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According to Chinese web users, Italy is weak, Bulgaria is milk-fed, and Lithuania is suicidal.

Jul 14, Matt Holloway rated it really liked it. So this girl graduates college and goes to China to work for an American PR firm, but also gets cast in a cheezy Chinese sitcom same title as the book about slutty American chicks and how badly they long for Chinese guys. It's watched by like 40 million people. I'd give the book 5 stars but she doesn't string out the sitcom storyline long enough. Her cultural reflections and stories about Chinese friends are great and illuminating, but they can't compare in my eyes to the stories about the s So this girl graduates college and goes to China to work for an American PR firm, but also gets cast in a cheezy Chinese sitcom same title as the book about slutty American chicks and how badly they long for Chinese guys.

Her cultural reflections and stories about Chinese friends are great and illuminating, but they can't compare in my eyes to the stories about the sitcom. Jul 26, Lena rated it liked it Shelves: As memoirs go, this story of a recent Columbia grad who ends up starring as a Western hussy in China's most popular soap opera is a fascinating one. I learned a lot about what modern day life in China is like from this book. It was particlarly shocking for me to read that some people there don't keep journals out of fear what they write might be used against them by the government.

Still, the tone did get a little academic for me at times and I wish the author had included more of her own person As memoirs go, this story of a recent Columbia grad who ends up starring as a Western hussy in China's most popular soap opera is a fascinating one. Still, the tone did get a little academic for me at times and I wish the author had included more of her own personal joureny within her very compelling observations about modern China. Oct 07, Eric Klee rated it it was ok. When I travel, I like to bring a book with me that would be considered "light reading. As I started to read it on the airplane, I was suddenly transported back to my freshman foreign governments class in college.

I wasn't expecting a When I travel, I like to bring a book with me that would be considered "light reading. I wasn't expecting a dull history lesson on Chinese government, culture, and word definitions. I'm sure the information presented is fantastic I, on the other hand, was looking for humorous stories and adventures in China, a la Chelsea Handler. I felt quite misled by the book's title, summary, praises, and photo on the dust jacket. After 50 pages in, I realized that the memoir wasn't going to be full of lighthearted humor and debauchery as I was led to believe.

Feb 18, Jessica Larson-Wang rated it really liked it. I liked this book a lot. China in the s was a special place and Rachel DeWoskin had the good luck to be involved with a very interesting group of people. I'm married to a Chinese musician, and many of his tales of that period of time are similar to what DeWoskin talks about in her book. For that alone, and the fact that I somewhat know the feeling of being a "foreign babe" in China, I found it easy to relate to her book.

China memoirs aren't that uncommon, but I was excited to come across on I liked this book a lot. China memoirs aren't that uncommon, but I was excited to come across one written by a young American woman without a religious agenda , and would recommend it to all female expats in China. Of course, the China she portrays is already a thing of the past, so the book shouldn't be looked at as a commentary on today's post-Olympic "new China," but rather the new China as it really was, back in the days when China was practically a new frontier and anything and everything seemed possible.

Mar 18, Dennis rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm glad that I didn't judge this book by its cover, although I cannot deny that the shapely pair of fish-netted legs did catch my attention. Truth is this book is far less sensually provocative than it is evocative of expatriate life in the heart of an awakening economic powerhouse. Rachel DeWoskin's memoir about her adventures as a something college grad working in Beijing for an American PR firm paints a vivid portrait of life as a foreigner in China during the s. Rachel is not just yo I'm glad that I didn't judge this book by its cover, although I cannot deny that the shapely pair of fish-netted legs did catch my attention.

Rachel is not just your average expat, however. Armed with a Columbia degree and some knowledge of the Chinese language and people, Rachel seems to meld fairly well into Beijing life right from the start. She rather serendipitously collides early on with an opportunity to star in a Chinese soap opera, Foreign Babes in Beijing , as the rich American girl, Jiexi, who steals the heart of the married Tianling.

