9-Year-Old Model Causes Controversy in Chinese Media

When I was 9-years-old, the only thing I remember is going to school, playing in the jungle gym at the apartments I lived in and taking ballet lessons. I could not imagine anything but a simple and carefree lifestyle.

But what if you were a 9-year-old and had the opportunity to model and walk the runway in Paris? You would be wearing some of the most extravagant clothes, all eyes would be on you and the pay/compensation would probably be generous. Is this a dream come true or would it promote controversy? Well that’s exactly what 9-year-old Xiu Qui went to find out.

Qiu was given the chance to model for Chinese designer Laurence Xu at a recent runway show in Paris. From the photos, it seems her adorable cherub-like face was paired with elegance and poise– two words that would not typically describe someone in that age group. Nonetheless, despite the bright lights and media attention, she walked down the runway with ease while wearing beautiful brocade dresses.

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Photo courtesy of Refinery29/ CHINAFOTOPRESS/ GETTY IMAGES

However, it has not been all praise for Xu with his choice of a child model. In addition to a number of comments from Chinese netizens claiming their child could do better or that using a child model is inappropriate, the relationship between Qui and Xu are unclear. We don’t know whether they are friends or relatives, but ever since Qui’s appearance in Chinese media, people have been accusing Xu of nepotism (those of influence who favor friends or relatives and give them jobs).

Adding fuel to the fire, one of the dresses Qui modeled is white and this promoted the bizarre idea, especially to Western viewers, that the image simulated a young bride. Some took offense when Qui walked with Xu down the runway in the white dress. However, this is far from the truth. Traditionally, Chinese brides wear red on their wedding day and white is reserved for mourning.

Laurence Xu’s decision to use 9-year-old Xiu Qui as a model remains shrouded in mystery, but one thing is clear: Chinese media is not fond of the bold move.

 

 

All images courtesy of refinery29.com/ RICHARD BORD/GETTY IMAGES.

 

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Chinese Fans Bestow Hilarious Nicknames For American Celebrities

I think most can agree with me when I say that Katy Perry’s performance at this year’s Superbowl was nothing short of a powerhouse. From arriving on a giant robotic tiger to dancing beach balls and a shooting star finale, she rocked through it all while donning her signature quirky and colorful outfits.

A few days after the Superbowl, I was listening to the radio and heard that Katy Perry earned quite a nickname for herself. Whether you find it adorable or odd, the nickname has stuck. Fans in China now refer to Perry as “Fruit Sister” because of the many fruit costumes she wears.

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Courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

But that’s not all. It seems that it’s common for Chinese fans to give their favorite celebrities nicknames. China Daily released a lengthy list of celebrities who were also given strange monikers and the reasons behind them. Here are a few interesting ones:

 

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Courtesy of E! Online.

Before Kim Kardashian broke the internet, Jennifer Lopez’s behind had already made a name for itself. In fact, “Lopez” sounds so similar to the Chinese phrase “Luo pe zi” that fans gave her the nickname. The translation? Lopez is known as “Lord of Butt.”

 

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Courtesy of billboard.com

Another celebrity with a name-inspired nickname is Nicki Minaj. For her Chinese fans, “Minaj” sounds similar to “ma la ji,” which translates into… “Numbing Spicy Chicken.” Cluck cluck! Fans claim, however, that the term also refers to how “hot and stunning” Minaj is and it leaves them wanting more. They clearly mean well, but we would have that same look on our face if “Numbing Spicy Chicken” was our nickname, too.

 

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Courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

No woman wants to be called a cow. Unfortunately, Mariah Carey is dubbed “Cow Sister” to her Chinese fans. But she shouldn’t worry! According to Travel Pulse, the phrase literally translates into being “f-ing awesome.” If that’s the case, I wouldn’t mind being called Cow Sister, either!

 

It seems Chinese fans are quite creative when it comes to nicknaming their favorite celebrities and it may be a sign of affection towards their idols. What would you nickname your favorite celebrity?

 

Feature image courtesy of chinadaily.com

[VIDEO] The Bling Dynasty: China’s Wealthiest Learns How To Be Rich…The Western Way

 

As Crazy Rich Asians shows, there are some people living in Asia that are, well, crazy rich. This is especially true in China. In number of billionaires, the country is now right behind America — and this development is recent.

