What? You mean Xinwen Lianbo, the nightly national news from CCTV? Or perhaps the ever-charming and always candid Yang Rui, who demanded a sweeping-up of foreign trash and called Melissa Chan, an American-Chinese reporter at Al-Jarzeera, a “bitch”?*
Heavens, no – we mean The Voice of China, the runaway hit reality show produced by Zhejiang Satellite TV.
Ah? A shoddy knock-off of the American show “The Voice”?
Neither knock-off nor shoddy. This is a licensed reproduction.
But it is still a copy of the American show, right?
Negative. The series began as “The Voice of Holland” in September of 2010. American network NBC began airing “The Voice” seven months later, in April 2011. Season five began in September of this year. The American version has won several awards and done reasonably well in the ratings-game, although the format faces lots of competition from the talent shows of other networks. The franchise now has The Voice airing in countries worldwide, from Afghanistan and Albania, Lithuiania, Peru, and all the way down the alphabet to Ukraine and Vietnam.
And when did China jump on the bandwagon?
The Voice of China (TVOC) launched on 13 September 2012 – ahead of The Voice of Croatia and (separately, of course) The Voice of Serbia (2013), but behind The Voice of Bulgaria.
Is it popular?
Er, this is a nation that would make KTV an Olympic sport if given the chance. Yeah. It’s popular. Season two got more viewers than the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee video. Here’s how the other voice of China (Xinhua) put it:
“According to CSM Media Research statistics, the Voice of China ratings hit 3.62 percent, making it the No. 1 show that night and additionally setting the record for the highest ratings for of a show premiere ever. The show was repeated later Friday night with ratings still hitting 1.576 percent, beating reality talent show Happy Boys, one of the most anticipated shows broadcasted on Hunan Satellite TV. Ratings for the latter got stuck at 1.282 percent” (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-07/17/c_132548309.htm).
And it’s pretty much the same format, same set-up, as the American version, right?
Right, with the inevitable zhongguo tese, “Chinese characteristics.”
So, ok, great. Another reality TV show the world doesn’t need. Why should I care a fig about it? I don’t watch that crap back at home – why would I want to watch it here?
Agreed, agreed. But the mere fact that it exists at all is the story. For one things, after Henan Satellite TV’s Mengniu Super Girl competition (2004-2006) attracted some negative criticism for encouraging both superficiality (CPPCC heavyweight Liu Zhongde insisted that it “poisoned the youth”) and voting (both equally toxic behaviors), the future of this sort of talent show seemed in doubt. Then, in 2010, Miss Ma Nuo, a contestant on then searing-hot dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao (“If You Are the One”) said she’s rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle – something that suggested to many in the Kapital that perhaps these kinds of shows were perils to harmonious scientific development and humble hankerings after moderate well-off-ness (小康).
Another thing, Zhejiang Television (launched in 1960) and its satellite division (Zhejiang weishi 浙江卫视) had been chugging along for years, producing shows aimed mainly at the Hangzhou and Zhejiang markets, and doing very so-so state-run television stuff like any other provincial network should, and some popular talent shows, too. How and why ZTV landed The Voice contract is a story you best Google for yourself; but the fact is, The Voice is a proven a game-changer for ZTV, and possibly for Chinese television generally. Ye Lin, in the English-language online edition of The Economic Observer explains:
It is unprecedented in China's TV broadcasting history for a production company and a TV station to form a joint venture, a partnership in which both parties share both the revenue and the risk. This new approach means that the TV station has to take on a greater amount of financial risk. As a consequence, it took Canxing quite some time to find a network that was willing to sign on. http://www.eeo.com.cn/ens/2012/0906/233129.shtml
It’s also big money we’re talking about here. Really big money.
