Monthly Archives: October 2014

Oct 31

“Occupying the Toilet but Not Shitting”

By Mitchell Blatt | Culture

There’s a phrase in Chinese that literally means “occupying the toilet but not shitting.” The phrase “占住茅坑不拉屎” used by a character in the 1997 movie “Eighteen Springs” (半生缘) to describe a man courting Anita Mui’s character. It’s a long-standing idiom, and if you look it up on Baidu dictionary, the definition it will give you is “dog in the manger”. In the metaphor and the story, a dog occupies a manger while not eating the grain but preventing the horse from eating the grain.

Here’s the phrase broken down:
占住 zhan4 zhu4 – to occupy
茅坑 mao2 keng1 – latrine
不 bu4 – not
拉屎 la1 shi3 – to defecate

Yesterday there was an article on Ecns.cn about people who occupy parking spaces with beds or chairs so that they can keep the parking spaces for themselves when they aren’t using them. Although these people do intend to use the parking spaces later (unlike the dog in the manger), the phrase ought to fit. Someone occupying a toilet while not using it could indeed use the toilet later. The people occupying a parking space with a chair have no need for the spaces at the time, and others have a need. (That you need to use put something there to occupy the space proves that much, and you are only making the parking shortage worse.)

Here’s the first photo from Ecns’s slideshow, and click here to see the rest.

Oct 31

Chinese Woman Wanders 1,900 km Away After Getting Lost Buying Groceries

By Mitchell Blatt | China , Strange China News

A trip to buy vegetables turned into a 40 day odyssey for one 50-year-old woman.

The small town woman left her home in Nanning, in the southern province of Guangxi, and ended up in Kunshan, Jiangsu, about 1,900 km away (1,100 mi), 40 days later.

How did it happen? According to Nanjing’s Yangzi Evening Post from Oct. 29 (where it was the front page story), the woman recently moved to Nanning where her husband was working and went out to buy vegetables. After getting lost, she kept walking east because she thought that was the way home.

SheContinue reading

Oct 03

Analyzing The Aftermath Of The Ukraine War

By Mitchell Blatt | Podcasts

Ukraine is negotiating a cease fire after covert Russian troops pushed back Ukraine’s advances on rebels. The war apparently ends with Russia having taken Crimea and having turned eastern Ukraine into an ungovernable region.

Was this Russia’s goal? Does Russia spell trouble for other Eastern European countries?

Find out as journalist Mitchell Blatt and International Relations scholar Sumantra Maitra, who specializes in Russian Foreign Policy, discuss.

Also, read their recent op-ed on the matter at:
Ukraine: The End of History is Still a Long Way Away

https://archive.org/details/AnalyzingTheAftermathOfTheUkraineWar

Oct 02

Podcast: Indian PM Modi Visits U. S. For The First Time

By Mitchell Blatt | Podcasts

Was Indiana Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. and meeting with Obama important?
What does it mean for the two countries? Find out why International Relations scholar Sumantra Maitra says “a lot.”

Along with making travel and study exchanges easier, India and America also agreed to land on the planet…

Listen to find out more.

https://archive.org/details/IndianPMModiVisitsU.S.ForTheFirstTime

Oct 01

Podcast: America’s Confused War on ISIS

By Mitchell Blatt | Podcasts , Uncategorized

Will America’s war with ISIS work? Journalist Mitchell Blatt and IR scholar Sumantra Maitra discuss.

– How moderate is the Free Syrian Army really?
– Does ISIS really pose a direct threat to the United States and Europe?
– Should other regional powers play a greater role?

Hear why Maitra thinks that America should leave it mostly to Iran and Egypt.

https://archive.org/details/MitchellBlattAndSumantraMaitraAmericasConfusedWarOnISIS

Oct 01

New Magazine Issue: Hong Kong’s Hidden Beaches

By Mitchell Blatt | New Writing , Travel

While we’re on the subject of Hong Kong, it just so happens that the latest issue of map magazine came out yesterday, and I have an article in it describing the beautiful secluded beaches of Sai Kung Country Park in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is best known on the mainland as a “shopping paradise”, but I like it more for the rickety wooden bridge made of planks and poles tied together by rope at Ham Tin Wan Beach.

Along the shores of Sai Kung Country Park, bays and covers hide in jagged corners, pristine beaches remain sparsely occupied, and fishers live on boats in the water. Located 20 miles to the northeast of Mong Kok, the brightly lit shopping district that was ranked by Guinness as the most crowded place in the world, Sai Kung Country Park is on the easternmost tip of the New Territories. The beaches of Tai Long Wan Bay are among the most beautiful and least crowded in Hong Kong. …

Read the full article here: Hong Kong’s Hidden Beaches
hk beaches copy
Other recent articles I have written:
Ukraine Proves The End Of History Is Still A Long Way Away – Daily Caller
US needs to be vigilant, not panic about terrorism – China.org.cn

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Mitchell Blatt is an intrepid travel writer, and an author of two top China guidebooks, who brings his readers deep into the cultures of the places he explores. Subscribe now to get real stories of real people in real places around the world delivered right to your inbox.