Going Upstream

The explosion of cross-border manufacturing that began the capitalist revolution in China’s Pearl River Delta almost 30 years ago appears to be a victim of its own success.  Guangdong authorities are seeking to drive out a large proportion of the 70,000-odd small manufacturers that crossed the border in the wake of China’s historic 1978 opening…

Was Your IPod Made in a Sweatshop?

Quiz: what’s the biggest lie in China? The Great Wall can be seen from the moon. Mao Zedong was only 30% wrong in his rule Workers at a factory making IPods are forced to toil too hard From a strictly legal point of view, the answer is #3. The mainland subsidiary of a very litigious…

Pirates of the Middle Kingdom?

There is a myth that Chinese people spend every evening glued to the screen watching pirated Hollywood DVDs. The myth is promoted by the LA studios and the video equivalents of the MP3-obsessed Recording Industry Association of America, who, no doubt influenced by watching too many of these movies, use scary and melodramatic storylines to…

Lost Son of China

One wet Sunday morning in the winter of 1958, a grandmother in a modest house in the north Taiwan town of Hsinchu called her teenage twin grandsons to her side and, her face covered in tears, showed them a crumpled photograph of a young woman. “This is your mother, she died so young,” she said.…

The Gong Show

The average reviewer pours scorn on remakes of old movies or television shows, crying creative bankruptcy. Not me. It’s hard to deny that recycling of characters and plot is wanting in inspiration. But that’s not a large crime in the entertainment world. I admit to a déclassé taste for recycled entertainments. I like the ones…

Welcome to My Neighborhood

Allow me to show you around the neighborhood. Before we leave, let me make sure the two gas levers feeding the stove and the often malfunctioning hot water heater are turned off. Can't forget my keys. If I'm locked out, no manager's office to call and we wouldn't understand each other anyway. Wait 5 minutes…

In One Place

I knew I was a regular at MoonDance the first time I drifted by and heard the sounds of Canadian cowboy balladeer Ian Tyson's Navajo Rug coming from the outdoor speakers. That brought me up short and told me this was something unique. Opened by a by a Canadian lawyer/frustrated screenwriter and his Chinese wife,…