Old Version
Essay

I waited patiently, watching as I saw China’s traditional filial piety unravel before my eyes. The Little Empress was in charge, and all those traditionally above her, including myself, now bowed on their knees as she decreed her final judgement

The danger of any unliveable situation is that it becomes liveable, that we normalize what should be intolerable. That’s what’s happened with pollution across whole swathes of China; cancer-causing clouds have become a ‘natural’ hazard that people treat with the same attitude as they do thunderstorms or the tides

Rice. It’s synonymous with the word for “food" in a dozen Asian countries, including China, where “chi fan le ma?” – “have you eaten (rice) yet?” is equivalent to asking someone how their day has been.

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“Slash youth” has become a new term in China, referring to young people who do more than one job, like being an actor/director, captain/science officer or banker/tech entrepreneur.

Meeting Chinese friends rarely constitutes a simple chat over coffee, or walk in the park. Particularly when meeting a visiting friends, the time commitment is likely to be four hours minimum

If it’s somewhere in between, that’s where the really bad behavior is – where there’s enough fear, but not enough trust