Archive for October, 2008

Evidently Chicken Town

Friday, October 31st, 2008

I used to work in the building on 21 seconds fact fans

2 4 6 8 Motorway

Friday, October 31st, 2008

drove from my home in Lijiazui to WuXi for a Grand Opening today. Crazy scenes ensured. Basically this was like an Ideal Homes Show but in WuXi and with hundreds of Chinese developers all trying to get the average Chinese punter to buy some poorly built room for big bucks. We had a confrence where I read a pre-arranged script in front of cameras and an audience. I was interviewed for WuXi TV and had to answer some pre-arranged questions and then home. I was the only ‘westener’ at this show but I am so Chinese now I didn’t bat an eyelid. I feel at home surrounded by Chinese people and never feel awkward. I am assimilated. I do enjoy the long motorways of China – dull,grey, lifeless and punctuated with advertisement hoardings displaying new industrial parks. The are toll booths every now and then but on the whole the roads stretch out for ever and ever and you get an idea how vast this country is. Back home we ordered pizza and the delivery due had one of those faces that looked a thousand years old. Generations and generations of farmer now reduced to delivering fucking pizza.

Donald Byrd

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Love Has Come Around

Iceland 1 The Suckers 0

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I’m gutted. I should have seen this coming man. This is all a hex but brilliantly done. Just as I was warming up to dance on the graves of the parasitic money men they have to pull it out the bag. This time last week we were watching the fall of Babylon and its towers of paper money but today a unified world pumps billions into markets that should have gone to the wall. Let them crash and burn. Let those that work and have tangible results prosper in an environment where at last those that bullshit and produce nothing apart from more debt and pain to the poor of this world eat dirt. It was looking great but no, The Man steps in. Fuck you Iceland.

Song For Guy

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Le Tigre – Deceptacon.

Skype is censored in China shocker

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

very interesting if somewhat unsurprising report generated by citizenlab. basically Skype is riddled with spyware that filter naughty words out and instead puts the naughty words on a server so that The Man can monitor your every move homeboy. Well I never. China? Censorship? I guess the surprising thing is the depths that they will go to to monitor your words. Major Findings of this report are as follows:

• The full text chat messages of TOM-Skype users, along with Skype users who have communicated with TOM-Skype users, are regularly scanned for sensitive keywords, and if present, the resulting data are uploaded and stored on servers in China.
• These text messages, along with millions of records containing personal information, are stored on insecure publicly-accessible web servers together with the encryption key required to
decrypt the data.
• The captured messages contain specific keywords relating to sensitive political topics
• Our analysis suggests that the surveillance is not solely keyword-driven. Many of the captured messages contain words that are too common for extensive logging, suggesting that there may be criteria, such as specific usernames, that determine whether messages are
captured by the system.

The only surprise is that they were so sloppy – in the west we do this stuff as well but its cleverer than this crude method. If anyone wants to know anything about you be you Chinese or British or American then they already do. Skype and China are more crude but not less sinister.

Marks and Sparks

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

The opening day of Marks and Spencer’s new store in Shanghai was a thing of great beauty. Four floors full sweating laowai trying on ill-fitting slacks and flowery blouses. The fourth floor was the food floor and its with joy that I can report that it was like being back in London. A bit. No fresh food obv but nice to get some decent tea and pasta sauces from home and much cheaper than the imported food shop mafia that we usually go to. Afterwards a meal and as usual our son is the star of the show. There we literally four serving staff playing with him for the duration of our meal not because they had to but because they wanted to. When we moved here we were uncomfortable with this but after a while you get in a groove with it – its the culture.


Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Found this very useful website which outlines the various stages of learning Chinese. Sino Spice is the site. I am now kind of between Stage 2 and 3 but if you ask me to pick I would say 3. I can get my point across to taxi drivers and the ayi. I can understand way more than I could four months ago but I still have a long road ahead of me. The thing that is making learning the language easier is my obsession with it – I love it and learn something at least once a day even if that one thing is a reinforcement of what I already know. Chinese actually isn’t that difficult once you get under the skin of it and my lessons I have after work help me on the conversational side of things.Last week I had two weird experiences. First one: I was talking to my teacher in Chinese about very simple concepts, why did you come to china, what do you do, what do you like in Shanghai etc etc when I stopped dead. I froze because it was the first time I had a real conversation in Chinese and I was freaked out I am speaking Chinese. I had finally reached some kind of level after a long time of study. The second weird experience was watching TV. I was watching a game show on Chinese TV and I got it. I understood what they were saying. OK, I couldn’t understand everything but the broad strokes I was understanding. It was very trippy and not unlike someone moving away a net curtain that had been up previously. I was quite moved. Both these thing have happened in the past week. All at once. Crazy shit.