Why You Need To Know Chinese Actress Yao Chen

 

She is currently one of China’s most popular award-winning actresses, she’s been placed on Forbes‘ list of 100 Most Powerful Women at age 34, and she’s gorgeous. Those are just some of the many, many reasons you should get to know Yao Chen, Chinese actress, activist and philanthropist.

Named by Time Magazine as China’s “darling” of romantic comedies, the Fujian province native has starred in an a variety of films and shows, debuting in the TV drama City Man and Woman in 2002. Chen has also appeared in a slew of well-known Chinese films such as Firestorm and Colour Me Love, as well as Sophie’s Revenge, where she starred alongside A-listers Fan Bing Bing and Zhang Zi Yi.

Though she has enough awards under her belt to make any actress in the industry envious, that is not the sole reason why Chen currently has an unbelievable amount of followers on social media. She was even nicknamed the “Queen of Microblogging” because of her impressively large fan base of more than 71 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service, surpassing Katy Perry’s 54.8 million Twitter followers.

 

yao1

Yao Chen’s street style is pretty amazing, too.

socool

 

Turns out, the Chinese darling is way more than just a pretty face — Yao Chen also has a heart to reach out to others. According to China Daily, in 2010 she was named as UNHCR’s (UN’s Refugee Agency) first Chinese honorary patron, and in 2013 she was named Goodwill Ambassador of China by the same agency. That year, she took her first trip to Mae La, a camp in western Thailand to visit Myanmar refugees, and later on donated to UNHCR’s relief fund for people affected by the drought and famine in Africa.

Continuing with her philanthropy work, Yao recently took some time off her glamorous celebrity life and visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon, paying for the trip with money from her own pocket.

Of course, this was certainly no romantic getaway as one can imagine, and she was constantly in danger. Even after safely returning to China, she still has recurring nightmares. “On the way home from the grocery store, I find my house has been bombed. Everybody is running and crying. I cannot find my family. Then I survive alone in ruins …” she told China Daily about her nightmare. Sadly, this was reality for many of the refugees she had met, who had fled to Lebanon and sought shelter in old buildings, garages and storehouses.

 

yao4

yao5

 

 

yao6

 

During her time in Beirut, Lebanon, the actress also had a number of scares, as car bombs frequently were set off in the city and noises of gun shots were constantly heard on the streets. Still, with an admirable attitude, Yao told China Daily that she would still have gone even if she had known about the amount of danger she would be put in. And though she admits she feels like there is not much she can do to help the refugee’s situation, she feels that her time there was well spent. “Our visit can’t change their fate or current situation, but it will draw attention from others, and I can share the area’s condition with more and more people,” she told China Daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of China Daily.

 

 

Chinese Doctors Bow For An 11-Year-Old’s Selfless Decision

 

These bowing doctors are not the only ones in awe of 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi. This image, along with its inspiring story, has been circulating all throughout China. Everyone seems to be impressed with this selfless young man who proved that children are most certainly capable of doing what is noble and good.

Liang was a fifth grader in Shenzhen, China. Despite his young age, he already knew that he wanted to save lives as a doctor in the future.

“There are many people doing great things in the world,” he told ChinaDaily.com. “They are great, and I want to be a great kid, too.” Well it was only a matter of time before Liang fulfilled that longing.

In April, Liang was diagnosed with brain cancer and even after multiple surgeries, his body could not handle the cancer. There on his deathbed, Liang told his parents about his final decision: After he died, Liang wanted to donate his organs so that he could help others live.

 

 

Soon after, the brave 11-year-old passed away. Touched by his incredible selflessness, Chinese doctors bowed to Liang before performing the surgery.

Although he didn’t end up becoming a doctor, Liang managed to fulfill his wish of saving lives. According to China Daily, the boy’s kidney and liver were successfully transplanted to people in need.

 

(Source 1, 2)

 

Why This Chinese Artist Recreated Noah’s Ark in China

 

Ninety-nine stuffed animals recently sailed into the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, on a little fishing boat. But no worries — though the scene may have shared a resemblance to Noah’s Ark from the Bible, it isn’t some type of apocalyptic warning. In fact, it was to raise awareness of a major ongoing issue in China.

