Editorial

Classic Danwei

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Many articles on Danwei do not grow stale even as they scroll off the main page. In the two years Danwei has been in operation, the archives have amassed quite a number of posts whose information is still current and which we believe may still be of interest to readers.

For the convenience of the Danwei readership, who would otherwise be forced to slog through hundreds of posts worth of old breaking news, announcements, calls-to-arms, and Skinhua alerts to find these gems, we have collected them below. "Classic Danwei" will be linked off the sidebar, and it will be updated periodically as Danwei contributors continue to generate classic posts.

== People ==

A short interview with Muzi Mei: I am now living in Shanghai with my boyfriend. Our sex life is excellent. Actually, there hasn't been much change in my sex life after becoming famous. (2004.02.26)

Nicholas Bonner and his North Korean Films: The North Korean authorities granted Bonner access to their archives of 35mm film and newspapers from the World Cup, materials which no Westerner had ever seen before. Bonner and Gordon also arranged to take the players back to Middlesbrough where they met some of the men who had followed them around as young football supporters, as well as dignitaries from the town's football organizations. (2005.03.02)

Wang Zhaohui: Well, the general public don't really know or care about many foreign films. They tend only to be interested in foreign film people if they are big stars. Most of my colleagues don't even know who Robert Redford is. (2004.12.03)

Tina Liu: She has worked as a singer and actress for stage, film and television, hosted radio talk shows, done fashion modeling, managed fashion brands, run a radio station, edited glossy magazines, and written countless feature stories, columns and several books of essays. (2004.09.11)

Lolita Hu: Novelist, essayist, editor of Playboy, frequent traveller to India: Lolita Hu life does not match with what you imagine when you first hear her English name. (2004.07.22)

Chen Daming, director: Chen has come a long way from his native city of Kaifeng. After seven years in Hollywood, he returned to China in 1997 where he has embarked on a promising career as a director. (2004.06.28)

Dirk Eschenbacher, Ogilvy One: "Copy can draw on so much cultural and linguistic richness here, but unfortunately it is usually almost impossible to translate, so Chinese ads don't win many international awards for it." (2004.06.18)

Chan Koon-chung: He is one of the most experienced players in Chinese media, having founded magazines, written and produced feature films and TV dramas, started and run a satellite TV station, and written novels, collections of essays and even a treatise on Marxist literary criticism. In the early 1990s, he pioneered Hong Kong investment in Mainland cultural and entertainment businesses. (2004.06.11)

An Imperial Personality: Like his elder relative Henry Puyi, Zhoudi has an English name: Dick. The Information Times reports that to his foreign friends he is affectionately known as "Yellow Dick". (2005.03.10)

China's 50 Most Beautiful People: Unlike People, this collection namechecks Kant and Hegel for its standard of beauty, allowing the participation of some famous faces not usually associated with physical attractiveness. (2005.03.21)

== Media and Advertising ==

Public service advertising and propaganda: In China the ads are full of revolutionary spirit and slogans derived from the propaganda messages that have been the most notable forms of government-backed advertising in the last half-century. Nonetheless, many public service ads in China are not simply Partyspeak. There are plenty of ads that try to convey a non-totalitarian message that is about the public good. (2004.08.02)

Sex appeal in Chinese advertising: Most Chinese people will remember a TV commercial for a gum called Qing Zui with the opening line of: "Do you want to feel the taste of kissing?" Advertising using explicit sexual messages did not go further on Chinese TV: A few months later, a government organ released a statement banning TV commercials with obvious sexual imagery. However print ads are less tightly monitored. (2004.07.07)

Grannie Wang and the IT industry: There's a Chinese saying 'Grannie Wang boasts about her melons in order to sell them' (王婆买瓜,自卖自夸). In other words, she blows her own trumpet, so you can't really believe her when she says the melons are tasty. So what does Grannie Wang do? Well, she can hire a 'tuor' ( 托儿) and a 'muliao' (幕僚). (2004.07.29)

Anatomy of a bogus drug ad: As a sex enhancer, Shark naturally needs to measure up against the baseline, so we have the headline in red and black, "Sexual health craze sweeps Europe and America - Shark topples Viagara." (2005.05.27)

