An Englishman in the People’s Republic, Part 3

In 1985, I interviewed a New Zealander who had just had his appendix out under local anesthetic. (Link)  Some months later Tom and I were talking about Robert’s experience, and he said he knew about another foreigner who’d gotten an appendectomy in China. He knew the story was true because he knew the people involved.

Tom’s story

There was a Frenchman who was in Nanjing University in 1981-82. He got an acute pain in his stomach. He went to the Number One People’s  Hospital in Nanjing, where he was told his appendix would have to come out. Unfortunately, it had … Read More

An Englishman in the People’s Republic, Part 2

Tom is a tall, gregarious, generally enthusiastic Englishman in his late twenties who studied at Fudan University in Shanghai and Xiamen University in Xiamen, Fujian Province. In Part 1, Tom talked about sex, privacy and surveillance in the PRC. In this segment he talks about food, drink and hashish.

Tom’s story


For me the whole time in China has been an enormous culinary and consumer experience. I’ve spent two and a half years in China—half a year of that in Taiwan. I haven’t done anything here except consume, buying things or eating and drinking. Yes, eating and drinking are … Read More

The Author of “Astigirl”

At the end of April, 2011, I interviewed Tweet Sering, author of Astigirl: A Grown Girl Living on her Own Terms. The word astig (meaning “confident” or “go-getting”) is a colloquial Tagalog term coined from tigas, meaning “tough,” “resolute,” “having a moral backbone.” Astigirl is an elegantly written, thoughtful, often funny memoir which grew out of Tweet’s blog. She is also the author of a novel, Wander Girl, a weekly columnist for the Philippine Star, a writing coach/teacher and a filmmaker. She is currently working on another book and two websites, (Link) and (LinkRead More