Western journalists have been trying to track down Mark Obama Ndesandjo, the Shenzhen-based brother of United States President Barack Obama, for a long time now, but he’s been notoriously reluctant to give interviews.
Ndesandjo and the President share the same father, but have (obviously) taken very different paths in life. Ndesandjo came to Shenzhen in 2002 and set up a happy life here as classical pianist, author, and is
part owner of incorrectly rumoured to be involved with barbecue chain Cabin BBQ. He is married to a Chinese woman and speaks the language fluently.
Ndesandjo was finally pinned down recently by Guangdong Television for an English language interview where he talks about his life in China, relationship with his father, and his “bittersweet” meeting with the US President in Beijing. His first book was published in 2009 and is called Nairobi to Shenzhen; he’s now promoting his forthcoming second book An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery Across Three Cultures.
Will China’s men’s soccer team ever be a force on the world stage? Can the women’s team go one step better than they did in 1999 and become world champions?
The Financial Times has visited the Evergrande Football School in Qingyuan to ask students, parents and coaches what they think. Demetri Sevastopulo gives the below introduction to the school which boasts over 50 full-sized pitches and is building 30 more, adding “The campus is even more impressive”.
The school has 2300 students and 124 teams and is the brainchild of property magnate Xu Jiayin who wants China to some day be world champions.
Traffic cops in Shunde have followed in the footsteps of the Panyu PSB and the Huizhou Traffic Police by making a music video. This one is inspired by the hit TV show “Where Are We Going, Dad?” and is also about traffic safety. It has been a huge hit in the days preceding the chunyun Spring Festival rush, when more people are on the road than at any other time of year.
The Atlantic has explained the success of the TV show as being down to its presentation of fathers taking an active role in their children’s upbringing, a very new trend in China. You can read a translation of the original English lyrics on Chinasmack.
Here’s the YouTube version of the video:
The Public Security Bureau in Guangzhou’s Panyu District has recorded a music video about how to stay safe and keep thieves away. The video was completed in August and has been widely shared on Sina Weibo in the past week, so The Nanfang has added English subtitles to hopefully give it a bigger audience.
This video is a follow-up to a “Gangnam Style” parody that the same police force made last year.
There have been hundreds of books published about societal change in China and its impact on all kinds of groups, from migrants to women to business people to sex workers. But few have documented the birth, childhood, and burgeoning adulthood of a single person as they navigate a rapidly changing China.
Bruno Sorrentino has answered that call with his new film “Kay Kay: The Girl from Guangzhou”. The film was actually released late last year, but it came to our attention today after circulating on Sina Weibo. Sorrentino set out in 1992 to document the lives of children from birth to adulthood, and has tracked several children in his work. He said the result is a kind of “time-lapse” of our planet.
There are few places that have changed more than China in the past 20 years (and Guangzhou in particular), so this provides an added dimension to the film. He writes Guangzhou was a fascinating backdrop:
Guangzhou was one of China’s most rapidly industrialising cities. The impact on Kay Kay’s development and that of her family was to be the theme of my film spanning her first 20 years of life.
Her mother Cheung was (and still is) a truck driver for the Yangtang Dairy Farm Enterprise.
Like everything else in China, the company was growing rapidly and Cheung only stopped work briefly after her baby was born.
I first met Kay Kay in a narrow four-storey building which was home to four generations of the family. She had only just returned from the natal clinic and her grandparents and great grandparents were clearly thrilled with new baby.
“That is the best – having only one child,” Cheung beamed, in tune with China’s one-child policy. “Now we have got our baby, we are really happy.”
Her husband Liang added: “We hope that we all prosper under socialism. The country is urging us to catch up with the four mini dragons.”
Kay Kay’s family was a model family of communist China in 1992.
He writes Guangzhou has (obviously) changed a lot since then, now becoming one of the most “agreeable” cities in which to live.
But such a rapid transformation creates a unique and difficult environment for Kay Kay and her parents, which is on full display in the film.
You can watch the entire documentary below. Let us know what you think.
The group of contributors at The Nanfang do a great job of bringing interesting stories to our readers each day, but they do far more than just that.
Our Senior Editor, Kevin McGeary, is a great example: Kevin has become well-known in Shenzhen for singing songs in Putonghua during open-mic nights around the city. His shtick? Singing songs in Putonghua using words that, shall we say, would probably ensure he’s never played on mainstream radio.
