Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Visit to the Manchu Heartland

The provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang are collectively known as Dongbei (Northeast) of China. They were once Manchu's heartland. I have always been fascinated by China's history and geography. We named our first-born Shen-yang, which is the capital of Liaoning. My wife and I decided to do a 8D7N tour of the region earlier this month. 

Only Scoot offers direct flight from Singapore to Shenyang. Since I am now a handicap, I need more leg rooms. We therefore opted for its Business Class seats. Of course, the service is a far cry from the full service airlines, but I must say it is pretty adequate and punctual.

Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin are, by any standard, huge cities. There isn't much to see really. But they do have their individual characters. Shenyang was the capital of Manchukuo where Puyi was installed emperor by Japan after the fall of the Manchu Dynasty. It was renamed "Mukden" then. Changchun, the capital of Jilin, is the dustiest of the lot. Jilin is the home of China's huge oil fields. Russian influence of Harbin is particularly pronounced, especially on its town planning and architecture. Adjacent to it is the Changbai-shan range of mountains across which is North Korea.

Our tour guide, a young and energetic man of early thirties, is an encyclopedia of Manchu history. The region was the first victims of Japan's atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War. His hatred for everything Japan borders fanaticism. 

The region is pretty clean, but if you think that Malaysian drivers are bad, you have to see how Dongbei Chinese go about with their cars. NOBODY GIVES WAY! Every inch is game for taking advantage of! I was tempted to ask my tour guide this: If there is now a war between Japan and China, how could China hope to win if its people are each for himself or herself?

Shenyang's Forbidden City
The Warlord who detained Chiang Kaishek, is one of the revered one here.

Typically China.... Bad workmanship, poor maintenance, and what-have-you

Western pretensions,
but the whole theme park is largely in a state of neglect!

Care for some dog meat?
Apparently, Dongfei people love it

Heaven's Lake at Changbai-shan - the mountain range that separates China and North Korea

A thousand-year-old tree?

Red Beach at Shenyang

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