Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wow that's a lot of red

I just check out China Now Magazine and feel like I got punched in the eyeballs.

Here if you have the necessary eye equipment on.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time Out Beijing featured our quiz today

An excerpt:

This increasingly popular quiz is, unsurprisingly given the restaurant’s clientele, quite heavily American-biased, although enough questions based on China and a few other countries are thrown in to mean that non-Americans needn’t completely sink. The popularity of the quiz does mean that arriving early is a must, and if you’re clever you’ll be there soon enough to order a giant pizza and salads to share between you – it’s extremely unlikely that you will under order.

All publicity is good. Thanks to Time Out.

Kro's Nest Trivia, 35 Xiao Yun Lu, every Thurday -- 8:15 pm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The best English-language CBA preview in the world

Jon Pastuszek of NiuBBall was gracious enough to offer Beijing Cream a CBA playoffs preview, which is what you should read if you're interested in Chinese basketball.

Hopefully the postseason will feature a better brand of roundball than this display from the All-Star game:

I originally made the above video with Hanggai's "Five Heroes," which got promptly taken down on YouTube. The original appears on Deadspin.

It's begun

Beijing Cream got linked to by Deadspin today. Wait, you ask. Beijing Cream?

Yes. You should go check it out. It's going to be great.

Monday, February 20, 2012

James Fallows on Jeremy Lin, in which he links to my Stephon Marbury video from 2010

I'm of the opinion that James Fallows is still one of the best China correspondents out there, even though he's been off the China beat for a while (I might be biased -- he does, after all, have his own tag on this blog). This comes slightly belated (from last Wednesday):

But let's go to the videos! It happens that there is a test case available: the millions of actual Asian people who play basketball -- it's very popular throughout the region -- and the thousands who have played in professional or semi-pro leagues in China itself. These are real living-in-Asia Asians, without the diluting effect the immigrant experience might have brought to their "philosophical heritage." Overall do they play ball in a way the sociologists might predict?

Unt-uh. Here's one video, of the Dongguan Leopards playing at Shanxi Zhongyu, in a Chinese league. This features Stephon Marbury playing for Shanxi, one of a steady trickle of NBA stars who extend their careers with a contract in China. The first minute or so is the local equivalent of dancing Laker-girls. Some of the rest features crowd agitation, yelling at refs, general tumult, and some basketball. Virtually none of it fits with treatises on Asian "philosophical heritage" -- even though nearly every person you see on screen (apart from Marbury and a few other foreign players) is theoretically part of this tradition.

Here's the video from a couple years back:

Fallows then found himself in an email spat with the Hidden Harmonies blog's melektaus, who -- I think it's safe to say -- isn't a fan.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is the person in this video Japanese?

The one getting his ass kicked by the chalkboard figure. Anyone know?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Something nears an end; something nears a beginning

Very soon we will be launching a new website that you will want to look at. For the time being, please excuse the sporadic postings here. It's the beginning of a phase-out in favor of this new thing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here's video of Jeremy Lin's game-winner

We should point out he had 8 turnovers in the Knicks' 90-87 win over the Raptors in Toronto, but he also tallied 27 points and 11 assists. His last three points are shown below.

The Knicks, incredibly, are now 14-15, after standing at 8-15 two weeks ago.

Comment of the moment, from this ESPN thread:

Well, this is going a bit overboard

He's now leading his team from double-digit deficits and hitting three-pointers with less a second remaining to give his team the win, to the approval of the opposing team's fans.

Oh, and this:
H/T: Maggie Rauch

Be my VaLINtine

MSG Network just ran an ad that said that, according to Maggie Rauch, who may have been the first person in the world to see the ad in New York and then tell a friend in Beijing, who then told me.

Screenshot of the ad is not yet online. This post will be updated when it is.

CORRECTION, 1:49 am: It may have been "Happy VaLINtine's Day." Something like that. Still waiting on the picture.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Lin + Intifada = Lintifada!"

The Jeremy Lin Word Generator, presented in all its glory. H/T Rob Hogg.

Xi Jinping vs. Jeremy Lin, and other juxtapositioning

Your Xi Jinping article of the week: "It was here in the village of Liangjiahe that Xi Jinping (pronounced shee jin ping) spent seven of his most formative years after being sent into the countryside at the age of 15 along with millions of other students during Chairman Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. // And it was here, while digging ditches and extracting methane from pig waste, that he made the decision to pursue a political career—despite the persecution of his own father, Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero purged and imprisoned by Chairman Mao.... Elsewhere, however, a handful of Mr. Xi's family friends were willing to discuss his past, on condition of anonymity, and they all pointed to his time in the countryside as a turning point in his life—and the origin of his political ambitions." [Wall Street Journal]

Your Jeremy Lin story of the day, properly placed beneath Xi Jingping: "Most fans appear to have readily claimed Lin as Chinese, though some have taken note of the fact that he is American-born, with parents from the breakaway island of Taiwan. As one commentator put it: 'Do Africans jump up to claim Kobe as one of their countrymen?'" [Evan Osnos]

