“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Hong Kong Central Market to be ‘redeveloped’

Posted: April 25th, 2017 | No Comments »

Chloe Lai at The Hong Kong Free Press has written an obituary for Hong Kong’s Central Market… it says pretty much all that needs to be said about the Central Market – that it is one of the only pre-war pieces of architecture designed for the community to remain standing – Wan Chai Market went over a decade ago now. It’s being described as a preservation, but is a complete gutting and destruction. Chloe Lai’s piece has more details and I urge you to read that.

The Central Market was never Hong KOng’s most beautiful building – but it was a functional, well designed space completed in 1939 that showed that the government’s Public Works Department could excel itself. It’s destruction later this year will be a sad loss for Hong Kong…

 

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Golf, Pasta, football, wine….so far China not rushing to claim to have invented the dildo….

Posted: April 24th, 2017 | No Comments »

In a rush today, but couldn’t resist posting this  – the bizarre Chinese carved ivory ‘ladies companion’….surely an objet every collection of China curios should include….

more here

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Asia Literary Review – Issue 33 is out now!

Posted: April 21st, 2017 | No Comments »

ALR33 pays tribute to the under-appreciated heroes of world literature – the Translators. This issue features some of the entries and finalists from our collaboration with English PEN on awarding outstanding translations from East and Southeast Asia. For a sampling, read our selection of free-to-view articles, including From the Editors and Shion Miura’s The Handymen of Mahoro, translated by Asuka Minamoto. Also, sample some of the issue’s poetry with Tishani Doshi and Norman Erikson Pasaribu, and enjoy our interview with Margrét Helgadóttir, editor of Asian Monsters, from which we include two stories. Subscribers can read the whole issue online or by downloading eBooks from their accounts.

If you’re already a subscriber, click here to sign in, download your eBook copy and start reading.

If you’re not yet a subscriber, please visit our website to find out more.

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Beijing Philistines to Destroy 107-year-old Qinghuayan Station – Remembering it’s opening in 1910

Posted: April 20th, 2017 | No Comments »

Beijing proves, once again, that it has no interest whatsoever in heritage, preservation or architecture as it decides to bulldoze the 1910 built Qinghuayuan Railway Station (details from The Beijinger here). Words cannot describe how horrible this is – though I do hope that those who email me telling me that heritage is now a priority in China and the destruction has stopped in Beijing (and Shanghai and elsewhere) will realise their errors.

Anyway, as we shed a tear in farewell to Qinghuayuan, which managed to survive 107 years, here’s Frank G. Carpenter, the American travellers, author, photographer and journalist, in 1910 passing along the line between Peking and Kalgan (or Zhangjiakou if you must) when he decided to travel on all of China’s new railways….you can click on it to enlarge….

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Anna May Wong’s Black Felt Hat, 1927

Posted: April 19th, 2017 | No Comments »

I note that the people at SupChina (no, I don’t understand what that means either) made a little video about the life and career of Anna May Wong. Regular ChinaRhyming readers will know that I never miss a chance to post another picture or anecdote regarding Anna.

Here, from 1927, is Anna May (bottom right) wearing one of the new seasons hat – dark black felt….The other millinery models are all aspiring silent movie actresses of the time

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The Shanghai Suicide of Beatrice Den Adel, 1928

Posted: April 15th, 2017 | No Comments »

Reading through the old Shanghai newspapers between the wars it’s shocking how often suicide is recorded. Of course people committed suicide when diagnosed with terrible diseases, when they lost their fortunes, when there was no safety net to support them in hard times. Beatrice’s sucidie in April 1928 seems to have multiple causes – and perhaps, at the end of the day, none of those speculated in the papers….

Beatrice took an overdose of drugs on April 6 1928 in Shanghai. She was at the time described as Shanghai’s ‘only American dancing girl’ which may or may not have been quite accurate. Either way she was American and she was a dancer, though had not perhaps been born Beatrice Den Adel. She was 33 years old and had been dancing in nightclubs and cabarets in the Far East for eleven years reportedly.

The newspapers suggested Beatrice was getting a little old for dancing; that the more recently arrived and younger Russian emigre girls mocked her for her age. They were said to be jealous of her popularity and her ability to speak English. The authorities in Shanghai tried to trace her relatives – she had left $6,000 behind. They had only two clues – she claimed to be from Chicago and that her mail arrived from Denver.

That’s all I know at the moment – I don’t have a photo of her, I don’t know where sh danced in Shanghai or where she originally came from and if the authorities ever tracked her next of kin down.

 

 

 

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Unreported World Preview: North Korea’s Reality TV Stars + Panel Discussion – Frontline Club, London – 19/4/17

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | No Comments »

Unreported World Preview: North Korea’s Reality TV Stars + Panel Discussion

Correspondent Seyi Rhodes and Producer/Director Kate Hardie-Buckley report from the set of the hit South Korean TV show that’s made defectors from North Korea into TV stars. More than 400 defectors have been interviewed on the show, and their stories chart the very latest about life under Kim Jong-un. For many South Koreans, it’s become a key source of information about their northern neighbour.

The film introduces us to two defectors  – 26 year old Eunhee Park and 25-year old Suuyeoung Lee, who is about to make her first appearance on the show. Both escaped with the help of smugglers who charged about 7,000 US dollars to take the women on a terrifying journey across the border into China and eventually to Thailand, from where they could reach South Korea.  The Chinese authorities arrest defectors and send them back, where they can face execution.

These women’s intimate stories paint a picture of a country where communism is being supplemented by a North Korean version of capitalism, with entrepreneurs making money by selling goods from China on the black market.  As many men work for the government, black market enterprises are run by women – which perhaps explains why over 70 per cent of those with the money and contacts needed to escape from the North are women.

Speakers:

Monica Garnsey is Series Editor of Channel 4’s Unreported World

Kate Hardie-Buckley is a freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker.

Paul French is an author and widely published analyst and commentator on Asia, Asian politics and current affairs. He is author of North Korea: State of Paranoia and the international and bestseller Midnight in Peking.

John Everard is former British Ambassador to North Korea and author of Only Beautiful, Please: A British Diplomat in North Korea

ticket details here

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Lit Hub’s Crime and the City #2 – Melbourne

Posted: April 13th, 2017 | No Comments »

A quick aside – i am now writing a fortnightly column for The Literary Hub entitled Crime and the City – every fortnight a different city around the world and a look at its crime writing – old and new; novels, true crime and TV; noir, policiers, cosies, oddities….

The first city I visited was Amsterdam; this week it was Melbourne – coming up are Havana, Atlanta, Shanghai and Manila among others….

 

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