Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer and journalist in Beijing, and founding editor of the Anthill

Posts by Alec Ash

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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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If you are the one

A Q&A with two foreign contestants on a Chinese dating show

 

The latest invaluable pensée from Global Times is "If you are the foreign one". It’s about foreigners on the TV dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao. “They are too frank and say things inappropriate for match-making talk, which makes them seem alien,” is one choice quote. Perhaps this is the reason why “the worship of foreigners has ebbed”, and “it is common for foreigners on the show to pass through many rounds but still leave without finding a girl.”

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Every question counts

A dispatch from the last day of the Gaokao

 

Beijing No. 5 Middle School is a few doors down from my flat in the hutongs, seperated by a public toilet and a mahjong parlour. From my rooftop I can see them play basketball on the outside sports court, and spy into the classrooms that line the south face of the wide, five story building, a Pringle tube tower of stairs tacked on one end. I watch students in their baggy blue and white overalls cram books, monkey around, and wipe clean the plastic windows every day before school ends.

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