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Category: blog

A story about the cultural revolution

The Bund, view from Pudong
The Bund, view from Pudong

My cousin in Shanghai was two years old when his mother, an architect, was taken away by the Red Guards, a student-led paramilitary movement, during the Cultural Revolution. All he remembers is his mother suddenly disappearing; his father, a doctor, had also gone missing days earlier. For what felt like an eternal darkness, he and his elder brother, who would have been five or six around that time, were left alone in their flat. He doesn’t remember how they survived those days. Maybe neighbours came by and brought food. Maybe an extended relative checked in on them. After what felt like forever, his mother returned, but she was a completely different woman.

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Mahjulah Singapura

Sometime in my youth it became cool to make fun of the military displays, tacky costumes and cheesy mass dance performances at Singapore’s annual National Day Parade. As a working single National Day became a welcome day of rest, perfect timing for a short getaway.

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Without You, There is No Us – Book Review

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Without you there is no us, without you there is no homeland

당신이 없으면 우리도 없고, 당신이 없으면 조국도 없다

Suki Kim’s book title jumped out at me from the library shelf. My time with the sons of North Korea’s elite, the sub-title said. What did “Without You, There is No Us” mean? Was it a subtle criticism of Orientalism, how we see North Korea as ‘the other’, ‘the great axis of evil’? Or was it a suggestion of North Korea’s interdependence: that as much as they rejected the rest of the world, they still needed it.

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Are we all defaulting to stupid?

My lifespan on Twitter is eleven years and counting, but really, I’ve only started using it actively in the past 5-6 months? In that short time span, I’ve been fortunate (or unfortunate) to see both extremes of Twitter: the warm, supportive, welcoming community of writers–and the highly charged, reactionary keyboard warriors, and the anonymous army of trolls that follow.

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Parasite기생충 – Movie Review

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In which I write about my fear of creepy-crawlies and Bong Joon Ho’s genius…(no spoilers. Mostly)

A pair of lizards live behind my fridge. On occasion after mealtimes I spot them scurrying out in search of food. Sometimes at night I hear them chirping as they enjoy free rein of the kitchen. I have a physiological fear of insects and creepy-crawlies, which probably has something to do with a lizard dropping from the ceiling onto my head when I was a child. But I have learnt to live and let live. Usually I just stomp my foot and make some noise, sometimes I hiss Can you please get out of the way, which sends them scurrying back behind the fridge.

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写“中国”

写了几个推,删了,写了又删了

事实上我从没觉得自己是所谓China watcher,也没什么代中国人说话的想法或资格。

10多年前刚开始在中国发展时有位资深老板和我讲了一句话:你很理解中国你应该懂,枪打出头鸟这话。回想起来其实我当时根本不理解国内实况,否则他也不需要提醒我。

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Letting Go

Somehow last night I crossed 1,000 followers and for someone who had like 200 followers my first 10 years on Twitter that’s just insane.

I started posting more actively a couple of months back after leaving Facebook, with a vague sense that I might find an audience here. I never imagined I would meet so many new friends/make so many new connections here, just by opening this door in my heart and “putting myself out there”.

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Criticising China

Who has the right to criticise China?

We need to unpack this question, because there is a power relationship deeply embedded in that question: that the West has developed political, economic and social systems that are superior, ergo they are in a position to instruct less developed societies still emerging from the constraints of feudalism, ergo they have earned the right to criticise China.

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