Last Thursday saw the publication of the China Story Yearbook 2013, the second in an annual series published by the China experts at Australia National University's Center on China in the World. It was co-edited by the estimable Geremie Barmé and Beijing's very own Jeremy Goldkorn. Disclosure: I'm partial. I occasionally write for the China Story blog, but don't let that deter you. The yearbook is packed with insight and perspectives you won't find in commercial media, with gems that will prove invaluable to any China watcher.
After winning the first set of the Australian Open final against defending champ and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, Li Na rolled her ankle -- twice, the second time immediately following a 10-minute fireworks display in honor of Australia Day -- before falling in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
That Azarenka was on the other end of two medical timeouts was more than a little ironic.
Ever since advancing to the 2011 Australian Open final, becoming the first Chinese player to appear in a Grand Slam singles final, Li Na has been somewhat of a media darling in Melbourne. The 30-year-old, sixth-seeded Wuhan native beat Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday to advance to the semis against Maria Sharapova, but not before serving up a bit of comedy.
Congratulations to Wu Di for qualifying for the Australian Open!
And congratulations to the Chinese education system for its success in instilling in Tennis Player Wu the notion that no matter where a mainland Chinese person travels, everyone else is still the foreigner.
Yesterday, while writing about an Australian reporter who had become somewhat of a Chinese Internet star because of her Mandarin-speaking ability, I was most struck by something she said in English. At a press conference inside the Great Hall of the People, she mentioned she was representing "Global CAMG Media International." I googled that phrase and found no results on the first page. The closest match was "CAMH," which is completely different. That should've sent up a red flag, instead of a yellow one. But this was still the early stages of the story, and the news seemed to be the question itself, not the identity of the questioner, so I went ahead with the post.
Turns out, nope -- at least in terms of content. But on Saturday afternoon, one reporter attracted an equal amount of attention at an 18th Party Congress press conference. She stood up, took the mic, and asked a nearly minute-long question in Mandarin, and then wryly said, "I'll translate for myself." A few chuckles came out of the erstwhile catatonic crowd.
On Sunday in Yantai, Shandong province's Golden Sands beach, a young man surnamed Ji swam a bit too far into the sea and went under. As Tencent Online tells it via 365jia (pictures from there), an Australian named Jason relaxing a few hundred meters away saw this and sprung to action.
I don't know why, but this made me laugh. Maybe it's the extra-nasally way the man pronounces the J in Beijing. Maybe it's because I feel like he's ready to vomit the words "chicken burger," such is his rising disdain. Maybe the title of the video itself -- Crazy McDonalds employee sells Sloppy Beijing Burger. Or maybe it's the idea of him turning off his camera, getting out of his car, and marching straight back into the McDonald's to return the burger, like he said he would... or the thought that he just might not turn the camera off while he does this.