CHINEASY: New Book Makes Learning Chinese Easy

Taipei-born entrepreneur, investor and author ShaoLan Hsueh has written a language book called Chineasy to simplify learning basic Chinese words and phrases.

The book, which will be released next month, aims to help people read Chinese easily by recognizing specific characters through illustrations. After taking a sabbatical from capital investment in London, Hsueh began teaching her British-born children how to read and write in Chinese and realized how difficult it was for them. She created a visual method to help them understand, and has since adopted it into a social project.

“Call me optimistic, but I see the melding of these two cultures, East and West, as being instrumental in creating a more culturally literate world,” Hsueh wrote on her website, describing her goal for the creation of Chineasy. “I also think that the East and West must understand each other in order for global economic growth to be a sustainable future.”

Learning Chinese through Chineasy starts on a building block principle: learning the basic key characters allows the reader to begin combining them to form more complex words. Incorporating the illustrations does more than just serve as a visual kind of mnemonic device –– it allows the reader to become familiar with Chinese culture and art.

Chineasy is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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Maggie Q to Star in New Series About a Famous Chinese Pirate

Maggie Q, the Vietnamese-American actress known for her role alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III and her leading role in the CW action series Nikita, is confirmed to star in a historical miniseries titled Red Flag.

Set in 1800′s China, Red Flag follows the true story of the famous Ching Shih, a Chinese prostitute who eventually became one of history’s most powerful pirates. Ching gained control of the South China Sea with her crew of 100,000 sailors and over 1500 vessels, and went on to conquer the Imperial Chinese, Portuguese and British navy vessels during her reign of the seas. Ching is reported as having led the most successful crime syndicate in Chinese history.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share Ching Shih’s real-life story with audiences that are both familiar and unfamiliar with her prominent history,” Maggie Q said on the latest project, which has yet to be picked up by a television network.

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Be sure to check out Maggie Q’s amazing cover story in our Winter 2012-13 issue. 
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Red Hong Yi’s Chinese Makeup Art

No, we’re not talking about Michelle Phan-esque YouTube tutorials. Malaysian artist-architect Hong Yi, who also goes by her nickname “Red,” has been referred to as the artist who “loves to paint, but not with a paintbrush.”

Yi, who owns her own design studio and travels for work in between Shanghai and Malaysia, is known for using unique mediums for her work. She has made portraits out of flower petals, sunflower seeds, candle wax, bamboo sticks and coffee cup stains. She’s even painted an entire portrait using a basketball as a brush.

The artist claims that she was inspired to use everyday objects for her artwork after moving to Shanghai to work. She argues that some of the most overlooked items can create the best pieces of art.

In honor of Chinese New Year, Yi has made one of her most creative projects yet. Using only make up, Yi has managed to recreated scenes from Chinese myths and create cultural and traditional symbols of the country such as opera masks, firecrackers, cherry blossom trees and goldfish.

The artist explains, “Chinese art requires a lot of precision and skill – one stroke can make a huge difference I felt that this is similar to how a woman carefully puts on her make-up.”

Check out her impressive artwork below and be sure to look into her other works here.

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Why China’s “Hot Mom” Photo Competition Makes Some People Uncomfortable

A competition was recently held by Chinese social media site Sina Weibo. Their mission? To find China’s hottest mom.

While American Pie has made the idea of a MILF (you can look that term up if you don’t know it) a run-on joke since the 90′s, China seems to take this concept very seriously.

The competition was influenced by Coach’s Mother’s Day “Hot Mom” Campaign. Once again- no, we’re not kidding. In America, Coach has recently seen a slow decrease in sales. Apparently, Coach bags have been criticized for being “mom bags” and lacking personality. Coach’s China branch decided to use this to their advantage.

With the help of social media, the China branch ensured that their products gave a youthful feel. They worked in the idea of mom’s feeling even more youthful after purchasing a Coach bag. They then launched the “Hot Mom” campaign and sales have gone up nearly 40% this year.

