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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25 mai 2016

"Mickey" à Shanghai

English version Récemment, en relisant le superbe livre sur le Bund de Peter Hibbard, mon attention a été retenue par la référence à l'une des liaisons de Sir Victor Sassoon. Celle avec Emilie Hahn (ci-contre), un personnage tout aussi fascinant que lui. Emilie Hahn est une journaliste américaine qui arrive à Shanghai en 1935. Surnommée "Mickey" par ses amis et sa famile, elle se déplace souvent en compagnie de Mr Mills, un petit singe gibbon. Véritable incarnation de la femme libre, "Mickey" a quitté les États Unis par ennui,... [Lire la suite]

27 mars 2016

For Easter, go egg-hunting in Shanghai!

Version Française  If you get a chance to visit a Chinese Market in Shanghai or the rest of China, you probably notice that in addition to raw eggs, another variety will be on sale: the “One Century Eggs”, also called “pidan”   This sort of preserved egg has nothing in common with the fertilized duck eggs that one finds in the Philippines (“ballut” in Philippino) or in Vietnam. It is actually more often used as a condiment than a single dish. There is no reason to fear this kind of egg: it contains nothing that can... [Lire la suite]
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09 mars 2016

Destructions along Suzhou River

Version Française There are moments one would never like to experience. To stroll along ravaged Shanghai lilongs is definitely one of them. For some three years now, the lilongs situated along the Suzhou River or near the Huangpu are actually regularly destroyed (read my article "Goodbye Old Shanghai"). When looking at half torn down walls or missing glass windows, one cannot help rememberping some happier moments enjoyed there. There used to be entire families living in those houses not long ago (read my article about sunny lilongs... [Lire la suite]
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09 septembre 2015

Le Corbusier in Shanghai?

Version Française I was recently traveling to the Indian city of Chandigarh and I was very much impressed by what Indian describe as of the most comfortable city in the country. At first sight, this statement is not obvious as Chandigarh is a 100% concrete modern city, entirely built by controversial architect Le Corbusier to become the capital of Indian Punjab after Partition. However, compared to other dense traffic and crowded cities of India, one soon realises Chandigarh is a heaven. Traffic is fluid and trees can... [Lire la suite]
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05 juin 2015

A bridge too close 1/2

Version Française Shanghai Garden Bridge (Waibaidu Bridge) on the Suzhou River is a major landmark of the city. When the weather is nice, many photographers would choose to make wedding photos there, as the bridge is a perfect symbol for the blend between old and modern Shanghai. Let's understand why this bridge is so important when talking about Shanghai and what key role it played in Shanghai History.   A strategic location When the British settled in 1842 at the intersection of Suzhou Creek and Huangpu River, this... [Lire la suite]