• Leftover Women

    Leftover Women

    Chinese women and burden of marriage.

    Posted by on Sunday, July 15, 2012

    Only after many late night conversations with female friends have I slowly begun to grasp the heavy and consuming burden that young women must face in metropolitan cities throughout China.

    The concept of a shengnü or “leftover woman” is a fairly recent phenomenon in Chinese society. The term refers to single women, over thirty, who live in large cities and are often highly educated and well salaried.
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  • The Rape of Europa

    Don’t Be A Dick

    Fenwick Smith's foreign policy.

    Posted by on Monday, June 4, 2012

    Last week, when my doorbell rang at the optimum moment between my boyfriend leaving for work and me leaving for work—a thirty minute gap that seems to be the only time my local police station does any work—I knew who would be waiting even before I wrenched the reinforced steel door open.

    I had my passport, foreign expert certificate and residence permit all primed and ready in a nearby drawer.
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  • Photo © Rian Dundon


    Images from the provincial capital.

    Posted by on Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Rian Dundon, an American photographer who lived in China for 6 years, is trying to fund a new book of photography called Changsha.

    He is currently fundraising through Emphas.is, which is like Kickstarter for photojournalism. There's a month left to support the project. We talked over e-mail about his upcoming book.
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  • Manufacturing #10A (detail) by Edward Burtynsky

    Yet Another Mike Daisey Piece

    A few words on Daisey, truth, beauty, and bitterness.

    Posted by on Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Daisey creating a situation where he shares a real human moment with his interpreter and he touches her hand seems not that problematic—that’s drama. But Daisey claiming to speak to Chinese workers who suffered hexane poisoning, or claiming to have met with secret union workers in clandestine Starbucks meetings seems far more problematic. Why?
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  • Photo © This American Life

    Glass Houses

    On the hypocrisy of This American Life.

    Posted by on Monday, April 2, 2012

    I also found it extremely difficult to listen to the "Retraction" episode of This American Life. I could not even listen to the whole episode—I had to read the transcript. The only way I could have relieved the fury building up inside me, as I listened to that podcast, would have been to slap Ira Glass across the face. I have never heard such sanctimonious, self-serving hypocrisy in my life—not from someone I respect.

    I am going to tell you some things that may shock you.
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Photo © Rob Shenk from Flickr

Sympathy for the Teacher

In the blissful summer before my junior year of high school, my parents forced me to take an SAT preparation course in the basement of a brown-brick building named The Lyceum.
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Republic of China

Dire Straits

Taiwan is an old, old ally of the United States, with strong political and cultural ties. To "ditch" them, as Kane suggests, would severely damage U.S. credibility in Asia.
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Li Yugang


Only in Asia is a tradition valuing the androgynous beauty of the meizhengtai (美正太)—the beautiful boy—enjoying a revival and being seen as on par as his masculine counterpart, the nanzihan (男子汉).
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Suite Habana

76: Suite Habana (LAFF 2011)

Pérez searches for the soul of Havana and finds it in an overlapping mosaic of minutiae—the routines of the everyday.
Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba

75: Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba (LAFF 2011)

Estela Bravo's stories are all tied together by a common shock at being uprooted and deposited in a foreign land at such a young age, and the growing realization of being used as pawns in geopolitical gamesmanship.
Miriel Cejas and Héctor Medina in Boleto al paraiso

74: Boleto al Paraiso (Ticket to Paradise) (LAFF 2011)

Gerardo Chijona provides a window on the youth of Cuba struggling to make the best out of a set of bad options.
Prakriti Maduro and Juan Carlos García in Habana Eva

73: Habana Eva (LAFF 2011)

A simple romantic comedy, or a parable for contemporary Cuba's international dilemmas?