So now the question is what to do with all this money? Enter what GQ has coined the “Bling Dynasty.” This is the new era of emerging upper upper class in China where Western-lifestyle is the role model for luxury.

As journalist Devin Friedman explores this population of people, he documents his time spent at a Beijing etiquette school called Institute Sarita. There, we kid you not, he finds women can take classes such as Pronunciation of Luxury Brands, British Afternoon Tea and Introduction to Noble Sports. Apparently, learning the correct pronunciation of Hermès and foie gras is of utmost importanceThe twelve-day course costs approximately $15,000 and there is a waiting list to sign up.

While it may be peculiar to think of luxury as something to be learned, perhaps the most interesting thing about all of this is that luxury is defined by Western/European standards. On Institute Sarita’s website, the mission is describes as “[bridging] East and West by combining traditional western culture with 5,000 year-old Confucian values…Chinese women gain respect for their traditional culture and values as well as their understanding of international social norms through studying international etiquette.”

This advanced social behavior, Institute Sarita says, is to complement China’s global economic leadership. To “build confidence through knowledge,” students are meant to move with ease among various cultures.

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Institute Sarita’s founder Sara Jane Ho claims there is a distinction in the women who take her classes. She describes them as the ones that are “not the overnight-mushroom millionaires. They are not the people you see misbehaving abroad. People who just came into money are still trying to buy the Hermès bag. My clients were buying the Hermès bag ten years ago.”

What are your thoughts on this new phenomenon?

Intrigued? Check out the second episode called “$16K Banana-eating Lessons.”

You can catch more of GQ‘s video series here.

 

Feature image courtesy of GQ.com

 

China’s First Hello Kitty Theme Park Celebrates Inauguration

 

Yes, it’s true! The first international Hello Kitty Park (there’s one in Hello Kitty’s home country Japan) was just inaugurated November 28, 2014 and is set to officially open on January 1, 2015.

Construction began back in 2011 and thus far, the project has cost over $300 million US dollars to construct. The 150 acre theme park expects one million visitors each year. The park celebrated its completion last Friday with invited guests dancing, eating and signing the inauguration board with Hello Kitty characters. According to The Hettema Group website, the new Hello Kitty Park is meant to be the Sanrio characters’ very special home-away-from home.

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REUTERS — Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk/news

The theme park is located in Anji, Zhejiang province, which is approximately a three hour drive west of Shanghai. Known for its rich forests and greenery, Anji is definitely an appropriate location for Hello Kitty’s “nature” theme park. The name was a selling point as well.

“Hello Kitty Park is the first in China. But why did we choose to build it here in Anji? Because Anji is a good name,” explains Frank Liu of New Insight of MGMT. “In Chinese it means both peaceful and auspicious.”

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REUTERS — Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk/news

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Nature’s five elements (wood, fire, water, metal, and earth) parallel with the five garden zones of the park for interactive activities. An area is also reserved for a world festival to feature important holidays such as Chinese New Year.

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Photo courtesy of yahoo.com

The park also has an official website (not yet in English) which maps the six different zones of the park. Each zone is home to a different Sanrio character. This includes the classic Hello Kitty (Hello Kitty’s Home), her friend My Melody (Melody Village), the adorably green Keroppi (Happy Harbor), tough guy Badtz-Maru (Steam Kingdom) and banana-lover Monkichi (Spirit Forest). The sixth zone will be a comprehensive Friendship Plaza for characters to play together.

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Xinhua/Xu Yu — Photo courtesy of xinhuanet.com

The park will also have a luxury hotel, and yes — the rooms will be decorated in Hello Kitty theme. What do you think? Disney World or Hello Kitty Park for New Years?

 

Street Style From Japan To China: Knit Hat Trend For Winter

 

Knit caps (or beanies) seem to be the headwear accessory favorite for keeping warm in Japan, Korea and China. Nearly every day now, street style blog images pop up with people sporting seamed caps.  Practical and simple, this style hat has been popularized by media from television shows through out the decades to celebrities and musicians that make it their fashion trade mark.  Take inspiration from these three countries for styling a cozy knit cap into your winter rotation.

