Image of The Day: The World’s Cutest Kitty Goes Viral

I’m sure all you kitty-owners will protest and claim that you have the cutest kitty in the world, but you have to trust us. This cat is will have you squealing no matter how much you protest.

Snoopybabe, who is allegedly from China, has become an internet sensation. His instagram has gained over 190,000 followers. His facebook has over 1500 and he is no stranger to the tumblr world as well. All this fame is clearly well-deserved!

 

With a squished face and huge eyes, this cat doesn’t even look real. With all the cute qualities of a stuffed animal, this little guy is sure to win your heart over.

 

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MUST SEE: Most Epic Guns N’ Roses Cover (Using Ancient Chinese Instrument)

On the list of instruments that you would associate with amazing rock music, the guzheng probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, many of you may not even know what the guzheng is.

The guzheng is an ancient Chinese instrument with 18 or more strings and movable bridges and is arguably the most played instrument in China. It is related to the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and the Vietnamese đàn tranh.


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Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan decided to show us just how versatile and just how amazing this instrument truly is. Kwan decided to cover one of the most unlikely songs for the regal instrument: the Guns N’ Roses’ hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Although this doesn’t sound like the greatest of combinations, Kwan proves us all wrong by delivering one of the most epic Guns N’ Roses covers we’ve seen yet. Check it out for yourself:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song, be sure to check out the original so you can fully appreciate how amazing Kwan’s cover is.

 

China Loosens Its Grip: Plans To Unblock Facebook & Twitter in Shanghai

The strict firewalls surrounding China’s Internet access may be slowly coming down, albeit in a small section of Shanghai.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, Chinese officials have agreed to lift the firewalls on websites considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government, including social networking sites Facebook and Twitter as well as the online site for The New York Times, in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

The lift will only be in a 28.78 square-kilometer (11 square-mile) area intended to let foreign businesses work within the country, which includes the Waigaoqiao duty-free zone, Yangshan deepwater port, and the international airport area.

As it is commonly known, the current Communist Party in China actively censors the Web. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked since 2009 following violent riots in the province of Xinjiang; the government claims the hostility was encouraged on the popular social media platforms. The New York Times has been inaccessible since its report last year on then-Premier Wen Jiabao.

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But why allow the access now when the country — which boasts a total of almost 600 million Web users — has its own, very strong social media platforms (not to mention the use of VPN and proxy servers to access banned sites)? Weibo, a Twitter equivalent, has more than 500 million registered users, two times as many as its U.S.-based counterpart. Renren, a Facebook-like site, has 147 million users and 37 million active users per month.

According to the Hong Kong newspaper’s report, the move is for economic reasons. One source stated, “In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China.”

Set to open at the end of the month, the Shanghai FTZ may expand to include more of the Pudong region, if it proves to be successful.

(Sources: 1, 2, 3)

 

Chinese Woman Trapped In A Well For Two Weeks

Nope, we’re not kidding.

Yesterday, September 17th, a woman was rescued after falling into a a well in central China’s Henan Province. According to state news agency Xinhua, she had lived off of raw corn cobs and rainwater for the 15 days that she was trapped inside.

38-year-old Su Qixiu had fallen into the well near her village and could not climb out because of the slippery and steep walls. The well, which was concealed by surrounding cornstalks, was four meters deep.

The firefighters who rescued her claim they found her lying on back and upon seeing the firefighters, she told them she was hungry.

Thankfully, there were no obvious external injuries. It will, however, take some time for her internal organs to recover. Currently she is in stable condition and receiving fluids.

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As difficult as it is to wrap our minds around this incident, we can’t help but remember Jessica McClure- another woman who found herself in the same predicament. McClure was only 18-months-old whens she fell into a well in 1987. After 58 hours spent saving “Baby Jessica”, the child was rescued with no broken bones. The incident gained worldwide attention and even inspired an ABC television movie Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure. McClure, now in her late 20’s, has turned out just fine.

The moral of the story? You may have some hesitation with wells. Maybe you’re afraid of falling into one (apparently, thats more common than we thought). Or maybe wells make you think of Samara from The Ring. Whatever it may be, trust that instinct. We don’t need any more convincing to avoid those things.

(source 1, 2)

Sex Ed … For 30-Year-Olds in China

It may be an understatement to say that China’s views on sex are on the conservative side. But according to the Huffington Post, 30-year-old Chinese lawyer Sophia Hu believed that adult male bodies looked exactly like the bodies of baby boys. She, of course, admits that she had no sex education.

