Ed's note: First, watch the above trailer. It's awesome, isn't it? It's the preview for The New Masters, a proposed full-length documentary about mixed martial arts in China directed by Christopher Cherry and David Dempsey. You can learn more about it, which has the makings of something special, over on its Kickstarter page. Or keep reading, as screenwriter and producer Sascha Matuszak explains the inspiration behind this project.
On Monday morning, Hong Kong media reported that the barricades around Admiralty would be removed after two-plus weeks of bulwarking pro-democracy protesters in their concrete campground near government offices. The evidence was right there on the tele: moving pictures of police clearing the roads! And so, after lunch, I found myself in a friend's dad's car going from Wan Chai in the direction of our final destination in the western Mid-levels. We had just gotten onto Queensway and could see Pacific Place, a luxury complex of business and commerce, when we encountered... a barricade.
Chairman Mao once said, "Without destruction there is not construction. The destruction is the criticism, the revolution. The destruction comes first, it of course brings the construction.” In recent years this quote has been taken literally, and the character 拆 (chāi), which means to "tear down," adorns the entrances of many-a-doomed domiciles. The phenomenon has evolved so that the Chinese have nicknamed their country 拆那 (chāinà - get it?), referring to the daily razings that make way for growth.
Disclaimer: We can't be certain this oil being extracted from a gutter in Shanghai's Tianzifang, a trendy "historic district" filled with kitschy shops and overpriced restaurants and bars, will be used on hotplates and woks and pans. But it sure is possible, isn't it?
Sing their praises: Jiiiiianbing. Guaaaanbing. Shen jian bao! Tian youtiao! GIMMAY GIMMAY GIMMAYYYY.
On Saturday morning, a middle-aged man boarded Bus No. 7 in Hangzhou and lit a package of flammable liquids. The ensuing flames injured at least 32 passengers, with 24 in critical condition. You can watch the frightening scene above, and also check out the scene from the street, outside the flaming bus.
Last September, when Literary Death Match swung through Beijing, I performed a poem called Things That Taste Like Purple about the devilry of baijiu, a.k.a. sorghum liquor (dust of the attic, wine of the gutter... with a long finish into the fetor of fragrance). Unbeknownst to me, one of my friends in the audience, the artistic and talented Amy Sands, would go on to create a series of watercolors to accompany my words. The video, which she shot, I post here with deepest gratitude and humility.
So, before I begin, I guess I should get one thing out of the way: I write that show that all expats seem to hate but Chinese people seem to like – see the sketch I wrote about potatoes.
Yes, of course you could no doubt do it better; and yes, I agree, why do they even bother employing us? We’re not even funny. Now that I’ve saved you the hassle of leaving those sentiments in the comments section, I’ll get to the nitty gritty.
It was just another day on the Square, though it seemed there were slightly fewer people than usual. Many must have gotten turned away at the security line underground, as officers informed, "If you don't have ID, don't bother waiting in line." The sternest reprimand we heard all day came from an officer who halted a woman sauntering past the queue. "Go wait in line," he barked. "Do you not see all these people waiting?"
On December 10, 2013, Chinese dissidents Liao Yiwu, Bei Ling, Wang Yiliang, Meng Huang, and Wang Juntao streaked outside Stockholm Concert Hall during Nobel ceremonies to protest the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Yesterday, an animated video was released recounting that night and the events that led up to it.
Matthew Niederhauser, who's putting finishing touches on a film called Kapital Creation that documents Beijing's development, recently uploaded a Vimeo featuring stunning aerial footage of this city. It's interesting how a simple rotation of perspective can completely change how we view a place -- and makes you realize the value of a window office atop a skyscraper (or a blimp). Watch the video; you're unlikely to find urban Beijing rendered more beautifully.
If you find yourself needing transportation around Bajiao Amusement Park on Subway Line 1, Tiantong Yuan North Station on Line 5, or Longze Station on Line 13, perhaps it's best to take the bus or a cab. (This is the first and only time I'll recommend taking a taxi over the subway, considering this city's traffic). If you need a reason, check out the video above.
On Wednesday, Tunghai University student Cheng Chieh (Zheng Jie), 21, got on a subway from downtown Taipei and began indiscriminately stabbing people. Four were dead and 24 injured when the horrific attack ended, a portion of which was captured on video, above.
When a movie makes Steven Spielberg cry, you can be sure of one thing: it was written for the express purpose of making people cry. Please take a look at the trailer for Coming Home, the new film by Zhang Yimou starring his muse Gong Li and the distinguished Chen Daoming. Then consider how Sinosphere described one particular audience's reaction after a screening:
Most people know better than to eat street malatang, which -- if you don't know -- basically consists of pieces of veggie and tofu and fish balls and squid and other indecipherable foodstuff stabbed on sticks and boiled/drowned in oil and spices. It's disgusting and no one likes it. But sometimes, because you're drunk or too prideful to say no to a dare, you do eat, and your stomach dies a little.
Take note: if you go on a slashing rampage in public, you'll be shot and treated like a rabid dog, held down by metal poles. Take a look at the video, which shows police manhandling a knife-wielding suspect who wounded six passersby yesterday at Guangzhou Railway Station.
Sometimes, when life throws you an obstacle, simply call on a dozen people to move said obstacle out of the way. In Tianjin on Sunday morning, a van parked in front of a building blocked a coach bus from leaving the enclosed lot via the only road out. That bus happened to be carrying more than two dozen Beijing Ultimate Frisbee players who were in town for a tournament. They had an idea.
The WeChat-Facebook conflict, a battle for hearts and minds that has simmered for months around hotpot tables where expats and exchange students boast about their respective weaponry, has turned hot.
A series of ads recently released on the Youtube channel WeChatSouthAfrica poke fun at Social Network Boy Mark Zuckerberg. The ads -- currently three of them -- are set in the study of a German psychiatrist who prescribes "ze WeChat" to a despondent Zuckerberg.