Monday, February 28, 2011

Cataclysm around the corner

Twenty-six. Last day of 2011's February. Late afternoon sun mere tarnished coin in a sky half-baked, as if an artist ran out of colors, as if a patient dropped his coveralls with a shrug and stepped into the light; redolent of autumn; redolent of infatuation, somehow. I don't dare say love.

Change is about us, a thing arriving like a long-expected house guest. We must embrace. We must accept one another though we are unsure whether to trust. I am sure we will never love. The ones we love are on their way out, to make way for these strangers. The rules will soon be theirs, as it was once ours.

Old men hobble on crutches. Women tote groceries forever up and down a weatherbeaten stairwell that could survive nuclear winter. One day, the days will become unrecognizable. One day we will debouch into the light and everything will be different, as if a great elemental spirit had swept his hand across our landscapes and our homes with their manicured lawns and our yawning high-rises and precious dams with the intent of starting anew, leaving nothing but the attar of nostalgia. Spring, perhaps. Surely spring.

Except this day, as clear as ever: a final day of a second month, redolent of autumn. You can sense it in the air. You can almost hold it for it has shape, it has texture; it circulates within us, breathed out in shared breaths.

Around the corner I see him, plain and recognizable as ever. Change. He extends his hand. We awkwardly hug. I know why you're here, I tell him. I know what you have come to do. He only smiles, that smile of perpetual understanding, of knowing he will outlive your son, your father; the smile one might give to a sufferer of terminal cancer. No trace of mocking. Do not mock me, I tell him nonetheless.

We walk briefly, though at any moment he is liable to disappear. Busy, he says. You understand, I hope. I tell him I do not understand much these days, perhaps nothing. Nothing feels right. Nothing feels permanent. There is nothing to hold, nothing to look forward to. Have you considered Buddhism? he asks me. Smile smaller. I remind him again to not mock me, though I say it teasingly.

He asks me what I want, and I tell him: just this day. Just let me have this day. I renounce these things, I say: these places people go, these stubs of hair on the collar of that man on the elevator, back from the barbershop. I renounce all my possessions, even that which I do not possess, the people I cannot possibly love, who cannot love me. I am renunciate, I am the elements. As I say this, it becomes apparent that I am no longer speaking, that my words have broken down beyond its smallest parts, the moneme atomized; I am communicating directly. I am a shaobing proprietor from Shanxi who cooks eggs and chicken meat over a hotplate; I am a man swerving to avoid a fellow biker; I am a foreigner rejoicing at finding Franziskaner at the local bodega; I am a salty youth in the torpor and ardor of my best days.

Trees reaching toward the waning light like supplicants. Beaks of birds desperate to start their journey. If only they knew the plushness of spring, the desolation of winter. I reach out and tell him -- I tell them many, many things, so quickly and thoroughly that there cannot be any language to translate what was said. They are unlikely to understand, but that does not matter. They search for the antonym of abandonment, an undo for renunciation. I see them stretching across the sky, the last one trailing slightly but keeping pace.

Who owns this day? Who can shake this cheeseparing owner of day by the cuff, rob it of its last penny so our journeys are halted... -- for just one day, one hour? Pardon me for wanting to be together.

I slowly fade back into the world. I am on my bike now. I am biking against traffic, toward home. Change has disappeared, though I know it is just around the corner, as surely as the sun. I am a speeding locomotive. I am watching on the platform, and it is too fast but I fling myself at it. A cataclysm is around the corner, or maybe it isn't.

After this day, nothing will be the same. Thus it is decreed -- and so it shall be, on this finest of days, redolent of autumn.

Friday, February 25, 2011

LinkedIn blocked, then unblocked

Gone Thursday, back Friday. Nothing like a state nanny who can't make up her mind. Gotta love these cum whores.


If LinkedIn has committed a Web 2.0 crime in China’s eyes, there are a couple possibilities: the most likely issue, given Beijing’s desire to quash organizing of any form, is that there have been attempts by Jasmine organizers to reach out to others over LinkedIn, thus spreading the word via LinkedIn invitations; another issue, raised by Techrice, is the built-in ability to post to Twitter via LinkedIn, getting around the Great Firewall without the need for circumvention tools. As Techrice notes, “being the easiest way to tweet is a lousy government relations strategy in China.”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Murong Xuecun, new hero

Joining Yang Youde.

Just read this.

There are journalists here, and perhaps some others, who may report later that I have delivered an angry speech. Well, I am not angry; I am just describing my situation, because I believe it is certainly not just my situation, but the situation faced by all of China's writers. And the fear I feel is not just the fear felt by one writer, but by all of our writers.