Then there’s the married couple in the city of Wuhan who made headlines in 2011 for spending three years believing that lying next to each other would result in pregnancy. Although both individuals were college graduates, it’s safe to assume that neither had any form of sex education.

“In China, schools are focused on grades, so non-examinable subjects are often changed to ones that will raise grades,” said Maggie Hu, who works for the Guangzhou-based sex education provider SexualityZone.

“In Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities, women are very influenced by Western, Taiwanese and Korean culture so they have very modern attitudes to sex,” said Jay Zheng, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. “But in rural areas, some women know nothing.”

In fact, many Chinese parents encourage abstinence and use sex as a scare tactic. One woman claimed her mother told her sex was like being shot with a gun. It’s no wonder the subject became taboo and many Chinese young adults learned to either fear the act or consider sex shameful.

Now, teachers like Ma Li are trying to get rid of the taboo. Ma, who is certified by the U.S.-based World Association of Sex Coaches, offers two-day tutorials on everything from anatomy and psychology to techniques of intimacy. Her lessons include explicit videos showing various types of sexual acts and even (gulp) specifically shaped fruit to practice with.

The tutorials cost more than $400, but women have been lining up to learn and lessons are booked weeks in advance. Many of these students are 30- to 40-year-olds seeking to decrease the anxiety before their first sexual encounter. Sex ed for adults? Clearly necessary in China.

(source)

Cute, Tasty and Refreshing: Hello Kitty Fruit-Flavored Beer

Being a big Hello Kitty fan myself, I can say Sanrio has been quite generous to its fans. For instance, if I wanted, I could cover nearly every inch of my house in Hello Kitty merchandise. While I don’t necessarily advise anyone to have an entire Sanrio house, the availability of Hello Kitty products is quite amusing. There are beds, pillows, laundry baskets, hair dryers, soaps, toasters and even Hello Kitty toilet paper.

So what can possibly be next? How about Hello Kitty Fruit-flavored Beer.

Apparently, Hello Kitty doesn’t need a mouth to successfully sell beverages. The beer, which was first introduced in Taiwan, will soon be available in China and comes in various flavors including Passion Fruit, Peach, Banana and Lemon Lime.

The sweet, fruit-flavored beers are the second Hello Kitty alcoholic beverages released. Before this, Hello Kitty wine was licensed in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

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Despite Hello Kitty entering the alcohol market with cute cans and colors, they have stated that they are against under-aged drinking. The product is still marketed towards adults who grew up with Hello Kitty in their childhood.

ABC News reports , “While Hello Kitty beer may seem unusual to some American consumers, in Asia many adults embrace products that are cute or ‘kawaii.’ From Hanky Panky underwear to jewelry at Neiman Marcus, Hello Kitty-wrapped Smart cars to credit cards, the brand has expanded far beyond plush dolls and playthings in recent years to appeal to an aging audience.”

Unfortunately for us, there are no reports of the beer being available outside of Taiwan and China anytime soon.

Dream Destinations | Asia’s “Newest Wonders” & Its “Best Islands”

This past July, Travel & Leisure released the list of the “Newest Wonders of the World,” a list, compiled by UNESCO, of World Heritage sites, or places around the globe that have “cultural, historical and environmental importance.”  In addition, the well-known travel mag released their picks (with the help of readers) of the “World’s Best Islands,” complete with white-sand beaches and romantic get-aways. Seeing these lists will spark the travel bug in anyone, and we’re very happy to say that Asia is well-featured on the list.  Take a look below for the newest additions to our travel bucket-list in Asia.

The Newest World Wonders

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China
Located in southern Yunnan and over 1300 years old, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces are a complex system developed by the Hani people to channel water from the Ailao Mountains to their as-equally sophisticated terraces and farms.

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Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India
Found in the Aravalli Mountains lies six forts that are “a standing testament to the power that Rajput princes enjoyed from the 8th to 18th century.” These series of eclectic forts utilizes the natural surroundings, such as hills, deserts and rivers, as defense while also using fortified walls to protect temples, palaces and other structures.

