Dating in China 1
From Burning Man to Shenzhen, covering mid-2008 to early 2011
My Guangzhou Year
In the city… the city of Canton…
Back to Shenzhen
In which I return to this town that somehow suits me
I begin the online game~
I have a girlfriend! I really did!
I must admit, things got a tad gross.
Hope this wasn’t the beginning of a certain pattern…
2013: Epic Clusterfuck Year
Not Dating in America (and Hong Kong, and Canada)
2012 comes and goes and the world doesn’t end,
Meanwhile a bad start as I embark upon a year of drama bullshit
In which I make a foul choice which ends up following me around all year.
Dark times. No fun.
I meet someone cool and travel to the Philippines
A brief positive note, albeit all too brief
Sonia – Jing – Amelia
POF, a site, met some peoples from differing lands, times are had,
and then I quit online dating forever more
The Very End
And I do mean it, the very very end.
I reflect and I consider and now it is time to move forward–
Not to be continued.
–Thanks for the memories!!
Last week I went to see the Occupy Central democracy protests in Admiralty, Hong Kong. Students had camped out in front of the government offices, and took over roads in order to express their frustration with authority and demand change. The movement was still going strong, after violent actions from police had the opposite intended affect and renewed the people’s motivation and strength. Sadly, since then there has been yet more brutality and there is even more healing to do. At this rate Occupy isn’t going anywhere…
At the time, the scale of the scene astounded and humbled me. I have already posted some pictures, but I think moving-pictures footage can best communicate what is happening there. Allow me to share my video:
I’m a son
I’m a bun
I don’t work
It don’t hurt
Tell me what to be
Show me what to see
So I can know
And scream and grow
And cry on the sidewalk
And die, and hide
And crawl, and talk
Because I am smart
I read a book
I am lying
I’m a crook
I stole this line
And lost a shoe
It’s not a sign
It isn’t true
That I am lost
I have a plan
To steal socks
and live in a van
Or hide in a park
Or explode my heart
Or die alone
With a million dollars
And sing along
While the world goes smaller
Thanks again from MartaLivesInChina!
Occupy Central – Umbrella Movement – Democracy Hong Kong Protests
On Monday night I finally found the time to go to Hong Kong’s protest site in Admiralty, and I was humbled by what I witnessed. It was remarkable; a much larger scale than I had imagined.
After some violence that morning, the protest movement turned out not to be flickering down but had escalated once again. What else could have happened? Lesson learned: violence doesn’t seem to be working.
The students built barricades on Queensland Road using public property, and then a truck also delivered bamboo with accompanying cheering of the crowds.
(The next morning, I sadly read, the police had brought chainsaws and tore down the barricades.)
It is all incredibly inspiring. In front of the corrupt government offices, the movement had completely rebuilt the landscape. Tents, notices, artwork, umbrellas, endless signs. They had taken over, without permission of the System. The people are truly taking over their own city.
I’m no expert, and I don’t know what will happen. It is very possible that no legal ramifications will be directly affected any time soon. But in a sense, I believe that doesn’t even matter. I believe the culture of Hong Kong has changed in subtle, more powerful ways. Mindsets have been altered forever. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle. The government will never forget, from now on, that they must be more accountable and more responsible or otherwise there will be pushback from the people…
Hong Kong, and China, will certainly never be the same. And that is amazing.
Time is running out
We’ll all live forever
Countdown to Doomsday
Utopia isn’t very clever
If we don’t die tomorrow
We’ll survive another day
If we don’t ever have to die
Then there shall be an eternity to play
If that doesn’t work
We’ll figure something out
Write a self-help book about it
And never have a doubt
That life’s a happy rainbow
With happy stupid people
Singing, dancing, dying
All by way of needle
The future… is wide… open
I heard that in a song
At least, that’s what I’m hoping
Interview With a Chinese Learner: Ray Hecht
Originally posted at EazyChinese.com
Hey everyone, how’s it going? Today I’m coming at you with another interview. Today’s victim is Chinese learner Ray Hecht. He”s been living in Mainland China for years, and has a lot of interesting things to say on his blog about China, dating in China and learning Chinese. Plus he shares some pretty sweet art and poetry as well, so hop on over to his site and check out his writing! Being a fellow comic geek, I can relate to a lot of what he has to say!
Now on to the interview.
Q: What Made you decide to learn Chinese?
I was first interested in Asian culture by way of Japanese manga and anime, being a long-time comic geek in my youthful days (and still a geek in my older days). As I got older I became more interested in film, and after watching many classic Kurosawa I came upon Cantonese films of Wong Kar-wai in my teenage years. Eventually this led to watching the film Farewell my Concubine, directed by Chen Kaige, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. In addition to watching the 90s films of Chinese 5th generation filmmaker Zhang Yimou, I became fascinated by China. However, I studied Japanese in college. Learning kanji did give me me a head start in learning hanzi, although the languages are quite different. I never did end up moving to Japan, just visiting a few times (learning some of the language did help). I later got an opportunity to move to Shenzhen and I fully embraced it. Currently, Mandarin is the only other language besides English I speak with any fluency, though I always have more to learn.
Q:How long have you been a student of Chinese, and how long did it take you to become conversational?