In case you forgot, some media organizations made huge asses of themselves recently by reporting on a ridiculous tweet. "Jaundiced irony is hardly a monopoly of the Western press when covering North Korea, but some of the analysis of the Kim Jong-un rumors was, frankly, a little embarrassing. Gawker, Huffington Post and Reuters, all weighed in, sometimes inexplicably relying on unedited Google translations. Apparently content with the 'Babel,' no one bothered to check or cite the North Korean state organ, the Rodong Sinmun (the newspaper does, after all, have a website). On the day he was supposedly killed, Kim Jong-un was on the website’s front page – he had received a gift from Kuwait – although there was no clear evidence he was actually there for the event." [Adam Cathcart, The Diplomat]

Chinese students in America. "While it has been a few weeks since Dan at CLB posted his article (and I posted my response) about commonly held stereotypes held by American students of their Chinese cohorts on campus, I thought I would post a part two as I cam across a couple of interesting articles that offered more insights into the complexity of the issue.. as well as the Chinese student perspective." [All Roads Lead to China]

Eric Abrahamsen, master translator. "Jackie Chan’s unfortunate 2009 statement that “Chinese people need to be controlled” sounds a little different when you consider that in Chinese he used the term guǎn rather than the word for “control” (控制, kòngzhì). Instead of advocating a police state, he was implying that the Chinese people need to be told what to do because they don’t know what’s best for them. Only marginally less distasteful a comment, perhaps; still, the distinction is worth making." [Latitude, International Herald Tribune]

A proper Whitney Houston tribute:

Corollary: The Wall Street Journal has info about the kid.

China Debate reminds us that Elizabeth C. Economy is good at what she does. Liz's blog here. [China Debate]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Watch a couple of trucks collide

Play this game if you wish: at what point in the video does the accident happen? Place your wagers before hitting the play button.

A week-in-review weekend links edition

Via the recently launched Somo Gallery

For those who want a rundown of this whole Wang Lijun escapade: C. Custer has you covered. [China Geeks]

Corollary: Wang's (fake?) open letter via sociologist Li Yinhe begins: "When everyone sees this letter, I’ll either be dead or have lost my freedom. I want to explain to the whole world the reasons behind my actions. In short: I don’t want to see the Party’s biggest hypocrite Bo Xilai carry on performing: When such evil officials ruling the state, it will lead to calamity for China and disaster for our nation." [Danwei]

You had me at "Cormac McCarthy": "Some 20 million people lost their lives, many of them in grotesque ways. There are enough beheadings, flayings, rapes, suicides, disembowelments, mass killings and acts of cannibalism in 'Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom' — more about these things in a moment — that it can seem like a version of Sun Tzu’s 'Art of War' spat into being by Cormac McCarthy." [NY Times]

This month in history, and such. "Westerners still tend to underestimate Chinese military prowess, viewing China as a historically peaceful nation frequently invaded by bellicose neighbors: Huns, Mongols, Manchus, and, of course, Japanese. During World War II, U.S. and British propaganda strengthened this image by depicting China as a hapless victim of a modernized, assertive, and militarily effective Japan. // Most westerners even believe that the Chinese invented gunpowder but never used it in weapons, reserving it for fireworks. In fact, the first guns were developed in China, as were the first cannons, rockets, grenades, and land mines." [The Diplomat]

Well, if you need a reminder that in this city of ours they tear shit down, Jonathan Kaiman is here. "The demolition of Beijing's historical courtyard alleyways, called hutong, has long been one of the city's most controversial issues. At the height of the city's headlong rush to modernity in the 1990s, about 600 hutong were destroyed each year, displacing an estimated 500,000 residents. Seemingly overnight, the city was transformed from a warren of Ming dynasty-era neighborhoods into an ultramodern urban sprawl, pocked with gleaming office towers and traversed by eight-lane highways." [The Atlantic]

The Economist launches China blog: Banyan.

Your Jeremy Lin reads of the day: Deadspin, China Smack, Yahoo. Also from Deadspin: "What appears to be New York Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin's Xanga—, naturally—popped up on Reddit earlier this week, but somehow we missed it, and now it's password-protected. Drat."

Rupert Hoogewerf on China's super rich: "...the second thing is that these people are sending their children to study overseas. This is a phenomenon that's unbelievable. We estimate that 85 per cent of the millionaire class in China are now thinking of sending their children to study in, it's America, UK, Australia, Canada are the big four." [Shanghaiist]

NON-CHINA READ: Because no doubt you will have found James Fallows's analysis of Obama's presidency through other means, I present you this: "The injections came without warning or explanation. As a low-ranking soldier in the Guatemalan army in 1948, Federico Ramos was preparing for weekend leave one Friday when he was ordered to report to a clinic run by US doctors. // Ramos walked to the medical station, where he was given an injection in his right arm and told to return for another after his leave. As compensation, Ramos's commanding officer gave him a few coins to spend on prostitutes. The same thing happened several times during the early months of Ramos's two years of military service. He believes that the doctors were deliberately infecting him with venereal disease." [Nature]

Kim Jong Un update

It's been, like, four hours since credible news sources with -- I think -- better things to do reported that Kim Jong Un isn't, as Weibo (FUCKING CHINESE TWITTER) reported pulled out of its ass, dead. And it's been like eleven hours since someone decided they'd troll the world because journalists can be fucking stupid sometimes. So what of it? Is Kim Jong Un, North Korea's supreme leader, STILL alive?


Still still?

Still alive?

Here, listen to this song. Go do it.

Still alive?

Let me reach into the depths of my intuition...

...why yes. Yes. Kim Jong Un is still alive.