Well, Canxing Productions (灿星制作) dropped three million yuan to buy the rights to produce the show in partnership with ZTV. “Since there is no cap on profit sharing,” Ye Lin explains, “both Canxing and the network would bend over backwards to offer the best-possible show and related promotional campaigns. With this kind of motivational pressure placed on the company, Canxing has invested a large sum of money to make sure that everything from sound equipment, stage setting, audio post production to coaches, bands and technicians are top-class” (supra). Ad revenue is also fairly astronomical. A fifteen-second slot for this season is said to be close to 500 thousand yuan.
That kind of money sure can buy a lot of baozi.
Right you are. But rumors are circulating that some winners aren’t seeing their fair share of the dough. According to an article in the Want China Times, “all the contestants had to sign up with Zhejiang Satellite TV for a term of eight years and have to hand over 80% of any winnings to the TV station”. The network has denied the allegations.**
Liu Caixing (Contestant on the 2nd season of The Voice, House Singer at Traveller Bar Hangzhou)
Before I participated on The Voice, I never thought that one day I would stand on this stage and sing for so many people. Audiences would never imagine how much time we have to spend, hours, to record tracks, and the hundreds of times we practice just for that few minutes on TV. As the saying goes, "One minute on stage, ten years practice," it’s so important to have a strong body. A strong body and physical strength are what one needs to endure the competition that is The Voice.
It doesn’t matter to me how far I’ll go on this show, I'm standing on stage because I love music, even if I have to leave, it doesn’t change that fact, that I still love music. But I have to say, The Voice has brought changes to my life, I'm trying to adapt and digest it all, keep things smooth, to let the music flow and sing quietly along with it.
There are a lot of talent shows these days, opportunities are everywhere. I’m looking forward to seeing more good singers achieve their dreams by going this way.
Hold on a second. You just said that these sorts of shows getting flak from Officialdom, for encouraging the worship of fame and money over more substantial virtues – like honesty, thrift, and hard-work?
Correct, amigo. In July of this year, the American magazine of choice for the international rubbernecker, The Atlantic, ran a story by Beijing-based correspondent Lotus Yuen with the predictably lurid title “Too Popular for Their Own Good: China Restricts TV Singing Competitions: Why the government doesn't like singing shows -- even though ratings are sky-high”. *** Ms Yuen referred specifically to diktat from a 24 July 2013 notice from State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT, just in case you plan on using the abbreviation someday) that said-ministry would put into effect regulations in order to save the laobaixin from “the monotony of television programs” and “provide more options for the audience and satisfy people's diverse demands for television shows.”
In the eyes of SAPPRFT, all television programs must "avoid extravagance, luxury, sensationalism and flashy programming, as well as formats that cause too much excitement." In order to accomplish these goals, from July 24 on, no satellite television networks are allowed to produce new singing competition shows; shows that have finished filming but have not yet been launched are to be pulled until the summer vacation period is over; and shows already airing should adjust their scheduling to avoid conflicting with other programs [ibid].
A version of the same story was run by The Wall Street Journal’s on-line China Real-Time Report, again with the slightly exaggerated headline “China Cracks Down on Televised Singing Competitions.”****
Seems like – once again – Western media has taken another cheap-shot at Beijing.
Indeed, and both The Atlantic and the WSJ article seemed not to note that the results of TVOC’s finals and semi-finals are actually reported on Xinwen Lianbo. It is all the more ironic since – the month following the intimations of some new regulations – American President Barack Obama had similar choice words for the United States’ “reality television” industry. In an interview with Amazon, and relayed and replayed across all media known to humankind, Barry O seemed to be taking a page or two out of SAPPRFT’s playbook:
I do think what’s shifted is a notion that the wealthier you are, the more conspicuous consumption you engage in. The more successful you are, the more society should stay out of your way as you pursue the bigger house or the fancier jet or the bigger yacht. Were there things that all of us might have liked to have? Sure. But partly, I think, there also has been a shift in culture. There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.
Did left-friendly Western media cover that?
