Monthly Archives: December 2005

Decadent Beijing suburbanites give me da bomb

A current of dissolution runs through Beijing’s expatriate professional community. The city doesn’t have the loutish licentiousness of Hong Kong, the world-weary NGO clubbishness of Phnom Penh, or the dangerous-living frisson of Port Harcourt, or some other oil-drenched African hellhole.  … Continue reading

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Beijing needs a giant monster attack

When you are asked to name the great, metropolitan cities of the world, you will naturally consider certain factors. It’s not always size that makes the difference. If it was, then Chongqing would be the capital of the planet, a … Continue reading

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Chinese restaurant calculation made easy

A couple of days ago, Imagethief had lunch with four members of his team at a Chinese restaurant downstairs from our office. Choosing dishes was easy –I’ll eat almost anything– but, predictably, there was much debate about exactly how many … Continue reading

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I am Beijing’s decadent man-bitch

When I was back in the US recently I was often asked a deceptively simple question: “What is it like living Beijing?” This is a trap. It’s a trap because no-one living in the United States wants to hear in … Continue reading

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Harbin aftermath: Government vows to thoroughly scape all goats

Catastrophes are fun to watch, but not nearly so much fun as the aftermath of kicking, screaming and recriminations as blame is liberally heaped and fingers pointed. Katrina lasted only a day, after all, but the operatic fallout has reverberated … Continue reading

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Van Nguyen died for your sins: Executions as public communication

The Australians were doomed from the start, literally and metaphorically. They were doomed because they misapprehended the nature of capital punishment for drug offenses in Singapore. They thought of it as retribution, or punishment. This is wrong. Drug-offense executions in … Continue reading

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