Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

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    • Doing, not-doing; errors of commission, errors of omission
      Should we do, or not-do?  Russell Ackoff, over many years, wrote about (negative) potential consequences: There are two possible types of decision-making mistakes, which are not equally easy to identify. (1) Errors of commission: doing something that should not have been done. (2) Errors of omission: not doing something that should have been done. For […]
    • Systemic design agendas in education and design research
      The final publication of the October 2016 Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium workshop "Some Future Paths for Design Professionals: DesignX and Systemic Design" was published as “Systemic Design Agendas in Education and Design Research” in FormAkademisk, following 2 years of rewrites, reviews and revisions.
    • A federated wiki site on cPanel
      Federated wiki is deployed on a node.js server, an environment which has become available on some cPanel shared hosting providers. Here are some instructions written while restoring a wiki site originally installed in 2014-2015 on a cloud provider.
    • Artificial intelligence, natural stupidity
      Reading The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis, reminded me of a PhD course at UBC with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, before they were recognized as Nobel prize candidates.
    • The impacts of platforms
      Platforms have had only a short history, so much of the research is still definitional, with proposed frameworks.
    • Platforms, an emerging appreciation
      When the term "platform" is used, today, what does that mean?
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    • Contextual dyadic thinking (Lee, 2017)
      Contextual dyadic thinking is proposed by Keekok Lee in her 2017 The Philosophical Foundations of Classical Chinese Medicine. This is as a way of appreciating Chinese implicit logic, as an alternative to dualistic thinking that has developed over centuries in Western philosophy.
    • Dao, de, wei, wuwei (Lai 2003)
      Appreciating wei and wuwei has led to the context of dao and de, in the writings of Karyn L. Lai. The scholarly review acknowledges prior interpretations of de and dao.
    • Engineering Resilience vs. Ecological Resilience (Holling, 1996)
      For @theNASciences in 1996, #CSHolling clarified definitions of resilience, with engineering seeking one equilibrium state, while ecology recognizes many. Those who emphasize the near-equilibrium definition of engineering resilience, for example, draw predominantly from traditions of deductive mathematical theory (Pimm,. 1984) where simplified, untouched ecological systems are imagined, or from traditions of engineering, where the motive […]
    • Service coproductions as reciprocal activities
      In addition to extrinsic economic exchange, #JohnMCarroll #JiaweiChen #ChienWenTinaYuan #BenjaminHanrahan @ISTatPENNSTATE say service coproductions relying on all participants to collaborate in both economic exchange and social exchange. Service coproduction is a special case of service provision in which the roles of service provider and service recipient both require active participation. Examples include healthcare, education, and […]
    • Science and Society in East and West | Joseph Needham | 2004
      In researching #SystemsChange, fundamental differences in science and philosophy in the west and the Chinese were surfaced by #JosephNeedham. A useful translation of wéi and wú wéi (i.e. 為 and 無為 , or 为 and 无为) is the ways of "human will" and "nature" as juxtaposed.
    • Wiki as computational platform
      Thinking forward on #federatedwiki, rather than backwards by @wardcunningham. > [Federated wiki] is a computational platform for the collaborative construction of things that work and will continue to work as platform technology evolves underneath it. > Too much thinking about wiki as a note-taking system will just hold it back.
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    2019/03 Moments March 2019

    Month of intensive lectures and research meetings, in Toronto and then in Shanghai, with social breaks on local excursions to clear minds.