Unless he's dead. Cause holy fuck that'd ruin this blog post so completely.

Five straight games with 20. Five straight wins

The game was on BTV this morning, with the Chinese commentators conducting themselves pretty well. Someone remarked that if this had been 10 years ago, Lin Shuhao could have shared the stage with Yao Ming.

With five seconds to go, Lin misses the first of two free throws, causing one commentator to groan. (The Chinese commentators, sitting at a desk in the studio and watching the game on laptops, go for a "I'm a friend in your living room" vibe, except they are completely pedantic most of the time. It's quite the contrast with American broadcasts.) "If we were at Madison Square Garden, they'd be chanting MVP," he notes by way of contrasting the crowd reaction in Minneapolis.

"He can still be a hero if he makes this," the other says.

He makes it.

With the Knicks up one, the commentators debate who should get the ball for the Timberwolves. One says he'd let Ricky Rubio have it because they're priming him, and last-second opportunities are hard to come by; one says he would not give it to Rubio.

The rookie bounces it off his foot and out of bounds.

The Knicks win again. Jeremy Lin had an average game at best -- the commentators kept noting he looked tired -- but let it be noted that he scored his team's go-ahead point after getting fouled while going hard to the basket.

Eventually we'll quit these updates and just let the kid be a basketball player. Let's say we start when the Knicks get off this incredible roll they're on.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A collection of puns on Jeremy Lin's name

This had to be done.

A roundup:
  • Lin Dynasty
  • Go Linsane
  • Linsanity
  • Lin the zone
  • Missing Lin-k
  • May the best man Lin
  • LIN.Y.C.
  • Lin-sufferable
  • Lin your face
  • Just Lin baby
  • Linning
  • All Lin

This post will be updated as necessary.

Yeah, he did it again

"I don't know anything about him," Kobe Bryant added. "I honestly have no idea what you guys are talking about. I've heard about him, but I have never seen him. I will watch some tape though. I can tell you that."


Be impressed. Jeremy Lin just scored 38 points with 7 assists and 4 rebounds -- and drew a charge late in the fourth quarter -- to vault the Knicks to 92-85 win over the Lakers.

Actually, be amazed. Runs like this don't happen often in sports. I certainly can't think of the last time an undrafted guard made this kind of impact. Expect Lin to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (has to be one of the easiest decisions SI editors have ever needed to make). Each of Lin's performances has bettered the previous, and his team is winning, and he's in New York City. What a life.

Here's a story from the Daily News to read.

CCTV commentator gushes about Jeremy Lin in a game between Mavs and Timberwolves

"Lin Shuhao has 31 points!" said the CCTV commentator late in the fourth quarter of Dallas' big win over Minnesota. With about two minutes left, they stopped saying anything at all, presumably to watch Lakers-Knicks on their laptop instead.

As the commentator noted: today was indeed a feast for Chinese viewers: Lin on one court, Rubio on the other. (He made no mention of Yi Jianlian, weirdly -- playing for Dallas.) And tomorrow: Lin vs. Rubio!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Watch a blissfully unaware American complain about stuff made in Thailand and China

"Disney, shame on you.... Bubba Gump, shame on you.... Tobasco, shame on you..."

...for not hiring Americans who don't want to manufacture mugs to manufacture mugs.

Here's another thing that should be ashamed: THE WORLD. For being the way it is and not the other way in which the American economy is stellar because Americans, you know, manufacture mugs and such.

In case you've forgotten, yesterday's CNN article was really shitty

China Daily headline, January 2: "Cyber cannibalism"
CNN headline, February 9: "'Cyber cannibals' spreading fear in China"

China Daily source, January 2:

"Wang Jieyu, a director with a Beijing television station, was publicly berated by two young women who recognized him in a restaurant. Wang left the scene immediately and now wears a mask in public to avoid future confrontations."

CNN source, February 9:

Wang Jieyu can tell you all about the cyber cannibals' devastating reach. The Beijing television director has had his life turned inside out.... Now this once confident, sharply dressed, successful young man is reduced to hiding, wearing a mask in public for fear of being recognized.

China Daily doing its homework and finding someone who thinks the Internet shouldn't be policed:

But there are voices raised that caution against too much exuberance in the control.

"Weibo needs the freedom of speech," says Qiao Mu, director at the International Communication Research Center of the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Excessive government interference will be harmful and he argues that the micro blog must be allowed to find its own level.

CNN: ...

Nope, couldn't be bothered to do such a thing as even cursory research.

Here, again, is Stan Grant's kicker:

But on the web there is nowhere to hide from the prying eyes of china's cyber cannibals.

One hardly believes the article took CNN a month to push out of its poop chute.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Short of excerpting 1984, this is the most Americanized and utterly awful lede to a China story that I have ever seen:

Do you ever get the feeling you are being watched? Closed circuit cameras recording your movements, strange noises on the phone line, phone calls that suddenly stop, emails being monitored, and private computer files and Facebook being hacked into. Oh yes, secrecy is no secret in China. Privacy is anything but private.

Do you ever get the feeling that you are being watched... in the shower? DUM DUM DUM. You should probably invest in bathroom curtains.

Here's some good ol' Cultural Revolution-era fearmongering in addition:

But it isn't only the authorities that people in China need to fear -- they may want to be wary of each other. A neighbor, a boss, a former friend... anyone is a suspect, anyone can be a so-called "cyber cannibal."