By now, you’ve probably heard an infinite number of horror stories depicting China’s terrible water pollution situation, including the one where some 16,000 dead pigs were dumped and found in the same Huangpu River last year. Why is this especially a major issue? The Huangpu River supplies the city with some of its drinking water. Having grown up in Shanghai myself, I nearly went into cardiac arrest when word broke out.

Sadly, even with all the media attention, not a lot has actually been done to relieve the problem. This is where New York-based Cai Guo-Qiang stepped in with his art piece, titled “Ninth Wave”, to promote his cause of putting an end to water pollution.

 

art

Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

 

noa2

Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

Cai produced each and every single one of the 99 animals, along with the boat in his hometown of Fujian, China. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cai explained the concept behind the mini ark: “The creatures are depicted as near death — as though seasick from the currents of our times.” As for why he chose 99 animals, he reportedly said that it is a number that symbolizes “infiniteness” in China. 

 

Disabled Chinese Woman Wins the Hearts of Netizens

 

As a girl with two perfectly usable legs, I still wobble in shoes that come with heels higher than two inches.

When pictures of 26-year-old Er Ma Ayie surfaced on social media in China, she put girls like me to deep, deep shame. The Sichuan-native not only has just one leg she manages to fiercely walk the streets of China, in a 7.8-inch heel on her left leg, no less. Quite fashionably too, might I add.

As her pictures began circulating around Weibo, she won over men and women in China everywhere and was quickly deemed the “Asian Venus” for her strength and beauty. But she’s not just known for her graceful looks — she also has an inspiring story.

Er Ma, as you can imagine, did not always walk so confidently. When Er Ma was only 3 years old, she was in a tragic car accident that left her with an amputated right leg. Due to the placement of the amputation, she wasn’t given the option of a prosthetic leg. Thus, Er Ma grew up insecure, forced to cope with the circumstances she was given.

Er Ma also grew up an aspiring singer and received much praise from her teachers. After graduating high school, she became a kindergarten teacher, specializing in teaching kids how to sing. Later, at the age of 19, she was recruited to sing for Chengdu Disabled Art Troupe. Though she admits she had “never been as happy as that day,” she remained apprehensive because of her leg. She believed that she needed to wear long gowns and high-heeled shoes in order to achieve the image of an elegant singer she always envisioned.

 

shoe

 

Despite her insecurities of not being able to wear high-heeled shoes like her fellow singers, she gave it a try anyway. She even recalls almost breaking her leg the first time she attempted it. But she never gave up, and eventually she trained herself to walk in the high heeled shoes pictured above. Now, with much more confidence, Er Ma recently told reporters, “Luckily I didn’t give up trying to wear it. Now I can wear a 20-centimeter-high heel very confidently. I feel I am no different from the other girls.”

When told that photos of her walking in heels had gone viral on social media, she said, “I am surprised to hear that … I am actually a common girl.” She added that she hopes that the photos perhaps “opened people’s hearts and helped them to cope with their own defects.”

Er Ma’s self-assurance continued to grow from there, and she even took up yoga and badminton, among other physical activities that she never thought she would be able to do. “We should never let our body defects affect our mental health,” she said. “As long as your heart beams, your outward appearance won’t dim.”

China Turns the Tables: Attractive Men Used to Market Women’s Beauty Products

 

We understand why women star in makeup commercials. After all, women are (generally) the target audience for makeup. But when women are used for cologne commercials, sports commercials or any other male-targeted product commercials, we can’t help but cringe a little. Don’t get us wrong — we have no problem with women breaking gender roles and being into these products as well, but you can’t sit there and tell us that a hot girl in a bikini swooning over a guy’s freshly-shaven face makes women wanna go buy some shaving cream.

Nevertheless, attractive women are constantly used to sell male-targeted products. This led me to wonder what it would be like if things were the other way around. No, I’m not talking about men modeling two-piece bikinis. I’m talking about a world where media focused on the male body to sell. What if, in a complete turn of events, men were used to sell makeup and beauty products?

Well it looks like I don’t have to wonder anymore because China has already begun to turn the tables. In China, Maybelline now uses male celebrities to sell beauty products to women. Clearly, this move is timed perfectly with the successful rise of idols. So far, they have enlisted Taiwanese pop star and actor Ko Chen-tung.

