Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

As I trawl through the reviews of the year here in the UK I wish someone could have done something like this . The Chinese South Metropolis Weekly is featuring a spoof review of 2006 in homage to the wave of internet political and film spoofs China saw this year. Seems to be offering more bite and social commentary than the UK media's rather flacid efforts.

Anyway, happy reading and a happy, prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

japanese Christmas greetings

A Japanese Christmas card, seamlessly blending Western and Eastern traditions by sticking a load of traditional Japanese artifacts in a Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

more Christmas thoughts

Just to direct you to another's blogger's thoughts on the subject here. I don't agree on several points here, the first being the choice of wilfully dumb picture (what are we to gather from that?) and also that adoption of Christmas trimmings = cultural collapse. As one commenter points out Christmas is another opportunity to boost the economy so its bound to be welcomed. It's also, I think, seen as welcoming and enjoying other cultures and a chance to join in what is seen as an international festival (note the only Chinese commentator's statement: "Just as the slogan of Beijing Olympic Games "one world, one dream". We need cooperate, and also we need to share"). I would also question the positioning of the Chinese Spring festival as such a wholesome affair - I hear plenty of people complaining about the stress, expense, boredom, bad TV and family rows it brings and of course, as a gifting season its the time to ingratiate and bribe.
Having said all that, the article does make the valid point that Christmas in China is adding to the debate about Chinese cultural identity today and its an interesting point about Christmas dictating the manufacturing seasons of China - though how different is that from many other manufacturing dominated country?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

And what could be more festive than a Starbucks in Beijing? (There's been some impressive Christmas displays in Beijing and Shanghai but this is the only picture to have survived a technical hitch involving my camera). One mall in Beijing summed the celebration up perfectly as "Christmas Shopping Festival" and as such its increasingly adopted by trendy and/or western-style restaurants and shops. But its not just another reason to go shopping for everyone, an estimated 90 million Chinese Christians might be celebrating Christmas today. An interesting conference report from the Ethic and Public Policy Centre talks about Christianity in China and the impact Christianity could have on China. This article is also interesting as there's parallels between the CCP's attitude to faiths and many other things in China - as one interviewee puts it "China doesn't have many freedoms but there is a lot of tolerance". Also interesting as we hear a lot about China's openess to economic opportunity and material lifestyle trends but little about the increasing interest in spirituality or new value systems.

But its Christmas and I'm really not thinking more on all that, I'm got a heavy eating schedule to stay up with today.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winter means pelt sellers from the North West coming into the cities to hawk their wares on the streets, presenting incongrous symbol of the life that exists outside the sophisticated urban centres. And for any of you PETA supporters, no, there's no qualms about fur here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

first, we take Shanghai then Manhattan

This is the Shanghai guerrilla store created by design collective Adfunture and da>space.
Apparently New York and London are in their sights next.
Check out the adfunture website and the Da>space website for more on this and other projects. One of my favourite pieces on sale are some Nike trainers tagged with Chinese philosophical sayings by Changsa graffiti artists PEN crew and displayed with a suggestion that the buyer can then sell the unique pieces on eBay for a profit. Illustrating traditional Chinese culture/Western form clash, street fashion, post-modern sensibilities and Shanghai business acumen all in one go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

hospital marketing

Hospital advertising in China is big business. This ad, for the 'Ease Mail [Male] Hospital of BaoDing' emphasises their good practice standards. The cartoons illustrate the hospital' 3 key rules; doctors won't exaggerate symptoms, will pay close attention to patients and the most telling point, the staff won't demand bribes.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

things that can happen to your brand in China 1

Now, I might be going out on a limb here but I don't think Mont Blanc are officially in the coach seatcover market.This is not only IP infringement, this is a brand being teleported into another entirely different product universe. But it's also not just Western brands suffering, local stars are also a target: a local business man has applied to use Yao Ming's name for a new brand of sanitary towels and Aidai, a local female singer, has found she is now also a brand of condoms.

Oh, and yes, I can now post pictures again so the paranoia can subside for the moment.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Sorry about the lack of posts, for some reason I can't upload photos to Blogger , a stumbling point for my photo-driven blog as I'm sure you can imagine. Now this may be due just to Blogger's new upgrade but I can't help thinking its China's Internet Nanny at it again. The Government has only just unblocked Blogger and Google, Google Images and Gmail have all been playing up recently -usually an indication that The Powers That Be are trying out new Internet censorship toys. Most probably it is the site's upgrade but the fact I'm even considering government interference as a routine possibility is a symptom of blogging in China (I promise, I'm not prone to conspiracy theories by nature).

Ho hum, I'll keep trying, so please bear with me.