New Year: Ireland and China

The daffodils are out in our garden already.

Every year I am amazed by their sudden appearance. We did nothing to deserve or encourage them, yet one dark rainy day, there they are!

It is the first sign of Spring and the ‘New Year Festival’ celebrated in China and elsewhere on 25 January, is in Chinese, the ‘Spring Festival’.

It is still a big occasion in China – this year over 440 million trips will be made on the 217 mph high-speed trains alone as people struggle to be reunited with their families in the countryside.

The bond is still strong as there are many first generation city dwellers whose memories and ties to their ‘old village’ remain alive. It used to be like that in Korea but as people get more settled in the cities the link is weakening.

The New Year has got off to a bad start for the government. Taiwan voters showed they are in no hurry to be re-united with the Motherland though they are not seeking a complete split either.

The good news is that China has made considerable progress in reducing water and air pollution. This is one area in which it is in agreement with the rest of the world.

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