Now available as an E-Book!

Now available as an E-Book!
Save money and a tree- get the downloadable PDF version of "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels!"

Previews from the book "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels."

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135 full-color pages of photos, stories, anecdotes, illustrations, journal pages maps and more!In addition to the four major sections on Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand I have included some back story on both my first (and unsuccessful) attempt to motorcycle through China as well as how the planning for the trip came together.I have chosen the very best of the more than 4,000 photos from the trip as well as the most humorous, moving and fascinating of the several hundred anecdotes for Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Communist Art. Big. Boxy. Concrete.

This post is dedicated to a good family friend, Jan - the sister of my step father. Thanks for your support Jan!


Sylvia Kratzer, the German teacher at Nanchang Univ. took me to the "Bayi Square." Bayi, which appears as the Chinese Characters: "/\ -" means "8.1" or "August 1st" which is signifacant to Modern Chinese History and the Communist Party of China. It was on 8.1.1927 that the "Nanchang Uprising" sealed the defeat of the Kuomintang (nationalists) by the communists. The "People's Liberation Army" was said to be founded on this day. You can see the characters in gold on the flag monument at Bayi square.

The square itself is quite large, with a large concrete and stone obelisk-like monument at the far end. The momument is a classic piece of drab, blocky, communist art. A fitting memento to the birthing of a blocky, drab and cumbersome political movement. Across the street stands a massive former communist building, replete with red star and god trim. The building is now ironically used an electronics market.


The irony of the scene is not lost on me. Here, on this square, one sees the dead, lifeless tombstones of a dated ideology surrounded by those living icons of a different ideology: a KFC, a Wal-Mart Supercenter and the Electronics Market. In this light, I muse over a new interpretation of the soldiers' pained expressions carved in the flag monument's sides: the CCP's new struggle to hold their position in a changing economic and political landscape.

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