By Kirsty Needham
While journalist Kristy Needham heads to Beijing to paintings at a chinese language newspaper as a “foreign expert,” she has studied the language and the heritage yet has no notion what lifestyles in China will fairly be like. As this compelling tale finds, she quickly learns that Communist slogans, transvestite nightclubs, SARS scares, and militant groups of vacationer handlers are only many of the disparate parts of daily life in China that she needs to navigate. From being continuously requested if she is a secret agent to maintaining her integrity at a government-controlled paper, Needham is stuck in a state haunted through its prior and surging towards the longer term. via wry, journalistic observations, this bright memoir deals an enlightening, hilarious, and occasionally frightening outsider’s tackle modern China and its speedily changing culture.
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Additional info for A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China
It seemed older artists were still wrestling with Mao and the propaganda images that had filled the visual landscape of their childhood. The great helmsman reappeared frequently at the end of a brush. Western onlookers might bitch about a tired theme that had been done to death already, but decades of icon building would take longer than that to shake up, digest and spit out. It wasn’t regurgitation, it was subtle manipulation. Sometimes so subtle as to elude the outsider. QX5 26/6/06 12:23 PM Page 25 Yellow Dust 25 ‘I think it is irony,’ said one artist, when I asked about a series of paintings depicting a grey Mao sleeping.
He was addressed casually as Old Chen around the compound, but the ‘old’ was a relative term. The director was an energetic and fit man in his fifties who dressed snappily in chinos and an open-collared checked shirt, a pair of glasses resting atop high cheekbones on a long, angular face. His deputy, also Chen, in turn suffered the nickname Small Chen despite his towering stature and a respectable age of forty-something. QX5 44 26/6/06 12:23 PM Page 44 A SEASON IN RED along with Wang and Li, being the most common family name in China.
Finally, a light nylon doona already in its slipcover was thrown over the top. I thought I’d done a rather good job. But Zhou Mi looked at my efforts in dismay. She ripped the first doona off the top and threw it onto a chair, and shook her head at the layers of hidden doona beneath. She began to strip them off too. ‘Bu ganjing! ’ she scolded. I picked the doonas up from the floor and put them back on the bed. Zhou Mi whipped them off again. I searched for my dictionary and the words to explain that there was no way I would be able to sleep on such a hard surface.
A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China by Kirsty Needham