Question & Answer
How would a friend spend 24 hrs in your city?
I would wake them up at 6am to see the flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square. At 8am we’d go to an old hu tong (Beijing’s historic old lanes) to have a typical Beijing breakfast — soya soup and a stick of crispy you-tiao. During the day, I’d take them to visit the 798 Art Centre in north Beijing, the old Russian factory that has been transformed into a complex of art galleries and performance venues, so that they could experience the most exciting modern Chinese art and music. I would then take them to lunch at the best Sichuan restaurant in 798. In the late afternoon, we would go to the Tianqiao tea-house to listen to the best traditional Beijing cross-talk (“xiang sheng”) show — featuring the best-known xiang sheng master, Guodegang. For dinner, we’d have to go to the Houhai Lake, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful areas in Beijing, with many lovely small restaurants and bars. We would have some Chinese rice wine and watch the moon shining over the lake!
Tell us an interesting fact about your city?
When I was very young, about 20, I seldom saw any cars in Beijing. It was a city with millions of bicycles. Due to rapid developments, bicycles in Beijing are being replaced by cars and as a result; we are now subject to enormous traffic jams.
Where do you hang out?
I go to the 789 Art Centre quite often because I have many artist and musician friends working or meeting there.
Name one film everyone should see.
In The Heat Of The Sun (Yangguang Canlan De Ruzi), directed by Wen Jiang in 1994. What’s great about this movie is that it shows so vividly the growth experience of one generation (that of the 1960s) in a wild and beautiful way.