The Sauna Days of Summer in China – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my recent post titled The Sauna Days of Summer in China, a reflection on the extreme heat we’ve had to endure in recent weeks. Here’s an excerpt:

It was 2 pm on a sultry weekday afternoon when I left the refuge of our air-conditioned office to brave the heat with my colleagues. We wouldn’t have chosen to leave then, apart from the mandatory meeting we had. And even then, we did everything we could to avoid the elements, even opting to cross the grounds in the underground parking tunnels, instead of striding across that infernal square and its blinding white hot concrete that almost seared your eyes just staring at it.

Even so, once we emerged from the elevator into the shaded corridor, we were immediately buffeted by the waves of heat which rose, much like steam from an oven, from that square. It felt like a scene from Dante’s “Inferno” and yet it was no fictional account, but our summer reality on a day which delivered record temperatures and no relief in sight.

Welcome to the sauna days of summer in China.

Read the full post on WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

Why ‘Auspicious Snow Heralds a Good Year’ in Chinese Culture – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my latest piece, inspired by a magical snowfall that greeted us one morning, early in the Year of the Tiger. Here’s a snippet of the post titled Why ‘Auspicious Snow Heralds a Good Year’ in Chinese Culture:

A heavy “goose feather” snowfall had dusted the landscape outside our window, drawing my husband out of bed with a childlike thrill as he stood there, aiming to capture the magic of the moment in the lens of a camera.

And of course, he couldn’t help deeming it a propitious thing, with that traditional Chinese saying: 瑞雪兆丰年 (ruì xuě zhào fēng nián) — auspicious snow heralds a good year.

Such a warm embrace of snow deep into February would surely find a chilly reception in my hometown of the Cleveland, Ohio area in the US.

Read the full piece at WWAM BAM — and if you like it, share it!

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The Odd ‘Twilight Zone’ of Not Knowing When I’ll Visit the US Again – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my latest piece titled The Odd ‘Twilight Zone’ of Not Knowing When I’ll Visit the US Again. Here’s a snippet:

I have no idea when I’ll return to the US to visit my family.

Writing these words out feels strange enough, let alone allowing the reality to settle into my post-pandemic mind. But it’s the truth. I really don’t know when it might happen.

There are a lot of reasons why it just isn’t feasible, particularly the fact that for foreigners from the US, getting back to China isn’t a sure thing.

Read the full piece here — and if you like it, share it!

Ditching Beijing Subway for a Chevy: A Tale of Caution Amid Reopening – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post Ditching Beijing Subway for a Chevy: A Tale of Caution Amid Reopening. Here’s an excerpt:

Before the virus, it seemed unimaginable that my colleagues at the office in Beijing would brave the snarl of traffic jams in their own four wheels.

Most of the cars parked at work usually belong to managers or supervisors – people who had put in years there or brought seniority to their position, and were rewarded with a designated space, surely one of the most coveted possessions in Beijing, if not most major Chinese cities.

But just the other day, my colleague – a local who is not a supervisor, manager or anyone with years of seniority – announced that he had ditched the subway for his own Chevy while we were chatting after work.

He used to commute in on the subway before the virus, he admitted. But now his navy-blue sedan ferried him to and from his home on the other side of town – because, in his words, “It’s safer.” The potential risk associated with the subways had kept him away.

He didn’t need to spell out what that risk was. We had all lived the coronavirus since late January, learning to avoid indoor and unventilated spaces crowded with people to steer clear of potential infections. Subways check every box in terms of places you shouldn’t be.

Head over to WWAM BAM to read the full post. And if you like it, share it!

Editing News in China Amid the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post titled Editing News in China Amid the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic. Here’s an excerpt:

For the vast majority of people in China, the novel coronavirus epidemic has meant a delay in getting back to normal – whether work or school – and even more time off.

But as China grapples with its War on the Epidemic (战疫情), news organizations in China have seen an explosion of news stories, which has left people like me – editors at these organizations – very, very busy, making for a most unusual winter and especially winter holiday.

