Archive for the ‘video’ Category

中秋節, Mid-Autumn Festival

September 22nd, 2010 No comments

中秋節, Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in China, perhaps second only to the Spring Festival (or the Chinese New Year). For 2010, it falls on September 22nd. It coincides with a full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month on the Chinese calendar, so there is no fixed date according to Gregorian. That has been the way mid-autumn was figured since ancient times.

“Mid-Autumn” first appeared in “Rites of the Zhou”, a collection of ritual matters of the Western Zhou Dynasty some 3,000 years ago. During the Tang Dynasty (618AD – 907AD), this tradition took a strong foot hold. It celebrates harvests and family reunions. This same tradition exists throughout the rest of Asia today.
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Li Qingzhao: “月滿西樓”

September 11th, 2010 No comments

月滿西樓” is a poem written by 李清照 (Li QingZhao, 1084AD ─ 1155AD), regarded as one of the most prominent female poets from the Song Dynasty. The poem is about Li’s longing for her husband’s return from travels. Here is a song of the same name with lyrics entirely based on the poem, performed by singer 童丽 (Tong Li).

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Attitude, attitude, attitude

September 8th, 2010 No comments

There is no particular point in this post. I recently came across a number of videos I thought entertaining. Below is a performance in the 2007 CCTV National Dance Competition; a bit of hip hop, break dance, and street dance. “Dreaming Back to the Wa Village” – “梦回佤乡.”

Younger Chinese are getting into it as well. Here is a 7 year old Chinese girl dancing to hip hop followed by a 5 year old Chinese boy performing break moves. (Somebody needs to tell the girl’s parents the lyrics are inappropriate for her age though. Okay, maybe somebody ought to translate the lyrics and that’d be the end of it – tongue in cheek.)
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Armless Pianist Liu Wei, an inspiration for the world

August 20th, 2010 2 comments

Wow! This video is just inspiring. It is about Liu Wei, a contestant on “China’s Got Talent.” He is going to play “Marriage D’amour” without hands. He lost his arms at 10 from an accident. I like this take by Lyndsey Parker over at Yahoo Music blogs: “Armless Pianist Liu Wei Defies Odds On ‘China’s Got Talent’.” I will try to not complain about anything in my life in the next 10 days.

China: A New Hope or A Threat to the World?

August 18th, 2010 6 comments

I don’t know how I missed this talk from 2008 – when China was demagogued by almost every Western media and press.  But the views expressed here I think are on the whole surprisingly balanced and insightful.  I hope readers from the West will take time to view this.

Click here to view video directly from

Or view video on YouTube by clicking below:

Here are some questions the video addresses:

  • Do the Chinese people really lack initiative or intelligence?
  • Are the Chinese people all just robots, placed in shackles by an unsympathetic government?
  • Is there freedom of the press in China?
  • Do the Chinese people care about democracy?
  • Is China really out to dominate the world?
  • Is Chinese development detrimental for the world?
  • Is the West unfairly politicizing environmental issues against the Chinese people?

View the video and let us know what you think.

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“夜来香” (“Evening Primrose”), a scent of modern Chinese history

August 18th, 2010 3 comments

(If you are inside China, your may want the same version hosted on Tudou).

This is 张燕 (Zhang Yan) performing “夜来香,” a modern Chinese classic. I can’t quite put my finger on why I think this video is really good – perhaps the confidence projected by 张燕. In English, “夜来香” means “evening primrose,” a flower that opens in the evening. The Chinese characters literally mean “fragrance of the night.” By the backdrop, many of you will recognize this is early 1900’s music – of the same variety in Shanghai nightclubs that time. The microphone is a big give-away. “夜来香” was actually first performed in the 1940’s by Yoshiko Yamaguchi. (Click here for the original.)
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在那遥远的地方 (In That Distant Place), a Pipa, Erhu, and Dizi trio

August 14th, 2010 No comments

在那遥远的地方 (In That Distant Place) is a very popular folk song written in 1939. Over the years, this song has taken on many forms. Chinese, old or young, all know it. Below is a composition by 马九越 using the pipa, dizi, and erhu instruments.

Occasionally I get asked what are some Chinese values. This is an example, I think. My grandparents, my parents, and people of my generation all know this song well. If you look around China, there is this pattern of cross generational connection. Reaching back and smoothing out the generational gap within society is the value. “In that distant place” in Chinese “New Age” style:
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Extreme Airports Crosswind Landing at Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport in 1998

August 12th, 2010 No comments

Human can accomplish incredible feats. Here is one of a pilot for JAL landing a Boeing 747 in 1998 in extreme crosswind conditions at the Hong Kong Kai Tak airport (source: AIRBOYD). The airport has been closed (obvious reason being the crosswind conditions). The technology to detect the crosswinds, the training that goes into making this kind of maneuvers with such a big plane, and of course, the plane itself are all feats.

