Cities you’ve never heard of make up a huge part of China

Written for Dao Insights Last week, a colleague told me she’s from the same hometown as Zhou Enlai (周恩来 the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China): Huai’an (淮安) in Jiangsu province (江苏省). I had never heard of that place, and it’s the same thing when people tell me they’re from Kaifeng (开封) or […]

Read More

Apples & yogurt: What money means in China

Money is the invisible friend (or foe) that appears in every story. Janet, born in the 1970s Janet teaches about foreign-invested joint ventures in China at Fudan University. At the start of her lecture, she introduces herself starting from present to past. She now travels around the world advising big multinationals — but her roots […]

Read More

Mini views on China

Here are my mini views into Chinese life. Anecdotal, generalizing, not-special, etc etc — simply my observations of life in Suzhou and Shanghai. It’s what you’d never read in Western media. (To be updated over time.) 1 — Nearly every kid wears a special child smartwatch. They call their classmates and also their moms if […]

Read More

The many cities above line 5

Lao Zhou sits on the courtesy seat of the subway with a bag of spinach and pork between his feet. For the past six decades, his life was lived around the creek and the buildings next to it. Sepia-tinted memories of a thousand bicycle rides alongside the water, girls, and French Phoenix trees — the […]

Read More

Press stroke

Search ‘massage’ on Google and you’ll find pictures of beautifully relaxed people. Massaging, as a verb, means ‘to treat flatteringly’. But the Western notion of massage is limited. Chinese massage is different, and its name (按摩Ànmó) more honest: press stroke. We went to a Chinese spa for the latter, but I still had the former […]

Read More

Contextual China

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com, and in Dutch on Marketingfacts) When we think about China, we often reduce nuances to black and white absolutes. Either China is a country with oppressed people and smog-filled skies, or it is the juggernaut that will inevitably rule the world’s economy. Neither of these views is particularly useful, and rather […]

Read More