The news doesn’t take a vacation, so of course we have always had people on duty during the holidays, and this year I was among them. We usually don’t see a lot of news at this time – maybe a handful of stories on a shift, if that — but of course you never know what stories might break, so you need someone available to edit whatever comes in.

Well, by the time the Chinese New Year vacation began, of course the novel coronavirus had already emerged as major news, particularly with the lockdown of the city of Wuhan just before Chinese New Year’s Eve. On Chinese New Year’s day, when I came in for my shift, I remained busy from the moment I booted up my computer, right up until minutes before I powered it off, editing a deluge of news. This became a harbinger of things to come.

Read the full piece here — and if you like it, share it!

Was Kim Lee, Domestic Violence Victim in China, Right to Forgive Her Abusive Ex-Husband? – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published a collaborative post I worked on titled Was Kim Lee, Domestic Violence Victim in China, Right to Forgive Her Abusive Ex-Husband? Here’s an excerpt:

Back in 2011, Kim Lee made headlines after posting shocking photos of her bruised and beaten face, the result of domestic abuse by her husband. This incident would catapult her into the public spotlight, and she would go on to divorce him and win a landmark case in China that would pave the way for others.

But now, after years of being hailed as a hero for domestic violence victims, Lee has been under fire since her public post expressing forgiveness to her ex-husband.

To get the full story, as well as our opinions, head on over to the group blog WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

Photo credit: By Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom – https://www.dvidshub.net/image/615267, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41696119

Step on Villains? A Curious Find While Buying Lucky Red Socks for Chinese New Year – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my most recent post Step on Villains? A Curious Find While Buying Lucky Red Socks for Chinese New Year. Here’s an excerpt:

2020 will welcome the Year of the Rat, the Chinese zodiac sign for some family members, which has prompted me to sift through online stores in search of a very traditional Chinese New Year gift for those about to enter their Chinese zodiac year: red socks.

I always thought that only the color mattered. After all, superstition claims that wearing red in your Chinese zodiac year – from red underwear and red long johns to red jackets and almost anything else painted in this brilliant hue – supposedly bestows luck upon the wearer, along with an extra layer of protection from any misfortune in the coming year.

But then, while perusing the endless red socks listed in Alibaba’s Tmall, I kept noticing a curious decoration on the bottom of many of the options – the characters cǎi xiǎorén (踩小人, step on villains) and an image either of a tiny person.

Read the full post at WWAM BAM — and if you like it, share it!

Christmas on Taobao: 5 Most Popular Online Holiday Goods in China – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post Christmas on Taobao: 5 Most Popular Online Holiday Goods in China. Here’s an excerpt:

When you live in a country that doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas, people are bound to interpret the holiday in both familiar and fascinating new ways. That includes the goods people associate with Christmas.

Alibaba’s Taobao, one of the most popular online shopping platforms, can offer a unique window into how Christmas looks and feels here in China, through online products. And since I’m a frequent Taobao user, I’d like to share the top 5 best-selling online holiday goods in China that come up when you search for 圣诞 (shèngdàn), the Chinese word for Christmas.

To read the full post and discover those 5 most popular online holiday goods, head on over to WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

What It’s Like to Shop Singles Day in China – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post What It’s Like to Shop Singles Day in China. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

Ever since I’ve moved back to China, Singles Day — or Double 11 — has been a part of my yearly shopping routine. And this year was no exception. Once again I was among the millions who participated in the global shopping gala, from buying presale items to even staying up until midnight to be the first to snap up a coveted scarf in short supply (yes, I got it!).

Since I’ve participated year after year on Alibaba’s Tmall platform, it has given me a unique perspective on what has become the world’s largest shopping event (generating more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined). So I’d like to share a few takeaways from my experience, and also some tips for anyone who wants to dig into this event:

Head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full article — and if you like it, share it!