The cicadas are loud this year. Quite loud. At least they are where I live in Pudong. Their sound, which is almost indescribable – not a buzz, more a pulsating chatterous skeez – fills the air day and night. The high point came a couple weeks back when they set up a truly deafening, almost three-dimensional roar. They are trailing off now. Day by day the sound thins, like the tide going out leaving small islands here and there. Soon there won’t even be islands – just silence. Now there are are only a few left. You probably won’t even notice they’re gone, just like you barely noticed they were there. How can something so loud be so invisible?
Yesterday the news came – Bao Bingzhang, the mayor of Xuhui, declared that Yongkang Lu – the drinking destination favored by Shanghai’s most discerning laowai – was to be shut down. “Yongkang Lu Bars Must Be Eliminated” the headline roared across the Xinmin Wanbao. The news went around Wechat like wildfire. And then today came the follow-up: “Yongkang Lu Bars To Be Shut by the End of July”. Tears were shed. Drinks were ordered.
Some surprising news went around last week – Kungfu Komedy veteran Turner Sparks was doing his last stand-up show in Shanghai. And then a few days later came some more surprising news – Kungfu Komedy veteran Joe Schaefer was doing his last stand-up show in Shanghai. And that was followed by some more surprising news – Kungfu Komedy veteran Paul Johnson was – you guessed it – also doing his last stand-up show in Shanghai. These shows all went down a within a week of each other. So what the heck is going on with Shanghai’s best stand-up outfit? Are the comedians just tired of risking their lives in the Kartel elevator?
An unfortunate thing occurred recently – a disagreement which resulted in the sudden and complete severance of a friendship. And all because of the I Ching. This caused me to confront once again an age old question: who has the right to speak for China? Let me explain.
I’ve lived in China for 18 years, but I didn’t start taking my health seriously until 2008, just after the Olympics. This had nothing to do with the Olympics, though, and everything to do with the fact that I suddenly found myself in my mid-30s, choked by the Beijing smog, and staring reality hard in the face.
I’ve been traveling in China for 15 years now and seeing the sunrise on Taishan was easily one of my top five experiences. I didn’t expect it to be as moving as it was. Here’s my experience.
A century ago, Moganshan attracted Shanghailanders looking to escape the summer heat. They went down and built wonderful stone country homes amidst the bamboo forests which still stand – and are still famous – even today. But even before that, the same thing happened in Lushan, a lush, green-clad, cloud-wrapped mountain which sticks straight up from the north Jiangxi floodplains. Today it is a fantastic getaway which combines culture, nature, architecture and a unique political history.
Slow news day in White Confucius land so I dug up this.
This was broadcast throughout Indiana, on all the NBC affiliates, back in 2008. These nice people took time from reporting on the Olympic action to give an Indiana boy his three minutes of fame. They wanted the editor of the pre-eminent entertainment magazine and website in Beijing to show them how Beijing parties. So that’s what I did.
Who hasn’t been victim of a scam in China at least once? Maybe the teahouse scam or the ladybar scam or the maybe, like me, you simply suspect that life in China is one giant scam. But last week I heard a new one. This happened to a colleague of someone I know, a Chinese girl. She was bilked for RMB40,000 in the space of a day. Here is her story.
I recently moved apartments. Everyone hates moving, except me. I kind of like it. At least I like getting to know a new neighborhood, exploring it, discovering what it has to offer. And after a few months I can say that my current neighborhood is one of my all time favorites. Here’s why.