When dead fisherman Tan Su Liang of Chengdu returned home two days ago, it was cause for much celebration. Tan had fallen off his fishing boat while in international waters somewhere near Malaysia. When other crewmembers failed to save him, they assumed he had drowned, and he was declared dead a short time later. Actually, a Malaysian fishing boat rescued him, and Tan ended up spending two years in the Tanah Merah Immigration Depot in Malaysia before Gan Leong Piow, the head of the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation, helped him locate his family by placing an ad in a Chinese newspaper. Tan's family received RMB 100,000 in compensation for his supposed death, which they are using to buy a telephone.
When kissing, most people don't expect to have their tongue bitten off. But that is what happened to Zhang Qiangbin, 19, when he tried to kiss a drunken former coworker last Friday. Zhang was rushed to Huaxi Hospital, where surgeons tried but failed to reattach his tongue. The consequence: a life of incoherent pronunciation. (Chinese links)
Society & Culture
You might have read about the exhibit of French etchings at Sichuan Museum mentioned in yesterday's event post, but here's the inside story. The show, Filed of Etching, features 138 etchings from the Louvre's collection of 13,000 (the largest collection of French etchings in the world), and includes copies of famous works like the Mona Lisa and Liberty Leading the People, as well as etchings made by French artists while traveling in China during the Qing Dynasty. The subjects of these etchings include scenery as well as daily life in China.
Inspired by the free umbrella program of bus route 78 driver Lai Xiaogang, the Chengdu bus system began deployment of its own umbrella program last Tuesday. "Umbrellas of Love" will make umbrellas available to any bus riders who don't have them on rainy days. The first route to offer the amorous parasols is route 4, where Lai is also currently working. (Chinese link)
Officially, 2010 is the year of the tiger. Unofficially, it is the year of the creative bus driver. Bi Guixia, 39, can be seen most days driving her route 35 bus wearing one of six colorful cheongsam (qipao) in the place of her bus uniform. She says that she selects longer styles of cheongsam that won't "affect her driving." (Chinese link)
Staff at the Dongxing Record Office in Neijing City uncovered a 287-year-old bill in their archives last Tuesday. The rice paper bill records the debt one Wei Yuanliang owes a cemetery from which he borrowed land to bury his father. The cemetery decided to pardon Wei's debt shortly thereafter.
Another bad day for product safety: one child died and 75 people were hospitalized after taking anti-malaria medication on Monday. Lu Dajiang from Shashi village was diagnosed with falciparum malaria—the most severe variety of malaria, which deprives the brain and other vital organs of oxygen—in May, and 143 people who had had contact with Lu were given anti-malaria medication to stop it from spreading. A majority quickly started to complain about nausea and exhaustion, and three-year-old Meng Yushan died that evening, despite doctors' insistence that nothing was wrong. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Dongxing district rejected assertions that the medicine quality was to blame, saying Meng's death resulted from being given an adult dose of the medication when she should have received a child's dose. Still, that doesn't quite explain the 75 people who were still in the hospital as of yesterday.
More rainstorms and flooding have killed 19, left two missing, and caused 34,300 people to be evacuated in Sichuan this month. The National Disaster Reduction Committee and the Minister of Civil Affairs elevated the national disaster emergency response grade to four today.
A heavy storm led to a traffic accident on the Chengdu-Chongqing Highway involving more than 20 vehicles last Friday. (Chinese link)
If it isn't storms, it's heat; there were 27 separate reports of cars spontaneously combusting in this month's heat wave. (Chinese link)
Construction & Development
Chengdu is the 11th most expensive city in Mainland China, according to ECA International. The concentric circles around a Mao statue also ranked 164th worldwide, officially putting it in the category "pretty expensive (relatively speaking)."
The website of the Chengdu Urban Planning Bureau has posted reconstruction plans for the area around Dacisi, the temple near Chunxi Road. The plans include a new square and an underground commercial center. It is unclear how much this will affect the temple itself, which, despite its proximity to a major shopping district, usually sees relatively few visitors. (Chinese link)
Partially compiled by Marvin Tan