“American Dreams in China” and the future of the Chinese Dream

I recently wrote a piece for Tea Leaf Nation about the box office hit, “American Dreams in China” and what it says about the Chinese Dream, particularly in response to some discussion in the US about whether or not the Chinese Dream is like the American Dream.

See the article HERE.

Thanks to the TLN team for great edits, inputs, and the opportunity to share my thoughts.

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I had a qu today

hahaha … great little post by 300 shots – funny take on life in China, whoever he is!

300 Shots at Greatness

qu brick

I had a qu today. After almost two years of getting rebuffed at every distillery I ever visited, a guy finally says to me, “Hey, you want to go see where we make the qu?” And then he marches me into a dank, dark room filled to the ceiling with festering blocks of wheat qu wrapped in woven bamboo. Needless to say, this was a big moment in my baijiu development.

The guy pulls a brick off the top and takes it into the sunlight for better viewing. He cracks it in half so I can check out the dark veins of microorganisms and the mold forming inside. The source of all baijiu was right there in front of me and, unexpectedly, he offered it to me. Explaining that it could be awkward to carry around, he said he’d have someone stick it inside of a plastic bag for me.

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Chinese Dream: To Become the Father of an American, by Jia Jia

Any Beijing resident, if he or she is determined to embrace the imperialist America, can sell their apartment and immigrate to the US without a hitch. In theory, any person who owns an apartment within Beijing’s 4th ring road is a potential American citizen. With that amount of money, who would be so stupid as to pay a premium to buy low-quality real estate in a city where the air is unbreathable and the traffic is so bad that you cannot drive faster than 15km (about 9 miles) per hour? Not to mention that when bulldozers rumble [to demolish one’s property], even the Super Girl and the Sister Fairy will have to make way.¹

via Chinese Dream: To Become the Father of an American, by Jia Jia.

Sturdy Girls: Fat shaming and female beauty in China

Long time since I’ve done a post but I promise to remedy this over the next few days.

Recently wrote a new post for China Personified, discussing female beauty in China and the issue of fat shaming, self consciousness, and respect for appearance diversity.

Hope you enjoy it: http://chinapersonified.com/fat-shaming-in-china/

sophie full body pic

Ang Lee: A Never-Ending Dream

And Malcom Gladwell’s thoughts on late-bloomers: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/20/081020fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all (New Yorker, OCt 2008)

As I struggle with the question of what have I done with myself lately…. 😛

What Shih Said

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Following Ang Lee’s second Best Directing win at the Academy Awards last night, this beautiful essay resurfaced. Here is my translation of Ang Lee’s words, written in 2006 (post-Oscar win). Please credit the translation to Irene Shih (and to this blog), thank you!

In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.

Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty…

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“Flushing the Wave” at Sun Moon Bay

I recently wrote a story about Surfing in Hainan for China Personified. Here’s the version.

Major point of clarification: The coffee on Hainan Island is grown by a group of ethnic Chinese Indonesian refugees who were resettled on Hainan Island after being rescued from anti-Chinese pogroms a few decades ago.

2nd point: Freedom in Chinese translates as 自由(pronounced “zi you”)

Disclaimer: NO real names are used in this post, as always, for purposes of privacy.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sun Moon Bay Surf Club, see this article on CNN travel that does a pretty good explanation of the area in English.