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Getting the Picture

Barlife anectodes by Robert Black

 

A young Australian guy turned up at the hostel. He told me back home he was a boat captain. We agreed to have a beer. I was on tight budget, and so I took him outside to the rou chuan'r place on the street with cheap zhapi, right opposite Beijing Station. We sat in the warmth of the summer night and drank beer and talked, mostly about Australia and China. He said he had to make a call, but he was keen to continue on, and so we agreed to meet in the hostel bar, thirty minutes later.

At the bar we had nearly finished our second handle of beer when a very drunk Chinese guy stumbled over towards us. He did not appear to speak any English and so I had to translate. Like many Chinese I have met in bars, he wanted to drink with us. Except this guy was rude and obnoxious, and pretty much demanded it. He pointed to the bar. We agreed, he was paying after all. But when the three bottles of beer arrived he did not make any moves to pay. So we refused to pay. When he realised this, somewhat annoyed, he got his cash out.

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From Below

A photo essay by Daniel Rickleman

 

We're used to the bird's eye view of China, but what of the view from below? In this photo essay, geologist and amateur photographer Daniel Rickleman points his lens up at the Shanghai Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Centre and Beijing's CCTV tower, to give up an idea of what China's skyrocketing development looks like from the ground up, lost in the clouds, the night or the smog ...

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China Prep

New fiction from the China classroom - by Quincy Carroll

 

Ed: You might have heard of Quincy Carroll's foreign-teacher-in-China novel Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside, which I've just finished reading and enjoyed a lot. We're delighted to share this exclusive extract of his new novel, a work-in-progress also set in China ...

The first time you had come to China had been over spring break in 2003, and you and your classmates had spent the week visiting places like the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall. Many of you had been lucky enough to have traveled outside of the U.S. before, but with the exception of another boy named Benjamin, you were the only one in your school who had ever been to Asia. Your mother and father had taken you and Abraham to Taiwan once in second grade to meet your father’s side of the family, but that had been so long ago and you had both been so young that it was no more than a memory—distant and hazy—by then.

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Clouds and Hutongs

Two poems by Xue Di – translated by Alison Friedman

 

Clouds

Those are clouds – lifeless expressions in eyes swaying below

cracked lips; on vision’s gloomy coast, they hide and seek.

That is me in the empty field,

alarmed.

The road’s deceptive snakeskin pattern; in all directions voracious trees

devour sunlight.

Those are clouds. In delusion I summon those clouds longing

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Bright Lights, Big Dreams

Inside the world of reality TV dating shows – by Alec Ash

 

When rock didn’t make him famous, Lucifer tried TV. Rustic had burnt bright but short. D-22 club had closed in early 2012, and the scene had moved on. But talent and dating shows were booming, and here he looked for a new adoring audience.

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