On a sad note...

It would seem that China is following Hong Kong's ideology for ripping anything older than 10 years down and building something new. This applies not just to buildings but to many cultural ideals that I suspect one day they will miss more than the glass temples that are being built to the gods of commerce.

The sad story that the headline refers to is that the Beijing government is to outlaw the sale of wild song birds that old Chinese men keep in cages and walk around the citys parks.

This has been around for over 2,000 years and it seems a shame that the government has done this. I hope that there are still birds for sale.

I have no idea whether this ban is going to affect Hong Kong and its bird market (I assume that this is a Beijing only law) but it seems a shame that such a tradition and activity for the elders of China will die out. Many of these men do no have wives or family and this is a pleasant way for them to spend their mornings.

A real shame, but I'm still going to have some birds on our balcony.

Feathered Facts:

— In the Ming and Qing dynasty civil servants commonly displayed their rank using “Mandarin Squares”. The embroidered badges displayed nine levels of birds, with the quail the lowliest and either the golden pheasant or white crane the highest

— The phrase “selection by hitting the bird screen” is used to mean choosing a husband after the story of the daughter of a 6th-century military commander who said that she would marry the man who hit a painting of a peacock twice with an arrow while running

— China's ornithological love affair came to an end with Chairman Mao. Because they ate grain he ordered the eradication of the sparrow population. Citizens were told to leave their houses and clap continuously — the noise scared the birds and kept them on the wing until they dropped from exhaustion

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