China Family ghosts

Dead Men Walking

Immortal Xia was a corpse dresser. She used to ply her trade around the coal mines near Jincheng. Whenever a mining accident occurred, Immortal Xia would appear dressed in strange robes like a witch. Some locals called her Queen Mother Guanyin, after the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy and compassion. Immortal Xia didn’t mind caring for […]

Censorship Craft


Torschlusspanik is one of those wonderful German coinages that envisions an entire universe in a single word. The South African artist William Kentridge defines it as: The panic of closing doors. The fear of opening one door rather than another, and hearing it slam behind you, once you have made your decision; but maybe that […]

China Politics Revolution

Cultural Revolution 2.0

This month marks an ominous anniversary. On 16 May 1966, Mao Zedong unleashed the Cultural Revolution. For 10 long years, China was consumed by a political and social chaos, the complexity and brutality of which continues to astound historians today. How could such a thing happen? The entire country was caught by surprise. At the […]

Blogging Books

The Accidental Reviewer

My life as a book reviewer started when I joined Goodreads. I’d been told it would be good for me as an author to connect with my potential readers. If you’re a Goodreads Author (a self-identified category), you can fill your profile with photos and videos, author events and, of course, what you thought of […]

Chinese-American Food War

Have You Eaten Rice Today?

It’s a ubiquitous phrase you’ll hear all over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and whenever the Cantonese side of my family gets together. Have you eaten rice today? Of course, that’s not a real question. It’s a greeting couched like a question that requires no answer. Just like in the United States where how are you is […]