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Guangzhou Photographer Reveals the Lonely Face of Foreigners in China

Posted: 10/10/2014 3:42 pm

foreign face of guangzhou expats

To some, foreigners are magical. They are beyond the rules and context of Chinese culture, making them a subject of fascination in China.

One Guangzhou native named Hai Bin has decided to document the daily comings and goings of foreigners in this set of photographs. All shots are taken in public places, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he got permission to take these snaps.

foreign face of guangzhou expats

Hai’s voyeurism has made him sympathetic to the plight of the foreigner, drawing up an unflattering comparison to make a conclusion that isn’t without irony:

(These foreigners) have left their native home to come here to Guangzhou, just the same as the migrants who come here to work. They get just as lonely.

Here are more of Hai’s photographs:

foreign face of guangzhou expatsforeign face of guangzhou expatsforeign face of guangzhou expats

Photos: Nandu

h/t: @MissXQ


Shenzhen Documentary “Come On, Baby” Criticized for its “Painful” Childbirth

Posted: 05/12/2014 8:54 pm

childbirth come on baby labor documentaryThe Shenzhen Satellite Television Network has been airing a documentary series called Come On, Baby that documents the complete procedure of giving birth, which has been attracting a lot of attention recently.

The show follows three ordinary mothers as they go through all the various steps of labor: from before the water breaks, through each of the many contractions and right at the moment the baby is finally born.

However, for documenting the miracle of life, Come On, Baby has incurred online controversy and been criticized for having content that is “too strong”. Mothers are shown in varying moments of pain as they cry out in anguish and wince in pain amid blood and sweat.

For being a documentary about childbirth, people have complained that Come On, Baby is too forthcoming in its depiction of childbirth.

Various Weibo comments are as follows, many grouped under the hashtag #Are you brave enough to watch a mother give birth?:childbirth shenzhen documentary come on baby labor

Watched a bit of the Shenzhen documentary Come On, Baby and was a bit horrified by it. I don’t suggest anyone to watch it. Everyone’s situation is different, but to watch this show is only to add to your psychological trauma, and it won’t match the perfect, happy way you imagine it to be.

#Come On, Baby# I will never have the courage to watch this show about having babies. It’s too terrifying; I feel as though a shadow has cast over my heart. [pitiful face] It’s too difficult to be a woman. Men, you should treat the woman by your side nicer. Are you able to endure the pain that women go through during pregnancy? [disappointed face]

After watching the episode “Male OB-GYN Doctor”, are you brave enough to give birth to a baby? It’s just too terrifying. It’s even more horrifying than a horror movie. There’s a splatter of blood; seeing that knife cut into the abdomen scared me half to death. [pitiful face] Really, to be a mother is the greatest role of all; Mother’s Day is the most meaningful festival ever.

childbirth come on baby labor documentary鄭碧華-Becky:
Come On, Baby: After watching this, I felt like I could never give birth to a baby of my own [ill face]. Simultaneously, I feel that motherhood is so wondrous and great. Today is Mother’s Day, I wish my mother a happy Mother’s Day! [heart] [heart] Now I feel bad for my past behavior of being rebellious and contradictory towards my mother. Mother, I love you! At the same time, I also wish happiness to mothers everywhere, not just today, but happiness everyday.

After watching a bit of the childbirth documentary, I didn’t dare to watch anymore of it, I simply couldn’t bear it. For one thing, it was difficult to face such physical pain, and for another, I felt shame at what my parents (have done for me).

After watching Come On, Baby, I really don’t dare to give birth to a baby of my own. I feel that motherhood is too great a role for me. I must dutifully love and honor my mother [love you] [love you]

After watching the documentary on childbirth, I really don’t want to give birth to a baby of my own, it’s too horrifying. However, motherhood is really a great thing. Husbands that don’t treat their wives well should be drowned in a pig basket!!!

