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Building Liuzhou


     Like other cities in China, Liuzhou is in a rush to build as many "modern" buildings as possible.
     The locals call the two structures pictured at the right (one in front of the other) the "Fish Buildings". Rumor has it that the developer planned to extend each building with an appendage that

would look like a fish tail, but wasn't able to do so because he ran out

of money. (A security guard on the site says the rumor isn't true.)

Personally I'd call them the "Recumbent Shmoo Buildings", after the

creatures in Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip, even though that would

pretty much date me.
     The buildings are still under construction but will probably be finished

soon. According to the security guard, they are being built on spec and

no one knows what they will ultimately be used for. A "Gentleman's Club" (pardon the misnomer) has apparently shown some interest. An underground facility between the two buildings has already opened and includes an IMAX theater.
     The Fish Buildings are directly across the river from
luxury condominiums being built on a site formerly occupied by a zinc processing factory. The developer has chosen to transliterate the development's name as "Poly". Given the possibility of poly-whatevers in the soil at the site, I find that eminently appropriate. (The two characters in question, 保利, literally mean "Assured Benefits", but the developer decided to go with the on-line computer translation. After all, why pay a native speaker to translate when anyone with access to the internet can do it for free?)
     Shifting gears from low-rise to high-rise, the following "magnificent erection" (to use one of my

favorite Chinglish terms) is currently going up just north of the People's Square in downtown

Liuzhou. It's called the Diwang International Fortune Center, but is referred to as the "new Diwang

building" to distinguish it from the "Diwang Commerce Plaza" on the other end of downtown.
     "Diwang" (地王), the two red characters hanging from the top of the building, mean literally

"land king" and connote a building with a superior location. It's the name of a consortium of

venture capitalists affiliated with this project's Hong Kong developer. There are several other

developers and high-rises in China with the same name. The four blue characters on the building

are the name of the construction company.
     When it's finished, the new Diwang will be the tallest skyscraper in… well, I've forgotten.

Somebody will have bragging rights, anyway, at least for a while. The braggadocio is reflected in

the red characters displayed further down the building (quite prominent from the ground but

lacking sufficient contrast to be read in this photo), which can be translated: "A singular estate /

Lord of all it surveys" (稀缺物业中轴王者).
     The dwarfed building on the left side of the tower is a six-story shopping mall that opened a

couple of months ago. It's packed chock-full of high-end clothing stores that Liuzhou didn't need,

except in the minds of its city planners (arguably another misnomer); several restaurants which

weren't really needed, either, but are still nice to have; and a smattering of restrooms with

Chinese characteristics.
     A portrait of Chairman Mao is hanging in the atrium just inside the south-east entrance of the

mall. He appears to be looking up toward the second floor balcony, at a stylized rendition of the Statue of Liberty. Who says mall decorators don't have a sense of humor?
     The newspaper article we translated under the name "Back Pay", story #2 on
this page, will give you some insight as to how well the Communist labor unions in this Workers' Paradise protect the rights of construction workers.


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