• 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.
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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?
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More


Photo © ravichri from Flickr


The Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. Senate has approved a resolution apologizing for the nation's past discriminatory laws that targeted Chinese immigrants, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Read More
Photo © J.R. Siegel

Western Hospitality

On one particularly hot day in Urumqi, I decided to head to a small dumpling house near the center of the city. As my food came, an old, half-drunk Han Chinese man sitting at the table next to me struck up a conversation.
Read More
Photo © Corbis

Death by Indifference

Nearly everyday when I take the subway I hear the same refrain, "'Respect the old and cherish the young' is a traditional Chinese virtue." So how does one make sense of the news that a two-year-old child was left for dead?
Read More



72: Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul (LAFF 2011)

Kai Sehr tells a story of growth and transformation, a structural examination that lets us witness how a small group of people can make their mark on the life of a city.
Laylan in Salaam Dunk

71: Salaam Dunk (LAFF 2011)

Behind the wordplay of the title, this documentary from David Fine tells a simple yet resonant story about women in Iraq.
Emmanuel Bilodeau in Curling

70: Curling (LAFF 2011)

(This review is crossposted as part of The House Next Door’s coverage of the 2011 LA Film Fest.) Denis Côté’s Curling is also touched by issues of mortality; it’s the most oblique and challenging of the three Québécois offerings, starting with the fact that there’s a relative dearth of curling in the film. Bowling is instead the […]

Gilbert Sicotte in Le Vendeur

69: Le Vendeur (The Salesman) (LAFF 2011)

Sébastien Pilote reveals a small-town community to be a fragile little thing, utterly dependent on the engine of the economy.