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"Naked marriage" challenges traditions
“裸婚族”向传统婚姻观宣战 裸婚族” Without expensive preparation and rituals, Wang Shaowei and Zhang Xin tied the knot at a cost of nine yuan, which was used to obtain the marriage certificate. The couple, who just entered the work force and had learned to be self-reliant, did away with nearly all the traditional "must-haves" for a Chinese wedding: owning an apartment, a car, wedding rings as well as holding an expensive ceremony. "We had a big dinner in our two-bedroom rented apartment to celebrate the start of our married life, and nothing else," said the 26-year-old Wang, who lives with his wife in Shijiazhuang, capital city of the northern Hebei Province. In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese young people have chosen a "naked marriage." The term refers to a couple who get hitched without any major assets and who spend little on their wedding ceremony. The "naked marriage" is in sharp contradiction with China`s established marriage customs, which encourage parents to help lay the material foundation for their children`s marriage. According to a poll conducted by the social investigation

center of the China Youth Daily prior to this year`s Chinese Valentine`s Day, Qixi Festival that fell on last Saturday, nearly 48 percent of 3,214 respondents said they supported the idea of "naked marriages," while about 23 percent opposed it. The vote also showed that about 55 percent of the respondents viewed courage as essential when engaging in a "naked marriage" and 43 percent of them agreed that married life of the couple who had a "naked marriage" would be much tougher than their peers with better financial status. "Compared with my peers who had everything when being married, my marriage seems a bit of `shabby.` But we`ve been together for eight years, and I think the foundation of marriage is love, rather than money," said one of the approvers, Wang Haimin, a PhD candidate in Beijing. Wang and her husband, an employee with a foreign company, are still living in a rented home two years after getting married.

"If a couple has had everything when they get married, what should they expect in the future? I think the most joyful part about marriage is that two people work hard to achieve every goal of life together," read a post on the BBS of the popular web portal of Sina.

Nevertheless, some objectors believe, as the Chinese proverb goes, "Everything goes wrong for the poor couple." "Frictions will be generated if the newlyweds have to struggle to make ends meet every day," posted Sina user "Wolongcha." "The ideal life for Chinese is to live and work in peace and contentment. The marriage without a solid material foundation is unstable," said Wang Shuqin, a 50-year-old resident of Shijiazhuang. Although the traditional marital values are still deep-rooted in Chinese people`s mind, experts said the increasing acceptance of "naked marriage" showed a more open-minded attitude of the youth.

Students pay for plastic surgery
The high school student gets off the train from Qingdao, Shandong province, and walks into a plastic surgery clinic in Beijing`s central business district of Guomao. The second-grader, surnamed Wu, is accompanied by her parents, and is hoping to improve her appearance in the belief there are "better plastic surgeons" in the capital. With short hair and glasses, wearing a purple T-shirt, dark sport pants

and gray sneakers, she says she is after medical advice about whether she should undergo surgical or non-surgical procedures. Wu is one of the many high school students who get plastic surgery during the summer and winter vacations. Around 3 million surgical and non-surgical operations to improve looks were conducted in China in 2009, and the figure is estimated to double every year, according to partial data from the Ministry of Health, released in October 2010. Up to 80 percent of plastic surgery patients in Beijing last summer were high school and college students, with the rate expected to hit 90 percent this year, according to a study on the Beijing market by China Medical Treatment Orthopedics and Beauty Association. A few days before Wu came to Beijing, another high school graduate surnamed Guo had a breast enlargement procedure at the same clinic. Guo, who has been admitted to Beijing Film Academy, also had work done on her eyes and nose during the last summer vacation. The three operations cost her wealthy mother nearly 100,000 yuan ($15,451). The good-looking girl says she simply "wants to become prettier", while her mother admits a better appearance may help her daughter find more acting opportunities in the future. "High school students usually aren`t so clear about what they want, compared to their parents, especially those who want their children to

have a career in entertainment," says Ding Xiaobang, a veteran surgeon at the clinic, adding he never sees anyone "ugly" come to his clinic. He says the most common operations are for double eyelids and nose jobs. He does not recommend that students under the age of 16 seek a sharper nose through surgery as their bones are still growing. Hu Xiaogen, a doctor who works at the plastic surgery department of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, says it is safer for women above 20 and men above 25 to undergo plastic surgery. Besides being physically immature, Hu says high school students are less prepared mentally to make such decisions. He says one 16-year-old student pulled out of an operation just as he was about to anesthetize her, as she was afraid the injection to her eyelids would be too painful. Hu says students should seek operations at qualified hospitals, and it is better for them not to undergo surgery involving significant trauma, such as two or three small but simultaneous operations on the eyes. "Parents should offer objective and reasonable suggestions to their children. Not all of them are suitable to become actors or actresses, even after they take the risk of undergoing plastic surgery," Hu says.

"Enhancing all-round capabilities is the correct way forward to a prospective career. Appearance is not everything."

