An old word has been enjoying a big revival in Chinese society recently - the word is 土豪 (tu hao). Just like a couple of years ago when everything was 囧 (jiong) or last year when 吊丝 (diao si) took off, this year the big word seems to be 土豪. The literal meaning is 'local tyrant', and originally it pointed to local or provincial government officials or bosses/warlords (presumably a hundred odd years ago). Now it more commonly indicates a ...Taobao repeat success - 30bn RMB of sales in a single day....
I wrote last year about Taobao's massive day of sales, where they clocked up 19bn RMB of sales in a single day as part of the 'Guang Gun Jie' (Singles Day) on 11 November. This year's total? 35bn... The numbers coming through from Tmall's official Weibo account are as follows: 35bn RMB in sales on a single day (11th November) - that's around $5.8bn USD. Incredible 1bn RMB was spent in the first 50 minutes of the day - ie. ...Why do Westerners 'dissect' Eastern physical arts?
It's hard to ignore the different ways Western and Chinese students approach kung fu, but when I leafed through a stack of yoga books on my friend's coffee table, I understood why. The yoga books were great (info here) - thick manuals with hundreds of clear, easy to understand and anatomically correct diagrams of the human body in various yoga postures, highlighting which muscles, bones and ligaments were in play in which moves, showing exactly how the breathing movements affected ...Gold and Silver - Fuzhou Traditional Wushu Competition
Another weekend, another competition, another couple of medals! I got a surprise phonecall from Master Su Ying Han last week telling me this weekend there would be a kung fu competition in Fuzhou, which he was attending to give a presentation to undergraduate martial arts students. It was the 1st Annual Fujian Traditional Wushu Championships to give the full name (2013年福建省首局传统武术争霸塞), and I entered the freehand patterns and long weapons patterns as usual. The competition standard was reasonably high this ...Buying Tea and the China Myth
A windy alley in the old Beijing hu tongs, the faint sound of a zither whistles through the wind, a woman in a silk costume practices tai chi as the sun rises...NOOO! It's the China Myth again. The secret tea master In his guest blog post on the Tea For Me Please site, Derek Chew states that Chinese tea shop owners will only bring out their best teas once they recognise that you're someone who can really appreciate them. These ...LondonFrockExchange launched!
After a couple of long and challenging years for everyone involved, my friends Sarah and Bethany relaunched the fresh new London Frock Exchange website last night - www.londonfrockexchange.com The business is pleasantly simple - London Frock Exchange will take the frocks you don't want and let you swap them for dresses other women have sent in. For almost nothing, you never have to wear the same frock twice - ie. think of a busy summer of weddings or formal occasions ...Tai Gong Goes Fishing
I learned a staff pattern last year from Su Ying Han in Yong Chun called Tai Gong Diao Yu - today I learned the story behind the name. So the full name is 太公钓鱼 (tai gong diao yu) - diao yu means fishing, and Tai Gong is the name of a famous military strategist from the Shang Dynasty around 1100BC. To escape a cruel and intolerable king, Tai Gong disappeared from public life, telling friends he hoped that when the ...Tan Hua Yi Xian - Queen of the Night flower
There's a saying in Chinese which means something like "flash in the pan", or something that is great for a short time - tan hua yi xian It's named after a flower which blooms once a year (or sometimes once every couple of years) and then nothing for the rest of the year. My neighbour has a plant, and this evening it bloomed and she asked me to take some photos. Here's the results. Enjoy!2013 MinNan Culture Festival Wushu Competition - Gold!
Last week, at the snappily named International Southern Shaolin Traditional Martial Arts Invitational Competition, I got a gold medal for my Shaolin Staff pattern! It was quite a big competition, with lots of overseas groups invited (mostly Hong Kong, Taiwan and SE Asia), and as usual, a good showing from my instructors and fellow students at Fujian White Crane in London. We all did much better in the weapons than in the freehand patterns - I got Bronze in the ...Bootstrap and Unsemantic - CSS Frameworks first thoughts
I've been unimpressed with the Google Glass and "iWatch" prototypes that have been going around recently. It keeps popping into my head - is this the best they can come up with? Think back to the iPhone - it was sexy and interesting and incredible, but actually, the thing about it that I just had to use was the swipe and pinch for photos. It was just something unbelievably cool, like Minority Report or something. The Google Glass hasn't had ...Three businesses I wish I'd started 5 years ago in China
The title kind of says it all really, doesn't it? These are things that I wish I'd done with the gift of hindsight or wish I could do with a time-travelling Delorian. Sell milk powder Chinese people are crazy for imported milk powder. There's a bunch of reasons: firstly, of course, people are scared of buying domestically produced milk powder because of the melamine scandals a few years back. But there's three other powerful reasons: Chinese grandparents are massively involved ...Comparing the UK and China; who comes up short?
