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...not a neutral exercise.

"Why Do Chinese People Have Slanted Eyes?" By Amanda Lee Koe (Text essay, possibly nsfw)
posted by zarq on Apr 16, 2014 - 23 comments

 

81 Cantonese proverbs in one image.

This cartoon by graphic designer and cartoonist 阿塗 (Ah To) contains 81 Cantonese proverbs and idioms in one image. It was originally published on the Hong Kong website Passion Times, and was inspired by a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Netherlandish Proverbs. [more inside]
posted by Corinth on Feb 26, 2014 - 17 comments

The secret of the Chinese takeout container

No plate? No worries! [more inside]
posted by DoubleLune on Nov 17, 2013 - 56 comments

Chinese students at UW-Madison speak out

Channel C WISC is a YouTube channel where UW-Madison undergrads from China talk about the experience of being Chinese at a big public American university, with the aim of both helping newly arrived international students understand what's going on around them, and helping American students have some sense of what's going on with their Chinese classmates. Videos include "Why Chinese Students Don't Party,", "Chinese Names,", "Pretty Chinese Women", "Who are the Chinese Second Generation Rich?", "Why Chinese Students Don't Speak English," and many more.
posted by escabeche on Nov 1, 2013 - 31 comments

These were the people I loved. They said "Chink" and they said "faggot."

Why I Stay Closeted In Asia (SLBF)
I denied it, as my father and sister begged me to.

I couldn't exaggerate to you how much my mother's face lit up, or how much I wanted, for a shameful second, for my lie to be true. I began to tell her a story, got into the groove, told it with what could be called pizzazz, or maybe just mercy. A monthlong fling with a Korean girl became a year ("I liked her; she had a cocaine problem"). Immediately she laughed with relief.

"I wouldn't know how to deal if you were, you know, that" she said.

posted by yeoz on Oct 9, 2013 - 25 comments

"Big waste country, the U.S."

To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2013 - 29 comments

Speaking in foreign tongues

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has spent the last few months in Paris specifically studying French. His latest dispatch, "Or Perhaps You Are Too Stupid to Learn French," looks at how hard it is to apply the rules of new language in real time, while fighting with one's perceptions and limitations (Other dispatches are here).

Washington Post writer Jay Matthews asks if learning a foreign language is worth it and recounts his own struggles studying Chinese. Another WaPo writer, Elizabeth Chang, recalls her experience in learning Arabic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 22, 2013 - 200 comments

Confucius say "Good things come to those who wait"

As part of the preparation for a special exhibition on the history of Chinese food in America, the Smithsonian opens the world's oldest can of fortune cookies. More posts on the exhibit research under the Sweet & Sour tag. [previously]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Aug 16, 2013 - 29 comments

'让我介绍一个哥们儿'

Xiaoou is a Norwegian artist who raps in Mandarin Chinese about income inequality in China, his love for Beijing, and going through a breakup.
posted by klue on Jul 26, 2013 - 8 comments

"We are British. We are Liverpudlians. "

""He just went out to the shop, and my mum was waiting for him to come home, and he never came," Linda Davis said of her father." -- During World War II tens of thousands of Chinese seamen served in the UK's merchant navy, many of whom had settled in Liverpool and some of which developed relationships with local women. Yet in 1945, as soon as the war was won, Liverpool police forces, on orders of the Home Office mounted razzias and deported the majority of the 20,000 Chinese men living in the city, leaving behind their wifes and children. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 26, 2013 - 18 comments

I Hate Karl Marx

Your bronze head will be smashed to pieces and recycled into bicycles in Hunan province.
posted by seemoreglass on Jun 7, 2013 - 20 comments

Ni haor Kair Lanr, ni de Putonghuar tin haor!

Phonemica is a project to record spoken stories in every one of the thousands of varieties of Chinese in order to preserve both stories and language for future generations. (via) [more inside]
posted by dubusadus on May 10, 2013 - 4 comments

Tiger moms, you are doing it wrong.