 


 

1. Japan
We’ve been seeing an abundance of knit hats complementing classic pencil skirts and tops, or midi dresses with long jackets and coats for a more casual look.

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Images Courtesy Of Style-arena.jp

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Images Courtesy Of Style-arena.jp

 


 

2. China
Taking a more urban approach to headwear, here is a look we often see on musicians and celebrities in the United States—knit hats and leather biker jackets.

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Image Courtesy Of Stylites.net

 


 

3. Korea
Mix your styles up with interesting scarves, oversized coats (which are right on trend for winter), or easy-going crew neck sweatshirts.

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Images Courtesy Of Iamalexfinch.net And Sol-sol-street.tumblr.com

 


 

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Want to add some cozy knits to your wardrobe?  Check out famous Korean-American milliner Eugenia Kim’s designs. Here’s a few of our favorites:

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Eugenia Kim’s Marley Knit Beanie

Available in black and white at Intermixonline.com for $228.

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Eugenia Kim’s Pom Pom “Mimi” Beanie

Available in black and white at Barneys.com for $235.

 


 

Not too keen on spending a couple hundred dollars on a knit cap? Here’s some great options that are more budget friendly!

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American Apparel’s Recycled Fisherman Beanie

Available in nine different colors and options at Americanapparel.net for $22.

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KTAG NYC’s Side Eye Pom Beanie

Available at Ktagclothingnyc.com for $30.

Feature Images Courtesy Of Sol-sol-street.tumblr.com, Iamalexfinch.net And Shootingthestyle.com

 

Men in China Can Now “Experience” the Pain of Childbirth

 

Apparently, mothers-to-be in China have not been receiving the proper amount of sympathy from their husbands during pregnancy. After all, what can be so hard about pushing a watermelon-sized human being out of your body, right?

Pregnant mothers have been so upset with their husbands that Aima maternity hospital in Shandong province decided it was time to do something about it. The solution? Have the fathers-to-be experience childbirth themselves.

…Okay, maybe they can’t actually experience childbirth, but they can at least feel the amount of pain a woman goes through. Twice a week, the hospital offers men the chance to finally experience the pain of childbirth through electric shocks which induces the same amount of pain that a woman would experience while giving birth.

During this childbirth pain simulation, electric shock pads are placed above the abdomen and men must endure the pain for 5 minutes as a nurse gradually raises the intensity of the shocks. Obviously, 5 minutes is nothing compared to hours of contractions, but it’s usually enough for men to get the point. In fact, many participants can’t even last the entire 5 minutes.

“It felt like my heart and lungs were being ripped apart,” said Song Siling, a participant of the simulations.

Another participant, Wu Jianlong, admitted that the experience truly changed his perspective. “Because all women have children and it usually takes quite a long time, I had thought of it as being something really natural, something really normal that they can get through,” he said.

So far, about 100 men have signed up for the simulation.

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All photos courtesy of chinadaily.com

 

China’s Fashion Week Introduces Smog Masks Into High Fashion

 

My first memory of the relationship between surgical masks and Asians was during the 2002 SARS outbreak. Since then, I have seen these masks everywhere — while visiting Asia, in Chinese language school and among my relatives. These surgical masks , which are commonly referred to as smogs, are popular in Asia mainly due to pollution concerns in air quality.

But now it seems that smogs are used for something very different. We’ve already seen Japan create more fashionable smogs for their consumers, but it didn’t stop there. It seems the trend has traveled all the way up to high fashion as various high fashion smog masks walked the runway last month during China Fashion Week in Beijing.

A model wearing a mask presents a creation at the QIAODAN Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection show during China Fashion Week in Beijing

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Designers such as Qiaodan Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection and Masha Ma created outfits with studded, urban, minimalistic and other styles of fashionable masks for models to strut the runway with.

It was Yin Peng’s line of “smog couture” clothing last month at China Fashion Week where designed masks were officially inducted into high fashion, with Vader-like ventilators, fencing masks, and other elaborate covers.

