Saturday, 5 September 2015

WILD10 Global Gathering presentation: Rewilding Tigers


I was honoured to be invited to speak at the 10th Wild Congress about rewilding tigers and to be reported by the congress as one of the "Unsung Heroes" (http://wild10.org/blog/unsung-heroes-li-quan):

At the 10th World Wilderness Congress we discovered hundreds of young activists who were working quietly behind the scenes to make the WILD vision a reality. We felt that these people’s activities should be recognised. In keeping with the knowledge that young people are the future, we asked our team of young trainee journalists in the press office to go out and interview them.

Thanks to the World Bank, which acts as global sponsor, there are more than twelve countries involved in the conservation of tigers nowadays. However, when Li Quan started to work for this beautiful animal, she was almost on her own.

It was thirteen years ago when she started the Save China’s Tiger project. As she explains: “All tiger are in danger, but theSouth Chinatiger is particularly threatened, it is critically in danger.” By 2001 some organisations even considered this animal an extinct species, but Li Quan thought: “I’m not going to accept this”. She wanted to helpChinaand she decided to do something about it.

This young woman is proud to be one of the first people to use the word that is much bandied about at WILD10: rewilding. Nowadays this is a commonly accepted term when talking about conservation with many scientists working for it, but back when Li Quan started her project, nobody believed this could be possible.

She had big plans for South China tigers and decided to take these animals from Chinese zoos to South Africa, where there was the infrastructure for ex situ breeding. New offspring are raised there and, when they are mature enough, they are brought back to China; not back to zoos but to the wilderness. A second generation of South China tiger has already been released and so far more than eleven tigers have started to procreate in the wild.

“Thirteen years ago the tiger population was going down and down, now it has been proved that there was a point in what I did”, says Li Quan. “Thanks to this, we are recovering tigers, we are rewilding China”. She feels very committed to the 10th World Wilderness Congress, since its founder, Dr Ian Player, has supported her since the early beginnings of the Save China’s Tiger project. “Now we have Rewilding Europe and other projects, so this is not controversial, but 13 years ago it was”, she explains.

Li Quan does not care about PhDs or renowned prizes, she just cares about tigers and other threatened species. “I don’t have a PhD in Biology, but it doesn’t matter, because anyone can protect and ‘make the world a wilder place’. Without wilderness, we can’t do anything and I hope my story helps inspire other people, especially young people.”

Regarding this, she claims there is no magical formula. “We just have to talk more to children. It’s all about talking. If we have more messages, more people will get involved”. WILD10 seems to be a perfect forum to start spreading these messages.

Interview conducted by Elisa Hernández Sánchez – born and raised in Salamanca, Spain, Elisa is a translation and interpretation graduate, has a Masters in Secondary Education, and a Degree in Art History. On top of all this, she is interested in sustainable communication and cultural dissemination.

Monday, 11 May 2015

JUST A LITTLE HELPING HAND


We often don't realise that the little acts of kindness, which might even be an afterthought and forgotten by us afterwards, may have profound impact on others, and sometimes change the course of their lives.

I was at a function recently and someone who looked very familiar came over to me and greeted me so warmly as if he knew me very well.  He asked  me how I was, but I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was. I was too embarrassed to ask his name so I introduced him to my friend hoping he would reveal his name to her, but he didn't.

I searched my brain fast and furious to find ways to figure out who he was.  I was more confused when he told me, a bit shyly, that he now owns the shop where he worked before, as if I had also known  about that shop too. He said I should go visit the shop, bringing my friend and it would be his treat.  What shop?? I thought to myself…Another clue that I was supposed to know, but I didn't. I then thought to ask him if he had an updated business card but he suggested that we should scan each other's Wechat.  Sadly his Wechat simply said "David".  But even when he told us his Chinese name it didn’t ring a bell either ..

By chance, I glimpsed the Alias under his name on Wechat describing him as a medical practitioner. All of a sudden It dawned on me that he was the Tuina and acupuncture doctor that I once used years ago. I had given him a little helping hand when he had no job, was illegal and in dire financial condition. I introduced him to someone who owned a clinic in north london and  his life has since taken a dramatic turn for the better.

