Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Wish for Baby Pigs

Happy New Year! Not only to humans but also to piglets! Recently the international animal rights have been very active in shark fin ban and the result is becoming successful. Shark fins will no longer be sold or used in food in California starting in 2013 … Hong Kong top hotel, Peninsula, will stop serving shark fin soup in 2012... No doubt I agree the prohibition to protect the sharks since their fins have been used extensively for soups at Chinese weddings and banquets. But besides the shark fin soups, there is another popular dish at Chinese weddings or banquets that contains cruelty, at least in my opinion. It is 乳豬 or roasted suckling pig! As its name means – suckling pig is a piglet fed on its mother's milk and is slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks (燒乳豬是將二至六個星期大,仍未斷奶的乳豬宰殺).

How brutal and inhuman to kill the lovely baby piglets to satisfy humans stomachs!!! Why didn’t the world try to ban the practice of roasted or cooked suckling pigs? Because the use of suckling pigs for dishes is also happened in Western culture especially the Spanish-speaking countries such as Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. It is also a recipe in Southern United States and Germany. I know it’s not easy to convince everyone not to eat suckling pigs but at least I wish people would think twice and have mercy on the cute little piglets before they start eating them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver

Tomorrow will be the 100th anniversary of 1911 Chinese revolution (辛亥革命). This revolution was started on October 10, 1911 led by Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山 or 孫日新) to overthrow Chinese imperial system which had been existed for over 2000 years. I visited Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (中山公園) in Chinatown, Vancouver on July 17. Built in 1985 and officially opened in 1986, it is the first full-scale classical garden constructed outside of China. It is modeled after private classical gardens in Suzhou during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Since it happens to be 100th anniversary of 1911 revolution, I posted the photos of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Since Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), Suzhou has been an important centre for silk industry.

A classical Chinese garden has four main elements:
Buildings – such as pavilions and covered walkways
Rocks - especially Tai Hu limestone rocks from Suzhou
Plants – such as pine trees, plum trees and bamboos
Water - a central pond with koi fish, and sometimes turtle and mandarin ducks

Photo Below: I believe this is called "Moon Gate" - a moon-shaped doorway

Poetry is also an important element in a Chinese classical garden. Poems can be found anywhere in the garden – inside or outside the buildings and sometimes craved into rocks. Poetry is the way people express their feelings of the beauty and nature in the garden.

I think golden Koi fish symbolizes luck and wealth, turtle symbolizes longevity in feng shui concept.
A very cute little blond girl is watching the Mandarin ducks. In Chinese culture, Mandarin ducks represent a life-time couple with love and romance. They are called Yuan-Yang 鴛鴦 and always in a pair.
In Chinatown, there is a Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park next to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden. Unlike the garden, the park is free to the public. The difference is the garden was constructed by Chinese artisans and craftmen using materials from China while the park was constructed by local architects and workers using materials from North and South America.

I'm glad to have a chance to visit this garden before I visit the classical Chinese garden in Suzhou this October (a week from now). This garden was constructed by master craftmen from China using traditional methods with no glue, screws or power tools. Everything was consturcted in accordance with feng shui and the balance of yin yang to create a harmony environment. Now I know what to expect when visiting the famous Chinese garden in Suzhou!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canada Day Parade in Steveston Village

Every year there is a parade in Steveston on Canada Day (July 1). This year was the celebration of 66th Annual Steveston Salmon Festival and the parade ran from 10 am til noon with over 100 participating entries including marching bands, politicians, sport teams such as hockey and badminton, old-fashioned buses, police, firemen, large supermarket/retailers such as Save-On-Food, community and cultural groups, etc. Pets (dogs) were involved in the participating entries too! Lots of freebies were handed out – Canadian flags, candies, chocolates and nice flower pots from Art Knapp!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

June 28 was a very nice day with beautiful sunshine and mild temperature, I decided to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. I had a coupon of 2 for 1 admission but I couldn't find any companions since my friends either found it too expensive or were scared of height...

If I commuted from Richmond to North Vancouver by public transit, it would consider 3 zones and cost 5 bucks. In order to save money for the admission, I first drove my car from Richmond to Vancouver, parked on a small street and then transferred to Downtown bus with fare $2.50. At Canada Place in Downtown, I got on a free shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge!

The entrance fee wasn't cheap at all ... $32.95 plus HST (total around $36). Since I am BC resident, I can visit the park again for free in one year. Although it's a bit pricy, I think it's a very good experience to go there ... at least once in a lifetime.

First Nations Totem Poles

More totem poles and sculptures of First Nations

Kia'palano - First Nations Cultural Centre Map of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
It is like a rainforest park in North Vancouver

"Go! Go! Go! Keep walking. Don't go back." Yeah! I finally walked through the suspension bridge! It was built in 1889 (more than 120 years old). According to its website, the original bridge was constructed of hemp rope and cedar planks. Today's bridge is made of reinforced steel safely anchored in 13 tons of concrete on either side of the canyon.

Wow! It’s definitely long and HIGH! 450 feet (137m) long and 230 feet (70m) high. If one story in a building is 10 feet high, then this bridge is equivalent to a building of 23 stories.

It’s a very educational trip to explore the park and read the information about this West Coast rainforest ecosystem.

Don’t Eat That!
I thought it means the listed plants are not edible. Instead it indicates the plants (huckleberry, Oregon grape, salal and Hemlock needles) are edible.

I wonder if these medicinal plants can be found in Chinese herb dictionary?

Nature’s Edge where I found a measurement of the height of Hemlock, Red Ceder and Douglas-Fir in 19 years, 16 years and 12 years respectively.

Treetops Adventure (to experience squirrel’s eye view of the forest) – walk from one magnificent Douglas fir tree to another on a series of seven suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor = 10 stories!

This NEW Cliffwalk was open to the public on June 3 – It’s a 20 inches wide walkway suspended from the side of a cliff and from 300 feet above the canyon floor (or Capilano River) . How fear is it? The web says it is high and narrow and, in some sections, glass (very strong glass) is all that separates guests from the canyon far below. I tried, it was okay … not fear but a very amazing experience to enjoy the spectacular river and rainforest views!

There are many informative signs about the rainforest ecosystem.

While water covers most of the earth’s surface,
how much is actually usable?

1% is usable, only 0.26% is drinkable. (So don't waste water) Does Canada have an endless amount of freshwater? No – while we hold 20% of the world’s freshwater, only 7% of that is renewable and available for use.

It was fun to explore Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, all the attractions there were worth to visit. I may return there again in the near future since the second visit is free!