The friendlist and leftiest of them all. Marina Hyde, blogging for The Guardian (UK), had a go: “What was Barack Obama thinking?” *****
And back to TVOC. It’s still on, right? Da Gege hasn’t pulled the plug, has he?
No, not at all – despite Lilian Lin’s characterization of the 13 July statement from SAPPRFT: “the day the music died.” Ratings are high, people are watching, and – whatever the red chop on the bulletins from Beijing – both ZTV and Canxing are in the black.
Peng Fei (Musical Director for Chinese Idol, Violinist, Graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles)
This year’s been the biggest yet for televised talent shows in China, the most popular of which are focused on music and singing, something of little consequence to the Chinese people. From an industry perspective, in 2012, the annual output value of domestic music copyrights was only valued in the tens of millions, which, in today’s China, isn’t much to speak of. Years of piracy and free downloads crippled China’s music industry which remains largely stagnant, with little memorable work having been produced in the past few years.
Due to years of recession, record companies have almost no ability to build and market a superstar. Plenty of talented musicians and singers are being abandoned. Now, with the emergence of TV talent shows, these talent people have a new way to market themselves. And fan’s of the show, all over China, are all to eager to participate in making or breaking these people. This year the two most popular programs are The Voice and Chinese Idol. Investment into each of these shows is more than one hundred million yuan. While some of these reality show singers hit it big, most of the musicians make very little, but it’s enough to make this hungry music industry once again rotate, if only for a while. Now, with the competitive nature of this industry and the popularity of this show, every television station in China is investing heavily, sparing no expense, to produce the highest-quality show possible. This pushes technological progress and improves the overall aesthetic. This benefits the audience. Now, TV talent shows not only have the dazzling stages and lighting, but dozens of live big bands. Look back on the very popular Super Girl series from a few years ago and comparing it to what we have today, it almost looks like a karaoke game.
But when it’s all said and done, after these talent shows jump the shark, what will remain other than a few dazzling cover singers? Is our shaky music industry able to prop up these newcomers in the future? Perhaps the outlook is not as optimistic as it looks!
How long do you think it will be before Canxing picks-up the MTV reality show “16 and Pregnant”?
Probably about the same time the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins play for the Stanley Cup on a frozen West Lake.
* vide http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/05/chinese-anchor-clarifies-american-reporter-shrew/52678/
The statement in question can be found here:
See also the MentalFloss.com article “The 25 Most Powerful TV Shows of the Last 25 Years”, and The New Yorker article “The Reality Principle: The rise and rise of a television genre”. For an insightful look at how media is changing us – and how the philosophy of media is itself evolving – check-out Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. It is in some ways dated, but it has aged well. More bleeding-edge is Sherry Turkle’s work, including her 2011 Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.
T I M E
V E N U E
Shanghai Exhibition Center
T I C K E T S
Public Ticket: 150RMB
VIP Preview: 660RMB
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai announces its program highlights and gallery list for its sixth edition which will take place at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from September 20-22 with Presenting Partner Porsche.
Since its beginning, the Fair has provided an unparalleled platform for collectors and audiences across Asia Pacific to revisit the history of photography and to be challenged to redefine the medium's boundaries.
Recognizing photography as a changing and developing art form, the Fair presents moving images, installations, videos, digital art, sculptures and performance alongside classic masterpieces and still works.
This is clearly reflected throughout the Fair's 2019 public program which emphasizes the experimental features of photography, encouraging new approaches and ideas through special exhibitions, installations and new commissions by some of the most exciting artists working in the medium today.
Staged is a curated initiative that spotlights artists working at the cutting-edge of photography. Placed throughout the Fair, Staged 2019 is powered by Ocula and features:
- Chen Dazhi (Three Shadows +3 Gallery, Beijing & Xiamen), whose photography evokes the visualization of spirits across the dimensions of time and space.
- Johannes Wohnseifer (König Galerie, London & Berlin), whose ‘Polaroid Paintings’ challenge the functional use of Polaroids as a social and aesthetic means of documenting everyday reality.
