Archive | July, 2013

Hoping for more famous Chinese authors

19 Jul

Chinese authors aren’t too well-known* or sell too many books worldwide, and efforts are underway to change that with book publishing companies putting more effort in searching for more Chinese writers to translate. There’s nothing too momentous mentioned in the piece though so I won’t get my hopes up too much, but it’s still good to see a little more effort by publishers.

*There are exceptions like Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Ha Jin and Gao Xingjian, though the latter two have been based abroad for a long time and Ha only writers in English now.

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Ancient texts and modern fun

19 Jul

A series of ancient texts from 300 BC was discovered recently which has a great potential to help China understand its deep past even more, seeing as most ancient texts like these were destroyed by rulers, intent on rewriting history to justify their reign and policies. As one person in the article puts it, this is like finding the “original Bible”.

Meanwhile, the Times looks at how young factory workers have fun in Zhengzhou, Henan, where inline and roller skating, dance clubs, and shows are some of the popular options (which is not dissimilar to young people all over the world). The article’s point is to show us that Chinese factory workers (at least in Zhengzhou) do have fun outside their factories, but  there’s nothing really momentous or vital about this news. It also drives home a bias about mainland China from the media, about normal things, like having fun, are new to China.

Beautiful Shanghai from on top

15 Jul

I came across these great photos of Shanghai from a Shanghaiist post. It’s taken by a photographer, who I presume is Chinese, from atop the Shanghai Tower, which is under construction but will be the world’s second tallest tower when completed. Already you can see the tower has dwarfed the Shanghai World Financial Center (the one with the big squarish hole at its top) and the Jin Mao tower (to the left of the SWFC), both quite high themselves.

For comparison, check these photos I took earlier this February when I was in Shanghai.

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The Jin Mao tower is in the center, with the SWFC on its left, and the Shanghai Tower on its right.

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From the base of the SWFC from one side looking up, it looks like a knife. The Shanghai Tower can be seen under construction at right.

China’s world’s largest building and mini-city sculptures

15 Jul

Last week, China recently achieved another milestone in terms of biggest, tallest, or longest- the world’s largest building. Now I can’t even fathom the size of this giant just from the figures, but to say 3 Pentagons or multiple football stadiums can fit into it easily, which is definitely huge. I wonder how long it’d take to walk around it inside or to visit all the shops and attractions. Located in Chengdu, the New Century Global Center looks to be quite a work of art as well. I hope it becomes heavily visited and used, unlike the world’s biggest mall.

It’s not that often you come across modern Chinese art, but here’s Guangzhou-based sculptor Hu Shaoming with an interesting series of intricate city sculptures hanging upside-down under an umbrella or perched on a seahorse’s head. The sculptures’ small gold buildings kind of reminds me of the cities in the intro song to the Game of Thrones TV show. Hu’s pieces are meant to convey a sense of loss of traditional culture in today’s society.

Aircraft carrier progress and economic slowdown

11 Jul

China continues to make more progress with its aircraft carrier, having conducted a series of flight take-off and landings. Yet this is far from signifying that the aircraft carrier can be ready for use anytime soon, because much more training needs to take place, especially in operating the aircraft carrier in cooperation with a combat fleet. As a Singaporean university academic said in the article, China “will need several more years before the Liaoning is fully operational and it learns how to build its own carriers.”

Meanwhile China’s economy seems to be declining a bit, resulting in predictable articles with pessimistic overtones. Yet as this article tries to explain, China’s leaders seem to be coming around to the reality that “the days of open-ended hyper growth are over” as serious socioeconomic problems such as inequality and corruption become more of a priority. Reforms will be needed for China’s economy and in the short-term might cause some pains, including for the world. But what’s important is for China’s leaders to ignore the doubters and press ahead, because what’s important is to help their own citizens, not foreign companies and nations.

Anchee Min speaks out

10 Jul

Chinese author Anchee Min talks about her rough beginnings, in both China and the US. Min, who went to the US in 1984 and has been there since, wrote a memoir and several historical novels. She’s very frank in the interview about some of the terrible things she did during the Cultural Revolution as a Red Guard, such as betraying her favorite teacher and taking part in exposing a girl’s love affair that ended with her suicide.

Xian’s bright future, and the men’s football team’s bleak present

5 Jul

Xian might have a very bright future as a hub for a new “Silk Road“, including plans to be an “inland port”, due to its central location in Western China that connects Eastern China, Beijing, Western China, and Central Asia. At least, this is the view of its leaders, as this China Daily article describes.

In another sad news about the men’s football team, just-fired coach Jose Antonio Camacho is to receive a whopping 6.45 million euros by China’s football body and its main sponsor, as compensation for firing his ass and breaking his contract. China, unbeknowst to me, played 3 friendlies in June, and lost all 3, with the worst being a 5-1 demolition by Thailand! There’s no excuse whatsoever for losing 5-1 to Thailand so I’m glad he’s gone. The team has not done very well under his watch, having crashed out of World Cup qualifying early in 2011, with its ongoing Asian Cup qualification campaign still in progress.

4 Jul

I was absent from blogging about China while in SE Asia for a holiday, but I wasn’t absent from China. I saw and met so many Chinese, both travelers and tour groups, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. I was privileged to meet a few young Chinese and talk to them, and it’s both nice and sobering to see how adventurous, and confident they are about traveling around in foreign countries and using foreign languages, specifically English. I feel that with more and more people like them, it’s a sign that China is progressing and younger people are becoming more outgoing, openminded and knowledgeable. Another sign of the increased Chinese presence in international tourism was the amount of vendors, especially youngsters, who spoke, pitched and hassled people like me in Mandarin in Cambodia’s Angkor. Please forgive me for the absence; more posts and links to China news should be forthcoming.