Home | Passport testing under construction | Folk Sayings and Proverbs, China Wisdom

The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

Hong Kong Travel Diaries: Sunday August 14 2005

I had a fruitful Saturday afternoon, putting up three hit counters onto my websites.
One for a children's site looked like a choo-choo train, another for the China site looked like red octagons reminiscent of some ancient pagoda, and another for a spiritual site was a strand of small red hearts.  I deleted one of these and decided to use black musical notes for a song lyric site.
This sort of afternoon thrills a Computer Addict.
More importantly, though the hit counters look just A Adorable, they don't seem to work.
The Add Virtual Postcards feature is really, really hard.  I want to use at least one hundred beautiful and original images of my own creation, and when this finally goes up, it will be a milestone on my pathway to being a Web Queen.
I added hidden Stats Features, which are even available as free downloadable software to check out who is a repeat user and who is a first time visitor to your site, and also they can now  differentiate between a person who visits the First Page and goes Aaarrrghhh and runs away from your site like a little wimpy cry baby, and the die hard fans, like die hard friends, who not only put up with your ramblings, but want more and more.
Sunday I was off  to Delifrance where I went over all my Career Notebooks.
All I could see in my weekly notes were more and more Teeny Tiny Tots, all with  an adorable Chinesey look to them.
I am worried you are starting to change from that Tony Robbins tape, said Joe, as he joined me for French coffee and cheese puff pastries.
Shape up or ship out, I said nastily.
That's what I mean, he said, You used to be so nice.
That's why I am so poor, I said. 
I think I can guess what it is these subliminal tapes, cause I don't wanna hear even my own excuses any more.  There are total idiots making fortunes out here in Asian ESL and we could be two more of them!
Seriously, I continued, Why do we have to stick to ESL in Hong Kong?  Can't we do media, or movies, or something else?
I believe in you, he said.
This woman who wrote Shanghai Baby!  Shocking?  These types of books are a dime a dozen in Western democracies.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this bestselling novel, Shanghai Baby, it is very vaguely the Chinese equivalent of Fear Of Flying, though without the clear humour of Erica Jong.
It does have some  lyrical passages, but compared with the other Chinese contenders on the New Chinese Writing table at the booksellers, it seems expected, copycat, and inherently false.
Why false?
False because all of its reviewers rush to proclaim it as representing the Youth Of China.  Of course,that it is not exactly the fault of its author.
The blurb, Burned By The Government of China, does a lot to sell it around the world.  I wonder if the Government of China will realize this behaviour is only utilized to manipulate Western media to promote and sell books that otherwise might not make it on their own steam.
And are we sure that they even did that?
The novel is one more Disaffected Youth Novel - yawn, yawn.
A good looking young person, with plenty of leisure time to write fiction and to have romances, describes her love affairs with a Chinese drug user and a Western businessman in graphic detail.
Most students I taught would be envying her wealth and tolerant parents, rather than her sexual freedom.
For to write like this in China suggests incredible privilege, parents who have already made enough do-re-mi to support the errant daughter and rest of the family for ever and ever.
And I have seen more than a few families in the New China at that level.  They are sober and responsible family members, utilizing their wealth to help others in their tribe, and spending more on service - cooks, chauffeured cars, tutors - than on material objects.
The entire book seems imported,  a Western Style read - a cut-and-paste job - onto Mainland China. 
Strangely for a Chinese youth, there are minimal relatives present - mothers with noodle soups, demanding fathers, aunties with red plaid plastic shopping bags, cute Chinese toddlers expecting rightly to be pampered and petted, grannies inmauve polyester slacksuits, brothers needing fast loans - .
The attractive author is sadly competitive with other females, and lets us know that all the other women dancing at a Shanghai disco appear sluttish.  While reading her way through Sylvia Plath and Robin Morgan, and being sure to toss about feminism as word, she seems to have missed a few classes in Pysch 101.
In her pursuit, which is mutual, of a German married businessman (and therefore no prize for women who don't need that type of pain),
she imagines that White Women in China are competitive with her, assessing what a small pool of White Men there are there, and how they must resent their guys making a bee-line for Chinese Women like herself.
That there are Chinese Women and Chinese Women making friendly bonds, White Women and Chinese Women enjoying supportive relationships, and White Women dating Chinese Men in many countries such as Canada, these variants seem be outside the scope of her limited imagination.
The super-sexy White Boyfriend who just can't get enough of our Shanghai Baby also must have an appeal for the not-so-bright set in Western Publishing.
(While the Chinese Boyfriend lolls around, doing dope - sounds like a story from about a hundred years ago, right?)
The worst damage of Shanghai Baby is not all what is in it, it is the international implication in so many reviews that these characters represent anyone or anything other than themselves.
The central Chinese boyfriend as a drug user, and the White Man as a hypersexual executive - out of thousands of Chinese I met in five years, not even one Chinese male  drank more than one bottle of weak beer at dinner.  
I travelled freely throughout South China, and had a huge range of Chinese friends and acquaintances.  Not once did I see this type of lifestyle though I have heard Shanghai is considered in a class by itself as being Very Open To New Ideas.
This is not really a terrible book, by any standard, either poorly written or shocking and upsetting - it is just that Being Banned In Beijing should not make or break a career, and sophisticated book-buyers around the world should smarten up.
P.S.  Yes, I have read a long list of outstanding Chinese authors, and if you want one to start with, before I make a list - try the Chinese American Amy Tan: sensitive, wise, truthful, and deep.

Lamma Island * Lantau Island * Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong * Mui Wo * Peng Chau Island
Tung Chung * Shenzhen * Nanning * Hunan Province
Bobcaygeon * Pointe Claire * Montreal
Peterborough * Lake Sturgeon * Ontario
Vancouver * Richmond * British Columbia

Flag Counter

Facebook: Top Personal Page!

Join My Linked In, 25,000 Friends

Facebook @ArielleGabriel555

The International Paper Doll Society

The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

Bobcaygeon, Mui Wo, Lantau, Tung Chung
Big Buddha, Arielle Gabriel, free paper dolls, 
Pui O, Chep Lap Kok, Tai O, Quan Yin5,
Cheung Chau, Lamma, Peng Chau,
Yung Shue Wan, Montreal, Vancouver,
Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China,
caul, veil, born with a caul