It’s been a long year filled with trivial fun, the best of which involves the antics of celebrities, musicians, writers, and generally anyone involved in the creation of China’s vibrant culture. From poetry to death hoaxes, we’ve garnered a lot of enjoyment from covering the diaspora of China’s creative zeitgeist. And in honor of the multitudinous wonderful, scandalous and noteworthy things we’ve watched, experienced and digested over the past year, here’s a short breakdown of our favorite gems of cultural news.
Though we’ve lamented the dearth of English translations of modern Chinese literature, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been paying attention to the literary scene (well, at least to the more scandalous stories). Besides the release of Obama’s brother’s book, the most exciting news of the year involved the banning of auditory erotica: if there’s anything we’ve learned in 2009, it’s that a seductive voice can land you in jail. And whenever we talk about books, Han Han is never far behind: the past year has given us a number of opportunities to revel and gawk at the cantankerous words and actions of our favorite post-80’s author-cum-racecar driver. Yet the most inspiring story of literary merit of the year has to be, without a doubt, the student who got a perfect score on the gaokao writing exam by writing a poem. And who said that poetry was a dead genre?
In music news, we’ve spent some time thinking about how most of the mainland’s favorite music comes from Taiwan. As for our favorite Taiwanese pop star, Jay Chou: well, he died again (but only in the papers, of course), only to be reborn anew as one of Asia’s most influential people. Sadly, he didn’t quite make the cut for China’s top eleven most eligible bachelors. And as some of our favorite and least favorite foreign bands took the stage (Has anyone seen Daft Punk, by the way?), we lamented the sad state of China’s local music coverage.
And finally, we’ve had a number of great photo sets from China’s past to grace our homepage over the past year. Our favorite by far was China Pictorial’s 60 year recap. We’re just waiting for some enterprising painter to copy one of their covers and pass it off as original work.