Check Out This Creative Chinese Artist’s Recreation of Noah’s Ark

 

99 stuffed animals recently sailed into the Huangpu river in Shanghai, China on a little fishing boat. But no worries — though it may share resemblance to Noah’s Ark from the bible, it isn’t some type of apocalyptic warning. In fact, it is to raise awareness of a major on-going 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 it’s 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 from the hogwash, 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.

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Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist

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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 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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

 

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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.”

 

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

 

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

 

Chinese Cancer Patient Makes 1,000 Dolls to Raise Money For Hospital Bill

 

Medical bills these days can go through the roof — especially for local Chinese citizens who do not necessarily have the funds to pay for insurance.

When 26-year-old Zhou Jie was diagnosed with colon cancer, she turned to her family members, who emptied out all their savings in order to help relieve some of the costs. The treatment however, came at too high a price. Even with the aid of her family, she could not meet what the bills demanded.

It’s easy to throw your hands up and surrender when facing debt, and even more so with death — but the Suzhou native didn’t give up. Instead, she made 1,000 dolls and sold them online to raise money, to cover the costs of her illness.

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In no time at all, her story went viral, and Chinese citizens began reaching out to her with words of encouragement — along with their purchases of the dolls. The dolls were priced between 38 – 98 rmb (roughly $6 – $16 USD).

On June 30th, Zhou Jie, dubbed the “doll girl,” passed away peacefully. Her family had told China Times that she had no regrets, knowing that she had the support and love of her family, friends and complete strangers, whom all helped made her dream of raising money, come true.

Introducing Ming Xi, One of China’s Hottest Top Models Right Now

 

You may already be familiar with Chinese models Liu Wen and Fei Fei Sun, but be sure to add the Shanghainese-born model, Ming Xi (birth name Xi Mengyao), to your list of models to watch. Not only was she named one of the top 50 supermodels of the world at the age of 24, she is also currently one of fashion’s busiest and most in-demand models.

With her unique features (those eyes!) and willowy limbs, her success came pretty naturally. Two years after graduating with a degree in fashion design at Donghua University, Ming Xi entered the International Elite Model Look competition in 2009 and came in third place. In January the next year, Givenchy’s creative director Richard Tisci personally requested her to walk in the line’s haute couture runway show. The year after, she appeared in Givenchy’s campaigns.

 

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Givenchy fell in love with her, and just like that, so did the rest of the world. The high-profile model has walked for Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, just to name a few. Most notably, she also walked with some fierce attitude in Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as one of only four Asian models in the entire show.

 

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Clearly, the girl knows how to work the crowd.

Her success pretty much sky rocketed from there. Michael Kors loves her so much that he sent her to the Met Gala in 2014, where she turned heads in an elegant black and green ball gown. She then flew to China where she walked alongside top American fashion models Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Miranda Kerr in Michael Kor’s Shanghai Extravaganza. She also attended his jet-set party for his new flagship store in Shanghai.

 

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Ming Xi, on the right, with Michael Kors and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

 

Despite her success and fame, Ming Xi remains a down-to-earth girl. She told CNN in an interview, “Goals are nice, but with this profession, there is so much that is out of your hands,” she says. “In my opinion, happiness is the most important thing in my life.”

 

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