Posted by Ralph Jennings on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 1:36 PM
Ralph Jennings is a journalist and long time resident of China. He currently lives in Taipei. From mid-2000 to 2006, he had an advice column in the 21st Century weekly newspaper in which he answered letters from thousands of students and young professionals. Below is a letter from the archive, with an introduction by Jennings.
Meeting members of the opposite sex of course doesn't just challenge the youth of China. But a bouquet of social pressures that start from childhood nip off most of the nation's female-initiated romances before they bud: you're too young for a boyfriend (mom talking), we sent you to college for education not messing around (parents talking), women appear too "easy" if they make a move (society talking) and you're not good enough for the rich, handsome, charismatic guy who everyone else has eyes on (society again). Demoralising? Ask Judy.
Student letters to a foreign agony uncle
I've been living for 22 years. I have experienced and learned a lot. Now I'm a junior in college. I'm happy and I love my life and everything around me. But there is still one thing I don't understand. I never think of myself as introverted. I'm always willing to help others at any time. I have many female friends who get well along with me. They say I'm kind and humorous. But it is unbelievable that I have not even one male friend. Worse, I'm afraid of talking with male students in class. Sometimes boys do talk to me, but our conversations are always so formal and stiff that I can hardly stand it. I don't know how to communicate with boys. What should I do?
Judy, September 2009
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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Danwei Model Workers
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Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
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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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): 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.