09 octobre 2016

Shanghai homo delphinus

Version Française As the biopic on oceanographer Jacques Cousteau featuring Lambert Wilson in the main role, "L'Odyssée" is about to come out in France, I cannot help myself from thinking of another deep ocean lover who was born in Shanghai: Jacques Mayol. Jacques Mayol is known all over the world from Luc Besson movie "The Big Blue" (last photo) which was inspired by his life. He was the son of a French architect living in Shanghai, Laurent Mayol who used to work for the French delegation in the 1920s 1930s. I could not... [Lire la suite]

02 octobre 2016

Father Jacquinot: The Nantao hero 1/2

 Version Française  When famous journalist Albert Londres meets Father Jacquinot in 1932, this one is helping victims of the Sino-Japanese fights in Chapei (Zhabei today). The reporter is surprised by the unusual look of the priest. "Father Jacquinot wears glasses. His neatly cut beard has not the usual shape of missionaries. He has one hand missing. The shabby look of his cassock definitely indicates he has not only been in a church. I wonder if Saint Peter himself would accept him in such a miserable look." Albert... [Lire la suite]
27 septembre 2016

The Long Bar

Version Française When discovering Shanghai Bund marvels, one is often told about the Shanghai Club Long Bar. This actually used to be themeeting place in the 1920s and 1930s for the British elites, but not only them, as the Club was open to foreigners. It was however closed to Chinese citizens and to women who were only invited once a year! The first Shanghai Club, now part of the Warldorf Astoria Hotel, was built in 1864 to provide the newly arrived group of British businessmen with an exclusive place to meet and discuss... [Lire la suite]
20 septembre 2016

Shanghai Sketch

Version Française It's been a while I wanted to write about Shanghai Sketch, this Shanghai 1930's famous magazine. Shanghai Sketch (上海漫画 or Shanghai Manhua, nearby) was founded in 1928 by a group of eleven artists including Ye Quanyu, Huang Wennong, Lu Shaofei, Zhang Guanyu and Zhang Zhenyu. One of the sponsors was Shao Xunmei, the Chinese and highly controversial lover of Emily Hahn. From the very beginning, it used erotic pictures or dramatic scenes on its front page to attract readers' attention. Inside the magazine, one... [Lire la suite]
11 septembre 2016

An Armenian in Shanghai: The Tchakalian family bakery

 Version Française  After traveling to Yerevan Armenia this summer, I got extensive information about the Armenian genocide occurring from the end of the eighteenth century in Turkey to the early nineteenth century. During this period some 2 million Armenian people were slaughtered, walked to death and tortured by Turks and Kurd militias working with them. The peak of this period was 1915 corresponding to the rise of the Young Turks party in the former Ottoman Empire. This very sad episode is still denied by many... [Lire la suite]
07 septembre 2016

The White Countess

 Version Française I recently watched the movie called "The White Countess" with one of my preferate actors, Ralph Fienes (Voldemort in Harry Potter, The English Patient, The Constant Gardener, Schindler List...). This movie is about White Russians in Shanghai 1930s, telling the story of a former Russian noble lady obliged to work as a bar hostess. Although the story itself is of little interest, it is probably the first time I watch such a precisely and well documented movie about Shanghai 1930s. The background is... [Lire la suite]

18 juin 2016

Harbin: charming Daowai!

  Version Française  Harbin's Russian heritage architecture has often been praised. The city which was founded along the Chinese Eastern Railway by czarist Russia was indeed known as the St Petersbourg of the East because of its resemblance to the capital of the former Russian Empire. There are still many orthodox style churches in town today, though some of them have been turned into catholic churches or even museums (see Saint Sophia on the left). The Chinese Cultural Revolution in Mandchuria however destroyed a few of... [Lire la suite]
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17 juin 2016

Harbin: les charmes de Daowai

 English version On a souvent vanté l'architecture russe de Harbin. Il est vrai que la ville fondée le long du chemin de fer de l'Est chinois par la Russie tsariste est tellement marquée par l'héritage culturel de la Sainte Russie que la ville a longtemps été surnommée la Saint-Petersbourg de l'Est. Les églises orthodoxes, transformées en églises catholiques pour certaines ou en musées pour d'autres (comme Sainte Sophie ci-contre), subsistent encore nombreuses, et ce malgré le déchaînement de la Révolution Culturelle dans... [Lire la suite]
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25 mai 2016

Mickey in Shanghai

Version Française As I was flipping again in Peter Hibbard's excellent book about the Bund, my attention was caught by one of Victor Sassoon's love stories. The one with Emily Hahn, a most fascinating character! American journalist and adventuress, considered by many as the first American feminist, Emily Hahn, whose friends and family knock named "Mickey", arrived in Shanghai in 1935. Emily left the United States a couple of years earlier for Africa when she extensively commented Belgian Congo pygmies. The first women... [Lire la suite]
25 mai 2016

From Shanghai to Normandy D-Day: W.E.Fairbairn

 Version Française Among the outstanding characters who lived in Shanghai in the 1930’s was undoubtedly William Ewart Fairbairn. Being a member of the Shanghai Municipal Police, for 30 years, Fairbairn got himself involved into hundreds of street fights, most of them implying use of knifes. At the end of his carreer, Fairbairn’s body was covered with all kind of scars, even on hand palms. Knick-named “Fearless Dan” or the “Shanghai Buster”, W.E. Fairbairn arrived in Shanghai in 1907 to join the Police force. When on duty, he... [Lire la suite]
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