I'm angry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An "ad" for Blue Ocean Network that has since been taken down

Originally posted on the Beijinger by what we can only guess was a disgruntled former employee:

Are you a savvy businessperson or a creative visionary? Neither? Well you've come on the right place! BON TV otherwise known as Blue Ocean Network is launching a search for a new executive managers. If you have the skill, desire and experience manage the programming output of an English-language international television network, please contact us, because at this point, we are trouble. We have a very difficult time maintaing staff because foreigners just don't like us that much. This is tough because we r trying to make cool shows for africans and white people for watching. Let me make this clear, we really need help asap and this is a great opportunity for anyone in between jobs or for recently graduated students who may or may not be interested in television. We are just looking for a caucasiod. Last 2 programming managers cancelled their position left company withinside of 2 months.

You can come for tyring start new shows. But we can't pay while you try to start and if no starting then no pay. oNly pay for minutes on tv! but if you have good ideas on new shows you can surely success!

Most of our programs are commercials. We find a sponsor to pay a program and to pay our salories and then we try to produce the program for least money. u can see samples shows at . Less jonalism and more business.

We are wanting a Head of Network Programming to successfully makes and schedule our showss for broadcast internationally. If you are the one for this management roll, keep reading.

Essential Skills and Experience:
1. Excellent understanding that network television is a business like any other. (not too much money for show more for making us)
2. Excellent understanding that TV networks compete with each other, across multiple media delivery platforms. (but hrad because very little editorial credability)
3. Develop channel across multiple formats internationally (we make phone vidoes!)
4. Determine and improve audience ratings for market segments and geographic locations. (haven't done this yet)
5. Gauge constantly shifting and fragmented audience tastes to build a morning, daytime and primetime TV schedule that draws the most viewers possible. (:))
6. Detailed understanding of business benefits of streaming video technologies and mobile devices
Description of this channel development and scheduling role:
1. Identify good show ideas and generally supervise concept to debut processes. (we can't pay for this)
2. Analyze and report past ratings successes and failures to figure out the best time of year to launch a new show. (raitings not have now)

Salary: exuberant;
Start Date: Immediate, our last 2 quit very recenty
Working Hours: Full-time (8-8pm) and occasional weekend hours
Language Skills: Some spoken Mandarin Chinese would be an advantage
The start date of this role is immediate and coincides with new channel launches in Spring 2011 on various cable, IPTV and satellite networks in North America and Asia. If you feel you qualify to take this role on, please send us your resume, and cover letter explain why you feel you are the best candidate for this role. We will contact suitable candidates for interview.
Tel: +86 (10) 65588181
Thank you.

I remember my days interning at BON. The staff was ... hard-working. But I knew it wasn't going to work when they made me do daily afternoon exercises.

POSTSCRIPT: If you must have a look at the original page, here it is from Google's cache.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Aw, how nice of Google

Happy Lantern Festival, everyone.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pretty hot

From Ministry of Tofu... ignore the part about offending many Chinese.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In a nutshell, everything that's wrong about the Chinese education system

Methinks there's something wrong with this picture... here are three paragraphs, successively, from China Daily about an 18-year-old student's college entrance exam essay, which was written in classical Han Chinese:

[Scholar of classical literature] Wu [Xinjiang] later told the media that Wang's writing skills were good enough for a postgraduate student of classical literature.

Despite a lack of original thought or deep insight, Wang's essay was widely circulated on the Internet over the past couple of weeks.

It has also won him admission into the prestigious Southeast University in Nanjing as an undergraduate student of civil engineering, a subject he wished to pursue.

If civil engineering is his passion, then by all means, good luck to him. Wang sounds like a good student, despite the lack of originality (somewhat a problem that can be corrected over time). The literature department of some poor college surely misses him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Xinhua: "Two people were killed and 223 have been injured"

By fireworks.

Read here.

Video of the 2009 fireworks display here, and 2010 here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This deserves respectful applause

CCTV's Spring Gala usually serves up a full heaping of ridiculousness -- like this from last year -- but this year it's the Beijing Television (BTV) Spring Festival Gala that takes home the prize. HT: Shanghaiist:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fireworks in Hong Kong last night

I have more to say about this soon, but for now:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spring Festival rave

No, not really. China Smack brings you pictures of the Spring Festival rush.

In one of the pictures, a man is being stuffed through the window of a train. In Zhangjiakou last year for Spring Festival, this almost happened to me. Two train attendants were seriously considering propping me up and putting me through the window, until they actually considered that the window was ajar barely half a meter from the top.