Saga Ringmar

City Weekend Beijing: “Education: Public Speaking”

Everybody loves a cool, calm and confident public speaker—they make teachers drool and parents quiver with pride. But the prospect of giving a speech fills a lot of us with paralyzing fear. Jerry Seinfeld once quipped that, according to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking, while death was number two: “This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Hilarious—but definitely not true. How can you help your child develop this critical life skill and become fearless on the stage? We ask some confident speakers in Beijing about their top tips when it comes to speaking to an audience. Read the whole article here.

City Weekend Beijing: “First Lesbian Chinese Couple to Have Child Through Surrogacy”

Chinese lesbian couple Rui Cai (left) and Cleo Wu play with their twin babies, born last month. China does not allow same-sex marriages, and only married, heterosexual couples have access to assisted reproduction. The women went through in vitro fertilization in the U.S., and the children were born in China.

Nothing in life is more beautiful than a newly born child – except for possibly two newly born children. Oh, and if those two children mark a step forward for LGBT rights in China? Even better.

Well that’s exactly what happened last month when Rui Cai and Cleo Wu, a lesbian Chinese couple, gave birth to twins with the help of surrogacy. It marked the first time a lesbian couple have had children through surrogacy in China. Read the whole article here. 

 

City Weekend Beijing: “Carbon Emissions to Decrease in Northern China”

The news is that Shenhua Group, the state-owned mining and energy company, has completed its upgrades that will dramatically decrease coal-burning in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

So does that mean more blue skies, sunshine and good times? Well, maybe. But when the environment is concerned, things aren’t always that simple.

Shenhua Group’s new upgrades mean the annual emission of dust, SO2 (sulfur dioxide) and NOx (nitrogen oxide) in the north will go down by 84 percent, 71 percent and 83 percent respectively. The upgrades have taken 3 years and have cost the company 2.35 billion yuan. However, when you’re sitting in a gas chamber it’s hard to empathize with a state-owned coal-power house’s financial plight. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Catherine de France’s Keratin Protein Treatment”

After the strain of a polluted and freezing cold winter, it’s about time someone gave your tangled locks a good seeing to. We headed over to Catherine de France to check out their keratin protein treatment to see if it could tame our stressed-out hair. We were led into a dimly lit room where an assistant was tasked with applying shampoo and administering a scalp massage while the mellowing voice of Billie Holiday emanated from the speakers. Back in the salon seat, another technician paints the keratin solution over each strand of hair. The process takes about 10 minutes, which is a good opportunity to catch up on celebrity gossip courtesy of the many English-language fashion magazines (just like the salons at home). After the wait, our hair was blow-dried and straightened to within an inch of its life, but instead of them looking over-processed, the result was dazzling—our strands glowed and were silky smooth to touch. The treatment is supposed to last three months and, if you care for it correctly, the result is shinier, smoother, and thicker hair for much longer than a typical treatment would last. Catherine recommends doing the treatment before the summer starts, so you won’t have to scout out a salon on your vacation (you know, after the heat tries to kill it dead). The treatment costs from RMB2,000-3,000 depending on hair length. Read the whole review here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “6 of the Internet’s Best Chinese Learning Tools”

Sometimes Chinese can be a nightmare. But you have a whole summer ahead of you, why not try to catch up a little on your mandarin language skills? Here are six useful online tools to get your Chinese from mamahuhu to chaojiwudi:

 

ChinesePod (depicted in the article’s title image)

Chinesepod has Chinese lessons that work. Chinesepod’s podcasts consists of a short sketch which the two hosts disect – explaining the new vocabulary and cultural concepts in depth. The sketches are fun, quirky and you’re bound to relate if you live in China. A personal favorite is an episode called the “DVD Ploy”, a lesson all about netflix-and-chilling China-style. Levels range from beginninger to advanced and members get a free trial for a month after they subscribe. After that, classes cost RMB90 per month and RMB195 per month for Premium. It sucks that it’s not free, but if you’re dedicated to learning Chinese, Chinesepod is worth the price tag. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Wonder Woman: Amy Li”

The first thing I notice about Amy Li is her elegant style and beaming smile. She tells me to have a seat while she finishes a conversation with some friends. I sit down in a corner and flip through a menu.

