpartner, and China is the ultimate goal. Such an objective marks a hugely significant turning point in the development of the EU’s China engagement strategy: Marriage is on the cards.
The visit to Ireland in February 2012 by paramount leader General Secretary Xi Jinping, which was hastily followed up by Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny‘s return trip to Beijing the following month, not only demonstrates that China, the EU’s second largest tradingpartner, would make for an eager marriage companion, but it also signifies China backing for Ireland’s unilateral embracement of the role of EU–China marriage maker as a key feature of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Given Minister Bruton’s speech to European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, the acknowledgement by General Secretary Xi Jinping at his March 2012 reunion with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Beijing that …
“… The development of China-Ireland relations can serve as a driving force in boosting China-Europe ties..”
Going forward, Ireland’s eager and unilateral adoption of the role of ‘marriage maker’ would seem to indicate a future political relationship with Beijing deriving far more economic benefit to the country than its trading relationship.
As noted in the Accurate China Insight dated 20th November :
“…Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of The European Union provides a fantastic opportunity for Ireland to yet again punch above its weight in the eyes of China’s leaders and media……. Moreover, EU-China -related summits in Ireland will provide Europeans with their first real chance to measure the mind-set of China‘s new leadership towards its biggest trading partner…”
Dandong Arirang Chinese Restaurant Customer Charter
RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT AND STAFF WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, OR MENTAL HARM CAUSED TO CUSTOMERS ARISING FROM CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS ABOUT FOOD OR SERVICE.
DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FOOD.
DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SERVICE.
DO NOT COMPLAIN.
Would you eat at this Chinese restaurant?…. These are just the waitresses preparing for another grueling day waiting tables. After watching this video.
If I still had an appetite, I’d probably do Take Away!
[The DandongArirang Restaurant, is located in the city of Dandong in north east China‘s Liaoning Province. Dandong, a riverside city provides revealing views of North Korea from across the Yalu River]
It is not an uncommon sight to witness pre-work team-building on the streets outside hairdressers and restaurants all over China, such as shown in this video clip of a Shanghai hairdresser’s attempt to build an efficient, harmonious and productive work group.
However, what the Dandong Arirang Restaurant video reveals is a glimpse of ‘China – Under the Bonnet’. Scratching not far below the surface, particularly in north east China among traditional Communist die-hards, will expose political aspirations harking back to the days of Maoist-era social morals. Doubtless Bo Xilai, the son of BoYibo (one of the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China), the deposed Communist Party chief of Chongqing would have considered the Dandong Arirang Restaurant employee work out as being very much in the spirit of his neo-leftist red culture movement.
Yesterday’s autumnal afternoon was typical of late: drizzling, murky and, if you found yourself in the middle of Hangzhou’s snarling traffic, chaotic. Thanks to a very impressive and convenient public bicycle system, I was cycling along minding my own business when, without warning, a real nasty piece of work, the local equivalent of a Hell’s Angel on an electric-bicycle, the ultimate street menace, tried to squeeze in front of the metre distance separating my pedal bicycle and the plastic bollard dividing our bicycle lane from the regular traffic lane. Unluckily for me his sudden, impulsive, totally devoid of conscience, maneuver was never going to work and I came off much worse in what was another surreal Hangzhou moment.
Within a flash there’s spread-eagled me and a mangled bicycle sprawled on the grimy black surface. The first thought to enter my mind was whether I should get up and strangle him? Meanwhile, the peloton of E-bikes and bicycles behind me had stopped. Waiting in readiness:
Urchin, with the jumpy smile, and everyone else from ‘rent a crowd’, wasimpassively staring at me waiting for me to pick myself up. Not one helping hand 漠不关心 (‘mo bu guan xin’ or “completely unmoved or indifferent”) as I lay there.
Amid the spectators and the ‘raring to go’ din of more and more impatient bicycle bells, honking e-bike and motorised tricycle horns and blackboard screeching brakes no more than two or three metres behind me, I could hear the repeated words “你看他是老外!”, or simply “老外!” (‘ni kan ta shi lao wai’ a derogatory term for “foreigner”, “look he’s a foreigner!”).
