By Kirsty Needham
Whilst journalist Kristy Needham heads to Beijing to paintings at a chinese language newspaper as a “foreign expert,” she has studied the language and the background yet has no proposal what existence in China will quite be like. As this compelling tale finds, she quickly learns that Communist slogans, transvestite nightclubs, SARS scares, and militant groups of vacationer handlers are only the various disparate components of lifestyle in China that she needs to navigate. From being continuously requested if she is a secret agent to maintaining her integrity at a government-controlled paper, Needham is stuck in a country haunted by means of its earlier and surging towards the longer term. via wry, journalistic observations, this shiny memoir deals an enlightening, hilarious, and infrequently frightening outsider’s tackle modern China and its swiftly changing culture.
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Additional resources for A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China
Technically, Sanlitun wasn’t one street but a euphemism for a stockade of embassies, restaurants, hairdressers, tailors and bars clustered in the city’s east. It was Beijing’s latest concession to foreigners. By day the leafy and tranquil northern section of Sanlitun hosted ladies-who-lunched and business meetings at elegant cafes, but by night boozing dominated its epicentre. This was my first encounter with the heady mix of street beggars, soccer louts and DVD touts. Cloud Nine was on the top floor of a building in a back alley that had installed door nazis to keep its hip clientele distinct from the rabble.
I took a seat in a vacant cubicle. Heads quickly appeared over the office divider, offering warm introductions to a mixture of adopted English and Chinese names. ‘I’m Big Bird. No, sorry, wrong word. ’ said my grinning neighbour, a colossus in a fashionably striped ethnic minority shirt. ‘I’m An Ling, the subeditor. You will be working closely with me,’ said a girl with a serene face and short-cropped hair. The introductions kept flowing. There were in all a dozen reporters, artists and subeditors, aged in their twenties and recruited from Chinese universities far and wide.
I sent a panicked email to China Daily. They said they would speak to the consulate. A fortnight later I was given the verdict: I could go to China, but I would not be allowed to work as a journalist. The Chinese Consulate in Sydney was adamant that I should not write for any media outlet while I was there. My China Daily job description was changed to Foreign Expert English Language Polisher. I was relieved but a little disappointed. QX5 26/6/06 12:23 PM Page 19 Yellow Dust 19 and penning lively stories about colourful local festivals involving firecrackers and lanterns.