• 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 © basswulf from Flickr

Don’t Quote Me On This

How many minutes of my life had I lost to overused and poorly-reenacted movie quotes, taken completely out of context and dropped into a dialogue in which they had no place and made no sense?
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Photo © funadium from Flickr

Repression 101: Censorship

The first and most obvious feature of how Chinese government maintains order is through censorship. It is the most blunt instrument they have in their hands, but far from the only one.
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Photo © idovermani from Flickr

Back to September

Ten years ago I was sitting in a high school classroom conjugating Japanese verbs when there was a distant boom. Our teacher, Fujita sensei, a retired air force vet, remarked that it sounded like an explosion.
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Renate and Pedro Costa in 108

64: 108 (LAFF 2011)

Renate Costa's documentary delves deep into the political psychology of a police state through the lens of her uncle's life and death.
Martin in El Velador

63: El Velador (The Night Watchman) (LAFF 2011)

Natalia Almada sits back and watches the machinery of life that unfolds around her and the miniature community that builds up around death.
Gang Dong-won in Haunters

62: Haunters (초능력자) (LAFF 2011)

Kim Min-suk spins a supernatural thriller pitting one man against the world.
Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron

61: Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron (LAFF 2011)

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park's phantasmagoric missive to a dead grandfather and a dying industry.