Why the Chang-Halliday Mao biography never came to Taiwan

You can buy the English version here, but publication of the Taiwanese edition in Chinese was aborted. This post goes into all the reasons why. Interesting, especially to those of us who’ve been keeping tabs of all the attacks and accolades the book has garnered.


Yao Ming urges China to let players travel overseas

This is a first for the Peking Duck – a post about basketball. (Enjoy it while you can – there aren’t going to be many more; watching tall people throw a ball into a hoop is useful only as a remedy for my chronic insomnia.) Yao Ming is challenging the Chinese government, urging them to allow the country’s basketball players to play overseas.

Yao Ming has called on Chinese sports authorities to let his national team-mates play overseas to get the experience they need to make China a force in international basketball.

“We cannot make enough progress by the national league alone: it’s like trying to build a cart without knowing how,” said Yao after their second round 95-64 rout by Greece.

“Chinese players have to go overseas to play. I mean, they should go there alone and fight for their positions on the teams. This is the only way to lift the overall level of Chinese basketball.”

The last-16 finish met the Chinese Basketball Association’s (CBA) target, but it was short of what Yao was personally aiming for: a quarter-final place.

Why won’t they let the Chinese players go overseas to get the practice they need? I don’t know much about sports – somebody please help me!


Pachelbel Canon – on electric guitar


Via another of those great bloggers whose site I should visit more often. (We used to link to one another all the time back in the days when Gweilo Diaries ruled the East, and then, as so often happens among the early bloggers, we go off in our own directions. Thomas Wolfe was right: you can’t go home again.)


Update: Shanghai Sex Blog Closed

What’s the story? When you click the link, it now says, you can visit “by invitation only.”

The plot thickens.

Update: His sitemeter’s still working. His daily hits have gone from 500 on average to 17,000 today alone. Maybe I should rethink the theme of my own blog….



In Defense of the Shanghai Sex Blogger

Adam likes him.

Sex and Shanghai author is right on the money. Chinese, as a nation, are incredibly arrogant. That’s one of the things I tell my buddies I don’t miss about China, listening to their arrogant rants about Japanese and foreigners. This belief was confirmed when I heard about the professor who is demanding that the author of a sex blog that recounts his sexual episodes with Chinese women be deported…

Adam goes on to explain why this nasty episode (combined with the recent media spectacle of Jon Benet Ramsey’s non-killer John Mark Karr) could spell disaster for the English teaching profession in China – extremely interesting stuff.


Thomas Frank: Defunders of Liberty

He should be a permanent Times columnist/

Defunders of Liberty
Published: August 29, 2006

Before he became K Street’s most enterprising racketeer, Jack Abramoff was best known as a sort of young Robespierre of the Reagan Revolution. In 1983, as chairman of the College Republicans, he declared that he and his minions did not ‘seek peaceful coexistence with the left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently.

By all accounts, Abramoff carried out this mission with a Ramboesque single-mindedness. A ferocious latter-day red-baiter, he seems to have encountered Communists everywhere he went in early-80s America, fighting them (literally, with his fists) on campus, detecting their influence in the nuclear freeze movement, scheming to checkmate students worried about El Salvador by calling attention to the crimes of ‘their beloved Soviet Union.’ As a reward he got his handsome mug on the cover of the John Birch Society’s Review of the News.



Translation of People’s Daily Travel Tips

One of this site’s savviest commenters (I’ll let him identify himself if he chooses to) has been kind enough to translate the 22 Habits of Chinese Tourists that need to be corrected if the world is going to eagerly embrace the PRC’s nouveau riche visitors. (See this post for reference.)

Here’s how the translator himself describes his mission, followed by the 22 Habits (sounds like a Steven Covey book, doesn’t it?):

The fountain of eternal wisdom that we mere mortals refer to as the People’s Daily has started a campaign to “bring an end to bad habits amongst Chinese tourists and improve China’s image in the world.” The following is a list of discouraged behaviors that I have translated for your reading pleasure (many of which I engaged in during my first trip to Hong Kong). Should anyone catch any Chinese tourists committing any of the following faux pas (particularly no. 12), please contact the nearest Chinese embassy immediately.

Some commonly-cited uncivilized behaviors observed amongst the people of our nation while abroad:

1. Showing no concern for hygiene and casually littering;

2. Spitting all over the place;

3. Trampling on lawns and damaging flowers, plants, grass, and trees;

4. Making loud uproars in public places;

5. Disregarding traffic lights, parking in an unruly manner, and generally ignoring traffic regulations;

6. Cutting in line or failing to line up at all at tourist spots;

7. Not flushing after using the bathroom;

8. Disregarding laws and breaking into tourist spots;

9. Dressing improperly and appearing unkempt;

10. Locking arms or giving each other piggyback rides, giggling, and generally ‘making a ruckus’

11. Doodling on or carving names in famous tourist spots;

12. Shitting and pissing all over the place;

13. Smoking and eating snacks in inappropriate settings;

14. Saying rude things;

15. Failing to get out of others’ way in crowded areas;

16. Climbing installations as one pleases and taking photos;

17. Answering cellular phone calls during conferences;

18. Unbuttoning or removing shirts in public, and generally appearing slovenly;

19. Wearing sandals an pajamas in public;

20. Crowding around to grab yummy foods and wasting foods at buffets;

21. Picking teeth and burping in inappropriate settings;

22. Arguing irrationally with airline staff and making a scene when flights are delayed due to the weather or other unavoidable circumstances.