- Michael Najjar (BANK, Shanghai), as a pioneer artist who fuses science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social orders emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies.
- Leila Alaoui (Galleria Continua, Beijing, Havana, Les Moulins, San Gimignano), with La Marocians which brings together larger-than-life portraits taken by the artist as she travelled Morocco.
Li Binyuan (Ren Space, Shanghai), whose performance ‘Room’ (2019) brings together video art and live action sculpture.
In a newly commissioned exhibition, Para Site (Hong Kong) will bring together a diverse collection of artists from across East Asia/Asia Pacific who use photography and new media to challenge the conventional theme of landscape including Yang Yuanyuan, Lau Wai and Tan Lijie.
Titled Fieldwork, the exhibition reflects on ideas around territory, culture, identity and state by reframing the past to consider its role in shaping the future. With artworks never seen in Mainland China, each artist will examine moments in history that have been previously overlooked or deliberately excluded to offer comment on the current geo-political situation. Works include:
- Intensely personal pieces such as Sim Chi Yin’s series One Day They’ll Understand. The work captures the complexity of family history in relation to the Cold War era in South East Asia and examines the hidden stories, silenced memories and contested narratives.
- Particularly pertinent against the backdrop of the Hong Kong protests, Siu Wai Hang's Inside/ Outland documents the very waters that separate Hong Kong from the mainland, a reminder of those who swam to the shores of Hong Kong to seek refuge, including the artist's own father, and the complexity in distilling "we" from "they".
Motoyuki Shitamichi's Torii project in which the artist photographs the Japanese torii outside of Japan’s national borders. Torii represents a symbolic shape in Shintoism and outside of Japan the torii lose their significance and transform into simple objects.
COLLECTORS' EXHIBITION TAKING THE LEAP
Artworks from the UK's University of Salford Art Collection, which focuses on digital and Chinese contemporary art, have been selected by celebrated Hong Kong curator Ying Kwok for the 2019 Collectors' Exhibition.
With the theme Taking the Leap, Kwok challenges collectors and audiences to move away from their comfort zone and demonstrates how to collect digital artworks by showcasing exciting artists including Cao Fei, Sun Xun, Mishka Henner and duo Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead.
The exhibition also hopes to inspire collectors to commission artists to create new work. Demonstrating this point, the leading, and often censored, female multimedia artist Lu Yang, has been commissioned to create a new photographic lightbox which will be shown in the Collectors Exhibition and will then enter the University of Salford Art Collection after the Fair.
Spotlight & Exposure Award
As announced earlier this year, the 2019 public program will also see two Mainland China debuts: Marina Abramović's legendary series The Lovers (1988) in the Spotlight exhibition and a solo presentation of work by French artist Noemie Goudal (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris), winner of the Fair's inaugural Exposure Award powered by MODERN EYE.
Supporting PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai this year are 50 galleries from around the world, committed to showcasing the very best in contemporary photography.
They include: 10 Years Ago (Toronto), Alter Gallery (Shanghai), Arario Gallery (Cheonan, Seoul & Shanghai), Art Labor (Shanghai), ArtCN Gallery (Shanghai), artspace AM (Tokyo), BANK (Shanghai), bitforms gallery (New York), Brownie Project (Shanghai), Cipa Gallery (Beijing), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins & Habana), Danysz Gallery (Paris, Shanghai & London), Galerie Dumonteil (Paris & Shanghai), Galerie F16 (Paris), Flowers Gallery (London, New York & Hong Kong), Gaotai Gallery (Urumqi), Christophe Guye Galerie (Zurich), Harmony Art Gallery (Shanghai), Sean Kelly Gallery (New York & Taipei), Klemm's (Berlin), König Galerie (Berlin & London), Leo Gallery (Shanghai & Hong Kong), Les Douches La Galerie (Paris), Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris), Ami Li Gallery (Beijing), Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai), M Art Center (Shanghai), Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), Nine Art (Shenzhen), Nine Art Space (Shanghai), Anna Nova Gallery (Saint-Petersburg), Ostlicht. Gallery for Photography (Vienna), Pan – View Gallery (Zhengzhou), Christine Park Gallery (New York), Pékin Fine Arts (Beijing & Hong Kong), Galerie Photo 12 (Paris), Rén Space (Shanghai), Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg & London), see + gallery (Beijing & Shenzhen), ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing & Singapore), Three Shadows +3 Gallery (Beijing & Xiamen), Timeless Gallery (Beijing), Time Space Gallery (Beijing & Zhengzhou), Up Gallery (Hsinchu City), Per van der Horst Gallery (The Hague & Taipei), View Art Gallery (Lanzhou) and University of Salford Art Collection (Salford).