It’s lunch time at Pak Pak and the restaurant is packed, the zesty smell of Thai curry rolls over to me in waves. The seats are leather and the décor is composed of a lively palette of greens, blues and browns. When Li comes over to me, I realize she is dressed in a similar color scheme. She also seems incredibly happy here.

Li soon explains why the restaurant resembles her so closely, “Pak Pak is just a representation of my inner world,” she says. “The restaurant is a little society … I want people to see the inner world that is inside of me.”

Li already owned Susu, a gorgeous Vietnamese restaurant located deep within the hutongs; her restaurant mini empire now includes two branches of Pak Pak, one in the CBD, the other in Wangjing. I ask Li how this all started—and it was clear that the road here has been a long one. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Filming Starts for a Chinese House of Cards Series”

Have you ever watched House of Cards and thought, “what the world really needs is a Chinese version of this show”? And after thinking that, sighed and remembered that a CCP-style Frank Underwood is something we may never see in our lifetime?

Well that is about to change … sort of.

Reportedly masterminded by higher-ups in the party itself, the plan is to invest RMB120 million in a House of Cards-esque television drama aimed to depict the thrills of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. This marks the first time the CCP has ever depicted their own members as bad guys–bad guys who Xi and his cronies are trying to set right (Big Daddy Xi to the rescue once again). Read the whole article here.

City Weekend: “Your Complete Kids’ Summer Camps Guide” review

Be a Survivalist
Beijing can be a tough place to live, but if you thought the countryside was any easier, then think again. Imagine’s Survival Summer Camp sends kids ages 7-14 out into the wilderness by Huairou (that little town close to the Mutianyu Great Wall). Children will have a stab at surviving in the great outdoors, learning to build fires, make shelters and cross rivers with bamboo rafts. Children will also learn about cooking in the wild, navigating without maps and making tools using only a knife—closely supervised, of course, by professionals with first-aid skills. It promises to be a pretty wild summer in the Beijing hinterlands.

Dates: From June 13
Age range: For kids ages 7-14
Contact: info@imagine-china.com, www.imagine-china.com; 5739-4933
Prices: RMB3,500/week Read the whole review here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Second Bite: Alba Cafe” review

Though Alba café’s menu has had its ups and downs, the café itself has remained the same: the same cozy décor, same great prices and the same Bob Marley tracks playing on the speakers above. This winter the Alba team slipped in a few extra pages to their menu and with the opening of their rooftop terrace for the summer,  it’s a perfect time to check it out.

So what’s the new menu all about? The quick answer: pizzas and sandwiches. The pizza selection includes a chicken pesto pizza for RMB48, a medium sized pizza with creamy pesto sauce, chicken breast, feta cheese and sprigs of fresh basil.  Other pizzas include Parma ham, shrimp and if you’re feeling especially daring – a sweet potato and blue cheese pizza (all for RMB48).

There are lots of new sandwiches as well. They are all served on wooden panels and come with a side of fries – which means that for only RMB30 you can stuff yourself pretty successfully. The open face breakfast sandwich (RMB30) is especially filling, with eggs benedict on one slice of the bagel and an avocado arugula salad on the other. Read the whole review here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Is the People’s Liberation Army’s Video Cooler Than Beyonce’s Lemonade?”

Unless the you’ve been lying under your covers for a month and lost all sense of time and space…you’ve probably heard about the release of Beyonce’s Lemonade music video. But did you know that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) also just released a hip hop music video?

That’s right, you didn’t. Nobody did.

That’s because, although the PLA does have big guns, shiny missiles, and camouflage uniforms galore – their rap game is not super on point. Actually, there are few songs out in the world as bad as this one. Also, three whole minutes of men being shot in the head and tanks crushing things is a bit overwhelming. An angry “rapper” yelling “Brothers to the light! Roar roar roar roar!” doesn’t make things any better. Read the whole article here.