As soon as I managed to shove the bicycle a few inches out of the way with my footthe horde was once again on the move, cautiously filing through the narrow gap I had created, all wearing the same sheepish gaze I have witnessed so many times while living in China: The ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ code of silence ― ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.’ What happens to a stranger outside their immediate comfort zone of family and friends is none of their business, so best to flee rather than be blamed for any injuries the “老外” lao wai may have sustained.
No doubt I’d be the topic of conversation amid the cacophony of slurps over their next bowl of noodles. Now looking back, I am rather surprised that for added conversational embellishment one of the quick thinking onlookers didn’t have the ‘cop on’ to take out her iPhone and snap a photo of me sprawled on roadside with wrecked bicycle. On second thoughts such an exercise would have risked losing the Teacup Poodle peeking out of her designer handbag. In any case, I seriously doubt that any conversation about me would have decried the pathetic apathy or laziness of the renmin who left me on the ground, not bothering to offer any assistance: 漠不关心.
As for me I finally made my way to the hospital.
I couldn’t wrap up this exposé from the harmonious society of Hangzhou without a special mention about local hospitality as witnessed yesterday: Mind numbing, really touching indeed. It certainly gives a special resonance to the recent incident down in Foshan City where little Wang Yue was run over by two vans and ignored by 18 passers-by http://wp.me/p15Yzr-jJ.
The ethic of the jungle ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,’ looking out for yourself, may have been expedient in the dark days of Mao Zedong’s revolution. However, here in a China subjected to dramatic economic and social changes in nearly all aspects of life on an unprecedented scale, the gazes of indifference and lack of compassion for a fellow human being, as witnessed yesterday, patently reveal a public engulfed by a great moral vacuum, empty of imagination, hope and of any future… not really the hallmarks of a harmonious society.
Letters, Irish Times Newspaper, Monday October 17th, 2011
“Turning to China
Sir, – In light of the growing realisation, as highlighted by Eddie O’Connor (Opinion, October 7th) that over the next decade China is likely to present more business, educational and tourism opportunities for Ireland than any other country, is it not the case that we are seriously deluding ourselves in thinking China will provide such economic deliverance unless our policy makers embrace a radical new approach to engaging China?
Bearing in mind every other country in the western world is courting China’s Yuan currency, can I suggest, for example, each Government department be directed to devise a five-year plan regarding how best to position Ireland as China’s gateway to Europe. A junior minister with a special portfolio covering China would be responsible for monitoring the plan’s implementation.
In the intervening time, while waiting for Chinese companies to make the investment decisions we see as so vital to our future, the Government should also consider practical initiatives aimed at making China market entry easier for our small and medium-sized businesses. For instance, a feasible and cost-effective approach for small and medium-sized businesses, involving a sharing of incubation office, administrative, legal, financial and logistical resources, would be the construction of a Government supported IDA-style “Irish business park” on land leased from one of many enthusiastic municipal or provincial governments in China. Such a valuable enterprise could be carried out under the auspices of a public/private partnership, with special tax breaks offered to encourage Irish businesses to establish their offices. There is a precedent – in the mid-1990s Singapore leased land from the Suzhou Government to build what is now the principal gateway to China for Singapore businesses: The Suzhou Industrial Park.
The future success of Ireland’s China engagement policy lies in embracing bold initiatives that stand out from the crowd. – Yours, etc,
Given Ireland’s financial predicament the need for hard cash in order to create jobs makes for an enticing prospect of going it alone and negotiating a Free Trade Agreement between Ireland and China.
However, cutting a separate deal with China for more business deals over the short-term would be viewed as playing into a China strategy aimed at splitting EU unity by buying off so called ‘peripheral members’ and pitting them against larger members, which in the long run is likely to run against the interests we share with fellow EU members.
China denies it has such a strategy arguing, with considerable merit, that no matter what it does with its money vis-à-vis EU-related investments there will always be detractors. Moreover, as you can see in the insightful “Scramble For Europe” article http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR37_Scramble_For_Europe_AW_v4.pdf (from the European Council of Foreign Relations), the EU already appears fractured over the approach individual members have taken with respect to their dealings with China, for whom addressing their current financial woes is the matter at hand: tomorrow and the long term cohesion of the EU can wait.