He was so grateful and phoned me often offering to give me free treatments initially but I never took them up. It’s not easy for people like him making a living, even if it is someone as skilled as he is, so I wouldn't dream of taking him for granted just because I happened to put him to someone who gave him a job.  As years went by  I just forgot all about this entire episode.

Now he has made enough money to own a clinic, a car and even obtained legal status. He seemed well to-to-do and knew quite a few people at the function. Seeing him in such a good state made me feel I had done something worthy.  I have made other introductions to connect people, including a successful marriage, but not all of them were happy stories.  In fact, some results were less than ideal and some even came back to bite me.  But knowing David’s life has changed for the better due to a phone call I made just gave me an un-describable  satisfaction.  

David offered once more to treat me, to serve me, as if he owed his life to me, for something I have done that I’d even consider trivial.  Although the chance of me taking up his offers is slim, but I am immensely grateful to know that should one day I desperately need his help, I have someone to count on.

Here’s to a little helping hand!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

China Tiger Revival (Dire, Desperate, Harrowing...)

Dire, Desperate, Harrowing, Heart-Breaking...

 But Perhaps Not Inevitable. 

We Want to Hear YOUR Views.


Monday, 16 February 2015

SUCH A PAIN, THE GIRL FROM BEIJING (Translated from Wechat)



Over the years I have lived outside of China, I have come across various remarks on me, ranging from the complimentary, to the derogative, and to utter bewilderment. Many people have a stereotypical view of what the folks of so and so culture are like, but when behaviours do not fall into stereotypes, people would comment “oh you are not very Chinese” etc. But just as there are eighty shades of Chinese, there are also more than  eighty shades of Chinese women. 

When I stumbled on this description of women from Beijing as viewed by other Chinese, I thought I should translate and share it here. With the exception of one line, it is amazingly accurate. Many Chinese do not like or can not digest milk, so forget about drinking Sanyuan milk. 

Despite the fact that many Beijingers have ancestral homes elsewhere in China, they inevitably acquire that Beijing character when they are born in Beijing, no matter which part of China their parents originally come from. It is the air, the earth, the sound of the crickets, and the street lives in Hutongs, that make a Beijinger Beijinger.

Enjoy!

-----------
The Beijing girl is a fast talker, simple-headed, & kind-hearted.
The Beijing girl does not like any contests. She doesn't care if you believe her or not. Take it or leave it.
The Beijing girl does not beg. If you can’t deal with her, she will let you off the hook.
The Beijing girl is not class conscious. She can have a conversation with anyone, anywhere.
The Beijing girl is casual. She likes to wear dark-coloured trousers, sitting wherever she pleases. But she also loves to be clean. 

The Beijing girl is not so lady-like and graceful. She loves laughing and talking loud as she pleases. Only good friends close to her can understand her.
The Beijing girl is not so virtuous. But at least she won’t be waiting for you at home expecting you to bring the spoon to her mouth everyday.
The Beijing girl is not a snob. She loves you whether you are rich or not. The fun lies in two people pulling forces together.
The Beijing girl is simple, believing whatever you tell her.  If you have the gut to lie to me, do I have the nerve not to believe you?
The Beijing girl is not so squeamish. She can bear pain and hardships but the person she suffers for must be worthy of her.
The Beijing girl is polite.  As much as she can be shy, she will still address you cordially.  She is simple.

I am a Beijing girl, rising in the morning with the songs of pigeons in the sky since childhood!
I am a Beijing girl. I SO get tired of the person I love that I treat him better than my own life!
I am a Beijing girl. I just love trashing those closest to me and bickering with them. 
I am a Beijing girl. I will pound the table with my eyes staring at those whose actions I find offensive. No one can stop me.
I am a Beijing girl. I grew up drinking milk made by Sanyuan!

I am a Beijing girl. I must wear cheongsam and hairpin when getting married!
I am a Beijing girl. I am just mischievous as if missing something in my head.
I am a Beijing girl.  I will never forget catching cicadas with bamboo poles in the summer when I was a child.
I am a Beijing girl. I just love bird cages and grasshopper cans, while holding two cracked walnuts in my hands!