I’ve been studying for six years, and in the first year I learned ‘survival Chinese.’ I’ve been getting better at being more conversational in the last 3 years I suppose, but on having deep conversations I know I still have ways to go. The problem is that most conversations are the same: “Where are you from?”, “Are you married?” “How many years have you been in China?” etc.
Q:What was your biggest challenge learning Chinese? And what came easiest to you?
My biggest challenge at first was definitely the tones. Then, the characters although I am always making progress even though it takes years. When it comes to characters, just be patient but make a little progress all the time. In speaking, the grammar of Chinese is easier and I was able to formulate simple sentences quite fast (even if not pronouncing it correctly). “I like…” “I’m from…” and that sort of thing.
Q:What advice would you give to our readers who are just embarking on their journey with Chinese?
I suppose the best advice is to be fully immersive, go to China — or Taiwan, or Singapore — and start speaking. If you are in a big city in China, be careful not to be in the bubble that is the expat scene in which you rarely even speak Mandarin. Push yourself to practice those phrases you studied in real-life, it’s the only way!
Q:Do you have a favorite Chinese phrase? If so, what is it and why?
Well, 多少錢 duoshaoqian (“How much money?”) would be the phrase I say the most often, in going out shopping everyday. Some vocabulary words are fun, when Chinese can be so literal. Technological words such as 電腦 diannao (electric brain: computer) and 電影 dianying (electric shadow: movie) and many more.
Q:What’s your one biggest “hack” for learning Chinese?
One trick is to not stress about tones too much, and just try wait you’re best until one day it becomes effortless. You can still communicate, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With pronunciation, one can imitate another more advanced learner of Mandarin instead of imitating native speakers. After all, any fluent learner was once a beginner and can offer great advice.
Thanks for taking the time to share with us Ray! I hope everyone will learn from Ray’s experiences, and move forward in their own studies. I especially agree with his point on getting out there and SPEAKING. So what are you still doing here? Get out there and practice your Chinese!
I recently traveled to the city of Xiamen in Fujian Province, one of the four original Special Economic Zones. Just as Shenzhen was built up to foster investment from overseas Chinese people (and Zhuhai ala Macau as well), Xiamen was propped in relation to Taiwan.
Although Taiwan is relatively a bit far away, there is the nearby island of Kinmen which is administrated by the ROC government of Taiwan. A small town only thirty minutes away by ferry, it is a nice and charming place to visit and really feels different from mainland China.
Here are some rare Taiwanese Chinglishes, and various other funny pictures:
Note the complex traditional characters 繁體字
2013, as I keep saying, was my Epic Clusterfuck Year.
Meanwhile, my so-called ‘career’ began to slowly take off. I published many an article, worked as a copy-editor, got a certain book deal. I moved, I moved again. All the while searching for that perfect match, and when the search availed I started again, with more baggage piling up and more losses to show for it.
It used to be that I did my thing, make the ol’ money and moderately exercise and read books and study, and I was more or less productive. I was prolific, and nobody in the world knew. Then this year came, it all escalated, I had no more time to myself, and I know my craft suffered for it.
In the end, I had very little to show. Very little to brag of indeed.
And yet, it got even worse. The story was far from over.
And yet, I will not continue this story.
I thank all you readers for being interested in my petty life, and for letting me share and purge. It’s been very therapeutic. I do hope it’s been a good read.
Unfortunately, we are now catching up to the present, and it is still too soon. It is getting a bit too real.
It’s awkward enough when I’ve written these things and someone out in real life tells me they remember that time. I shan’t do that anymore. I’m not out to expose secrets here; I’m obviously not completely into anonymity either, but I do have limits.
So that is that.
Allow me merely be reflective upon a memoir’s epilogue not yet written.
Wait a year or two or ten, and I may get back to you in more detail.
It’s a shame, it would have made for some great writing… Woulda’ been ten blogs worth at least…
Sigh: One. Her. Pejorative Nickname. I had a whole internal dialogue about what pseudonym or pronoun to use and what level of respect is accorded, and I will not share the conversation with you! Sorry.
Look. I know I’m not particularly innocent. I know I’m not.
But there was one day I lost the very last shreds of my innocence, and I can never ever get it back.
I heard things I never heard before, I was told things no one else has ever since told me.
I am, however, so over it.
I’m slightly better at relationships since that time. A little bit. A teensy, tiny, very little bit. But slightly better nonetheless.
A better class of person has graced my own personage, and know that it is appreciated.
I learned about all I could learn from the scenario. Okay? Okay?!! Okay.
At this point in my life I’d prefer to play it cool. Grow somewhat, take things seriously, and simultaneously be cool.
To get over myself, as it were.
Enough already with the self-indulgence.
It is 2014. In fact, 2014 is almost over. It is an even-numbered year, and I tend to do better in even-numbered years. It has been a year of much reflection and evolution, it truly has.
I hope I can keep it up.
Soon it will be another odd-numbered year, and it will be hard on me and I’ll need all the help I can get.
There are new challenges to consider, new stages in life and amazing things yet to occur. There will be novelty. There will be grace. There will be magic and fire and art and power.
Time to seize this living thing.
The dealing-with-my-issues stage is over. It is now time to go go go–
Wish me luck.
Thanks again for reading.