Monday, 21 December 2009

Do you celebrate Christmas?

This question seems to asked quite a lot by curious white or English folks during the festive season, I'm sure a lot Chinese living in the UK or any Western countries have been asked this question before. Based on my general observation and people that I know, a large number of Chinese in the UK do indeed celebrate Christmas. Considering most Chinese are non-religious so there's no restrictions from participating in other religious festivities. Though bearing in mind Christians does make up quite a large number of the British Chinese community, which is around 21% of the population. That's right we're not all Buddhists.

Majority of the immigrants from Hong Kong are no strangers to Christmas, much like rest of the western countries it is an annual holiday. It was introduced during the colonial days by the British rulers and even after then it still is one of the major annual celebrations. Most people in Hong Kong would partake in the usual customs of giving/receiving presents and Christmas cards, the streets and shops are all filled with Christmas decorations as well as the partying and turkey dinner. Of course there are still traditionalists who doesn't take any notice of Christmas, most likely these are elders. So Christmas, despite it being originally a western festival has now become an embedded part of Hong Kong culture.

In comparison immigrants from mainland China or other parts of SE Asia are probably least likely to celebrate Christmas, but eventually some will pick up the habit. Especially with the younger generations. Whether it's for religious or commercial reasons; Christmas to all of us is about joining in the festive fun and having a good time.

Anyway for now I wish you all a very happy Christmas!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Asian stars on Youtube

Youtube has helped catapulted many ordinary internet users into self made celebs and amongst them are quite a few Asian Youtube stars who are often ranked highly on the popularity/subscription list. There's Nigahiga, Kevjumba, Winekone, gunnarolla, mychonny like him or loathe him; Peter Chao and many more. Mostly hailing from the US or Canada and even Australia. So do we British Chinese/SE Asians have our own equivalent Youtube celebs? Well here's a few I can think of:

Kwai Chi:


Cherry Chan:


Although they're no where near as popular as our US cousins so they're hardly well known, but it's nice to see fellow BBCs and Asians getting their thoughts, voice and faces on the net. To some Youtube isn't just about trying out for their 15 minutes of fame, it's also a platform to share with us their views as individuals and being part of the East Asian community in Britain. As well as of course providing us entertainment. Considering we rarely get much coverage in the mainstream media (without the stereotypical cliches) the internet is fantastic medium to bring awareness to the community that is quite often known to be 'invisible'.

There maybe a few more that I have yet to discover, but for now please support these fellow Youtubers by subscribing to them or even greater become a Youtube Vlogger yourself and share your thoughts with the web community through representing our community.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Traditional Chinese rites and etiquette

Got these videos from a forum demonstrating social rites and etiquette in ancient Chinese society, largely based on Confucian rites (aka Li in Chinese).The videos are in Mandarin, which means I could only understand bits of it, but you'll get the gist of it.

Ways of greeting:

Eating etiquette:

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Tuanne Mac

Just browsed around the the Dimsum website and came across this article/interview with a British Chinese/Vietnamese jazz singer Tuanne Mac. I do like jazz music but I'm still a newbie to the genre, so I'm not sure exactly what to look for. Though her music is very accessible kind of like easy listening, I really enjoyed her songs from the preview on her site. Tuanne has that husky, but smooth (can't of a better way to describe it lol) voice very reminiscent of classic jazz singers. It's good to see a an East Asian artist who doesn't do the manufactured pop/R&B or the squeaky clean Cantopop stuff, she's a genuine artist who writes her own songs.

She also mentioned her inspirations come from black and white French films, humm...must be a fan of Jean-Luc Godard.

Check her out:

her interview on Dimsum:
Songs of Heartache and Romance: The secret love of Tuanne Mac

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Kowloon Walled City

Hong Kong Walled City of Kowloon

To most of us who have heard of the infamous Walled City of Kowloon but have never seen or been there before it was demolished, just looking at the pictures alone would've raise some fascination about the place. It was one of the most densely populated places in the world. A book was written depicting the lives of the people living within the concrete walls before it was demolished; appropriately named the City of Darkness as the buildings were so densely packed together residents could hardly get much sunlight. Despite there was little planning or design of the buildings from the start, the city grew throughout the decades becoming an architectural magnificence in itself.

Beyond it's rich history I could imagine there also many interesting stories to tell from former residents who was living there. At one point it's a city of lawlessness where British rule had little effect on the place, it was an infestation for triads, drug dealing, prostitution and other criminal activities. On the brighter side, it was also a thriving community for families and businesses.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Channel 4 documentary: Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth

Just finished watching this documentary about three people who were going through surgery just to look more European. It was interesting but I find it very misleading.

What's worse is they used Michael Jackson as an example of what everyone's trying to achieve through surgery is just taking things too extreme. And to say that the 'whole world is going through race changing surgery' is a total exaggeration. If non-whites are going under the knife to change their race then does that mean Northern Europeans are doing the same thing when they are getting their skin tanned or dying their hair a darker colour? Obviously it's not as simple as the documentary made out to be.

Though it doesn't mean the documentary is totally false in that respect, the three people featured on the show do seem to envy white beauty. But I think the Bangladeshi lady who's trying to whiten her skin doesn't even fall into this reasoning. She just wants to fit in with the rest of her family and community, although she said Michael Jackson's skin colour is the ideal colour, but she didn't say she wants to look like a white person. That's the difference. There's the Malaysian guy who wants operation just to make himself taller so he could fit in with the average height of Europeans, but it doesn't mean he wants to look white or have a 'Northern European body' (whatever that means). Just because some people wants to improve his or her physical characteristics doesn't mean everyone are intentionally complying with the western beauty. Consider some of these features by coincidence are also sought after in other cultures and are also found in other races.

