Ben The Barber: Working Like A Local

When I started this site, and this blog, my intention was (and is) to give foreigners coming to or recently arrived in China an inside look at the country. Of course, usually this means "from an expat perspective". Well, Ben Ross, of Ben's Blog, has taken this a step further:
"As an American living in China, I have spent the last three years of my life enjoying the benefits of being a citizen of a country which is f…

Making the Reddest Square Green

Here's a cool idea: Tear up the gray concrete of Tiananmen Square and turn it into a Chinese version of New York's Central Park. One leading architect is suggesting something along those lines, the Guardian reports (via CDT):
Ma Yansong, an award-winning urban planner, says the grey concrete symbol of China's red politics should be given a green makeover. To heighten awareness about the environment, he believes the…

A religion in need of good samaritans

A couple of weeks ago I saw something that I've been trying to make sense of ever since. Here's what happened: I was on a bus here in Suzhou, which drew up to a set of traffic lights at an intersection. To my right, on the corner of the road, I noticed on old woman had fallen off her bicycle, and was sat in the road, unhurt, but somewhat dazed and bruised.

I'm not sure why the old lady's accident had occurred; but…

Sending packages home? Leave out the DVDs

Anyone who's lived in China for more than a couple weeks has likely amassed a pile of pirated DVDs.

Coming from Western countries where the prices are 15-30x more, it's tough to throw even the worst ones away (I've still got my copy of Benchwarmers for Christ's sake).

Getting them home is one of the things I'm continually asked about, and not one I have ever have a clear answer on. Though most China Post office…

Chinese Protester Crashes The Gates

A supporter of open-source software managed to take the spotlight away from the bazillion dollar man, Bill Gates, during the Windows creator's visit to Beijing yesterday.

The unidentified man waited until Billy was finished congratulating some students at Beijing University, and then stormed the stage brandishing a sign stating: "Free Software, Open Source"

I saw this one first at Ya, I Yee, and read further ab…

Brave Newer World

This is just going to be a few sentences long, but I was hoping people would check out the Manchurian Candidate's website: www.kyle.cn

It has a very interesting list of all the school killings that China has had (reported) since 2004. If you think the US is violent, check this list out.

“Now You Know What China Is Like”

This is something I wrote up in the summer of 2006, but have done nothing with since.

"Now you know what China is like," the taxi driver said after he dropped me off this evening.

I dropped a friend off at her home, and as I didn't fancy my chances at getting the last bus home (busses on the route tend to stop at around 9:30 or 10pm) I took a taxi. I live on top of a hill on the outskirts of the city, ten minut…

So what if the gunman was Chinese?

As most everyone with Internet, cable, a radio or a newspaper knows by now - there was a terrible shooting at Virginia Tech University yesterday where a man shot and killed 32 people, injuring 15 others.

What's quickly coming to light is that the killer was very likely a 25-year-old Chinese man in the US on a student visa.

It's interesting to me, as this morning when I first heard about the shooting, and well b…

Special English, another Christ, and Nazi

Time and again, I find the things I enjoy most about my job have little to do with teaching and everything to do with the absurdities I confront in the classroom. I wonder sometimes if this makes me a poor educator, but I don't linger on it. My students have no books, their teacher has no experience, the class has no goal and the university has no clue.

I have a new class on Mondays; it was thrust upon me last wee…