The Rickshaw Report: The Travel Special

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Jan 28, 2016

The Rickshaw Report : Chinese Beauty Ideals & the Rise of Cosmetic Surgery

This week, the Rickshaw Report explores what is considered beautiful by the Chinese, and also the rise of the ‘plastic fantastic’ aka cosmetic surgery in the Middle Kingdom.   1. What is considered beautiful by the  Chinese? I think China’s idea of what is beautiful as changed throughout the course of history. In ancient times, women with fuller figures were considered as the most attractive. However, today, a slim body is seen as most desirable.  I think Beijingers are the most good-looking Chinese people. They have a great sense of style, which alters depending on the season. 2. Do you have many friends or relatives who have openly undergone cosmetic surgery? Yes, I had a female neighbor who had some plastic surgery. But, personally, I do not think the procedure really made her more beautiful. 3.What is your view on plastic surgery? I am aware that there is a trend of Chinese people traveling to South Korea to undergo plastic surgery. Some results are great, others less so. Well, certain cases, the people even get health problems because they risk going to dodgy surgeons who charge less. 3. In the west, many white women desperately want tanned skin, and even go to extreme measures to attain their desired look including risking skin cancer by sunbathing for hours. What do you […]

Jan 21, 2016

The Rickshaw Report : Chinese Beauty Ideals & the Rise of Cosmetic Surgery

This week, the Rickshaw Report explores what is considered beautiful by the Chinese, and also the rise of the ‘plastic fantastic’ aka cosmetic surgery in the Middle Kingdom.   1. What is considered beautiful by the  Chinese? I think China’s idea of what is beautiful as changed throughout the course of history. In ancient times, women with fuller figures were considered as the most attractive. However, today, a slim body is seen as most desirable.  I think Beijingers are the most good-looking Chinese people. They have a great sense of style, which alters depending on the season. 2. Do you have many friends or relatives who have openly undergone cosmetic surgery? Yes, I had a female neighbor who had some plastic surgery. But, personally, I do not think the procedure really made her more beautiful. 3.What is your view on plastic surgery? I am aware that there is a trend of Chinese people traveling to South Korea to undergo plastic surgery. Some results are great, others less so. Well, certain cases, the people even get health problems because they risk going to dodgy surgeons who charge less. 3. In the west, many white women desperately want tanned skin, and even go to extreme measures to attain their desired look including risking skin cancer by sunbathing for hours. What do you […]

Jan 21, 2016

The Rickshaw Report: The Best and Worst of 2015

For this week’s Rickshaw Report, we ask two Beijing Rickshaw drivers about their highs and lows of 2015. 1. What was the highlight of your year? A.I had a Japanese customer this year. We chatted a lot about Chinese and Japanese culture and history. I realized that both our countries actually have a lot in common. The experience really opened my eyes. B. A lot of my friends got married…and, of course, I had to spend a lot of money on their celebratory gifts. So much money down the drain! 2. What do you think of China’s role in the world during 2015? A.I think China needs to make a greater effort to show the world that it can handle its country’s affairs with confidence. B. During the 19th century, China was weak and was overpowered by Western nations as well as Japan. However, recently, we have seen China’s rise as it has developed into a more powerful world power. China calls itself a peaceful country, and its actions reflect this. 3. What was the best news story of 2015? A. Too many to chose from. I am just happy that the area that I work in has become more calm and less crowded. B. (In a grumpy voice) This year brought no good news. 4. And what was the […]

Dec 31, 2015

The Rickshaw Report: Xi speaks at World Conference on Women

The Rickshaw Report:Women’s Rights 1. Last Sunday, Xi Jinping co-hosted a summit at the UN headquarters in NY in order to promote women’s rights. China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, also gave a speech at the event, calling for better education in order to improve the livelihoods of women. Do you think China serves as a fitting role model to other nations on this topic? Countries all over the world should respect women, and encourage girls to have better access to education. Xi has done a very good job. I heard that he has pledged, on behalf of China, to donate 10 billion Yuan to UN Women (Editor: the figure is actually 10 million US Dollars). I think China is the first country to do this, so this may encourage other countries to give financial aid as well to UN Women, and also lead the other nations to pay more attention to women’s rights ( Editor: In fact, several other countries have alsob donated to UN Women. Switzerland’s donation to the institution has actually exceeded China’s contribution.) 2. What can China teach other countries on this issue? Gender inequality is prevalent is several countries across the globe. China is setting a good example to such nations. At the summit, Xi highlighted China’s efforts to strengthen gender equality…but I cannot remember the […]