Accurate Ireland – China Products & Services Sourcing | Business Development Consultancy
Tiānxià wūyā yībān hēi – which roughly translates as follows: “crows everywhere are equally black” or, as taken from the classic Dream of Red Mansion (composed by Cao Xueqin) : “One crow is no whiter than another; under the sun crows are usually black”
An often used idiom used in China when referring to Government corruption the world over.
“The critic educates the public. The artist educates the critic”
(Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900))
They declare that chickens, after thousands of years of domestication, now finally enjoy roosting in branches.
I live in a filthy cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. They wish I were dead: A dead battery chicken. “Useless alive”, They say, and.. I don’t know, soon perhaps I will be dead. Blood pressure and diabetes have an impact on chickens too.
I am a battery chicken. They say “a mentally conflicted chicken”. I say “a battery chicken with a conscience”.
Even my discourse is more articulate than theirs can ever be….
“…. Despite twenty-two years of harsh domestication, we battery chickens are in actual fact still the wild fowl of our ancestry, with the same passions for openness, free will, candor, and lack of restrictions suited to the tropical surroundings they originated in. June is International Respect for Wild Fowl Month. Let the earth know how beautiful and essential we battery chickens truly can be..”
“…. Release the battery chickens from their cages”
“…. Stop debeaking chickens”
“…. Yes chickens are no longer starving, but they still suffer”
Thought Reform: The Coercive Art of Passive Persuasion
They don’t like my intense mode of individualism, which, unimaginatively, They perceive as seeking to incite the masses of outwardly blissful chickens. “The illusion of a unique temperament is unbecoming of a chicken”, They ridicule, “too outspoken”.
That’s why They grabbed me and my little brothers: Thrown into trash bags: Welcome to the machine.
They want to strike off my beak with a hot iron.
They scowl they are resolute in their determination to extract my compliance. Oh, we battery chickens know all too well the wide variety of intimidating methods They employ orchestrating self-indicting and self-reproaching confessions of wrong-doing:
Sleep deprivation and semi starvation. I am forced to stand night and day for very long periods in conditions of bitter cold on a freezing floor that eventually deadens my feet. The cage walls continually bruise the elbows of my wings, forming swelling that never seems to mend. In this trash bag, the air is so full of the choking stench of decay my lungs hurt and my eyes are on fire.
Reducing my mental and physical ability to resist, They want me spent, broken, no fuel to carry on, reduced back to simple ‘battery chicken level’, a nervous gibbering wreck.
Now wholly reliant on my interrogator, my declaration of guilt is merely a feeling of liberation over the endless onslaught. Next comes their very consistent and very public:
“Because of this chicken’s good attitude in confessing his crimes….”.
Even so, my mind remains observant and my body is aware of a natural desire so strong: The freedom to socialise, even in a farmyard, with my like-minded flock, practicing my critical spirit, expressing my nature, looking at the stars.
I am not a spent chicken. I want to be richly feathered.
Dog lovers will have no problem telling you why the dog is regarded as man’s best friend: Faithfulness, unqualified love, friendship and laughs. By convincing us to be more active, having a dog simply makes our lives better and makes us healthier.
No matter how lethargic we may feel, who can resist Muffin or Flossy or Toby or Buster or Coco when they saunter up to us pleading to go for a walk? Or maybe that wagging tail is an appeal for a gentle rub?
Not only can dogs be incredible friends, but they also give us humans much needed support, as well as affection and companionship: From guiding the blind, to warning the deaf that something needs their attention, to being there for the lonely, dogs are remarkable creatures!
Man’s best friend? Well not for everyone. The photograph above, which I snapped in Du’an in South WestChina’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is particularly upsetting. Typical of the street-wise dogs commonly seen roaming around rural villages and towns the length and breath of China, this bewildered mongrel, compressed into a tiny wire-mesh cage, is destined for a wok – to be stir-fried, or perhaps slow-cooked as a soup or stew, seasoned with spring onion, spices, rice wine and ginger. The terror in its eyes says everything: This abused dog knows its fate. All dog lovers should be revolted by this image.
The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is infamous for its annual Summer Solstice Yulin Dog Meat Festival玉林狗肉节 (#stopyulin2015), the most cold-blooded and barbaric festival in the world, where every year 1,000’s of dogs are savagely killed and eaten, the run up to which involves a nefarious trade by dog peddlers in abducted stray and domestic dogs covering the length and breath of China.
What’s wrong with eating dog meat?
