Forget about our “rule” on not recommending brand new China blogs — we’ve violated that rule so many times I am left wondering if a frequently violated self-imposed rule can be said to have ever existed at all. No, this blog warrants my going way beyond that and doing something really wild and unprecedented (this is by lawyer standards, mind you) and putting a brand new China blog on the blogroll straightaway.
I mean, we are talking about Kaiser Kuo here. THE Kaiser Kuo. The Kaiser Kuo who is probably the most famous non-Chinese living in China among the non-Chinese community in China (don’t anyone get cute with me on the definition of “non-Chinese” in this context, because you know exactly what I mean).
The blog is Ich Bin Ein Beijinger: Straight Outta Chaoyang, and once I got over my disbelief that this blog hasn’t been around for years, I quickly realized I was on to something good. Really good.
Let’s go to the bio:
First of all, a few words on the name of this blog. I came up with “Ich Bin Ein Beijinger” as the name for a monthly column I started writing in October, 2001, for the English-language magazine that’s Beijing. I’m not German, despite the name Kaiser, and I’m not really a Beijinger, despite living in Beijing for getting on 13 years if you add it all up. As for “Straight Outta Chaoyang,” surely you know the NWA masterpiece it references. But Chaoyang, Beijing’s large eastern district, is only “ghetto” in the sense that it’s home to the vast majority of expats living in the Chinese capital. I’m comin’ to you straight outta Chaoyang. I’m a native of Upstate New York, second in a brood of four produced by a couple of Henanese who made it to Ohio by way of Taipei. I grew up mainly in Tucson, Arizona, and went to college at U.C. Berkeley. After college, I spent a year in China, during which I helped found the Chinese metal band Tang Dynasty (Tang Chao). After the unfortunate events of ’89, I left China for a long stint in grad school at the University of Arizona, where I did an MA in East Asian Studies (’92) then worked half-assed toward a Ph.D. My abortive dissertation was on the rise of technocrats in post-Mao China. In 1996, I blew it off and came back to China to rejoin Tang Dynasty as lead guitarist. A Yoko Ono problem coupled with political disagreements over the nature of the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May of ’99 put an end to that, sadly. In June 99, I joined the now-defunct ChinaNow.com as editor-in-chief. After the bubble burst, I worked for a couple of wireless startups, always managing to leave before they were acquired (MIG) or IPOd (Linktone). I spent three years freelancing mostly in tech and telecoms before joining the Red Herring as China bureau chief in February 2005. I’ve since landed a dream job as group director, digital strategy, for Ogilvy China. I’m still active in the Beijing music scene, playing guitar in an original band called Chunqiu (Spring & Autumn) and bass in an AC/DC tribute band called, in the proud tradition of AC/DC tribute bands, The Dirty Deeds. I also still write the monthly column of the same name as this blog. The column has been a terrific platform from which I’ve managed, I’m proud to say, to offend just about every thin-skinned whiner and angry-letter-writer in our fair city.
Based on the categories of the posts, Kaiser Kuo’s blog will be focusing on “Banal personal crap, Current Affairs, Family Matters, Film, Food and Drink, Music, Television, that’s Beijing columns, weblogs, and Web/Tech.” There is surprisingly and disappointingly little good blogging on China’s art scene (to include China film and music, and even food) and I am looking forward to Ich Bin Ein Beijinger filling that role.
Wir sind alle Beijingers jetzt.