10 November 2012

Colors in Chinese Culture II

A long time ago I made a post about colors in Chinese culture, well now you can find it in info graph form! Enjoy.

04 November 2012

Taiwanese awarded visa free travel to the US

Good news for Taiwanese passport holders, they can now visit the US without a visa! On November 1st, Taiwan gained entrance to the United States visa waiver program, a select group of 38 countries that can visit the US without the need for a visa. The other countries are:
-Czech Republic
-New Zealand
-San Marino
-South Korea
-United Kingdom

and now Taiwan!
Taiwanese are beginning to enjoy more and visa free travel. Just last year, the EU gave them visa free access to the Schengen Area.

This news however, is making Hong Kongers a little upset. Despite years of lobbying and already having extensive visa free travel privileges, Hong Kong passport holders are still being left out of the visa waiver program.

This is in contrast to their mainlander counterparts who can't really go anywhere without visas.

So if you're Taiwanese, now is the perfect time to see the USA! I hope you enjoy your stay.

02 September 2012

The People’s Map of Hong Kong

I love maps like these. This one comes from HongWrong.com and was made by Miss O’Kistic.

27 August 2012

Where to go from here?

My name is KaiWen and I am the current curator of this blog.

For some time I have been writing articles about China on this blog as a guest writer to supplement the Q and A content produced by the Chinese Guy.

As you may have read or not read some time ago, the actual Chinese Guy who created this blog is on an indefinite hiatus. More or less, he got tired of this blog and decided to move on in life. Therefore, he has given me admin control over this blog.

I didn't feel like I was qualified to answer questions so I thought I could continue this blog by posting some of my own China related content. However, recent comments on some of my posts have pointed out factual inconsistencies that I have overlooked or did not know. And they're right. I am by no means an expert on China, and I no longer believe I am qualified to write anything about China on this blog without doing extensive, time consuming research first, which isn't really fun or worth it for a blog that pays nothing.

So where do we go from here?

Well, hopefully I can find another "Chinese Guy" with good knowledge of China and Chinese culture who can answer questions like this blog was originally intended.

If you would like to volunteer for the position, shoot me an e-mail here.

As for me? I am not sure what role I am suited to play here. Maybe I'll just repost interesting content that I find elsewhere or write editorials on current events.

If you have any ideas I would welcome them.

And if you would be so kind, you could also visit my blog.

Old Photographs of Qing Dynasty Women

Photo: Library of Congress

Yohani Kamarudin and Michele Collet at Environmental Graffiti have composed a collection of photographs of Chinese women in the 19th century, documenting the impact of foot-binding and Manchu influence.

In the words of Yohani,
"At home or abroad, in holiday robes or in plain clothing, the heart of a Chinese female seems to be at all times ready to overflow with mirth and good humor.” This description comes from a Western observer’s account of life in China, and the character of its people, during the 19th century. Its focus: the painful process of foot binding. 
Such a quote may suggest a positive take on womanhood during the 1800s, and the account positions itself as compassionate towards those it describes. However, the author presumes to see women as the helpless victims of Chinese males and Confucianism in general. He has a clear bias against many of the cultural practices observed by the women he seems to praise. 
Westerners' letters and stories from this era appear to paint a rather negative picture of life for Chinese women. Many of those who wrote them were, after all, missionaries, doubtless hoping to convince others of the necessity of ‘saving’ these women from the perceived barbaric practices of their culture. 
Looking back at Chinese culture with the eyes of people living in a completely different time, it’s hard to know exactly what life would have been like for women during those years. However, perhaps by examining these vintage photographs, we can gain a glimmer of insight.
See the entire gallery here, as well as the one on foot-binding here.

I thought she had iPod headphones on at first.

25 June 2012

Future Shanghai

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

Shanghai, China's largest city, is the grand showcase for China's rapid economic development. Once a small textile and fishing town, it has grown in a sprawling metropolis within a matter of a few short years. It is now a leading financial center and the world's busiest port. Just look at the below photo showing Shanghai as it was just 20 years ago and how it is today:

At first glance I thought that top image was some small town in America, but no, that is 20 years of change and progress.

Seeing how a city can change so much in just 20 years, Ive come to wonder how this rapidly growing city will change in the next 20 years.

I recently finished playing the cyberpunk action/adventure game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, set in the year 2027. At least twice in the game you visit Shanghai, and it looks drastically different than today.

Holy Shit
In 2027, Shanghai is literally a two tiered city. Building upwards alone couldn't satisfy the city's need to support an ever growing economy and population. So instead, you build another city right on top of it!

This megastructure is known in the game as "the Pangu" (盤古) literally; "ancient plate" though it is anything but ancient.

It's a radical idea, but sounds extremely expensive and poses massive engineering challenges. But you saw the other photo. If Shanghai could change that much between 1990 and 2010, who knows how it could change between 2012 and 2027? Ok, maybe the above screenshot won't become a reality that quickly, but only time will tell.

In Deus Ex, the city is divided into two tiers not just literally, but social-economically as well. China's richest and most powerful live a lavish life above the Pangu, while the commoners live in the slums below, constantly in the shadow of the Pangu. The symbolism is just too perfect!

