Danwei Model Workers

Translation and photography in Shanghai

The Danwei Model Worker Award is granted by Danwei editors to blogs that we feel are especially worth reading. See the full list for more fascinating material.

A Room With a View (看得見風景的房間), kept by blogger btr, mixes photography, translation, poetry, and critical writing. The blogger writes for Southern Metropolis Weekly, The Bund, Shanghai Weekly, and other publications, but the blog contains far more than just an archive of print articles.

There's some great urban photography — of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, and other cities — in the PHOTOS tag (currently 758 posts), including a several pages worth of graffiti posts.

Apart from introducing foreign literature in a lit news section, btr also posts original translations, which most recently featured Chinese versions of David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address and the "Rules of Writing" "Week of Poem", which features poems in Chinese by btr translated by domanda, and in English by domanda, translated by btr.

Today's poem is by btr and is titled 失物招领; "Lost and Found" in domanda's translation:

They gathered around the Lost and Found
to look for the things they lost 21 years ago
"We want....", they said
"Who are you?" a voice asked

They can't say what exactly they lost
But they are sure something is lost
They can't figure out what they have become
But they know they are no longer passionate

Gathering around the Lost and Found
becomes a ritual
Even the voice that asks back
is part of it

Update (2010.10.19): btr is also involved in the new bilingual blog Shanghai Monthly. Check out the first post, We love Shanghai. It’s the People we can’t stand, and a more recent review of Slavoj Žižek's review of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor.

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