Exhibition of David Bowie’s private art collection

On my last trip to Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to go to the exhibition from the late David Bowie’s private art collection. It was at Sotheby’s HK location at Pacific Place near the Admiralty area.


Although I didn’t auction any of the pieces, it was a great experience to be able to witness works of art that Bowie had personally owned!

Really fascinating works. The man had an incredible aesthetic, as we all know. The Basquiat pieces particularly stood out:

20161013_163532 20161013_164105

And there was even a work of art that Bowie collaborated on with Damien Hirst:


More information can be found here: http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/bowie-collector/2016/10/bowie-collector-highlights-on-view-in-hong-kong.html

Unfortunately, the exhibition was only on for one week and I believe it has since moved to London. If you happen to get the chance to see it there, I highly recommend it.

Lastly, do please check out this slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





I am pleased to announce the release of my latest novel, This Modern Love.

Unlike my previous writings about China, this story is primarily concerned with America. It is about the way that technology has skewed modern relationships, and explores various themes of youth and immigration, sex and emptiness and the whole soul-of-my-homeland thing.

Please check it out on Amazon. It is available as a Kindle eBook as well as a paperback edition. I believe it works well as a digital read.

If you would like to review, please contact me and I’d be happy to send it to you.

Thanks for reading!



American love isn’t what it used to be.

Roommates Jack and Ben are complete opposites when it comes to romance. For Jack, a mere waiter, it’s easy to use to the latest to app meet a new girl every weekend. But Ben, even though he’s a programmer, can’t seem to figure out how to maneuver online dating.

On the other side of town, sisters Andrea and Carla have their own issues. Andrea is a bit of a wreck, stumbling from one dramatic episode to the next. Carla is more concerned with blogging than dating, though she does get lonely at times. In an age of narcissism and alienation, it’s just so hard to meet someone.

Over the course of one day, these thoroughly modern men and women keep passing each other by. From yoga class to the club – all in a haze of drugs, sex, and selfies – opportunities for true love come and go, and no one notices because they were too busy staring at their phones.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Chinglish: Guangzhou and more shirts

Hello, it’s that time of the middle of the month when I have Chinglish to share.

I have noticed that there are more random t-shirts. Or at least I am capturing more of them.

Some from my recent Guangzhou trip.

I do feel bad taking pictures of random people in the street but it’s just too good…



Where do people get these awesome #pervert shirts? I want one! #Guangzhou #Chinglish

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


Another very random #Chinglish-y outfit Interpret as you will

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


Been finding a lot of random #Chinglish-y shirts lately

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


Another day another #Chinlgish Friendly Words, Active and Patience

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


Awww cute #Chinglish in the park

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


Of Gods and Mobsters by the Hong Kong Writers Circle


Of Gods and Mobsters is a 2013 anthology of short stories published by the Hong Kong Writers Circle (you may recall that I participated in a podcast for the HK-based literary society). The Writers Circle publishes anthologies on an annual basis, and this volume in particular was recommended to me. I am pleased to report that the stories are excellent and the quality of writing coming out of Hong Kong is very high indeed.

The stories are grouped together into three parts: Of Gods, Of Tales, and Of Mobsters. Broadly speaking, the stories are split between the genres of magical realism and crime. The pervading theme throughout all are unique examinations of modern cosmopolitan experience—specifically within the strange land of contradictions that is Hong Kong.

The first and longest part tells stories of Western mythology in this Eastern-yet-international setting, which range from James Joyce-esque references to Neil Gaiman-style stories of ancient gods in the contemporary era. Several stories star the Mount Olympus pantheon, starting with Reena Bhojwani’s Hidden in the Night, an entertaining romp about Apollo and Zeus and Hera interacting in the city. Makes for very interesting juxtaposition.

