China Expat Tweets #Chinaproblems @ashlytorr3s @traveldrifter @beingdeesee @potentity
Saturday — December 13th, 2014

China Expat Tweets #Chinaproblems @ashlytorr3s @traveldrifter @beingdeesee @potentity

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Holiday Shopping Guide: 6 Amazing Movies (including trailers) about China and one new book!

-This looks like a great book and very creative.

Roots, Fruits, Shoots and Leaves: A Guide to Shopping at Chinese Fresh Food Markets

Have you ever wondered about that wacky-looking fruit staring back at you in the market? Or did you want to know how to prepare a seasonal Chinese vegetable, but don’t have the language or culinary skills? This pocket-sized guidebook to fresh produce – with photographs, pronunciation guides, Chinese characters and advice on cooking – will help tourists, foodies and adventurous shoppers navigate the colorful markets of China, Hong Kong and Chinatowns around the world.


 -This whole series of “Scenic Musical Journeys” looks really good!  But we’re biased to Shanghai!  Watch the Trailer here.

Naxos Scenic Musical Journeys Shanghai A Cultural Tour with Traditional Chinese Music

The city of Shanghai, China’s most important port, owes some of its prosperity to the so-called unequal treatises forced on China during the 19th century. The place had its origin as a settlement during the Tang dynasty (618-906 C.E.), but the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ceded Hong Kong to the British and made possible the development of foreign trade through the five ‘treaty ports’, of which Shanghai became the most important. The growth of Shanghai into an international trading centre and the concessions made to various foreign countries explain the interesting mixture of architectural styles, continued today with the high-rise buildings of recent years. The music chosen for this tour of Shanghai is played on traditional Chinese instruments. Performing the music are the wind and string ensembles known as ‘silk and bamboo’, from their silk strings and bamboo pipes, and ensembles that also include percussion. Instruments given prominence include the dizi, heard first in Moonlight Autumn Night by the Lake, a transverse bamboo flute, and the yangqin, a Chinese dulcimer whose strings are struck with two bamboo sticks. Traditional Chinese music, like Chinese painting, is largely representational, its character indicated in its titles, although these may sometimes be drawn from opera or from poems.


-Huge game in China, relatively unknown in the west… until now?  Watch the trailer here. 
Weiqi Wonders: Conversations About the Game of Go in China

Known as “Go” in English, Weiqi is a Chinese board game that has cultural associations ranging from Confucian nobility to military strategies. In talking about this game people reveal themselves, their society, and their views of other cultures.

Explore a different side of China through interviews with teachers, university students, senior citizens, amateurs and professionals.


-Haunting… watch the trailer here. 

Aftershock by Feng Xiaogang

Tangshan, 1976. Two seven-year-old twins are buried under the rubble of the deadliest earthquake of the 20th century. The rescue team explains to their mother that freeing either child will almost certainly result in the death of the other. Forced to make the most difficult decision of her life, she finally chooses to save her son. Though left behind as dead, the little girl miraculously survives, unbeknownst to her brother and mother. AFTERSHOCK follows the family on their separate journeys over the course of the next 32 years, as they build lives forever shadowed by the traumatic experience of the earthquake, and eventually face each other and the decisions of the past.

The acclaimed epic that broke all box-office records in China, AFTERSHOCK Featuring an all-star cast including Jingchu Zhang (Rush Hour 3) and Daoming Chen (Hero), AFTERSHOCK shines with its powerful exploration of how one moment can change a family s life forever.


-Oh no they didn’t…  find the trailer here.
Disney World Cinema High School Musical: China

From the Disney World Cinema Collection, High School Musical China captures all the excitement, drama, music and dance of the original U.S. film with unique Chinese characters and extraordinary adventures. A new student at an international college in Shanghai meets a gifted young man, with whom she shares a secret passion for singing. Without her parents’ support, she and her new group of friends enter an inter-school singing competition and discover their true calling and the value of friendship. Anything is possible when you follow your dreams!


