Why Do We Have to Work on Sundays?

– I had one thought this year when I saw China’s public holiday schedule — man we’re going to have to work a lot of Sundays this year. When I first came to China almost five and half years ago, this idea of working weekends to create a week-long holiday was one of the country’s great … Read More »

Ma Jian’s Latest Novel Put Me in A Coma

– Okay I realize it’s been awhile since I posted, but I’ve been in a bit of a coma — a coma created by Ma Jian. His latest novel Beijing Coma  is what did it. The book is about the events in the building to that June day in 1989, and told through the memories of a … Read More »

Does China Know How to Balance Its Culture History with Progress?

– Yesterday I decided to take a walk to the redeveloped portion of Shanghai’s Wujiang Lu — one of Shanghai’s famous food streets. I was surprised at the new portion of the road. It was clean and wide. There were shopping malls on either side connected by walkways over the street.  As nice as it was … Read More »

Did China Follow The Shock Doctrine?

– When China shifted its view on food subsidies this week, it was considered a major about face for a country that has been open to free trade for the last 30 years. According to writer Naomi Klein in the conclusion of her book The Shock Doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism, this turn is happening … Read More »

How does China Define Terrorism?

– When I read about the bus explosions in Kunming on this past Monday I was a little surprised that the local police weren’t calling it terrorism. I don’t believe that it was done by anyone with a political agenda. This was probably done, as the police are saying, by someone with a local grievance. But isn’t … Read More »

There’s A New Massage Tout in Town: China Daily!

– I’m not a big fan of China Daily, China’s national language newspaper but I do read its website occasionally when there’s nothing better available for work. I recently noticed one thing at the bottom of the each news story, a massage ad. Now I thought that was something only The Shanghai Daily did — and even … Read More »

Book Review: A Stress Reliever and History Lesson in One

– For the last month or so I’ve been really stressed out at work. When I get into a state like that I tend to look for books that help giving me a new perspective on the situation. That’s how I found Mo Yan’s Life and Death are Wearing Me Out, the story of Ximen Nao, … Read More »

Book Review: A Journey Down China’s Route 66

– Since it’s the May Labour Day holiday in China this week, lots of Chinese are out traveling, and since I hate crowds I am not. What I did spend my first day of the three day holiday doing was finishing up Rob Gifford’s great book China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising … Read More »

China: Nation or Notion?

– I’ve gotten a little tired of all the stories about Chinese and nationalism around that I spent most of last weekend trying to avoid most foreign news coverage about it. But I was dragged back in an interesting way when I learned to a recent podcast on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) Radio’s Ideas program. … Read More »

“Hey Laowai, hey shoe shine, shoe shine 10 yuan very good hey!”

– If you ever been around Shanghai’s People’s Square and Nanjing West Road, you’ve seen them — the shoe shine guys. They’ve got their little foot bench that doubles as a carryall for their oily rags and 3-kuai tube of shoe polish. If you work in that area of Shanghai these guys will pester you. Two … Read More »

When is one an old China Hand?

– I’m nearing my five-year mark of being in China. I don’t view that as a long time but people I meet increasingly are. It surprises me because I always view “Old China Hands” – the term that’s developed for foreigners that have been here a long time. I used to see the term as something … Read More »

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