It’s currently Zhong Yuan, or Ghost Month, when it is traditionally believed that spirits of deceased visit their loved ones in the world of the living for a brief sojourn before returning to the underworld. In the old days, people placed offerings of fruits, meats and other treats on their household shrines or on the roadside to welcome “hungry ghosts” home, burning paper money so the spirits may take it with them to use in the other world. Nowadays, you can transfer over just about any object that can be made out of paper.
In my household, it’s become a Ghost Month tradition to remember one person in particular. She was an important part of my early life and inseparable from a certain way of life. We were unable to say a proper goodbye to each other. So I think of her this time every year. This year, I’m finally going to take the plunge and share those precious memories with you. She is my “Puoh Puoh” (Cantonese for grandma), whom I refer to in English as my Cantonese Grandma.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, culture, Ghost Month, grandmother, Guangzhou, Zhong Yuan by Xueting Ni
Whilst most of my readers will be struggling to get themselves back into physical and financial shape after Christmas and new year blow outs, China is getting ready to let its belt out, stuff the Hong Bao, and generally indulge in the biggest annual festival.
Posted in Blog and tagged Beijing, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, Guangzhou, Spring Festival, train, travel by Xueting Ni
The Chinese Visual Festival is a mixed bag, documentaries, art films, first time projects and a few gems. It’s difficult for me to cover the whole festival, but I try and cover a couple of screenings each year. This year’s LGBT programme was most inviting, and having missed last year’s, it was one I was determined to attend.
Posted in Blog and tagged avant garde, Beijing, bisexuality, china, Chinese, Chinese Visual Festival, cosplay, culture, documentary, Fan Popo, feminism, film, gender, Guangzhou, homosexuality, LGBT, queer, Shanghai, Sun Yat-Sen University, transgender, VaChina Monologues, Vagina Monologues by Xueting Ni
Amongst the many interesting cultural findings from my return to Guangzhou last year was 致美斋 or Zhi Mei Zhai, one of the four major soy sauce makers in China. Founded by the nobleman Liu Shou An during the Qing Dynasty, Zhi Mei Zhai has been making soy sauce for over 400 years, surviving even the Cultural Revolution (during which it was briefly named “Forever For the People”), because let’s face it, everyone needs soy sauce no matter what.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese culture, cooking, Guangzhou, soy sauce by Xueting Ni
The hot weather and long days are really reminding me of Guangzhou. And after a journey into the West End was completed by a rare scoop of green tea ice cream, I thought about Guangzhou’s nocturnal street life.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, culture, Guangzhou, night life, night market, restaurants, shopping, snacks, stalls, street life by Xueting Ni
When people think about Guangzhou, people think of factories, shops and a place where money can be made. But when you turn away from the over crowded main roads into the alleys, you’ll find a world utterly different from the commercial side of this age old city. Like the Hutongs of Beijing and the Long Dangs of Shanghai, the 巷 (“Hong” in Cantonese dialect) of Guangzhou has its own regional cultural uniqueness.
Posted in Blog and tagged alley, architecture, china, Chinese, community, culture, Guangzhou, heritage, Lingnan, Xiguan by Xueting Ni
An interview with the band Vagabond Street, by John YingLing, for his upcoming documentary, China Underground.
I’ve translated about 3 hours of interviews for this project, which is now heavily into post production (but could still do with more funding). This will be one of the video programe available to accompany my talk “Peking Into Punk”.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, China Underground, Chinese, documentary, film, Guangzhou, indie music, music, pop culture, punk, rock, Vagabond Street by Xueting Ni
Frequently, conversing with my Western friends about Chinese food, I hear the old line that “the Chinese don’t eat desserts” wheeled out. The only thing they can really point to is the toffee apples and toffee bananas, which a lot of restaurants over here offer. This is a misconception worth correcting.
Posted in Blog and tagged bun, Canton, china, Chinese, culture, dessert, dumpling, food, green bean, Guangzhou, ice cream, milk, pancake, red bean, shaved ice by Xueting Ni
Chinese New Year holds certain traditions, the preparation and cleaning, preparing food and visiting friends, and for myself, and anybody who grew up in Guangdong, no Spring Festival would be complete without a visit to the 花市 (“hua shi”), or flower market.
Posted in Blog, Uncategorized and tagged Canton, Cantonese, Chinese, chrysanthemum, culture, flower market, flowers, Guangzhou, kumquat, market, peach blossom, plum blossom, pussy willow by Xueting Ni
We’re half way through a very busy month, of conventions, appearances and traveling. A month that started off with a fantastic weekend at Auto Assembly. Europe’s largest Transformers convention. We were made to feel so welcome, that I had to write something for my new friends and followers.
Let me tell you a bit about Transformers in China.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Guangzhou, pop culture, toys, Transformers by Xueting Ni