Source: http://society.people.com.cn/GB/1063/4722220.html

Hey, don’t blame me – this is from People’s Daily. Anyone want to nominate any other Habits?


John Tierney: South Park Refugees

Edited (boy, did I screw that one up)

South Park Refugees
Published: August 29, 2006

I have bad news for the G.O.P. regarding that promising new bloc of voters, the South Park Republicans. It turns out they’re not Republicans, at least not anymore.

According to Wikipedia, which would definitely be these voters’ encyclopedia of choice, South Park Republicans are young Americans who ‘hold political beliefs that are, in general, aligned with those that seem to underpin gags and storylines in the popular television cartoon.’ The encyclopedia summarizes these beliefs with a quotation from one of the show’s creators, Matt Stone, which includes a crucial expletive I must elide: ‘I hate conservatives, but I really … hate liberals.’



Shanghai Sex Blogger Scandal

For months over at the China Blog List, I noticed that one blog always seemed to get good play, perhaps because of its curiosity-inducing name, Sex and Shanghai, and its subtitle, “Western scoundrel in Shanghai tells all.” I visted the site once, and that was more than enough. The last thing I need to do with my time is read an expat’s sex diary in which he describes in occasionally graphic detail his sexploitation of willing Chinese girls, many his former students. (The writing is excellent and the blogger offers some keen insights into the Chinese psyche, but all of that gets lost in the unending stream of pornographic reminiscences.)

China is still a conservative country, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that as this blog gained traction it would also gain controversy. So I read with great interest an account over at ESWN of how the Shanghai sex blog has been denounced by a Chinese blogger who’s also a psychology professor, leading to one of those famous Internet-generated “manhunts,” like the search for the deranged stiletto-heeled kitty killer.

I urge you to go over to ESWN and read Roland’s translation of the professor’s article calling for the foreigner’s scalp. The article is a bit hysterical (Roland does a good job pointing out a few of its inanities) but it’s a fun read. Sample:

This piece of garbage openly declared in this blog that he was only dallying with these female Chinese students. He said, “We don’t talk about love, we don’t talk about marriage, we don’t even talk about being together.” Once, he was even shameless enough to say, “I ‘m tired of her already. A cunt is a cunt. I keep her just so that I can play with her again.”

This piece of garbage’s favorite show is to use obscene and pornographic language to describe the bodies of Chinese women and how they made love. For example, “My dearest Tingting, you have a very good and beautiful body. I cannot stop thinking about your beautiful skin, your lovely, smooth and soft breasts, you sexy, smooth and fine waist, your sweet and pretty legs and arms … oh, of course, you are so pretty, so sexy and so perfect between your legs!”

This piece of garbage is very narcissistic. In his writing, all Chinese women will tell him abashedly before they take off their clothes in front of him for the first time: “My breasts are too small.” When he takes off his pants, all the Chinese women will say in awe: “Your dick is really big!” Even if she is a virgin and this is the first time, she will say that too.

When you’re done with that, you can go back to the Shanghai sexploitation blog and check out the blogger’s response to the article. (Lots of good comments there, too.)

Now that he’s being hunted, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will he be physically assaulted? Thrown out of China? Or will he garner a lucrative book contract. Sex, after all, certainly does sell. Just check out his site meter, which, with all of this week’s publicity, soared from an average of about 500 readers a day to above 6,000.

Update: I see someone’s already set up a blog dedicated to uncovering the Shanghai Sex Maniac’s identity.


Right-wing blogger mentality

Generalizations are dangerous things. But I’ve seen enough of this trend to make the following generalization: When faced with an embarrassing story about one of their own, right-wing bloggers have a maddening tendency to change the topic from what their guy did to some “personality flaw” or whatever dirt they can dig up on the aggrieved party, the one “their guy” hurt, or the reporter who uncovered their guy’s misdeed.

Witness the famous racial slur uttered by Senator George Allen as he referred to a dark-skinned man at his campaign rally as a “macaca.” That was captured on videotape and Allen has sort-of apologized and there’s no denying it was a shameful moment.

Fast-forward to this post by a moderately popular rightie blogger who decided it would be a worthwhile thing to dig for dirt on the Indian man Allen insulted. He felt the WaPo was being too nice in describing him. Surely there had to be some mean things they could say about the man! After digging and digging, he came up with a lot of shit, which he diligently posted – but then he realized it may have been about someone else with the same name!

The question is, what would inspire an intelligent man to take this course of action, to try to blacken the reputation of a stranger who did absolutley nothing wrong? What’s the point? Are we supposed to see this as brilliant sleuthing – or an act of pure childishness?

I find this to be a trend unique to the rightie bloggers, though I’m sure someone can come up with examples fom the left. I remember most vividly the condemnation from university professors when Malkin’s repellent In Defense of Internment was published – the Malkinites, instead of answering the professors’ very specific complaints of shoddy details (for which Malkin eventually apologized) and lack of peer review, went after the backgrounds of individual professors on the list to prove they were – sin of all sins – liberals. Then the smearing began. It doesn’t matter who you are or how innocent your actions. Once the wingnuts have you in your sites, you’re dead meat.

It’s ugly out there on the Internet. Google lets you find the worst of anyone in seconds (whether any of what you find is true or not is another story). That someone like the above-cited blogger could so carelessly and casually dig up dirt on someone for no discernible reason, and to catalog it in a matter that could harm that person for years to come — well, let it suffice to say that it’s a cruel and deranged thing to do.

Update: I’m glad to see I’m not the only blogger who thought this was outrageous.