Never mind that this CNN story is about two years out of date the moment it appeared on its website about two hours ago. Never mind that others have written about this topic -- more than a month ago -- with much more objectivity and depth. Just enjoy sentences like these:

But on the web there is nowhere to hide from the prying eyes of china's cyber cannibals.

Stan Grant knows nothing about the Internet, or China, or, it appears, the shift key.

Nicely done, CNN, for confirming my belief that you suck.

A video all about Jeremy Lin

H/T: Maggie Rauch

Alright, Jeremy Lin is now my favorite basketball player

On Tuesday, a netizen called Chinese Brocade posted on a Baidu forum: "If Lin Shuhao scores more than 20 points next game, I'll eat a basketball."

Jeremy Lin, yesterday, scored 23 points and dished a career-high 10 assists. The Knicks, playing without their two biggest stars not named Jeremy Lin (Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire), beat the Wizards 107-93, and Lin has now officially won over everybody.

"Hurry and upload the video of you eating the basketball," wrote hivi_hui this morning.

State-owned People's Daily ran a story from Southern Daily under the headline "Jeremy Lin again Mr. Clutch."

Oriental Morning Paper (DF Daily) used Jeremy Lin's Chinese name (林书豪) in its headline: "Lin Shuhao: shocking oneself, shocking the world." Subhead (apologies for my clunky translation): "Knicks' ethnic Chinese guard uses remarkable consecutive performances to grab America's attention; first winning yellow-skinned [literal translation] NBA point guard excites all of Asia."

Check out the following video of his game vs. the Nets earlier this week. If you enjoy basketball, do check all of it out:

At around the 4:40 mark, Lin puts his palms together and almost does a traditional Chinese "thank you" to teammates on the bench.

Watch the move at 6:15, when he slices through two defenders, glides to the basket and then converts the and-1. Look at how happy everyone is.

He said all the right stuff afterwards, too.

This is an incredible underdog story, and it pretty much doesn't need to be mentioned that Lin just happens to be Chinese American, and blogs in Chinese on QQ.

But, well, he is -- a huayi, as Chinese call it (ethnic Chinese living abroad): still one of them. CCTV will surely have the next Knicks game. If they don't, it's because someone's worried that the commentators may utterly lose their shit.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Chinese in America

Jeremy Lin has landed. In our collective hearts. Deadspin has all the coverage of the Knicks' starting point guard you could want for the day.

And so it has been a wonder to watch how we, the disbelieving yet adoring public, react to him. I have seen a lot of Knicks fans' neuroses and breakdowns play out in public before, but never quite like this: It's as if no one can truly fawn over "Linsanity" yet because the mere mention of his name might make him disappear, like some kind of magical elf. I've never seen a fan base think so little of and still so goddamn much of a single player before.

It was legitimately the most fun I've ever had at a pro game. The other 10,000 Asians in attendance [approximate] seemed to agree. Word had traveled fast.

Featured comment by Sonar Jose: I used to think he was just alright, but for some reason he seems to be waaaay better in MSG.

And briefly: "An Asian Harvard Grad Makes It In New York," i.e. Linsanity.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A gchat status message that should tell you basically all you need to know about eminently hatable expats living abroad

There is nothing more frustrating as an American living abroad than watching 59 minutes and 55 seconds of the Superbowl and then the feed cutting out the last 5 seconds, forcing you to miss the last hail mary play

Developing country...

"Is Michigan suddenly going to outcompete SE Asia in deepwater rice production?"

Worshipping cats, via China Hush

Chinese reactions are, predictably, divided, as they often are. China joined Russia in vetoing a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. [Ministry of Tofu]

Food safety in China: an infographic. "Even Confucius was aware that wine in China is not always wine and beef is not always beef. A disciple, describing Confucius, said, 'He wouldn’t drink wine bought from a wine shop or eat dried meat bought in a market.' If Confucius lived today, he would have to considerably expand his list of risky products." [ChinaShmina]

Boy, the owner of this YouTube video must feel silly about now. "At some point in this frantic and peculiar season, a less likely, less expected story may arise from the chaos. But it will be difficult to beat a night when an undrafted prospect from Harvard took over Madison Square Garden, outshined three of the N.B.A.’s biggest stars and ignited an instant love affair with New York." [NY Times]

Corollary: Jeremy Lin just dropped 28 in his first career start in a Knicks win.

"Restoration" plans in place for Drum and Bell neighborhood. "A 'style restoration project' in the works will knock down five hutong neighborhoods around the Drum and Bell Towers. Some of the housing will be rebuilt, but the majority of the space will be used for a square, roadwork and a small museum. Officials have stated that this will 'restore the area to how it looked in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.'" [the Beijinger]

This comes late, but Malcolm Riddell makes a fine recommendation. USC's US-China Today website is a fine resource, as is its YouTube channel. [China Debate]

And finally, the featured YouTube comments on that dumb Peter Hoekstra political video:

Here's a mash-up you did not ask for, of Chinese men with iron penises

ALTERNATE TITLE: Apparently Pulling Trucks With One's Dong is a Spectator Sport in Some Parts of Germany, i.e. the Parts With This Chinese Community.

I understand three words of German in the below video: penis, schlong and qi.

