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.
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]
Xiaoou is a Norwegian artist who raps in Mandarin Chinese about income inequality
in China, his love for Beijing
, and going through a breakup
: "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]
, the city states of the Malay Peninsula
often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China
. 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
(+/-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
"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.)
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
. (There are several sections
of the wall near that city.) Kuriositas has gathered some images that present the Wall from other areas.
Mike McHenry has posted several photo pages of the Chinese firecracker and firework labels
he's been collecting since 1968.
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]
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]
[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.
"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]
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.
In the time of the Chou Dynasty it was believed there existed Ten Celestial Suns
. Each day, one sun would be harnessed to a jade dragon and drawn across the heavens, bringing life and light to the world. It was their duty, all they had known - but in their hearts a cold and secret fire grew... [more inside]
The use of movable type in China is now a rare business.
Invented in China by Bi Sheng
during the Song Dynasty, movable type was created as a system to print lengthy Buddhist scripture. This traditional method has mostly been replaced by offset and digital printing, but lately, there has been discussion
about collecting these existing artifacts and setting up printing museums or digitizing the complete fonts.
Widely regarded as the greatest Chinese writer of the twentieth century, Lu Xun
was so deeply unimpressed by the Chinese character-based writing system
that he is reported to have said "if Chinese characters do not fade away, China will perish!". In his 1934 "An outsider's chats about written language" (menwai wentan）
, he discussed the matter using the pseudonym Hua Yu, which means both "China's Prison" and "China's Language". [more inside]
"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York
, Los Angeles
, San Francisco
) are undergoing a shift in linguistic identity, as recent immigrants are more likely to natively speak Mandarin (the official spoken language
of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,) instead of Cantonese. [more inside]
It's armageddon all over again.
Chinese have created a black hole.
"This is a novel born out of the intersection of two eras.
The first is a story of the Cultural Revolution, a time of fanaticism, repressed instincts, and tragic fates, similar to the European Middle Ages. The second is a story of today, a time of subverted ethics, fickle sensuality, and every kind of phenomena, even more like the Europe of today. A westerner would have to live four hundred years to experience the vast differences of the two eras, but a Chinese would only need forty years for the experience." Yu Hua's Brothers
, a sprawling, foul-mouthed, comic-historical epic, and the best-selling novel in China's history, is available in English. [more inside]
Chinese news site dispense with user anonymity.
Includes an updated list of sites China actively blocks, including Human Rights Watch
and Amnesty International
(?!? - both links work only outside of China). prev
[Ezra Pound] worked on and for poetry as others might work on a major scientific discovery or a drawn-out military mission. Thus, as Sieburth reminds us in his introduction to The Pisan Cantos, when, on May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested at his home in the hills above Rapallo, he immediately put a small Chinese dictionary and a copy of the Confucian classics in his pocket. Working as he then was on his Confucian translations, he knew that, wherever the military police were taking him, he would need these books.
From Pound Ascendant
by Marjorie Perloff. Ezra Pound's ability as a translator of Chinese poetry has long been disparaged by sinologists, such as George A. Kennedy in Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character
. Other academics have sought to defend him. Two examples are Zhaoming Qian's Ezra Pound's encounter with Wang Wei: toward the "ideogrammic method" of the Cantos
and Stephen Tapscott's In Praise of Bad Translations: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation (pdf)
. Eric Hayot draws the contours of this long-running debate and explores its significance in Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pound's China
. Pound's Cathay
in full and a public domain audiobook version (iTunes link)
In Chinese, Shanzhai
(山寨) literally means "mountain stronghold
" and connotes a place with limited accessibility -- i.e. beyond the reach of authorities. In the past couple of years, it has come to refer to the manufacture of illicit tech gadgets
by unauthorized factories: show us your shan zhai ji
! But shanzhai
can be used more broadly to describe knockoff culture
, cheeky brand subversion
, grassroots industrial creativity
, and a certain DIY ethos. The latter may be best exemplified in these videos of a "Shanzhai Glider"
in action. Apologies if the Chinese sites are slow-loading or unreachable for Western audiences. Mouse over links for descriptions, if so inclined.
China Film Journal
"a bilingual website dedicated to Chinese-language cinema from around the world."
is a simple, no frills site with over 200 classical Chinese poems, mostly from the Tang period. The poems are presented in traditional and simplified chinese characters, pinyin and English translation, both literal and literary. Here's Du Mu's Drinking Alone
Outside the window, wind and snow blow straight,
I clutch the stove and open a flask of wine.
Just like a fishing boat in the rain,
Sail down, asleep on the autumn river.
Among other poets featured are Li Bai
(a.k.a. Li Po), Du Fu
and Wang Wei
. As a bonus, here's the entire text of Ezra Pound's Cathay
, most of whom are from Li Bai originals.
The Tata Nano (pic)
is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^
, widely exported
, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice
by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive.
Yes indeed, the price of gas is not
going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips. [more inside]
First hundreds of pets were killed by the poisonous food additive
, from China. Then it turns out that this poison got into the human food chain leading to humans
. Then there was the flap about cough syrup killing thousands
of people. Then, there was that warning
a couple days ago about imported monkfish actually being deadly puffer
fish. And now
the FDA has issued warnings
that toothpaste imported from China has ethylene glycol in it. Yes, the same ethylene glycol that keeps your engine running in the winter. China responds to the warnings by saying "Hey, we printed the ingredients on most
of the labels, it's not our fault
if antifreeze kills you."