Beijing girls are all so proud! And Why Not?! We grew up in the heart of our motherland.


北京姑娘就是这个范儿!

北京姑娘话密,人傻,心眼儿好!
北京姑娘不爱较真儿,你爱信不信,不信拉倒。
北京姑娘不死切摆列,你能不能过,不能过散。
北京姑娘不拘谨,哪儿哪儿都聊的开,跟谁都能侃。
北京姑娘随性,穿个深色裤子,出去逮哪儿都能坐,人家也爱干净。

北京姑娘不那么淑女,不那么文雅,她们爱大声说笑,随意侃谈,只有身边要好的朋友,才懂她们。
北京姑娘不那么贤惠,但人家起码不会在家天天等你回来喂饭!
北京姑娘不那么势力,你有钱我爱你,你没钱我也爱你,俩人一块儿使劲才有乐儿呢。
北京姑娘单纯,你说什么我信什么,要是你都好意思骗我,我好意思不信么?
北京姑娘不那么娇气,她们吃的了苦,受的了罪,但得看身边儿是个什么人,值不值得!
北京姑娘有礼貌,要是去了你们家,害臊归害臊,该叫什么叫什么,门儿清。


我是北京姑娘,从小听着满天的鸽子声儿起床!
我是北京姑娘,我对我爱的人就是腻味,玩了命的对丫好!
我是北京姑娘,我对我亲近的人就是爱损丫跟丫贫!
我是北京姑娘,我看不惯的事就拍桌子瞪眼跟丫较劲死磕,谁都不好使!
我是北京姑娘,我身边就是有一堆别人眼里不上流的胡同串子哥们姐们!


我是北京姑娘,我从小喝着三元的奶长大!
我是北京姑娘,结婚我就得穿着旗袍插着簪子!
我是北京姑娘,我就是脑袋缺根弦儿爱贫爱闹!
我是北京姑娘,一辈子都记得夏天举个竹竿子粘季鸟儿!
我是北京姑娘,就喜欢鸟笼子,蝈蝈罐,手里还得揉着两个破核头!

北京姑娘个个自信满满!咱从小跟祖国的心脏,凭什么不自信!

老北京城


Friday, 31 October 2014

The Lance Armstrong Story - Stop at Nothing

Quotes from “The Lance Armstrong Story - Stop at Nothing”
BBC Documentary Aired on July 6 2014


Betsy Andreu who was the first to expose Lance Armstrong said of Armstrong: “His Modus Operandi ‘Don't attack the message, attack the messenger’.”

Jeffery M. Tillotson, lawyer, “Great Liar Lance Armstrong: ‘I never doped. I passed every test. And anyone who challenges me, I am currently suing and are proving they are lying.”
“They were very mean and very dismissive of Emma O’Reilly, as they were really almost of all the women that testified against Armstrong.”

Emma O’Reilly, Armstrong’s former masseuse,“You don't talk about people like that.. By calling me those names. Calling me basically an alcoholic prostitute. Its just attacking me personally, but it’s not addressing the points I brought up.”

Jeffery M. Tillotson, “Either everyone who I had talked to, and all the evidence I had gathered, and all the scientists and other people were liars, which I found frankly were impossible, or Lance approached basically clinically a sociopath, someone able to do wrong without remorse, or care who they hurt in the process. The former was unpalatable, and the latter was scary. That we were litigating with someone who would do anything to prevail.”

Floyd Landis said of Armstrong’s cancer campaign: “The Longer it went on the more impressed I am that Lance could maintain a story like that that was nearly 100% fabricated, and still live such an obnoxious life, and not even tried to hide it.”

David Walsh, journalist, quotes: “Lance came back, because he couldn't stay away. Why couldn't he stay away? Because its like the oldest theme in Hollywood that you ever come across: The Jewel thief, the bank robber the assassin. They do their jobs brilliantly. They win every time. They kill all the people they should kill, they get all the jewels they should get, they get all the money from the bank they should get. Somebody comes and says, One More Job.”