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Mount Fuji, Japan
Also known as “Fujisan,” Mount Fuji has become an icon of Japan, serving as an artistic muse as well as a site of sacred pilgrimage. As described by UNESCO, “The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisan’s sacred landscape” including Shengen-jinja shrines, natural volcanic features, lakes and waterfalls.
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Kaesong’s Historical Sites, Korea
Located in the often-elusive DPRK and near the demilitarized zone, Kaesong is made up of 12 different sites that tell the story of Korea’s Koryo Dynasty.
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Xinjiang Tianshan, China
Taking up over 600,000 hectares and part of Central Asia’s Tianshin mountain range, Xinjian Tianshin is made up of a four geographically diverse components (Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda), ranging from snow-capped mountains to forests and meadows to wide-spanning deserts.
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World’s Best Islands
Palawan, Philippines (No. 1)
A favorite get-away of both local and foreign celebrities (including Mariah Carey, Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell, and Rachel Weisz), Palawan has a pure, almost surreal beauty that is something out of a movie.  When you’re there, go diving in the area’s warm waters and find yourself surrounded by natural coral reefs and abundant tropical fish or check out the world’s longest underground, navigable river.

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Boracay, Philippines (No. 2)
An hour’s plane ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manila, Boracay offers visitors white-sand beaches, crystal clear blue water and a well-developed nightlife scene.

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Bali, Indonesia (No. 6)
With its myriad of landscapes, ranging from rice terraces to rugged coastlines (not to mention to the world-famous beaches), Bali has become one of Indonesia’s largest tourist attractions, drawing in people from all over the globe for its “world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations (Wiki).”
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Koh Samui, Thailand (No. 9)
This 13-mile wide island, referred to as simply “Samui” by locals, is a favorite of beach-lovers and backpackers alike with its numerous and beautiful natural resources, perfect beaches, clear water and coral reefs.

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Phuket, Thailand (No. 15)
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is the Southeast Asian country’s most developed isle with world-renowned beaches, affordable (and more expensive) dining, fancy resorts and much more.  Be sure to make your way to the almost-undiscovered Mai Khao Beach or the visually stunning Phang Nga Bay.

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For more information on this year’s additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as well as a complete list of all World Heritage Sites, visit UNESCO.

[All images courtesy of Google]

Earthquake in China Claims Lives and Injures Hundreds

On Monday morning, an earthquake with an estimated 5.9-6.6 magnitude hit the farming area of northwest China prompting landslides and destroying hundreds of buildings. Early reports from the official Xinhua news agency had stated that 22 people died, but since then, more mortalities have been confirmed. Now, Huffington Post reports that the earthquake has claimed the lives of at least 75 people and has injured over 400. There are still over a dozen people missing which could add onto this death toll.

Eight towns within the area sustained serious damage. Zhangxian county reports over 380 collapsed buildings and 5,600 damaged buildings. Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed and 14,066 homes have been left without power.

Heavy rain following the earthquake contributed to the situation by causing mudslides and landslides throughout the area. Subsequent tremors, including a magnitude 5.6 aftershock, hit the same area 90 minutes later.

Disaster-relief teams have been rushed to the scene and nearly 500 people have been sent so far. These individuals include rescue workers and military units. Hospital aid-stations have been set up all over to help with the overwhelming number of injured victims. Hundreds of paramilitary People’s Armed Police have been sent to locate missing people and the Chinese Red Cross has sent over survival material including tents, jackets, and household items.

Because communication has been disrupted in such a wide area, the reported amount of inured and killed people continues to rise.

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Chinese Factory Workers and “The Real Toy Story”

Nearly 75% of the worlds toys are made in China. With so many of these plastic toys available to us at ease, we often forget the hard labor that goes into making them. Chinese factory workers must spend hours assembling, stuffing, painting, and working diligently to live up to the never-ending demands from the West.

Michael Wolf, a German photographer pursuing his career in Asia, decided to use his talents to remind us of the struggle that goes into making these toys. His website states:

“Wolf developed the idea around plastic toys, a fascination of his since they were off limits to him as a child. Over a period of one month, he collected over twenty thousand toys “made in China,” scavenging through second-hand stores and flea markets up and down the California coast. He transformed this vast collection into an installation, The Real Toy Story, which integrates portraits of workers in china’s toy factories into a series of walls covered entirely in plastic toys of all kinds. The result is an overwhelming, immersive experience; a graphic representation of the gargantuan scale of china’s mass production and the west’s hunger for a never-ending supply of disposable products. The gazes of the factory workers humanize this anonymous ocean of toys and invite us to reflect on the reality of trade in a world of consumer-driven globalization.”

Wolf effectively reminds us of the various faces that work endlessly to produce these items that we often take for granted. To get a full look at this series, click here.

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