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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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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Interview with the rapper

A Q&A with Beijing hip hop luminary Nasty Ray

 

Nasty Ray is a Beijing rapper straight out of the hutong. He was born in 1988, and lives in the west of town with his mum. ("Welcome 2 da hood, this is Tuanjiehu / I live in 20Two", goes one lyric.) His walls are covered with basketball posters and his own sketches, and one room is a shedload of vinyls and decks. For a taste of his music, go to his Douban page. And for an open sesame to more Chinese hip hop, also check out Yin Cang, Yin San'er and Hei Yun.

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Chris Patten on China (video)

A 2008 perspective of China that holds true in 2013

 

This is a clip from an interview I did with Chris Patten in Oxford back in 2008, shortly before the Olympics when I first came to live in Beijing. Rewatching it now, the two minute clip makes as much sense in context five years later as it did then. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Photo essay: New Youth

Twelve photos from young China

 

Between 2008 and 2010, I took a series of photos for The China Beat blog (R.I.P). The theme was China's "new youth", also the focus of my then blog. To capture the experience of being young in today's China in a handful of images is a hopeless (but not fruitless) task, not least for a point-and-shoot artist like myself, who thought SLR was the name of an X-factor winning boy band. Still, it threw up some interesting images, in the course of my life in Beijing and travels out of it.

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Chris Patten: my first sight of China

 

Following on from Rana Mitter, here's another video interview I've drudged up from my archives, this time with none other than Chris Patten.

He describes his own first sight of China, in 1979, looking out from the northern territories of Hong Kong into Shenzhen – then nothing more than a "sleepy fishing village", now "Adam Smith out of Hieronymus Bosch".

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