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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

The coming decades explosion of Chinese culture

June 7th, 2010 1 comment

Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127) Calligraphy by Ming Dizhu

Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127) Calligraphy by Ming Dizhu

China Daily has just reported a “Chinese calligraphy work sold for record $57.1M” at the Poly 2010 Spring Auction on June 4, 2010. This record price puts Ming Dizhu’s work within the same league as van Gogh and Picasso in terms of how much was fetched from an auction (“Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” $139million, inflation adjusted, van Gogh; “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, $106million, inflation adjusted, Picasso).

According to a Boston Consulting Group report in late 2009, the number of millionaires in China has reached around 450,000 by the end of 2009. Given the fact that China’s GDP has grown 8% to 10% annually for the last three decades, two phenomenons have occurred:

a. Demand for Chinese art has increased because Chinese citizens have become wealthier.

b. Supply for Chinese art (contemporary) has increased because more Chinese are freed from subsistence to pursue art.

In turn, the international art market expects Chinese art to become even more valuable for the above two reasons.  Foreign collectors – private individuals and  museums alike collect Chinese art.  Collectors also exhibit because further popularizing the pieces enhances the art’s value. (Here is a collection of works by some popular contemporary Chinese artist in Beijing – Art Scene Beijing.)
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Shanghai Style: Pajamas in the Great Outdoors

November 26th, 2009 19 comments

Shanghai PajamasIt seems the long held social custom of Shanghainese to walk down the street in their pajamas is causing some discomfort to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo scheduled for next year and a campaign has been started by the municipal government to end the practice.

It’s not that unusual to see middle aged women milling around on the street in their pajamas, or even walking to the subway or local shopping mall. So the slogan “No Pajamas in Public – be Civilized for the Expo” has been coined to end what the government feels is uncivilized behavior in a modern, world class city. As China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou said recently in “In Defense of Pajamas”:

“So, it’s not really about whether we like it, but rather about whether we are liked. Again, it’s the quintessential concept of “face” and “saving face”.

Not many Chinese are shocked to see a street full of pajama-wearing pedestrians, but if international visitors feel squeamish about it we should stop doing it. Or so the implied rationale for the crackdown goes.”

The city’s tactic to stamp out street pajama wearers was to create a team of 500 volunteers to use persuasion at bus stops and other venues to convince pajama wearing Shanghainese residents to change their clothes.

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Louis Yu's Indie Podcasts

August 17th, 2009 7 comments

Louis Yu It’s not often a guy working on his PhD in theoretical computer science is also one of the hottest Chinese DJs in North America, but there’s always an exception and Louis Yu (余雷) fits that role. Originally from Guilin, China,  he’s currently in Vancouver, Canada studying at the University of Victoria while also doing a weekly podcast featuring world indie music.

And where can you find his 30 minute weekly podcast? It’s right here on  www.wooozy.cn where you can catch this week’s show plus access the archive for all previous editions once you’re hooked. The difference with Louis’ show is that all the introductions are in Mandarin rather than English. It’s his way to bring a new style of music to an audience more familiar with Asian pop in a easy to digest manner. Starting in September, he’ll be switching to a show highlighting an equal balance of both Western & Chinese music.

Lou was kind enough to share his thoughts on China’s current music scene. As he is a Chinese expat very familiar with indie music throughout the world, I felt his opinions would be a nice contrast to the western voices we’ve heard reporting from China.

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Cross Cultural Dating

August 13th, 2009 147 comments

17m Now that many non-Chinese have moved to China and many native Chinese live throughout the world, cross cultural dating has become far more common. For someone leaving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and moving to a western country, what are some of the cultural pitfalls and traps you need to avoid and adjustments you need to make? For someone moving to any of those four areas, the same questions apply. Are the “rules” different for Chinese women dating outside their culture as compared to Chinese men doing the same?