    Toronto, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China

    Hugh's Room Live
    Hugh’s Room Live: Tribute to #JoniMitchell @MiaSheard @HughsRoomLive #TaniaGill #ErnieToller @WordsByRGM @ChrisGartner @joelschwartz Songs Are Like Tattoos.  Guests rotating on and off stage, first night of two.  Brought by millennial son who recognized one song, introduced to interpretations of both popular and obscure repertoire.  (Hugh’s Room Live, Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190301
    China Visa Centre
    China Visa Centre: Procedures changed with online submissions done in advance including digital photo. One line to validate passport and take another picture; second line to review documents and take fingerprints; third line now requires payment in advance rather than at pickup in 3 days. Appointments are scheduled by hour, there’s less of a lineup showing up on the half hour. (China Visa Centre, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20180304
    OCADU SFI
    OCADU SFI: Energetic students in lecture for Understanding Systems and Systemic Design Class @OCADU_SFI Master in Design program. Presented new content for Systems Changes research program, focused on errors and breakdowns. Brought more slides than the time slot allowed, offering to follow up with diligent student to greater depth. (OCADU, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190307
    OCADU SFI
    OCADU SFI:  Abbreviated outline of @SystemicToolkit by @redesign @OCADU_SFI master’s program, covering enough templates to get students started, with deepening later. I presented in the first half of the afternoon, following a timeboxed version of #SystemsChanges, same slides as yesterday, slightly different emphases today. Great opportunities to see what’s new with others. Hung out to guide students on team projects. (OCADU Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190308
    Scotiabank Theatre
    Scotiabank Theatre: Scheduled family time to enjoy Imax screening of Captain Marvel. RDI prebooked seats well back in the room, the screen is large that fast action would be even harder to follow when sitting up front. Nostalgia for the 1990s seems to be rising, which feels familiar for us who remember the period first-hand. (Scotiabank Theatre, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190309
    Blaze Pizza
    Blaze Pizza: Vegan cheese for everyone, but separate orders for meat, vegan and gluten-free preferences. Quick and easy snack across the street from movie theatre, most of us hadn’t tried this made-to-order single serving sized chain restaurant. A small luxury that we can easily repeat. (Blaze Pizza, John Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20190309
    Pearson Airport T1: Happy to retain lifetime million-mile privileges for priority services for shorter queues. My travels have reduced over the past year, and even less often without DY. This trip to Shanghai is not only to places with which I’m familiar, but also reduction of stress through a few more Western conveniences available in China. (Terminal 1, Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario) 20190311
    Xiang Shan Lu
    Xiang Shan Lu: Beginning of 23-day stay starts with alleyway leading to rear entrance, up 5 floors to an apartment that should server better than a hotel room. The Former French Concession has a history as an expat enclave. Short street has Former Sun Yat Sen Residence at its east end, and then Fuxing Park beyond. (Xiang Shan Lu, Huangpu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190312
    Tongji U. College of Design and Innovation
    Tongji U. College of Design and Innovation: Professor Yi Heng Cheng inscribes copies of the Chinese translation of @ClubOfRome book Come On, for Ph.D. students in the Quantitative Methods course. Class exercise will have participants working in teams to define research questions on carbon credit approaches, considering data that may be available, and how it might be used. Intensive course led by Susu Nousala has multiple instructors to give a broader range of perspectives, and more voices to hear. (Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, Siping Road, Yangpu district, Shanghai, PR China) 20180313
    More Than Eat
    More Than Eat: Food hall has multiple culinary outlets in a casual dining style attracting both expats and trendy locals. We had pizza from a certified Neapolitan oven, atmosphere more like new world than old city in Shanghai. After work occasion to relax with colleagues. (More Than Eat, Julu Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190314
    Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation
    Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation: Lecturing on “Systems Changes: Culture and family over time” in innovation class for high school students. Reviewed my family history from my grandfather through to our sons, to illustrate marriage systems, family systems, and education systems. Teams then asked to think about activities that grandparents would have done that aren’t done today; the systems in which those prior behaviours would have been natural; and changes in today’s systems to enable those behaviours again. Underscored behavioural and ecological approaches to students, by suggesting a few members might want to visit other tables to gain intelligence. (Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation, Sichuan Middle Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190315
    Julu Road
    Julu Road: Private uses spilling over into public space, bed covers drying on clotheslines tied between trees on the boulevard of a city street. Even in an urban environment, the Chinese tend to take action first, and worry about consequences later. Sight is remarkable only to foreigners not yet fully immersed into local societal conventions. (Julu Road east of Shaanxi South Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20190316
    Xintiandi Style
    Xintiandi Style: Children attracted to #PenzoCAO (2019) “Time Traveller” at #XintiandiDesignFestival, sitting in bamboo chairs inside red crystal-like walls. The circular part is hinged, and rotates. Installation is one of many in the courtyard of a high-end fashion mall, shoppers are complemented by foreign tour groups crowding in the restaurants to the north. (Xintiandi Style, Madang Road, Xintiandi, Shanghai, PR China) 20190317
    Laoximen Tea Plaza
    Laoximen Tea Plaza: One of largest tea distribution centres in the city, where we asked about luobuma tea, and were told it’s not considered to be a Chinese tea. Merchants used smartphone to translate Chinese messages into English. Followed suggestion to visit a herb store, and we were offered the bluish dogbane on the first try. (Laoximen Tea Plaza, Shanghai, PR China) 20190317
    Fuxing Park
    Fuxing Park: Card players attract observers, on the plaza facing south over the pond to the waterside pavilion. The park is a welcome green space in a city where stone and concrete roads don’t have grass, and spring hasn’t seen the trees sprout leaves, as yet. Bright and clear day. (Fuxing Park, Shanghai, PR China) 20190319
    Design Square
    Design Square: Last year’s overabundance of dockless bicycles has been curtailed, so sidewalks are more easily passable. The university is replacing the plants outside the entry with new ones, rather than cultivating survivors from winter. Morning rain left the air clean, spring temperatures are definitely welcomed. (Design Square, Tongji University, Siping Road, Yangpu district, Shanghai, PR China) 20190320