#Come On, Baby# After watching the show I wasn’t able to go to sleep, and now I don’t dare to give birth to a baby of my own. All I want to say is: mother, you’ve had it tough. [heart]

childbirth shenzhen documentary come on baby labor张小花小同学:
Watched “Male OB-GYN Doctor”. I really don’t have the courage to give birth to a baby. This morning, I overheard two female colleagues chatting in the elevator who said their children had wished them a happy mother’s day, and I was suddenly very moved by hearing it, really. These women were just 45 years-old.

#Come On, Baby# The first time I saw such a documentary, I didn’t want to have a baby anymore after watching it. Watching this show one time is enough. [tears]

Some co-workers saw Come On, Baby and directly stated that they’re “not willing to give birth to a baby, and are even a bit scared by it.” What does everyone else think?

Watched Come On, Baby; afterwards, I’m too afraid to have a baby of my own, it’s really too painful [goofy face] [goofy face]

Finally: China’s overpopulation problem solved by a show that could be aired on the Discovery Channel, and it isn’t even Mythbusters! However, there’s more to these statements than first meets the eye.childbirth come on baby labor documentary

This documentary exposes another side of Chinese culture: the influence of Traditional Chinese Medicine on pregnancy. The mother is a conduit for the unborn baby, and Chinese parents have been known to have overzealous displays of protection towards the fetus, even disabling the internet to an entire building because “WiFi is radioactive“. It is common knowledge in China that a shock from falling into a lake is enough to cause a miscarriage in a pregnant woman, as seen on countless serial dramas.

As such, contrary to practices in Western medicine, drugs are not commonly administered during labor for Chinese mothers for fear that they too may impact the baby. The screams and pained looks of this documentary are of women who are giving birth while bareback, so to speak.

It’s easy to inflate the hype over this controversy when these female commentators seem to be refuting basic human truths, whereas in fact are basically advocating female ideals.

And after all, it did just air on Mother’s Day.

Guangdong’s New Two-Child Policy Off to a Rocky Start

Photos: Sina blog, CNR via Weibo, Csxww, Mop


Second Season of “A Bite of China” Hits the Airwaves

Posted: 04/21/2014 4:47 pm

a bite of china season two food foodie chinese cuisine documentaryOurs is a golden age of television: we are for lack of want from excellent television programming that has long supplanted films as the best artistic medium enjoyed by a mass audience.

However, unless you’re covered by the Emancipation Proclamation and Abraham Linked-into internet TV, we Chinese expats have been stuck with watching the same television shows: dating shows, Japanese resistance shows, and variety shows. Honestly though, there’s only so many sound effects we can handle before we reach for the remote.

That’s why it’s with great relief that the second season of A Bite of China has finally made it to public television. A breakout hit that appeals to Chinese and Western audiences, A Bite of China is a suave documentary that tells not only the story of Chinese cuisine, but the people who make it.

Heavily comprised of quick edits and close-ups that will have even the most jaded foodie salivating, A Bite of China deftly interweaves its themes with the many subjects of the shows into a unifying narrative that offers compelling television.

a bite of china season two food foodie chinese cuisine documentary

It’s with no short supply of praise that we commend A Bite of China as China’s best modern-day cultural export (yes, even better than 12 Girls Band or Donnie Yen). Called “舌尖上的中国” in Chinese, A Bite of China showcases China’s most assessible cultural component—its cuisine—and displays it without any political overtones. While there are many topics the show won’t touch upon, the show is able to transcend borders by telling stories that are about individuals, not an entire country.

The majority of the characters detailed in A Bite of China are rural residents who take great pains to preserve their way of life, and yet are barely managing to get by. The pride felt when the documentary finally focuses in upon one’s region rivals the guilt of knowing these people have it much worse in the real world.

If the show has a bias, it’s that young people from the cities aren’t familiar with Chinese culture and can’t cook. Weirdly, this may also explain why there is such a huge audience for this well-hyped show in China.

If you’ve missed out on season one of A Bite of China, have a watch on Youtube below (English dub here). The current season is not yet provided with English subtitles, or available for online viewing.

A Bite of China airs tonight at 6pm on CCTV-2, and will be shown on many consecutive rebroadcasts.

UPDATE April 22, 2014: The second season of A Bite of China is available to watch online! Here is the first episode, but without English subtitles:


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