Kevin’s exploits earned him a feature article recently in the Shenzhen Daily:
McGeary, a 29-year-old man from Northern Ireland and a former teacher with Shenzhen Polytechnic, garnered considerable attention in the city over the past two years by writing and singing Chinese-language songs that humorously reflected on social phenomena in China.
Some people found McGeary’s music a lot of fun, but others said the lyrics were a little too radical and sometimes offensive. As a man who takes pride in his satire, the mixed reactions were probably just what McGeary was looking for.
With the help of noted Shenzhen-based photographer Jesse Warren, Kevin has finally transformed one of his songs into a music video. It’s a break-up song called “Crossroads” starring Casse Zong.
Check it out.
We *really do* live in the most awesome part of China, and this video showcases the PRD (and, well, Shanghai) in all its glory.
Random Wire (via Beijing Cream) has brought our attention to this stunning time lapse video of three of China’s most dynamic and fast-paced cities. All three boast huge migrant and foreign populations and continue to grow and evolve at a breakneck pace. The video is shot on a Canon 5D MII.
Random Wire is a photographer based in Hong Kong, but previously lived in Mainland China (you can check out his highly-recommended photo blog here). He had this to say about the video:
Living inside one of China’s behemoth cities is a humbling experience, such is the enormity of their size and the human endeavours taking place there. The timelapse video above by zweizwei brings back fond memories of my time spent in mainland China and captures everyday life in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shanghai extremely well – sunshine and smog included. Despite the endless sea of people streaming in from all over the country for the opportunities they provide, these cities can be strangely impersonal and isolating…
Singapore has been in the news over the last few days over a video that encourages Singaporeans to get a bit naughty. The island nation is facing a declining birthrate and thinks it has found a novel way to tackle the problem: by producing a video that encourages Singaporeans to celebrate National Day by “making a baby, baby.” (You can watch it here, if you have a VPN.)
The video is noteworthy for its uniqueness (read: hilarity), but also because the sultry male voice in the video is none other than Roshan Gidwani. Gidwani’s family lived for several years in Guangzhou prior to his move to Singapore, and this is where his rap career initially got off the ground.
The Singapore baby-making video reminded us of one particular rap Rosh did years ago, so we dug deep into The Nanfang archives and uncovered this gem: the Guangzhou Fire video. The video, we think, was shot in 2007, and Rosh looks much younger back in those days. It was done with the full support of the then-Guangzhou English Channel.
China’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world. Moreover, it may well lead the world in bizzarre suicides. Earlier this year, two school girls in Fujian Province drowned themselves believing that they were set to go time travelling.
At one point, spectacular and public suicides became so common that Beijing stepped in.
A Shenzhen man has failed to become part of that tradition, but got lots of publicity along the way.
The man climbed the arched ceiling of Shenzhen’s Mumianwan subway station and tried to commit suicide by jumping off on July 29th, causing the service of Metro line 3 from Yitian to Shuanglong to shut down for an hour, according to local media.
After police spent four hours trying to talk him down, the man dressed in a pink t-shirt, finally jumped off at 7:30 in the evening and fell onto an air-cushion that the fireman had laid down. Upon landing, he was quicky seized by police.
From around 4 p.m. that day, passengers were complaining on Weibo that metro line 3 was not moving and somebody had even passed out aboard a train. A large amount of passengers were forced to get off and got held up in stations.
The Longgang metro line resumed normal operation at 5:07 p.m.
Outside the station there was also chaos. The rescuers laid out a huge life-saving air-cushion at 4 p.m., which occupied three of the four lanes on the section outside the Mumianwan station, causing the air to be filled with the sound of beeping horns for miles around.
Up above, the man began to do some dangerous moves on the roof, walking back and forth, stretching and crouching. At 5:30 p.m., he sat down and started twiddling with his thumbs. According to a witness, the guy entered the railway track area at around 3 p.m. and initially tried to throw himself in front of a train.
At around 6:30 p.m., two firemen took a scalding ladder up there but their attempts to take him down proved fruitless. At 7:30 p.m., four hours after he had ascended the roof, the man suddenly jumped backward in a Y shape with his arms overhead. He landed on the edge of the air-cushion and rolled over onto the street.
The cause of why he did what he did is still being investigated.
You can watch the incident in the latest Nanfang TV.
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