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

Shanghai’s Skyline from the Racetrack 1938

Posted: August 2nd, 2017 | No Comments »

This is from a puff piece, entitled ‘What is Shanghai Like?’, that appeared in newspapers in 1938 with lots of funny Chinese talking English and nightclubs and all that….right at a time when Shanghai was being invaded and effectively at war!!

Anyway, it’s an interesting perspective from down on the race course looking across to what is now Nanjing Road…

 

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Meia-Noite Em Pequim – Available now in Brazil

Posted: August 1st, 2017 | No Comments »

Should you happen to be Brazilian and/or Portuguese speaking then the lovely people at Editora Fundamento have just published the Brazilian edition of Midnight in Peking (with a translation by Celso Antonio Almeida)  – more details here

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July 31 1938 – Gas Masks in Hong Kong

Posted: July 31st, 2017 | No Comments »

July 31 1938 – As the Japanese bomb nearby Canton experts are shipped from London  to Hong Kong to advise on the distributions, use and effectiveness of gas masks in the colony. Hopefully they checked out the supplier of “locally-made” gas masks – fake masks had already been appearing in Shanghai since 1937 (see blog post on that here)

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Chinese Basketball Champions, 1935

Posted: July 30th, 2017 | No Comments »

The 1935 basketball champions of China were the boys from Fu Jen University (otherwise known as the Catholic University of Peking)….

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Who Needs Lonely Planet? The Traveller Brings You the “dos & don’ts” of China Travel, 1932

Posted: July 29th, 2017 | No Comments »

Essentials…I’m sure you’ll agree…click to enlarge

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Peking Dust, a poem by Wade Oliver, 1934

Posted: July 28th, 2017 | No Comments »

A short poem published in 1934….

 

Peking Dust

Of camphor wood and carved jade

The shy wings of this song are made.

*

Over the grey walls of Peking

They swoop and dart and soar and sing,

*

Leaving behind the dusty fret

Of hands that toil, and hearts that sweat

*

Their crimson drops of living blood

To carve from lifeless stone and wood

The lean flesh of their livelihood.

*

Wade Oliver

Though published in American newspapers in 1934 the poem’s origins may be earlier as, from what I can glean online, Oliver was at his most prolific in the 1920s and early 1930s. Poetry Quarterly magazine described Oliver as an ‘authentic’ whose work had a ‘high level of lyricism and imagery’.

I’m not sure if Oliver ever wrote another poem about China but he was seemingly favoured as a contributor to Harriet Monroe’s journal Poetry. Monroe’s interest in China combined with her professional relationships with Amy Lowell and Ezra Pound on Chinese poetry have been well documented and noted before on this blog via the work of various academics including Anne Witchard of Westminster University.

 

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Talking Bloody Saturday, WW2 in China, Peak China Book & What I Haven’t Read & Watched with the Los Angeles Review of Books

Posted: July 27th, 2017 | No Comments »

Apologies in advance for self promotion – A link to an interview with me in the Los Angeles Review of Books talking about Bloody Saturday 1937, China and World War Two, and (perhaps of less interest – what I’m reading, like, don’t like and have never got round to reading/watching)….

 

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‘Shanghai is an unsanitary and congested city’, the Menasha Rotary Club, 1932

Posted: July 26th, 2017 | No Comments »

Seems not everyone who went to Shanghai in the 1930s loved it – this from 1932 and a report to the Rotary Club in Menasha, Wisconsin from Robert Stough of the Wisconsin Tissue Mills. Perhaps not surprising that a tissue salesman should find a city unsanitary – just talking up business really! It doesn’t sound like a very informative meeting – let’s hope they called it a night and hit the pub quickly!!

 

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