Chinese Voices Project: Consumer Culture
A City of Drivers
(1.0 / 355)
The popular image of Beijing as a city of
bicyclists is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as the family car
comes to be seen not as a luxury but as a basic necessity for middle-class
McMansions in Beijing
(1.1 / 447)
Luxurious new houses are springing up like mushrooms
in the suburbs of Beijing, fueling debates over the ethics of conspicuous
consumption in a nation whose population remains overwhelmingly poor.
Popcorn, Peanuts, and Mao Zedong
(1.1 / 435)
Passengers on a Chinese train are a captive audience
irresistable to hucksters of all stripes, selling--at a healthy profit--everything
from flashlights to Mao Zedong souvenir cards.
In Pursuit of the Perfect Face
(1.2 / 312)
Judging from the number of newspaper ads,
plastic surgery is all the rage among the new rich in Chinese cities.
It's still got a stigma attached to it, though, making it one of the few
forms of luxury consumption you won't hear them bragging about.
Starbucks in the Forbidden City I
(1.3 / 319)
The Starbucks franchise in the Forbidden
City has been the subject of major controversy in the Beijing blogosphere.
Starbucks in the Forbidden City II
(1.4 / 371)
Another take on the Starbucks controversy.
A Food Poisoning Scare
(1.4 / 481)
Food allergies are always dangerous, but
they're even more so when restaurants don't take measures to accommodate
them. This lunch out in Beijing led to a trip to the hospital--and an
apologetic call from the manager.
A Girl Named Mark
(1.4 / 411)
A trip to a Beijing Walmart reveals a certain
carelessness in the assigning of English names to Chinese cashiers, and
suggests the prestige value of English even in unlikely settings.
Walmarts in Beijing
(1.6 / 318)
Walmart superstores have been blamed for
killing off thousands of small family-owned businesses in US towns; their
effects in Beijing neighborhoods seem, unfortunately, to be much the same.
Christmas Eve Birthday
(1.7 / 265)
A December 24th birthday just isn't the
same since Beijingers have taken up the Christmas habit.
The Changing Culture of Teahouses
(1.8 / 236)
The traditional teahouse in China has gone
the way of the American coffeeshop, from being a casual neighborhood gathering
place to an elite preserve for luxury consumption.