Feed on Posts or Comments 29 January 2023

Media newlight on 02 Oct 2009

60 years anniversary parade pictures and videos

The parade is of course a spectacle for the domestic audiences. Yesterday BBC led the report by “China celebrated 60 years of communist rule”. Well, yes, but people who are bewilded by the fuss and sometimes feel smug about it need to appreciate that Chinese people are immensely proud of what the country has achieved and they want to show it to themselves and to the world. Like it or not, parading the “best of us” at the a central point is the way to do it.

I didn’t watch the live coverage of the parade, but by watching several social networking sites, fed by pictures and comments, I managed to follow the event nonetheless. I wonder whether this is becoming the viewer experience in the future, that we must follow the online live comments from Twitter or others. Perhaps TV network would facilitate twittering in order to re-establish watching TV as a real-time “event”. But I dread the day when tweeting in the cinema becomes the norm.

The best pictures and videos I’ve seen are from The Big Pictures and Dan Chung’s time-lapse and slow motion version.

China’s 60th Anniversary national day – timelapse and slow motion – 7D and 5DmkII from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Media newlight on 30 Sep 2009

Dan Chung’s Another Night in Beijing

News photographer Dan Chung used his new Canon Eos 7D to shoot this video Another Night in Beijing under low light. The place is Beijing’s Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷). His blog DSRL News Shooter has some fascinating topics and stunning photos and videos, contributed by news photographers working in China.

Chinese Culture newlight on 22 Aug 2009

Voice from the mountains – Chinese Music Old and New

Edinburgh Fringe 2009 – Chinese Music Old and New
Harmony Chinese Music Ensemble
Canongate Kirk
22 August 2009

The Harmony Chinese Music Ensemble, led by Scottish composer and flutist Eddie McGuire, gave a mesmerising performance at Canongate Kirk on the Royal Mile. Kimho Ip, a regular member of the Ensemble, performed a meditating piece using Chinese music instrument yangqi (杨琴) and electric sounds. Cheng-Ying Chuang, who had already given a well-received solo performance at the same venue, also joined in, playing zhongruan (中阮) and liuqin (柳琴), both of the two Chinese music instruments are rarely seen and heard in the UK.

But the star of the night is in no doubt Fong Liu, a vocalist who performed various Chinese folk songs. Initially appearing a little nervous, she soon relaxed and her piercing voice and theatrical style engaged and enchanted the audiences through the evening. Her volume of voice, which is necessary when those songs were originally sung in the scarcely inhabited mountains in the Western regions of China, seemed perfectly suited the generous space of Canongate Kirk.

While singing the mountain folk songs, her voice delivered the extremely enjoyable and touching untamed quality. It was obviously a choice made by the artist, as when she sang the encore, Love Song of Kangding (康定情歌), she abandoned the modernised, gentle version you might have heard elsewhere, and went for the raw, Tibetan style instead. She then showed her extraordinary range by singing a tender Northeastern lullaby and a smooth and soft Eastern folk song, Purple Bamboo Melody (紫竹调).

It’s a shame that Harmony Ensemble only performed one night at this year’s Fringe. Judging from the audiences’ reaction, Edinburgh will surely welcome them back.

TV newlight on 20 Aug 2009

CCTV News Channel’s new countdown sequence

A Chinese blogger accused CCTV (China Central Television) News Channel’s recently unveiled countdown sequence plagirised BBC News’s countdown. I think what he’s talking about is the music. He’s obviously an admirer of the BBC sequence, displaying almost second-by-second stills from it. I’m not a music expert. To my untrained ears, they do sound a bit similar.

Books newlight on 12 Jul 2009

UK book charts review

I’ve started a weekly UK book charts review on my Chinese blog (taohuawu.net) a couple of weeks ago. This is aimed to Chinese readers who are interested in the latest trend in English language book publishing. An increasing number of Chinese readers are bilingual and keen to know more about English language books. Meanwhile there have also been more and more books being translated into Chinese. You’ll be amazed to see the level of interest, and I hope this weekly review will help them know better about books published in the UK.

