警察叔叔Says: We Still Control You!

Within hours of declaring my "victory" over the Great Firewall, I learned my hubris was not a good thing and that I could easily be beaten back down as once again, blogspot is blocked in Shenzhen. Anybody anywhere else in the country experience sudden access to Blogspot yesterday? Does anybody still have access? This leaves me to wonder, did somebody at the GFW department suddenly and accidently walk into the switch yesterday or something? Why the sudden access yesterday and (equally) swift killing of access? Mysterious...


Live from Shenzhen: Victory Is MINE!!!

Well, this victory it is happily shared with all those who are using Blogspot in the PRC and have not backed down in this standoff of waiting for our blogs to be unblocked. As of this afternoon, I've been able to access all my favorite Blogspot blogs from Shenzhen. I have no idea if this is true across China or how long this bit of openness will last (especially since wiki is still blocked), but I'm rejoycing for the moment, let's hope the wonderful JingCha Shushu Men in charge of the Great Firewall continue this wonderful period of sunshine...


Live from Shenzhen: There is a Season...

Fall seems to have arrived in Shenzhen and it is beautiful. The rain has stopped, or at least diminished, and while it is not exactly cool, the weather can no longer be described as hot and is actually livable. While this has meant road construction until all hours of the night in my part of the city, it has also meant I haven't turned on the air conditioning in a week and instead enjoy the natural breeze which on some nights can even leave a bit of a chill.

Beyond all that, the (minimal) drop in temperature that signals fall has been a bit unnoticeable to me. As someone who spent most of his life in the US (and as a student), it is still sort of strange to not be headed off to school (though I did have to say goodbye to the office interns who are heading back to Beida, all my good luck wishes to them during the year and hope they will come back to our firm when they're done). Most of all though, fall means football and, more specifically college football. I'm not a huge NFL fan (or even a football fan in general), but the spirit and pageantry of college football is always great to veg out to on a Saturday afternoon. While my alma mater, IU, has a perennially crappy team, its fun to watch whatever big time Big 10 game is on and also cheer for family favorite, USC. Plus, the start of football season means it's a bit closer to the start of the hockey season.

I always say that when I'm in the US, I constantly miss China, but when in China I only occasionally miss life in the US. Being in China now and not able to watch football, a part of me feels like the seasons aren't really changing. Chalk this up to one time when I do miss the US...

Asia's Music Powerhouse

There is a strange phenomenon that one finds in any major city in China (and in Korea and Japan to a lesser extent) whenever you look at the listings for bar events, you will often come across this "Live Filipino Band." It didn't really strike me until this past weekend in Hong Kong where I went to a number of bars, all featuring live bands, all of which were entirely (or almost entirely) Filipino. Okay, an obvious reasoning for this is that the Philippines has a large population that speaks English as a first (or very close second) language. Another reason is the large amount of Filipino immigrants that can be found throughout Asia.

But this got my mind to wandering, what makes it such a big draw to have a Filipino band? Does it bring in more business than a local band who (especially in HK) should be able to speak excellent English? Is it that you can pay them less? Is it "exotic"? Bourdain claims there is a town in Mexico that produces the majority of cooks in New York kitchens, is there one Filipino town that is producing all these bands? A bored mind wonders...

Live from Shenzhen: I'm Back and Handing Out the Love

I ha no idea how people like Dan Harris do it, maintaining a successful legal practice as well as a successful daily blog (perhaps that is one of the perks of being a named partner), but I don't have my name on the door (or any door for that matter) and therefore am stuck writing on the rare occasions when I have the time and inclination to do so. Between work, traveling all over southern China for work, new friends, a terminal addiction to facebook and dianping, and looking for an apartment in Beijing, blogging hasn't really found a place in the mix. Beyond that, to be honest, there isn't a lot happening right now as China (or the world goes), fortunately. Certainly there are some major issues, but perhaps this is sort of the calm before the storm, when Congress really hits out at China, but right now, there just isn't too much to talk about. Of course, there is always the fact this blog is on blogspot which is still blocked in China, thus destroying a major part of the potential readership...

To ease my way back into the game and to clear out a lot of what I've been collecting, here's another simple blog wrap up...

First off, last month's issue of Esquire had an article on Shenzhen titled, , that is now available online (though thanks to my inside source for the advanced copy). It's a good read and for the most part paints a pretty accurate portrait of this city, if a bit (or WAY) over the top. World famous DJ, Paul Oakenfold, weighed in on the China club scene in the Guardian, overall he was very complimentary about China's burgeoning scene, but then he said this:
"Playing in somewhere like Shenzhen, a big, polluted, overpopulated, industrial city, you can be the only Westerner in the club. You are a long way from home and you feel it."
What? Where the hell was he? I don't have much love for southern China, but just like Dalian IS NOT Dongbei (more on that later), Shenzhen is not southern China. Shenzhen is big, but inside Guan Nei, it is NOT polluted, overpopulated, nor industrial and it is quite possibly China's most livable city. While foreigners don't overwhelm in Luohu, there are plenty in Shekou, the closest thing to a Western city area that I've seen in China.

Enough of that, on the blog front, Lost Laowai chimes in on the recent popularity of China bashing in an excellent article. Guangzhou Bang, a newish(?) blog that has become a popular read for me, has a hilarious post about when Zhang met Petra. Imagethief has an interesting post on the Chinese film industry, though I think much of the problem is that since Zhang Yimou figured out crap sells (thanks to Ang Lee), he hasn't made a decent film, Jiang Wen has been banned from film making for the past 7 years, and everyone who isn't making crappy period pieces is making crazy and impossible to understand avante garde films.

Lao Wai Wen Shen has a thought provoking post on how similar things are across China. While I completely disagree with everything he/she says and feel you could make a similar example out of any other country if you tried, it does get one to thinking and is worth a read and wider discussion.

To close it out, a great NYT story on fashion and our love/hate relationship with it, the crazy story of a 9 year old college student, and a funny story on sohu about trying to get away from Chinglish menu items (mostly in Chinese) that includes this piece of genius:
新版译法 Spring Chicken
民间译法 Chicken Without Sexual Life(还没有性生活的鸡)