Beijing winter skies

Blue skies and bare trees in wintry Beijing, December 2015 © ZhendeGender Beijing looks similar today, which is a delight after days of thick grey smog. Blue skies are such a rarity it is worth celebration. Let's hope winter 2016-17 is clearer and cleaner than last year, so we can fling the windows wide more [...]


Beijing is shrouded in a pore-clogging, snot-blackening blanket of horrific pollution. And has been for days. It hangs over the city, blocking the view in every direction, permeating every inch of space. The "fog" blurs the edges of buildings, casts an eery light in daytime and, at night, neon street lights and car headlights alike bleed [...]

Chinese Dentist Time

What time is it? It's Chinese Dentist Time!  When I was a kid, just as ten to ten became Cowboy Time (ten to ten to ten ten ten..., two thirty became tooth hurty - Chinese Dentist Time. It was years before I realised the racism of this joke. But it has nonetheless been circling my head for the [...]