I may have misheard "schlong" though.

Here's the original video from which I created the above.

Cyanide and Happiness, Chinese edition

One of my favorite webcomics did an all-Chinese comic on January 23 and I totally missed it. This comes embarrassingly late, but it's better that it comes at all (as Rob or another of those funny artists might say, in the form of a joke):

H/T: Kevin

The translation:

--We in there is what day in week?
--We should leave this place.
--I agree.
--What are you doing?
--Pity I don't know Chinese.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Peter Hoekstra campaign needs to learn the definition of satire

The following ad ran in Michigan during the Super Bowl. In it, former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, currently bidding for a US Senate seat, appears at the end to say, "I think this race for US Senate is between Debbie Spend It Now and Pete Spend It Not. I'm Pete 'Spend It Not' Hoekstra, and I approve this message."

Here's the message Pete Spend It Not Hoekstra so approves of:

It's a nice red herring, if anything. For you see, politicians in America make a career out of saying shit they don't mean, either because they think their constituents need to hear it or because the DNC or RNC told them to say it, and the good politicians -- I mean those truly adept at the asinine game of politics -- are the ones who get away with bald-faced hypocrisy.

Example: Hoekstra. An ad featuring a Chinese girl on a farm. A fucking farm, even though more than half of Chinese live in cities. Ah, never mind that. What does China have to do with anything?

Well... it makes us talk about China, an issue that has not divided America (I think most Americans are solidly in the "Huh?" camp). It makes us forget to focus about Mr. Spend It Not himself.

But that's where we come in. We have his voting record. So we're able to see that he...

Voted YES on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler.

Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Voted YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill

Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Voted YES on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years.

...i.e. voted to increase spending while decreasing income.

So, Hoekstra campaign -- your response?

The Hoekstra campaign called the advertisement “satirical” and explained the broken English in the video as a reflection of China’s increasingly competitive education system. [Politico]

Oh. You're still talking about China. I'm not entirely sure you know what satire means, but hey, we didn't all get a good education. Speaking of education though, I understand you have something to say about that?

“You have a Chinese girl speaking English - I want to hit on the education system, essentially. The fact that a Chinese girl is speaking English is a testament to how they can compete with us, when an American boy of the same age speaking Mandarin is absolutely insane, or unthinkable right now,” Hoekstra spokesperson Paul Ciaramitaro told POLITICO. “It exhibits another way in which China is competing with us globally.”

Yes! Hoekstra is obviously for American education. He obviously believes as I do, that education the foundation of our country and -- more importantly -- the foundation of an individual, and perhaps shares Nicholas Kristof's belief that "the difference between a strong teacher and a weak teacher lasts a lifetime." Great, so Hoekstra...

Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

Uhm. Is he for... the environment?

Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.

Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.

Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel.

I clearly see how he does not support public education or the environment. But I wonder, on an off-chance, could he support education and the environment, like, together?

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools.

Voted NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences.


Say, how much did Mr. Spend It Not spend on his Super Bowl ad?

Hoekstra's campaign is spending $75,000 to air the ad statewide Sunday.

Well, fuck.

And fuck you, good Sir Spend It Not. What a shitty moniker.

Also see: Sinostand.

Don't you just love it when they use nationalism to sell ___?

The blank this time is filled by an American company.

UPDATE: Apparently the video has been pulled due to a copyright claim by NFL Properties LLC, but here is the ad on Youku.

UPDATE 2: The ad is back up, re-embedded above. Jalopnik explains (sort of) what happened.

Live blogging Chinese commentating of the second half of Super Bowl XLVI

We're on Beijing TV this morning. Apparently the AC Mila-Lazio rerun is more important to the country's national station's sports channel, CCTV-5.

3rd quarter: When Eli Manning lofts a pass to the sideline and sees Hakeem Nicks get drilled out of bounds (and drop the ball), the commentator -- after the third time watching the replay -- groans and feels the need to inform the audience, "That's a legitimate defensive maneuver."

The kick goes up and he says, "No problem with it." It skims the upright. Patriots 17-12.


Commentator explaining some inane shit. We're in commercial, but no commercials here. Usually a blessing, but not today.


The literal translation for "sack" involves the two characters for "capture" and "murder/kill." 杀 (qinsha). Tom Brady was captured and killed. Giants ball.


2:21: "The ball... oh, that's his helmet that came off."


Commentator tells us how the small city of Indianapolis has been fully co-opted by the Super Bowl. He says a couple of days ago, when the NBA's Orlando Magic came to town, the team was surprised to discover all the hotels were booked -- and, I assume, immediately fired the person in charge of booking hotels. The players went four hours away to stay the night in Cincinnati.


"It looks like they don't plan on snapping, perhaps will just let the clock run out on the third quarter." Ball gets snapped. "Mnnnh?"



No American commercials here, so I'm stuck watching the same five ads on loop. I'll rank them:

Kisses (mercifully short)
NESCAFE (because I like coffee)
V.S.O.P. Hennessy (some rock star)
Galaxy (I hate -- HATE -- the sound that cell phones make on vibrate when someone gets a text message)


Bad throw, Brady. Bad body positioning, Gronk. Commentator chooses not to point it out. Have I mentioned that he's working solo? Trust me, this isn't a critique.


I like his call for a fumble. "The ball is out!" Giants recover.


