There are daily examples all across the world of the media mis-reporting the news and influencing public opinion. Some of them we just let go and forget about, but others have to be confronted and exposed. Today a story spread across parts of the Chinese web that attacked the natural power of women to breastfeed and placed manufactured infant formula as an alternative. This issue is an important one in China today and is linked to a whole host of other issues, including parenting, education and basic philosophies on what is right and wrong.
Now who would have the audacity to smear a full-breasted woman with a lil babe at the teet? Big business that’s who. In cahoots with the media, I assume, though we all know that assumptions can pave the way to hell, so let’s leave that out for the moment.
It’s amazing how winter in most Chinese cities cancels out the sun. The skies seem to turn gray across the board, from Jiangxi to Sichuan and Guangxi to Harbin. Only a few pockets of sunshine are immune to the meteorological oddity known as “China Winter” and I am in one of them now, the tiny Bai capital by the lake, Dali. The others are parts of Tibet (closed off for now), Qinghai, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Hainan. Basically the furthest extremes of the nation, where construction and smog are thin tendrils of promise, not impenetrable walls of soup.
Part of me wants to go into the idea of a China Winter. Take a look at some weather maps and see if the data backs up the hunch that most of China turns gray, gloomy and wet as soon as December rolls in. But I am sun soaked. Numbers are blurry and I don’t want to think about gloom when the Dali sun is pounding down on my shoulders, giving color to my sons’ faces and invigorating/sedating my family. The sun is so powerful here that each evening when it slips behind the Cangshan mountains, the whole world grows forebodingly windy, chilly and dark. But then the stars come out.