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.
Around 3 am on Monday, April 21, a suspected carjacker in Foshan, Guangdong province was tailed by police into a toll booth / checkpoint, where he was surrounded and ordered to get out of the car. The suspect, surnamed Tan, did no such thing. He did the opposite of getting out, which is stepping on the accelerator, even if it meant ramming his car backwards into police vehicles and officers alike.
DC rappers Pacman and Peso, who made waves in January after releasing a music video filmed in Pyongyang, North Korea (a trip that their friend and colleague, Ramsey Aburdene, documented for this site), are back with another video, this one set in Beijing. There's a lot to love about this, including:
There are some serious amateur filmmakers working for the United States's Federal Bureau of Investigation -- I can think of no other reason why Game of Pawns would exist: a nearly half-hour mini-movie that tells the story of Glenn Duffie Shriver, who was bribed by Chinese officials when he was studying in Shanghai to pass along sensitive information. Shriver made $70,000 before he was caught. He's now in the US serving out a four-year sentence in federal prison.
The 11th Adult Care Expo, i.e. Shanghai Sexpo, ended on Sunday, and if you weren't there for any of the three-day extravaganza of awkward gazing/touching/posing and shameless mobile recording inside the Shanghai International Exhibition Center, we'll fill you in: there were a lot of sex toys and aphrodisiacs, a lot of phalluses, a few AV stars but way more scantily clad girls -- sometimes dancing, sometimes doing something... we don't know -- and a lot of QPR codes, often on skin, because sexpos have gone digital, baby.
This morning around 9 o'clock, a five-storey apartment building in Fenghua, Zhejiang province collapsed because it was old. (We're not sure what the technical term might be.) Details are scarce, but CCTV News reported around noon that up to five people had been rescued, though an untold number remained buried.
The Xinjiang Flying Tigers may have lost the CBA championship to the Beijing Ducks, but Xinjiangers around the world came away from the games with a powerful meme. It came at the end of Game 5, after the Tigers rallied and pulled off an improbable win in front of a hostile Beijing crowd of 18,000. Shiralijan, the star Uyghur point guard for the Tigers who had been tasked with defending Stephan Marbury -- the star of the Ducks (and best player in the league, according to Anthony Tao!) --threw the ball in the air and raised a twirling, emphatic fist: