Location: Gulangyu Island, Xiamen, Fujian, China (24° 26′ 51.43″ N, 118° 3′ 44.83″ E)
Date: 17 December 2008; 10.50am
Camera: Canon 400D with Canon 70-200 f/4 L IS Lens
If one goes to any major cities in China, one will not feel too out of place as in any other major Asian cities. The country is virtually galloping into the 21st century, at least as far as urban infrastructure and architecture is concerned. That’s why, apart from the mega and very important cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, all the Chinese cities look rather similar in the type of buildings and layout. One of the consequence of this mad rush to modernise is the tearing down of anything that stands in the way- not just physically but culturally as well. Many of the cultural heritage of this 5,000 years of continuous civilisation is fast disappearing together with its rich architecture heritage. Traditional dances, costumes, practices, arts and crafts as well as ethnic dialects are slowly dying. Ironically some of such cultural heritage are still maintained as a result of the creeping commercialism from tourism. Arts such as the face changing technique of Sichuan opera and Naxi traditional music survives mainly because there is demand for such arts performances for tourists. Similarly in smaller scale, traditional arts such as flour dough figurines and candy sculpture (as in photo) still flourished as novelties for tourists.