CNSports Interactive (Media Holding Company)
Hennessy V.S.O.P.
Dove (female lead trying to act more attractive than she really is)
Galaxy (this commercial makes me think MY phone is buzzing)


Commentator is VERY excited to point out, mid-play, the "yellow flag" come out. Also, he just pointed out the ages of the two head coaches, without saying who is what age.

3rd and 2, 13:18 left in game: "Straight pass, calmly gets it to Hicks." Some stats cited to show how "clutch" Manning is.

I also like that the term for clutch -- or rather, referring to the final, or pivotal, moments of a contest -- is translated literally as "final/ultimate kill/murder" (决杀 juesha). It's a term apparently first used by well-known sports commentator Huang Jianxiang.


You can tell what information the commentator was given and has in front of him. Heights and weights. Yeah, he's all over that. I now know how much Jake Ballard and Danny Woodhead weigh in kilograms. No, you don't need to know.


Here we go! Eli Manning and the New York Giants' offense, 3:46 to go in the 4th quarter... commentator here makes the common mistake of using the quarterback as synecdoche for the entire team. But he's not the worst I've heard this morning. Holy shit you should've seen the Star Sports analysts sucking Brady's cock after the Pats scored to open the second half. (I was streaming online, have since stopped.) This Chinese commentator is better.

Points out Mario Manningham's "beautiful" catch as we watch, for the upteenth time, replay of his sideline grab.


Commentator points out that a field goal would give the Giants the lead, since they're only down 2.

We see a shot of Lawrence Tynes holding a football on the sideline. "Most of the league's kickers were born in the '70s. It's all about experience."


Hennessy again. It's not a rock star, as I said earlier -- it's a producer who's the lead, I think.

Here's the Dove chocolate commercial, where a woman tosses back her silky black hair on an empty bus and then a young man comes on. I really hope that dude walks right past her.


I had a dream this morning that the Patriots were winning by the score of like 55-45. Don't ask why.

1:09: Nicks grab makes it 1st and goal. "The Giants offense has been very effective today." Commentator points out that Brady is powerless on the sideline. Brady, powerless? GET OUT.


Unless I heard wrong, the commentator just said that the game has been put away. But ah, the Pats wanted the Giants to score, and Ahmad Bradshaw, like a sucker, fell for it. BRADY IS NOT POWERLESS AFTER ALL!


"Let's see if Brady can play hero."

Not with two straight drops. So, um, what's this about quarterbacks being synecdoche for the rest of the team?

With 17 seconds left, commentator says Pats called timeout. I don't think he understands the concept of a spike.


Commentator has no idea how the NFL clock work. He says as long as the ball is out of the quarterback's hand, it'll still count... but implies that it has to be released from the quarterback's hand.

Anyway, hail mary came officially close. Players have no room to celebrate. Too much media and other shitty people.

Well, that was your Super Bowl 46. It was pleasant to watch a simple game without the surrounding hype. Merciful, you could say.

I could've used American commercials though. Holy shit I'm never eating Dove again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

You ready for the Super Bowl? No? Here are some China links

Picture via China Smack

The infamous -- and now viral -- Zhu Yufu poem in full. Someone may well have reported on this earlier, but I got this from Seeing Red in China:

It's Time

It’s time, Chinese!
The time is now
The square belongs to all, and the feet are yours
It’s time to walk to the square to make a choice

It’s time, Chinese!
The time is now
The song is for all, but the throat is yours
It’s time to sing the song from the bottom of your heart

It’s time, Chinese!
The time is now
China belongs to all of us, but the choice is yours
It’s time for you to choose the future of China

Although methinks Zhu Yufu is late. The Chinese have chosen, and now they're wiping the KFC grease off their fingers.

Is Wu Ying being scapegoated... with the death penalty? There's so much corruption in Chinese business that I find myself unable to buy any other explanation for why Wu Ying is getting the death penalty other than the one supplied by Ye Kuangzheng: "The government officials' joint letter demanding Wu Ying's death is not just to silence her but to threaten others." [Global Voices]

Jim Yardley on basketball in China: "The N.B.A. Is Missing Its Shots in China." [NY Times Magazine]

Another good read from Sinostand. "But in spite of what many Chinese and most foreigners seem to think, China has one of the weakest central governments in the world. It must oversee tens of thousands of local fiefdoms, so even when the top leaders try to do the right thing, their orders get diluted, reinterpreted or ignored through multiple levels of corrupted bureaucracy. // Like most groups throughout history though, the party is reluctant to give up any of its absolute power. It clings to the notion that it can use its power to launch internal crackdowns and scare corrupt officials straight. But this approach has been failing for decades. For every situation it rectifies, dozens more pop up. // Only by outsourcing its supervisory role to commoners and media empowered by a rule of law enforced from the top can China’s model become sustainable. China is the frog in heating water and time is running out. Hopefully the laobaixing will realize stability at all costs is usually the most potent recipe for chaos." [Sinostand]

Two shorties but goodies from China Hearsay: "Irresponsible Reporting on Apple-Foxconn" and Hong Kong vs. mainland. [China Hearsay]

