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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

Or like a computer. Or like an Egyptian computer.

Multiply like an Egyptian. (SLYT)
posted by overeducated_alligator on Dec 9, 2010 - 24 comments

How Hou Yi Shot The Suns

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]
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 6, 2010 - 22 comments

Not Sims

Since its viral reenactment of the Tiger Woods story a year ago, Taiwan's Next Media Animation has been churning out 11 minutes of surprisingly lifelike news animation a day, sparking a feud with Conan and garnering lots of social media attention. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Nov 27, 2010 - 16 comments

The Wonderful World of Babel

Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing. Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree (while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention). The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic to Icelandic to Zulu gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog, debuted in more than forty tongues. Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes and one-line comparisons, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights: "One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali," and "A Whole New World" (Aladdin) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and "Luau!" (The Lion King) - "Under the Sea" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (The Little Mermaid) - "Belle" and "Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast) - "Just Around the Riverbend" (Pocahontas) - "One Song" and "Heigh-Ho" (Snow White) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella) - Medley (Pinocchio) - "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2) - Intro (Monsters, Inc.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 12, 2010 - 31 comments

The English Language In 24 Accents

Twenty-four different accents in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT)
posted by gman on Oct 1, 2010 - 82 comments

The Sinica Podcast

What's China up to in Africa? What books should I read on the world's most populous nation? How's their environment doing? This, and much more from the weekly updated Sinica podcast. Hosted by Popup Chinese.
posted by klue on Aug 15, 2010 - 5 comments

An Obsolete Practice

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.
posted by netbros on Jul 3, 2010 - 10 comments

Say it in Shanghai

Learn a bit of Shanghainese for the World Expo: Say it in Shanghai is a short series of videos from the China Daily newspaper. Very simple, but actually kinda useful and funny. Direct links to lessons: Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four | Part five | Part six.
posted by jiawen on May 28, 2010 - 4 comments

Moral: Don't Do Your Heroin Supplier Any Favors

The Rise and Fall of Frank Ma, Last of New York's Asian Godfathers: How a Chinese immigrant became a crime lord, ordered a hit that left the wrong men dead, sparked a 16-year international investigation and finally landed in prison for the rest of his life.
posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2010 - 43 comments

The Pershing Chinese

After a fruitless hunt for Pancho Villa, General Pershing and his forces withdrew from northern Mexico in early 1917. But, "[w]hat to do with 300 Chinese who have associated themselves with the punitive expedition?" [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Jan 31, 2010 - 18 comments

A glistening chunk of pork!

A glistening chunk of pork! [more inside]
posted by mrducts on Nov 17, 2009 - 30 comments

汉字不灭,中国必亡

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]
posted by moorooka on Oct 31, 2009 - 36 comments

Goodbye, "Leih Hou Ma," Hello "Ni Hao Ma!"

"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, 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]
posted by zarq on Oct 22, 2009 - 56 comments

Uh oh.

It's armageddon all over again. Chinese have created a black hole.
posted by strangeguitars on Oct 19, 2009 - 66 comments

Two Chinese Brothers

"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]
posted by escabeche on Oct 18, 2009 - 25 comments

One giant leap for Chinese Internet Censorship

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
posted by allkindsoftime on Sep 9, 2009 - 40 comments

It Fish Time!

In rather unsettling news, it appears that a chinese corporation bought one of America's most reliable news sources. For now, the editorial line doesn't seem to have changed, but will it last?
posted by vivelame on Jul 21, 2009 - 90 comments

Appetite for China

Appetite for China - a food blog whose motto is "1.3 billion people must be eating something right". Today: Dried Fugu and Durian Pudding
posted by Joe Beese on May 16, 2009 - 29 comments

Wu Xing

Behind Chinese medicine, feng shui, acupuncture, diet, music and cosmology itself is the concept of Wu Xing. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on May 7, 2009 - 15 comments

"Chinese poetry, as we know it today, is something invented by Ezra Pound." - T. S. Eliot

[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).
posted by Kattullus on Apr 30, 2009 - 16 comments

Zhang Peng’s photographic art

Zhang Peng’s elaborate photographs have been called both "beautiful" and "disgusting". You can see some of them here and here.
posted by chiraena on Mar 22, 2009 - 39 comments

Shanzhai: I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see one.

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.
posted by milquetoast on Feb 3, 2009 - 32 comments

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings.

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings, a line at a time. For Sunday evening, a spare, meditative post. The Tao-te-Ching in 29 translations, line by line and side by side. I'll leave you to investigate the writings on your own; here alone are just the words to consider. Suggested: Mitchell. [more inside]
posted by Tufa on Jan 11, 2009 - 99 comments

Chinese Art

The Great Chinese Art Revolution is a documentary exploring how Chinese art has become a sought-after commodity on the international market. Suppressed and co-opted by Mao, art in China was, for a long time, a subversive expression of discontent, starting with the Star(s) Group in 1979 and continuing with the "cynical realism" of the exiled artists of the 90s. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jan 6, 2009 - 5 comments

Someone's Mama Made This

In Mamas Kitchen was born in the experience of living in New York where a bodega exists within blocks of a Jewish deli which is around the corner from an Italian salumeria which shares space with Chinatown which abuts Soho's gourmet stores. While this speaks of the legendary variety available in New York, it also tells of similarity, for in every bodega, every salumeria is someone shopping for the food that sustains physical life with a recipe that nourishes our hearts.
posted by netbros on Dec 15, 2008 - 11 comments

