In the US, savvy newsmakers like to save bad news – scandals, say – for the holidays, when reporters and ordinarily conscious citizens have turned their attentions elsewhere. In China, it seems, English-language bloggers like to do something similar: save some of their best posts for when their readers are enjoying the lunar new year. So, before I get back to the business of reported blogging, later in the week, allow me to point you in the direction of a handful of China blog posts that have been written – and might have been overlooked – due to the Chinese New Year, Egypt, and – give me a break, people – Groupon:
- “What We Lost 2010: Shanghai’s Architectural Losses Last Year” at Paul French’s essential China Rhyming blog. The post is exactly what the title suggests: a comprehensive, heart-wrenching account of what few remaining pieces of Shanghai’s diminishing architectural heritage were demolished in the last 12 months. It’s a frustrating, depressing, and above all informative post: “… the pace of destruction in no way slowed but significantly increased throughout the year … [w]e should all be clear now that ‘preservation orders’ supposedly placed on buildings to protect them have no validity whatsoever and are merely cosmetic. Supposedly preserved buildings continue to be bulldozed regularly, often at 2am!” This is an ongoing, preventable tragedy, and French deserves tremendous credit for the depressing drudgery of documenting it (but goodness, Paul, why publish on the first day of the new year?). Absolutely essential reading.
- Shanghai Shiok!’s Christine H. Tan offers another installment in her ongoing exploration of sex and ethnicity in China – this time focusing on the poor reputation of Mainland Chinese women among SE Asians of Chinese descent in – wait for it – The bad reputation of Mainland Chinese Women (in my part of the world). Once again (in the case of Tan), this is a beautifully written exploration of a topic that’s normally treated with diatribes. Highly recommended — and stay tuned for an exclusive Shanghai Scrap, Valentine’s Day interview with Tan on “relationship blogs” in China (why not?).
- And since we’re on the topic of sex and ethnicity in Asia … I’ve been meaning to post a link to Jocelyn Eikenburg’s wonderful and lengthy interview with JT Tran, the self-proclaimed Asian Playboy, #1 Dating Coach for Chinese Men, and founder of the online magazine, Asian Men White Women. It’s a marvelous, totally unexpected (to me, at least) dialogue: “One of my students was a Korean virgin. He met his future fiancee at a New York City coffee shop. Everyone was staring at him because he was 5’4” and she was this 5’10” African American woman. And, one year later he proposed to her. So I think that’s great.”
- Switching back to Shanghai Scrap’s usual beats: East South West North translates a passage from a 2004 investigation into a rural Chinese village where crippled children are the biggest industry. For anyone who’s ever wondered about the source of the crippled children begging on the streets of China’s big cities, this sad post might provide some answers.
- And finally, last but not least, Xujun Eberlein‘s five part account of her (deeply) personal and professional effort to uncover and recover a misinterpreted and mostly unknown (outside of China) episode in US-China relations. The series was guest-blogged on James Fallows’ blog, and I really hope that it continues to wide circulation: 1. Prologue, 2. Evolution, 3. Puzzle, 4. Explorers, and 5. Revision. Cannot be recommended highly enough.