13 4 / 2014

红烧茄子 (red braised aubergine).

红烧茄子 (red braised aubergine).

07 4 / 2014

f-l-e-u-r-d-e-l-y-s:

A Dragon Teapot by Johnson Tsang

(via wilwheaton)

06 4 / 2014

instagram:

Climbing Huashan (华山), China’s Most Heart-stopping Hike

For more photos from the hike to the top, explore the 华山 Mount Huashan location page and browse the #huashan and #华山 hashtags.

In China’s Shaanxi province, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Xi’an, the peaks of Mount Hua, or Huashan (华山), pierce the clouds, tempting adventurers to explore their heights.

The westernmost of China’s legendary Five Great Mountains, Huashan has stood as a destination for Daoist and Buddhist pilgramage for centuries—though the inaccessability of its peaks attracts only the most dedicated of pilgrims.

The southern peak reaches the highest altitude at 2,155 meters (7,070 feet), igniting the imaginations of thrill-seeking travellers. Home to an ancient monastery that in recent years has been converted into a tea house, the trail to the peak is one of the most dangerous in the world. Those brave enough to make the climb face steep and winding staircases carved into the cliffs and Huashan’s notorious plank road: a series of wooden planks affixed to the mountain’s face with no rails or barracades between hikers and the abyss below.

03 4 / 2014

foodiatefoodimade:

Spiced Radish Cake (Traditional Dim Sum)
@Guangzhou, China

foodiatefoodimade:

Spiced Radish Cake (Traditional Dim Sum)

@Guangzhou, China

01 4 / 2014

theworldofchinese:

BATTLE OF THE SQUARES
Oh China’s middle aged dama and their obsession with blasting music on loud speakers in public squares… they have driven Chinese residents in every city to utter madness. China’sdama are middle-aged woman who are known to hector and annoy, not to mention dance in public parks and squares as part of their daily exercise routine. While the ladies seem to enjoy their morning and evenings dancing, residents near the parks and squares are less than happy.
In desperate attempts to get their quiet evenings back, residents have released ferocious hounds into the dama‘s dancing squares, fired shotguns, and thrown poop and water bombs at them.  Most recently, a group of residents in Wenzhou, a city famous for its rich and gaudy tuhao, decided to team up and get militant on the pesky dama dancing next to their houses.

Sound testing the speakers

After many failed negotiations with the dama, more than 600 residents at Xinguoguang Shangzhu square chipped in to buy a high tech speaker system, according to Hangzhou Daily. The price tag on the audio system: 260,000 RMB. The system doesn’t cost that much for no reason. The speakers direct audio to a specific area at 125db from a 100-meter distance. It is referred to as a “new concept non-lethal weapon”, intended for dispersing crowds, sea patrol, and SWAT operations…
Continue Reading Here.

theworldofchinese:

BATTLE OF THE SQUARES

Oh China’s middle aged dama and their obsession with blasting music on loud speakers in public squares… they have driven Chinese residents in every city to utter madness. China’sdama are middle-aged woman who are known to hector and annoy, not to mention dance in public parks and squares as part of their daily exercise routine. While the ladies seem to enjoy their morning and evenings dancing, residents near the parks and squares are less than happy.

In desperate attempts to get their quiet evenings back, residents have released ferocious hounds into the dama‘s dancing squares, fired shotguns, and thrown poop and water bombs at them.  Most recently, a group of residents in Wenzhou, a city famous for its rich and gaudy tuhao, decided to team up and get militant on the pesky dama dancing next to their houses.

Sound testing the speakers

Sound testing the speakers

After many failed negotiations with the dama, more than 600 residents at Xinguoguang Shangzhu square chipped in to buy a high tech speaker system, according to Hangzhou Daily. The price tag on the audio system: 260,000 RMB. The system doesn’t cost that much for no reason. The speakers direct audio to a specific area at 125db from a 100-meter distance. It is referred to as a “new concept non-lethal weapon”, intended for dispersing crowds, sea patrol, and SWAT operations…

Continue Reading Here.

23 3 / 2014

Earlier this morning, I came across a piece in the Shanghaiist which referred to Jinan as a village (see here), and it made me very angry. Now, I know that the Shanghaiist is not the best source of news, and as its name suggests, its focus is primarily on Shanghai, but that doesn’t make me any less mad. 

Jinan is the provincial capital of Shandong Province (situated roughly halfway between Beijing and Shanghai - the high-speed train link between these two cities actually goes through Jinan), and it is home to several million people. Admittedly, it’s not the most cosmopolitan of cities, but it’s a city nonetheless.