My direct experience isn’t too pertinent since I met my wife in Phoenix and she had already been living in the States for nine years, but there were still many adjustments we (mostly I) had to make. She was the first Asian woman I had ever dated so I didn’t fall into the “yellow fever” category. However, when I was living in mainland China and Taiwan, I had a chance to observe, ask questions and learn more from others involved in cross cultural relationships.

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(Letter) China-America story compare

July 30th, 2009 No comments

Here are two stories of neglect and abuse, both involving children:

China: six year old locked in chick coop for a year

US: three children locked motel bathroom for a year

Thou oceans apart, both are tragic, inexcusable, and similar in terms of public reaction, sympathy for the victims, and reflection on each’s values.

Categories: General 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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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: , , ,

Green Dam-Youth Escort

June 16th, 2009 117 comments

China Internet

It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the  mainland from July 1st.

There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.

1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
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(Letter from chorasmian) Self identification of 2nd generation Chinese in overseas

April 23rd, 2009 48 comments

Recently, my daughter had this poem in her class project.

Where Are You From?

Where am I from?

I come from
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Perception vs. Reality?

April 1st, 2009 40 comments

I was reading an opinion column in the Washington Post that contained information I thought might be of interest to the group. It concerned a BBC World View poll showing how countries view each other, either positively or negatively and the percentages of each. It was interesting to see not only how countries viewed each other, but also how the view a country has of itself can be very different than the actual reality. Per the Post column, “A whopping 92 percent of Chinese surveyed believe that China has a mainly positive influence on the world; whereas a mere 39 percent of people polled in 20 other major countries agree. This was the largest perception gap among the countries’ polled.”

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What I talk about when I talk about copycatting

March 25th, 2009 60 comments

Recently a friend asked for help with the etymology of the word 危险。   She’s writing her thesis on the edge that artists have when they skillfully play with “danger.”  Her whole thesis revolves around the concept of Danger in art and all her professors keep telling her that 危险 has a different connotation in Chinese than danger does in English.  So she needs someone to help her to figure out what 危险originally means in Chinese.  Read more…

Categories: General 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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(Letter from Shane9219) China’s Interaction with Israel and the Jewish People

March 9th, 2009 8 comments

The unique history of China and the interaction of Chinese people with the rest of world give China many friends around the world. Those ties have been both strong and historical, despite Chinese’s common animosity towards old Western colonists and Japanese imperialists. This historic foundation will continue to benefit both China and the world for a long time.

The following article is an interview with a well-known Jewish scholar, covering topics both past and present, including sensitive ones such as Muslim world and China, 2008 Beijing Olympics and Steven Spielberg.

Something to chuckle about #3

February 5th, 2009 197 comments

One can learn something new everyday. I have known for a while that hanging a flag upside down is a sign of distress, but never realized it could be applied to the Union Jack until now. Apparently, the UK national flag can be distinguished in its orientation by observing the placement of the wider white stripes. Oh well, I feel sorry for the poor staff member who arranged the table for the ceremony with visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. One cannot help but imagine the symbolism of this gaffe.

uk-flag-upside-down
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(Letter) East is East and West is West… will they ever meet? (a famous poem)

September 9th, 2008 32 comments

Here’s a bit from a famous poem by a famous colonial-era British author. I’ll put the original and then an updated version, since his English is old and a little hard to understand. It’s from “The Ballad of East and West,” by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936). Read more…

Recommended reading: The Online Evisceration of David Brooks, A Cautionary Tale

August 18th, 2008 5 comments

I have followed the responses to David Brooks’ essay “Harmony and the Dream” published in the New York Times with interest ever since first reading James Fallows mercilessly picking Brooks’ theme apart. There have been others joining the “onslaught” as well since then. Elliott Ng has now compiled a nice summary of Brooks’ thesis and various responses online. It is well worth a read.

(Letter) Where does China fit in the West's understanding of the world?

