Anyone who wants to learn more about the young Chinese nationalists that were behind much of the anti-CNN backlash around the time of March’s T1bet riots should read Evan Osnos’ piece in this week’s New Yorker. It paints an interesting and far account of some of China’s young conservatives in Shanghai. If anyone who is wondering who the next generation of Chinese leaders are going to be it’s these guys.
WIth all the frustration I’ve been going through on the Olympic editorial I’ve been writing it’s felt like a less than successful week work wise. That changed today not cause I finally got the editorial right — we’ve switched to looking at the Olympics as a way to share Chinese culture so I’ll be taking one more stab at it tomorrow — but because I got a good comment from my boss on another issue. He was happy that I was able to get our company an opportunity to submit an article to the magazine of the Beijing branch of the British Chamber of Commerce in China. That one comment turned my week around.
And tonight I got invited to a new Gubei this weekend thing are looking up.
PS Here’s a link to my latest Lost Laowai post.
Well as I mentioned in my last post, I’m a little fed up with the Olympics right now. It’s not that I’ve got anything against the Olympics. I just have an Olympic-sized enormous Olympics hangover from all the coverage that it’s getting in the news here (as it should) and from working on this Olympics issue of our company newsletter.
I’ve just rewritten our editorial for the third time in two days and I hope I got the tone the way I want it this time. For some reason writing an opinion piece on a blog is much easier for me than it is to write an editorial for professional media. I always found them difficult to do when I worked in journalism and I am finding them difficult to write now. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I am writing in the paper’s voice and not in my own (as a columnist does) that is the problem or whether I am just not a great opinion writer.
But enough complaints. It’s time like this I turned to a good novel to escape a writing rut. I always thought that was slacking off but I was surprised to see that according to this article in The Globe and Mail it’s actually a good idea for me to do that. I’ll be refreshed later and have a better grip on a situation and my writing. Why not try it yourself. But before you do be sure to check out my latest book review at Lost Laowai — the review of Jan Wong’s Beijing Confidential has been submitted and will hopefully be published in That’s Beijing soon.
Recently I’ve really been enjoying two Canadian literary blogs, Seen Reading and the Quillblog. Seen Reading is about what one writers sees Canadians reading while the other is from a respected Canadian literary journal. All the books they discuss sound so great that I just want to go out and buy as many Canadian authors as possible. But Shanghai isn’t known for having much CanLit. Plus even if it did, books are expensive and I would just spend all my money on them I already have too many books on my shelves. So it got me looking at what’s there and making a book list for the next month or so. Here it is:
- Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctorine
- Ian McEwan’s Atonement
- John Updike’s Terrorist
- Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem
- Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys
You’ll notice that there’s only one China book there. I’ve kind of had my fill of China topics for now. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I deal with different aspects of the country everyday at my job or the fact that I spent most of my day writing an editorial for our company newsletter on the Olympics, but I need a break from it for awhile. Right now, I’m going to finish up some projects I’ve got in the pipeline (a book review of the memoir A Year Without Made in China for Lost Laowai and one on Jan Wong’s Beijing Confidential for That’s Beijing) then I am going to take a rest from China for a week or so. After that I should be ready to come back and tackle it again.
For those of you who didn’t click on the links in my last post, I’ve started to write for Lost Laowai again. You can find my latest post here.
Next post will be from back home in Shanghai.
Reading Cityweekend yesterday, I found out that the editors had recorded many of the talks from the Shanghai International Literary Festival. Having attended the festival I think this is a great way for those who couldn’t attend to catch up on speeches by Paul French, Duncan Hewitt and Rob Gifford. You can find the podcasts here.
On Friday I made another trip down to the Shanghai International Literary Festival to see mystery writer Qiu Xiaolong in conversation with Beijing-based mystery writer Catherine Sampson.
It was a great event for me because I have been reading Qiu’s work for about a year now. I find his books to be really engaging mystery fiction that is really difficult to put down. I tend to plow through his books in one or two days especially if I am traveling at the time. The biggest realization that I learned from the talk was how much Qiu’s writing accurately reflects the average Chinese person’s view on daily life and society.
This was amplified for me yesterday when I started to read Qiu’s A Case of Two Cities. The story revolves around Qiu’s main character Inspector Chen investigating the case of a corrupt official who has fled to the US. You can hear the anger of the average Chinese citizen on every page. How local and central government officials have used their positions to make themselves richer while many locals are just trying to get by. Superimpsed on this you’ve got a great mystery and the ever interesting and complex character of Inspector Chen.
I don’t this review to sound too much like I’m kissing ass but I really can’t think of anything bad to say about Qiu’s work except that at about 300 pages per book maybe they aren’t long enough for me. Thankfully after A Case of Two Cities I still have Red Mandarin Dress to read but after that I have to wait until next summer for the next one.