Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Paparazzi photos

After Ainur's Ph.D. promotion (mentioned below), I flew back home to Berlin from Copenhagen. There were two Tibetan monks at the airport, and I got really excited and tried to take photos of them in secret. But it was too dark in the airport and I didn't dare come close enough to make any decent pictures. ;_;
I'm really useless as a photographer, because I never want to bother people and ask them if I can take their picture. In this case it shouldn't have had to be so hard, especially since they both turned and smiled right at me when I first walked by ...

But today I had better luck. On Alexanderplatz I spotted this cute guy with rather Central Asian features:

I wonder where he is from. Of course I didn't dare ask him. Though it shouldn't have been too hard: "Hello, my name is Tinet. I write this blog about handsome Central Asian men. Do you happen to be from Central Asia? May I take your picture ...?"

(Photos by Tinet)

Monday, 29 June 2009

Anti-Ahmadinejad protesters

So the Iranian opposition and its mostly young urban intellectual supporters are convinced that the vote that supposedly re-elected Ahmadinejad was rigged. The violence used against demonstrators hasn't really made the current government look good.

In any case, among the men and women who have been protesting about this all over the world, there are some cute guys ...

In Tehran:

Pro-Mousavi protest on a street in Tehran, June 20th. By Farhad Rajabali via Daylife.

A protester with a bruise on his cheek in Tehran on June 20th. By Farhad Rajabali via Daylife.

Flashing a victory sign on Sunday, June 28th, during a gathering near the Ghoba Mosque in Tehran. By AP via Daylife.

In Athens:

Iranians living in Greece protest outside the Greek Parliament on June 23rd. By Getty images via Daylife.

Outside the Greek Parliament in Athens on June 23rd. By Getty images via Daylife.

In Washington:

Demonstrators protest against the Iranian election in front of the White House in Washington June 21st. By Reuters via Daylife.

Demonstrators in Washington June 21st. By Reuters via Daylife.

In Washington June 21. By Reuters via Daylife.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Huang Xiaoming, the panda man

I posted a picture and some links about Huang Xiaoming on one of my comics blogs (because he looks a bit like one of my characters), and Ainur said "the panda man has got to go on Chirayliq." So here we go to the eastern fringes of Chirayliq land!

Huang Xiao Ming was born November 13th 1977 in Qingdao, China, and is an actor, singer and model. (It's very common, if not the norm, in Chinese/Hong Kong showbiz to have this kind of combined careers.) His image is perhaps a bit that of a "pretty boy", but he is certainly very professional - in 2003, for example, Huang was seriously injured in a car accident: his car flipped over while he was driving through a mountainous area to catch a filming. But he immediately reappeared on the set with a neck brace, impressing the media crew as well as his fans.

Huang Xiaoming has recently sponsored the twin panda cubs Ping Ping and An An at the giant panda breeding center in Ya'an in Sichuan Province. Ping Ping and An An were the first giant panda cubs who were born after the deadly earthquake hit the province on May 12th 2008. (I recommend reading Coco Wang's excellent comic to find out about how the panda center coped with the earthquake.)
Huang donated one million yuan (about 150,000 US dollars) to adopt the two cubs and was named an ambassador to China's Panda Protection Research Center.
Here is an article with several pictures at Chinadaily.com: "Panda Daddy" Huang Xiaoming revisits reserve (warning: cute overload!)
He also did a photoshoot for a 2009 calendar with the Sichuan panda babies.

See all the calendar photos here!

I recently watched a film with Huang Xiaoming called Sniper. He plays the former police sniper talent Lincoln, who has recently been released from jail after serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter. He made a mistake during a hostage situation, and is convinced that his former partner purposely gave a testimony to his detriment. So now that he is out of jail, he is looking for revenge ... and redemption.
It's a pretty cliché storyline, and a lot of the film boils down to muscular guys looking hot with their big rifles. But what makes the film rewatchable many times over (besides the hunky guys) are the action scenes, which really make the most of the unusual theme of sniper rifles ...

Lincoln (Huang Xiaoming) and his former police sniper buddies.

Screencaps galore:

Lincoln is reunited with his wife ...

The rookie sniper OJ, who gets involved with the case of Lincoln and is tempted by the dark side, is played by Edison Chen. He is cute, too.

But among the three main characters I think Huang Xiaoming is the cutest.

Although this (unnamed) guy isn't bad either.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A Bashkir Romance

The Bashkirs are eastern neighbors of the Tatars. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the singer.

The Blue Wolf of the Altai

This is a music video by the Yugur group Yaoaoer. The Yugurs are one of 56 officially recognised nationalities in the People's Republic of China. They are sometimes confusingly known as "Yellow Uyghurs", although they are distinct from the Uighur people. According to different estimates, there are 15,000-13,000 Yugurs, primarily living in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County in Gānsù Province.
The Yugurs pose an interesting problem for those who wish to classify Central Asian peoples. According to Wikipedia, about 4,600 of them speak a Turkic language (Yohur or Yoğïr) and about 2,800 a Mongolic language (Engger), the remainder have switched to Chinese. Tibetan has also been in use, and their culture, especially their brand of Buddhism, show clear Tibetan influences.
There is an Uyghur connection, as well. The Turkic branch of the people is traditionally said to be descendants of the ancient Uyghur Empire. The Engger-speakers are said to be descendants of Mongol invaders in the thirteenth century. Both groups call themselves Yugur; the Turkic-speakers, either "Yoğïr" or "Sarïg Yoğïr" ((Yellow) Yugur), and the Engger-speakers "Yogor" or "Šera Yogor" (ditto). The Chinese distinguish between them geographically, calling the Turkic branch "Western Yugurs" and the Mongolic branch "Eastern Yugurs".
(To me, the consensus in ethnonyms suggests that the ethnic difference has been very small. After all, having two different languages is no proof of different ancestry, as studies of Finns and Finland-Swedes have shown... Unfortunately, there are a lot of unnecessary "internet arguments" between Turcophiles and Mongol fans about the Yugurs for this very reason.)
Sources: German and English Wikipedia
Yugurology (feat. C.G.E. Mannerheim!!)
Western Yugur Folktales