Before I start ranting on about the obvious cruelty, it is only fair to point out what I would imagine is the viewpoint of ‘dog for food’ farmers and dog-eaters across China, Korea, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
In China, dogs have been reared for their meat since Neolithic times. Farmers see no difference between pig eating and dog eating. The degree of objection lies in the means of rearing, transport, killing and cooking rather than in the choice of animal species. With respect to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival玉林狗肉节 (#stopyulin2015)locals assert their right to eat dog meat based on traditional custom, stating if they are cruel then what about those who eat pork, beef and chicken?
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), dog meat is considered a health food coordinating Yin and Yang. With the Yin character it is considered warming to the body, which is why Chinese tend to eat more dog meat in winter. In Korea the opposite happens, dog meat is eaten mainly during the hot summer months.
The popularity of dog eating is increasing at an explosive rate – evolving rapidly from its traditions as a cottage industry. While considered expensive compared to other meats, in northern and southern parts of China dog is an exotic banquet dish to be savoured on special occasions, especially when trying to impress your guests. The most recent information available through Google shows 43% of respondents in a Shanghai and Beijing lifestyles survey confirming they eaten dog meat, at least once.
Dog eating is big business
Now it is no longer a case of a few peasant farmers breeding a female dog once a year and taking the grown puppies to the market for a little extra pocket money.
With official local government approval, huge dog farms are being set up across the north and south China using modern scientific factory farming principles. Faster growing methods and more submissive breeds of dog are being introduced (for example, Saint Bernard mountain dogs) and the whole business is being scaled up with modern distribution and marketing techniques.
Here are the English translations from various websites regarding two Saint Bernard breeding centres in China:
1. Breeding base of Meat-producing Breeding St. Bernard of Lin Xing Raising and Propagating Company of Shanxi, Datong Coal Mining Administration
“For a local coal mine owner faced with financial problems and mine safety issues the production of Saint Bernard mountain dog was a ‘no brainer: In comparison to chicken and pig farming breeders of Saint Bernard mountain dogs can expect to earn three to four times more income”
2. Shenyang Food Dog Research Institute, Shenyang City, Liaoning, China
“The Shenyang Food Dog Research Institute has created over 50 sites with over 6,000 Saint Bernard dogs, which are considered both tender and tasty to eat”
What’s been done in China to put an end to this?
Unfortunately, much of the anti-dog meat campaigning is tainted by racial discrimination, as is the resistance to the anti-dog meat campaigning.
‘Dog for food’ farmers and eaters view anti-dog eating campaign as another example of the conflict between Oriental and Western cultures, arguing that dog eating has gone on for thousands of years. Such campaigns actually cause resentment and ill will among people who have the potential to actually see the “man’s best friend” side of the argument, rather than the protein side, and stop eating them.
The good news is more and more people in China believe that dogs have earned their place in society as companions and helpers – they want the eating of dog meat to end. In May 2011, animal rights activists stopped a truck in Beijing containing 500 dogs destined for the dinner table. Following a stand-off involving over 200 people and a toothless police contingent by the roadside the animal rights activists purchased the dogs from the dog peddling lorry driver for US$18,000. More recently, in the summer of 2014 a dog lover noticed a truck full of dogs packed in open air cages along the Jingha Expressway (Beijing-Harbin Expressway) he alerted netizens on Weibo, China’s leading micro-blogging app. Volunteers quickly coordinated rescue organisations and citizens in many cars and vehicles to encircle the truck. The truck contained 400 dogs; together with four more trucks that were subsequently captured, 2,400 dogs were rescued, the most rescued dogs ever. Most were adopted, while the remainder, after receiving emergency treatment, were sent on to dog shelters in Hebei province. Unfortunately one truck escaped.
While an outright ban on the traditional custom of dog eating, especially with respect to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival 玉林狗肉节 (#stopyulin2015), is unlikely to be effective, as a first step authorities should enforce rigorous controls aimed at ensuring the source of the dog meat is legal and safe. A concentrated effort against those who steal and abuse domestic and stray dogs must also be imposed.
Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Taiwan have already banned the practice – this is the example for China to follow.
Stop eating dogs! Stop the Yulin Dog Festival 2015!
Note: Original article was written on June 20, 2011. Latest revisions to this article are dated February 4, 2015