I researched and put an infopiece together after recently learning of bile bears here on Metafilter
. Even as an animal professional, I was unaware of the existence of bile bears. Now I know: Bile Bears
are live moon bears
that are turned into living crated "bile kegs," the bear's bile being extracted by means of a surgically implanted tube and used to treat conditions as varied as gallstones, kidney disorder, and (of course) impotence. After the long-suffering bear dies, the creature's body parts are then sold off individually for further monetary gain.
Indeed, it is an appalling practice, but worse I learned the practice is spreading
, and in fact demand for bear products is now affecting the bear population of North America
, as North American bears are being illegally hunted and harvested
for their parts to be used domestically and abroad
in the preparation of traditional Chinese medicine
can one bit actor have hundreds of millions, perhaps over a billion
adoring fans and yet be a virtual unknown
in his native land? Ask Mark Rowswell
, aka DaShan
. In 1988, Rowswell won a scholarship to study Chinese at the prestigious Peking
University. More than twenty years later he has one of the most recognizable faces
. He's been awarded
for his work in film, on stage, in television, in commercials
and for charity. So just who
Google Images Censored in China
A picture says 1000 words, and Google.cn is censoring them all. Check out the side-by-side screens of a search for "tiananmen+square" in Google.com and Google.cn images. Looks like a nice place, with little historical significance. You can try the search yourself
. The text on the bottom left is the censorship disclaimer. Very different than our results
. A far cry from Google's claim
that they do not censor results. Nice to know that they stand up to the government here but not abroad.
A good spoof
of the whole thing.
From cells to bells, 10 things the Chinese do far better than we do
Ah, those clever Chinese. First they invent gunpowder and a few other essentials of modern civilization. Now they're gunning their economic engines. Yet who would have thought that, after a millennium of poverty, they'd already do so many things better than we?
In fact, compiling a Top 10 list of what China does better than Canada isn't easy. There are so many items. To whittle it down, let's assume it's unfair to count anything related to cheap labour.
So we won't include the wonderfully thorough mop-ups of supermarket spills: The staff don't plunk down those yellow you-can't-sue-us caution signs. They actually fan the floor with a broken sheet of Styrofoam until it is dry.
Nor will we mention the exquisite, free head-and-shoulder massages that come with every shampoo and haircut....
A Canadian Chinese Celebrity
- (LA Times - reg required) Use this
to get login.
"The lanky Ottawa native, a virtual unknown in Canada, is most renowned for his Chinese TV appearances as the quick-witted foreigner who does amusing skits and the first Westerner to perform the ancient Chinese art of xiangsheng, or comedic dialogue."
is a wonderful site for exploring Chinese post Cultural Revolution art, with excellent accompanying texts. Browse the featured artists
and see an Exhibition from a Private Collection
. Also, Inside Out: New Chinese Art
is a beautiful site focusing on this recent "explosion of diverse work that is simultaneously exhilarating and bewildering", and you will find more great examples at Chinese Contemporary
(click on the artist's name for information and all thumbnails for that artist), plus marvelous Chinese avant-garde posters at Rene Wanner's poster pages
and Who's Who in Chinese Posters
, and at the Hochschule der Kuenste
, Berlin (view works here
The Ballad of Mulan
in Chinese calligraphy by, er, Mi Fei; also translated into English
. Via the Mulan FAQ
Explore a Chinese Language.
The Ting Chinese English Center is a database of tools to learn Mandarin or English, and it's fun to boot. Don't miss the tongue twisters
, and try to guess how to pronounce the color
before clicking on the sound file.
Section VIII Double Standards in International Field of Human Rights
to the annual report by the US state department critical of China’s current human rights record, China slings back with a report of its
own, this time critical of the US
for its human rights record.
Is this the superpower propagandist equivalent of schoolyard name calling, or does the Chinese report make some salient points, ones better left unsaid in the conquest of International Pax Americana
Chinese sold Iraq 'dual-use' chemical
And France helped broker the deal. Now do we boycott not only French bread and wine but all Chinese food too?
Let the celebrations begin!
According to the Chinese calendar, tomorrow begins the year 4700. The festivals and superstitions surround the celebration for the new year are fascinating in China as well as Korea
. Which animal year
were you born in and do you follow the Chinese, Japanese
, or Korean
zodiac? Finally, the mathematics
behind the calendar are truly fascinating.
"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this:
Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
Tales from the Land of Dragons.
100 years of Chinese paintings. From the overview
:- 'In China, painting is one of the "Three Perfections," linked with calligraphy and poetry as the most refined of artistic endeavors. This exhibition ... focuses on the years in which the great traditions of Chinese painting were established, during the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties ... '
Hell Bank Notes
are a chinese funeral custom
of burning paper money
in specialized cemetary ovens
for use in the afterlife (Some even feature US Presidents JFK
). I have heard of instances where entire paper houses or cars are burned in tribute. Find out more
about contemporary chinese funeral practices, such as funerary music like Mei Hua Ts'ao (Plum Blossoms) [3 meg mp3]
and personal insightful interviews.
What unique funeral practices have you witnessed or participated in?
Chinese presidential plane bugged
with advanced satellite spying devices. Could this be a rerun of the spyplane incident
? (News link also at the Financial Times
and Yahoo! News
this is very odd indeed
chinese news media's flash tribute for the WTC tragedy
rough translation for the song:
elderly american goes to work
was very frightened
someone drove a plane into the building
and it fell down
but he was very fit
so he ran down 937 stairs and got away
the news people asked him to say a few words
that was all he could say
he said someone crashed a plane into the building
they were terrorists
this is bad because it affects ordinary people