Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dream of Red Mansions

I was moderately humiliated after teetering to Central Library to pick up some materials related to Louis Cha for a piece I'm working on - everything I'd hauled from the Hong Kong Literature room was reference, and I was left checking out an illustrated version of Dream of Red Mansions that caught my eye among the children's books. Jing Yong FAIL, however I think I'm going to start collecting some key works from this genre of comic book literary canon classics and posting critical "stills" here."

Second note is I was browsing through an excellent volume on the guaizhi (怪志) genre - a mostly Qing era short story genre employing Kafka-esque tales of the strange, Pu Songling being the most famous of this set - and came across this awesome improbably phrase:


Thirdly I'm trying to note some of the hideous deployments of sort of literary theory jargon, sort of butchered Carl Sagan half-thoughts that design stores around Hong Kong are especially guilty of. On the way from TST to East TST, there is a key one for K11, featuring a confused looking reindeer robot among plastic trees.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

2015 - Chinese Cities, Metrics

One of the biggest factor's shaping China's landscape in the next dozen or so years will be the path that its second-tier cities take on development. (Second/third tier basically refers to any city of about 170 in China that have populations of over 1 million, but are not Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen or Guangzhou)...and a huge chunk of the money has flown into the architectural, urban, and economic development of cities like Chongqing (which on its own, had a GDP of $95.5 billion in 2009), Dalian and Wuhan.

Two pieces of recent news were therefore quite fun and heartening.  First, via Danwei, Chongqing is shooting to be one of the "happiest cities" in China by 2015.
"According to a new blueprint released at a government conference yesterday, in 2015, Chongqing's GDP per capita will reach USD 8,000, twice as much as current level; the city's regional GDP will by then reach 1500 billion yuan, surpassing Shanghai's current level; the income gap between urban and rural residents will be shrunk to 2.5:1. These projections, once achieved, will make Chongqing "one of the happiest regions" in China. Or at least the Chongqing government officials would like you to believe so."
The use of per capita GDP (instead of aggregate growth numbers) and reducing the urban-rural inequality gap is using metrics that do come much closer to more holistic indicators of well being. (Sidenote: China experimented with a "Green GDP" index in 2006 but abandoned it when it indicated a 3% drop in productivity.)

NEVERTHELESS, the second piece of fun news is that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC, not NRDC) has picked five provinces and eight cities as the first hubs for "greening" - by 2015 each will be used as pilots for significantly reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. (They'll be Guangdong, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi and Yunnan, and Tianjin, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Nanchang and Baoding.) [via CommidityOnline]

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Friday, November 12, 2010

H-KAGE - City-O-Rama

Video installations through ten locations in HK,  buried in flower shops, butcher stalls, and nail salons alike. Running through the 18th!

14E Elgin St Elgin St (opposite of Chow Kee)Top of Pottinger St (opposite of Kila Bar) | 27B Stanley St | 20 Old Bailey St | 6A Gage St (Wet Market) | 32 Wellington St | 9, 11-13 Gage St (Wet Market) | 74-74A Hollywood Rd

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Public comments are apparently being solicited globally for feedback on the Next Five Year Plan? Is this a joke?
Comments from those who live overseas can be submitted to media organizations like China Daily and People's Daily Overseas Edition, Sun said.Over the next two months, individuals and agencies can send e-mails to, preferably in either Chinese or English.
From the People's Daily November 3

  • On the appreciation of the RMB, most alarming indicators have included the rise of tea egg prices from 60 cents to 1 dollar on the street, and the doubling of cabbage prices. Above, NYT picture from feature on Korean panic over rising cabbage prices. Oh, the agony.
  • Goodbye Expo!
  • Statistics:

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