The role instantly shoots her to stardom and makes her recognizable by the greater part of some million viewers. Rachel ponders, "It was too huge a number to think about. If we all held hands would we cover the planet? Throughout her years in Beijing, Rachel easily makes friends with other expatriates and a variety of activists, artists and intellectuals, all who provide her with starkly contrasting approaches and attitudes to a modernizing China. The author's humor is as astute as it is self-deprecating.

She offers thoughtful and sometimes cheeky perspectives on everything from Americanized boyfriend Zhou Jun's Jeep that he named Kelindun after the American president Clinton , to her commanding Ugly American boss Charlotte's insistence on throwing an American Thanksgiving dinner for bewildered and oft-times intimidated Chinese staff, to the fear and uncertainty attendant to the fervent patriotism that swelled amidst the international kerfuffle-cum-crisis NATO provoked when it bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. This book is thoroughly enjoyable and provides a remarkably insightful first-hand view of the rapidly changing, and increasingly important and powerful society of China.

Jun 23, Louise rated it liked it.


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Its cover was racy but facetious. I was confused about the title. The first few chapters cleared up the confusion. This non fiction book is about the author, Rachel, and her first few years as an expatriate in China. Foreign Babes in Beijing is actually the title of a Chinese soap opera she acted in. I had read and grown tired of the usual books I read about China.

Mostly written by Chinese Americans, the stories they shared were good and usually touching, but after reading so many of them, they soon started melting together in my mind. Foreign Babes, written by a western hand offered a different perspective of China. Each chapter contains an excerpt for the script from the soap opera. Some of them are amusing because of the Chinese stereotype of how foreign women are like.

Foreign Babes in Beijing is an entertaining and eye-opening read and is a nice change of pace from the usual books on China written by Chinese Americans. Jun 15, Sigrid-marianella rated it it was amazing. It looks like chick-lit but don't judge a book by it's cover. I'm absolutely loving this book, but I suspect it might be because I myself lived in Beijing for some years and can relate to a lot of what she is writing. I'm not sure someone who hasn't lived there would be as captured as I was so for that I give it four stars.

Having arrived in China 10 years after Rachel I enjoyed reading her descriptions of the city as it was and getting an image of how it has transformed and in many ways remaine It looks like chick-lit but don't judge a book by it's cover. Having arrived in China 10 years after Rachel I enjoyed reading her descriptions of the city as it was and getting an image of how it has transformed and in many ways remained the same.

How living outside second ring was considered the outskirts of town, and a reference to one of few foreign bars comparing to the booming nightlife culture today , the suppressed love-relations between foreigners and Chinese today a common sight. I am always fascinated by the stories told to me by people who lived in Beijing in the 80s and 90s, this book gives you a good insight to the new China on a personal level back in the 90s.

Dec 10, Peter Corrigan rated it it was ok.

Hahaha... Funny Foreigners in Beijing, China

Not my normal 'fare' but picked it up on whim whilst considering a possible trip to China still have not decided. It was mildly entertaining and I learned some interesting things about China and it's people One is that China and especially Beijing is changing so fast that this book was pretty dated, even though published in it centers around the s. There are amusing anecdotes related to food, drink and social customs. Everyone loves to throw around the racist theme, but actually the C Not my normal 'fare' but picked it up on whim whilst considering a possible trip to China still have not decided.

Everyone loves to throw around the racist theme, but actually the Chinese come off fairly intolerant and xenophobic themselves. Not that I really care, it probably comes from about 2, years where they pretty much thought they were the only race worth much on the earth. Everyone else was just barbarians. It is sort of normal when that is all you are used to and probably every race suffers from it to some degree.

The response she describes of the general Chinese reaction to the Belgrade Chinese Embassy bombing in was certainly an eye-opener. When not if there is U. You can do that when you control all the media in a country and there is no opposition party to possibly object to an overreaction sometimes just for political points but that itself can be useful in defusing a situation.

And the speed with which the Chinese population was more than willing to embrace the worst interpretation of U. I think it really opened Ms.

