Xinhua host and moonlighter for the Daily Mail’s venerable China Bureau Nikki Aaron has been blissfully peddling the British tabloid yarns of her “China adventures” for the last few months. All well and good.
Here’s her latest, on dating, a subject she has visited before. The extremely confessional tone of the Mail piece begs the question: who is Nikki Aaron?
In his book The Gift the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov describes the mountains of Northwest China as a “transparent and changeable setting” where “the dryness of the air produced an amazing contrast between light and shadow: in the light there were such flashes, such a wealth of brilliance, that at times it became impossible to look at a rock, at a stream; and in the shadow a darkness that absorbed all detail.”
I test drove the Volkswagen XL1 on Friday at the Chaoyang Sports Center. What’s the XL1, you ask? Only the most efficient car in the world — efficient in every way, from weight to energy usage to fuel consumption (it can go 100 kilomters on one liter, thus the 1 in XL1). ”Are there any areas in which you think you can do more optimization?” I asked Dr. Volker Kease, technical project manager.
“Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!” – Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being ~
"It's not just children who like it. The core value of the rubber duck is to bring back childlike innocence to all of us, especially weary adults." – Zeng Hui, head of the Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee
Tino Sehgal is a pretty big deal. And undoubtedly, 2013 has been his best year yet. In June, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale – for an artist, this is comparable to an Oscar or an Olympic gold medal. Earlier in the spring, he was one of four artists shortlisted for Tate Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize. At 37 years old, he's amassed an impressive resume of institutions where he's exhibited, including a solo show in New York’s Guggenheim Museum in which the main spiral of the building's interior was emptied out for one of his tightly choreographed “constructed situations.”
This week's podcast was recorded at the Bookworm on Wednesday for the Literary Death Match, hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga, featuring the four readers/competitors Leslie Ann Murray, Tom Carter, Stanley Chan, and Anthony Tao, and the judges Alice Xin Liu, Vicky Mohieddeen, and Sherwin Jiang.
Chen Zhifeng is a “self-made” billionaire, founder of the Western Regions Photography Society, and a major force in Xinjiang’s art scene. He is part of a newly minted cohort of Xinjiang capitalists: the Xinjiang 8 (or 9), who have taken advantage of Chinese-Central Asian market development and the post-Reform oil and gas economy. His Wild Horses Corporation brings in an annual income of $700 million selling Chinese-made women’s underwear and TVs in Russia and Kazakhstan.
Yet, unlike some other Xinjiang elites, Chen has reinvested his wealth in Xinjiang.
After a handful of English-language publications declared that authorities had "shut down" the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF), many people likely dusted their hands of the matter, thinking censorship had once again triumphed over artistic expression. But as James Hsu discovered more than a week after the festival’s supposed cancellation, BIFF held a successful, albeit quiet, closing ceremony following a full program of screenings and panels.
So what happened? A few days after the closing, I met with artistic director Dong Bingfeng to ask him about that and other issues on censorship, film in China, and independent festivals in the future.
Therese Mendez (Amy's roommate!) speaks to John Artman and Amy Daml about teaching young -- very young -- children in China, getting peed on, biking under the influence (BUI), and getting mugged. She also talks about her culture shock after arriving from Boulder, Colorado in 2009 -- her first time out of the country -- and takes us inside a women's locker room in Beijing. The shower orgasm story is at the 27:30 mark.
Last week I wrote about the way endearing child stars such as the seven-year-old Berna are being mobilized as a method for securing the future of Uyghur ways of knowing and speaking. Yet Uyghur “mother tongue fever” has a long legacy. The famous Uyghur poem Ana Til, or “Mother Tongue,” was composed by the poet Haji Qutluq Shewqi in the mid-19th century when a love of Uyghur was directed in opposition to the dominance of Persian and Arabic in Uyghur education. While the vectors of linguistic force have found new centers of gravity in the past few decades...
As has been well documented in discussions of the cultural situation in Xinjiang, many minority people in Xinjiang feel the future of their language and culture is insecure. Efforts to replace Uyghur-medium education begun in 2004 have intensified as the capillary spread of Chinese capitalism embeds its network and ideology deeper and deeper into southern Xinjiang.
A big thank you to everyone who attended Chug-Off for Charity at Great Leap Brewing on Saturday. We raised 5,000 RMB for Magic Hospital, which will continue its excellent work providing happiness to sick, orphaned, and neglected children in Beijing.
The tournament featured 16 teams, but unfortunately we could only have one winner. Congratulations to Go on the Pikies, consisting of Colin (a Dubliner visiting from London) and Tiggi (from Leeds, the manager of Paddy O’Shea’s).
The beneficiary of tomorrow's Chug-Off for Charity at the new Great Leap Brewing is Magic Hospital, a 10-year-old organization based in Beijing that organizes activities to cheer up sick, orphaned, abused, and generally neglected children. They're a wonderful foundation, and to tell you more about it, here's Lesley Sheppard, Magic Hospital's volunteer communications director.
Luo Lin’s voice and melodies are extremely catchy. In a true sense of the term, he catalyzes -- that is, he channels energy toward, and thereby accelerates -- an aspirational ethos for many migrant workers in Northwest China.
Last week I wrote about those who resist his catalytic charge by jealously guarding their indigenous cultural heritage. Yet, clearly, critiquing Luo Lin’s “Dao Lang” persona does not deny the very real force of his voice. He is an immensely talented performer; he has proved himself to be very adept at tuning in to desires particular to a Chinese rendering of an alien environment inhabited by displaced people.
Badr Benjelloun -- Beijing Daze curator, IT captain at True Run media, ESL forum operator, former Tangshan teacher, capoeira practitioner, guy who does business on the side, cook, and owner of the best rum bar / Moroccon eatery in Beijing, Cu Ju -- is... um... sorry, we lost our train of thought. Badr does a lot around Beijing. We're very happy he's here.
I first heard of “Dao Lang” from an economics professor on the way to a fancy dinner at a four-star hotel on the northwest corner of the People’s Square in downtown Urumqi. We had been discussing taste in cars as we slowly careened across three lanes of traffic and walkers. The professor said she found the American Hummer to be the best car, and then turning, as though catalyzed by the brawn and force of a combination of army machine and Michigan muscle, she asked if I had ever heard of Dao Lang. She said he was the best Xinjiang singer.
North Korea scholar Andray Abrahamian was rudely informed recently that his Barclays bank account, which he's held for 20 years, had been cancelled. And all because he works for a Singaporean non-profit that dares to engage North Korean citizens.