By Kirsty Needham
While journalist Kristy Needham heads to Beijing to paintings at a chinese language newspaper as a “foreign expert,” she has studied the language and the historical past yet has no inspiration what lifestyles in China will particularly be like. As this compelling tale finds, she quickly learns that Communist slogans, transvestite nightclubs, SARS scares, and militant groups of vacationer handlers are only some of the disparate parts of lifestyle in China that she needs to navigate. From being continuously requested if she is a secret agent to maintaining her integrity at a government-controlled paper, Needham is stuck in a country haunted by means of its prior and surging towards the longer term. via wry, journalistic observations, this brilliant memoir bargains an enlightening, hilarious, and occasionally frightening outsider’s tackle modern China and its swiftly changing culture.
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Extra info for A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China
Their uniforms looked like green military. Did the Chinese army have a natural bent as inscrutable door nazis? Whoever they were, they were highly efficient at keeping pesky reporters and the unwashed out of elite occasions. QX5 30 26/6/06 12:23 PM Page 30 A SEASON IN RED off the Napster logo. Not even internet music pirates were safe from copyright infringement in China. We retreated to our foreigners’ undies party instead. Judy had already made a beeline to the racks of knickers in the corner of the bar, which had been exclusively booked for this event but with a far more relaxed door policy than its neighbours.
A Chinese woman with rosy cheeks posing next to a river somewhere beamed up from one of the happy snaps. It looked like someone’s lost office. I opened one of the plastic bags. QX5 40 26/6/06 12:23 PM Page 40 A SEASON IN RED drinking cup with company logo, an out-of-date desk calendar, assorted business cards and an unopened packet of sanitary pads. I looked around for something more useful for apartment living, something other than desks. There was a lime green sofa under a drop sheet to conceal the rips in its foam, a rust-dappled glass-top coffee table, and a brown veneer television set of the same era.
Thirty thousand foreign students were flooding into Beijing a year, a figure that continued to soar with China’s economy. Some, like Panda, were hopeful of job opportunities on the mainland if they could crack the fluency barrier. And it was a barrier in most fields. There were so many highly qualified bilingual Chinese with overseas experience (hai gui they were called, or sea turtles) that multinational offices barely needed to look at a foreigner these days. Others were American-born Chinese who had their heritage stamped on their face but couldn’t utter a word in their ancestral tongue.