Category Archives: David Feng Announcement

Chinese Language Version of Arriving September 2016

With a fair bit of regret — I’m announcing the Chinese language versions (simplified and standard traditional script) will arrive with huge delays. After talking to language specialists I have realised that the Chinese I am using is either too official or too “non-professional”, as was told.

Whom do I really have to blame — the Chinese I have learnt in China was in essence forgotten when I landed in Switzerland in late 1988. (Thankfully, I picked them up again in intensive courses in 2000 through to late 2001.) I have been told many times that people would probably feel more “at home” in a presentation I did in English rather than one I tried in Chinese, even though I’ve done many similar events in Chinese. But for the public delivery factor, I’m defaulting back to English-only presentations with immediate effect. It’d be awful if my Chinese made no sense to you.

I know I’m going against the flow here. The thing is: in China, the way you look plays a very big role. (I wish this wasn’t the case, though.) If you look “non-Chinese”, a la Mark Zuckerberg, you giving even a three-minute speech in Chinese will be regarded as a gift from the lingo gods. If you look “Chinese”, you get the same treatment — if you pull it off in English.

And on that bit I am more than spooked. In 2009 I travelled with Twitter friends on trains around Beijing. Many passengers around us looked at the two of us in utter astonishment — these were two Chinese-looking people (one a Swiss citizen, the other a US citizen), talking in English. If they weren’t part of some secretive, foreign-funded plot to “do bad things to China”, they’d at least be very unpatriotic, so said the looks. From then onwards I’ve tried to play the “local card” by using Chinese whenever possible — only to be told, “Boy, this isn’t how we use Chinese here in China”.

I’m getting together Chinese professionals born-and-bred in China to help me with the Chinese sites. Until then it’s simply a case of — pretend these sites don’t come with a Chinese version. I’ll try to blank out pages but realise it’s not a censorship campaign — it’s just we write Chinese, even the basics, in a completely different way. If the Oyster machines have awful Chinese, that’s normal; it is one of the hardest languages to learn, both in terms of expressing ourselves, as well as the pronunciation and the characters. I have it harder as a “Chinese-looking” foreign passport holder. Reality is: to completely dispel any odd myths, I’ve been forced to resort to this measure of killing all sites in Chinese until it has been triple, even quadruple-checked, in Chinese by local experts. I’m also cutting down speaking opportunities in Chinese until I am quite sure that what goes into the mic is actually comprehensible to 1.3 billion.

It’s all very Swiss at the end of the day, really: if it’s not done to perfection, one prefers it was never done in the first place…

Oh and why September 2016? That’s 20 years after I first started coding for my first site (in English). I thought it’d make good timing…


Unhyped China, China City Directory, and More Planned for December 2014

I’m launching an entire content network which will also be partially centred on my ongoing research in media in China. All will launch in December 2014, ahead of an earlier scheduled date of January 2015.

  • Unhyped China will launch on 01 December 2014; on the same-day, I will also “soft-launch” the companion site, the China City Directory. Due to problems with the former Beijingology project, they will be “locked but regularly updated” wikis in the form of a regular WordPress blog. (What killed Beijingology was an eventual swarm of hackers that killed the network’s safety mechanisms.) The idea behind Unhyped China is that this is a site designed to inform you about “everything China” from a unique view, which is neither from government nor from “plain-vanilla” foreign media.
  • techblog86 features will launch on 08 December 2014, as well as key updates to the China-centric tech site. This will be very closely related to my China social media project.
  • The Chang’anjie Media Notebook and the associated remaining pages on will launch on 15 December 2014. This will form my personal centrepiece of my social media in China research project. At the same time, a new, similar-in-topic site will also launch; details are expected on this site soon.
  • Updates and improvements to my other blogs, including, That Building… and Chinglish Alert!, will all be completed by 22 December 2014.
  • Finally, the long-awaited relaunch of Tracking China is slated for 29 December 2014, as well as relatively complete content for the first-stage segments of the China City Directory.

Those who were previously familiar with the Beijingology project will find the train-related parts in Tracking China and everything else in the China City Directory.

No new blogs are expected to be launched in the forthcoming months, this being a lot of content planned already. There will also be updates planned with other sites I am working with, but which I do not own.

CH neu

Ganz schon schweizerisch: Introducing, David’s Swiss blog

Unfortunately, it’s not written (100%) in Swiss-German — but then again, as someone versed in English, that’s not all bad news. s’wärä do scho nöd iifach, öppis immer uf Schwiizerdütsch go läsa, gäll? (It wouldn’t have been easy to read something that was always in Swiss-German, right?)

Unable to keep my Helvetic beak shut, and knowing that I have already polluted Facebook with a crass excess of posts about my Swissness (some of us in London would rather not think about the TV Licence Fee, for example, but a Swiss pays it the moment he’s sure the TV is working normally — these Swiss sure stick by the rules!), I decided the best place for these views from the Alps and beyond would be — on a separate blog.

