Thursday, September 23, 2010

Favourite posts from the 2nd quarter of 2009 (Pt 2)

Continuing my round-up for April to June last year, which seemed to be a particularly rich period here on Froogville....

Pick of the Archive:
Favourite Posts, April-June 2009 (Part 2)

1)  Three timely bons mots  -  18th May 2009
The beginning of the annual Internet crackdown in the run-up to the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen 'incident' prompts me to post three wise observations on tyranny and censorship (plus another over on The Barstool).

Some advice on how to handle interview situations, such as the oral test in the IELTS English exam; including examples of what to say about James Cameron's Titanic.

3)  Chinese condom brands  -  19th May 2009
Hours of entertainment for the easily amused foreigner! (More of the same here and here.)

4)  Staring at the sun  -  24th May 2009
One of my Sunday cultural offerings: three favourite poems (one of them in Greek!) and a thematically related cartoon joke.

5)  Dark humour  -  27th May 2009
A couple of jokes about the Tiananmen crackdown (something of which one still cannot speak openly in China) led to a little more general philosophizing about the possible psychological underpinnings of 'bad taste' humour, how it serves as a necessary catharsis.

6)  Quiz - favourite film quotations  -  30th May 2009
A challenge to fellow film enthusiasts: 10 humorous (but hard-to-place!) lines from favourite films of mine.  [The answers are here, along with a clip of the marvellous closing scene from one of the films.]

7)  Why it matters  -  3rd June 2009
Perhaps my most impassioned post yet on the 6/4 anniversary (and the potent iconography of the 'Tank Man').  There was more (of course) on this topic here (a haiku) and here (a bon mot); but, to mark this 20th anniversary of the crackdown, I suspended both of my blogs for a week.

8)  Tiananmen anniversary roundup  -  12th June 2009
I return to blogging with an anthology of links to the most interesting articles I've found online about this year's Tiananmen anniversary - including this newly released photograph with a unique view of the 'Tank Man' incident, and Hillary Clinton's official statement on the anniversary.

9)  Avoiding the Square  -  13th June 2009
I didn't visit Tiananmen Square on the day of the anniversary this year.  Here are my reasons.

10)  Nuance  -  17th June
One of the oddest, subtlest ineptitudes in English I've yet encountered from a Chinese educational publisher...

11)  My Fantasy Girlfriend - Isabelle Huppert  -  20th June 2009
An appreciation of the gorgeous and talented French actress (inspired by the fact that this rather stunning exhibition of photographic portraits of her was visiting Beijing at this time), one of the earliest and most enduring of my cinematic crushes.

12)  Tell me WHY  -  22nd June 2009
 I wrap up my brief commentary on the latest depressing political campaign ("We can't possibly change because... we just can't, OK?") from the Chinese Communist Party with a clip of Bob Geldof (and Johnny Fingers) giving a wonderful live performance of the classic Boomtown Rats hit  I don't like Mondays.

13)  Censorship was never so SEXY!  -  24th June 2009
Ah, who now remembers 'Green Dam', the Chinese government's comically inept initiative to try make Internet filtering software compulsory on all computers bought in the country?  However, some of the online cartoons it gave rise to during its couple of months of being the No. 1 story in China were pretty amusing... and pretty raunchy.  This is my favourite: a manga babe policewoman in fascist uniform.... and bunny ears!

14)  Beijing landlords  -  28th June 2009
My decision to start househunting in the last week or two before I go on holiday was probably unwise...  Stress I could definitely do without!

15)  Baiting session  -  28th June 2009
I anticipate an opportunity to pillory the film director Lu Chuan (a talented guy, but also - according to most reports - a colossal arsehole... and he owes a friend of mine money!) at a screening of his new film, Nanjing! Najing! (City of Life and Death).  Alas, he doesn't show up.  However, this post is of more interest for the fact that one of my regular-ish commenters provoked me into an unrelated speculation in the comments on the likely future development of China - culturally and politically.  I probably ought to elevate this stuff to a post of its own some time.

16)  1729  -  29th June 2009
What????  Well, it's 'Ramanujan's number', you see. 

17)  Time to go  -  29th June 2009
China has been bugging me just a little too much over the past month or two - I am well overdue for a holiday. [Again, there's some rather interesting - not really related stuff - in the comments here.]

18)  Flu Corner  -  29th June 2009
My parting shot before I fly out to the States: a piece of whimsy on the raging 'bird flu' panic.

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