Category Archives: Culture

Annals of the imponderably vapid

If any more evidence was needed that parody of the useless lives of the intensely wealthy was impossible, consider this: An intricate Swiss watch that doesn’t tell time, for only $300,000. From Robert Frank’s “The Wealth Report” blog at the … Continue reading

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Every fur tells a story

One of the best things about flying is the in-flight magazine–the schlocky voice of corporate marketing and upscale hub-city businesses trying to attract some tourist clientèle. It’s always an odd mix of high prices and low class. From a recent … Continue reading

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How now, gao kao

So this past week nearly 9 million Chinese teenagers participated in the closest thing to a national rite of passage that China has these days: the gao kao. That’s the nation-wide standardized college entrance exam, a grueling two-day exercise that … Continue reading

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Hapless rooster newlyweds

Oh no! It turns out we were married in an unlucky year: the Chinese are apparently calling 2005, the Year of the Rooster, the “widow year” because the last month of the lunar year had only 29 days, instead of … Continue reading

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Up close and personal (aka TMI)

When you are moving to Beijing, those in the know will tell you, “Don’t worry too much about packing. You can get anything there.” And that’s basically true: whatever your weird little foreign heart desires, somebody in Beijing is selling … Continue reading

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