In Delhi two years ago, I met a fantastically erudite guy. He was studying for an MBA, but there are so many MBAs in India that it isn’t the same marker of high education as it is in the West. A friend of mine living in Bangalore hired an MBA as a personal assistant and […]
Malick Sidibè is a Malian photographer. He captured the explosion of youth culture in the capital, Bamako, in the 1960s. Dansez le Twist! (1965) From an interview with Sidibè in the Guardian “The arrival of the twist, the cha cha cha and rock’n’roll in Mali in the late 1950s, and independence from France in 1960, proved a heady cocktail. Bamako’s nights […]
In the early 1960s China was leaving the Great Leap Forward, an intensive push by the new Communist goverment to modernise and industrialise their economy. The promise was clear: to radically improve the Chinese economy by tapping into the enormous population and to create a cohesive communist society. By 1961 the program had failed and resulted in mass starvation, in part driven by a collapse in grain production caused by collectivisation.
At this time, a senior leader in the Communist party, Deng Xiaoping, argued against ideologically-driven economic planning and for pragmatic economic reforms to alleviate the disaster.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is a white cat or a black cat, a cat that catches mice is a good cat.” Deng Xiaoping, 1961.
Fast forward 40 years, and China is indeed transformed. According to a cheeky game on the Economist’s website, China will become the world’s largest economy as soon as 2018. How has China done it? Who thrived in this transformation and how did they do it?
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A few years ago, I led some ethnographic research for Nokia in South Korea. One of the unexpected things we kept hearing about was how often our female respondents mentioned plastic surgery. Everyone talked about it, and I mean everyone. We met generally younger women; some wanted plastic surgery, some didn’t, but everyone knew someone who had it.
Following up on the advice of one of our translators, we flicked through a couple of copies of Korean Vogue and found these enormous spreads from plastic surgeons describing their procedures. There was something horrifying yet hypnotising about seeing the before-and-after pictures of surgery; seeing what women were and what they became. I’ve wanted to blog about it ever since.
I was in Seoul again in December and sadly there are no more plastic surgery ads in Vogue. But where print fails us the internet can provide.There are countless websites for plastic surgery clinics on the web nowadays. This screenshot is from the clinic that just happened to be co-branded with my hotel.
Page after page of eyes getting bigger and rounder. Click a tab and see noses getting longer, cheeks getting fuller and jawlines becoming more slender.
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