Ten years ago, China was going through its best days. Ten years on, and the voices here are slightly more diverging, and maybe not all of this is positive — in or for multiple aspects.
The world has gotten increasingly negative since the twin events of 2016 brought down the liberal democratic order we had gotten used to especially since the end of the Cold War.
Tweets, too, have gotten even more polarising as of late. Ten years back, I didn’t have the Twitter “verified” tick, but the discussion was lively — I made my decisions of Coke vs Pepsi by what you @-tweeted me in favour of. Ten years later, our keyboards are becoming 103-button launchpads of missiles, where every push of a button in terms of a tweet can bring out a tweet so full of ire and anger…
Suffice it […] to say that I am taking a longer-term Twitter detox (as well as on general social media, too). Maybe, just maybe, one of these days, I might return and do something slightly more different on the service. But for now, it’s Feng Out for now on Twitter and much of social media. ▶
It happened earlier this year in Inner Mongolia: my once-trusty Shure mic, which “clipped” onto the Lightning connector, decided to give it the quits. Happily, I had backups: a “traditional” iRig iMic which used the usual audio connector, and the USB variant, which I used. I grew up when Mandopop divas went onstage with a handheld mic and an extremely long cable, so to me, sound recording absolutely equated with an old school microphone you held in your hands. For a long time, I had wanted to make the audio set at home work for me.
The USB/Lightning mic I carry on me has recently been “converted” to become my podcasting-only microphone. I carry this with me in my black bag that I got from my BA Club World flight back to Beijing. I’ve tried recording without a “proper” mic and only using what my phone has: it does not sound optimal. This also means that I’ve finally, after many previous tries decades back, decided to enter the world of podcasting. The podcast I’m doing is called David Feng’s Cities. It makes sense as either I’m in cities or travelling to or away from them (or going in transit). As with all things Swiss and David Feng, this is a completely independent show.
Start by tuning in here! (Generally clean language!) ▶
I used to take High Speed trains in China for granted, especially in the earlier years. The horrific Wenzhou crash changed all that. Yes the PR guy at the railways did say truly ridiculous things back then. But then you get over this whole thing, and rethink HSR and the benefits it has created for the country. Which was why I returned to the High Speed rails in October 2011.
Starting from 2012, I’ve decided to, as much as possible, travel on High Speed trains on the very first day of the year. I’ve been able to do this for 2012, 2013, and 2017. Last year I was seen off at the station by some of the best people in the rail industry here around Beijing. This year, it’s my wife, Tracy, coming with me onboard the Revival Express, the fastest train in not just China, but also the world.
The train behind me is Train G5, operated by CR Shanghai. This is the very first 350 km/h (217 mph) train for the day, and is therefore the very first of its kind for this year. We are starting off the year 2018 on the world’s fastest train, and the very first fastest-train-on-the-planet for the new year. We’re sending an extremely strong signal of approval and support for our trains, as it’s made China that much smaller, closer together, and greener. ▶
The last time I had my headshot done was about this time last year, and since then, I’ve slimmed down a lot more (or so as I’d like to think; because that was the big motivation after I had hosted the events of December 2003!).
This new one was taken at a TV / media studio in western Beijing. For some weird reason, access to the place was strictly controlled: they had to get someone from inside the complex to get me in. Weird.
Oh well. Here goes… ▶
David Feng was here.
This is a retroactive post pinned online on 15 November 2014. It really does nothing other to say that David Feng’s first website ever went online on this date — 12 April 1997 — as in when the first recorded presence of David’s part of the Web “went live”. It might have gone online before that (the pages were built in September 1996), but we’re looking for solid evidence.
You will also remember that back then, name-wise, it was him using his Chinese Hanyu Pinyin name “Yan”, which has since been standardised as of 2004 as David. He used his past name and “played on it” to create the legacy Web page “yaNet”. ▶