In the game you spend most of your time below the Pangu. First off, there are prostitutes everywhere! Around every corner, though this isn't really that surprising. Also, everyone speaks English and/or Mandarin, I did not hear any Wu Chinese (the local dialect which is drastically different than Mandarin)  in the game (though this may be due to the PRC's continued push in the future to make putonghua the de facto national language, even in areas resistant to it like Shanghai and Guangdong). Much of the infrastructure below the Pangu doesn't look much different than today (I think, Ive never been). Strangely, all of the signs plastered all over the city are written in traditional Chinese, while in Mainland China (where Shanghai is) they use Simplified characters. What's also unusual is that the developers actually bothered to make the signs actually say something rather than just gibberish, same thing with the dialogue.

Here are some excellent videos on the architecture of this future city as well as some artwork. Enjoy!

21 June 2012

Not Again

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

Guess what happened yet again? It involves vital organs, China and Apple products.

Ding! Thats right, some sap sold his kidney for 220,000 yuan (US$35,000) (a much better deal than the last guy) so he could buy an iPad. And now he suffers from renal deficiency. Good job Wang!

This really should bring some attention the issue of the underground organ trade in the PRC.

06 May 2012

Another Ask A Blog?

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

Ask who? Ask a Finn!

Fellow blogger Skeptigirl has started such a blog! Do you have a question about Finland? Then send an email to Skeptigirl here. If you have other comments about this idea, see the post here.

05 April 2012

Virgin Boy Eggs

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

It must be some kind of crazy Easter tradition. In Dongyang, China, every spring vendors cook up batches of hard boiled eggs boiled in piss. Yes, piss. Specifically, little boys piss. Like many other strange Chinese dishes, it supposedly has a number of health benefits, such as increased energy, improved circulation, and less joint pain. Apparently this "dish" has been prepared annually for hundreds of years. Little boys piss is collected from local primary schools and put into pots of eggs to simmer and boil. Despite being cooked in urine, they sell for twice the price of regular hard boiled eggs. Does that mean they taste like piss? No idea. But if they do, it looks like Bear Grylls has found a new favorite snack.

31 March 2012

Stop Wal-Mart from Destroying Chinatown

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

Great movie btw
Chinatown LA is under threat by the economic monster known as Wal-Mart, who wants to open a new store in Chinatown.

Chinatowns are a Mecca of prospering small business, and Wal-Mart destroys small business. Not only that, but Wal-Mart has been linked to increased poverty, exploitation of workers and other nasty things.

It is without a doubt that Wal-Mart will completely destroy one of the largest cultural and ethnic enclaves in the United States by ripping out the heart of its economy.

Visit the oppositions tumblr page and sign the petition to show Wal-Mart they're not wanted!

03 March 2012

Chinese TV show rips-off Conan O'Brien

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

It's been long known that China has a habit of ripping off foreign goods, but now it has made its way into television. The Chinese late night show Da Peng copied almost verbatim Conan's opening animation. See for yourself.

Some time later, Da Peng made a response video.

Conan feels bad.

What will they think of rip off next?

28 February 2012

Cathay Pacific introduces Premium Economy

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

If you're planning on flying to China anytime soon, you might want to check out Cathay Pacific's new Premium Economy class. From first looks it seems well worth the money for a 11+ hour plane ride.

The addition of a Premium Economy class was way overdue IMO. The price gap between Economy and Business class is extensive. From New York to Hong Kong, an Economy class seat will run you about $1000 (which is very cheap for such a long flight). Want a little extra comfort for the 15 hour journey? Be prepared to pay over $7000 for an upgrade to Business class for which you get this:

Premium Economy will cost you about $2500 for the same route. Is it worth it over economy? You decide. Heres the standard Economy:

The Premium Economy also comes with an amenity kit with a dental kit, socks and eyeshade. All in a dedicated cabin with noise-canceling headphones and improved meal service. It will be phased into the fleet starting with the 777's and the A330's (which fly to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, Milan and Australia) followed by the 747's and A340's later. 

Of course if money is no object, you could splurge on the First Class mini-suite.

13 February 2012

A taste of American politics part 5

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

During the Super Bowl last week, there was an ad for a Senator's reelection campaign that many deemed, racist. See for yourself (if its not taken down):

Take note of the rice patties and broken English.

11 February 2012

Glorious Mission is coming to a PC near you!

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first.

Some while back I posted about a CoD-like Chinese video game created for the PLA. Well the game will be availible to the Chinese public this May!

Still can't find a download, but once the game is released in China it's only a matter of time before it ends up on the internet. An English version is unlikely so you may need to learn a little Chinese before you can play it right.

17 January 2012

Cathay Pacific CNY E-cards!

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first. You can also contact me, KaiWen, here

The good folks at Cathay Pacific Airways have created some very well done E-cards for welcoming the year of the Dragon! Send one to your Chinese friends today and wish them a Happy New Year! (For reference, CNY is on January 23 this year)

Flash movie not supported

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Where the Jobs Are

Note: If you are new here, read this then this, first. You can also contact me, KaiWen, here

Story Here

You know that the economy has really gotten bad when American's are actually fleeing the country to find work. With unemployment at 9%, some American's are going where the jobs are. China. The article describes one woman who moved with her husband to Xian. They didn't know anything about China or the language, but they went because they were desperate for work. In hindsight they say don't regret their  decision. They felt safer, there were many familiar American establishments such as McDonalds and Wal-Mart, and their new neighbors were very nice and accepting.

This should really be a wake up call to the growing issue of income inequity in America. She commented that in America people don't treat the poor very well (and neither does the government) but in China, people are nice to you regardless of your financial status. What does that say about America?