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is the leading destination in Asia Pacific for discovering and collecting photography; classic masterpieces, contemporary photography, large-scale installations, moving-image and the latest innovations in technology. PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is dedicated to offering 50 international galleries a unique and personal art fair experience from the tailored environment of the fair, through to dedicated VIP and curator events and personal translation services on the booths. The fair offers two exhibiting sectors Main and Platform that are supported by an extensive Public Program of exhibitions, talks and events, including Insights, Staged, Spotlight, Connected and Conversations.
The sixth edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will be presented by World Photography Organization and PORSCHE.
Living outside your home country can be exciting and eye-opening, immersed with new experiences and culture and the idea of being independent. Yet there are times that we still long for the familiar. That is when homesickness strikes. Being away from what has been common to you for long is tough, and a totally different culture like China is of no help either.
What do you do when homesickness strikes? There are a lot of tips and tricks you can find online, but if there's only one essential thing these tips have in common, that would be cooking up your favorite comfort foods to start the day right.
With that, Sam’s Club prioritizes food safety as much as you do for you and your family; that's why we make sure that our products are properly managed and controlled precisely from our suppliers to our display shelves. We also utilize advanced frozen at sea technique and transports with entire cold chain equipment to eliminate food concerns and ensure food freshness and quality.
Not only that we at Sam's Club offer high quality food at great value so you don't have to break the bank in order to enjoy good and healthy food for you and your family.
We also have prepared a couple of events for you to check out and know about Sam's Club more.
13th Expat Show
New to China? Check us out!
We have the information you need on schools, medical service, shopping and more, exclusively for Expats just like you!
Also, you can enjoy delicious free tasting and DiDi Premier coupons and discounts only at Sam's booth!
Shanghai Exhibition Center, No.1000 Yan An Road, Jing An District, Shanghai
Sam's Club Pop-Up Store
Check out the biggest shopping cart in the world that you have never seen before!
Come and have fun with us! Fun games and presents are waiting for you!
Qibao Vanke Plaza, Caobao Road, Minhang District, Shanghai
We at Sam's Club asked our customers for the dishes and recipes that made them think of home, and here are the 2 best recipes we've compiled for you to enjoy as well.
Mexican Egg Bacon Avocado Toast
Avocado toast is absolutely delicious. It's a go-to for a quick and easy healthy breakfast that is so versatile and can be topped with a variety of ingredients.
- 2 slices Member's Mark Black Wheat Toast
- 2 slices Hormel Selected Bacon
- 2 large Member's Mark Eggs
- 1 large Dole avocado
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pico de Gallo and Feta cheese for topping
1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat.
2. While cooking the bacon, toast the bread, scramble the eggs, and make the avocado mash.
3. To make avocado mash:
- Cut avocado in half lengthwise.
- Take out the seed and scoop the avocado out of the peel with a spoon.
- Mash avocado with a fork.
- Season with paprika, garlic powder and salt to taste.