Toon time is not PC, say experts
Not to ruin your happy childhood memories, but cartoons may not be so innocent as they appear to be. 尽管我们不想毁了你那快乐的童年记忆, 但这些卡通片似乎并非看起 来那样的天真无邪。 The Smurfs 《蓝精灵》

There is a place where neighbors are always willing to lend a hand, where everyone lives without money and employs their individual skills for others. But before you start checking out property prices in the area, you need to know that the neighbors are all blue and they live in mushroom-like houses. Smurf society has been seen by many as a metaphor for communism which emphasizes co-operation and the common good. But could The Smurfs really offer a model for good society?

Probably not. The cartoon is now under fire for being sexist–out of 105 Smurfs there are only three females. Smurfette, who debuted in a 1966 Smurfs comic book strip, was the only woman in the village until Sassette and Nanny Smurf were introduced in 1981. Willem de Graeve, director of the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels, explains that The Smurfs, created in 1958 by the Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, is influenced by the Catholic Church of 1950s Belgium. “That was a totally different era, when there was a very strong separation of genders in Belgium. It was not the done thing to show boys and girls having adventures together,” Graeve told the BBC News.

Winnie The Pooh 《小熊维尼》 It’s hard to believe, but Canadian researchers find that Winnie The Pooh and his forest friends in the Hundred Acre Wood are actually suffering serious mental disorders. Winnie The Pooh: Eating Disorder. His constant quest for

food and the discarded honey pots all around his house are evidence of his disorder. Rabbit: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Rabbit is always worried about how things look and goes back and forward to make sure things are in order. He’s obsessed with how the carrots are arranged and with keeping his house in order. Tigger: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tigger can’t sit still. He is always bouncing from one thing to the other. He is always distracted, and has no conscience. For example, he messes up Rabbit’s garden and could not care less. Piglet: General Anxiety Disorder. He is always scared and anxious about everything, which is apparent in the way his ears twitch. Nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental disorder, according to the US Surgeon General. Tom and Jerry 猫和老鼠 Do you remember the heavy-set middle-aged black maid Mammy Two Shoes in Tom and Jerry, whose life consists of cleaning up around the house and threatening to throw Tom out?

Well, she is one of the reasons why the classic cartoon is criticized for being racist. Also, there are scenes featuring Tom or Jerry with their faces blacked up, a style of entertainment based on racist Black stereotypes in the 1940s. For example, to impress a female cat, Tom grabs Jerry and blows cigar smoke in his face, giving Jerry a black face. And every time Tom gets blown up with dynamite his face is shown with red or orange lips and a black face. Some scenes featuring black faces were later edited out, and the character of Mammy Two Shoes got a complete makeover–she was changed into a Caucasian woman.

Marco Polo 'never reached China' and picked up tales of the Orient from others, Italians claim
意考古学家:马克? 意考古学家:马克?波罗可能是个骗子
2011-08-11 导读:据意大利考古学家(archaeologist)称,马可 波罗可能根本不是在中国和远东行走多 马可?波罗可能根本不是在中国和远东行走多 导读:据意大利考古学家 考古学家 ) 年的商人,很可能都没到过比黑海更远的地方。 年的商人,很可能都没到过比黑海更远的地方。 One of history’s greatest explorers, may in fact have been a conman, it was claimed yesterday.

Far from being a trader who spent years in China and the Far East, he probably never went further east than the Black Sea, according to a team of archaeologists. They suspect the Venetian adventurer picked up stories about the mysterious lands of the Orient from fellow traders around the Black Sea who related tales of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. He then put the stories together in a book commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo, hailed as one of the first travel books; it purports to be his account of his journeys through Persia, Asia and the Far East between 1271 and 1291. It details his relations with Kublai Khan, the Mongol ruler who became Emperor of China. But now an Italian team of archaeologists studying in Japan have cast doubts about one of Italy’s great national heroes -although there have been competing claims to him from Croatia, which argues he was born there. The doubters told Italian history magazine Focus Storia that there were numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies in Marco

Polo’s description of Kublai Khan’s attempted invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281 `He confuses the two, mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second. `In his account of the first invasion, he describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast,` said Professor Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples, the leader of the archaeology team. `But that happened in 1281 – is it really possible that a supposed eye witness could confuse events which were seven years apart?` He said that Polo’s description of the Mongol fleet did not square with the remains of ships that the team had excavated in Japan, as he had written of ships with five masts, while those which had been found had only three. `When he describes Kublai Khan’s fleet he talks about the pitch that was used to make ships’ hulls watertight. He used the word `chunam’, which in Chinese and Mongol means nothing. `In fact, it is the Persian word for pitch. It’s also odd that instead of using, as he does in most instances, local names to

describe places, he used Persian terms for Mongol and Chinese place names.` The explorer claimed to have worked as an emissary to the court of Kublai Khan, but his name does not crop up in any of the surviving Mongol or Chinese records.



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