Although there seems to be a rise of smogs in fashion, China’s bad air quality is much more than an excuse for accessories– it is a public health concern that has affected the majority of its population. The Beijing marathon, for example, has runners wearing masks and wiping their skin with water-soaked sponges to protect and wipe off pollution.

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China Xinhua News, https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/527430349513445377/photo/1

What do you think? With climate change and air quality as relevant topics everywhere, does smog couture look like it could become fashionable and popular in America as well?

 

Exploring The Chinese Postnatal Tradition of Zuoyuezi: No Hair Washing, No Television, No Crying

For new Asian American mothers, the Chinese postnatal practice of zuoyuezi, or “sitting the month” — where bed rest is mandated, only certain foods can be eaten and you can’t even wash your hair — can be a confusing clash between Eastern traditions and Western conventions during those first critical 30 days after childbirth. But as Contributing Editor Ada Tseng learns, there is nothing wrong with a postpartum helping hand — whether it’s family or a zuoyuezi nanny for a month. In fact, when done in moderation, the ancient practice can serve as a more graceful transition into the daunting world of parenthood.   When I first told my husband about the postpartum tradition of zuoyuezi, he thought I was making it up. Literally translated to “sitting the month,” but sometimes referred to as “postpartum confinement,” zuoyuezi is a Chinese practice that encourages a new mother to rest in her home for one month after giving birth. During this time, there are many instructions on diet and recovery that range from drinking herbal soups and eating pork liver, to not washing your hair for 30 days and being confined to the house, room or even your bed, depending on how strictly one adheres to the tradition. In the meantime, family members, friends or hired help collectively pitch in to assist the new mother with cooking, cleaning and taking care of the baby so she can fully restore the balance to her body before attacking motherhood at 100 percent in month two.

“You just don’t want to do anything for a month,” my husband joked. He assumed that I, never one to be called maternal, was apprehensive about the drastic life change that motherhood would inevitably bring and was therefore excited about the idea of inviting anyone and everyone to come help us raise this baby. At least for 30 days. This was only half true. Both my husband and I are Taiwanese Americans born and raised in California, and our links to our heritage can be traced more through our love of food (shaved ice and beef noodle soup), culture (Taiwanese films and karaoke songs) or general philosophy (respecting our parents!) than formal customs. Never in our years of knowing each other have either of us insisted on adhering to any tradition, so when I waxed poetic about this ancient zuoyuezi practice that dates back to the 1st century B.C., he wasn’t buying it. That is, until he asked my OB/GYN, who happened to be Taiwanese American, about it, and she admitted that while the practice of zuoyuezi, which takes heavy influence from traditional Chinese medicine, was definitely not something that’s taught in medical school (most Western experts would argue that many of the benefits are unproven), her mother had made her do it when she gave birth to her own children. — I was surprised when my mother first mentioned that I should look into zuoyuezi resources partway through my pregnancy. At the time, my only knowledge of zuoyuezi came from the more extreme and divisive practices that get reported in the news — of the “look at the crazy things Chinese people do” variety. On one hand, it’s known as an antiquated tradition (some would say superstition) that’s more akin to torture than relaxation. The herbal soups you’re forced to eat are disgusting, you can’t wash yourself properly because you can’t risk any cold air touching any part of your body, you’re trapped in your own house, not allowed to watch TV or engage in any activities that will strain your eyes, and mothers or mothers-in-law are on your backs like drill sergeants to make sure you follow the often excessive and old-fashioned rules to a tee.

