I nearly ran someone over with my electric scooter this afternoon. And it was definitely not my fault. I was riding at normal speed along Liangmaqiaolu between the third and fourth ring roads. A middle aged man jumped off a bus and then hurried towards the pavement. He didn’t turn around to look at the… Continue reading Why Don’t Chinese Look While Cross the Road?
The day before, I was interviewed by Channel 4 News in UK about the cancellation of a hugely popular program called ‘Super Girl’, a talent show modeled on ‘American Idol’ run by Hunan Satellite TV. As a social commentator, I’ve been frequently interviewed by media on stories such as this. For me, this episode is… Continue reading on the banning of ‘Super Girl’
I was so thrilled to hear the news that American writer Peter Hessler has won the award. As one of the 22 recipients of the $500,000 award, he was rewarded for his writing about China, the subject of many of his articles and the first three books: River Town, Oracle Bones and Country Driving. So… Continue reading On Peter Hessler’s Winning of MacArthur Fundation’s ‘Genius’ Award
In early September, publishers from all corners of the world descended in Beijing for the International Book Fair which has been gaining prominence in recent years. For the occasion, bookworm, the English language bookstore, library and the center of the reading world among the expats, threw a party on its roof top, where I met… Continue reading on the decline of reading
I just read Ai Weiwei’s column in Newsweek in which he describes Beijing as a “nightmare” and a “constant nightmare”. I am delighted that his detention ordeal hasn’t dampened his spirits but I have to say that I don’t agree with him at all, though I understand his frustration and bitterness. I have immense respect… Continue reading On Aiweiwei’s Beijing
I was shaken and saddened by the news of the premature death of Olivier Allais, a French friend. He was only in his mid fifties. Last time when we exchanged email was in early August, shortly before his scheduled operation for his prostate cancer on August 18. He told me that he was in a… Continue reading Olivier Allais
In July’s issue of the Lonely Planet Magazine, there is a piece about Beijing, written by famous BBC journalist and writer Fergal Kean, in which I am featured. LPL_0711_p54-63_BEIJINGv6.pdf
I am writing an article about travelling in Bangladesh, which reminds me a little story. Bangladeshis are very curious. Everywhere we went, people asked us which country we were from. At point, May, my older daughter, aged at 14 (but going on 18) replied without thinking: “We are from England.” I immediately contracted her: “I… Continue reading identity