The Twinkie Times

The life and times of a Chinese American. Born a Jersey boy, lived the expat life, attended boarding school (Lawrenceville), converted to a frat boy (Sigma Pi), got an MBA (Columbia), returned to China, and back to the East Coast now trying to carve out an identity and life as an Asian American dad (gulp) in the midst of a "tertial life crisis" ©

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Intro Sequence (Season 3)

The TV studio has released a 45-second teaser video for Amazing Race China Rush Season 3.  我很兴奋

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

This Land is Your Land

Happy Fourth of July to all. Although I am over 7200 miles away, I did manage to celebrate the 4th with sliders, curly fries, and Coronas (sorry I would rather drink Tsingtao than Budweiser) here in Shanghai at an American bar called Blue Frog.

It was so great to see some of you last week when I was in town. Today marks the one year anniversary of us packing up and moving halfway across the world. Oh how time flies.

 It was a bit surreal to be back in New York: the Freedom Tower is already higher than the Empire State Building, a Shake Shack opened up in Battery Park now, and beautiful clear blue skies almost every day. I found myself just aimlessly wandering the streets taking in the unique sights and smells of Manhattan. The new REI store in SoHo was a pleasant find and I noticed that my shopping habits have changed as I obsessively look for things NOT made in China. At Old Navy I found some nice 4th of July USA t-shirts: Made in Bangladesh, perfect (and ironic).

The other thing that amazed me was the diversity of the people back in the States. A simple subway ride was a melting pot of ethnic groups. The assortment of races and sizes of people was refreshing. On the one hand, I felt much better about the few pounds I have put on in my lazy pursuit of exercise in the face of the many compatriots who clearly had enjoyed one too many super-sized value meals. On the other hand, I was obviously back to being on the lower end of the average height spectrum as I found myself craning my neck just to look up at teenagers. I was so engrossed in people-watching that I missed my stop on the subway and ended up in Brooklyn one night!

Many folks asked me what I missed most being in a land far, far away and I would say that one of the top absences is the strong sports culture. The time zone difference makes it very difficult here but the timing of the trip was perfect for me. I was able to watch the NBA Finals (although game 5 was incredibly disappointing), U.S. Open (golf), the Euro 2012 quarter + semi-finals, Subway Series, and the beginning of Wimbledon all during a normal time of day in crystal clear HD.

Some things did remain the same and the nostalgia was invigorating. Seeing the same cheery lady at the fruit cart stand outside New York Plaza brought a smile to my face and going back to the 9th floor office was like walking into the house you grew up in. Seeing all the familiar faces, catching up with colleagues, and having tea in the pantry area was wonderful. To emphasize how quickly time passes, I passed one person in the hall who casually said "hello" and then did a triple-take before asking whether I was still living in Shanghai since it seemed like only yesterday that NY was my base camp.

Apologies for the long hiatus and for the fact that this posting does not have much about life in China. To be honest, with one year under our belt now things have gotten pretty normal here or perhaps it is because we have been away from the US for awhile so things seem less different and weird. We have also been quite busy this year with a string of visitors and we also took some time off to film a reality television series. There is a bilingual version of the Amazing Race which has been officially licensed from ABC-Disney and they filmed their third season earlier this year. Jenn and I were cast to be on the show beating out 1200 other contestants. They have just begun their marketing campaign and here is one of the promotional posters: (best viewed in IE - don't get me started)

One final note that became glaringly evident upon return to America was the stark difference in internet freedom. As my subject alluded to and in a shout-out to the Google Fourth of July doodle and their Take Action campaign, I cannot stress how unbelievably frustrating it is to have many common web-sites blocked. As with most things in life, you truly do appreciate things once they have been taken away from you.

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Are you Ready?

So we were cast in Season 3 of the Amazing Race China Rush.  This is the bilingual China version of the officially licensed ABC hit reality television series. It will air in China, Malaysia, and Taiwan on August 26 and will be available for viewing in the US via satellite dish if you have a Chinese network programming package or online via the ICS web-site and YouTube of course. For a preview you can check-out Season 2 episodes here:

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