Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Thursday, September 23, 2004 at 11:11 PM
This year's bitterly contested US election is in full swing. American political opinion is so polarized that Bush supporters and Bush detractors appear to be living on different planets.
Which brings us to two excellent China-related blogs: Peking Duck and Gweilo Diaries.
Peking Duck is written by Richard, a gay American writer and PR executive who lived in China during the SARS panic; moved to Singapore; and is now back in his native Arizona. Richard will vote for Kerry.
Gweilo Diaries is written by Conrad, a former US Marine from somewhere around Alabama and Mississippi. Conrad lives in Hong Kong, practices as a lawyer, and seems to spend most of his free time shagging dodgy Asian women. He will vote for Bush.
The one thing they both agree on is that China is full of deplorable things. They both love to post bad news coming from China. This is the one thing that unites them, but also the one thing that I find boring. After all, it is always easy to find bad news about China.
However, taken side by side they are a superb guide to the current schizophrenia infecting the American body politic and its capital. Try this little exchange between Peking Duck and Gweilo Diaries for starters:
Just after the 1000th US casualty in Iraq was announced, Peking Duck posted an image of American soldiers in an Iraqi town, with a Photoshopped banner strung across the street saying 'Welcome to our 1000th customer'. Gweilo Diaries was disgusted. Read the comments on both of these posts for the full right wing nutjob vs. elite liberal wussie experience.
This type of vigorous opposition and venomous debate typifies why American democracy is a force to be reckoned with.
Aside from providing an excellent portrait of American political bipolarity, there are other reasons that make Peking Duck and Gweilo Diaries worth a regular visit:
1. They give you the candy
Gweilo Diaries also features occasional soft porn pictures of Asian women.
2. They don't write about themselves
3. When they do write about themselves, it is because they have actually had an interesting experience
By Jeremy Goldkorn
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Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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