Tag: 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?


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 ā€” or, at least, desiring ā€” to believe that a foreign publication would praise him in such a way, it’s […]

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Microsoft does text-to-speech with a twist in China

Tuesday, 13 November, 2012 0 Comments

It’s one thing to convert spoken English into Mandarin text, but to output that written Mandarin as speech in the vocal style of the original speaker is something very new. Yet that’s what happened when Microsoft’s Chief Research Officer Rick Rashid spoke in China at the end of last month. At the 7.35 mark in […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Obama vs. Romney: Round 3

Monday, 22 October, 2012 0 Comments

Here we go. The final round and it’s even-Steven on this judge’s card. Rainy Day got it somewhat right on the first round, in that Mitt Romney came out swinging for the KO, but we erred on the second round by counting out President Obama before the bell had sounded. This means that the third […]

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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 […]

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Niall Fergsuon responds to the liberal blogosphere

Wednesday, 22 August, 2012

Historian Niall Ferguson did the unthinkable at the weekend. He challenged those ideologically loyal to the Obama White House in a Newsweek cover story titled, “Hit the road Barack: Why we need a new president “. The firestorm that followed scorched all in its path. Did Ferguson run for cover? Far from it, he came […]

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The Vietnam ploy in the Pacific Century’s Game of Thrones

Tuesday, 5 June, 2012

At the end of April, as Rainy Day hovered over the Gulf of Thailand, our thoughts turned to regional security. It’s a topic that’s exercising quite a lot of minds at the moment. Take Leon Panetta, the US Secretary of Defense. He delivered his first keynote address to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore at the […]

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Communist control and capitalist cake

Friday, 4 May, 2012

Until the authorities told him to leave in 2008, Bill Hayton reported for the BBC from Hanoi. The things that made Vietnam, with its almost 92 million inhabitants, so intriguing for him were: “The contradictions inherent in simultaneously having communist control and eating capitalist cake.” The paradoxes of the place, its people, its history and […]

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