Posts tagged ‘tobacco’

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Between Summer and Fall





Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer: Walled Little World

Good weather conditions so far – mostly a good mix of sun, rain and overcast skies. Everything is still lagging behind schedule by a few weeks, as the warm season started late.


Small grapes, great expectations

Some of the crops are growing on mini-terraces as the slope would make watering wasteful otherwise.

lavender and potatoes

Lavender and potatoes

potato blossom

potato blossom


Tobacco – only a few rows so as not to exceed the legal limit.



Summer Observations, July 12, 2011
Rain at last, June 19, 2011


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Third Year of Gardening

Every year, some more square meters of the thick lawn are turning grey as I’m digging it over. Lots of couch grass in between, but I’m in no mood of using herbicides.

cat in the sun

There’s nothing like the warmth of dug-up earth …

five cats on the window ledge

… except bird-spotting from the window ledge, maybe.



» Spring by Day, April 3, 2013


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Press Review: National Bureau of Statistics Press Conference

On a national bureau of statistics press conference on Wednesday morning, bureau spokesman and national economy statistics division director Sheng Laiyun (盛来运) described the economy’s development of the first half year of 2011, and answered reporters’ questions. During the first half year, facing a complicated and volatile situation internationally, and new situations and new problems domestically, the party center and state council actively implemented financial policies and moderating (稳健) monetary policies, and continuously strengthened macro-economic control. The general economic situation was fine, and generally moving into the desired direction.

According to preliminary estimates, GDP grew by 20,446 bn Yuan RMB, which would be 9.6 per cent at comparable prices, with growth at 9.7 per cent during the first quarter, and 9.5 per cent during the second quarter. By sectors, the primary sector grew by 1,570 bn Yuan RMB or 3.2 per cent; the secondary sector grew by 10,217 bn Yuan or 11 per cent; the service sector grew by  8,658 bn Yuan or 2.2 per cent.

People’s Daily, July 13, 2011, 2.08 GMT

On Wednesday morning, bureau spokesman and national economy statistics division director Sheng Laiyun (盛来运) described the economy’s development of the first half year of 2011, and answered reporters’ questions. He said that during the first half year, the consumer price index (CPI, 居民消费价格总水平) rose by 5.4 per cent; and the producer price index (PPP, 工业生产出厂价格) rose by 7.0 per cent.

According to national bureau of statistics numbers, food prices rose by 11.8 per cent during the first half of the year, while non-food prices rose by 2.7 per cent. The consumer price index rose by 5.2 per cent in the urban, and by 5.9 per cent in rural areas.

By categories, housing prices rose by 6.3 per cent; healthcare costs and convenience goods by 3.2 per cent, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products by 2.3 per cent, household appliances and products and repair services costs by 2.0 per cent, clothing by 1 per cent, pasttime and educational products and services by 0.6 per cent, and transport and communication costs by 0.3 per cent.

People’s Daily, July 13, 3.16 GMT

[…] The growth figures underlined the resilience of the world’s second-largest economy, thanks to the country’s rapid urbanization, and could soothe investor concerns about an abrupt slowdown that would dent demand for global commodities. […]

Reuters, July 13, 2011, 4.37 GMT

[…] Sheng Laiyun said that during the first half of this year, real estate investment grew rather fast, with investment at  2,625 bn Yuan RMB, or an increase by 32,9 per cent. […]

People’s Daily, July 13, 2.08 GMT

[…] Raising the interest rates is conducive to correcting the state of negative interest rates. China’s economy entered a sustained state of negative interest rates along with the rising CPI since February 2010. Household savings have withdrawn from the banking system because it is difficult for household savings to keep value and rise in value. This has further increased inflationary pressures. […]

People’s Daily (English), July 9, 2011 (referring to interest rates raised by the central bank, earlier that week)


» Land Use Supervision, July 12, 2011
» Quarterly GDP Growth Rates (Explanation), ECB


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scientific: Smoking, Feelings, Desires, and Tibetan Culture

mask off

"When we put off our last mask, we will lose our face" (Wenn wir die letzte Maske ablegen, verlieren wir unser Gesicht), attributed to Hans Kudszus

China will reportedly put a ban on smoking in most public places (but spare workplaces).

