Europeans like Chinese people

中欧合璧 – AJ and Natalie from Jason Lee Wong on Vimeo.

From director Jason Lee Wong’s site:

Sponsored by the European Union in China, Love Love Love is a series of ten short films showing European and Chinese relations, through love! The series will explore the challenges and joys that are faced in intercultural relationships as well as what it means to be in China today.

Some dust got in my eye during the scene where Natalie gets emotional after AJ’s dad says that they have to learn how to forgive one another.

Batman in Shanghai

Just came across the impressive re-imagining of Batman, Catwoman, and Bane in based in 1930’s Shanghai. I was more surprised to learn that this was created for the Cartoon Network’s DC Nation series by a local Shanghai animation studio named Wolf Smoke.

This is the kind of stuff that excites me: local artists merging the worlds of anime and comic books into something wonderful and uniquely Chinese. This is the stuff that’ll get the nascent but fast-developing Chinese animation industry noticed by the people who actually matter: the rest of the world.

And hopefully washes away some of the nasty taste that comes from stuff like this!

Why Do the Chinese Copy So Much?

The IHT Rendezvous blog has a post about a fake Austrian town somewhere in the outskirts of Guangdong province:

Why Do the Chinese Copy So Much? – NYTimes.com.

Perhaps the language is a reason why: you cannot learn Chinese unless you spend years memorizing thousands of characters needed to achieve literacy, unless you copy, single-mindedly, unquestioningly. Some linguists and cultural historians believe so much mental energy and brain space is taken up by rote learning of the language, that little is left over for innovative thinking.

I think this theory has some currency. Creativity needs to be nurtured and cultivated and practiced. It’s a muscle that can’t be neglected. And in a country of 1.4 billion, it’s exponentially harder than elsewhere for truly innovative ideas to bubble up to the top and gain and audience of influencers.

However, I think that’s only part of the story. The more appropriate question should be, “Why do the Chinese copy Europeans so much?” If the Chinese were a people of rote imitators and copiers, why don’t we see fake cities based off of Mumbai, Sao Paolo, or Lagos? As far as I know, Western European cultures have long been considered refined, luxurious, high-class. They represent an ideal for the status-seeking Chinese, who are clearly the target of these ballsy property developers. They copy because they want to be lathered in “European-ness.”

Ultimately, the copiers of this fake Austrian town aren’t copying because they lack creativity. They’re doing it because they ARE creative. Who else would think to send a group of incognito architects to scope out a mountainous Austrian town for the sole purpose of re-creating it thousands of miles away in a foreign land? That’s pretty innovative to me, and shows that some of these brains still do have some room to think outside of the box.

The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series Trailer

The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series Trailer.

Buzzfeed has the newest trailer for the latest incarnation of the TMNT. The animation is rough and it has that lifeless feel to it that comes with all mass-produced, assembly-line 3D children’s fare (although this is a million times better than whatever gunk is coming out of China and passing for animation these days). Still, it’s not totally shitty animation, and if my 12 year old self had seen this kind of stuff I’d have been blown away. For what it’s worth, I’m glad characters I grew up with are still finding a way to stay relevant. Does anyone remember that cartoon Mask? One of my all-time-faves, relegated to the 80’s cartoon scrap-heap. Couldn’t even qualify for the recycling bin.

Shanghai’s Tourist Attractions: Meh

From today’s Shanghai Daily:

A RECENT survey shows that only 53 percent of tourists were satisfied with Shanghai’s attractions – but that’s still a 20 percent rise from 2007, the city consumers’ watchdog said today.

A total of 2,000 tourists filled out surveys covering dining, accommodation, transport, shopping, sightseeing and entertainment in August.

The Shanghai Commission of Consumers’ Rights and Interests Protection found that 42 percent of those surveyed thought that facilities in Shanghai were “just so-so,” and another five percent were not satisfied.

The commission and Shanghai Tourism Administration also organized 70 volunteers to experience the city’s tourism facilities. They found restaurants with bad hygiene in restaurants at scenic spots, terrible service by waiters, confusing signs at attractions, and difficulty finding buses at sightseeing centers.

Can we get collective “Duh” here? As I’ve long warned potential tourists, if you want Chinese culture, go to Beijing or Chengdu. If you want to to get pushed around and ripped off at blah tourist sites, overspend on trinkets that will last you a week, and enjoy a feeling that you’re getting a manufactured authenticity? Come to Shanghai.

Come for the bars, the restaurants, the little shops, the spectacular skyscrapers, the beautiful looking people at all the beautiful looking spots. Those are the real tourist attractions. And those would garner more than 53% of the vote, trust me.