unique visitors since July 27, 2005

November 14, 2005

Asian Nation Suffers Dangerous Humor Shortage


I posted back in August about the dearth of Engrish in China.  Now it appears that the impending 2008 Olympics is only making matters worse.

August 28, 2005

Wandering, Thinking and Beijing


OK, first things first: a little bit of Engrish and/or a simulacrum thereof, and then an update on my voyages in this wonderful, paradoxical country.

After the jump, that is ...

Continue reading "Wandering, Thinking and Beijing" »

"No Rules, Just Right": Commie Edition


There is an Outback Steakhouse attached to my hotel, so I'm going to go eat some beef.  I've had enough mutton in the past few days to appease several dozen sexually frustrated Montana ranchers.

I will blog more about my day, including the best attempt at Engrish that I can muster.  I am currently in the middle of Lexapro withdrawal and beginning to get drunk on Absolut, so it could get ugly.  (Shout out to everyone who has tried to get the SSRI monkey off their back!)

More after I chow on some cow.

A White Paper on Red China


Back in the days when Saturday Night Live was really unfunny (I know, I'm being redundant), there was this little interlude where an announcer's voice says: "And now we present a white paper on Red China."  Then this hand reaches out and places a sheet of paper on a red plate.  Hi-larious.

HazyMalbug_13It's a triple-H day in Beijing: hazy, hot and humid.  I had the pleasure of teaching the first of those three words to a group of Chinese students who stopped me to chat in a mall.  (That single gesture was more friendly than almost any other country I've visited, by the way.)

One girl in particular wanted to brush up on her English and was engrossed in hearing about what I do, why I am here, and other minutiae.  (I suppose my fabulousness stands out even more here.  If you saw my shirt, you'd understand why.  I look like a paint-spattered gay cowboy.)

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only gay guy in Beijing.  I saw at least two who were completely fabbed to the hilt, one of whose hair was spiked right up to Jesus.  (Yes, I was being ironic when I said there was only one gay guy in Beijing.)

McdonaldsMalbug_13I got the McDonald's food that I was craving, with a TCBY chaser.  I have to say, it was the cleanest and most fabulous (there's that word again) Mickey D's that I have ever seen  There were intimate little booths in one corer, and a central bar-style eating area that even had a cheaper, mass-produced version of the Lem stool.

My double cheeseburger, fries and Diet Coke came to the equivalent of about $2.  Kind of shocking, especially when you consider they are asking $6 for about 16 ounces of Evian in my hotel room.

After lunch, I took in a little entertainment outside.  [Watch video -- 9.6mb, MOV format]

It's a girl singing, basically.  I just found it amusing.  But I'll understand if you don't want to download 9.6 megs for that.  I have no way of compressing/converting files or anything over here.

Malbug_13Air Conditioning in Chinese hotels, even five-star ones, is a hypothetical construct, at best.

Malbug_13And I have only been at three hotels here so far, but the three mattresses rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in terms of the hardest I have ever slept on in my life.

Malbug_13FcukBeijing residents are fortunate that they also have the opportunity to enjoy the ever-so-subtle humor of French Connection.

Malbug_13I had a great conversation yesterday with a woman who works with Xinhua, the state news agency (basically, the Chinese AP).  We talked a lot about Sino-U.S. relations.  As a former reporter myself, I spent a lot of time quizzing her about the media and press freedom in China.

I asked her where the line is drawn in terms of criticism of the government.  She said that there is actually a lot of such criticism, but mainly it will be at the ministerial or provincial level.  It is a definite no-no to be critical of President Hu or Prime Minister Wen, though.

I asked what would happen if any of those boundaries were breached.  She said the "senior editor" (what I assume is similar to U.S. editors-in-chief or managing editors) could be fired.  I didn't press her on what else might happen.

Malbug_13I'm sorry I haven't been able to post more Engrish.  Apparently, there is much less of it these days in China because authorities have made a conscious effort to have most of their English actually make sense, and be less entertaining -- sort of a face-saving thing.

I hear they were growing weary of tourists stopping on the highways to snap photos of funny signs.  However, I did see a sign admonishing motorists not to drive "tiredly," but I wasn't able to get a picture.

Maybe I'll have a chance to rack up some Engrish when I'm out and about.  I decided to forgo the Great Wall today.  The drive from my hotel is much too long, while the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (clears throat) are within walking distance.

OK, time to head out.  I can just hear the husband's stinging epithet ringing in my ear now: "Blogger!"

August 27, 2005

From Beijing, With Affectional


I was thinking about settling in for the evening with a nice movie, but unfortuantely, "Affectional Films" weren't what I was hoping they might be.


Neither was "Bangbang."