== Industry ==

How much money does a model make in Beijing?: Famous and experienced advertising models can ask for daily fees up to RMB50,000 (about USD6,000); less famous and inexperienced models get much less than that: RMB3,000 to 9,000 (USD360 to 720) per day, whereas young girls just starting out can make about RMB500 a day (USD60). (2005.06.28)

How much money does a Beijing lawyer make?: With an average salary of 300.000 RMB a year (36,136 USD) top Real Estate lawyers can't really complain. The ever soaring real estate market in Beijing, gives them plenty of work to write and check on contracts, agreements, disputes and so forth. (2005.06.20)

== Books, Newspapers, and Magazines ==

China's illegal yellow press: Most of the content of the paper is about war with Taiwan and the evil nature of supporters of Taiwan independence, which is of course always written enclosed in quote marks. After gettting the reader's testosterone levels up with some jingoism on the front page, the inside of the newspaper is mostly girlie photos. (2005.05.23)

New York Chinese Newspaper Wars: [New York Times] "Just as in any good newspaper war, each of the Chinese newspapers is dismissed by the others. The World Journal is called an apologist for Taiwan, The China Press a mouthpiece for mainland China, Sing Tao Daily a tabloid-like scandal sheet, and Ming Pao a small nonthreat." (2003.11.14)

Red Egg: Red Egg was a Mainland China magazine about technology, lifestyle, and digi-cool. The magazine flowered for a brief time after the Great Nasdaq Crash. Before the Great Nasdaq Crash really hit the pocketbooks of the Great Nasdaq Boom's investors' pocketbooks. (2003.11.06)

Tang Jiali nude photos: At the same time that the the Department of Culture is banning mildy pornographic network games, search engine Baidu reveals that actress, dancer and minor celebrity Tang Jiali (汤加丽) is currently the top search request on its list of "beautiful women". (2005.03.25)

A Joint Approach to History: For all the celebration of finding a "common ground", or arriving at a "unified recognition" of historical events, there seems to be an assumption that a presentation of history is valid only when it is written by the victims, or at the very least by the participants in that history. By placing an emphasis on telling students in other countries "our story," the attitude expressed in the three prefaces works to insure that the stories that belong to none of the three editorial groups do not get told. (2005.06.12)

A positive look at the Nationalist Party: Obscured by the recent media commotion over right-wing Japanese historical revisionism and the subsequent publication of a multilateral history text was the appearance in mainland China of a revised history of the anti-Japanese war. National Martyrs 《国殇》, by Zhang Hongtao, is subtitled "A record of KMT frontal battles in the War of Resistance," and it details battles fought by the Nationalist government during the first phase of the war against Japan...(2005.06.21)

== Censorship, etc. ==

Self-censorship: the 2,000 pound rhinoceros on the dining table: Each time she would seek out an audience member of that particular nationality and ask them to confirm if the stereotype was true, the person would squirm a bit and provide some perfunctory words of agreement. As I looked around I could see some wincing and strained smiles on the faces of the people. Most of us balked at these blatantly simplistic stereotypes, but given the valiant attempts of the host to keep the atmosphere convivial, who would exhibit the bad taste to come out and say so? (2005.04.25)

Do whatever the hell you want, as long as you don't do it on paper or via broadcast: And, when I really need an extra creative boost, and to remind myself of the powerful joy I get from being so close to 5,000 years of the greatest human civilization ever to have existed --- you know, the language, culture, art, poetry, romantic heroes, porcelain artistry, kites, etc. --- I like to do the following affirmation by stepping out into my hutong and shouting at the top of lungs: "Thermal measurement! Electric motor and appliance design! Automatic Control! Automatic Control! Power! Power! Power!" (2005.01.26)

Men behind the Nanny: But proving that the old dear is trying to show a human face or three, here are some of the key speakers at the event, courtesy of Xinhua. Click on their names to see short biographies from China Vitae, which is an online database of government big shots. (2005.04.05)

