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goldfish

We have skipped Spring and gone directly to Summer. We eat outdoors and feed the monstrous goldfish. Shimmering, lovely, and oh so greedy — golden, molten, liquid carp. There’s a lesson in there, but you already know.

mapping ignorance

Was conversing friends about political succession since Mao and how to interpret reports coming out of Beijing and Guangzhou with respect to Shenzhen’s political status and symbolic valence within the national imaginary. Their 15 year old daughter was at the table, politely ignoring us, when someone mentioned Hua Guofeng (华国锋). She lifted her eyes and asked, “Who?”…

rant on the state of shenzhen news

A journalist approached me for an interview on the topic, “送你一个好男人 (We’ll give you a good man)”. His newspaper is currently preparing special articles for International Women’s Day, next Thursday, March 8. I replied that my ideal man would have been a better topic for Valentine’s Day, when fantasy is given free reign and chocolate assumes its…

blooming schlumbergera

I knew it as a Christmas cactus, but our blooming cultivar is officially a member of the Schlumbergera genus, buckelyi group. Plant is thriving in muggy warmth of Shenzhen February. Of interest du jour, a brief search for instructions on how to keep said cactus happy also turned up the information that Schlumbergera is originally from…

train station blues

The Spring Transport (春运) continues. The railway has moved waiting areas outside the station, and people with placards announce departures and lead travelers into the appropriate terminal. The place names — Chengdu, Wuhan, and Nanning — remind me how large the country and diverse Shenzhen’s immigrant population. I also visited the Luohu Commercial Center, where…

two walks in guangzhou

Just spent three lovely days in Guangzhou, enjoying conversation at Sun Yat Sen University and visiting tourist spots, including a walk along the river and a ride on the bubble train atop the Guangzhou Tower. Very Tale of Two Cities simply because looking down is so different from looking through even though vertigo set in when…

Reflexive Anthropology, yes??

Over the course of a year, we live so many lives it seems simultaneously naive and cynical to claim that we are always the same, demanding constancy of ourselves and others. In terms of knowledge production, those lives intersect and abut and transform each other despite housekeeping efforts to maintain distinctions between private and public,…

Christmas thoughts

This Christmas, while wandering through spaces decorated for Christmas parties and romance, I realized that in Shenzhen, Christmas is a night of countdowns and parties  because folks here think about Christmas as “western new year”. My Chinese friends and many others use associated festivities as means of making new intimacies, rather than confirming old intimacies,…