I’m slowly digging myself out of the mire of crap I’ve had to put on hold for the last three or four weeks. I succeeded in a little test of not touching the Internet for the 10 days I was in Thailand. As someone that gets itchy when he hasn’t checked his e-mail in a couple hours… I’m a bit proud I managed it.

However, now I’m paying for it with a bit of a backlog of e-mails to reply to, posts to write, photos to process, site bugs to fix and a boatload of blog entries to read in my RSS reader. I’m quick to stop Bloglines from loading when I open my browser for the simple reason that I don’t want to get sucked in to the day’s worth of reading awaiting me there.

That said, I couldn’t resist checking out Danwei and that led me to discover Ich Bin Ein Beijinger – a great, recently-revived, blog by writer and former Tang Dynasty rocker, “Kaiser Kuo”.

This, in turn, reminded me that I’ve been meaning to make mention of a recent Danwei TV episode – “Beijing blogger Wang Xiaofeng sticks it to the man“. I had heard of Wang Xiaofeng referenced a number of times via his pen name, Massage Milk, in various translated posts on ESWN and Danwei and always thought he had some interesting things to say, but this video removed all doubt I previously held that there were no truly cool Chinese. Kudos to Jeremy for being an excellent mic stand and just letting Wang talk.

War TrashThe one thing that all the time off the net did allow for was finally completing a novel I’ve been trying to finish for a month or two.

War Trash is the fictional memoir of a young Nationalists-trained soldier, Yu Yuan, who is ordered away from his ailing mother and young fiancee in Sichuan to the cold and confusing front-lines of the Korean War. Along with giving a bit of a Korean War history lesson, the novel delves deepest into the lines drawn between Communists and Nationalists in the years following the Chinese civil war.

Check out the full review of War Trash at the Lost Laowai blog.

I’m off to sort through my honeymoon photos.

7 Responses

  1. Crazy awesome post, man! You never cease to amaze. Even when you claim to be way too busy, you still produce some great content. Thanks for the review of “War Trash” (now, I don’t need to read it!)

  2. Hey Chris, thanks. To be honest, unless you’ve much interest in China or the Korean War, I don’t imagine the book is all that interesting – however, for us long-termers in this country… it fills in one more piece of the puzzle. If you do pick it up… be warned, it reads slow. Well, at times it is quick, at times slow, at times disjointed… it’s actually very cleverly written in that regard, as it really does feel like a true memoir.

  3. You did better than I did. I’ve just come back from ten days in Thailand, and all I managed to read was a few pages of a stolen Lonely Planet and a quiz in my girlfriend’s Cosmo about how good I am in bed. I was mostly e’s.

  4. War Trash is a fantastic book. I picked it up in Seattle about a year before I moved to China, but it languished for too long on my shelf. I finally read it the week before I trucked up to Dandong back in November, which made both the trip and the book more meaningful. I just picked up his previous book, Waiting, at a guesthouse in Bangkok (60 baht, what a deal!). What I like about his writing is that he uses relatively simple prose (in his second language) to express thoughtful and complex themes.

  5. G’Damnit… did anyone NOT recently go to Thailand? We should have had a China-blogger night out for Christ’s sake… (though that technically might have defeated the purpose of me avoiding the Internet for those 10 days – as it was more a show of priorities to Maggie).

    @Chris: Waiting is high on my list of books to read – more so because I want some perspective on his writing. I want to see if some things from War Trash were intentionally stylistic, or just his writing. I went to Dandong about a year and a half ago, and it definitely would have had more meaning had I read this book first. As a Canadian, perhaps I should do you one better and see if I can’t rustle up a DPRK visa 😉

    @Meursault: ‘E’ is for excellent? 😐

  6. I was thinking the same thing about Thailand. Considering we got more snow in Dalian last night, can you blame anybody for running for the tropics?

    A DPRK visa would definitely take the cake. A British friend who was living in Dandong until just recently has been trying to get in for months through a diplomat she knows. I’ve managed to see both sides of North Korea now (from China and SK), but I think I’ve gotten as close as I’m likely to get for a while with my US passport.

  7. Hey, I just connected the dots … I’ve read Waiting, but didn’t realize this was the same author. Waiting is a fantastic book, I highly recommend it. Now, I’m thinking I might have to read War Trash after all …

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