For various reasons, I've been revisiting some of my more ingrained attitudes towards China in a new light. Particularly, with the new arrival and more and more scandals in the UK, it's made me really think about the actual material differences between China and the UK. In China, I've oscillated wildly between love and hate. Sometimes it's big things like censorship, lack of freedoms or corruption. Other times its small things like being forced to listen to Chinese people hock ...Adding internal page links to Django-CKEditor
For a bunch of new Django webprojects, I've switched from using TinyMCE to the excellent CKEditor. The reason? Easy out-of-the-box file uploads and image embedding. The problem though? Internal page links... One of the big missing pieces of CKEditor is the lack of ability to easily make links to pages / objects within your Django installation - for example, quickly seeing a list of available Flatpages and clicking to add an href, instead of typing it manually. So my solution ...Searching for Yong Chun Kung Fu
Last August I got roped into 'acting' in a short film for the Yong Chun tourism bureau. Hopefully it's the end of my movie career... The movie was fun to make, and took about 2 days of my time (and another 5-7 days of the film crew's time). Each aspiring tourist destination in Fujian Province has made one of these short flicks to help promote tourism across the province - for Yong Chun, they decided to rely on their local ...Taobao's absolutely gigantic day of sales
Two days ago the Chinese website taobao.com held a discount promotion to celebrate what's known as 'double sticks day' in China. In a single 24hr period, they conducted 19bn RMB (US$3.06bn) of business. The figure is a world record - apparently, the closest competitor was 2011 Cyber Monday in the US, where total sales across all retailers was $1.25bn (comScore). Taobao already ranks 12 in the list of top global websites (Alexa), but the record sales mark a highwater-point for ...The greatest thing about China? Its tax code.
The last few weeks I've started and scrapped more blog posts than I care to remember. Most were negative rants about China, but the one I've finally decided to write is about the strangest of things - China's tax code. If there's one thing that deserves exceptional praise in China, it's the supremely morally satisfying way in which tax is collected (yep, I said "morally satisfying" and "China" in the same sentence!): Individuals pay very little tax Large organisations pay ...What does China gain from its bad PR?
Ever since the Chinese government embarked on its 'soft power' drive to improve the image and influence of China internationally, bloggers and critics have been feasting on the never-ending supply of appalling PR flops. But I wonder if they really are such failures? The latest banana-slip, an attempt by a consulate general to pressure a small-town American to remove a mural depicting Tibet and Taiwan independence messages has attracted attention. It's not the first: in just the last few months ...Gold! Two medals in the 2012 Zheng Cheng Gong traditional kung fu competition!
And the winner is.... me! I just returned proudly from the 2nd Annual Zheng Cheng Gong kung fu competition near Quanzhou with two gold medals around my neck! In the competition I performed a freehand pattern called 鸭子潭水 (ya zi tan shui, literally, the duck plays in the water) and a staff pattern called 太公钓鱼 (tai gong diao yu, lit. grandfather fishing). These are both patterns from Su Ying Han's traditional Yong Chun White Crane system. I was representing the ...Basic example of Shipwire API with Django (Python)
I remember when I was looking around for integration with the Shipwire API with my Django app, there weren't many examples - so here's one I made myself. This is a request to their RateRequest API, where you pass an address, and it returns with a cost to ship the product from your stock. import urllib import urllib2 import xml.etree.ElementTree as etree def calculate_shipping(request, order_id): order = get_object_or_404(Order, id=order_id) sw_password = settings.SHIPWIRE_PASSWORD sw_username = settings.SHIPWIRE_USERNAME sw_url = settings.SHIPWIRE_SHIPPING_URL # this ...