Feed of posts from useful sites

Sinica - Leftover women, misogynistic trolls and post grad study in China

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined once again by Leta Hong Fincher, newly-minted Ph.D. and author of Leftover Women, a book which gazes into the state of women's rights in China, and documents the way state-sanctioned propaganda, family-driven social pressures and legal customs in things like the housing market all effectively conspire to roll back much of the progress on gender equality China has made over the last twenty years. So we talk about that, and then about misogynistic Internet trolls, and what it's like to do a doctorate at Tsinghua University.

Have thoughts? Once you've done listening, please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section, or by writing us at sinica@popupchinese.com. Also remember, you can subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS by opening up iTunes, clicking on the "Advanced" menu and selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast". Copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box when prompted. Or download this show directly from our site as a standalone mp3 file.

Sinica - The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Leta Hong Fincher, newly-minted Ph.D. and author of Leftover Women, a book which gazes into the state of women's rights in China, and documents the way state-sanctioned propaganda, family-driven social pressures and legal customs in things like the housing market all effectively conspire to roll back much of the progress on gender equality China has made over the last twenty years.

Have thoughts? Once you've done listening, please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section, or by writing us at sinica@popupchinese.com. Also remember, you can subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS by opening up iTunes, clicking on the "Advanced" menu and selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast". Copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box when prompted. Or download this show directly from our site as a standalone mp3 file.

Elementary - You Had One Job

Popup Chinese Lessons - Mon, 06/09/2014 - 01:00

Sarah had struggled for years with her company's internship program, which seemed to saddle her each year with marginally less competent and marginally more slack-jawed members of the local student population. Yet while the interns had never been exactly productive, Jared was in a class of his own....

Sinica - Rice, Wheat and Air Filters

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 06/06/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, we're delighted to be joined by Thomas Talhelm, Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of a recent paper proposing a fascinating connection between rice and wheat-growing communities, and persistent differences in psychological orientations of people from different parts of China. So join us as we talk about divorce, collectivism and violence, and get the dirt on all the various tests psychologists are using to measure it all here in the Middle Kingdom.

And even if psychology isn't your thing, we suspect that breathing is -- which is another reason to listen. In addition to his growing reputation in academic circles, Thomas is also known in China for his production and proselytization of do-it-yourself air filtration kits, which he sells through his company Smart Air Filters. If you are interested in getting a filter without spending a fortune, be sure to check them out. [standalone mp3 download]

Advanced - The Huang Haibo Sex Scandal

Popup Chinese Lessons - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 01:00

在这个文化多元化、经济快速发展的社会里,那条所谓的道德界限开始日渐模糊。浮躁、虚荣让越来越多的人开始迷失自己,亦或是...在找回自己?及时行乐也开始成为越来越多人的人生座右铭。只是,行乐要有度,要有道德标准和法律约束,起码要对自己负责。乐与不乐其实都有它的代价。快来加入Grace和李莉,针对嫖娼及出轨等一些敏感话题一起八卦一下,探讨一下,感慨一下...

Sinica - OMG, in conversation with Jessica Beinecke

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 05/30/2014 - 10:43

In today's show, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn interview Jessica Beinecke, host of the VOA-funded OMG Meiyu, a Chinese show on English slang that has earned Jessica hundreds of thousands of followers in China. Now the owner of her own production company, Jessica is on the show to chat about her future plans and other projects. She is joined by David Moser, longtime Sinica stalwart and director of the CET immersion program in Beijing.

Enjoy Sinica? If you'd like to keep abreast of new episodes as soon as we release them, be sure to subscribe to our free RSS feed. We also invite listeners to download this show as a standalone mp3 file and get in touch at sinica@popupchinese.com with suggestions on topics or guests you'd like to see featured on the show.

Elementary - Hurting the Feelings of the Chinese People

Popup Chinese Lessons - Tue, 05/27/2014 - 01:00

One moment Xiao Liu had been suggesting a weekend retreat to Zhongshan Park, and the next his entire office had plunged into a leaden silence. As he would shortly discover, there were feelings that had been hurt, and if he hoped to paper over the situation the only thing to do was to make an apology and mend his ways.

Sinica - History of the Internet in China

Popup Chinese Lessons - Sat, 05/24/2014 - 01:00

The Internet has always been near and dear to our hearts here at Sinica. Four years ago, our very first show covered Google China and the fracas that followed their decision to pull out of China. And in the years since, we've frequently talked about Twitter and Weibo and now Weixin. With various anniversaries looming and our Internet connections getting almost as bad as they were ten years ago, today we wanted to take a step back and chat about how the Internet has grown and changed China.

Joining long-time hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn in our studio today are three stalwart guests who have experienced the worst and the best of the Chinese Internet: Duncan Clark from BDA China, Gady Epstein who writes for the Economist, and Bill Bishop who everyone should know as the author of the Sinocism newsletter. Join us for this discussion either by listening to this show online, or by downloading it as a standalone mp3 file and share with friends.

Five Two Zero So Much

Laowai Chinese - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 22:10

The month of May sports one of what I call (for the first time) “fakie-sounding pun-tastic number-slang days”: 5/20. (Here’s a Baidu link so you know I’m not making it up.)