Asimov Published, Interviewed in Beijing: "Isaac Asimov passed away on 6 April 1992, so to be able to conduct this interview we must thank a scientist named Vikkor Mallansohn - according to Asimov's novel [The End of Eternity] he invents something in the 24th century that makes a "time kettle" possible." (2005.03.18)

Southern loving: the rise and fall of an independent media entity: [Washingon Post] Once, local officials in the neighboring city of Shenzhen tried to banish it from its newsstands. The next day, a headline on the paper's front page declared, "Someone in Shenzhen Shamelessly Shut Out This Newspaper." A month and a half later, the ban was lifted. (2004.08.03)

Public intellectuals on the road to debauchery?: On November 23, an editorial appeared in the retrogressive Liberation Daily (jiefang ribao) condemning the whole notion of public intellectuals. The essay was reprinted in the People's Daily on November 25. The article makes heavy use of quote marks, in the old commie rhetorical style. (2004.12.02)

== Culture, Entertainment ==

New Classical Education Fills a Void: Reading between the lines, you might guess at what the unpublishable conventional wisdom says about the Institute: the promotion of traditional Chinese culture at the "No. 2 Party School" is a tacit admission that Marxist Education is utterly bankrupt. (2005.06.15)

Chinese reggae pioneers: Maybe Chinese doctors started using some of the local herbs in their remedies because something different happened in Jamaica: Kingston's Chinese population was involved from the earliest days with the down and dirty ghetto music that became reggae. (2004.03.23)

New Weekly: Do Chinese kids know anything about traditonal Chinese culture?: Q: Do you know what China's four great inventions are? Paper, printing, the compass and gunpowder 49.3% know all four, 37.3% get one or more wrong, 13.3% don't know at all (2004.06.12)

Test Questions: Chongqing: Two parts: 1. Write instructions on the topic of Chopsticks
2. Write 600 words on the subject of Self-mockery (no poetry) (2005.06.08)

Importing Inspiration: Plagiarism in Pop Music: But theft of musical ideas is notoriously hard to prove, and at times the media storm seems to be concerned more with whether an artist is truly creative than if anyone's rights have been infringed. (2005.04.15)

One Country, Two Versions: The original version aspires to be a raunchy Citizen Kane, detailing the creation of the two friends' massive pornography empire while taking potshots at the adult entertainment world. The entire plot line surrounding Zhang Yan's policewoman does not exist; it takes the place of risqué language, interactions with prostitutes, and an infamous interview scene in which Koo's character is surrounded by dozens of topless AV models. Not exactly mainland material. (2005.02.03)

== David Moser's Articles ==

The voice of Curly, dubbing and pirate film translation: "Can you do the laugh?" I ask him. "You know, that laugh?" He nods. He knows what I'm talking about. "Nyuk nyuk nyuk!" he suddenly erupts, in an imitation of Curly so compelling that I'm suddenly transported from Beijing to my family's living room floor in Eureka, Kansas, circa 1959...(2004.09.15)

Red Stars Over China: the Mao Impersonators: I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of “Mao Zedong” and “Zhou Enlai” playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show. (2004. 10.07)

No laughing matter: a hilarious investigation into the destruction of modern Chinese humor: The Chinese government has systematically stifled crosstalk by bowdlerizing its tradition, restricting its natural growth and evolution, and reducing the form to a sycophantic, unsatisfying — and unfunny — shadow of its former self. (2004.11.16)

Lip-Service: Lip-Synching in Chinese Pop Music: When we showed up at the studio for the taping, we discovered that there was no microphone for our singer, no recording equipment or hookups for our amplifiers, and not even any electrical outlets on the stage. "How are we supposed to do our number?" I asked the studio crew. They looked at us incredulously. "You actually want to sing the song live?" they said. (2005.03.30)

Getting it up in China: from Horny Goat Weed to Viagra: Later on in 1994 I remember turning on to a fully-fledged sex education program on Beijing Television. A grandmotherly woman with thick glasses sat next to nerdy Mr. Rogers look-alike answering viewer letters about subjects like premature ejaculation, foreplay, and masturbation. The two of them spoke in a droning monotone, as if talking about municipal zoning ordinances. (2005.04.11)


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Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
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