My husband likes to say that if you can get one good idea from a book, a lecture or a conference, it was time well spent. By that standard, I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago at a brainstorm session.
The purpose of the session was to choose topics for a panel discussion this April. The panel will be part of a sideshow to the main event, the 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars. My role in this is so small as to warrant no mention in the ICAS 11 program or even the pre-event. So you can think of my panel as a cabinet of curiosities set far down the road to attract idle bystanders to the circus. You can call me the Bearded Lady.
All the same, it was fun to brainstorm about the ways in which Asia and Europe interact, sometimes unknowingly or even unwillingly. Out of that discussion came Food Fight, my blog post of a few weeks ago, that talks about the authenticity of hyphenated foods. If it's Chinese-American food, it can't be really Chinese.
This week's blog post takes that concept of authenticity a step further. "Made in China" is normally not the kind of label you want to find on any item that costs you serious money. It's fine if it's a sweater from Walmart or socks in a family pack. Cheap mass-produced items of questionable quality is what I associate with China as a manufacturing nation. But what about replicas, like this little jade god, now doomed to do service as a key chain? Or a Song Dynasty porcelain dish aged before your very eyes? Consider this conundrum in my blog post this week: Made in China.