Amy Chua's anecdotal "tiger mom" manifesto meets some peer-reviewed data-driven research. Oh snap! [more inside]
posted by kanuck on May 8, 2013 - 90 comments

The Complicated Chinese Family Tree: A Video Guide

The Complicated Chinese Family Tree - Cantonese Version! Or, if you like, the original in putonghua. (This previous post may be of some assistance.)
posted by milquetoast on Apr 23, 2013 - 6 comments

Masters of making you cry

The Chopsticks Brothers (筷子兄弟) [Google translated bio] are Xiao Yang and Wang Taili, Chinese indie musician/filmmakers making internet short films which generally function as extended music videos for their original songs. Old Boys (42 min, english sub) October 2010 [Youku copy] - over 52 million views Short video on YouTube, english subtitles [more inside]
posted by ctmf on Mar 10, 2013 - 0 comments

The Balinghou

Generation Gap: "The parents of China’s post-1980 generation [the bā líng hòu (八零後)] (themselves born between 1950 and 1965) grew up in a rural, Maoist world utterly different from that of their children. In their adolescence, there was one phone per village, the universities were closed and jobs were assigned from above. If you imagine the disorientation and confusion of many parents in the West when it comes to the internet and its role in their children’s lives, and then add to that dating, university life and career choices, you come close to the generational dilemma. Parents who spent their own early twenties labouring on remote farms have to deal with children who measure their world in malls, iPhones and casual dates." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2013 - 16 comments

Beyond untranslatable words

In 1995, an Atlantic story on the first Chinese translation of Ulysses closed with the offhand remark that "no one in China is offering to translate Finnegans Wake." Today on the (day after the) 131st anniversary of his birth, James Joyce's famously difficult work is a bestseller in China.
posted by Lorin on Feb 3, 2013 - 30 comments

More "Oriental," like the one in Seinfeld

Why Everybody Films at the Same Damn NY Chinese Restaurant. You know, the one that doesn't actually exist.
posted by Mchelly on Jan 20, 2013 - 93 comments

Convoy Conquest!

Tireless eaters Jenne and Miko set out to try every restaurant along San Diego's Convoy Street. (via Projects) [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jan 5, 2013 - 19 comments

A Chinese Princess and a magic well

Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
posted by infini on Dec 24, 2012 - 25 comments

Dark Field Microscopy

  • I did not know the incense storing temple,
  • I walked a few miles into the clouded peaks.
  • No man on the path between the ancient trees,
  • A bell rang somewhere deep among the hills.
  • A spring sounded choked, running down steep rocks,
  • The green pines chilled the sunlight's coloured rays.
  • Come dusk, at the bend of a deserted pool,
  • Through meditation I controlled passion's dragon.
Stopping at Incense Storing Temple, Wang Wei (699-759)
posted by lemuring on Dec 17, 2012 - 13 comments

Nutmeg: smells of holidays from a history of battles and massacres

This unassuming, feel-good spice "has been one of the saddest stories of history," from the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 30, 2012 - 40 comments

Typical Pentagon boondoggle

The Global Language Online Support System (or GLOSS), produced by the Defense Language Institute in sunny Monterey, CA, offers over six thousand free lessons in 38 languages from Albanian to Uzbek, with particular emphasis on Chinese, Persian, Russian, Korean, and various types of Arabic. The lessons include both reading and listening components and are refreshingly based on real local materials (news articles, radio segments, etc.) rather than generic templates. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Oct 11, 2012 - 23 comments

Kung Pao Chicken

Ding Baozhen (1820-1886) was a governor of Sichuan province during the Qing dynasty. The emperor bestowed upon him the title Gōng Bǎo - "palatial guardian". He supervised the reconstruction of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. But he achieved immortality through the dish named for him: Kung Pao Chicken. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 30, 2012 - 18 comments