-Looks low budget. See the trailer here. 

An American in China

It’s time I chose a direction and the Far East is as good as any,” shrugs David Braddock (James Snyder, Sheís the Man), exactly the kind of aimlessness that has his parents worried about their newly minted college grad. Pressured to travel to Shanghai on behalf of the troubled family business, the party’s over and David is reluctantly thrust into a country strangely unaltered by the modern world. His translator (popular Chinese actress Fei Fei Sun), a beautiful young girl as directed as he is directionless, attempts to help the struggling David. Problem is no one seems to take him seriously there either! But ñ despite the language barrier, cultural differences, culinary shock and a near international incident – romance blossoms. David returns a changed man, but the family business is in worse jeopardy than before. Determined, David returns to Chinato see things through both professionally and personally. Will this fish-out-of-water finally find his way?
-I’ve seen it and it’s AWESOME!  See the video and trailer here. 

Last Train Home

Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as an astonishing 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year’s holiday. This mass exodus is the largest human migration on the planet – an epic spectacle that reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

Working over several years in classic verité style Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Lixin Fan (with the producers of the hit documentary Up the Yangtze) travels with one couple who have embarked on this annual trek for almost two decades. Like so many of China s rural poor, Zhang Changhua and Chen Suqin left behind their two infant children for grueling factory jobs. Their daughter Qin – now a restless teenager – both bitterly resents their absence and longs for her own freedom away from school, much to the utter devastation of her parents.

Emotionally powerful and starkly beautiful, the multi-award-winning Last Train Home‘s intimate observation of one fractured family sheds unprecedented light on the human cost of China’s economic ‘miracle’.

What 8 US Middle Schoolers Think About China Ruling the World.

From Materialism to Nukes, My Students Have a Fascinating View of China’s Ever Expanding Growth and Power
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Recently on a test I asked my students an opinion question.  Most of them have their own opinion about many things: sneakers, Nikki Minaj, the 2012 election results and a plethora of other pressing issues of today.  But some of their answers to the opinion question I posed were too priceless to pass up.  The names have been changed to protect the ignorant or innocent.  But the answers do reflect education or lack thereof and it’s interesting to get a real middle school response from American kids who have lived their entire life post 9/11 not knowing the whole story of 9/11.  Not that I’m into conspiracies (I’m not) but children today post 9/11 still have a similar view of American strength as I did growing up pre-9/11.   Here is the question and some answers:

China will one day rule the world!  Do you agree or disagree?

1.  “Yes, I agree because China makes most of the stuff we buy.”
Susan’s answer is the cynical American’s view.  China rules us because they make everything that we use.  Besides the inherent untruth to that, imagine if that were actually true!  Take a second today and count just how many things you buy on a daily basis that are “Made in China” and you’d be surprised how few there are.

2.  “I disagree with this statement.  I disagree because I believe in my country.”
Sam’s answer begs the question, “Does America rule the world?”  To which I would surmise his answer to be yes.  Another further question should be posited to be “what exactly do you believe your country should be able to do?”

3.  “No, I disagree because China and USA have gone to war before and USA has won.”

So true, Greg.  But that resulted in the creation of North and South Korea, and too many deaths on both sides.  We don’t want that to happen again right?

4.  “No, every country and state has its own rights.  One place can’t control the whole world.  There are many differences between everyone’s religion.”
Arianna has the jack of all trades answer.  It tries to be everything to everybody.  Yes, there are rights and yes, not one place can control the whole world, but why was religion brought into the picture?
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5.  “Agree. China is our enemy and lots of people to kill us! Shiver Shiver.”
Perhaps it’s a good reason why this student forgot his name on the test.  Mx and I had a good laugh at this one.  Especially the “shiver shiver” part.

