Chinese students salute during a flag-raising ceremony at a junior high school in Shanghai. Photo from NPR

Chasing the Chinese Dream

Growing up on the east coast of America in a typical Chinese family, I feel that I've come to a general understanding of how two different cultures can clash. Oftentimes I find myself at odds with family members and Chinese family friends alike who regularly voice thoughts and opinions that I just can’t 100% agree with. A big issue, as I’m sure many Western children of Chinese households can attest to, is the importa…

Doing time in China

Potcast: first-hand account on doing time in a Chinese jail

I'm not sure if it's fitting or unseemly that I should be posting this today, April 20th, but here we are. A couple years back I remember reading about a foreigner who spent seven months in a Chinese jail. Other than a passing, "man that sucks," I didn't think much more about it. I certainly didn't think it was anyone I *knew* (however loose I can use that term).

It wasn't until I stumbled across a recent The …

Please Speak Mandarin T-Shirt by Sinosplice's John Pasden

On the Chinese vs. foreigner language wars

After my last post for Lost Laowai, where I expressed my annoyance with the irritating and pointless public announcements in Chinese public transport, I will now move on to another aspect of life in China which I find irritating: the tendency of the Chinese to address foreigners in English even when it would be easier for both to speak Chinese.

This particular irritation is perhaps not shared by all the foreig…

Journalist Ding Yu is the host of Interviews Before Execution. Photo from Boing Boing

The Value of Life and Chinese Hypocrisy

Recently, a colleague at work told me this supposedly common Chinese phrase: 生活就像强奸,如果奋力反抗无济于事,那就躺下静静享受吧. Roughly translated, this phrase in English is as follows: “Life is like rape. If you are unable to resist it, then you might as well lay back and enjoy it.” While this statement is typically used to describe situations where people are playfully goaded into doing certain things (e.g. a friend “making you” go …

street kids

Christmas Charities 2012

With American Thanksgiving just past, Christmas will be here before you know it. Instead of running around the Chinese countryside like crazy trying to find that perfect vintage Mao poster to mail home as a Christmas gift, consider donating to a China-focused charity on your loved one's behalf this year.

Here are some charities that are doing great work here in China that you should check out.

1. Angel Mom Foun…

The Blind Fortune Tellers (Lu Jun’s story)

They roamed the streets of her hometown, knocking their sticks along to lay a path in that endless shade. What they could not see with their eyes the cards showed them by touch. Lu Jun was little when her mother made them show her her future. They rambled on for awhile, illshapen words boiling down to one sentence: she will be happy at a great school.

She never forgot this.

In primary school they took their les…

On the “exodus of expats from China”

The debate initiated by Mark Kitto’s article for Prospect Magazine, “You will never be Chinese”, is showing little sign of dying down. Over the last couple of months we have seen more articles by well known expats explaining why they too are leaving the Middle Kingdom and replies by other expats explaining why they are staying put. There have even been articles in the New York Times and other important publications w…

Hot Lasagna? You can’t handle the hot lasagna!

Ah, it's Laowai Crackdown season again. Time to cringe as we watch the latest laowai misbehavior on viral video and self-righteously point out that we would never ever think of acting like that. Time to feel a bit indignant about getting stopped and asked for our passports outside the bar because he didn't stop anybody who looked Chinese even though there were some ABC's in the group and that's basically racial profi…

Killing me with kindness

They want to help. They really want to help. And whether you want it or not, they are going to help. It’s one of the best things about being in China, and one of the worst. There are always people around willing to lend a hand. And not just willing. They are determined.

When we went to the Longmen Grottoes last Friday, we did our usual thing of strolling out of the station and looking a bit lost. In the past this …

Volunteers and the cats at PPAR

In Shanghai? Like cats? These folks need your help

I was recently contacted by Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) and asked if I could lend a hand in getting the word out about their organization to the foreigner community in Shanghai. The animal lover that I am, I'm more than happy to oblige. If you, or anyone you know is a cat lover and wouldn't mind donating time, money or a warm home; please see the bottom of this post for details on how to get in touch with the g…