It's sad that people like the South Korean surgeon are buying into the notion that certain features are strictly attributed to a certain race and if they're doing something to change their facial feature means they are 'deracialising' themselves. Basically it's saying people from the same race all fit into a neat category with little diversity or exceptions in physical characteristics. That's the danger of the documentary's agenda because it reinforces these racial stereotypes. If you travel all around Asia or Africa from North to South you'll find so much diversity of looks within the population. The same applies to any other continents. Regarding with single eyelids, c'mon there are plenty of East Asians who have natural double eyelids. I'm in the middle of preparing a post about my view on eyelid surgery issue amongst Asians; I'll post that later when it's finished.

It's either the research into the topic are half arsed or maybe it's trying too hard to make the issue more controversial than what it is in order to shock the viewers, which has been the case with some Channel 4 documentaries. It's part of the season called Race: Science's Last Taboo after all. I would hardly call race the science's last taboo; it's more of a society's last taboo than anything else (I mean do science ever concern with taboos? Really it's the taboos in society that that creates controversy in scientific research, not the other way round). I think the whole problem with this documentary is not only it failed to address the issue properly, it is also very misinforming and demeaning.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Tragedy of Changsha students

drowning of Changsa students

Here's a piece of news (actually a blog entry that translated it from a Chinese forum) about three university students in China who drowned trying to save some kids in the river.
"Three college freshmen who gave up their lives saving drowning children" has become a hot topic at every major mainland news source. Written in the tone of traditional Chinese textbook essays, lofty, moving, full of praises for the selfless students and Chinese governmental agencies, all the articles bring tears to the readers' eyes.

There were ten or more freshmen university students involved, they linked arms arms with each other to form a human chain and went into the water to save the kids. When finally they managed to get the second child safe on ashore nine students broke off and swept away by the undercurrent. Luckily they were encountered by a swimming team and six out of the nine students were rescued. Some people have remarked that the students were courageous, others think they were foolish for doing it without thinking about their own safety. Nevertheless they acted out on their instincts and did what they thought was right in that circumstance, but unfortunately despite saving the two children lead to the death of three students.

This sounds like all typical tragic incident, but there's more to this than what it seems. Some people posted on some Chinese forums with accounts revealing another side to the story and it quickly spread all over the internet. The fire fighters were called in but didn't do much claiming the of lack life vests and people from the Marine Department also came by, again didn't do anything. By that time the students were already drowned. Apparently some fishermen on two fishing boats nearby who could have saved them just stood by and watched. Not only that they refused to fish out the dead bodies of the students after they've drowned unless they were paid a certain sum of money. The students and teachers had to haggle and beg them until they agreed on the price.

Whether the students' action were right or wrong at least their deeds were humane, unlike those fishermen who could have prevented the deaths if they have any sense of humanity. Apparently they are infiltrated with some gangs. They make profit by letting the people drown and then fishing their bodies out in exchange for the price of money. Also the slow response 'rescue' efforts by the firefighters and Marines Departments were entirely questionable. What's worrying is that the dodgy ways in which the law works in China may mean those scumbag fishermen will probably won't get the punishment that deserved. But let's hope some justice is served so the students can rest in peace and in due respect to their grieving families.

More on this:

Nearby Fishing Boat Refused To Save Drowning Students

Monday, 26 October 2009

Bashing Time

It's been a few days the show's been aired and I think the controversy is quickly dying down. So was it right for the BBC to let BNP (Bollocks British National Party)leader Nick Griffin to be on Question Time? Well for the sake of entertainment it was amusing to watch him getting torn apart by the panelists and audience, as well as stumbling and making a fool out of himself. However let's give him some props for having some nerve to appear on the show to be humiliated (quite deservedly so) and to be fair he was outnumbered, it may win him some sympathy but not sure about the votes though. Not saying the other three representatives of the opposition parties were any good either. They should have give him a bit more chance to speak without cutting him off, just to let stupidity speaks for itself.

Giving Nick Griffin the platform to spread his bullshit to the mass and to be accepted on a mainstream politics show were quite expectantly met with a lot of hostility and protests at the BBC by anti-fascists groups. There was also fear that violence against ethnic minorities will escalate because of this, though there's no doubt the BNP would unadmittedly justify violence towards non-whites, however lets not give them too much credit at this point. To be fair the racist numskulls would cause harm towards ethnic minorities regardless. Yes, I'm talking about those imbeciles who go around and harassing ethnic takeaways at night. Or those cowards who think ganging up on a defenseless foreigner would some how make them superior. Though I wouldn't be surprised that they also make up a fair number of the far right supporters.

The BNP is hardly the forefront of racism in the British society as most people make them out to be. IMO fighting against a fascist or far right only tackles a certain aspect of racism, because racism can be found in any part of the political spectrum and society even where it's not expected (but I won't go too much into that for now). Though the growing threat is imminent, especially with the current state. One of the best ways to tackle this problem is to expose them through open debate and not censoring them, because otherwise that will only play into their advantage of using 'self-vicitimisation' to gain support.

So should BBC allow Nick to appear on the show in the future? Personally I prefer not, seeing his ugly face once is enough. Let's hope as one of the audience suggested he and his party be sent to the South pole before that happens.