I’m also writing book reviews for various Chinese publications. They are not necessarily in the charts though. The selection is based on what I think are relevant to Chinese readers, as well as my personal interest.

My weekly UK book charts review (in Chinese).

Media &TV newlight on 28 Jun 2009

Very broad sense of traffic

I noted last month that the BBC TV programme Click used a video sequence taken out of the documentary Britain from Above. The sequence, as explained in Britain from Above, was made for the documentary to illustrate the taxi traffic in London over 24 hours. While being used in Click, however, it implied another kind of traffic, internet traffic. I wrote to Click through their online form but got no reply.

I was a little suprised to see it appeared again in last week’s Click, this time when commenting on Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report. It looks neat and convincing for that purpse, but I don’t think it’s right for Click to do this.

2009-06-27 Click 20090620

Society newlight on 19 May 2009

One year on

It was about this time last year, when the news kept coming. The casualty number kept increasing, and there were still places not accessible to the rescuers, many of whom were ill-equipped soldiers and volunteers trying to get through the mountainous roads destroyed by landslide. The whole nation of China was in deep shock and mourning. It touched everyone. I remembered that when reading Tania Branigan’s report from Dujiangyan on the street, I struggled to contain my emotion. Then there was the great determination shown by the rescuers coming from all parts of the country and overseas to save as many lives as possible. And for us who were thousand miles away, all we could say was we must do something.

The Sichuan Earthquake Update‘s call for donation met with overwhelming response. People from all over the world approached us to give us support, send their donation, give their time, work as volunteers, donate their work for charity auction, and much more. Wendy Wu, CEO of Mother’s Bridge of Love, recently published the figures and plans for the distribution of the donation.

The news agenda have moved on. The earthquake may look remote and distant for most people who have matters closer to home to worry about. But in Sichuan, the reconstruction of the earthquake-hit area has only just begun. New schools are rising up, but the parents are still grieving their lost children. However, Out of ruins, people are rebuilding their life, and love has flourished.

I’ll keep the Sichuan Earthquake Update project going. Hopefully we will see more news about the rebuilding of homes and lives there.

Media newlight on 03 May 2009

Traffic and … traffic

I could be wrong here, but isn’t the sequence used in BBC’s latest episode of Click, to illustrate the internet traffice in London, the same sequence used in Andrew Marr’s Britain from Above, to illustrate the taxis traffic in London?

I love the brilliant Britain from Above series and was very much impressed by the taxis traffice sequence which used the GPS information of 380 London taxis over a single day to generate the animation. I’m also a fan of Click. It’s a bit odd to see the same sequence is used to show the traffic of two different kind though.

Click, 2nd May 2009

BBC Click 2 May 2009

Britain from Above

Britain from Above

Society newlight on 20 Mar 2009

The new “migrant tax” is degrading and unfair

It looks whenever the UK government wants to appear tough on immigration, it would announce some half-hearted measures to make the immigration process a bit more unpleasant. The points-based system is a great improvement. But then came the hiking of visa fees, changing the time required for permanent residency from four to five years and retrospectively applying it (hence the protest and law suit from those came with highly skilled migrant visa), and the mandatory English test etc. which all looked good as a headline but won’t change much in practice. The points-based system was meant to attract the most qualified migrants, yet it seems those additional measures keeping popping up are purely there to make the application process a little bit more annoying, time-consuming and expensive.

The new “migrant tax”, a £50 extra visa charge to non-EU migrants, is just one of them. The migrants have already paid whatever cost their application would incur directly. They have paid the visa fee. They bring spending money with them. In the case of international students, they will pay the full university tuition fee (ranging from £4,000 to £18,000 per year) as well. Once they are here, they will pay the living costs and pay tax if they work, and are not eligible to pub fund for some time in most cases. If this country takes them as part of the community, surely they should contribute, equally as the other members of the society, to the public services and infrastructures, through the tried and tested general taxation?

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Environment newlight on 19 Mar 2009

Clear the dust

Guardian’s Jonathan Watts, when reporting the dust storm in northern China, introduced us to this excellent blog, livefrombeijing, by Vance, an American engineer working on clean transportation for China. Vance’s blog explains the environment and emission related data rather well while providing useful insight.


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