July 27th, 2008 68 comments

Mainlanders often feel exasperated by constant Western criticism, as if no matter what China does and no matter how much China accomplishes, it’s never good enough in the eyes of Western nations. The poem “Chinese Grievances” (aka “What do you want from us?”) expresses this feeling well. I think what’s shared below will help us better understand this problem.
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How to greet properly in traditional Chinese style

July 19th, 2008 22 comments

On July 18th, Beijing released a set of official Olympic and Paralympic posters and graphics. A sharp eyed reader quickly pointed out a mistake in one of the smiling face photos:

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Categories: culture Tags: ,

Make guests feel at home and follow the customs of your host

July 18th, 2008 26 comments

There is a heated debate going on regarding the lack of Chinese characters on China’s official Olympics uniforms in contrast with those on German’s sportswear.

Personally, I see no point in not printing Chinese text on China’s official uniforms. But for this post, I will purposely play the role of a “CCP apologist” and try to put these things in positive terms. 😉 Besides, I will explain two frequently used Chinese phrases and hopefully cast some light on a particular aspect of the Chinese culture.

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(Letter from oldson) Chinese and American Culture

July 16th, 2008 20 comments

Culture, Society and Business

The principles of business transactions are based on cultural values. To define culture we must first know where culture comes from. Culture comes from a mutual interaction between individuals, groups, subcultures and societies. Values, ideas and ideology are passed down from one generation to the next. Gradually over time they adapt to change and outside influences.

A more sociological technical definition of culture is as follows: “the total, generally organized way of life, including values, norms, institutions, and artifacts, that is passed on from generation to generation by learning alone”. Thus culture includes tangible and non-tangible things where are passed down through the years.

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Categories: culture Tags: ,

On China and Religion

June 25th, 2008 68 comments

For different cultural, political and historical reasons, the Chinese government officially recognises Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism as religions. As in the realm of commerce, medicine, the legal profession or any other human endeavours, China, like many nations and for her own reasons have chosen, as it is her right, to lay down a legal and regulatory framework within which religions are practised.

Within the above five religions, the government does not prefer one religion to another and neither does it care about ecclesiastical or inter-faith doctrinal differences. It does not care whether Jesus is the Son of God, one of the Prophets of Allah or just a mere rabbi. It does not care whether the Virgin Mary or the Saints ought to be worshipped and much less whether the Quakers are pacifists who live according to personal beliefs. Like any other governments in the world, what it does care about are whether they break China’s laws while in China and whether a belief system contravenes the public interest.

In no countries are the clergy or religious institutions free from or above the temporal laws of the land. An American Catholic priest convicted of paedophilia, fraud or mere speeding in America is still guilty and may suffer the appropriate judicial consequences, irrespective of the fact that he is a priest. Should the Church as an organisation in any way be involved, it too is liable to criminal as well as possible civil lawsuits.

Just as there is no such thing as absolute political and commercial freedom, neither is there such a thing as absolute religious freedom. There are only varying degrees of religious freedom that is regulated in turn by ecclesiastic rules, doctrines, temporal laws, social customs and traditions in accordance with the demands of the relevant state and society. For example, many in the UK believe in Fengshui, but nevertheless in a test case before the English Court of Appeal, the Judges, as it is within their remit, chose not to recognise it as a religion, just as they do not recognise any religion that is not monotheist as a matter of policy. By contrast, because of its Chinese community Indonesia recognises Confucianism as a religion when China only sees it as a school of philosophy, so that just because something is lawful in one country does not make it so in another.

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A Discussion On Religion in China

June 25th, 2008 30 comments

This is a continuation of the discussion from the June 14th 2008 blog entry “Chocolate City” – Africans seek their dreams in China“, an article originally published in The Southern Metropolis Daily Jan 2008. Because of axes and grinding the discussion morphed from a debate about race relations in China to one about religions in China. As I have been invited to turn it into a blog entry and the issue of religions in China appears topical, I am posting the extract from my comments and other posters’ responses and questions, sans editing (apart from my own extract’s typos).

Please Note: I am a newbie at blogging and nor am I a full- time blogger. Any perceived expletives occurred in the heat of passion(ate) (debate), as these things are wont to happen and I beg readers’ indulgence.

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Categories: Analysis, culture, q&a Tags: , ,