6.  “I don’t agree because in America we have more stuff than China and China’s technology is not as fast as our technology in America.  I don’t even think they have cellphones.”
Interesting Gary.  Very interesting.  So materialism will save America, right?  And what exactly do you mean by China’s tech isn’t as fast as US tech?  Are we talking fast computers or the rate of growth?  But you’re 100% wrong about the whole cellphone thing.

7.  “I disagree because so we’ll all have peace.”
Well, Justin, just because you disagree that China will rule us all one day, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be peace.  I guess one could look at the Cold War as a period of peace but what a tenuous peace.

8.  “I disagree because we will nuke them if they try to take over because they will try to eliminate us.”
Manuel’s answer might take the “video game answer award!”  We’ll just nuke ‘em!  Nice.  Too bad China’s a nuclear power too (since the 60s) and they won’t take it so lightly that we’ve fired a nuke at them and most likely they’ll retaliate.  Nice. Back to the Cold War.
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For more experiences in Teaching Chinese in America go here.

Ryan Speaks Chinese 睿恩说中文:My Good Mommy Song 我的好妈妈

Mx is such a great teacher and our boy can really memorize songs. (perhaps he gets that from MX, not me.)  This was a song that she taught him a while back and a song that many children learn while growing up in China.  Since our boy is creative and has all these grandparents he decided to sing to each one of them.  The song might be repetitive but hopefully by the end of 3 minutes you too can sing the song.

For those of our fans in China here’s the Youku video!

Fishing with my Chinese Father-in-Law

Warning: This story does not have a happy ending.

Many westerners who marry into a Chinese family often bond with their father-in-law over a Qingdao beer or a couple shots of strong Chinese alcohol.  Me?  I fish with my Chinese father-in-law.

Fishing with my Chinese father in law2

In early October we went up to a lake in Western Massachusetts to go fishing, both of us lacking a fishing license.  I’ve never been able to explain to him that in the land of the free you still need to register with the government to catch a fish. I’ve never been good at fishing and frankly I’ve never enjoyed fishing.  But last year when my Chinese mother-in-law was in America I took her fishing on a day where it seemed that all the fish had death wishes.  My Chinese mother-in-law and I caught so many fish that one day that we couldn’t keep them all, though she desperately wanted to.  If I couldn’t explain to them the concept of a fishing license I certainly failed in attempting to explain the concept of “catch and release.”  To the both of them there is only “catch” and never “release.”  This concept is as foreign to them as the Chinese concept of postpartum recovery is to Americans.  So my name went into the annals of my new extended family as a “good fisherman who really knows how to fish” which couldn’t be further from the truth.


When my Chinese father-in-law arrived he was eager for a repeat trip and to catch as many if not more fish with the same wishes.  Summer turned into autumn and finally by mid-October we made the trip.  He was prepared a week earlier when he moved a few stumps and rocks in our yard to reveal worms that my son and him gleefully collected.  He even kept some raw meat scraps from some unmentionable part of an animal and put it into a snack baggie to bring along to entice the piranhas in the lake.  Faced with a 65 year old Chinese man who lived through the Cultural Revolution, I thought the least I could do is to bring him fishing.  My suggestion was to get up early which is the time I’ve always gone fishing in my life.  This idea was roundly rejected by him and roundly accepted by me as I turned over with a smile in bed.  When we did finally get out to the canoe with our fishing poles I found that none of them were equipped with just a hook and bobber which to me is the easiest way to fish.  No, in fact they were all equipped with massive six-hooked lures that had the potential of catching the elusive sasquatch fish of the lake.  Of course, he doesn’t know the concept of saltwater lures and fresh water lures and plus I forgot the word for lure in Chinese anyway, so I did what I hate most, clip lures off and attempt to tie a hook on.


