We use them constantly. We depend on them for every conceivable purpose. We are familiar with every inch of their compact frames. With more than 1 billion users worldwide and 2.5 million apps — and counting — available across Google and Apple’s digital marketplaces, smartphones are impacting day-to-day life in some surprising ways. Even monks embrace the smartphone age.
For half a century, Mao Zedong ( 毛澤東 ) has stared down at the throngs who visit Tian'anmen Square. In what is one of the world’s most recognizable portraits, his gaze meets visitors straight on – as it has ever since October 1th, 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution.
Over the years the portrait has become an archetypal image of the former chairman of the Communist Party of China, yet what many of those who visit today may not appreciate is its subtle difference to an earlier portrayal that once hung in its place. That version, a side-on portrait showing only the left side of Mao’s face, fell out of favor due to fears it suggested he heeded and trusted only one side. Far better the version that remains today, in which Mao looks straight forward, both ears visible, open to all sides.
The main occupation of the Black Hmong is farming and agriculture. The influx of tourists in Sa Pa region opened up other sources of income by selling to them or working as trekking guides. As a result of both of these additional sources of income, women became earners in the family, often solely shouldering the responsibilities of the household, even as they grew older.
Everyday, these women leave their villages around Sa Pa and walk miles to the town for a livelihood, all remarkably in a pair of plastic flip flops.