Archive for December, 2008

The Land of the Supersized Government Office

December 28th, 2008 2 comments

The People’s Daily reports that the “White House district secretary” of Anhui, China, has been charged (in Chinese). See a post from another blog here. The “White House district secretary”, for those who don’t keep up with the weird and wonderful world of Chinese provincial politics, is Zhang Zhi’an, the Communist party secretary in Yingquan district, Fuyang city, Anhui province, who ruled his district like it was his fiefdom. He earned his monicker by building a gargantuan office building for the district government (i.e. a local council) that the locals have nicknamed “the White House” (see pic left – a bit more like the US capitol to my eyes). When Li Guofu, one of his underlings, dared to air this extravagance in the national press, Zhang teamed up with the district prosecutor to persecute Li, who eventually committed suicide in custody. I’m not here to discuss the socio-political implications of this case and Li’s prosecution. Rather, this news piece piqued my interest in disproportionately ornate government office buildings, which the Chinese appear to have perfected into an artform. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you — The Land of the Supersized Government Office – A Tour.*

Changxing county (pop 620,000), Zhejiang province; completed 2008, cost A$150m

City government office, Chengdu, Sichuan. Completed 2008, cost A$300m

New UN headquarters? Space port? No - Harbin city hall. Completed 2005, cost A$1bn

City hall of Hangzhou, Zhejiang – due for completion 2008, cost A$300m
Las Vegas? Not quite. Dongguan city government building, Guangdong province
Ji’nan city hall, completed 2007, cost A$1bn, featuring 40 elevators and 45,000 phone and network sockets










* All images are used in good faith for the purpose of review and criticism, and news reporting 

Look, look, a pun!

December 21st, 2008 1 comment

I passed by the Guardianship Tribunal of NSW in Balmain recently, and noticed an Indian restuarant on its ground floor – it had a massive sign saying “AIR”. Air? That’s a strange name for an Indian restaurant, I thought. Then I noticed the small writing: “All India Restaurant“, and I realised that it was a pun. Geddit? I’m guessing no.

Here’s how it works: “All India Restaurant” → A.I.R. → “All India Reports”, the most commonly used law reports series for Indian cases → law → Guardianship Tribunal. Geddit?

I like it because it’s so obscure 🙂