Alternately, several years ago, reports surfaced about a growing trend of luxury zuoyuezi postpartum confinement centers booming in places like mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which paints zuoyuezi as, for lack of a better description, something that rich people do. Taiwanese celebrities went on talk shows to rave about these facilities that are basically boutique hotels with first-rate nannies and doulas on hand to take care of your baby while you and your husband rest, take classes about parenthood or even enjoy their spa and salon services. And Taiwanese talk show viewers, like my mother, in turn, raved about how these celebrities were able to stay beautiful, skinny and youthful, even after having multiple kids, because they took care of themselves properly after giving birth.
The first scenario seemed unappealing and the second unrealistic, but my mother assured me that there was a middle ground. She explained it to me like this: Western culture likes to glamorize the act of bearing children with phrases like “the miracle of birth,” whereas the Chinese see labor as one of the worst traumas that can happen to the body. Special care is required to help us recalibrate. My mother didn’t feel the need to follow every single rule — for example, many people nowadays who practice zuoyuezi believe that rules like not washing your hair for a month are outdated, harkening back to the olden days when you would wash your hair in the bacteria-laden river, putting your baby’s health at risk. It was more about practicing the “spirit” of zuoyuezi: resting so you can gain your strength back as quickly as possible, maintaining a healthy diet and relaxed state of mind so you can properly feed and take care of your baby. Later, when I told my mother my husband thought I was trying to get out of work, she laughed. “You’re going to be responsible for and worried about this child for the rest of your life,” she said. “Us helping you out for one month doesn’t get you out of that much work.” 14-0510_EDU_Multicultural_Parent_Banner_HS_AudreyMag_BD1Many immigrants from my parents’ generation who grew up in Asia but gave birth in the United States believe in zuoyuezi, not necessarily because they had done it themselves, but precisely because they didn’t do it. The Chinese believe that postnatal recovery is critical to maintaining long-term health, so as a result, many women of my mothers’ generation, now seniors, blame their current health issues — whether it be migraines, backaches or arthritis — on the fact that they didn’t properly rest during the month after childbirth. Perhaps it was because their parents and extended family were abroad and unable to pitch in, maybe their in-laws didn’t believe in it, or perhaps they just didn’t have the resources at the time to find a support network in the United States, where postpartum care is still, for the most part, glossed over in the mainstream. (Even now, babies are coddled and scheduled for multiple check-ups right away, but new mothers, even if they are recovering poorly, often don’t return to their doctors until six weeks later.) Because of such regrets, these experienced mothers often vow not to let their daughters suffer the same consequences.

There are many ways to practice zuoyuezi, and while the details vary, the general principles are consistent (see below). Many opt for the do-it-your- self version, where the grandmothers take it upon themselves to carry out the tradition for their daughters or daughters-in-law. While this is the cheapest option, it’s a lot of work to ask of someone, especially in this day and age where many of us wait until we are older to have children. And by the time we do, our mothers are also older and less capable (or willing) to do the hours of shopping, preparation and cooking in order to prepare specific meals meant to heal the body, restore blood loss, prevent swelling, promote production of breast milk, speed up uterus contractions, restore hormone levels and help the new mother get her pre-pregnancy physique back. Another option is the postpartum center mentioned previously. While it’s more common in Asia, these “mommy hotels” do exist in the U.S., though they’re more underground, often only advertised in Chinese-language newspapers and television programs. Though they carry a stigma in the Western world — as the sites of the “birthing tourism” controversy, where foreign mothers give birth in the States to secure their children the American citizenship that they can’t get themselves — more and more Asian American citizens take advantage of these centers where the mother and husband can stay for a month, while their babies sleep in a separate room, looked after by a team of nannies, nurses or doulas.
Somewhere in the middle lies the option of using food-delivery services — nowadays, there are even tastings for expectant mothers — or hiring a live-in nanny (ah yi or “auntie”) who will cook all your meals and take care of the mother and baby, especially at night, so the new parents can get their rest. After considering our own specific needs and preferences, we opted for the live-in nanny, who would stay in our house to help out for the first month. — While I can only speak from my own experience, the process of hiring a live-in nanny in the United States remains strangely shrouded in mystery, and looking back, required more last-minute improvisation and luck of the draw than most people may prefer. Because these services are not widely advertised online or in English, we could only depend on word of mouth. Friends, and friend of friends, directed us to a woman who ran a nanny referral service from the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. (Later, we would learn that there are many different nanny referral services, but at the time, it seemed like all our inquiries led to the same woman and cell phone number.)