Quoting a BBC report which says that a corresponding regulation shall come into effect on May 1, FOARP expresses doubts that it will really matter in daily life.

I agree. And if it did matter, the Chinese authorities wouldn’t have done themselves a favor. Let’s learn from this  anti-tobacco website:

Stressful situations can bring you back to being a slave to Nicotine. The real test was Joe’s first stressful situation. His mother had two heart attacks and three strokes within one year. Unable to cope with all the new added stress, Joe began to write Nic-the Habit,while along the bedside of his mother, who could no longer speak.

Smoking a cigarette was the last thing in his mind. The Tibetan culture taught Joe to be strong and to find the strength within to combat feelings or or desires that were destructive, such as smoking and over-eating.

I’m not familiar with the Tibetans’ smoking habits, but I do know the Han-Chinese habits, and the keywords in the above quote should be “feelings” and “desires”. I’ve heard a more blunt line in the past: “Smoking kills Feelings”. For sure, it adds to dampen them.

You see, so long as you inhale, you can’t speak. You’ll start coughing if you try. All the nasty things you might say otherwise, stuff like Let’s gather at Wangfujing for some happy window shopping today, will go unsaid.

And for that very reason, the Chinese authorities would be very ill-advised if they implemented the new regulation thoroughly*).

Cigarettes are handy tools of social management, and – all things taken together – they come with tax revenues, rather than costs for the state. They will continue to do their share in protecting the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. To this end, they will make Chinese netizens more tolerant of the complexities on the internet, for example – if you let them be.



*) Before you accuse this blogger of advocating the extinction of the Chinese nation by force-feeding them opium nicotine and tar, please be informed that this blogger smokes, too.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Be careful what you ask for, Margie Mason!

The angle from which this video was shot suggests that it was a Hong Kong airport staffer’s revenge on a woman who gave people a hard time after missing her flight.

There were several other reports from Hong Kong, too, on people losing it in rather bizarre ways, in otherwise everyday situations. I’m wondering: would such things occur less easily if smoking was a more acceptable habit in Hong Kong?

I know – smoking kills, leads to chronic diseases, impairs our performance at sports, and may also have an effect on our performance at work. But when reading how Margie Mason, a medical writer with Associated Press (AP), recommends Hong Kong to mainland China as a shining example as to how improve peoples’ health and life expectancy, the airport woman comes to my mind. Maybe she is leading a very healthy life in that she is hanging it all out. But the video may have left a negative effect on her health after all – and it all may not have happened if she had gone outside for a moment – there are ashtrays available a minute’s walk away from the checkin counters – and lit a cigarette instead of molesting the staff, and embarassing the old man who was apparently her travel companion.

Smoking frequently kills. But it also frequently kills feelings. It may not be the most efficient kind of anger management, but in the absence of better tools, I’m wondering how often a cigarette will have saved, rather than terminated lives.


Killers on Amrum, but No Smoking, January 12, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

A (fictional) Obituary: Johnny Neihu

Taipei — No quantity of Changshou (long life) cigarettes could stabilize the old man’s feelings anymore. If we can believe the Taipei Times, the paper which hosted his regular splittist columns, Johnny Neihu has left this vale of tears after scaring a Sichuan Province Engineering Safety Division, CCP Cadre Delegation (inspecting a patriotic statue in Taiwan’s capital)  shitless with a bloody auto-mutliation reading “ECFA”, and by blowing himself and the statue up as an ultimate statement. An unspecified number of lives was – reportedly – lost in the process.

His zougou running dog 走狗 anyway, dog, Punkspleen, relates to the cruel event as Mr Neihu’s finest hour. Just as the hero of the splittists used to say, or kind of said:

Don’t ask what your renegade province can do for you – ask what you can do for your renegade province.