Chen Sisi (陈思思): Dear Chinese People (亲亲的中国人)

August 6th, 2010 1 comment

It is a patriotic song, as the title should make it all apparent – “Dear Chinese People.” I liked this video for its imagery. The majority of the Chinese people are proud and very forward looking for the progress China has made in the last three decades. This video sums up that sentiment rather well. I know this type of videos may not sit well with many Westerners – because their media tells them every day everything is wrong with their society or everyone outside of their national borders are bad. Especially with the global economic crisis, Westerners seem unable to celebrate anymore. (Ok, unless if you are the Spaniards who have just won the World Cup, in which case the party is still going strong.) So, the video offers this contrast.
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月舞 (Moon Dance), an 二胡 (erhu) and 琵琶 (pipa) duet

May 24th, 2010 No comments

(二胡 (erhu) by 于紅梅 (Yu Hong-Mei). 琵琶 (pipa) by 趙聰 (Zhao Cong))

格玛 (Ge Ma) by 钟丽燕 (Zhong Liyan) – a folk song reminiscing GeMa

May 18th, 2010 No comments

上海世博会 2010 (Shanghai World Expo 2010) Opening Ceremony

April 30th, 2010 No comments

二泉映月 (Moon Reflected on Second Spring), a modern Chinese classic

April 23rd, 2010 2 comments

If there is a music that can make one’s soul weep, 二泉映月 (Moon Reflected on Second Spring) is it.  It was composed and played by 华彦钧 (Huà Yànjūn), more commonly known as 阿炳 (“Blind” Abing), who lived during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern Chinese history.  Only with the most miserable human condition could someone make this music.  Famous Japanese conductor, Seiji Ozawa was quoted in Chinese, “此曲只应跪听” which means this piece should be heard while kneeling down.
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Social Media – Not a Fad , and Not Anti-China

April 11th, 2010 17 comments

Recently, in light of the stink Google stirred up leaving China, many pundits in the West have opined how the Internet is inherently anti-government, how the Chinese government is too draconian in its control of the Internet, even how the second law of thermodynamics and “freedom” will eventually triumph.

I find by and most these observations to be absurd. Read more…

康美之恋 (Kang Mei Zhi Lian) by 谭晶 (Tan Jing): Traditional Chinese medicine made really cool

March 24th, 2010 4 comments

( version)

This video is mind-numbingly beautiful, inspiring, and powerful. In the last 24 hours, I have been watching it for a least a dozen times (with the music blasting in my ears on my headphone), and trying to figure out what is in it that has completely mesmerized me.
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在梅边 (Beside the Plum Blossom) by 王力宏 (Wang LiHong)

March 10th, 2010 2 comments

What happens when you mesh up American style rap with an opera written roughly 500 years ago?  This song, “在梅边” (“Beside the Plum Blossom”) by 王力宏 (Wang LiHong) draws inspiration from 牡丹亭 (The Peony Pavilion), a play written by Tang Xianzu during the Ming Dynasty(1368 to 1644) using the 昆曲 (Kunqu) style opera and music.
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【每日歌曲】中华大家庭 (the Big Chinese Family)

February 16th, 2010 39 comments

China has 56 ethnic groups. They include Russians, Mongols, Uyghurs, Koreans, and many others. Here is a modern Chinese take on all of them: 中华大家庭 (the Big Chinese Family). The lyrics actually enumerate the groups individually.

Categories: culture, music, Photos, video Tags:

毛阿敏 (Mao AMin), 渴望 (”Yearning”), yearning for a better future

November 30th, 2009 26 comments

For the last two centuries, the Chinese psyche has been defined in large part by the humiliations and sufferings brought about by foreigners (see the Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Nanjing Massacre). After the founding of the current Peoples Republic of China, it was the disastrous policies of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward which furthered that wound. The latter were the Chinese inflicting pain onto themselves.
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“Father’s Prairie, Mother’s River” – the feelings of one billion people on the move

November 18th, 2009 8 comments

Everyone knows China is going through an industrial revolution right now. In developed countries such as the U.S., this took place in the late 19th century. The ratio between the number of rural and urban residents basically swapped because industrialization freed the bulk of the population from having to work in the fields to produce food for all. This phenomenon is occurring in China right now with her massive GDP growth in the last three decades. Despite the hundreds of millions of people having moved to urban areas, the number of Chinese citizens residing in the rural areas is still staggering – 750 million. If the final ratio is similar to other developed countries (which is likely), the scale of this population movement in the coming decades is mind-numbing. Imagine one billion people on the move in only a few decades!
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Who Holds the Family Purse in China?