The middle section, Of Tales, still fits with the style of the rest of the book. Aber Revisited by Joy Al-Sofi is a fable in the style of Kipling full of talking tigers, yet the tiger is represents Chinese symbolism. One of the best stories is The Standard by the anthology’s editor SCC Overton, a tragic science fiction romance about the fascinating concept of ethnic minority DNA becoming the future currency standard. It is a genre-bending story, very literary and very poignant. A futuristic banker of all people falls in love with a woman who is a Hakka specimen carrying her people’s genome for the sake of the economy. What a way to capture the essence of Hong Kong.

The final part Of Mobsters exemplifies the spirit of such themes by taking a myriad of story-telling directions. Some mystery, some even satire. Midlife Triad by James Tam is about gangsters in jail who are fans of ‘wuxia’ pulp stories. Guanxi by Edmund Price contrasts the rich (literately) high-life on the Peak, with corrupt Filipinos who break into the world of one wealthy man. I found The Curious Resemblance to the Case of the Speckled Band by Kim Grant very charming, an amusing postmodern take on Sherlock Holmes about a fan who happens to named Holmes who bumbles and strives to be a detective, and actually has a wife named Watson. And The House by Melanie Ho references the board game Clue (known as Cluedo in some countries).

Perhaps the best is saved for last with Ian Greenfield’s story Mr Tse and the Pied Piper of Homantin, which ties the entire anthology together well. The story is both a crime story, and an homage to fairy tales of old. A great satire full of quips on Hong Kongers complex relationship with mainlanders, the shallowness of pop stars, and the prevalence of parent’s dependence on tutors. Ostensibly a retelling of the Pied Piper (also with Snow White, Miss Muffet, and even vampires therein), Mr Tse finds a way to use its structure lambaste nearly everyone in Hong Kong.

Like any anthology, Of Gods and Mobsters has many different short stories of various styles and each may not suit all readers. However, no matter a reader’s preference it cannot be denied that the quality is always high. Not to mention, there are also poems of depth sprinkled within for yet more diversity if one isn’t just into prose. The only major criticism, as it goes with expat literature, is that much of it might only make sense if the audience is familiar with the area. One frequent phrase is “Fragrant Harbour”, which of course is a literal translation of the characters for Hong Kong, but that wouldn’t necessarily be known to most around the world. Nonetheless, for fans of the region the book is sure to have many stories exemplifying the spirit of 香港…

Available in Hong Kong bookstores and on Amazon.com.




Not bungee-jumping in Guangzhou

Here in China, we recently celebrated the National Day holiday which remembers the founding of the modern People’s Republic of China’s founding in 1949. Whether you are a communist or not, everybody gets the day off and it’s time to go on a trip…

Having recently moved, me and my girlfriend wanted to check out the train station in nearby walking distance from our new home. Shenzhen and Guangzhou are very close, by the way, and so it was decided we’d take a trip for a couple of days to the big(ger) city!

It does tend to get very crowded on Chinese holidays. The train didn’t even have seats, although we did sit in the dining car most of the way. Luckily, Guangzhou wasn’t that bad. I suppose most people go to the more popular tourist spots and the first-tier cities get emptied out.

Nice time. I like going to the provincial capital on occasion. Although I prefer living Shenzhen–where it seems slightly less depressing to me somehow.


Is it bad to celebrate #RoshHashana by going to a delicious #Muslim restaurant?😀

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on


We went to eat delicious Turkish food in Taojin, and African food in Sanyuanli. The Muslim and African neighborhoods of GZ are excellent places to walk around and explore the scene. Then we made a day of going to Baiyun Mountain, as tourist as it gets there. The cable car made for an amazing view.

What I really wanted to do was go bungee jumping! Lately I’ve been feeling like a need to do something drastic to fight off the haunting ennui of life, and jumping off a cliff might just do the trick. However, after psyching myself and mustering up all the willpower I could muster, when I got there they said it was sold out for the day and I had to reserve 24-hours early😦

Turns out the crowds were a factor after all. Very frustrating. Well at least I saved money. Maybe next time I’m in town, and it’s not a holiday and I can just show up and spontaneously do it.


Made the most of the trip anyhow. A small carnival, some archery. Finally, dim sum the next morning and we went back to good ol’ Shenzhen.