Water buffalos in Yunnan

"Our bull is very strong, so let's call him Optimus Prime." A look at the sport of water buffalo fighting in southwest China. (Don't miss the video on the article page.)
posted by mark7570 on Aug 28, 2012 - 13 comments

Square Word Calligraphy: English that Looks Like Chinese

English that looks like Chinese. "At first glance, Square Word Calligraphy appears to be nothing more unusual than Chinese characters, but in fact it is a new way of rendering English words in the format of a square so they resemble Chinese characters. Chinese viewers expect to be able to read Square Word Calligraphy but cannot. Western viewers, however are surprised to find they can read it. Delight erupts when meaning is unexpectedly revealed." (Britta Erickson, The Art of Xu Bing.) [more inside]
posted by jef on Aug 27, 2012 - 66 comments

No Place For Your Kind

No Place for Your Kind Photojournalist Tim Greyhavens documents sites of anti-Chinese violence in the American West around the turn of the last century. NYT blog post on the project.
posted by 6550 on Aug 14, 2012 - 11 comments

Welcome to The Long Wall of 10,000 Li

The Great Wall of China (長城) took 2000 years to build, and stretches for 5500 miles. Yet pictures of that wonder of the world in popular media are typically restricted to the tourist-visited sections closest to Beijing. (There are several sections of the wall near that city.) Kuriositas has gathered some images that present the Wall from other areas.
posted by zarq on Jul 22, 2012 - 32 comments

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Mike McHenry has posted several photo pages of the Chinese firecracker and firework labels he's been collecting since 1968.
posted by gman on Jul 5, 2012 - 28 comments

Where should we go tonight?

David Chan has eaten at 6,090 Chinese restaurants. He's eaten at more than 300 Chinese restaurants in New York alone and visited every state. Here's his list of the top ten Chinese restaurants in America, all of which are in California, most in Los Angeles. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jun 20, 2012 - 117 comments

"What appears as discipline or “tough love” from one perspective often appears as abuse from another."

On Tiger Moms: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 7, 2012 - 52 comments

The Chinese Typewriter

As you can see, the [Chinese] typewriter is extremely complicated and cumbersome. The main tray — which is like a typesetter's font of lead type — has about two thousand of the most frequent characters. Two thousand characters are not nearly enough for literary and scholarly purposes, so there are also a number of supplementary trays from which less frequent characters may be retrieved when necessary. What is even more intimidating about a Chinese typewriter is that the characters as seen by the typist are backwards and upside down! [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 27, 2012 - 43 comments

Or understand the deliciousness that jiaozi has

You can make jiaozi. But you can't make it like this. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 14, 2012 - 29 comments

A dance for spring

Here's a dance performed by Yang Liping and her niece Cai Qi at a Chinese New Year gala recently. It's called "Spring" and will likely mark the end of a celebrated career. Yang Liping (杨丽萍) is perhaps most famous for her gorgeous arm movements in the Peacock Dance (雀之灵), and here's one more dance performed entirely in silhouette called "Moon". (MLYT)
posted by of strange foe on Jan 22, 2012 - 7 comments

Extrinsic Flavours!

Thinking of visiting Melbourne? This video will help you make your decision! (SLVimeo)
posted by awfurby on Jan 15, 2012 - 32 comments

OMG! Meiyu

Meet Jessica Beinecke. Her Chinese fluency and her bubbly personality make her a minor celebrity among young Chinese speakers. Her videos covers topics such as: Yucky Gunk ,which went viral. Fist Pumping. Badonkadonk. Yo, Homie. Mexican food. And her Thing. Brought to you by the Voice of America.
posted by hot_monster on Oct 28, 2011 - 54 comments

He's in my behind!