November 6th, 2009 28 comments

Despite great strides made over gender equality in the last 60 years, there are still a lot China can do as a nation to promote greater equality and promote the livelihoods of women – especially in the rural areas.

But in the city at least, the power dynamics between men and women seems to be changing – at least on a family per family basis.

Here is an entertaining video from James Fallow on who holds the family purse in China? Read more…

【风华国乐】:阿里山的姑娘 (Girls of Ali Mountain)

October 5th, 2009 1 comment

Mind as well dress all these musicians in panda costumes. 🙂

Categories: culture, General, media, music, video Tags: ,

the China Lightroom blog: "Made in China"

August 16th, 2009 14 comments

Tibetan Chinese singer, Kelsang Metok (格桑梅朵): "Falling in love with Jiuzhaigou"

August 12th, 2009 26 comments

Few years ago I visited Chengdu and drove all the way to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟).  I got a chance to see the pristine side of Sichuan province and a number of local performances.  I stumbled upon this music video by Tibetan Chinese singer, Kelsang Metok (格桑梅朵), “Falling in Love with Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟).”  It gives a great intro to that region and reminded me of many things I saw during that trip.
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Categories: culture, Environment, media, music, video Tags:

Chimerica: James Fallows & Niall Ferguson

July 15th, 2009 144 comments

This is the full session between Niall Ferguson and James Fallows at the recently held Aspen Ideas Festival. Allen had posted excepts and we promised you the complete discussion as soon as it became available. Niall Ferguson had coined the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic relationship between the economies of China and the United States. He currently sees this relationship as being in jeopardy, while James Fallows feels the relationship is far stronger the most realize. This video is slightly over 75 minutes.

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Violence in Urumqi – Details still Sketchy

July 6th, 2009 428 comments

Chinese media has been reporting what appear to be ethnically-motivated riots in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.  Xinhua reports that casualty may have reached 140, with more injured.

Western press have also latched onto the story. Here is the latest report from the Wall Street Journal. Read more…

Chinese Rock n' Roll!

June 26th, 2009 33 comments

hardqueen81 We’ve done some posts on China and Taiwan music in the past, but those were about the general music scene. Today I’d like to feature two videos created by Brendan Madden, who lives in Qingdao, is a teacher and member of the band Dama Llamas, and keeps up with the scene in northern China. I’ll also feature a few other bands you might not know, and some comments about where I think things are headed.

These two mini-documentaries show the trials and tribulations of trying to establish modern music venues in China. So far, the audience has too many non-Chinese expats along with too few locals, though locals form most of the bands themselves. Right now, Beijing is the hot spot in northern China with the most popular bands in the country. Outside of Beijing, legitimate venues are hard to come by and the money isn’t very lucrative. In these places, rock n’ roll comes strictly from the heart.

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Categories: culture, General, music, video Tags: , , ,

Song of the Grass-Mud Horse

March 16th, 2009 26 comments

There’s a new phenomenon sweeping China. Back in January on a Chinese web page, a new video made its way from there into the hearts of internet users all across the country, spawning a wave of related items such as cartoons, documentaries and grass-mud horse dolls.

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The Sinking of New Star

February 22nd, 2009 28 comments
New Star sinking near Russias far-eastern port of Vladivostok. Three Chinese crew members were rescued and 7 others were missing, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.

New Star sinking near Russia's far-eastern port of Vladivostok. Three Chinese crew members were rescued and 7 others were missing, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Four days ago, it was widely reported on the front page of almost every Chinese newspaper that Russian warships had sunk a Chinese cargo ship – New Star – off the coast of Vladivostok. According to an article from the People’s Daily, Read more…

Climate Change: Tibetan Plateau in Peril

January 20th, 2009 7 comments

Too often when we discuss Tibet, we reflexively focus our attention on the political spat between the CCP and the Dalai Lama.  However, Tibet is much more than the current political spat.

For one thing: there is the people; the indigenous culture; the land – and of course the important environmental role the Tibetan Plateau plays in regional as well as global environment.

The following is a video from Asia Society on the Peril the Tibetan Plateau is under – as well its implication for all of us in light of global climate change. Read more…

Taiwan's Alternative Music Scene

January 14th, 2009 19 comments


We covered China’s  underground music scene in a previous thread and with the new year approaching, I wanted to introduce some alternative artists from Taiwan.  I’m sure everyone already knows the most popular Mando-pop stars, so here are a few that are a little less known. Most of these musicians either made their debuts or saw an upsurge in their popularity over the course of 2008. An article I read recently in the Taipei Times was the initial catalyst in my search for finding newer artists.

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