The lesson is: don’t have a normal job and make your own schedule for vacations. (I don’t, but my girlfriend does)

Lastly here’s my Facebook album if you’d like to see more~


End of the month…

… and I don’t have any big blog planned. Whatever to write about~

I try to post something at least once a week. I’m afraid I don’t have enough to say this time.

It’s been a hell of a month. I secured a very busy and slightly lucrative freelance editing job. When it’s all out there perhaps I’ll share. Suffice to say, rewriting an entire book over the course of September wasn’t easy. But very good work to do.

In keeping busy, I’ve been very antisocial lately. Which works for me. Most of the time I’d rather stay in and read and watch movies and occasionally play video games, to be honest. Could it be I’m getting boring?!

I have plans to release some of my own writing. In due time. And some book reviews coming up, perhaps interviews. There’s always Chinglish. What else should I share? I have an idea for a short blog series about literature under a medium I haven’t explored as yet.

So stay tuned…

Talk Show video

A few weeks ago I participated in a nice little talk show in Shenzhen to promote my novel, and riff about writing and creativity. I posted some info here: Annie Talk Show

Unfortunately I only had a link to the QQ video at the time, which wouldn’t embed. I am now pleased to share that I have since uploaded it to my seldom-used YouTube page and that’s much easier for view non-Chinese Internet viewing.

I’m afraid it may not be my best presentation of myself, but I’m always pleased if anyone would like to watch…


Monthly Chinglish roundup

It’s been a while since I posted any Chinglish pictures I have come across, and a lot of Chinglish I have come across.

(You may have seen if you follow my Instagram…)

How about mid-monthly Chinglish? That seems a good pace for sharing.

From hikes to restaurants. Notice the increasing focus on random shirts…

I do feel kind of bad taking pictures of people on the subway, but I sometimes I just have to!


Always hike within your power limit! #Chinglish?

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

Classic #Chinglish phrasing, be sure to slip carefully!

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

#China dream… #chinglish?

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

BE A FLYING FISH! At the new mall, I'll have to eat there soon it sounds nice #Chinglish

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

Came across shopping. Whatever this means. #Chinglish

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

The sex offender rules in China are so harsh #Chinglish shirts #pervert

A photo posted by Ray (@raelianautopsy) on

Book Review: Threads of Silk


Threads of Silk is a new historical novel written by Amanda Roberts — blogger at TwoAmericansinChina.com — and published by Red Empress Publishing, which is sure to fascinate fans of Chinese history. The novel is about one woman’s perspective in the twilight of the Qing Dynasty (which ended in 1911), and is full of historical details. The author certainly did her research; the world of Threads of Silk is grand and exotic and rings true.

The story opens in rural Hunan and is told through the character of Yaqian, a poor girl who raises silkworms and enjoys her simple life in the countryside. After being taken up by upper class mentors, she learns embroidery and is eventually taken to Peking where she stays for the bulk of the novel. The capital city is full of politics, treachery, funerals, the aging dowager empresses, the final child emperor, and there’s even a prince. Yet this is no fairy tale by any means.

The start is somewhat on the slower side, focusing on the atmosphere of the time, and the narrative pace eventually picks up. The bulk of the tales take place within the Forbidden City, a most fascinating setting, although there is a sense that all what goes on in all of China is crucial.

Year by year Yaqian survives and grows. It’s the details that makes the stories feel truthful. Roberts paints an era of intrigue with Han Chinese versus Manchu. Much of the book is also focused on cruelty towards women, and there is ample material full of foot-binding and all the minor crimes that were part of society at the time. Ultimately, the strength of the main character shines through. Especially when it comes to the overlap of politics and family…

The country of China irrevocably changes in the course of these pages, but overall it is a human story about the people who are caught up in history. Right up until the end.

The novel covers such a grand and ambitious scope that it occasionally feels like there is a checklist of historical events to go through. It does work, and it is somewhat the point of the novel to show how a woman of humble origins would have witnessed all that occurred. For the most part the flow works with Yaqian’s life, and the exposition is part of the interest in reading Threads of Silk.

Available on Amazon