For those unfamiliar, Baratunde is the editor of The Onion, co-founder of Jack & Jill Politics, and author of the upcoming book, How to Be Black, while Christian is the author of the well-known blog and book, Stuff White People Like. As Zuckerman writes, “…a late night show based around Baratunde Thurston and Christian Lander would kill” — because they really are that good at being comedians. In fact, they were so good at entertaining the crowd that when our moderator or the audience asked sensitive questions about racism, homophobia, religion…no one was fidgeting. Continue reading
It hurts to pay $5.44 for a soy latte… and even more to inhale outdoors. It’s nerve-wracking to take the subway through Brooklyn to Manhattan then stand confused in the middle of Chinatown alone at night…and even scarier to wake up in the morning and realize that no one’s there. Yet it’s exhilarating to walk through Times Square for the first time and watch the sunset from the top of the Rockerfeller, powerwalk through all of Central Park then grace the steps of Apple‘s glass spiral staircase, even hop on a megabus at 1:30 in the morning (with a Halal food cart gyro in hand) for a spontaneous trip down to Boston, then wander around the MoMA for the last few hours before saying goodbye. Continue reading
Before leaving Jiali (a small town in Tainan Province), I took a copy of my a-gong’s essay and told my a-ma, “I think I’d like to translate this into English with Daddy.” So of course my a-ma called me a few weeks later, “Sa-jit-gong (3rdGreat-uncle) says a professor translated some of your a-zoh’s writings into English. I’m not sure, you should call Sa-jit-gong and ask.”
Less than an hour later, I was in Taipei’s largest library hassling a pour soul behind the reference desk. Below, I summarize part of Shih-Jung Tzeng’s 361-page Oxford-published PhD thesis, From Honto Jin to Bensheng Ren: The Origin and Development of Taiwanese National Consciousness. This is the most I’ve ever learned about my great-grandfather — a historic Taiwanese literary figure — Wu Xinrong (吳新榮). Continue reading
- Public transportation is efficient and very affordable. Buses cost 2 yuan (RMB) each trip (~28¢) and run frequently, while the metro costs 2-9 yuan each way (28¢ – $1.28), depending on the distance. The D train from Hangzhou to Shanghai was 54 yuan (<$8), and another (slower) train from Shanghai back to Xiaoshan was 26 yuan (<$4). A 30min taxi ride from the airport to hotel was 85 yuan (~$12).
- Construction is happening everywhere! Infrastructure is improving and high rises are popping up all over the place. (If fact, there is extremely loud construction happening right outside of our hotel room window…) Architecture firms with projects in Asia should be thriving.
- The West Lake in Hangzhou is beautiful, as with a lot of the new architecture in Shanghai. If I were a real painter or photographer, I’d move to Hangzhou and paint the four seasons repeatedly (pictures to come at the end of this post).
This isn’t exactly my first time in China, but I would hardly consider Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang (in Yunnan Province) “cities” when Shanghai has a population of 20 million. This is definitely my first time in a Chinese city without cobblestone-paved roads, horse-drawn carriages, and yaks. In fact, I see exactly what I expected to see: grey skyscrapers, construction cranes, and more skyscrapers in the making. Continue reading
8am Monday morning, I left the sunny pseudo-countryside for Kaohsiung, murky-grey industrial galore. Once again, I dragged my luggage through the front doors of my grandpa’s dilapidated high-rise and took the sketch elevator up. 6th floor is the office, 9th floor is the old condo in a sun-bleached shade of mustard yellow.The 6th floor has upgraded from cable modem to wifi, but my great-aunt still uses a typewriter for God knows what and wears glasses with a pearl chain draped behind her ears. Continue reading
The movie pokes loving fun at various Southern stereotypes: men driving scooters without helmets while chewing beetlenut, politicians having petty arguments with each other then bonded by their love for the town, people gathering at the local church and singing praise songs in Taiwanese.
The one full day that I spent in Taipei hardly consisted of anything truly Taiwanese—I stayed at the Sheraton, ate lunch at the Agora Garden, visited my mom’s friend’s interior design firm, walked around the Mega House next to the Living 3.0 office—but then painstakingly tried lamb hotpot (heart, liver, feet and all) with a few of my ex-colleagues. (They were out of brains when we arrived—thank God.)
But the weekend that I stayed with my grandma in a small town in Tainan county was…”很台” and hilariously Taiwanese. Continue reading