In Beijing, the old historical districts are called Hutongs. Many small houses and courtyards were clustered together along narrow alleys. I was born in one of those Hutongs. So yesterday I went to my birthplace. The courtyard was long gone, but the Hutongs where I spent my childhood are still there. The place was chaotic. So much construction going on. Old houses are disappearing, replaced by ugly modern structures. I passed this courtyard with a heavily decorated gate. A group of local people are chatting. They seem pretty happy.