HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 582: 21 September 2011

Forbidden City
Wonder why’ a most popular tourist attraction in the entire world’ would be called the ‘Forbidden City’?
Ask any Chinese local that question and they can tell you. Basically, back when China was ruled under the Emperor system, the Forbidden City as we call it today was built and only for the Emperor himself and his royal family. Anyone else who entered or tried to get in was either killed in the process or if lucky was just rejected from entering. The city is over fifty square kilometres and is situated in the most inner part of Beijing City. Back when dynasty ruled the Forbidden City was regarded a holy and pure sanctuary that was only accessed by the Emperor and his royal family, the very close outer part of the city was the next social class elites-including major businessman and rich landowners. Outside of this part of social class were the usual civil society/grass roots people. They were regarded as impure and low class.
1906 the Forbidden City was constructed. Every architecture or building was built according to the Emperor’s wishes or will. Everything was made by hand from the very tiniest detail up to the two metre depth of flooring. Once you enter into the city you are welcomed onto the main courtyard of the city. This area was used for festivals and ceremonies that the emperor would put on for his distinguished guests-and for your information females were prohibited. Standing in front of you once reaching the courtyard is the tallest building in the whole city. This building stands at just less than 40m high and houses the Emperor’s throne.
The Forbidden City off course does not end there-not until you actually reach the imperial garden.
What was the most popular and humorous talk amongst us media personnel was the status of the Emperor’s concubines. Such a laughable topic to discuss was actually a serious obligation to the Emperor-in those days. An emperor would have over 3,000 concubines to himself plus an addition of over five wives. How lucky? LOL… and guess what? Each concubine has a chamber-each. Apparently every woman, for every day, the emperor certainly knew how to have fun. Once the emperor married a new wife they would honeymoon at the honeymoon suite for 3 days precisely and then his duties with his wife were over. He would then move over to a concubine for some ‘fun and games’.
Believe or not-the emperor had wedding ceremonies almost every day as well as festivals and parties. He has a separate palace for partying and dance. He also has a separate palace for his bedroom which un-shockingly houses 27 beds for paranoia reasons. The emperor was very attentive and aware to potential threat coming his way and is evident in each of the architecture placed within the city. As mentioned before the entire flooring of the palace is 2m deep underground-for safety reasons. The empire also holds several water tanks as fire disasters have hugely threatened the city thrice before. The empire walls are up to 5m thick and so high in length you cannot imagine how anyone could possibly get in anyways. The emperor was always conscious about his safety and off course the safety of his empire.
Moving onto the Imperial Garden, here you will experience the breath-taking flora that China has to offer as well as man-made rock architecture. As it is tradition in China, every garden must be composed of three elements- tree, rock and water. In the imperial garden you will have trees as old as 500 years and its bark textures are so spectacular. The rock art that takes up half of the garden was specifically brought over from a Southern Province of China. Its curvy and odd looking shapes are naturally composed by water movements. At the end of the walk in the garden you will come across a pool of water which is home to many gold fish and a lucky coin deposit. People would toss in a coin for good luck and also to wish upon the ‘Coin god’ of China.
Concluding our walk around the Forbidden City our Chinese liaison took us through the streets just outside of the city. And there we witness real life begging. From one end to another we had cripple men begging and singing for money. One man had his whole left side of him blown off from the wars. And another was just deformed from head to toe-he was so tiny that even a puppy was bigger them him. We also had blind men come up to us. Couple of the delegates in our group ended up feeling sorry and donated some money for them. Funny when I saw them though, it seemed as if they were purposely placed there by another power only to rake in the money. They actually do that in India.
Well that ends, the first part of Day 2 adventure in china. Will be sending more very shortly

Harriet Tuara.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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