4. Once everything is done, top bread with avocado mash, scrambled egg, bacon, Pico de Gallo and Feta.
All the eggs are sterilized and source traceable.
¥29.8 / 1.85kg.
¥29.8 / 1.5kg.
Hormel Selected Bacon
¥74 / 1kg.
Black Wheat Toast
¥24.8 / 0.46kg.
Super Fresh Grilled Shrimp Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
A simple salad made almost entirely lettuce, shrimp, corn and bell peppers, and using it in this fresh grilled shrimp salad.
For the Shrimp
- 1 ¼ pound Member's Mark Raw Tail-Off Shrimps
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons Member's Mark Pure Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 3 hearts of romaine (Sliced down the center with end intact)
- 2 ears of corn, husked
- 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, orange whatever you like)
- 1 hothouse cucumber, diced
- 1 large avocado, diced (optional)
- 2 ½ cups of chopped grape tomatoes
For the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon yellow or dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- ⅓ cup Member's Mark Pure Olive Oil
1. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil and salt in a bowl.
2. Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Let marinate for 10-15 minutes while you chop all the veggies and prepare the dressing.
3. Place 4-6 shrimp on wooden skewers before grilling.
1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of honey with a pinch of salt.
2. Continue whisking as you stream in the olive oil.
3. Taste and adjust with an additional tablespoon of honey if you prefer your dressing a little sweeter.
1. Preheat the grill and spray with cooking spray if desired. Grill time will vary for the ingredients so start with the corn.
2. Spray the corn with cooking spray, season with a pinch of salt and roast, turning every 4-5 minutes for about 15-18 minutes total.
3. Add the whole bell pepper next and grill for 1 minute or longer if you’d like it to char a bit.
4. Add the shrimp skewers near the end of cooking time, they’ll take about 2-3 minutes per side.
5. Spray the romaine hearts with cooking spray and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt, grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
1. Add the chopped cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes to a large salad bowl.
2. Remove the stem from the romaine hearts and chop.
3. Chop the corn kernels off the cobb.
4. Dice the bell pepper.
5. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and toss with the dressing.
6. Serve immediately.
Raw Tail-Off Shrimps
¥89 / 0.91kg.
Pure Olive Oil
¥36.8 / 1.46kg.
¥49.8 / 0.1kg.
The fun does not stop there!
We have a lot of other products you may want to experiment with your recipes:
Triple Mix Berries
Imported from Chile.
¥48 / 1.3kg.
Peas, Corn and Carrots
Imported from New Zealand.
¥19.5 / 1.02kg.
Organic Full Cream Fresh Milk
Fresh organic milk air freighted from Australia.
¥56 / 1kg.
To Make Your Life Easier
Sam’s provides an English App for you with same-day delivery and next day delivery service. We have also fulfilled a 1-hour delivery service in most parts of our club cities for you to enjoy a quality and hassle-free life in China.
We ensure you that life is better in the club.
What is Sam's Club?
Sam's Club is a high-end member-only store with a history of over 30 years, over 800 clubs, and 50 million members worldwide. Sam's takes pride in its end-to-end quality management system, where product quality is controlled precisely from its suppliers to its shelves. Sam's aims at providing high-quality products from the best origin at its best price.
What is Member’s Mark?
Sam’s Club offers over 600 types of high-quality products at competitive prices through its private brand – Member’s Mark. Sam’s suppliers are of the highest caliber and they strictly follow product specifications during production to maintain product quality and integrity.
This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.
Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):
“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.
Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.
Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.
Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”
So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.
Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:
Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.
Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table
One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.
Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey
Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.
Give to the needy
This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.
Protect yourself from stray dogs
It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.
Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws
How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.
Earmuffs in the winter
Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.
Haze the new guy
Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.
And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!
Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.
2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.
Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)
Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)
Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)
Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Surfing Carnival (5 days)
Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.
Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)
The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.
Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.
Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.
Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.
Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."
Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.
The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.
Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.
Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.
The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.
On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.
MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.
The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.
The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.
We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!
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