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
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
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 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 -
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
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
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.