    Xiangming Junior High School
    Xiangming Junior High School: Blaring rock music and bright large screen video at 7:55 a.m., with students running around in circles behind the entry gate with a guard attending. Julu Road is otherwise a quiet two-lane residential street, so the commotion is a daily event somewhat more mundane than changing of the guard. Morning walk was for an early taxi pickup, anticipating a full date with students at the university. (Xiangming Junior High School, Julu Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190321
    Ruijin Hospital
    Ruijin Hospital: A bust of Fu Peibin (1912-1989), a Belgian-trained surgeon who became the president of Ruijin Hospital, after returning for the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The green field, and maybe the fountain, originate as part of the original 1907 Sainte Marie Hospital from 1907. Today, the facility is affiliated with the School of Medicine of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Discovered on a short lunchtime walk around the neighbourhood. (Ruijin Hospital, Ruijin Er Lu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190322
    Park Hyatt
    Park Hyatt: Sunset view north from the 91st floor in Pudong, with the Oriental Pearl Tower, Huangpu River and the Bund beyond. We opted to be seated for tea, wine and whisky, rather than waiting in a long queue and paying the admission fee for the observation level a few floors higher. The small table for 3 grew to 4 and then 5, as friends of our new acquaintance from Shenzhen came to visit. (Park Hyatt, World Financial Centre, Shanghai, PR China) 20190323
    Residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai
    Residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai: Modest office with desk and bed for Zhou Enlai, on his stay in Shanghai from Nanjing, during post-war China in the uneasy ceasefire between the Chinese Communist Party and Kuomintang. Other rooms in the building are similarly furnished sparsely. In a separate building to the east is the former CPC Delegation Office for Shanghai, with history circa 1946 in both Chinese and English language. Admission is free for visitors with identification, foreigners provide fingerprints. (Former residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai, Sinan Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190324
    Xiangyang Park
    Xiangyang Park: Still too early for cherry blossoms, this fountain is the north end of the park with a French-style boulevard. Opened by the Conseil Municipal of the French Concession in 1942, it was named Lan Weina Park or Dumet Park in 1939, then Taishan Park in 1943 and Linsen Park in 1945, before taking the current name in 1950. Some badminton players put up a net a little further south. (Xiangyang Park, Huaihai Middle Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190325
    Tai Feng Yuan Ruijin Road
    Tai Feng Yuan Ruijin Road: Second purchase of luobuma 罗布麻, from a neighbourhood store, yields larger green leaves priced slightly cheaper, as compared to prior smaller brown shrivels at a higher price from the main street. While luobuma is not available in North America, this traditional herb that reduces hypertension seems easy to find in Shanghai. Will the lightly dried green leaves have more antioxidants, leading to greater efficacy than the macerated brown leaves? (Tai Feng Yuan, Ruijin 2nd Road, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190326
    Luobuma 罗布麻 leaves
    Luobuma 罗布麻 leaves: Not available in North American, luobuma 罗布麻 is a traditional Chinese treatment for hypertension that appears easy to acquire in Shanghai. The package on the left was purchased on the major shopping street (Huaihai Middle Road), and the package on the right from a small neighbourhood store (Ruijin Road). The left resembles black tea; the right appears less processed as a green tea. Does the conventional wisdom of green tea preserving more antioxidants than black tea transfer over to other types of herbs? (Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20190326
    IAPM
    IAPM: Super-luxury shopping mall on the main street in the Former French Concession is grand beyond practically all of its peers in the New World. Merchandise selection is way beyond my means. My visits are primarily to shop at the City Supermarket one level down to buy soymilk, strangely not readily available in neighbourhood stores. (IAPM, Huaihai Middle Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190327
    Nene
    Nene: Seven hungry diners consumed eight thin crust Lazio-style pizzas, arriving late through rainy traffic. Appreciated why the group knows the place as Davide’s, as the energetic host welcomed us individually, and ensured that we were well-served. We ordered the black crust with activated charcoal that serves as a natural alkaline that might neutralize heartburn from tomatoes (or cured meat that I’m not eating anymore), but I can’t say that I noticed a difference. (Nene, Yongfu Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20180238
    Tianzifang
    Tianzifang: Shikumen (stone warehouse gate) transformed into a warren of alleys with shops, food stalls and restaurants. Complex still has residents, at least one with the sense of humour for a pink panther in the window. Not in a shopping mood, the lanes were walkable on the afternoon before the weekend begins. (Tianzifan, Taikang Lu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190329
    Wukang Road at Anfu Road
    Wukang Road at Anfu Road: City crews throwing plants onto flower bed, as spring temperatures appear more frequently. Leisurely vegan Saturday lunch, then walked up street to cafe. Having been given bad seating and then told that cheesecake and souffle were out, we decamped for a better venue up the street. Meeting new team member first time in China, lots of orientation. (Wukang Road at Anfu Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20180330
    Tank Shanghai
    Tank Shanghai: Team bonding experience at new private gallery opened just last week, on site of five former oil storage tanks for Longhua Airport (1922-1966). One tank closed for private showing, vicinity populated with fashion models and the well-dressed overflowing from terminals of the West Bund Art Center. Queue to enter the Teamlab installation a good opportunity to discuss our background contexts. (Tank Shanghai, Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331
    Tank Shanghai: Teamlab (2019) combines immersive digital works of (i) “Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together, Transcending Boundaries – A Whole Year per Hour” from the floor upwards, and (ii) “Transcending Boundaries” of waterfall light descending inside the tank. Show is titled “Universe of Water Particles in the Tank”. Visitors moving slowly, or resting on the floor or against walls, are sensed interactively to change the display. ((Tank Shanghai, Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331
    Yuyuan Teahouse
    Yuyuan Teahouse: Afternoon break in 200-year-old mid-lake pavilion included zhong, quail eggs, kumquats, sesame peanut blocks, preserved plums. Following afternoon visiting two art museums, the snack re-energized us into discussing philosophy, following the tradition of those frequenting Chinese teahouses. (Yuyuan Tea House, Yu Garden, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331

