Saturday, March 28, 2009

What's hot in China: chicks who look like anime characters

I was hanging out w/ Lei Heng & some of her friends, and they asked me if I thought the actress in 'Slumdog Millionaire' (Freida Pinto) is pretty. And obviously my answer was YES, because that girl is gorgeous. But here's the thing: she's just blah according to Chinese culture's standard of beauty. They couldnt understand why Westerners think she's pretty. And I couldn't understand why they thought Freida's face looks like it's been beat w/ a shovel.

So I asked them what kind of features they considered attractive for girls. Answer: big eyes, small nose, small mouth. Kindof sounds like China digs girls who look like anime characters. (see below. yeah, i don't really know what's up w/ the fishnet stockings, but it's one of the first images that popped up when i googled 'anime character chinese girl'.)

Remme watch Youtube!

So, hasn't been working here in China. I thought it was just my computer. But turns out, China's blocking Youtube -- I think related to that "fake" video of Tibetans being tortured.

I just wanted to watch some mindless music videos & see Kanye git his funk on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Dear Dad,

I have no updates for you because Katie went off to visit the USA for 2 weeks and took the only source of decent internet access with her.

This post will probably take 10 minutes to load. Thank you, China.

Love Always,
Erspeh (how the Chinese pronounce my name)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forbidden City

Harbin - Jan '08

Note: despite the -10degree windchill, that facemask is actually for protection against SARS.


Lots of overnight trains. Similar to the ones in India -- but a little nicer. 

Quan thinks it's weird that I sleep with my sneakers on. Normally everyone puts their shoes in the aisle. But I tie my kicks extra tight & double-knot them. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Muslim Quarter - Jan '08

At the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an, where ~50,000 Hui ("hway") Islamic minority live. Video is taken at the mosque during prayer.

Friday, March 13, 2009

An obnoxious video of me shrieking

My friends & I are known as "the Children's Table". And this would be reason #293048234...

(though we like to consider it a good thing to have an imagination comparable to a child...)

Oh, Bernie...

7-ft-wide, watercolor portrait of Bernie Madoff by Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming. Asking price: $100,000. (But so far has failed to find a buyer). A fittingly creepy portrait.

Stalin, is that you?!? (Harbin)

Communist China at its finest.
Yeah, it was that depressing... 
And that cold.

So cold that we had to run into Wal-Mart to purchase long-underwear. 

Lots of ice. After I took this photo I ran back inside a random mall b/c I couldn't feel my face. 

Hangin' w/ security guards @ the Great Wall

Quan & I befriending a security guard at the Great Wall. We quickly broke out in a dance party (security guard provided the Michael Jackson beats), & forced this poor man to wear some tacky-chic Kanye shuttershades. I think he enjoyed it. 

My favorite part is when he goes, "You guys are American? Really? Nooo, but you guys just are so COOOOL & have yo own sty-ohh! You guys ROCK!" 

YaoGun QingNian ("Yow-gwen Ching-nyan") = Rock Youth Generation. mmhmm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

H.H.D.L. -- Steppin' on Hu's toes.

As many of you have probably read by now, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently criticized China (or the CCP) for turning Tibet into a "hell on earth". OOOOOhhh. Harsh. Well, harsh by what's appropriate to say against the Chinese government (which is, oh wait, you can't really do that now can you...). Perhaps the Dalai Lama makes a legitimate claim & he's only voicing what 6 million Tibetans already believe, but I'm a little nervous to see what the CCP response might be...

It's now been 50 years since a failed Tibetan revolt against the Chinese gov (after which DL had to seek refuge in India). The Dalai Lama wants autonomy -- which is a compromise between the CCP's suffocating grip vs. the full independence that many Tibetan radicals are calling for. I'm just hoping the dude stays healthy, b/c who's gonna mediate when he's gone? A key thing he's able to do is keeping the radicals under control. But if he's gone & the young radicals get a bit too roudy, the CCP could easily give 'em a good b*tchslap. Dem Tibetans gotta check 'demselves beefoh dey wreck 'demselves. (...riiiight.)

Anyway, it's easy to forget about this issue in the midst of all the fun we're having in the stock market & over in the Middle East. I havent really stayed as up to date on this issue as much as I'd like, but damnnn HHDL just gave Hu a whole lotta lip...

