Entertainment

A publicity poster for Warriors of Future. (Internet)

Hong Kongers are supporting Hong Kong films and making a political statement?

Hong Kong films have been doing well in the second half of this year, with several films among the top in box office takings. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing looks at the factors behind this strong showing, including government funding, cast appeal, pent-up demand due to the pandemic, and possibly an indirect way for people to express their political wants.
Sensing that I'm drawn to such content, Douyin’s algorithm recommended more stories of Chinese families that tug at the heartstrings. (Screenshots provided by Jessie Tan)

Singaporean in China: China's poor no longer beg, they livestream

Former journalist Jessie Tan muses over the phenomenon of those in need transitioning from begging on the streets to selling goods on Douyin. While the poor or disabled have been given a more dignified and effective source of income, this is just one aspect of the good that comes with social media and technology.
A still from the movie Return to Dust, with Wu Renlin (left) and Hai Qing in the lead roles. (Internet)

Can China's movies depict poverty and the ugliness of society?

The movie Return to Dust depicts the difficult circumstances of a rural couple in China. Despite the high ratings and box office takings, some detractors say that the film feeds Western stereotypes of rural Chinese. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at whether the movie panders to Western tastes, and whether it invalidates China’s efforts at poverty alleviation.
A playground in a zoo with an admission fee of 10 RMB per child.

A Singaporean in China: Don't take free playgrounds for granted

Former journalist Jessie Tan shares her observations as a mother in China as she looks at the outdoor spaces where Chinese children can play, learn and grow. While the options are plenty, the costs to entertain children cannot be avoided, posing a challenge to lower-income families.
People wearing face masks walk out of a subway station during morning rush hour in Beijing, China, 26 April 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Patriotism has become a commodity on Chinese social media

Chinese internet celebrities have landed in hot water since social media platforms began displaying the IP addresses of posts by verified accounts. Netizens are crying foul as the locations of these individuals have potentially exposed the deception and falsehoods in their content and “patriotic” personae. Is this the end for the “patriotic Big Vs”?
A girl wearing a costume of Netflix series Squid Game poses for photographs in front of a giant doll named 'Younghee' from the series on display at a park in Seoul, South Korea, 26 October 2021. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Lessons from Squid Game: Would you be slapped for US$10,000?

Art historian Chiang Hsun counts the ways that the hit Korean drama series Squid Game puts humanity to shame. The rich and powerful exploit the weaknesses of the poor while the ordinary man is given a choice but can’t help but choose the wrong choice each time. Life is one reckless gamble we willingly take, all for the chance of living a dream.
People walk through wet streets after a morning snow storm in Manhattan on 7 January 2022 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Why the Americans know China better than the Chinese know the US

The belief that the Chinese know far more about America than Americans know about China is a misconception. In the age of globalisation and the internet, a knowledge asymmetry actually exists between the Chinese and the Americans — middle class Americans seem to have an understanding of Chinese culture, history and system based on rigorous academic research and analysis, but the Chinese lack the same level of understanding of the Americans. US academic Wu Guo shares his views on why the “knowledge deficit” exists in China.
The Chinese national flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, on 4 February 2022. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

Can socialist China change society's value orientation and triumph over the ills of capitalism?

An overhaul in its social value orientation is needed if China is to tackle the pressures on employment and social structures that the digital economy, artificial intelligence and smart automation will bring. Essentially, it should root out casino capitalism and the related social ills of “winner takes all”, “get rich quick”, “lying flat” and envy that have seeped into society. The Chinese Communist Party is making an effort but it will not be easy to abandon a purely material approach and prize other values that will raise the quality of life and elevate a civilisation.
Everyday life through the eyes of secret agents in spy drama Enemy. (Enemy official Weibo)

Mainland Chinese TV drama sparks talk of ‘Taiwan spies’

China's new TV show Enemy tells the story of a spy couple from Taiwan living in mainland China. The drama has won accolades and fans not so much for spy intrigue per se, but the realistic portrayal of everyday life in mainland China. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how reel life mirrors real life and the ongoing tensions in cross-strait relations.