    2017/11 Moments November 2017

    Toronto, Ontario; Markham, Ontario; Scarborough, Ontario; Orillia, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China; Helsinki, Finland.
    Toronto, Ontario; Markham, Ontario; Scarborough, Ontario; Orillia, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China; Helsinki, Finland.

    Chinese Visa Center
    Chinese Visa Center: Mural of historical figures and stories of China’s five thousand years of civilization includes: 1. Houyi, Shooting Suns; 2. Shennong, the Ancient Herbalist; … 5. Hua Tuo, the Ancient Divine Chinese Medical Practitioner; 6. Sun Wu, the Great Military Theorist; 7. Qu Yuan, the Famous Poet; … 11. Confucius, the Great Chinese Philosopher; … 17. Mulan, the Chinese Girl-warrior; 18. Genghis Khan, the Great Conqueror; 24 Marco Polo, and The Travels of Marco Polo; … 27. Koxinga, the National Hero. Waiting in queue to drop off visa application folder, wondering about the process of choosing the 27. (Chinese Visa Application Service Center, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20171102

    Cascon 2017
    Cascon 2017: Clustering sticky notes in Strategic Foresight Workshop after discussions over lunch and ideation. After years of lecture layouts, ballroom is arranged with round tables to encourage sharing and capturing amongst participants. Many drawn away from collective activity towards posters at kiosks around the room, so maybe next time reducing options for distraction will lead to stronger inputs. (Cascon 2017, Hilton Suites, Warden Avenue, Markham, Ontario) 20171106

