Beijing Summer

“Avengers” subway poster.

Summer traditionally begins with several consecutive days over 22 degrees (mid-70s). It’s here, “Avengers” focus and all.

I’m editing student essays on working in a factory, on losing a mother to labor migration, on how grandparents escaped starvation, on a mother’s manual labor:

“My mother and her coworkers are on duty at 7 in the morning and stand on the fruit canning line till 10 or 11 at night, seven days a week. There are two half-hour breaks, for lunch and supper. The workers are supposed to go home at 6 in the evening, but given that the overtime pay increases from 4 yuan to 6, most of them choose to work until night. What can 6 yuan buy in Beijing? One-third of a hamburger at McDonald’s.”
On the lighter side: The Knicks were eliminated, but they live on here

As summer gets into full swing and the sun is strong, women everywhere are out with big, lace-covered parasols to avoid darkening their porcelain skin.

Welcome to the Victorian era.

(If that fails, there’s always Dove’s Asia-specific whitening products.)

Meanwhile: more mutual monk attraction, ongoing at CoplansinChina . Maybe my friend Maya has it right, they were Buddhists in a previous life. Kenny allows that the bar mitzvah, however, comes first. The 10 Commandments, then the 8-Fold Path.

Beijing: You can get used to it. We’re OK with the dense crush, in a basement cafeteria, firetrap of a wholesale market, packed mile-long subway station or 12-lane highway that just happens to be a ‘normal’ city street.
China’s struggles at this moment, the sudden unexpected tension & excitement around Bo’s cinematic fall and Cheng‘s dissident challenge, the surprising optimism of many Beijing students whether or not it’s justified, the mind-blowing history lived by just about every person you meet over 50–and change so rapid you can detect it in 9 months–it’s all  fascinating & important, it’s a privilege to witness.

Tomorrow a leading Chinese environmental reporter-turned-spokesperson for The Nature Conservancy Asia addresses my students. Nabbed thanks to Brown friend Beth Conover, who made the connection.

One comment on “Beijing Summer

  1. adam maeroff says:

    I want that Chinese Avengers subway poster.


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