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Foreigners in China | 外国人在中国

FACE THE MUSIC
By Cool Han

NOTE: The following article is Track B of a two-track series on American indie-jazz band MAYA AZUCENA, who performed this past April across China. The four-piece outfit - Maya Azucena (Vocals), Ivan Katz (Drums), and Christian Ver Halen (Guitar) and Bruce Mack (Keyboards, guest)- are part of the The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program developed by ‘Jazz at Lincoln Center’ and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which affords MAYA AZUCENA a chance to perform internationally before a wide variety of audiences.

TRACK B
Christian Ver Halen
The first time I saw Christian Ver Halen, I knew he was an industrious man. After a performance in Beijing, while the other members of his band Maya Azucena were busy packaging their equipment, Christian brought out a pocket book and asked me how to say “I’m sorry” in Chinese. It was his first time in China and the second day in Beijing. To my surprise, there were rows of Chinese Pinyin scrawled across his notebook. Between his intensive performance schedule and self-taught Chinese lessons, I doubt whether he had time to sleep.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2008 20:32
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YOU ARE MY JUNKYARD JEWEL

By Cool Han


NOTE: The following article is Track A of a two-track series on American indie-jazz band MAYA AZUCENA, who performed this past April across China. The four-piece outfit - Maya Azucena (Vocals), Ivan Katz (Drums),Christian Ver Halen (Guitar) and Bruce Mack (Keyboards, guest), - are part of the The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program developed by ‘Jazz at Lincoln Center’ and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which affords MAYA AZUCENA a chance to perform internationally before a wide variety of audiences.

TRACK A: Maya Who?!

He was a Junkyard Jewel, hidden in trash, forgotten too long until found at last
Junkyard jewel with so much inside, hidden from the rest as a matter of pride
Junkyard jewel you are so beautiful, oh can't you see, oh can't you see...
He was a Junkyard Jewel, hidden in trash, forgotten too long.
--Junkyard Jewel

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 October 2014 14:42
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HISTORY or HIS STORY?
My Splendid Concubine, a novel by Lloyd Lofthouse.
Reviewed by Cool Han

Vast are the oceans between China and the West, cognition and sensibility, history and reality, but author Lloyd Lofthouse is determined to cross them with his 365-page skiff, My Splendid Concubine.



Based on fifty-four years worth of personal diaries belonging to the “Godfather of China’s modernism” Robert Hart (1835-1911), Lofthouse is a master ship builder. Constructed over 9 years, My Splendid Concubine doesn’t just present a single plank of Robert Hart’s life; Lofthouse artfully crafts a solid, captivating story of love and intimacy out of the true-life timber of history.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2008 20:51
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LANGUAGE IS THE GYMNASTICS OF THE MIND
By Cool Han

If one’s life is a novel, Vicky has just started her first few chapters.

It was a breezy spring afternoon in Beijing, when the twenty-one-year approached me with a smile. She wore a dark brown jacket, black sweater, black skirt and black stockings. Is that the fashion of this season? I wondered.

Her hair is the color of gold but her roots are dark. A typical European girl should be like that, I believe. When she laughed a series of silver bells tenderly slipped out of her mouth: “Hey I’m Vicky, but you already know that.” Yes, thanks to today’s instant communication technology, we arranged everything through MSN before we met.

We went through buildings, gardens, blocks, and lobbies before we reached a tiny bar inside her school. An intricate maze for me is a piece of cake for her.

In no time, we were eating ice cream and chatting like old friends, though it was our first meeting. She was a bit shy, but her eyes told me that she was calm, warm and confident.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 19:32
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Guangzhou's Little Africa

 
Barbecued chicken smoke and Senegalese pop music fills one hallway. On another floor, mosquito coil incense and the odour of new leather bean-bags bound for Angola commingle.

Welcome to the Tianxiu Building, the home of China’s largest African enclave and a microcosm for the billion dollar trade boom taking place between African nations and China.

Located along the bustling Xiao Bei Road in downtown Guangzhou, tens of thousands of Africans flock to Tianxiu to purchase everything from school erasers for Darfur to hair-weaves for Kinshasa’s beauty parlours.

Whilst at least 2,000 make it their own, thousands more are just here for export shopping runs.

“It is hard to get hair like this in the Congo,” comments Alice Clarisse as she peruses a Tianxiu shop specialising in hair extensions.

“I come here about twice a year to Guangzhou for a week, the prices are very good.” Clarisse, whose home-town is Kinshasa, adds, “This city of markets is becoming famous all over Africa.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2008 20:56
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