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DeWoskin's eyes about how great the Chinese were, although she was careful not to state that outright. Dec 13, Merritt Corrigan rated it it was amazing. I have to give this book five stars primarily because it did exactly what it set out to do, which was both serve as a memoir of the five years Rachel DeWoskin an American national spent in Beijing in her early twenties, and offer light social commentary through the lens of her experience as an expat in Beijing. DeWoskin caught both China and its capital city at a very interesting time, the early s, when modernization and "Westernization" with all their implications, intimations, and compl I have to give this book five stars primarily because it did exactly what it set out to do, which was both serve as a memoir of the five years Rachel DeWoskin an American national spent in Beijing in her early twenties, and offer light social commentary through the lens of her experience as an expat in Beijing.

DeWoskin caught both China and its capital city at a very interesting time, the early s, when modernization and "Westernization" with all their implications, intimations, and complexities were occurring at a rapid pace. DeWoskin's experiences are so interesting and unexpected, the book almost feels like fiction.

Shortly after her arrival in the city, she is cast to star in a soap opera called "Foreign Babes in Beijing" , alongside a German girl who also plays an American character. The two girls fall in love with Chinese men and more or less live happily ever after. The show was apparently extremely popular.

DeWoskin strikes a pleasant and fairly reasonable balance, I think, between criticism of and praise for both her new home in China, and her native United States. Her years in Beijing are filled with an interesting cast of characters and she integrates many anecdotes with pertinent information about Chinese language, culture, and history.

This book made for a very enjoyable and informative couple of afternoons. Feb 25, Lm Huffman rated it really liked it. Really interesting memoir of a young American woman working in Beijing in the s. I learned a great deal about China and how it has changed since the revolution and since the s.

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My only wish is that the title which comes from the name of a Chinese soap opera in which the author acted and the picture on the cover wasn't so tawdry - it makes the book sound like it's going to be so much less than it is; which is an insider's account on being an outsider in China, told with intelligence a Really interesting memoir of a young American woman working in Beijing in the s. My only wish is that the title which comes from the name of a Chinese soap opera in which the author acted and the picture on the cover wasn't so tawdry - it makes the book sound like it's going to be so much less than it is; which is an insider's account on being an outsider in China, told with intelligence and insight.

Feb 11, Erin rated it liked it. Fun read that goes way beyond hilarious stories of propaganda-making. Well written and a pleasure to read. Jul 25, Leanne rated it really liked it Shelves: Stupid title, stupid cover, thoughtful engagement with China and her position as an outsider during the 90s. Jul 28, Neil Pierson rated it liked it. China was just beginning to open itself up to commerce with other countries, and foreigners living in China were still relatively uncommon.

Although she had studied Chinese and traveled in China, she was looking for an intense, exotic experience. Boy, did she get it. The recurring theme is Rachel trying to figure out what the hell is going on. In spite of her studies and experience, she struggled to understand or speak wit With a newly minted BA in English, Rachel DeWoskin moved to China in In spite of her studies and experience, she struggled to understand or speak with the Chinese. You need to be careful with any language that uses the same word for "business" and "sex. She doesn't know anything about public relations and not very much about China, so there's a lot for Rachel to figure out.

Most of her coworkers aren't much help.


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  • There are her language limitations; she has no experience as an actor, much less in acting as it's done on a Chinese soap opera; and the show is being filmed from the end of the script to the beginning. It's no glamour assignment, either. She gets calls at 3: The show, it turns out, is about a couple of American women--one played by a German, but who cares? To attract viewers, the producers use whatever they can, including the reputation of western women for being "open-minded. Maybe they expect that as international commerce grows, there will be an onslaught of foreigners and strange ways, and they want to prepare their people?

    Or maybe somebody got bribed. The native population doesn't come across very sympathetically, which is a little unusual in this type of book. Most of the Chinese disdain foreigners, resent them, or envy them. Verbal faux pas are not greeted with laughter or explanations. They embarrass the Chinese, who shun the speaker. Rachel spends quite a bit of time with Chinese intellectuals, who have the same complaints about their culture as any other intellectuals.