You've read The Backstroke of the West; now WATCH The Backstroke of the West! (MLYT, some NSFW language. The first minute or so of video is missing, but the rest of the movie is there in its full glory.)
posted by cthuljew on Sep 18, 2011 - 6 comments

Ma and Ba are just the beginning

Have trouble figuring out who your third cousin twice removed is versus your second cousin thrice removed? Imagine if your family was Chinese. The rules for Chinese family relation names are complex and incredibly specific, though there are patterns that can help out (e.g. tang2 vs biao3). A research paper provides some cultural context. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Sep 12, 2011 - 21 comments

Chinese flip-flops for your viewing pleasure

Chinese-English Ambigrams [Previously] [Wikipedia]
David Moser and William James (Wm Jas) Tychonievich
posted by jng on Aug 14, 2011 - 14 comments

But it's just so American!

AMC's Hell on Wheels is an upcoming series created by Joe and Tony Gayton, centered around the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Joe: "I think what a lot of people think of when they think about the Transcontinental Railroad is the contribution of the Chinese immigrants." "But, it’s just so American". So the show focuses on railroad construction from the East, and the Chinese laborers story? They "ended up getting excised". [more inside]
posted by cashman on Aug 6, 2011 - 69 comments

Europe on fifteen hundred yuan a day.

Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on Jul 28, 2011 - 71 comments

She said that I was good

The Oakland-based Purple Silk Music Education program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing musical training to inner-city youth. One particular student in the program, Tyler Thompson, has been getting some press lately for his renditions of traditional Chinese opera (Vimeo link). (Chinese opera, previously on the blue)
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Jul 27, 2011 - 17 comments

Michelangelo Antonioni's "Chung Kuo"

[Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo] as a documentary film was one which was draped with fascination for both filmmakers as well as an audience, rather than championing anti-whatever sentiments from either side of the world. Not having seen many movies, either features, shorts or documentaries made during the Cultural Revolution era or about that era in question (propaganda included), I think this Antonioni film has more than made its mark as a definitive documentary that anyone curious about the life of the time, would find it a gem to sit through.
posted by Trurl on Jul 11, 2011 - 3 comments

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa, also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, was quite possibly the weirdest theme park on the planet. The first park was built in Hong Kong in the 30s, soon followed by another in Singapore. Built by brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who made their fortunes selling Tiger Balm, the park was really a sculpture garden devoted to all aspects of Chinese mythology. Weirdest and most surreal of all was the section of the park which depicted the the 10 levels of Buddhist hell, featuring demons dismembering sinners, and is best described as "if Heironymus Bosch built a putt putt course."
posted by puny human on Jun 20, 2011 - 30 comments

Ain't No Party Like a Leninist Party

"The handover to a new president and premier has generated plenty of speculation in the press, about who the leaders are and what is will all mean, but sometimes it’s useful to go back and fill in the very basics, since China has a unique and in some ways quite confusing political system." A Primer on China's Leadership Transition. [via]
posted by spiderskull on May 16, 2011 - 5 comments

Montblanc Watches Chinese Ad:

Montblanc Watches Chinese Ad is the everyday story a son of a billionaire that splits with his arty girlfriend and wins her back with ride to Switzerland in a private jet. I won't spoil the rest other than to say don't give up on the boring factory visit, the finale is worth waiting for.
posted by priorpark17 on May 5, 2011 - 102 comments

Look Ma, no hands!

Chinese Pole Dancing (SLYT, SFW) — More than it says on the tin.
posted by cenoxo on Apr 16, 2011 - 17 comments

Ceaseless generation of new perspectives

Zhuangzi as Philosopher Essay by Brook Ziporyn made available (there's also some other prefatory matter there) at the website of the publishers of his translation of the Zhuangzi, one of the seminal texts of Daoism, putatively authored by Zhuang Zhou in the fourth century BCE. Via, where there's plenty of other informed discussion on Zhuangzi, Daoism and other ancient Chinese thought.
posted by Abiezer on Mar 14, 2011 - 24 comments

There can only be one...billion.

The most typical person on the planet is a 28 year old Chinese man. For now. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee on Mar 4, 2011 - 50 comments

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

"A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it." [more inside]
posted by typewriter on Jan 9, 2011 - 407 comments

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