Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer in Beijing, and founding editor of the Anthill. His book Wish Lanterns (Picador, 2016) is available at the Beijing Bookworm

Posts by Alec Ash

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China's "golden age"

A Q&A with sci fi novelist Chan Koonchung

 

Chan Koonchung is the Shanghai born, Hong Kong raised author of The Fat Years, a near-future soft science fiction novel about a China closely resembling today’s. He has now been living in Beijing since 2000. In his book, China has entered a “Golden Age of Ascendancy”, after a second economic crisis has crippled the West. But no-one within China can remember the crackdown that preceded it, and everyone is oddly and unnaturally euphoric.

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Why I'm Not Going to Be Living in China Anymore But Might Be Back

Parting words from Brendan O’Kane

 

Brendan O'Kane will be a familiar name to many of you. He is a long time Beijing resident, accomplished translator, and "accidental pedagogue" at Popup Chinese and IES. Next month he leaves China to do an MA at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on classical China, but plans to be back around autumn 2014 and is sticking around for a PhD which means, presumably, indefinitely. As he has far too much good sense to write a "Why I'm Leaving China" post, I roped him into doing a Q&A instead, so I could ask about his experiences here over the last dozen years, his thoughts on Chinese literature, and more.

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Brother B

Hanging out with Weibo's most famous cretin

 

B Ge (B哥), or "Brother B", has 103636 followers on Weibo, China's Twitter. He posts silly videos of him goofing around, such as pretending to down a bottle of cooking oil on the Beijing subway, or blowing up a condom into a balloon in the supermarket. Today he posted his newest video – featuring, to my everlasting and unerasable embarrassment, yours truly.

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Translation: True punk

A "zero mark essay" from this year's gaokao

 

In the Analects blog my newest post is about essays in China's university entrance exam that flop, getting no points. Some of these essays fail because they are too rebellious. In the post I quote a student from Shanghai, who in response to the essay prompt the "more important things in life", replied "to be a true punk". For the Anthill I've translated the whole thing.

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Teaching for China

Two privileged Chinese graduates go to teach in the boondocks

 

Li Site and Yang Xiao, both in their mid twenties, went to Peking University and Tsinghua University next door, China’s Oxford and Cambridge. A degree from one of those can set you up for life. It’s the castle on the hill for countless students hitting the books all over China, only a tiny proportion of whom will get in.

On graduating, instead of applying for a job or a PhD, they separately chose to teach for two years at hardship schools in the countryside of far southwest Yunnan

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