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Inspired by this idea, Weibo launched the “Hot Mom” photo competition. The competition proved to be a success. Tons of moms took part in it to show off their beautiful and youthful looks.

While many people seemed pleased with the competition, others seemed uncomfortable with the whole ordeal.

MailOnline remarked “Some of the mothers look so similar to their daughters it is difficult to tell them apart and instead they look like sisters.” Shanghiist shared the same discomfort and agreed that it was often very difficult to tell who was the child and who was the mother.

MailOnline also commented that motherhood was already stressful enough. Jezebel highly agreed and said, “As if beauty culture didn’t already put enough pressure on us to never start looking old, working tirelessly to turn us all into a diverse chorus of consumer Queen Grimhildes.”

As the growing pressure to be beautiful gets even heavier in Asia, is it right to pin these  expectations onto mothers as well? Be a good mother, wife, and now maintain your youth until your own daughter reaches adulthood. Are we asking for too much?

Or is this simply a way to keep mothers healthy and active? Maybe this is a way to congratulate the mothers who worked hard to stay healthy? Tell us what you think.

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Dutch Reality TV Judge Cracks Racist Jokes at Chinese Singer

Story by Young Rae Kim. 

This week’s video may cause you to be outraged and ruin your perfectly normal day. So consider yourself warned!

A celebrity judge on Holland’s Got Talent cracks racist jokes at a Chinese contestant while thinking that he has to be the funniest person alive. The jokes, which occur 0:48, 2:38 and 2:58, used references to Chinese food and also pointed out that the contestant’s appearance did not “fit” his voice.

“You look like a scientist!” said judge Gordon Heuckeroth, a 45-year-old Dutch singer and TV personality. When contestant Xiao Wang said he would be performing Verdi, Heuckeroth asked, “Which number are you singing? Number 39 with rice?”

Netizens were fuming after watching the video and some drew comparisons of the Dutch judge and Simon Cowell. However, most noted Heuckeroth was on another level of being a racist jerk.

“Simon is extremely sarcastic and blunt, to the point of being rude. But he’s not a f—ing blatant racist,” said Reddit user mankstar.

Other users pointed out how the judges stereotyped the contestant based on his appearance.

“Don’t you know only beautiful people can sing?” a commenter asked sarcastically.

A fellow judge, on the far left, showed his disapproval of the racist comments of his peer and shook his head in unbelief after the jokes were made. At the end of the clip, you can briefly catch him confronting his co-worker before the video is cut off.

The judge on the left says, “You’re really not supposed to say things like that to people…it’s awful”. However, the racist judge seemed oblivious to his wrongdoing.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AjJbBMnxts

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.

Chinese Theater Accidentally Uses Fan-Made THOR Poster

A movie theater in China may have just made the best mistake ever.

The theater put up a poster of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his villainous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to promote the new Marvel film Thor: The Dark World. The mistake? Last we checked, we’ve never seen the brothers embrace like that.

Much to the delight of fans (many of whom had hoped for something like this) the Chinese theater had accidentally used a photoshopped image made by a fan. The original poster is one showing Thor clutching his girlfriend Jane who is played by Natalie Portman. We simply can’t decide which one we like better.

On the bright side, the mistake has gone viral and has done quite a spectacular job marketing the film. Be sure to catch the midnight premiere of this much anticipated film tonight!

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Aww of The Day: Dogs Help A Baby Learn to Crawl

What could possibly be cuter to watch than a baby learning to crawl? How about adding some dogs into the mix?

This adorable Chinese baby, nicknamed Maple Syrup, is undeniably cute as he crawls his way over to the camera. The family’s two adopted dogs, Brown Sugar and Rice Candy, decide to make the video even better and automatically imitate the baby.

We’re not sure if the dogs are simply following his lead or helping him with moral support, but we’d like to believe the latter.