Without a website or even a contract that outlined how this would work, the woman told us that we couldn’t meet or interview the nannies in advance, because they were all currently working for clients 24/7 (many of these nannies are literally booked for back-to-back months with no break), but we would be assigned a caregiver based on my projected due date. We were assured that all the nannies were extremely experienced and had proper certification. That said, because zuoyuezi traditions vary from region to region (not only China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but many Southeast Asian countries have adopted their own versions of the postpartum traditions as well), it’s hard to believe there’s any sort of consistency.
The only instructions we got were that we needed to prepare a bed for the nanny in the baby room and to call back a month before my due date to work out other logistics. During that phone call, I was told that I was in luck: she had two nannies that would be available during the week of my delivery date. “What if I go into labor earlier than that?” I asked. “Don’t worry so much,” she said. “Then I’ll find someone else.” Under normal circumstances, trusting a faceless voice on the other end of the line — and, sending her a check for the referral fee to reserve my spot, no less — seemed to defy all logic. There were even rumors that nannies were often sent back by unsatisfied clients, and as an American not used to taking leaps of faith to uphold Chinese traditions, there seemed to be no guarantee that this wasn’t all a scam. But my mother trusted in the process, and I, valuing the promise of postpartum help above all else, had committed to the ride. As it got closer and closer to my delivery date, I had become comfortable with the notion that this could go a myriad of ways, taking solace in the fact that, worst case, we’d send the nanny back.

Sure enough, I went into labor eight days early, and the nannies she had been reserving for me were still out of state, finishing up their previous jobs. But sure enough, she was able to go through her contacts to find another nanny, who had just finished up a job the day prior and could be picked up at a location 20 miles away from us the next day. Looking back, there were many ways things could have gone wrong with the prospect of allowing an unvetted stranger to live with you for a month — not to mention, trusting that stranger with the high-stakes task of taking care of your baby. One of the most complex and frustrating aspects of having kids — from pregnancy, labor, post-labor recovery, to parenthood — is that everyone from family members to professionals give often-conflicting advice, and adding in a zuoyuezi nanny with her own convictions just adds an extra variable to the madness.

Especially for Asian Americans, clashes of East versus West beliefs abound, from macro levels (in a sense, the entire philosophy of confinement clashes with Western medical science that does encourage rest but not extreme bed rest, which may cause your muscles to atrophy and, in turn, cause you to recover slower) to the micro-minutiae (Westerners tell you to drink lots of water to generate breast milk, whereas Chinese believe that water makes you bloated and less able to shed your baby weight, opting instead for herbal drinks and teas). However, the zuoyuezi ah yi can also serve as a neutral third party who is able to dispense advice and reach compromises with a new mother, without the emotional baggage of a nagging parent or the unintended consequences of disobeying the wishes of a well-meaning in-law. As a result, the experience can be an exercise in trust and communication, with much less at stake. In my particular case, our nanny — a middle-aged woman who, as is typical, didn’t speak much English — had certain principles about how to properly sit the month, but was flexible about other aspects, turning a blind eye when I slipped out of the house every so often to get some fresh air, when I spent the better part of the day watching videos on my smartphone when I was supposed to be resting, when my hair was clearly washed every other day, or even when my mother, who was responsible for grocery shopping, took it upon herself to not even buy ingredients (like the infamous pork liver) that she assumed I wouldn’t like or certain Chinese herbs that she thought would stink up the entire house. In the end, it was like my mother said: We didn’t follow all the rules, but we captured the “spirit” of zuoyuezi. Not only am I grateful for the recovery time where my sole responsibility was to rest and bond with my baby, but I was given the gift of one month to observe someone who’s been taking care of babies for decades; to practice regular acts of breastfeeding, burping and changing under professional guidance until I was comfortable; and to soak up her advice that was catered to my individual baby.
Two months later, I can say that I feel fully recovered, but perhaps more importantly, now that nannies and grandparents have left the nest, I’ve learned to trust myself a little bit more and be confident that, if nothing else, my month of zuoyuezi sent me off into the abyss of parenthood in the right direction.
As for the long-term effects, will the fact that I was able to practice zuoyuezi keep my body strong and slow down the aging effects associated with childbirth? Will I regret bending the rules and wish that I had resisted washing my hair for 30 days? Find me in 30 years, and I’ll let you know.   Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.53.41 PM     This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Words Can Be Weapons: Powerful Chinese Campaign Links Teenage Crime to Emotional Abuse

 

It’s scary to think that a number of parents and adults don’t realize they verbally abuse children. It’s even scarier once we take a look at the potential consequences of this abuse. Some adults think they simply get carried away with anger when they scold their children, but they fail to realize that physical abuse is not the only way to harm a child.

