Categories
Amsterdam Author event Safe spaces trigger warnings

Bubble Life

I live in a bubble. Holland is a left-leaning progressive nation that mandates universal health care, empowers foreign residents to vote in municipal elections and has long ago recognized gay marriage. The country offers free drug testing if you’re not sure about the pills you’re planning to pop at the next rave. I don’t live […]

Categories
About Karen Kao China Chinese-American Travel

Orient Express

The first time I crossed China by train was 1984. I was on a group trip organized by the Smithsonian Institute, the start of a lifelong obsession with Shanghai. This particular train took our group from Xi’An to Luoyang. Back then, the journey lasted for 8 hours. These days, you can take a bullet train […]

Categories
Craft Creative writing workshops

POV

I’m turning into a craft-obsessed monster. Everywhere I look, I see POV, narrator, mood, tone and voice. I blame this hideous transformation on my writing workshop. Each week, our teacher gives us a new set of craft techniques to apply to our writing. I’ve been using this opportunity to overhaul my many failed short stories, […]

Categories
China Revolution Shanghai

Propaganda

The Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre is a tourist attraction. TimeOut calls it one of Shanghai’s best museums and a “must-see”. This is the description from my dog-eared 2008 guide: a stunning collection of original posters from 1949 to 1979 [with] images of ruddy-cheeked Chinese peasants crushing imperialist Uncle Sam underfoot. The museum sits in […]