Dragons, Dragons Everywhere! But They Don't Shake the World

This week you run across dragons just about everywhere.

President Obama welcomed the Year of the Dragon from the White House (here), while Paul French did likewise from his lively blog,  China RhymingWelcome to the Year of the Dragon.  He has a particularly cool dragon from the cover of his real life murder mystery, Midnight in Peking on the Australian version, though the US version doesn’t have one. Maybe Americans are afraid of dragons?

If you think that Dragons will “shake the world,” just a reminder that there’s no evidence that Napoleon ever said “beware of China, for when the Dragon wakes it will shake the world.” I talked about this in China Rises, China Wakes? (February 12, 2010).

The release of the film, Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, inspired a bunch of people to get tatoos, some of them on body parts I didn’t want to know about.. Google images for “Chinese Dragon Tatoo”  gets pictures and pictures and pictures.

I can’t resist — the restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s didn’t use dragons in its decor, but decided to welcome the New Year with the old Chinese custom of handing out “red envelopes” which contain a surprise, maybe a free desert on the next visit. Of course, the chain sells food that’s defined as Chinese, but there are no Chinese  in the top management. The “Chang” was chosen because it would fit on the signboards and sounded Chinese. The “P.F.” is for “Paul Fleming,” one of the creators of the Outback Steakhouse and the entrepreneur behind the chain.1

Send in the dragons.

  1. Jennifer 8. Lee, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (New York: Twelve, 2008), p. 18)  


  1. Re: tattoos – Life magazine estimated in 1936 that 10 million or approximately 6% of the population had at least one tattoo. Harris Polls, done in 2003 and 2008, shows those numbers at an estimated 16% (2003) and 14% (2008) of Americans now have one or more tattoos.

    Thirty-six percent of those ages 18 to 25, and 40 percent of those ages 26 to 40, have at least one tattoo, according to a fall 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center.

    How many of those tattoos are dragons?

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