May 20th, pronounced in Chinese as “wǔ èr líng” 五二零 is supposed to sound like “wǒ ài nǐ” 我爱你 (“I love you”). As best as I can figure out, it’s a sort of combination of Valentine’s Day and April Fool’s Day that young people use to biǎo bái 表白, or make jokes, or both.

When I wrote an analysis of the two supposedly similar-sounding phrases on the board for my Chinese students, it was easy to see that in only 3 syllables there are about 5 differences:

520 I love you Difference wu3 wo3 “u” vs. “o” er4 ai4 “er” vs. “ai” ling2 ni3 “l” vs. “n” ling2 ni3 “-ing” vs. “-i” ling2 ni3 2nd tone vs. 3rd tone

I think those are significant differences, and therefore I downplay the cleverness of the day. My students strongly disagree.

Here’s why: I’m comparing it to what I consider clever puns and such in English, like “May the 4th” for Star Wars Day. “May the fourth be with you” and “May the force be with you” has only a single phoneme difference (“th” vs. “s”) for the whole phrase. And that lispy switcheroo (the technical linguistic term for mixing up “th” and “s”) has been known to occur independently of this fakie holiday (“the Wellth Fargo wagon is a comin'”). Therefore, I smile smugly and nod slowly when I think of “May the 4th” but I don’t smile and do shake my head slowly when I think of 5/20.

But my students are thinking: “There are no other numbers that are closer to wǒ ài nǐ, so it’s awesome!” It presupposes (for some reason that is mysterious to me) that numbers MUST sound like SOMETHING else! This is the same thing that happens with the number 8 being so lucky because “bā” sounds like “fā” (meaning “get rich”). It doesn’t REALLY sound like it to me. But hey! I admit “ba” sounds more like “fa” than any other number does.

But this may give us insight into the significance of tones to native speakers. That’s really the strongest link between these fakie-puns. The tones for 8 and “get rich” are identical, and two out of three tones from “May 20th” and “I love you” are the same (although, to get even closer they should equate it with “wǒ ài nín” 我爱您, but I see why that would be sillier for a different reason).

One last thing: the “l” vs. “n” switcheroo we see in “líng” vs. “nǐ” makes me wonder if this day originated in some region of China where the “l” and “n” sounds are allophones (like the South, perhaps?). Hmm… I wonder… Oh well.

Intermediate - An Invitation to Violence

Popup Chinese Lessons - Wed, 05/21/2014 - 01:00

A rose tucked away at the bottom of the pantry, clumsy letters wrapped in ribbons and hidden in the attic: such as these had been her efforts at concealment. Yet how brazen were their mid-day meetings in the park near the wharf, making it nonetheless inevitable that her husband would hear of her affair, and take steps to bring it to a decisive and final end.

Learning Chinese? This is a bit of an easier Intermediate show than some of our more recent ones, so if you're clambering up to full fluency from the Elementary level, give it a try and see how much you can understand. In the show itself, Grace and David talk a bit about duelling, and teach a grammar pattern that - even if you hate - you should still find useful.

Elementary - Goldfinger

Popup Chinese Lessons - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:00

Auric supervised the construction of his cutting laser feeling relief laced with loathing. Procuring the damn thing from China had promised cheaper costs, but prompted endless foot-dragging from US customs over environmental standards and power supply issues. Between those delays and the inevitable miscommunications with his Shenzhen supplier, it would have been easier to import Swiss equipment from the start.

Sinica - China in Three Keys: first experiences from the 1970s through 1990s

Popup Chinese Lessons - Fri, 05/09/2014 - 01:00

In this show: dating tips for hooking up with your Marxist-Leninist thought instructor, advice on what modern music and seasonal vegetables to smuggle in from Hong Kong, the origins of China's somewhat unorthodox driving customs, and instructions on reaching your nearest Communist bandit hotline should the red menace become too much to handle. Also making repeat appearances: Filipino rock bands.

This week on Sinica, we take a nostalgic look back at China in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the decades in which our hosts first visited China. Recorded at the new Australian Centre on China in the World, this is a lovely discussion between Jeremy Goldkorn, Geremie Barme and Linda Jaivin, all of whom have been previous guests on Sinica and none of whom need any introduction. [standalone mp3 file]

Advanced - Thoughts on Hong Kong

Popup Chinese Lessons - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 01:00

近期,大陆夫妻带孩子香港当街小便一事引起了热议。港人声讨内地游客素质问题,大陆人却也因当事记者拍照侵权展开了反驳。习惯、素质、理解、矛盾、文明......陷入了一场辩论战,加之网络的煽风点火与断章取义,更使得这场论战愈演愈烈!当街小便固然不对,但是背后也许另含隐情;冷眼“取证”固然有过,但是法律和规章是需要遵守的!归根结底,究竟什么是文明?文明应以何种方式发展和传承?

Advanced - 素质与文明

Popup Chinese Lessons - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 01:00

近期,大陆夫妻带孩子香港当街小便一事引起了热议。港人声讨内地游客素质问题,大陆人却也因当事记者拍照侵权展开了反驳。习惯、素质、理解、矛盾、文明......陷入了一场辩论战,加之网络的煽风点火与断章取义,更使得这场论战愈演愈烈!当街小便固然不对,但是背后也许另含隐情;冷眼“取证”固然有过,但是法律和规章是需要遵守的!归根结底,究竟什么是文明?文明应以何种方式发展和传承?

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