Dec 30, 2015

The Rickshaw Report: Xi's Visit to the USA

1. Xi Jinping is set to meet with Obama this week. How is the current relationship between the US and China? I think the relationship is very straightforward. They are both on friendly terms, but are also cautious of each other. There is no permanent friend or enemy, only a permanent interest. 2. Who is your favourite American person? As a child, I was really inspired by American action movie stars, like Alain Delon and Sylvester Stallone. ( Editor: Alain Delon is actually a French-Swiss national – not from the USA.) They were tough men! On another note, I really think former US President Bill Clinton played a major role in strengthening the US-China relationship. 3. How do the Chinese regard the USA? It’s hard to say. In regards to the government, two issues stand out. Firstly, their policies are all based on their own national interest – but every country is like that. Secondly, the American government does not always do what it says it will. But the Chinese government does what it says it will do. However, we see American people as nice and down-to-earth. When they say something, they will follow through with it as a result of their good education. I have met a lot of foreigners from the USA. 4. Which issues pose the biggest […]

Dec 23, 2015

The Rickshaw Report: China and the UK

1. What do Chinese people think of the UK? On the whole, we think Brits are polite and well-mannered. However, this is just a generalization – of course, there can be exceptions! 2. The UK and China have had their ups and downs. They fought each other during the Opium Wars, and the British – alongside the French – were even responsible for the burning down of the old Summer Palace. How is the relationship now? Look, people sometimes have disagreements with their colleagues, however, cooperation lies in everyone’s interests. Friendships can go up and down, but as long as their mutual interests will exist, so will the friendship. 3. One of the UK’s top politicians wants his homeland to become China’s best partner in the West. What are your thoughts? Both countries are trying to make use of each other, but doesn’t mean that they are also trying to help each other. As for the negative episodes of the past, like the Opium Wars, both UK and China have moved past these – its all water under the bridge now. 4. After the UK announced its membership of the China-led AIIB, the USA accused the UK of ‘constant accommodation’ to China. What do you make of this? The USA seriously accuses the UK of this? This reminds me of […]

Dec 22, 2015

Wanna escape the Airopocalypse? Head for Taipei!

Why I have not come here sooner!? During a recent trip to Taipei, it was impossible to stop repeatedly posing myself this question. Having lived in Beijing for four years, I strongly regretted waiting so long before finally discovering the charming capital of Taiwan. After all, the two cities are only a mere three and half hour flight apart. It’s that easy to swap the hazy, bitter Beijing winter for the crystal-clear skies of exotic Taipei. However, when learning from the Wechat updates of Beijing friends that it had snowed in the northern Chinese city on the very same morning of my visit to Taipei, a little confidence in my sense of timing was regained. After all, exploring the calm, sun-kissed streets of Taipei whilst clad in just shorts and a t-shirt sure does beat trudging through Beijing’s grey, slushy snow to the subway station and then fighting your way through the masses for a space on the train during the city’s notorious rush hour. And it’s not just the lack of crowds, clean air and warm weather that make Taipei attractive, but the Taiwanese culture that is also very alluring. Very likely due to the city’s miniscule crime rates, the locals are incredibly friendly and approachable. Smiling faces greet you in the streets. It’s very easy to strike up […]

Dec 16, 2015

Man’s Best Friend or Dinner?

As a result of its majestic, emerald hills and peaceful, turquoise rivers, swarms of tourists flock to the idyllic province of Guangxi, eager to discover the glorious Southern Chinese landscape. However, it appears that the province may be in risk of becoming less well-known for its natural beauty, and instead gain a dire reputation as a result of a gruesome annual event held in the city of Yulin.  Although, in Mandarin, Yulin – 玉林- literally translates into ‘jade forest’, its most well-known festival is not anywhere near as pretty as the city’s name would suggest. Since 1995, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival sees an estimated 10,000 dogs bludgeoned to death and eaten. Cats are also on the menu. The event is held on summer solstice as the locals claim that consuming dog meat can ward off disease and cool the body. It has also been reported that the animals are burnt, boiled and skinned whilst still alive as the torture supposedly ‘improves’ the taste of their flesh. Even more worrying are the claims by animal activists that pet dogs are actually stolen and butchered at the festival, as well as those that the meat is unhygienic and breaches food safety regulations. Over the recent years, the festival has sparked off growing global controversy.  A change.org online petition, protesting against this […]

Dec 14, 2015