Speaking of Floyd Landis, one-time Tour De France Champion who maintained his innocence of doping, “And Lance and Bruyneel, both kindred spirits, in terms of having no emotional intelligence, decide they don't want to have anything to do with Floyd, he is just a loser, he got caught. They don't realize they are actually handling a ticking bomb here. Floyd has offered them the chance to diffuse the bomb. To just take out that little pin or whatever, give him a little, small job in the team, everything is OK. They tell him to get lost and the bomb blows up in their faces.”

“You know the information kind of started trickling out of me, and then after 15 minutes or so it just poured out of me. I don't think they were expecting any kind of testimony like they got. Lance Armstrong didn't appreciate that. A few months later I was out at dinner with some friends, and he must have eyes on me because he had people contact me, and let him know where I was, and he you know, approached me, and tried to intimidate me. He said he was going to make life living hell both in the court room and out of the court room.”

“It goes to show the power that Armstrong has. He got a Federal Investigation shut down, despite having all that information out there, and all that evidence out there.” “I was so disappointed in the whole system, you know.this corruption can happen, and, you know, favours can be granted.”

Tarvis Tygard picks up the baton:”…This was not just about Armstrong getting away with doping for a few years.. He (Armstrong) was the boss, the evidence is clear. He was one of the ring leaders of this conspiracy, that pulled off this grand heist, using tens of millions of tax-payers dollars, that defrauded millions of sport fans and his fellow competitors.”

“Lance immediately went on the attack, immediately sued them in his home court, and immediately started saying, ‘you saw it as a terrible, bad, kangaroo organization.’. I thought, here we go again. He is going to bloody them up. He is going to walk away from this.” “Almost every turn the lobbyists for Armstrong and his criminal defence attorney, and others, want to bankrupt us and take us down. Whether it was claiming to the world media he had not authority or we were on witch hunts or the jurisdiction didn't rest with us, there were numerous efforts by them to ensure this information never got out.”

“He is like the guy who robs a bank, and then says, ‘Oops, forgot to frisk the tellers for any money they might have in their pocket’. So he essentially wanted it all.”

Friday, 29 August 2014

NEGATIVITY OR CREATIVITY?

"Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge." -Eckehart Tolle.

In a situation where, figuratively speaking, my life hangs in the balance, the sayings of E.Tolle become particularly relevant and insightful. I have now come to appreciate many of his sayings as well as those from other sages much more in context. They provide me with tranquility and courage to deal with my surreally challenging personal problems.

Two years have gone by since my life was put on hold, and I have been living in limbo, in every sense of the word. I had dreams that were broken, plans destroyed, and hopes dashed. However, my spirit has not been broken. If anything, I have discovered a spiritual realm which I would not have found a merely two years ago.

The spiritual teachings of E. Tolle took on new meaning recently when I was invited to speak and attend an inspiring workshop which explored alternative ways of helping conservation of big cats. This taps into the vast reservoir of ancient spiritual wisdom of our ancestors.

Even in not too distant past, tigers were worshipped in Chinese culture as gods, much like tigers in India as well as White Lions in Africa. It was only with the onset of modern weaponry that the mysterious powers of the tigers were challenged and destroyed. What followed was the rapid demise of tigers in China. Parallel exist for almost all big predators around the world.  It may not be possible at all to restore the suitable historical status the big predators once occupied in our society, but if we don't try in every way we can, we would lose these magical and mysterious symbols of the wild even faster.

Many big predators were once worshipped as gods and regarded as sacred. They protected our lands and waters. Their disappearance happened hand in hand with the destruction of nature. If we don't act now, WHEN should we act?? If we don't do anything about it, WHO should do anything about it?

Although I have lost physical contacts with the Chinese tigers I rewilded and bred during ten years of my work, my mission in wildlife conservation appears not only not yet finished but has become wider and even more important, as I have been invited to speak at and become part of a larger group of inspiring people with the same goals of saving the sacred big cats and their ancestral lands from destruction. I feel very privileged to have been able to exchange and learn at various workshops & conferences in the last two years, which infuse our new charity China Tiger Revival with new energy and identity.

Well, in Chinese tiger symbolism, we say “Riding the tiger, one can not get off”.

Isn’t this one of these spaces created from negativity?

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." Said Laozi.