Sometimes German Aesthetics Appeal To The Wrong Crowd

The MaxPlanckForschung journal cover gets some extra attention when it tries to be 'cool' and get a Chinese tattoo. MaxPlanckForschung usually publishes fairly esoteric scientific papers, and for a special issue on China, it wanted a nice artistic cover with some Chinese writing on it... little did the editors know that they had just published an ad for a brothel. LOL.
posted by mhh5 on Dec 10, 2008 - 60 comments

Sleeping Chinese

Photographs of Chinese people napping in public. via
posted by Knappster on Dec 3, 2008 - 25 comments

Electric Shadows

China Film Journal "a bilingual website dedicated to Chinese-language cinema from around the world."
posted by Abiezer on Nov 11, 2008 - 10 comments

Internet premier of Princess of Nebraska on YouTube

The Princess of Nebraska premiered on YouTube this weekend (unrated by MPAA, but 18A+ rating, but on YouTube, so maybe mild NSFW). Often focusing on Chinese immigrants in America and culture gaps (NPR interview; text and audio) between both their new country and across generations, director Wayne Wang has returned to his roots after several more traditional Hollywood movies (Wayne Wang Is Missing). (Known for "Chan Is Missing" and "The Joy Luck Club", he has made movies such as "Maid in Manhattan" recently.) "Princess" is intended as a double feature with traditionally released "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," "Princess" might "be the first feature feature film by a major director to premiere" only on the internet. Both are based on short stories by Yiyun Li.
posted by skynxnex on Oct 20, 2008 - 3 comments

I would have sworn he was 6' 3" and 225 lbs...

Yang Wei, the 2006 and 2007 mens gymnastics world champion, and number 13 on Time Magazine's 100 Olympic Athletes to Watch in Beijing 2008, is a symbol of absolute power and coordination. He stands 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 121 pounds.
posted by clearly on Aug 10, 2008 - 27 comments

Gold Medal in Piano!

Winning the Gold Medal in Young International Piano Superstardom is Chinese pianist Lang Lang. The 26 year old former prodigy compares himself not to Glen Gould, but to Tiger Woods. Given his "star appeal" and numerous endorsements, it's an apt comparison. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Jul 31, 2008 - 10 comments

Your roots. They has a flavor.

Have Food Will Travel: Pearl River Delta is a travelogue teaser video from Leonard Shek, a second generation Chinese American from San Francisco. Shek traveled to the Guangdong Province as part of the SF Chinese Culture Center's In Search of Roots program. While the main purpose of the trips is for Chinese Americans to explore where their parents or grandparents came from, Shek wanted to explore the origins of the food he grew up with.
posted by spec80 on Jul 9, 2008 - 2 comments

Chinese Poems

Chinese Poems 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.
posted by Kattullus on May 19, 2008 - 15 comments

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films (official site w/Flash) Filmmaker Arthur Dong covers the good (YT), the bad and the players (link to Flash video clips) in his latest award-winning documentary. Related MeFi post.
posted by LinusMines on May 4, 2008 - 19 comments

tasty Sinocentrism

"As American as Apple Pie" is an oft-repeated remark on the innate "Americaness" of the dish - but when was the last time you actually had apple pie? When was the last time you had General Tso's Chicken?

Jennifer 8. Lee gives an interesting talk on the cultural phenomenon of Chinese Food.
posted by plexi on Apr 17, 2008 - 91 comments

Zen on the 2nd floor of a Richmond BC mall (reservations required).

According to the recently published book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the best Chinese restaurant outside China is Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, tucked away on the second floor of a mall along a section of Richmond, BC (a Vancouver suburb) that's known by the Chinese community as Eat Street. [more inside]
posted by myopicman on Mar 11, 2008 - 22 comments

No sushi for Jew!

"Today there is no eggroll..." As posted at jewschool, your best source for hip heeb hype,

Asian restaurants across [Israel]detante went on a one-day spring roll strike on Tuesday in protest over government plans to rid kitchens of foreign chefs, and said sushi and noodles would be the next items off the menu. [more inside]
posted by ericbop on Feb 13, 2008 - 87 comments

Lee press-on car

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 ^, successful , 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]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 3, 2008 - 42 comments

Comes With Orange Slice

The history of the humble fortune cookie is in dispute.
posted by Xurando on Jan 16, 2008 - 16 comments

Opera by Gorillaz about Monkey

Damon & Jamie's Excellent Adventure is a documentary following the Gorillaz' boys - Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett - as they attempt to make an opera based on classic Chinese novel Journey to the West [or for them - the 70s television show Monkey]. The documentary follows the two year process with a decent section on Albarn's approach to learning a new form of music.
posted by meech on Oct 26, 2007 - 8 comments

Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì

Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den (See also: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo). Via this thread about the opening to William Gibson's new book.
posted by delmoi on Sep 2, 2007 - 27 comments

Daddy and I

Pictures of white men and their adopted Chinese daughters by photographer O. Zhang
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 22, 2007 - 213 comments

Chinese Amusement Parks

Chinese theme parks - some are strange, and some are oddly familiar. Others are disturbing. Some have unique attractions, or promotions not found elsewhere. At least one is highly functional. Not all are successful, and they may not travel very well.
posted by Kirth Gerson on Jul 10, 2007 - 5 comments

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