Geeks, Google, and mainland milk

milk, 1 December 2007

Quick—when you hear the words "Chinese geek," who's the first person that comes to mind?

It's Louis Koo, right? That's what the premiere issue of milk magazine would have you believe.

milk (新潮流) was founded in Hong Kong in 2001 as a trendy pop-culture/fashion/lifestyle biweekly. In a column written shortly after the magazine's first anniversary, media commentator and magazine enthusiast Rocky Leung described what made the Hong Kong version of milk special:

By no means should you simply compare milk to paparazzi magazines, even though it is gossip. The difference is: milk has attitude. milk is really the new model for this type of magazine in the Internet information age. How it differs from its elders, like Touch, can be found through a brief comparison. Because of the explosion of TV and Internet entertainment gossip, milk has basically abandoned gossip (the only thing it picks up is a behind-the-scenes look at joint ads for celebrities and brands). In addition, following the surging tide of creative design and high-quality life, milk puts a considerable amount of energy into design style-reports on t-shirts, tennis shoes, backpacks, furniture, and knick-knacks all lead with design. Profiting from Hong Kong's high-end advertising sales, milk's content, both hard and soft, is extremely seductive.

Can it work on the mainland? The initial reaction seems to be disappointment, at least from the people who had been eagerly anticipating the magazine's arrival. Members of the milk group on Douban, a social networking service oriented toward students and young white-collars, seem to agree that the mainland edition is a far cry from the HK original.

100 reasons to [heart] Google.

To punch up the cool-brand factor, the first issue of milk comes with a 100-page supplement devoted entirely to Google: the company's employees, its culture, its web applications, its quirky logos, and all kinds of Google enthusiasts, most of them trendy young people, who explain why they ♥ Google.

Back to the Black Geek: Louis Koo's a major HK movie star, but he also keeps a frequently-updated blog and is a fan of Star Wars and anime. Here's a post he made in October after doing the cover shoot, as translated by his online fan-club:

What is a Geek?

My reporter friend explaination to me was people who are deeply indulged in high-tech products and science fiction and then make further studies on the subject and deliver new theory. Because these people were too indulged in their own world 20 years ago and lacked social skills and careless of their attires. This is what Japanese people nowadays classified as Otaku.

But due to the rapid development of science and technology from people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, leaders of Geek icons, related culture has been discovered and widely talked about.

The Geek culture today represent a person who is overly obsessed about expertise information of a particular product. In other words, Geek is the this generation's trend indicator.

In the feature, Koo dresses up as a sort of hipster Darth Vader and answers questions about Star Wars. There's also a list of "essentials for a black geek":

  1. Ray-Ban Wayfarers
  2. IBM Thinkpad
  3. Casio digital watch (calculator model)
  4. LOMO LC-A+
  5. Starbucks black coffee
  6. Metropolis
  7. backpack
  8. Clarks Desert Boots
  9. Tuxedo (with Tux)

Koo contributes a Pepsi-sponsored column, "LOUIStyle," which in this issue is devoted to Piet Hein Eek.

The mainland edition of milk, which is published through an agreement with Titan Sports, shares publication license CN43-1414/G8 with Allsports (全体育) and Yoga Journal (瑜伽).

UPDATE: Variety's Kaiju Shakedown blog has more on Louis Koo's geekitude.

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