    I didn't really connect with this book. Maybe it's because in the period covered, the author never did find solid footing. It's hard to explain something to a reader when the author isn't sure of it herself. Apr 26, Katie rated it it was ok Shelves: I never really got who DeWoskin was throughout the thing, and found myself super bored - especially considering that the story should have been really interesting. It felt sort of squashed together; I rarely felt like I had a hold on the sequence of events, and then she'd put in a bunch of facts about China.

    While these were most certainly useful and interesting, it took me out of her own story at times and I found myself confused as to where we left off. When DeWoskin does show her personality, she. There's this naivete she puts across that I don't really buy, to be honest. I mean, I think it's reasonable to be overwhelmed by a place so different from where she grew up, but she has this "Aw, shucks! This is especially so when she discusses how embarrassed she was by the TV show. If you didn't want to do it, then fine, don't, but how can you possibly be so awkward?

    It's like she wants to come off as this awesome adventuress AND a humble, thoughtful foreign girl just trying to sweetly make her way through Beijing. The only reason I'm not just giving it two stars is because I feel like my irritation at the voice was purely subjective. Perhaps, but the review is my own opinion, so whatevs. Honestly, if you have an interest in China, this is a light way to start understanding some of the history. The rest is so muddled, though, that I would take her cultural observations with a grain of salt.

    Aug 14, Karen Germain rated it it was amazing. I immediately looked up other books by DeWoskin and discovered that she had written a memoir about her time living in China in the mid's. The title of her memoir "Foreign Babes In Beijing" refers to the title of the very popular Chinese soap opera that DeWoskin found herself cast in as Jiexi, an all American girl and temptress to one of the married Chinese male I first heard of Rachel DeWoskin a few weeks ago, when I picked up her one of her works of fiction, "Big Girl Small", which I loved. The title of her memoir "Foreign Babes In Beijing" refers to the title of the very popular Chinese soap opera that DeWoskin found herself cast in as Jiexi, an all American girl and temptress to one of the married Chinese male characters.

    This memoir is just plain crazy and impossible to put down. DeWoskin did not move to China with any interest in acting, but went to the audition on a lark and she just seems to go with the flow with regard to experiences and people that come her way. She probably embraces a foreign culture in the best possible way, making many friends that lead her multiple opportunities. She has interesting things to report regarding stereotypes both through her TV show and in the general public and how they can perpetuate false ideas. The stereotypes on the soap opera are often completely ridiculous, but shine a light on how even minor perpetuated falsehoods can cause damage when trying to break down cultural barriers.

    Osnos, another former New Yorker correspondent, includes known figures like artist and activist Ai Weiwei, whom he befriended in Beijing, and former World Bank chief economist Justin Lin, who defected to mainland China from Taiwan in , as well a striving Chinese English student named Michael Zhang.

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    China will be a country that builds things for a long time. Migrant women in China are particularly interesting because unlike men, who are obliged to care for their aging parents, women experience freedom and liberation once they escape their farming villages. Chang weaves together stories of the grueling work schedules—8 a. How much do you make? So whenever an execution took place, the little town on Hanzhou Bay where I grew up would buzz with excitement.

    The book also comes recommended by another author on this list, Osnos, who has said he wished he had written it. The most common greeting in China today remains, Chi le ma? Nothing better has been written about inner workings of the CCP: More than one million Chinese have emigrated to Africa over the past couple of decades.

    Some of the migrants stayed behind after construction projects were completed; others left China without looking back. One character talks of creating a new race the day his Chinese sons marry African women. French details all this with insightful perceptive: Johnson goes on to chronicle the lives of Beijing locals who lose their homes to development and a persecuted Falun Gong grandmother. His subjects include a grave robber, a professional mourner, and a particularly memorable megalomaniac peasant from Sichuan province who anointed himself the new emperor of China before ending up behind bars.

    Unsurprisingly, this book is banned in China.