Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Google Plus Connect on Flickr

China

riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore

Tuesday, 2 April, 2013 0 Comments

Great story in today’s Wall Street Journal about how Dai Congrong spent eight years translating Book I of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake into Chinese. Her translation sold out its 8,000-volume run shortly after it was released in December. Snippet:

“The first line of the novel, which begins mid-sentence, reads, ‘riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.’ To translate that sentence alone, Ms. Dai provides two definitions, five footnotes and seven asides in smaller type to describe its allusions to religion, memory and the 17th- and 18th-century academic Giovanni Battista Vico.”

Congratulations to Lilian Lin and Carlos Tejada for their excellent reporting and writing of ‘Finnegans Wake’ Is Greek to Many; Now Imagine It in Chinese.

By the way, in Finnegans Wake, Joyce summed up the madness of the scribbling business thus: “But by writing thithaways end to end and turning, turning and end to end hithaways writing and with lines of litters slittering up and louds of latters slettering down, the old semetomyplace and jupetbackagain from tham Let Raise till Hum Lit. Sleep, where in the waste is the wisdom?”


A multitude of memories rescued from death

Thursday, 21 March, 2013 0 Comments

In fast-moving China, people have embraced digital photography with a fierce fervour. The upside of this for Thomas Sauvin is that Beijing is awash in discarded film negatives, if one knows where to look for them, that is. Sauvin does, and in pursuit of his Beijing Silvermine project he spends a lot of his time visiting the recycling yards where they await destruction. Loved this statement of passion: “The birth of Beijing Silvermine in May of 2009 meant the end to this massacre of photographs, rescuing a multitude of memories from certain death.”

“This vast archive of 35mm color film negatives, taken by ordinary and anonymous Chinese, unearths discarded souvenir snapshots, often amusing, banal or intriguing, sometimes awkward, yet above all, undeniably authentic. Silvermine is a photographic portrait of the capital and the life of her inhabitants over the last thirty years.”

Talking of a photographic portrait of the capital, Reuters offers this interactive look at Beijing’s pollution problem. How long can this continue?


The Architecture of Density

Wednesday, 2 January, 2013 0 Comments

The urban landscapes captured my Munich photographer Michael Wolf look like collages of pixels created by graphic designers who cut their teeth on Lego. But they are very real buildings in today’s megacities, especially Hong Kong. Although these are residential silos, what makes Wolf’s images so perturbing is the almost complete absence of human inhabitants. But in many of Asia’s great cities, the concept of space, both private and public, is dramatically different to that which is considered “normal” in the West.

Hong Kong living


Sexy dictator satire produces red faces at the People’s Daily

Wednesday, 28 November, 2012 0 Comments

“No doubt, few would seriously describe Kim Jong-Un as sexy, much less as the world’s sexiest man. Nor would many people equate People’s Daily with sexiness. But if there’s one place in the world willing — or, at least, desiring — to believe that a foreign publication would praise him in such a way, it’s […]

Continue Reading »

Democracy vs. Autocracy: USA vs. China

Tuesday, 6 November, 2012 0 Comments

Today, millions of people of the USA will elect a swathe of public representatives, from sheriff to president, in an open process that, despite its imperfections, is without equal in the world. On Thursday, China opens its 18th party congress, designed to usher in the next generation of Communist party officials who will govern the […]

Continue Reading »

China: The Economist flatters; the New York Times reveals

Friday, 26 October, 2012 0 Comments

The latest issue of The Economist features Xi Jinping, soon to be named China’s next president, on the cover and the editorial accompanying the title mentions the word “corruption” three times. Here’s the penultimate paragraph: “The Chinese Communist Party has a powerful story to tell. Despite its many faults, it has created wealth and hope […]

Continue Reading »

Disappearing Shanghai

Friday, 28 September, 2012

“This is a story that sounds familiar, that we think we know or can imagine: old houses torn down for luxury malls, ordinary people poorly compensated, an intimate way of life replaced by highways and high-rises. All of this is happening in Shanghai — and dozens of cities across China and around the world–but it’s […]

Continue Reading »

The May Day Firewall of China

Tuesday, 1 May, 2012

In mid-April, China’s “great firewall” system that blocks blacklisted foreign websites temporarily blocked all foreign websites. This was followed by an increase in website-blocking across the country. Then came the news that posts by weibo users with more than 10,000 followers will be individually vetted, and it is said that Beijing is also pushing the […]

Continue Reading »

1916 and all that

Friday, 13 April, 2012

Back when Ireland was approaching the end of its 15 minutes of economic fame, we’re talking 2006, the then-Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, felt that the time had come to publish the Proclamation of the Republic (Irish: Forógra na Poblachta), also known as the 1916 Proclamation or Easter Proclamation, in Chinese (PDF). Who knows what the […]

Continue Reading »

Unexpected FT headline: “Beijing on edge amid coup rumours”

Thursday, 22 March, 2012

“Adding to the air of intrigue in the capital, a report of a fatal car crash on Sunday involving the son of a top leader and a Ferrari appeared on the internet but was quickly removed by official censors. Netizens and one source with close ties to China’s top leaders said the illegitimate son of […]

Continue Reading »

Global cities of the future

Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth. Which of them will contribute the largest number of children or elderly to the world’s population? Which will see the fastest expansion of new entrants to the consuming middle classes? How will regional patterns of growth differ? Those are some of the questions posed and answered in “Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities” by the McKinsey Global Institute. The interactive inforgraphics turn the mapping and the exploring into a rewarding journey through our urban future.

Note: “Half of global GDP in 2007 came from 380 cities in developed-regions, with more than 20 percent of global GDP coming from 190 North American cities alone. The 220 largest cities in developing-regions contributed another 10 percent. But by 2025, one-third of these developed-market cities will no longer make the top 600; and one out of every 20 cities in emerging-markets is likely to see its rank drop out of the top 600. By 2025, 136 new cities are expected to enter the top 600, all of them from the developing world and overwhelmingly — 100 new cities —from China.”

600 cities