Author: Lani Luo

CHINA: Dollars Make China Holler

LANI LUO WRITES – With China’s booming economy and increasing standard of living, cell phone use has grown exponentially. Folks across the country are using stylish smart phones and all their fantastic features. One of which is the WeChat application offered by Tencent, a social media outfit that until now has let users with WiFi text for free. But this no-cost service is about to change. Tencent officials hope that charging a small fee to millions of users will add up to big revenue for them. Not surprisingly, China’s government wants in on the act. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says it will be an exclusive partner with Tencent in the fee-for-text scheme. Its reasoning: WeChat’s free service lets users text internationally, threatening telephone companies’ traditional text messaging services. Plus all those messages use up bandwidth on government-run networks. Whether to charge its customers to use WeChat or not is up to Tencent. But before it makes its decision, Tencent should realize that once WeChat becomes a paid service, it no longer differs from any other traditional telecom texting services and thus will have to succeed in the same competitive market. Instead of attempting to charge for this service, Tencent should consider expanding WeChat’s data bandwidth and finding novel and creative ways to build revenue. After all, technology is only a tool for development. It would be...

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CHINA: Shanghai Love Market

FILM REVIEW BY LANI LUO – “Wake up. This is the new China. Things need to be planned and centrally controlled.” This quote comes from a short film written by Craig Rosenthal called Shanghai Love Market. Clearly, the title indicates that the story is not an academic critique on the governing system of Communist China. Nevertheless, the topic of the film is actually very political and pertinent to modern China. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the dating scene. Shanghai Love Market is inspired by true events, where parents congregate in a park to hang up personal flyers on...

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CHINA: Better Brace Yourself!

Fake it til’ you make it. Teens in Asia are taking that concept literally as they apply fake braces on their teeth as a fashion trend. This curious fad first started in Southeast Asia, and it is now taking Asia by storm, making its way into many Chinese teenagers’ mouth. With the help of promotional blogs and application tutorial videos, kids can be the brace-face they’ve dreamed to be. To Westerners, this is arguably the strangest fashion trend, but there is a very logical explanation. Despite Asia’s economic rise, buying braces is still considered to be a privilege amongst wealthy families. Just as being “plump” was thought to be attractive in China before 2000 because it was a sign of prosperity, braces have also become a status symbol for those who are rich enough to buy them. So beyond just wanting to be cool, there is also a desire to be (or seem) wealthy. Kids want to emulate people they admire. And in China’s money-driven culture, they admire the rich. The market for this trend is mostly online. Fake-brace vendors do most of their promotions on blogs, where they display a plethora of design choices for kids to browse through. Each set is sold for the cheap price of $100. Once they order it, kids can watch tutorial videos online to learn how to apply the braces on themselves....

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China Blog Blotter: Too Soon for Equal Rights?

“Gays Dare to Love” was the slogan for the Equal Rights for Gays Parade that took place in Hong Kong recently. Much like America’s own Pride Parades, Equal Rights for Gays Parade is public, loud, and flamboyant. Although parades like these have happened in the past in Hong Kong, this one was especially high in attendance numbers. The homosexuality community stated that this event encouraged people to “bravely come out of the closet” and helped people understand that “gay people are ordinary people.” This is clearly a progressive move that shakes China’s patriarchal traditionalists. China has undergone years of secularization, and its conservative ideals against homosexuality are still very much intact. Netizens, a younger crowd of China, provide a good representation of the current perspective on legalizing gay marriage. Unfortunately, unlike American youths, Netizens did not respond with overwhelming support for legalizing gay marriage. Out of all the responses that express disgust, shame, and disbelief, many Netizens are not against homosexuality, but believe that gay marriage should not be legalized in order to keep traditional sexuality as the norm. They feel that by legalizing gay marriage, people would be encouraged to become gay. A NetEase user commented, “We accept the existence of this phenomenon, but don’t encourage people to emulate it.” Go to:...

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CHINA: A New Fashion Model In Town

Heels, lace, and mini-skirts! These are some of our favorite things. By “our,” I mean the possessive term for females. China’s new clothing line, Yuekou,  is marketing these pieces to young Chinese fashionistas in a brand new way that is shocking to their audience, as well as the rest of the Chinese world. Yuekou’s new model is a 72-year old man who has boosted the store’s sales 5 times. Liu Xianpingi is the 72-year old grandfather of one of the co-owners. The thin, elderly, but quite sassy gentleman poses in women’s clothing. His style, in contrast to the stereotypes of his age and gender, is feminine and chic. Normally, one does not suspect an outfit for 17-year-old high school students to be worn by a 72-year old. Despite the strangeness, people love it. Chinese Netizens have reacted to this novelty with overwhelming support. They describe grandpa Liu to be “cool, open-minded, fun, extremely stylish and had the perfect camera face.” If you look at the pictures yourself, it is hard to disagree. But beyond the jaw dropping fashion, this phenomenon demonstrates a significant change within China’s social fiber. It is a sign that the folks in China are becoming more accepting, diverse, and open minded. China may be a country with a strong base in traditional gender roles, but today’s progress is an example that this base could be...

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Asia Media International Staff

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL is a student-driven publication of Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Media Center – a vital part of LMU’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS)

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Fassa Sar [Film]
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Elizabeth Soelistio [Indonesia]
Yunfei Suo [China]
Clementine Todorov [Bangladesh & Vietnam]
Katie Trinh [Vietnam]
Ryan Urban [Singapore]
Yi Ning Wong [Asia Culture]

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