The contraption at the end of the fishing pole was laughable but the best I could do without a fishing expert with me who knew how and what we would catch on such a cold morning or whether we even had a prayer.  We went out and I did a few casts because my Chinese father-in-law has never gotten the hang of casting a fishing pole.  Though I’ve never gotten the hang of his beautiful Chinese calligraphy so I guess we all have abilities that come natural to us.  So after about 30 minutes on the water without coffee I explained to him that I needed to go back and have my breakfast and that it seems like the fish are too deep.  Disappointed because I know I let him down, I paddled back as he untangled fishing lines and unhooked lures from ropes.


Some Western guys who marry Chinese girls often bond with their father-in-law by drinking strong alcohol.  I fish.  After a day like this though, I think I might try the beer with him next time.

MandMx #China Twitter Tweets of the Week for 2012-10-16

  • New post: MandMx #China Twitter Tweets of the Week for 2012-10-09 #learnchinese #
  • Our 4y/o helped MX prepare our 75 day old's milk powder drink. After helping he said, “你看,一点都没有掉在外面! Look, not even a bit spilled outside." #
  • Classic MandMx: : Mitt Romney In Chinese Characters #china #

MandMx #China Twitter Tweets of the Week for 2012-10-09

  • New post: MandMx #China Twitter Tweets of the Week for 2012-10-02 #learnchinese #
  • Tonight's dinner: 宫保鸡丁 Gōng bǎo jī dīng Kung Pao Chicken. Our 4y/o ran around yelling, "宫保鸡丁! 宫保鸡丁! Kung Pao Chicken! Kung Pao Chicken!" #
  • Anyone wanna learn economics for free during your lunch break? I'm loving the @Mercatus Center's Marginal Revolution University #MRUDevEcon #
  • FUNNY! Mao on KFC logo. from "Hold The Mao: 8 Revolutionary Revised Chairman Mao Posters" #
  • Classic MandMx: : American Economy Is Really Bad #china #
  • Preparing for my Chinese Zodiac lesson, MX fed our 69 day old and our 4y/o is getting ready for the big 奥巴马/罗姆尼 Obama/Romney debate! #
  • Classic MandMx: : Fake Birth Certificate Part 1 #china #
  • Our 4y/o asked for 3 words in Chinese tonight from Mx: staring 盯着 dīngzhe dump truck 翻斗卡车 Fāndǒu kǎchē and full 满 mǎn. #
  • Classic MandMx: : Unemployment In China Is Bad #china #
  • Chinese father-in-law: Our 4y/o observed a door lock then grabbed a pencil and wrote a full page of letters like a 科学家 kēxuéjiā scientist. #
  • This documentary is fascinating. So much history but is it true? "1421: The Year China Discovered America Part 1 & 2" #
  • Classic MandMx: : Say Hello To The Teacher #china #
  • My Chinese father-in-law boiled down our 4y/o's favorite show, Thomas the Tank Engine, as "那个火车节目 Nàgè huǒchē jiémù that train program." #
  • The classic 1968 Children's story Corduroy in Chinese! via 开心网 #
  • Classic MandMx: : Christmas Trees And Gold Medals #china #
  • Our 4y/o asked Mx why my students called me MR. "Ask Daddy later. 下午问爸爸吧." He then replied, "Daddy will say 'that's a good question, son.'" #
  • New post: Columbus Day Or Zheng He Day? #learnchinese #
  • Would US be a hot topic if China had elections? "US Political Ads about China: Collins, Obama/Romney & Analysis" #
  • ChinaSmack: Have you ever seen the Great Wall of China FULL of people? Shocking photo! #
  • Classic MandMx: : The Story Of Yang Jun Part 1 #china #
  • After yard work: our 4y/o asked why he should lock the shed. "Our wheelbarrow might be stolen!" He replied, "There's no 坏蛋 "bad egg" here." #
  • Anybody read these? "Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu Books Reissued: The Mask, the Mystery, the Hand, the Daughter and more." #
  • Can you make out the Chinese song on the whiteboard? "Learning Chinese at the St. Louis Language Imm #
  • Classic MandMx: : US Presidential Inauguration 2009 #china #