After sitting out more than two months with an injury and missing 22 games, Beijing Ducks superstar point guard Stephon Marbury returned to the court last night against the Shandong Flaming Bulls in his team's first game of the new lunar year.
It was an eventful night, to say the very least. Read more »
The ubiquitous red envelope may seem innocent enough, but accommodating a billion or so hongbao exchanges puts great pressure on the Chinese banking system. After experiencing several cash crunches in 2013, the People’s Bank of China very publicly injected 255 billion RMB (42 billion USD) into the system leading up to the holiday. You care, because the inflation this caused means your holiday (cash) bonus was just a touch undervalued. Read more »
It started with an early-morning flight out of Shanghai. I was headed back to Beijing after a few days of work, and while the departure time of 7:30 am was excruciatingly early, I was comforted by the fact that I had scored an economy-priced first-class seat.
Everything went smoothly at the start – more than smoothly, in fact, since I luxuriated in a huge seat while wearing slippers, sipped freshly brewed Americano from fine china, and snacked from a bowl of warm nuts, all before take-off. I settled in, ready to fully enjoy the two-hour journey.
After we had reached altitude and the flight attendants brought me my breakfast, complete with a white tray-table cloth and freshly squeezed OJ, the captain got on the mic to make an announcement. Read more »
Hope everyone had a fun and -- more importantly -- safe Chinese New Year on Thursday night. By safe we mean: you didn't break a window, did you? You didn't burn anything down? Because there was both a broken window and a HUGE-ASS FIRE at 4corners, the Gulou bar with the healthy reputation for holding uproarious and unpredictable parties. Read more »
Beijingers, if you're looking for something to do over Spring Festival that doesn't involve elbowing fathers and sons inside crowded parks, check out the Crossroads, a non-profit / NGO community center in Gulou, which is screening two independent documentaries every day from now until February 6. Read more »
Louis CK was in Beijing in June 2012 to film the (wonderful) finale of (the wonderful) third season of his show Louie, and apparently he got enough material to tell stories for years. He was recently on David Letterman, where -- for whatever reason -- he was prompted to relive his experience. Read more »
A jet-black Audi A6 with government plates rolls down the streets of Beijing and stops at a school, mall or restaurant. Out steps a teenage girl, backpack in tow, who surely can't be a government official -- but just might be the daughter of one. Secretly, every pedestrian scoffs and/or hisses.
If last November’s Communist Party announcement about the procurement and use of government cars actually pans out -- eliminating all but a select number (取消一般公车) -- familiar scenes like these may no longer dominate urban landscapes. Read more »
There was a time, years ago, when Chinese New Year's Eve in Beijing was the world's most bombastic celebration of existence, a collective yell held for three straight hours amid concussions of light and racket. Because here we were, we declared, right here. Earth shook heaven. I remember forked lightning, fractals of red, blue, and orange, air rent with the shape of sound. It felt surreal to be centered in this steady beat of a burgeoning and explosive declaration, ours, that we had survived and would survive yet (Do your worst!), and yet it felt right. Read more »
Music envelops the tight confines of nightclubs in Xinjiang's urban centers, where the pageantry of movement brings friends and strangers to life. Uyghurs can dance. And since his very first cassette tape released in 1999, the singer Möminjan has been popular with Xinjiang's youth precisely because his songs are eminently danceable. Read more »
In college, I came across the original diaries of two Fuzhou missionaries that had been gathering dust in our library for more than 100 years. I’ve now lived in China for four years, which seems like long enough to revisit the stories of Mary Allen and Carlos Martin. Read more »
The greatest new app on the market is Baidu Translate, available for Android and iOS, which has the ability to identify and translate everyday objects using only a photograph. Amazing, right? You have no idea. Read more »
PBS has done all of us a favor by offering free streaming of the award-winning documentary Last Train Home on its website until February 11. You have to be located in the US, so fire up those VPNs and get watching. Read more »
It took a manager in a Chinese state-owned enterprise asking me to help double-team his mistress in a Shanghai hotel for me to realize why The Wolf of Wall Street was my favorite film of 2013. Read more »