 

 

We’re not blind — we understand the problems with this idea. The biggest criticism we foresee is the commercial’s shift from “this product makes me beautiful” to “this product will help me impress hot guys.” Obviously, we’re rooting for commercials which advocate for self-love instead of being beautiful for someone else.

But we can’t deny that we’re quite amused with this concept. For starters, maybe men will realize how difficult it is when media sets such high standards. Also, let me just be honest here: I’m quite the happy camper when media recognizes that Asian men can be hot. Don’t you hate that stereotype? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at mainstream media portraying Asian men as unappealing. Clearly, China knows that stereotype is wrong and they’re not afraid to show it.

Check out the commercial below and tell us what you think!

 

 

(Source)

Unlocked Possibilities: Paintings & Personal Stories of China’s Most Esteemed Female Celebs

 

With all the fame, the money and of course the good looks, it’s easy to lose sight of the hard work that some big name celebrities have put into their careers to get to where they are now.

To honor some of China’s most esteemed female celebrities, renowned Chinese artist Yu Hong recently collaborated with luxury jewelry brand, Tiffany & Co., to create stunning portraits of tennis player Li NA, actress Zhang Zi Yi, and singer Li Yuchun. Each of these women were given one of Tiffany’s iconic key necklaces, which are seen in surprisingly moving interview videos, shot by director Mackenzie Sheppard and director of photography Oliver Miller.

According to Jing Daily, the concept behind this collaboration came from the artist Hong herself, who sought to “forge a relationship between Tiffany’s keys and the audience by connecting the everyday experience of people in China with the stars she paints.” The Tiffany key necklaces, priced between $5,600-$8,700, are also symbolic, in that they represent the “unlocked possibilities” of each of the celebrities futures.

In her personal video, Zhang Zi Yi tells her own story as Hong listens on and gracefully paints her portrait.

Zhang speaks of how she once studied to be a ballerina, then realized that her true passion lay in acting. “When you leave behind what you know to pursue something new, it takes a lot of courage,” she says. She also laments her fear of failure and the struggle she faced in her journey to become an actress. “Growing up, experience tells us that most of the time being lazy or giving up isn’t a choice, because you only have one purpose, and that is to live up to greatness.”

Watch each of the celebrity’s unravel their personal stories in the videos below:

 

 

Zhang Ziyi: Portrait of Possibility from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.

 

 

Li Na: “Unlock the Possibilities” from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.

 

 

Li Yuchun from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.

 

This Inspirational Chinese Village Teacher Single-Handedly Taught Hundreds of Orphans

 

I was never fond of elementary school. In fact, I was one of those kids who could never pay attention to anything but the sound of the ticking clock in the classroom, counting down the minutes until I could grab my friends and run outside to the playground.

Sound familiar? Well, maybe this story of a Chinese villager will change your mind about your animal cracker-eating days that have long since passed. Perhaps it will even make you feel nostalgic for your childhood as well.

Zeng Xiangwei was a villager living in rural Hunan (a province of south-central China), who was left to raise his two grandchildren. Despite the poor conditions of his home, Zeng raised them with his wife and gave them a proper family life.

 

sweet

 

But his warmth and generosity didn’t just end there. Thirty-eight years ago, Zeng also volunteered to teach orphaned children in an old, dingy, abandoned warehouse that was converted into a school in the ’60s. Now at the age of 56 and doing double duty as headmaster of the school, Zeng has taught more than 600 children — 10 of whom have even gone on to study at universities in China. He is also the only teacher at this institution.

 

teacher

 

To this day, he continues to teach his current 13 students with curricula that he plans and prepares by himself, but also makes sure to include fun activities.

 

play

ring

 

The crafty man also teaches his students the art of paper-folding.

 

 

crafts

 

In addition to being a fatherly figure to his grandchildren and students, Zeng is also the village handyman and always steps up to fix satellite TVs wherever there may be a bad connection. On top of all of that, he returns home every day to tend to his three acres of rice fields.

 

whoa

 

Zeng, who was nominated as one of the best village teachers in Hunan, says he has plans to retire in four years, but that he “has never regretted” the last 38 years of his life, single-handedly teaching hundreds of children.

