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A tiggerific new year

A little late, but all the heartier for it … happy year of the tigger!

Here’s a little present for this Valentine’s day Chinese new year: Taiwanese soldiers shooting Cupid’s Arrows, and a response from the wannabe recipients of that love. A soft offensive across the straits? Both in Chinese, but non-speakers will get the drift … (hat tip to my friend Zhide for putting me onto these).


[Confucius says: A gentleman reads these interesting responses by Confucian scholar Daniel A. Bell to my questions about the film ‘Confucius’, up here at the China Beat.]

And while I’m here, a Taiwanese friend who I knew at Peking University – he’s now studying in London – today sent me a link to this recruitment ad for Taiwan’s army. (It’s on YouTube, so those in China will need to ‘climb the wall’.) It seems that America’s arms sales to Taiwan will include a regiment of Transformers fresh out of Hollywood barracks. My friend prefaced the link with this succinct analysis:

We are good at computer science right now, but we lost China 60 years ago.

Final item of interest: your humble blogger is flying home tomorrow, to pass spring festival in England’s green and pleasant lands. I’ll be posting only sporadically from there, until I’m back in Beijing in March, when I will get back into the rhythm.

Update: A gentleman also reads my comments on top tier higher education in China here on China Geeks. Charlie, China Geek of the moment, writes on the Chinese education system, and how it doesn’t encourage enough critical thinking and creativity.

Kowtowing apologies for a link post, but this clever set of images (an exhibit by Yang Liu, a Chinese artist, living in Berlin) depicting the differences between Chinese and Westerners will strike a chord with any in the middle Kingdom, or raise a curious eyebrow among the foreign devils. For instance, shower times:

Or, even more head-noddingly, queuing:

And finally (an artistic pick) mutual stereotypes:

Again, sorry for being lazy. Somewhere between a hundred new Chinese words a day and my kitchen catching fire, my blog is meowing at me for attention. I’ll feed it before too long.

Coffee or tea?

I’m smelly and unshaven in an internet cafe in Wuhan, and my computer is winking at me to tell me I have five minutes left before my two kuai runs out. Just enough time to point to this post I wrote for enoVate, experts in all things Chinese youth market. The question: do students in Beida, China’s top university, drink coffee or tea?

Down the street from the crumbling Mao-era tower block in which I live, there is an up-class, yellow-painted, high-gated primary school, fancily called ‘Benzhen Bilingual Montessory School of the Arts’. In the mornings – if I didn’t oversleep – I often pause to watch the young kids there rehearsing various kinds of dances, and wish I went to that school instead.

In between my tower block and the one opposite it (the structural integrity of which I have more confidence in), there is an open space for the community, which on weekends is monopolised by the new craze of two-wheel skateboards. Middle-aged ladies often dance there, either to the silent rhythm of tai chi or to the crackling sounds of an old boom box.

What kind of dancing do these generations, from two very different Chinas, indulge in? Here’s a video I took last time I passed by:

Postscript – I’ve just noticed that this is the 100th post on Six. I am now going to treat the above video as a happy birthday dance just for me …

Bits and bobs

  • A space to watch: I’m contributing some photos to the The China Beat every fortnight or so at their new photography feature, with three up so far.
  • A link to ignore: Emily Chang of CNN interviews young members of the Communist Youth League, in what is presumably the most patronising and shortsighted fashion she can think of:

When we requested an interview with members of the Communist Youth League, I expected an army of suits with well-rehearsed answers. Instead, we met three students casually dressed in jeans, just 18 to 23 years old … My questions seemed to be more sensitive than they expected, but the students remained poised and answered every one.

  • A link to click: Jack, the Chinese diplomat-to-be who has contributed regularly to this blog (and who has just finished a month’s military training from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose regulations unfortunately now prevent him from writing more for Six) recommended I read this op-ed by a Chinese writer in the New York Times. In Jack’s words, it “digs deep into the heart of the Chinese people, exposing their internal strength behind their brilliant achievements”.

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