My story as a Swiss is very unique. In 1988 I came into this country as a foreigner (bearing a Chinese passport). In 2000, through a somewhat odd mix of spending crucial years as a teen in Switzerland, as well as mastery of Swiss-German, I became Swiss. To me, holding a Swiss passport for the first time in August 2000 was surreal. But real, too, because I had grown into the Helvetic environment. For the longest time I had planned to stay in Switzerland as a Swiss, not willing to budge from the Zürich area. But then, a complete move of the family back to Beijing meant that I was suddenly a Swiss abroad. This was first as a Swiss abroad in remote countries (China), then being one where we could meet more of our pack (in the EU; specifically, in the UK). It was and still remains a weird and wonderful experience, looking Chinese — with a Swiss passport bearing the name David Feng in my hands.

Unlike other English-language blogs about Switzerland, this one is neither run by government, nor by Anglophone Swiss-watchers. You’re looking at the country from a completely unique point of view: as someone who started out as an Ausländer (foreigner), then becoming a naturalised Swiss citizen (Schweizer), then finally joining the ranks of the Swiss abroad (Auslandschweizer), first in the “remote foreign lands”, then back in Europe. These are views which are very much unique — from someone with an Asian face ticking to the way the average Swiss would do things.

These include not crossing streets on a red light, not putting feet on train seats, paying all bills in good time, and getting the wife from China not to cook late-night specials at anything louder than 70 decibels in the kitchen. These also include never writing anyone (except for close friends) on Sundays (certainly never for business purposes), and firm observation of the rule of the road — to extents you drive your fellow drivers in Beijing up the wall. is where it’s all at. I’ve named this blog after the Swiss postal code for the town of Opfikon, where I lived for well over a decade. Updates come now and then (like full-run S2 trains on the Zürich suburban railway network), but when they do come, I hope you enjoy them (en guete mitenand!).

FYI: David Feng to “Self-Carbon Copy” All Sent Messages

Please be informed that, with immediate effect, David Feng will be sending all messages sent from his email accounts to a dedicated email inbox — sent at davidfeng dot com. (This will either be as a CC or a BCC recipient.)

This email account is under full control of David Feng — maximum measures are being taken to ensure that both this account is safe and that any impact to your privacy, especially those which may put you at a disadvantage, is kept to a minimum.

After Cablegate, Prism, and Heartbleed, the Internet is suddenly a much less safe than initially thought. However, please rest assured that David is doing his most to ensure that your messages are safe and the mere act of “self carbon-copying” messages to David’s sent-messages email inbox will not result in any spam or undesired messages as a result of this.

The reason this account is being set up is that David moves between different machines a lot, and so far it has been very difficult to synchronise sent boxes from David’s main accounts. Also, at times, previously sent messages have to be referred to. The presence of a “sent messages inbox” will solve any problems in referring to past communications.

Please do not write directly to this “sent messages inbox” — systems are being set up to automatically mark all sent messages as “read”.

David thanks you for your understanding, apologises in advance if this should cause you any inconvenience, and remains happy to hear from you via email.

Tuanjiehu English signage

David Feng to Speak on 31 May 2014 at Tuanjiehu English Community, Beijing

The Tuanjiehu community in the city of Beijing is noted for being one of the most active English-speaking communities in town. (Here’s hoping fellow expats living there actually get to know this…!) I’ll be here this weekend — joining both kids and seniors as we get the Tuanjiehu launch party of the recently-unveiled Handbook of Everyday English for Beijing unveiled.

The event takes place 09:30-11:30 on 31 May 2014, at Tuanjiehu, Beijing; the specific address is the Qiushi Vocational School. Here’s a map on Google: you’re closest by Tuanjiehu subway station (exit C) if you’re getting around by “underground dragon”, as Lonely Planet says it best.

Members of the media: There appears to be no separate media event, however I will arrive early by about 15 minutes or so; if you’ve questions, ask me then. Due to key appointments following the speech, I must depart at 11:30 sharp.

Join me and Alison Zhou onstage as we show off and keep locals excited about the new Handbook of Everyday English, which is your guide if you ever…

  • bump into a lost expat, especially in Beijing, and need to help him / her
  • hit the road and head abroad, especially in countries in the Anglosphere
  • want to brush up your English and keep your knowledge fresh

and need English that simply works.

Alison and I co-presented many shows, especially nearly all 2013 Wider World Waves shows, and we also did the VOs for the book. Oh — and if you’ve a copy and want one signed, just show it to us and let us add our John Hancock!

There appears to be no registration procedure needed; just turn up and “come to class” as usual. The language of instruction will mainly be in English. We welcome everyone, especially locals interested in English, or expats interested in either helping locals learn or are simply curious at what we’re doing.

Recovering Archived Posts of Yesteryear

Probably in an attempt to make life easier for you — if you wanted to find every last bit about me since my first site in 1996 — I’m trying to recover as much from the website archives as possible.

By the way — there’s probably no real need to go to to look for older versions of my other blogs (, amongst others); they’re as good as gone, and that’s for your convenience, as will be the only domain you’ll really need to remember.

There’s no fixed date for when all of this will be done; as they’re not “top priority” content, I think it’s probably more a case of “surprising you with content that used to be there” rather than giving you a fixed date and time.

After all, probably surprise are better, right?