As one friend told me, in the Shanghaiist, anywhere that isn’t Beijing or Shanghai (and maybe Guangzhou) is considered to be a village, or a town if they’re feeling generous - an attitude which mirrors those I observed among many foreigners living in China. 

Even in pieces you’d expect the author to have done a little more homework (such as this piece), you’ll still find the writing laden with essentialist assumptions and a failure to check even the simplest of facts. I am so tired of this notion that unless it’s a big shiny city which conforms to Western standards, it’s not considered to be on the map, and therefore not worth even looking up. 

I am so sick of reading pieces which perpetuate the notion of the “inscrutable Chinese” and that China is an “alien world.” I also hate how we love to conflate the concept of “modernisation” with “Westernisation,” as though the only way to achieve modernity (also associated with “enlightenment”) is to become like us. Yet, paradoxically, we are so surprised when Chinese people show any signs of similarity. I mean, it’s almost like they’re human, too!

I also hate the way that Western media gets such a boner for anything that makes China look like some Orwellian dystopia (see here). I’m not saying that everything is all sunshine and daisies for the Chinese people, but I am often left with the impression that Western media would rather demonize China so that it can divert attention away from problems closer to home. I’ll admit, the situation in China regarding corruption, increasing social stratification, education, food scandals, censorship, air quality and human rights is generally worse than what happens here, but it’s not as though we still don’t have similar issues which desperately need improvement. The West is far from infallible.

So, please could everyone stop thinking that “China” is just one homogeneous blob which is inferior to the West and exists only in Beijing and Shanghai. And if everybody could also do a basic fact-check when writing about China (or anything, for that matter), that would be great.

Rant over.

21 3 / 2014

I recent uploaded a post about Internet Slang (see here) where I explain why river crabs and grass mud horses have become popular in online Chinese society. However, I forgot to explain that in this online world, the two have become mythologized:

River crabs represent “social harmony” (aka censorship)

Grass mud horses (usually depicted as llamas) originated as a clever way of swearing, but have come to represent all sorts of subversive elements online.

Not surprisingly, these two are seen as natural enemies and are often depicted as battling one another.

Song of the Grass Mud Horse (you will need to turn on annotations for English translations)

19 3 / 2014

18 3 / 2014

Although people are often aware that there is no alphabet in the Chinese language, and that instead Chinese people “use pictures”, they don’t really understand what this actually means - this video explains it very well.

I just wish I knew what she means by “basic literacy”. I should be able to recognise at least 2,500 characters by now, and I’m not convinced it’s enough - my dictionary is still very much a necessity when reading everyday Chinese texts!

(Side note: She is using traditional characters - the character for “door” looks different in simplified: 门)

14 3 / 2014

A couple of weeks ago we were looking at the 土豪 phenomenon on the Internet, and I learned a lot of interesting new vocab:

土豪 (tuhao) originally meant “local tyrant,” and has become popularised on the Internet as a term referring to the newly-rich, uncultured and often tasteless members of society who simply throw money around.

 草泥马 (cao ni ma) literally means “grass mud horse” and is a sanitised version of 操你妈 which means “fuck your mum”. 

河蟹 (hexie) is a river crab, but has become a popular term online because it sounds similar to 和谐 (harmony). When things are censored online, this is because the government believes that they pose a threat to social harmony. So when a site is taken down, netizens say that it has been “river crabbed” (被河蟹了), i.e. it has been “harmonised” (被和谐了).

屌丝 (diaosi) means “loser” but its meaning has now evolved to refer to anyone who believes themselves to be downtrodden, socially insignificant and somewhat embittered, but often with a humorous tone. 

宅男/宅女 (zhainan/zhainü) refers to guys and girls who are addicted to staying indoors, surfing the Net and playing video games.

Some slang also uses English letters - some, like GF/BF (girlfriend/boyfriend) are borrowed directly from English, but others are based on the pinyin, for example:

BT stands for 变态 (biantai - pervert).

CN stands for 操你 (cao ni - fuck you).

And others are number-based:

250 (er bai wu - idiot)

521 (wu er yi) because it sounds similar to 我爱你 (wo ai ni - I love you (this is also the reason why May 21 is a popular day to admit one’s love for another)).

1314 (yi san yi si) because it sounds like 一生一世 (yi sheng yi shi), which means “forever” or “for as long as I live”.

7456 (qi si wu liu) because it sounds like 气死我了 (qi si wo le) which means “I’m so pissed off” but I feel like it has a stronger meaning in Chinese.

The list goes on, and for anyone who would like to learn more, I’d suggest looking here