    Cascon 2017
    Cascon 2017: Presentation #cascon on Cognitive Blockchain @DonnaExplorer, IBM Fellow. Clear demonstrations of pilots on cross-border supply chain traceability, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for diamonds, IBM Verifier scanner to validate sources, Walmart Food Safety provenance. Digest at https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/2017-11-07-1015-donna-dillenberger-cognitive-blockchain-cascon/

    Highland Farms
    Highland Farms: Ontario grown Flemish Beauty pears on destination shopping, later in the season that I had expected. This heritage variety grows locally, not as popular as Barlett, Anjou or Bosc. Childhood memories of the tree by my grandparents’ house on the southeast corner of Beverley Street and Cecil Street in the 1960s, gone by the 1980s. I’m appreciative of a smaller grocery store that supports local growers. (Highland Farms, Ellesmere Road, Scarborough, Ontario) 20171107

    Delicious Paradise Kitchen
    Delicious Paradise Kitchen: Father’s choice for Chinese fast food lunch. When I saw the serving of rice pulled on the plate, I said “too much”, and the server put half back into the pot. Dad says one serving is enough to serve two seniors. (Delicious Paradise Kitchen, Silver Star Blvd., Scarborough, Ontario) 20171109

    Port of Orillia
    Port of Orillia: Off season for boat cruise on Lake Couchiching, on the Orillia waterfront. Quick business trip driving north on overcast early afternoon, followed by southbound trip starting before dusk and then ending in rainy dark. Radio reports subsequently declared winter snow, relatively early for the season. (Port of Orillia, Centennial Drive, Orillia, Ontario) 20171109

    Continue reading2017/11 Moments November 2017

    2017/04 Moments April 2017

    Toronto, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China; Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Toronto, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China; Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Pearson Airport T1
    Pearson Airport T1: Between Gates E77 and E78, colorful glass cylinders enclosing light bulbs, suspended from overhead arches. Design by Norr Architects for OTG, a company operating high-end restaurants at the airport, including Hemant Bhagwani’s Marathi Indian. (Terminal 1, Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario) 20170401

    Shanghai Pudong Airport
    Shanghai Pudong Airport: Whimsical rooster themed installation​ on middle of airport, lightens the spirit on the long walk from the airplane, through immigration, to the Maglev train. Impressed on short ride hitting 430 km/h peak, before slowing down at western terminus. (Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, PR China) 20170402

    Zhangwu Sichuan
    Zhangwu Sichuan: Dinner for Qingming Tomb-Sweeping Day, since public holiday on a Monday still has most people off work. Chose Sichuan resto near Tongji University, left half of dishes filled with red peppers too spicy to eat. (Zhangwu Sichuan, Shanghai, PR China) 20170403

    People's Park Pond
    People’s Park Pond: Father with small net skimming somethings from top of pond, and placing into small bucket for son. Game players involved in own activities in the background. Tuesday is still an extended Qingming weekend holiday, the park was popular with families. (People’s Park, Shanghai, P R China) 20170404

    Shanghai Gallery of Art
    Shanghai Gallery of Art: Yin Xiuzhen 2005 TVT-Rocket installation of three cloth towers, extends from third floor in light well up to 6th. Gallery is open to public, and closer to the Bund, but maybe the Whampoa Club upstairs enjoys less traffic. (Shanghai Gallery of Art, Three.on the Bund, Shanghai, P R China) 20170404

    Rockbund Art Museum
    Rockbund Art Museum: Song Dong 2017 Back Image, screen plus 50 benches. Extensive show covering long career over 6 floors. Well curated contemporary art venue, building walls show a sense of humour with dimensions marked everywhere. (Rockbund Art Museum, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai, P R China) 20170404

    Continue reading2017/04 Moments April 2017

    2016/03 Moments March 2016

    Toronto, Ontario; Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; Wuhan, China; Alexandria, Virginia; Washington, DC
    Toronto, Ontario; Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; Wuhan, China; Alexandria, Virginia; Washington, DC