 

sad

 

Bottom’s Up! Drink (Fake) Blood at a Vampire-Themed Cafe in China

 

Remember when you fell in love with Edward Cullen in the vampire series, Twilight? Said no one above the age of 12, ever.

Well, maybe not no one — looks like the vampire craze isn’t just for tween’s anymore.

Chinese locals have been lining up to purchase bags of “blood,” in a vampire-themed café in Liaoning, China. According to the New York Post, “blood” beverages include red wine, cherry cola and blackcurrant flavored juices that come in pouches. In order to make it look “authentic,” they’ve even labeled the pouches “Blood Type Energy Supply.”

 

blood

 

 

 

The manager of the café, Hsin Hsia, told the Post, “The Vampire Diaries are enormously popular here now and with all the interest in everything to do with vampires, we felt this was something that would really catch on.”

Inspired by the hit TV show, as well as HBO’s True Blood, the café even designed its interiors to resemble a cellar and added coffins to make it extra authentic. There’s also a series of books about vampires you can read to get you in the mood.

 

blood4

 

Hsin remains realistic about who they’re catering to, however, and admits that most of their customers are mostly younger in age. “We don’t get many older customers; they think it’s weird when they realize everything we have to drink is only available in blood bags,” he said.

Watch These Chinese Dancing Grannies Get Their Groove On

 

It seems like this year, people in China are breaking a sweat everywhere, dancing the summer days away. Last week, we brought you a video of a Chinese boy dancing his way into a pair of pants without using his hands. Not to be out-shined on social media, Chinese grannies have been hitting the streets all over the nation, grooving to the beat of Chinese pop songs.

Much to their neighbors dismay, the early birds begin their routine at the crack of dawn. There has been quite the backlash against the grannies, however, as many young people feel that the grannies are disrupting their peaceful, tranquil mornings.

According to NBC News, some of the neighbors have been not so subtle about their feelings towards the dancing granny movement; there have been reported cases of the neighbors throwing water-bombs, and in one case, a large amount of poop at the grannies.

Though the grannies are aware of the young people’s complaints, they continue to wave their hands in the air, like they just don’t care.

 

grannies2

The dancing grannies do not seem to see a problem with their dancing — which has now been nicknamed 广场舞, roughly translating to dancing in a square. They have even spoken up over the backlash. One particular granny told China Youth Daily,”We’ll keep the noise down, but people should be up and going to work by 8am…Why can’t young people just get up earlier?”

All over China, there is now an estimated number of one hundred million public dancers, and the numbers are continuing to grow.

Watch them in action below:

 


Chinese Malls, Now Adding The Weirdest Activities To Your Shopping Experience

 

Personally for me, going shopping in a mall in itself — especially one in the United States — is somewhat of an experience. Between all the shameless people-watching (admit it, you do it, too), the seductive lure of Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels, and of course, the 300 something stores, it’s pretty hard to get bored with all of that going on around you. At least, that’s what you would think.

Chinese consumers however, beg to differ. These days, malls in China are built over-the-top. They’ll include anything from an aquarium with performers dressed up as mermaids, to a pig farm. According to the Wall Street Journal, for those adventurous consumers who want to feel like they are simultaneously sunbathing and shopping, there’s now even a man-made beach, in addition to an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink and a 14-screen IMAX theatre, all stuffed into New Century Global Center, a mall in Chengdu, China.

 

mall

 

There is, of course, an actual reason behind this ridiculously jam-packed shopping concept. Mark Isreal, CEO of Value Retail China, a company that specializes in developing luxury malls and outlets, recently told the WSJ in an interview that mall owners feel the need to take it up a notch, in order to compete with online shopping. He also told WSJ, “We’ve passed the time where the consumer cares just about the product or the brands they can find. They care about the entire experience.”

Here are some other crazy things you can find while shopping in malls in China:

A Claude Monet Exhibition, in the basement of Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall:

 

monet

 

 

In an outlet mall in Suzhou, China, a street performer at Suzhou Village, who, according to the WSJ, is supposedly embodying the “graphics of the textile seen by Marco Polo on his silk road journey.”

 

mall2

 

And last but not least, an aquarium with live mermaid performers in The City of Dreams, an entertainment hub in Macau, China:

 

mermaid

 

Feeling overwhelmed yet? Excuse me while I go lie down.