Family Matters, the Nuclear Option, Beats by Beijing, and Smutty Lit

2016-01-10 07:53
汉语世界(The World of Chinese) 2016年1期

The concept of family is traditionally one of harmony—a safe, anodyne environment for raising children and for some the embodiment of the terminus of life itself. This very concept, however, is one of constant change. Families change, like the times, and while older generations may be slower to catch on, the younger are, if anything, all-too willing to transform the bonds of family. The nullification of the one-child policy will, of course, affect even the most traditional of Chinese family ideals, and similarly, the patriarchal bonds so much a feature of the past must of course make concessions to pragmatism. As ever, perhaps one of the most pressing problems facing the Chinese family unit is what to do with the aging population; while the two-child policy may have changed today, there is a generation waiting for tomorrow without a safety net (page 26).

From the nuclear family, we move to nuclear power. There are many misconceptions about nuclear power throughout the world, and their construction, maintenance, and location are all constant sources of controversy. While they may present a cleaner alternative to Chinas poisonous northern skies choked in coal dust, thats precious little comfort to communities worried that lax regulations will mean an unsafe environment for their families—or, perhaps, no environment at all (page 40).

Speaking tangentially of things that are (note: eyebrow wiggle) da bomb, hip hop has taken off in China, but perhaps not to the extent that it might. China simply lacks the musical infrastructure and listeners to make the insanely mainstream genre popular. That does not mean, however, that there arent rooms full of young people in cities across the country having Chinese rap battles, mixing Chinese rhymes with English profanity, to build a base for budding rappers to find their niche (page 34).

One niche that has certainly been filled is that of online smut. As the industry got off the ground, few thought that it would be a viable model for profit, but they were really, really wrong. The quality is frankly abysmal and the stories are so formulaic as to be cut-and-paste, but every young writer in China knows that if you want to make it big, you need to start out with 3,000 characters a day for loyal readers looking for their trashy lit fix (page 46).

If your tastes run a bit more high-brow, you might want to check out “Return of the Corphid” by Han Zhiliao (page 10), a piece of fiction that takes surreal turn after surreal turn. Or, you could run on over to our Gallery section to see works from modern master He Xun (page 54). In this issue you can also find tales from Chinese hair dressers in Group Think (page 66), tips for how to deal with your annoying relatives in Social Chinese (page 70), and you can even learn how to sex a Foo Dog in this issues Time Machine (page 68). All that comes along the usual news, views, and entertainment we hope youve come to expect from us here at TWOC.

We wish you all the best of luck with the winters smog-filled skies and hope that a copy of TWOC will provide some mildly diverting warmth.