    Chinese Visa Application Service Centre
    Chinese Visa Application Service Centre: Submitted invitation letter from Wuhan U. Tech at prebooked appointment. Clerk corrected category as non-business, and said not multiple entry, but double entry same price as single entry. Tuesday drop-off, Friday pick-up as normal service. Receptionist noted I had forgotten to copy face page on passport, so photocopier in corner is $0.40. (Chinese Visa Application Service Center, University Avenue, Toronto) 20160301

    School of the Environment
    School of the Environment: Martin Bunch from York U. guest lecture at U. Toronto on Ecosystems Approaches originating from James Kay, evolved into EcoHealth approach with community health in coupled social-ecological systems. Presented on three cases, in Kathmandu Nepal; Chennai India; and Credit Valley Conservation Authority in Southern Ontario. I’ve lectured in Martin’s systems thinking class, sometimes it’s better to hear a formal talk to appreciate the work of a researcher. (University of Toronto School of the Environment) 20160302

    The Real Jerk
    The Real Jerk: Family lunch relaxed on a weekday, with sister-in-law visiting with baby. She requested some food not Middle Eastern, as she’s been living in Israel. Curried goat was popular amongst us, jerk pork was extra spicy, and the beef roti was more substantial than an appetizer to be shared by all of us. (The Real Jerk, Gerrard Street East at Carlaw Avenue, Toronto) 20160303

    AC005 YYZ-HND
    AC005 YYZ-HND: Flight delay of 2 hours to 3:45pm had me falling asleep in Maple Leaf Lounge, as I stayed awake and worked through last night. Mechanical problems means will arrive in Tokyo after sunset, so body schedule will probably be confused. New release movies haven’t changed since last flight, so I’m spending too much time on long hauls. (Air Canada 005, Toronto Pearson to Tokyo Haneda) 20160309

    Aeon Market Granpark
    Aeon Market Granpark: End-of-day clearance take-out sushi in Tokyo supermarket is better than some restaurant food on other side of ocean. Large display of Florida navel oranges is twice the price of local varieties. Full service supermarket is in basement of complex across the street from usual hotel in Shibaura district. Flight to Haneda was delayed by 2 hours, so friends went for dinner without me. (Aeon Market Granpark, Shibaura, Minato, Tokyo) 20160310

    Duo Music Exchange
    Duo Music Exchange: Piano-driven instrument rock by Schroeder Headz had audience bouncing in time, and waving right hands. Pianist Shunsuke Watanabe had extended pattern between songs, entertaining audience with humour. Japanese audience was more subdued with opening act ADAM At. Venue had excellent sound, no seats. We didn’t stay for third band on bill, Sono Sukimakara. (Duo Music Exchange, Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo) 20160311

    Continue reading2016/03 Moments March 2016

    Shanghai circa 1910-1920

    I enjoyed “Temptress Moon”, reminding me of “The Last Emperor”, and there’s something about that period in China that I like.
    On the stack of videotapes that I’ve had in backlog was Temptress Moon, a 1986 movie directed by Chen Kaige. (I had recorded it some time ago from TV Ontario, and was especially brain dead on Saturday, having stayed up from Friday night into the wee hours, finishing up a presentation at 5:30 a.m.)

    I’m sure that many other people liked Gong Li and/or Leslie Cheung, but I was actually rather taken by the story. It starts with the children around 1911 (at the fall of the Qin emperor), and goes through the period of opium. Most of the movie takes place during the 1920s, with a sharp contrast between the village and Shanghai — which had western dress, modern buildings, telephone and streetcars.

    In the movie, there’s a phrase something like “don’t you know what’s happened in the last ten years”? The opening of China must have been amazing. In addition to opium use, the movie also depicted prostitution and gangsters, so I’m probably just as happy to be now in middle class Canada.

    This movie also reminds me that I really enjoyed The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and released in 1987. I remember buying (probably in 1987 or 1988) and reading Twilight in the Forbidden City by Reginald Johnson. Pu Yi was the ruling emperor between 1908 and 1912, and non-ruling emperor between 1912 and 1924, so the times on these two movies overlap.

    When I was in Shanghai in summer 2002, I visited the former residence of Dr. Sun Yat Sen — where he lived between 1918 and 1925. In touring the house, I was impressed on how modern it was, with electric lighting and indoor plumbing. I could have been quite comfortable, living there.

    Since I’m not into doing more reading, I’m now trolling for other movies that happen in this period of Chinese history ….

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