Slightly late with this, but it's quite good. Begin reading here: "The older generation -- which largely controls the Chinese Communist Party -- is worried that it is losing control of the media and is trying to bring television back to its traditional socialist roots. Under this paradigm, the function of the media is not to entertain the masses, but to educate the people, build social solidarity, and bolster state power. For these individuals, Chinese television has grown too western and culturally degrading. // There seems to be a very real fear among Beijing's elite that if left unchecked, television programming could lead to Chinese cultural decline. Some may quickly dismiss or even ridicule this concern, however it becomes more understandable if we consider the content of much of American television programming today -- such as Jersey Shore, Jerry Springer, Mob Wives and Toddlers and Tiaras.... The officials in Beijing look at the United States and see a nation with a failing economy, a burgeoning deficit, and a dysfunctional political system. They also see an American media replete with trashy television, scandal-prone Hollywood stars, and drug addicted pop stars. Although many Americans may not necessarily see a connection between the two, the officials in Beijing do." [Daniel Wagner and Michael Doyle, Huffington Post]

"Well, we’d rather die in Beijing than live in Shanghai." Well said, Jonny White. [the Beijinger]

NON-CHINA READ: "If [Israel attacks Iran] does happen, many Americans will undoubtedly be entirely supportive because they know (at least the ones who read American newspapers and listen to their government officials) that Iran is the Evil-est since Saddam’s Iraq." [Glenn Greenwald, Salon]

Satire? You decide

Here's the latest meme from a country very good at producing them: a set of parodies of the Hong Kong Daily Apple ad. China Hush, Ministry of Tofu and China Smack all have roundups. Here's an example:

Do you want the migrant population of Beijing to continue to grow?

Beijing people have had enough of it!

Beijing has already inhabited 20 million migrant population and accepted 478,000 come-along children.

But! You still damage Beijing culture, mess up the order, push up the housing price, bring your children born in excess of plan here to intensify the college entrance examination; you benefit from Beijing but still defame Beijing like trash; please do us a favor, go back home build your own town before coming here.

Strongly demand the government to amend the law!

Stop the massive growth of migrant population in Beijing.

Just to emphasize: the ad is in response to -- indeed, making fun of -- the Hong Kong ad that calls for Hong Kong to ban mainlanders. This HAS to be satire, right? If so, well done. Especially the little twist involving Shenzhen:

You are one of us if you come to Shenzhen.

Welcome to Shenzhen!

Because we are all away from home, so welcome here; because this is a big circle Grandpa Deng drew for all of us (metaphor for making Shenzhen special economic region), so welcome here; because you are part of the momentum that keeps Shenzhen going, so welcome here; because of you are the reason behind our 30 years of prosperity, so welcome here; because we want the whole world to know this, so we use English the say the next: “welcome to hometown Shenzhen”.

POSTSCRIPT: They're singing something about locusts in Hong Kong, but all I hear is: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE MAKE US STOP SOUNDING LIKE RETARDED DUCKS.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

JR Smith scored 60 points in a CBA game on Wednesday

He went 21 for 32 from the field, including 14 of 18 from behind the arc. I don't play many basketball video games, but I don't know if it's possible to shoot 14 for 18 from threes even in a simulation.

Smith's team, Zhejiang, beat Qingdao 122-110.

According to Sohu, after his second CBA game, Smith made a bet with his translator, Wang Kunlun: "If I score 60 points in a game, you have to shave your head."

After Wednesday's game, Zhejiang general manager Zhao Bing loudly teased Wang: "You're going to shave your head tomorrow, right?"

The head got shaved right away, by Smith himself -- "expertly, with steady hand," according to Sohu.

Seeing his sister and girlfriend, he was quick to remind them of the potential fate that awaits their hair, too. Apparently if he scores 70, they have to get their heads shaved as well.

On Friday, he scored 41 as Zhejiang outlasted Shandong 119-115 in overtime. Shandong's Alan Anderson (Michigan St.) scored 54. Smith's next game is tomorrow at 7:30 pm China time vs. Foshan.

In a bit of reversi, it's an American screwing over a Chinese business this time

Kenyon Martin signed a contract last September to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. For about $3 million -- according to several sources, the most lucrative contract in the history of the NBA -- the Xinjiang Flying Tigers owned the rights to Mr. Martin's basketball services.

This wasn't a publicity stunt by the Flying Tigers -- it wasn't a case of luring a big-name player to sell tickets, like the Shanxi Brave Dragons did two years ago by bringing in Stephon Marbury. Xinjiang has lost in the CBA finals three years in a row, and with the acquisition of Martin, some prognosticators considered them favorites to win this year -- the team to end Guangdong's four-year reign atop the CBA.

But then its best player, Quincy Douby, broke his wrist in the preseason, and let's just say that was the beginning of Xinjiang's troubles.

After playing just 12 games, Kenyon Martin negotiated his release from the club.

In his abbreviated stay in China, it was clear that he did not want to be here. No one expected him to be the prolific scorer that his former Denver Nuggets teammates, JR Smith (35 ppg) and Wilson Chandler (26.7 ppg), currently are, but I think it's safe to say we expected a little more than 14 points and 10 rebounds per game (stats according to Asia Basket). Martin played like he was replaceable, and in the end, he was. Forward Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech), picked up midseason, is averaging 21.4 points and 13.4 rebounds after 11 games.

But that's not the whole story. As Yahoo! Sports reports:

Chinese Basketball Association officials are fighting FIBA’s decision to allow Kenyon Martin to immediately return to the NBA, demanding that Martin be forbidden to play until later this month, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Chinese Basketball Association officials are insisting the clearance letter request was deliberately sent to their office over the New Year when they wouldn’t be available to respond.

