Vancouver DJ Louis Yu turned me on to the video series Sexy Beijing a few weeks ago. In it, a nice Jewish girl from the USA named Su Fei (her actual name is Anna Sophie Loewenberg) does a “Sex in the City” routine as she scours Beijing looking for hot Chinese guys and commenting on life there. Normally I’m not much of a fan when it comes to foreigners babbling about their grasp of Chinese culture as they spend most of their time with other expats and only have a cursory understanding of the local culture, but this lady is quite good at asking pertinent questions and getting direct answers from the locals, and certainly does not fall into that category. The production is quite good and I found myself enjoying them.
Hongkonger sent me a link to Joe Wong, the first Chinese stand up comedian to become successful in the United States. This is his initial network television appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman. After the jump, I’ve added an interview, another performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and a quick comedy sketch of why Joe wants to run for President of the USA.
李白 (Li Bai, 701-762AD) is one of the most beloved Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) poets in Chinese history. This is a rendition of his poem, 静夜思 (“Thoughts on a Still Night”) where he reminisces his home. Below are couple of videos presenting this poem in various ways. Many Chinese children, some, perhaps shortly after they start talking, will be taught this poem (see second video below). Continue reading »
While Chinese education has experienced rapid development in the past decade, there are numerous challenges, which caused people to call education to be one of the “three mountains (healthcare, housing, and education)” that lie before ordinary Chinese. The media, however, are filled with voices of cynicism and pessimism, or groundless praises from vested interest groups who are anxious to maintain the status quo. Key stakeholders, especially students, are tragically underrepresented or even voiceless as China stands at the crossroads of her educational reform. Continue reading »
Wolfgang Kubin, Bonn University Professor of Chinese Studies, is a well-known critic of Chinese literature, a critic in every sense of the word. Every time he speaks about Chinese literature, he makes waves among observers of Chinese literature. He was famous for “trashing” Chinese literature, which has at various times being interpreted as trashing of Chinese literature in general, Chinese novels in particular, or novels by the sentimental “beauty writers” to be more exact. Chinese writers probably can also claim that Kubin is trash, but they have not done so. That shows a humility that contrasts sharply with Kubin’s elitist and dismissive criticism. Continue reading »
Now that many non-Chinese have moved to China and many native Chinese live throughout the world, cross cultural dating has become far more common. For someone leaving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and moving to a western country, what are some of the cultural pitfalls and traps you need to avoid and adjustments you need to make? For someone moving to any of those four areas, the same questions apply. Are the “rules” different for Chinese women dating outside their culture as compared to Chinese men doing the same?
My direct experience isn’t too pertinent since I met my wife in Phoenix and she had already been living in the States for nine years, but there were still many adjustments we (mostly I) had to make. She was the first Asian woman I had ever dated so I didn’t fall into the “yellow fever” category. However, when I was living in mainland China and Taiwan, I had a chance to observe, ask questions and learn more from others involved in cross cultural relationships.
I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”). Continue reading »
There’s a new phenomenon sweeping China. Back in January on a Chinese web page, a new video made its way from there into the hearts of internet users all across the country, spawning a wave of related items such as cartoons, documentaries and grass-mud horse dolls.
Reading TonyP4’s comment this morning on the Numbers as Language thread, I noticed he used the acronym FOB meaning “Fresh Off Boat”. That reminded me of my Taiwan days and especially Catherine, one of the gals at my office in Hsinchu who was one of the funniest people with one of the driest wits I’ve ever encountered. She seemed to have an acronym for everything! So I thought it’d be fun for everyone to share the ones they know. I’ll start it off: “That stupid MBA made a pass at an MIT while married to an ABC. He’s just an IBM anyway.”
NPR once broadcasted an interview talking about why Asian students are better at math (if I can be excused) . The speaker explained that in these mostly agricultural societies, the mindset is you reap how much you plant, hence their greater commitment. In America, there is more emphasis on “working smart” than “working hard”. Translated into educational jargon, he is saying that time on task still makes a difference. Continue reading »
It’s common knowledge that when it comes to racial remarks, Chinese people (and perhaps Asians in general) are not the most politically correct people in the world. We’ve had extended discussions about “racism” in China (see, e.g., Chocolate City post by Buxi). Recently, I came across an interesting article in Times Magazine (in relation to the U.S. Presidential politics) regarding racism in Asia. Unfortunately, I believe the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism. Continue reading »
I had meant to post this sooner, but a quick Mid-Autumn Festival vacation trip got in the way. Admin previously provided me with several passages written by ksjqjy, the host of the Minkaohan forum, and I thought I would post some of them which dealt with religion, given the the timely relevance to Ramadan. Continue reading »
There is a heated debate going on regarding the lack of Chinese characters on China’s official Olympics uniforms in contrast with those on German’s sportswear.
Personally, I see no point in not printing Chinese text on China’s official uniforms. But for this post, I will purposely play the role of a “CCP apologist” and try to put these things in positive terms. 😉 Besides, I will explain two frequently used Chinese phrases and hopefully cast some light on a particular aspect of the Chinese culture.