We should have been warned. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Killers on Amrum, but No Smoking

Amrum is a North Sea island on the West coast of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s northernmost federal state. Bremedia, a company from this town, produced a movie which was released on January 11. That is to say, it was broadcast by one of Germany’s two nationwide public television channels at 20:15 last night. A friend told me that it was a must-see.

So we watched it. It was a nice movie, no waste of time, and I believe it could have become a great movie. Why wasn’t it exactly great after all?

Container ship heading for Hamburg, Germany, September 2009

Container ship heading for Hamburg, Germany, September 2009

For one, it probably wasn’t really meant to be great. Just a nice bit of more or less thrilling evening entertainment. I rarely watch television, and maybe what I’ve watched on Monday night was the standard kind of movie on television here.

The story: two policemen are stationed on Amrum – an elder, and one who is several decades his junior. Life is easy, just that the junior can’t find a wife, because no young woman seems to be interested in the peaceful life on the island. All of a sudden, a wounded lady who turns out to be one of two bodyguard for a threatened witness who lives in hiding on Amrum, bursts into the police station and seeks help from the two officers. I missed some bits of the plot, but somehow, the second one of the bodyguards hiding the witness on the island has been killed already, and the second one, seeking help from the local police, was wounded in the incidence, and then she apparently succumbs, too.

So the two provincial policemen find themselves alone on duty with the witness, a young lady from Moldova who is scheduled to be deported from Germany for living here illegally. But before she is taken to the plane, she needs to testify against a well-connected Russian mafiosi, or something of that kind. That mafiosi, from detention while awaiting trial, raises hell to get her killed – all her bodyguards, next to her, and the agents somewhat more at large on Amrum and on the Schleswig-Holstein mainland, have also been killed, and there’s a mole at the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, which is why the two slightly dorky flatfoots can’t call the Federal Office for help.

Eventually, they still do so, very much against the advice of the Moldovian lady. They have little choice, after finding one of the murdered (more remote) federal agents dead on the beach. So the Federal Office sends another agent, who is murdered on the ferry, and dumped into the tideland. His killer then becomes the manipulator on the island and organizes the hunt for the Moldovian witness there.

There seem to be some logical flaws in the plot. For one, the junior officer doesn’t open fire as his boss is killed by the manipulator. In real life, that would have led to an investigation – but not in the movie. Then, as the junior, as the only surviving law enforcer on Amrum, makes a phonecall to the Schleswig-Holstein mainland for help, he can’t get any, because there is a whole gale on the mainland, and no ferries or helicopters can leave for the island. Nor can the coastguard. But on Amrum, there is no storm at all, and the island is less than fifty kilometers off the coast – not to be confused with Heligoland which is a truly open-sea island.

Once the storm has abated, the next scheduled ferry from the mainland comes in, but rather than help for the junior policeman, reinforcements for the manipulator arrive with it. In the end, it takes help from all the policeman’s brave friends on the island (from all those who dare to stick their necks out) to finish the gangsters off and to save the witness from Moldova.

The movie is a nice commercial for tourism here in the North. It paints a likeable, but not excessively flattering picture of us people behind the dykes and dunes.

OK, and there is still another inconsistency with real life, as I see it. Most of the protagonists in the movie drink alcohol, sometimes quite heavily. But even though I watched 94 per cent of the movie closely, I didn’t see a single cigarette there*), even though they are all the kind of people who do smoke in real life, and real life in Germany provides lots of opportunities to smoke publicly. Maybe smoking movie characters wouldn’t have made it past the tv station’s broadcasting council – the supervisors from our political parties, religious communities, labor unions etc who constitute such a council.

The influence a political class exerts on a country’s media may need to be subtle in a democratic country, but it is here. Real life probably gets distorted whereever a television camera shows up.

As for the missing cigarettes in classical situations during the movie, I’m wondering how many of the television audience even noticed their absence.


Title: Mörder auf Amrum, Germany, 2009 / 2010

*) We were absent from the living room for some five minutes of smoking outside – our hosts were faithful non-smokers.

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