Nicholas Platt

Video: China 1972 — Nicholas Platt’s Home Movies

I caught a link to this video in Bill Bishop's excellent Sinocism newsletter today. The video was published back in 2010 by the Asia Society, and shows Nicholas Platt giving a voice over description of several minutes of home movies he shot in 1972 Beijing, just after the US and China resumed diplomatic relations.

It's interesting that while a lot has certainly changed in Beijing over the last 40 years, a lot …

Quest For the Holy Flat

The Quest for the Holy Flat

How I ventured into the depths of the low-cost real-estate market of Beijing. And survived.
"Keyi nong yi nong."

"It can be fixed a bit." So said the real-estate agent, as she finally managed to pull the front door open — in the little courtyard, the dead leaves had accumulated into a blanket of near-geological proportions. A moment of silence followed, as I stared speechlessly ahead of me.

It was described in…

Taxes - Bang-Head Here

Paying Taxes in China – Reprised

I’m trying to be a good citizen or resident or businesswoman or whatever you want to call me.

I figure I use the things that tax money buys. I use the roads and the street lights at night. I use the parks and the heavily subsidized public transportation.

So I figure it's only right that I ought to pay taxes.

Since avoiding paying taxes remains significantly easier than the act of actually paying taxes, I pre…

Matt Sheehan and Matt Allen in We Livin in Xi'an

Video: The 党 Dynasty’s ‘We livin in Xi’an’

Credit to Beijing Cream for introducing me to the The 党 Dynasty, westside China's latest laowai talent. Made up of friends Bro西来 (Matt Allen) and 他马特老外 (Matt Sheehan), the duo produced the following "We livin in Xi'an" video, which is as ridiculous as it is fun.

on Youku

Straight off the streets of Xi'an, bilingual rap duo The 党 Dynasty lay down the hottest bilingual club thumper to come out of Xi'an since th…

Help preserve China’s disappearing dialects

Kellen Parker, who has both been featured on and contributed to Lost Laowai over the years, is spearheading a new project called Phonemica, which aims 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."

We're a small group of linguists (and a growing group of volunteers) that believe that there is tremendous val…

Foreigner arguing on a Chengdu bus

Foreigner loses it on a Chengdu bus driver

The bad laowai category on Lost Laowai has grown a bit dusty over the past year or so, as I questioned whether it was a good idea to lend attention to a very small section of the foreigner crowd who were behaving badly in public (and becoming Youku stars for their efforts).

It appeared for a while that the Chinese, and more relevantly, the Chinese government, were weighing these autonomous events with more mass th…

Sinica's Jeremy Goldkorn and Kaiser Kuo in the studio

Things Done Well: Sinica Podcast

The Sinica Podcast just celebrated its 3rd anniversary in April. Can you take us back and explain how it came into being?
Kaiser: It started with a casual conversation between Jeremy and me in the spring of 2010 about how there weren't many good China-related podcasts. I can't find the time to blog regularly, but at the same time, I felt a need to participate in the conversation about China, and a podcast seemed…


Video: Epic Chinese scooter driving fail

Begin watching in the top right of the screen.

I remember when I first purchased an e-bike 5 years or so ago, it had been a while since I'd been on any sort of bike, let alone a motorized one. There really is a certain amount of trial by fire when buying a bike in China, with most bike shops deep in urban centres; hell, most of China is an urban centre. So I do sympathize with this fellow to an extent ... like…

Documentary: Seeking Asian Female

A look at yellow fever documentary ‘Seeking Asian Female’

I was pretty eager to sit down and watch "Seeking Asian Female", Debbie Lam's new documentary exploring 'Yellow Fever'. I've always been a bit skeptical about the whole Asian fetish thing, and, admittedly, a bit defensive about it -- my wife is Asian and I'm Caucasian.

I suppose the thing that gets my back up is the hinted presumption that all white people with Asian partners are somehow suffering from a fetish. O…

Getting an abortion in China

Expat Advice: Having an abortion in China

I just wanted to share my story in case (like I was) there is another female expat out there looking for information on the experience of having an abortion in China. I was frantically searching the web for information on this when I found out I was pregnant here and found next to nothing, so maybe my story can help someone or put another worried expat at ease.

I found out I was pregnant while on May Day vacation …