In China, the number of juvenile crimes has doubled in recent years and when the Center For Psychological Research went to investigate this, they stumbled upon a disturbing realization: juvenile crime is directly tied to childhood emotional abuse.

“Verbal abuse of children is like setting off a time bomb. It explodes only much later, long after the original perpetrator has left the scene. And it is society that pays the price, as is evident from the rising rate of juvenile crime,” explained Juggi Ramakrishnan, executive creative director of the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather. “We really needed to tell this ‘cycle-of-violence’ story in a way that will make people sit up and take notice.”

And so they did.

Words Can Be Weapons,” a multimedia campaign based in China, interviewed six teenagers in Shenyang Detention Center. During these interviews, the teenagers revealed the harsh words that were said to them as children. They were told that they were useless, garbage, morons, and in one extreme case, a mother constantly told her son to “go away and die.”

The campaign takes the words that haunted these teenagers and literally transforms them into the weapon which the teens used to commit their crimes. The message here is clear: these harsh words are weapons in disguise.

Take a look at the powerful video below.

 

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Fashion Shenzhen Turns Heads At Their NYFW Debut

 

Debuting at any of the four major fashion capitals (Milan, Paris, New York and London) during the renowned industry fashion weeks is considered a substantial success for any designer that has been pouring their life into creating garments that will impress top-tier editors and buyers. More work than we expect goes into a rather quick ten minute show. Years of planning and learning the trend and color schematic forecasting is a daunting task in itself because no one wants to make too much of an unfavorable misstep. Then of course pushing that success into a second year with critics all around shows strength in branding and design, which is why Fashion Shenzhen has many of us talking as they continue to make waves throughout the industry.

For the Chinese labels Lizzy, Haiping Xie and Ellassay (all collectively chosen to be shown together under the name Fashion Shenzhen), hard work is beginning to pay off after years of trying to garner a larger presence within the industry and showing in London quite often before New York. While Ellassay enters its sophomore year, it still carries the excitement of a first debut. The Director of Shenzhen Garment Association, Shen Yongfang stated during her interview with CCTV News last year when Shenzhen’s designs first walked the runways of New York, “China has a unique and ancient culture, and this is a great asset. Our designers are the best, so I don’t see why we can’t make it to the world stage.” To a full house, Shenzhen delivered unforgettable designs that represented their blend of Eastern and Western influences, but each with their own artistic nature.

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Haiping Xie kept to the flora and beauty of China’s rich history and culture. There was nothing subtle about Xie’s collection. Boldly printed dragon graphics were a powerful display to the flowing sea of organza and silk layers in just as powerful hues of blue and orange. While Lizzy presented sophisticated bead work in a stunning display of gowns with oceanic themes and fittingly cut in mermaid A-lines. The crystal work glistened with models’ movement and felt reminiscent to the intricacies of underwater coral colonies. Taking a step away from couture evening wear, Ellassay delivered modern dresses and trench coats that are easily wearable and fitting for our daily wardrobe. Opting for another interesting grid lined pattern once again, Ellassay’s trench coat can be used to amp up the simple elegance of the dresses shown.

With such an impressive showing in New York, these three designers help pave the way for the rest of Shenzhen’s growing design field and continue to bring the recognition that Shen Yongfang speaks of with such hopeful words. Personally, I feel they’ve already made it on the world stage and only good things will continue to come with such determination and drive to be at their best. I look forward to seeing what designers the Fashion Shenzhen group will present next season.

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Gown By Haiping Xie.   Image Courtesy Of Mediacenter.smugmug.com

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Gown By Haiping Xie.  Image Courtesy Of Nyfw.net

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Gown By Lizzy. Image Courtesy Of Fashionsdigest.com

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Gown By Lizzy. Image Courtesy of Fashionsdigest.com

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Dress By Ellasay. Image Courtesy Of Missyonmadison.com

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Trench By Ellassay. Image Courtesy Wwww2.pictures.zimbio.com

 

– STORY BY MIN A. LEE

 

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