Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Monday, 17 December 2007
Monday, 17 December 2007 20:59

The Water Festival of Dujiangyan

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Monday, 17 December 2007 20:50

The other side of the moon

Have you ever wondered about what is on the other side of the moon? I haven’t. I just presume that it is as pockmarked and empty as the side we see. I have no desire to go and take a look. It is sure to be as terribly dark and cold as the front side is unbearably hot. I’m just not the adventurous type. I get nervous just watching dangerous scenes in a movie, to say nothing of enduring the perils of a rocket hurtling through space.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy looking at the moon and it doesn’t stop me from wondering why it doesn’t revolve on an axis like the earth so that we would see different parts of it instead of the same old face all the time. Does it have something to hide that it doesn’t want us to see? Or is it ashamed to let anyone find out there is nothing on the other side worth seeing? Actually, the moon is just a big hunk of rock with no feelings or thoughts. I feel sorry for it. It can never enjoy the pleasant views of earth that satellites show us.

There is one special characteristic of moons, namely, they don’t manufacture their own light. To shine, to be seen they need a sun somewhere to illuminate them. When the sunny side is not exposed, the moon disappears from sight. But we know it is still there. I wonder how many moons are out there we never see? Are they waiting for some passing sun or are they hoping that we will come by with our searchlights and inquisitive minds?

Now if you ask me if I would like to see the other side of a river or the other side of the country, I might take up your offer, because I like to travel and sightsee. But don’t ask me to climb a cliff or wander through a dense jungle full of poisonous snakes fighting off biting insects or soaked to the skin by an afternoon downpour. A safe, comfortable seat in the front of a car with a good unrestricted view is more my style. I don’t mind crowds or noise. I love to watch people and experience the hustle and bustle first hand.
Life is full of moons. Some are out of reach, so we just let them be. Some have mysteries and hidden sides that cry out for exploration. Some seem to draw us to them, so that we cannot rest until we have seen for ourselves what is on the other side. Some we are content to let others visit alone. Everyday is like an adventure on the face of the moon and every night is an excursion into its dark side. The only difference is that in the daytime we have the light provided for us and at nighttime we must provide the light ourselves.

Monday, 17 December 2007 20:45

Unidentified Flying Objects

Every so often, someone announces that they have seen a U.F.O., an Unidentified Flying Object. That is a very daring thing to do, because at once, the claim will be challenged, the person labeled as a fraud or hoodwinked or gullible or a visionary or at best mistaken. Soon there may show up at his or her door an amazing array of investigators, scientists, psychologists, military men, government agencies worried about national security; the evidence may even be confiscated and the person may even be restrained under various dire consequences to never say anything again about what he thought he saw, because, he is told, he never really saw what he thinks he saw. Quite a most remarkable way to react, if there really was nothing to cover up.
If there is a movie or book that I don’t want people to know about or to view or to read, I would ignore it, because the moment I went public to voice my concern, I would turn the world’s attention to what would possibly have remained unknown and alerted every chaser after controversy, every seeker of the naughty or questionable, every foe of censorship, every curious spectator and turned what I wished few would see into a sought after sensation.
It is the same with UFOs. Somebody sees something strange and they report it, perhaps even photograph it. There is a moment of notoriety and sensation. The moment passes and the instance is recorded as one more item in the centuries old list of unexplained or strange or extraordinary events. Those people who like to investigate further will do so. Those who believe there is a simply ordinary explanation will try to replicate what was seen. And the world goes on till the next curious event, titillating the curious, boring the disinterested.
But then comes along the passionate advocates of extraterrestrial intervention or the almost paranoid deniers and denunciators in high official circles and you begin to wonder if perhaps there is something they are trying to hide, some object out there that they know about, but don’t want us to discover.
So, what are the known facts about UFOs?
From the beginning of mankind’s presence on earth there have been mysterious or unexplainable phenomena that have astonished or terrified the observers. It is the same today, except that we are in a better position with the advancements of science and technology to investigate them. Quite honestly, many, perhaps even most of them, can be shown to have very plausible natural explanations and some have proven to be hoaxes. But there are still those that up to now have defied explanation based on our present knowledge and technology. Perhaps the day will come when there is a perfectly plausible reason for every sighting, meaning that there is nothing out there strange or extraordinary or foreign to our mundane experience. I would much rather believe that there are still things and worlds out there that will blow our minds and expand our horizons once we discover them.
Why can’t we calmly talk about and dispassionately investigate UFOs? Let the facts fall as they may. What is so threatening or mysterious about the unknown, that we would rather deny it than face it? I, for one, am glad that there are things that we still don’t know, facts we cannot yet explain. What a small world, what a limited universe it would be, if it was only what I can see or presently comprehend!

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A book that was published in Chinese and in French draws our attention to a most creative initiative, due to the “Fondation Charles Meyer pour le Progres de l’Homme”: the biennial China-Europa Forum, the second installment of which was held in October 2007.

The Forum had been conceived as a ‘two-stage’ event to implement dialogue between China and Europe. The first installment, which took place in China (in the city of Nansha, close to Guangzhou), invited the key actors and protagonists in the construction of the European Union to share with the Chinese their experiences and vision for Europe. The main subject of this forum was European Integration, and how China and the world at large could learn from Europe’s experience.

As European construction and development were the starting point and center of discussions, the published proceedings of the first Forum Europe is not a Chinese puzzle! (L’Europe, c’est pas du chinois!) can be seen as a presentation and a history of the European construction from an Asian perspective. Contributors such as Michel Rocard, Wu Jianmin, Jordi Pujol, Milan Kucan or Jean-Louis Bourlanges discuss issues related to world governance and globalization, through the European Union experience: “What are the challenges of a China-Europe partnership?” (Wu Jianmin) and “Can the European Union be a source of inspiration for the world governance?” (Michel Rocard)

More than a simple forum of discussion for mutual understanding, the initiative opens up a platform for redirecting the European construction towards the development of a multipolar world, a goal for which China’s contributions will be crucial. The relationship between Europe and China is not meant to benefit only the two regions, it should contribute to new ways of conceiving and implementing world governance.

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