Following Zara’s new makeup campaign in February this year featuring Chinese model Li Jingwen, along with Vogue’s photography of the London-based Chinese model Gao Qizhen last week, debate has exploded regarding beauty standards in Chinese social media.
Whilst Chinese ideals of beauty have always been very different from the West’s (give or take fads for orientalism), the rise of internet communities and the globalization of the fashion and beauty industries have meant that these two sets of ideals are increasingly coming face-to-face, and the cultural clash made all the more poignant and visible.
Posted in Blog and tagged beauty, china, Chinese, culture, fashion, Vogue, Zara
In the 18th and 19th centuries, when exploration was a hobby of the British upper classes, you’d regularly hear about the discovery of Brand New Civilizations — as though indigenous people’s generational histories did not pop into existence until someone with a pith helmet and a camera stumbled into the clearing. I had my own “Dr. Livingstone Presuming” moment this week, when I began to read headlines in such stalwarts of the British press as the Financial Times (as well as digital newcomers like The Verge) stating that the just-released film adaptation of The Wandering Earthmarked China’s first tentative foray into sci-fi cinema, before scuttling back and forth between comparisons with contemporary American blockbusters and classic American sci-fi quicker than you can say “White Gaze Genesis.”
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, film, Kehuan, literature, representation, science fiction, Wandering Earth
The Chun Jie Wan Hui, CCTV’s New Year Gala, (often just referred to as as Chun Wan), is almost as old as I am, though there had been televised celebrations of a more artistic nature broadcast on and off since the 1950s. On every New Year’s Eve, after the huge meal, my family would inevitably gather round, and watch through four or five hours of this state produced extravaganza, keeping us awake til the small hours of New Year’s Day with the pomp and majesty of costumes, lighting and stage sets; and the relentless exuberance of acts trying to out ham each other.
Posted in Blog and tagged CCTV Gala, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture
In recent year, China has seen the commercialisation of Chinese New Year on a scale it has never seen before, not just within the country, but around the world. Every company splashes red and gold packaging onto its products, and creates a “Going Home for Spring Festival” advert.
Posted in Blog and tagged advert, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, commercials, culture, film
So “Aquaman”, directed by James Wan, Australian director of Malaysian Chinese descent, with Chinese actor Ludi Lin (Power Rangers) as Murk, has been doing well in box offices in China. Some might be puzzled as to why the Chinese would be drawn to a story that seems so immersed in the world of Greek mythology. Although very much unique in their own right, the world’s mythologies do share certain commonalities, and there are many elements in this film that would make it popular with a Chinese audience.
Posted in Blog and tagged Aquaman, Atalanta, china, Chinese, culture, dragon king, film, Monkey King, mythology, ocean
There are many plays about being Chinese in Britain. Yet there was something about “Ghost Girl, Gwei Mui 鬼妹” that struck a chord with me, once a Cantonese girl transplanted from Guangzhou to London half way through her upbringing. Perhaps it was the title, the idea of being a living ghost – the invisible minority, or the daring reverse use of Gwei Mui, the Cantonese insult for foreigners, that prompted me to accept the offer to review this play.
Posted in Blog and tagged adoptee, Britain, British Chinese, china, Chinese, Chinese Arts Now, culture, immigration, Jennifer Tang, minority, racism, review, theatre
Chinese New Year is becoming one of few times of the year when the world takes an interest in Chinese culture. Whilst I have always considered this a good starting point, there is so much more to China beyond Spring Festival. Like all live cultures, Chinese culture is developing organically every second, having sprouted thick branches across different regions within China, and new branches in different communities around the world. Over the last decade or so, China is increasingly featuring in not just current affairs, but in the arts around the UK. Media that present an overview of these events from different parts of the country, through the year, is much harder to come by. So this year, I have curated my own selection, not only for China-enthusiasts, but for anyone who is interested, curious, or just fancies a little different. I hope you will find it useful.
Posted in Blog and tagged 2019, arts, books, china, Chinese, culture, film, food, games, theatre, UK
This is a quick translation of the Chinese audio from the following video, posted on Yitiao.tv.
There are four or five of us, my friends and Iareall in the creative industry. Slash youths. Our multiple identities make varying demands on our living spaces. So we have moved our offices together, so we can work together, live together.
Posted in Blog and tagged architecture, china, Chinese, community, culture, living space, video, village
Beyond “Made in China” being stamped on almost every toy under the tree, you wouldn’t really consider the impact of Christmas as a festival in China, indeed my childhood was almost entirely Christmas-free.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, christmas, culture, festival
The largely forgotten history of the Chinese Labour Corps, the 140,000 Chinese men who travelled from the other side of the world to the battlefields of Europe, to carry out supplies and repair work, in aid of the Allies during the First World War, has recently resurfaced in the media and public attention. Few would be better suited as a scriptwriter to a play dedicated to the CLC than Daniel York Loh (“Fu Manchu Complex”, “The Good Immigrant”), who has, among many things, become a leading figure in Britain in raising awareness of and fighting against entrenched racism and discrimination against East Asians.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese Labour Corps, culture, Europe, history, theatre, WWI