According to ET Today, the mother simply wanted to show others that pets and babies can be best friends. Lucky for her, she was able to spread this message to a lot of people. The video has only been up for a little over a week and it has gained over 1,880,000 views. Clearly, cuteness is worthy of viral attention.

As it turns out, the trio is rather accustomed to fame. They have their own facebook page with over 63,000 likes and a handful of squeal-worthy photos. Check out the video and some of the photos below.

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The Daily SHAG | XIAN LIM

Who is Xian Lim you may ask? He’s only one of the hottest and most admired stars in Philippine showbiz. This Chinese Filipino actor, model and singer has received several awards and has been featured in a variety of films and television shows. His most recent film role was Alex in Star Cinema’s Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo? where he acted alongside real-life girlfriend, Kim Chiu. He has earned his rightful spot as today’s Daily SHAG (Smoking Hot Asian Guy) and you’ll find out why below.
He looks absolutely stunning in any photo shoot he does.
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His smile is just mesmerizing.
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He’s even more adorable when holding a puppy.
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He’s fit and athletic. (He was a varsity basketball player while attending the University of the East).
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He has a smokin’ body. Enough said. tumblr_mr9qdr3jyW1s77auro1_500.
And if these GIFS don’t win you over, then I’m not sure what will.
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MUST SEE: Most Epic Guns N’ Roses Cover (Using Ancient Chinese Instrument)

On the list of instruments that you would associate with amazing rock music, the guzheng probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, many of you may not even know what the guzheng is.

The guzheng is an ancient Chinese instrument with 18 or more strings and movable bridges and is arguably the most played instrument in China. It is related to the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and the Vietnamese đàn tranh.


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Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan decided to show us just how versatile and just how amazing this instrument truly is. Kwan decided to cover one of the most unlikely songs for the regal instrument: the Guns N’ Roses’ hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Although this doesn’t sound like the greatest of combinations, Kwan proves us all wrong by delivering one of the most epic Guns N’ Roses covers we’ve seen yet. Check it out for yourself:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song, be sure to check out the original so you can fully appreciate how amazing Kwan’s cover is.

 

Julie Chen Admits to Having Plastic Surgery to Look Less Asian

Julie Chen, American television personality, news anchor, producer for CBS, and co-host of the daytime show The Talk, recently turned the spotlight on herself.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the veteran journalist revealed a deep, dark secret: Nearly 20 years ago, Chen had undergone plastic surgery in order to look less Asian.

Now, it may be easy to jump to conclusions and bash Chen for disrespecting her Chinese heritage, but it’s important to hear her side of the story. According to US Weekly, Chen said:

“My secret dates back to — my heart is racing — it dates back to when I was 25 years old and I was working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio,” the 43-year-old Chinese American television personality began. “I asked my news director over the holidays, ‘If anchors want to take vacations, could I fill in?’ And he said, ‘You will never be on this anchor desk, because you’re Chinese.”

 

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“He said, ‘Let’s face it, Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton?’” she recalled. “‘On top of that, because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, sometimes I’ve noticed when you’re on camera and you’re interviewing someone, you look disinterested, you look bored.’”

 

Not long after, Chen started looking for another job. But she ran into the same problem when she tried to find an agent to represent her. “This one big-time agent basically told me the same thing,” she revealed. “He said, ‘I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger.’”

Chen explains that with her career on the line, she couldn’t see another solution. The decision became so weighty that she opened up to her parents about whether or not this surgery would be a denial of their culture. This led to a family divide where some members believed that Chen should be disowned.

Coming to the conclusion that she did not want to lose her career, Chen followed through with the surgery and her career progressed as a result.

Although the secret has haunted her and caused her to question a lot of things, she ultimately has no regrets. “No one’s more proud of being Chinese than I am,” she told her co-hosts at The Talk. “And I have to live with the decisions I’ve made. Every decision I’ve made … it got [me] to where we are today, and I’m not going to look back.”