Taiwan Chinglish?

Hello, coming at you from Taipei, Taiwan. I always love visiting here.

Unfortunately though, Taiwan is low on Chinglish. Only one I found is this and it’s even supposed to be artistic:

The only #Chinglish I could find in #台湾 Fucking Snake #art!

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And here are a couple of others from back in SZ

I call double-negative on this #Chinglish!

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Feelin secure in a roundabout way. #Chinglish-y?

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More on Taiwan later, stay tuned…

 

Financial Times: The End of the Chinese Miracle?

This is a sponsored post. I was recently contacted by the Financial Times concerning “The End of the Chinese Miracle”, and have been invited to share the following video and give some of my commentary. Definitely a must-watch for all China observers:

 

China is certainly changing. And according to the Financial Times, the economic growth will not last forever. Specifically, due to the cheap labor of migrants winding down in recent years. I am not an economics expert myself, but the doubling of wages and repercussions globally do seem troubling. An interesting analysis.

The interview with a migrant worker who has decided to return to his hometown is key. Hundreds of millions may follow suit (the numbers are staggering), and the dependence of the world on ‘made in China’ products is going to have to change. There is also the phenomenon of of Vietnamese coming to work illegally in China explored. While India may be the next big thing, in the meantime the world is going to have to get used to new status quos.

Not mentioned in the video however, is the widely-believed analysis that the crackdown of Xi Jinping’s government is all about keeping China stable — and under the party’s control — as the economic downturn inevitably moves along… Not to mention the explosion of housing prices in major Chinese cites, which I have witnessed firsthand.

I don’t usually get into politics and economics on this blog, it’s mostly been about just my own experiences, yet I always welcome discussions with those smarter than myself. I do try to be optimistic, and the truth is no one can completely predict the future accurately.

But there is certainly much to be anxious about.

Would you like to add to the discussion?

Asian Book Blog: 500 Words

500 words from Ray Hecht

http://www.asianbooksblog.com/2016/04/500-words-from-ray-hecht.html

500 words from…is a series of guest posts from authors writing about Asia, or published by Asia-based, or Asia-focused, publishing houses, in which they talk about their latest books. Here Shenzhen-based American Ray Hecht talks about his new novel South China Morning Blues, published by Blacksmith Books based in Hong Kong. Ray’s earlier books were The Ghost of Lotus Mountain Brothel and Loser Parade. He currently writes for Shenzhen Daily, the only daily English-language newspaper in the south of mainland China.

South China is like a giant test tube where ideas and people from all over the world meet. Expats and locals alike must try to make sense of the crazy present, if they are ever going to forge the brilliant future that is China’s ambition. That is precisely what the characters in South China Morning Blues are trying to do. There’s Marco, a crooked businessman with a penchant for call girls; Danny, a culture-shocked young traveller; Sheila, a local club girl caught up in family politics; Amber, a drug-fuelled aspiring model; Terry, an alcoholic journalist; and Ting Ting, an artist with a chip on her shoulder. Their lives intertwine in unexpected ways as they delve deeper into their surroundings and in the process learn more about themselves.

So: over to Ray…

I have always been fascinated by China. So when I was invited to move to Shenzhen I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to learn all I could about this fascinating and strange place.

Shenzhen, famed for supposedly having no culture, was a small fishing village until the post-Mao economic reforms. Now, it’s a city with a population that outnumbers New York. And I realised upon arrival that the future of China can be as fascinating as the past; the Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen became an inspiring place to me.

I wanted to write about the expat scene, about all those weird people who drop everything in their lives back in the home country in order to try to make it big abroad. I wanted to write about the local people, about the youth navigating their way through the 21st century while being pushed by their parents in what must be the biggest generation gap ever. I wanted to write about international traders, party girls, English teachers, drug dealers, courtesans, models, artists, people from all over the world who participate in the new global experiment that is South China.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen borders Hong Kong, a city that defies definition. In one sense it is under the heel of the mainland People’s Republic, yet in other ways it is sovereign, more like a free Western city. Certainly, it is one of the most international places in the world. For me, whenever Shenzhen got to be too much, I could always hop the border and find English bookstores and uncensored films. Hong Kong was like an alternate reality just across the river. I wanted to write about outsiders visiting this compelling place.

Then again, there was the city of Guangzhou. I moved there for a year, to research and better understand this whole Pearl River Delta thing. Guangzhou is even more massive than the other two cities, yet it has an ancient culture which gives it a unique flavour. I went to old temples, and I studied the history of revolutions and uprisings. I think I did some of my best writing while living in Guangzhou.

Eventually I had to return to Shenzhen, where I completed my novel South China Morning Blues, which is told through the perspective of 12 characters that each correspond to an animal in the Chinese zodiac. I filtered my various experiences and research and hearsay into stories meant to capture the essence of what modern China represents. It is a confusing place indeed, but a place where people can learn about themselves as well as the city, and China.

Writing and publishing this novel has been an amazing journey. I am still as overwhelmed and confused as ever by South China, but I’ve been very happy that the book has enabled me to share my humble feelings and observations with interested readers from around the world.

Details: South China Morning Blues is published in paperback by Blacksmith Books, priced in local currencies.

798 Arts District – Beijing

Thanks for waiting. Haven’t posted about art in a while, but rest assured I am still here and still writing sparse art blogs to encourage visits. Don’t ever forget the arts.

While I usually post art about Shenzhen, but recently I went to Beijing (trip went very well) and decided to check out their very esteemed art scene.

Of course, I speak of the 798 art district, the original Chinese-former-factory art district!

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While I have heard around that it isn’t what it once was — is anything ever? — I did have a great time wandering the coffee shops and observing the various outdoor sculptures.

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As for specific shows at specific galleries, UCCA was recommended to me and I’m glad it was.

The show was Elmgreen & Dragset: The Well Fair, which frankly blew me away. I rarely say that about exhibitions. In extremely postmodern terms, the art was about the nature of art galleries more than anything else. There was much question about whether things were “real” or not, whether the rooms and paths were art or part of the regular building. A broken staircase leading to the emergency exit, a donation box, signs pointing to a VIP room, even a fake washroom. It was quite an experience. And, some sculptures just plain melancholic.

Please check out the above links for more information, and my slideshow below though hardly doing justice:

 

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I wandered around a bit more afterwards. Yang Gallery, a showcase of “Abstraction Geometry”, and general wanderings come to mind…

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There’s a lot to see at 798. Do check it out if ever in Beijing.

Oh, and I got a caricature drawn. Looks like me?

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