Jordan Ad (sweet video - check it out)

Awesome flight. My boss from this past summer is the ad manager for Jordan -- he does some really phenomenal work! On "Lead the Charge", he got to collaborate w/ Wally Pfister (filmed Dark Knight) -- apparently Pfister used some tricks he learned from that movie.

This past summer I got to see the concepts for this ad -- pretty cool to finally see the end product!

(you can watch past Jordan flights here -- definitely worth watching! )

Hong Kong: some pics

Typical street in HK. (Causeway Bay)
Hipsters & schoolchildren -- funny combo to see out on the streets. Makes sense, but didn't expect it.
I liked the road-writing -- both in English & Chinese (note: Hong Kong & Taiwan still use traditional characters, which are basically more elaborate/more strokes; mainland China uses simplified.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet the Waterman

There are a bunch of other dudes just like him riding around on their water bycicles & sporting totally rad green jumpsuits (or blue -- depending on the neighborhood). It's all a pre-paid thing -- there's a stack of tickets, & we give him a ticket everytime we need the water changed. They're pretty fast - you call them & you're all "AHHHGHH I'M THIRRSTYYYY" & then they immediately barge in w/ their awesome get-ups.

"STAGES" -- Just another reason why I dig Nike (Livestrong x art world)

(L to R: Lance Armstrong, Mark Parker, Shepard Fairey*)
New art exhibition launching this summer in Paris. The artwork's all chosen Lance (who'll be racing again this summer), and the project was developed by Nike. The project illustrates "Livestrong's expanded global outreach in the fight against cancer & as a means of engaging the creative communicty in the shared struggle."
(Fairey's the street-artist who painted that famous Hope pop-art portrait of Obama)

How to diss an Asian

Some bitter old man called me a "turtle" the other day. Annnnd self-esteem continues to get pummelled by my own race. (I guess my abnormally-large-for-an-asian-female's ass was blocking part of the alleyway in a market of tacky breakable crap.)

Turtle = you're slow. It's considered offensive. Kind of like how we call people "b*tches". And in Asia, it's especially bad to use animal names to refer to humans.

Obviously if someone were to call me a turtle in America, I'd break out my nunchuks & start singing the theme song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. cowabunga. duuude.

Wu gui ("woo gway") = turtle.
Ni shi wu gui, ma? ("nee shur woo gway, mah?") = Are you a turtle?

Hong Kong: Step up or step off! (b*tch)

Hong Kong men are scary. Especially the Taxi drivers. If you havent counted your exact change in less than 2 seconds, they'll scream at you. Or sigh really loudly, "AGHHHHHH!" as they punch their steering wheels.

It's odd to encounter. I mean, in America, it's not uncommon for the taxi driver to fumble a bit w/ the language barrier, since he might've just come from some poverty-stricken country to chase the American dream. But in HK, it's all "PAY UP B*TCH, OR GET THE F--K OUTTA MY CAR!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

America is super gay

Last week in Chinese class somehow we got on the topic of homosexuals. I knew Asians were not as open-minded as Americans about some things, but never before had I witnessed such blatant homophobia. (Well, other than growing up playing hockey w/ the boys, who would often make up their own definitions for the word "fag--t", to the point where I figured it was just synonymous with dumba$$ or sh#thead. Actually, their use of the word was so off that I dont think it could even be considered homophobic...)

Anyway, in my class it's just my Chinese language teacher and 3 Korean students. Pretty much everyone would say "gay" & then make "eww" noises. One girl even started pretending that she was gagging. As in sticking out her tongue and dry-heaving. (At that point I thought the topic of conversation must've moved on to something somewhat gag-worthy, such as Chinese babies squat-crapping on the streets, but noooo...)

My classmate finally removed her gay-hating index finger from her mouth when I kept shaking my head & yelling "THIS IS SO SOOO WRONG!" My teacher asked me if I liked gay people, and I nod & continue: "In American culture, being gay is very much accepted. It's considered bad to NOT like gay people. I have many gay friends. A lot of people are gay. Lindsay Lohan, do you know her? Oh, you're a big fan, huh? Yeah, well she's GAY." Ok, maybe I painted an innacurrate description. And Lindsay Lohan: terrible example. But in all my broken Chinglish, I seemed to have gotten the message across. Then again, now my classmates probably think everyone in America is gay.

p.s. I think it was a matter of ignorance, not real hate.