Cultural compass: the habits of Chinese people

Having read this bullet list on Douban about the characteristics of Chinese people, I cannot resist writing a post on this. After all, I do agree with a lot of the observations, some of which I take the liberty to share here: 52. Enjoy giving mooncakes as presents, as well as eating them. 57. In a…

Writing blog tour

Thanks to Penny Boxall for inviting me to take part in this writing blog tour! What am I writing on?  At the moment I am obsessed with anything to do with identity, history and visual art: Matisse’s colourful cutouts, butterflies, lost keys, misplaced library books, children’s innocent remarks, train journeys when one looks out of…

Carl Randall at Daiwa Foundation House: the artist as outsider

In his conversation with Andrew Stahl from The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL at Daiwa Foundation House on Thursday, Carl Randall explained how his meticulous paintings evolved from a simple sketch. It might originate from some movements or people’s facial expressions that intrigued him, and then he would make a few quick sketches on the…

Goldfish reviewed in Magma Poetry – Multiple Sides of Everything

Matt Merritt has reviewed Goldfish alongside two other poetry books – Pretty by Ahren Warner (Bloodaxe Books 2013) and Selected Poems by Peter Hughes (Shearsman Books 2013) – in the current issue of Magma Poetry (Issue 57) edited by Ian McEwen and Hannah Lowe. Below is an excerpt: It takes a little time in this lengthy second collection…

Interview and a Chinese poem on Urban Diary

Urban Diary, an online journal supported by Oval Partnership, has featured my Chinese poem ‘Turtle Jelly’ from my poetry collection Goldfish and an interview on writing poetry in English. To read the full text in Chinese, please go to http://www.urbandiarist.com/012 For the benefit of non-Chinese speakers, an English version of the feature article is appended here: Urban Diary article…

CFCCA Curating China conference

Despite the downpour, the trip to Manchester to attend the CFCCA conference on curating china, was highly rewarding. In fact, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that it’s a sold-out event. This is the first time I visited CFCCA after their rebranding campaign. I’m not sure if I like the branding colour (yellow) much,…

Musings on the BP Portrait Award 2013: Carl Randall

Among the exhibits this year, what touches me most is the set of commissioned work by Carl Randall, featuring modern life in Japan. Having spent years in Japan, his paintings of Japanese city workers are marked by keenness of observation and his authentic interpretation of Asian lifestyle. Frequently using flattened images and creating crowds out…

Frances Ha: to take life with a pinch of salt

Quirky, fun and philosophical, Frances Ha is a rare gem in popular cinema. The film charts the friendship and conflict between Frances and her flatmate Sophie, and highlights the life of Frances as a struggling dancer. The black-and-white cinematography creates a strange yet satisfying mood. Instead of relying on dramatic plot or the change of…

Thoughts on Taylor Wessing portraits: framing the everyday

Among this year’s Taylor Wessing photography prize shortlisted entries, the portraits that draw me most are those that frame and articulate the offguarded moments of people, revealing the poetic quality in off-stage, everyday rituals. James Russell Cant’s picture Heather and Her Friends captures a candid moment of teenagers fascinated by online contents: the hypnotised looks…

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged by the very talented poet Kirsten Irving to give this interview for an expanding blog project called The Next Big Thing. You can read her interview here! The idea is to post mine and tag other writers to do the same on 9 January 2013. Where did the idea come from for the book? I…