Category Archives: China


Shanghai’s Three Most Exciting Time Periods of the 20th Century & the Sexy Zhang Ziyi

By | China, Learning Chinese, Sex and Relationships | No Comments

Jasmine Women (simplified Chinese: 茉莉花开Mòlihuā kāi; literally: “Blooming Jasmine”) is a 2004 film starring the lovely Zhang Ziyi.

Zhang plays the youngest of three generations of women who lead lives in Shanghai, China, during the city’s most exciting time periods.

Mo, in 1930’s Shanghai (1);

Li, in 1950’s Shanghai (2)

Hua, in 1980’s Shanghai. (3)

String the three names together and you get “MoLiHua” (茉莉花)- the Chinese word for “Jasmine”, hence the movie title “Jasmine Women.” Read More

Chinese Rules for Talking to Foreigners in the 1970s

By | China, Cultural Differences | No Comments

Below are a few excerpts from a book that is still banned in China called Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang. The snippets below describe the author’s experience of talking to foreigners for the first time in 1975 in Zhanjiang and Guilin.

It was a time when China was still enduring its Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and there were rules to be followed when talking with “barbarians”.  The rules were severely strict at the time but they are humorous by today’s standards.  Before the early ‘70’s merely speaking with a foreigner was both forbidden and illegal – you could be thrown in jail. Read More

Since When is the Term “Oriental” Racist?

By | China, Cultural Differences | No Comments

After spending almost a decade in China, my return to Canada was not without surprises.  I was quite astounded when I discovered that I’ve become sexist, anti-ageist, and a chauvinist.  If that isn’t bad enough, I’ve recently been made aware of the fact that I’m also a horribly racist person.

Over all those years I was under the false impression that the term “Oriental” was an untainted term used to describe people from East and Southeast Asian, and more particularly those from China, Korean, and Japan. Read More

yuyuan-garden shanghai china

High (Education) Maintenance: My Experiences as a Tutor in Shanghai, China

By | China, Cultural Differences, Drugs, Life of Damien | No Comments

Visualize The Guy – that nameless marijuana dealer of the hit web series High Maintenance (trailer below).

I was that Guy in Shanghai, but instead of weed my product was a tutoring service.  And my clients were not colorful New Yorkers, but super rich expat kids who attended the most expensive international high schools in China. Below is a peek into the not-so-normal lives of my four students: Jessica, Cindy, Justin, and Caprice. Read More

china's three teachings: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism

Why is China Kicking Ass? Explaining Chinese Values and Behaviors via the Three Teachings: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism

By | China, Cultural Differences, Health and Diet | No Comments

To what does China owe its success? What are the forces that has shaped Chinese society and thinking? To better understand China, as well as present-day Chinese behavior, values, and world view, it is important to understand the country’s three historic schools of thought: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Read More

How Buddha Saved a Chinese Bookie turned Peruvian Drug Lord: Chino

By | China, Cultural Differences, Drugs, Health and Diet, Life of Damien, Travelling | No Comments

I once tutored a Chinese bookie named Oliver. We were introduced by a mutual lady friend, a law student who I met at Windows, a popular dive bar in Shanghai. She thought Oliver and I would get along. Once a week he would pay me 60 dollars for a two-hour session, which included a massive free meal. Definitely not my highest paying client, but it wasn’t a bad deal considering what went on. Read More