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 …

Facepalm by Brandon Grasley

Never Ending Bureaucracy

There's always "one more thing" that wasn't mentioned the first time around.

I'm in the middle of the registration process for a client's company.

Because I know the process, and because the sole reason for hiring my personal assistant Jimmy was to have someone who stands in lines, things are going much much faster for him than when I did the registration on my own -- but things aren't exactly going smoothly.

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 …

Lost Laowai 2013 Update

Lost Laowai 2013 Update

If you've happened by Lost Laowai recently, you'll have noticed that the site was down. The reason should be pretty apparent why -- she's been redesigned!

For months I've been trying to find the time to sit down and give the site a bit of development love, and for months I failed to do so. The challenge was that I did not just want to slap together a cosmetic change, but rather I wanted to really look at what Lost…

People on a Chinese public bus

请注意安全: China’s friendly reminder pollution

Over the years I've lived in China, certain aspects of life here have begun to bother me more and more. I think it's normal. Every long term expat has their pet peeves about China. There is one particular thing which began to irritate me when I had been living in China for around three years, and has bothered me ever since. I am talking about the constant noise pollution you suffer when you take any means of publ…


Warning to watch your carry-on luggage, thieves take to the air

Philippines-based tour operator, A3 Tours & Travel, recently posted the following story on their Facebook page from a passenger on a Hong Kong flight. The tl;dr of it is that you should not naively believe your carry-on luggage is safe in the overhead bins -- the contents might not just have shifted during flight, they might have been lifted.

As many of us routinely fly, and specifically fly the flights li…

China life hacks from Kaiser Kuo via Quora + a few of my own

In response to "What tips and tricks have you learned that have made it easier to live in China?" recently asked on Quora, long-time China expat and Beijing resident Kaiser Kuo dished out some fantastic advice -- his last one, quite possibly the toughest to follow, is my fav.

Stay tuned after Kaiser's advice for a couple items of my own, but really these pretty much nail it:

Read Quote of Kaiser Kuo's answer to…

Shanghai air quality mascots

Shanghai air pollution gets cutesy AQI Girls, but missing one

I'm sure we'll all breath a deep sigh of relief that Shanghai’s Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) is sparing no expense to improve communication with the city's public on the quality of air in China's largest city.

According to blogger Angel Hsu, the EPB has recently updated their Web site to feature a more (user) friendly interface with the addition of "AQI girl" that expresses in cartoon form what our lungs …