I say: good for the CBA. Granting Martin's release would set a bad precedent, especially since the aforementioned Smith and Chandler have clamored to return Stateside as soon as possible. (Aaron Brooks, while not as vocal about leaving, probably would prefer playing in the U.S. right now as well.)

But really, it's a matter of principle. For you see, Kenyon Martin failed, and not just failed, but failed in the worst way possible for a professional athlete: he failed to give the impression that he tried. So you might not feel sorry for Xinjiang -- currently 13-12 and fighting for a playoff spot -- and you might not feel sorry for the CBA, which is kind of getting dicked over (as Adrian Wojnarowski reports: "Right now, it’s a huge distraction for teams," one international official told Yahoo! Sports. "Players are angry, want out now, and this is a huge investment that’s blowing up in the face of [Chinese] teams and owners"), but you should feel Martin is getting his right desserts by not getting to play basketball right now. After all, Xinjiang is actually the second team that regrets paying for Martin's services. Lest you've forgotten, his seven-year, $92.5 million contract with the Denver Nuggets was, as Bleacher Report rightfully calls it, one of the worst of the decade.

UPDATE: This just happened while I was writing the above: Martin is now a Clipper.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"black man dont contact me ,thank you"

Who wants to tell this innocent young lady that perhaps she's trawling the wrong waters? Every girl knows the best place to find a boyfriend is near Sanlitun Bar Street, in front of Luga's, perhaps. "Hey man, want some stuff?" really just means, "I am a gentle, genteel honest responsible boy."

H/T: Steve

Update on the missing potato chip

Three days ago, we reported that a ruffled sweet onion potato chip was reported missing by its relatives in Canada, last seen potentially teaching English in Beijing. We got some disturbing news in our inbox this morning. I apologize for getting to it just now, but this morning I was sleeping.

Yo. Ate your chip. Was hungry. Sorry.

I'm holding out hope that perhaps the chip that was eaten was not Carla, whose family has not heard from her for seven months, the same Carla who was last seen -- I repeat -- teaching English in Beijing. But if so, what a sad end to an unspeakably tragic story.

Updates as they become available.

The Beijinger's six-word writing contest

It's a decent contest idea, and the prizes look halfway acceptable (if you participate from out of town and win, I'd happily accept the prize on your behalf):

  • First Prize: A ticket to a BLF writing workshop of your choice plus two invites to the BLF VIP cocktail party
  • Second Prize: Two tickets to "SLAM!" featuring Luka Lesson & Tim Clare (9pm on Saturday, March 17 at 2 Kolegas)
  • Third Prize: Two tickets to the Beijinger's "Pop-Up Magazine" event (8pm on Friday, March 16 at The Bookworm)

But I'd like to conduct an experiment. How many six-word entries will Jonathan White personally reply to on the website's comment section? So far, 2 for 2.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Of all the headlines I did not expect to see in Global Times

This one takes the cake:

State media weaning itself off government's teat -- with a headline like that, do you even need to read the story? (Answer: seriously, no.)

Trust this, fellow peoples: there are some funny, subversive copyeditors working at that state-backed newspaper.

Your Mid-Week Links

Yet another difference between Hong Kong and the mainland: Some Hong Kong people raised HK$100,000 to buy an ad in Apple Daily denouncing mainland Chinese births in Hong Kong. Mainland Chinese would go to the local print shop and drop 20 RMB for a design, then post onto an Internet forum where the ad gets seen by about four times more people. But, whatever, it's not like HK$100,000 can buy food or anything. [Shanghaiist]

Global Times editor-in-chief joins Twitter. Welcome, @HuXijinGT. I wonder how long the poor chap will last. [China Rises]

Corollary: "Two jokes are currently circulating in Chinese cyberspace which take on current events: // The first one refers to recent tensions over the East China Sea. // [Diaoyu Islands belong to which country?] Answer: Bring a laptop computer there. If you can open Twitter, they belong to Japan. If you can’t open Twitter, they belong to China!" [China Digital Times]

Ai Weiwei on Chen Guangcheng: "Chen Guangcheng is an activist from Shandong who lost his sight as a child; but he is a bright light that shines in the darkness." [Wired]

MSNBC jumps into Foxconn reporting. Nothing interesting or new to report until the paragraph that starts: "On Monday, tens of thousands of people lined up outside a job agency to apply for an estimated 100,000 new jobs Foxconn is seeking to fill at its factory in Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan province." Tens of thousands of people. [Behind the Wall, MSNBC]

A nice book review of a bad book. Charles Custer takes on Tony Parfitt's Why China Will Never Rule the World. Turns out you can judge a book by its title. [China Geeks]

NON-CHINA READ (HT@Alicia): "It was over the last century, says Cain, that society began reshaping itself as an extrovert’s paradise—to the introvert’s demise. She explains that before the twentieth century, we lived in what historians called a 'culture of character,' when you were expected to conduct yourself morally with quiet integrity. But when people starting flocking to the cities and working for big businesses the question became, how do I stand out in a crowd? We morphed into a 'culture of personality,' which she says sparked a fascination with glittering movie stars, bubbly employees and outgoing leadership." [Forbes]