NO CHOPSTICKS REQUIRED is Walkley-award winning journalist, Katrina Beikoff's, memoire of the year she and her young family spent living and working in Shanghai (after she and her husband accepted contracts to work at The Shanghai Daily). During their year, Katrina and her family witnessed a range of major events: a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm, a devastating earthquake which killed over 80,000 people, the Tibetan uprising, the enormous cover up of incidents at the Beijing Olympics, the melamine-tainted milk scandal and the crippling global financial crisis. These events were accompanied by a range of more run-of-the-mill situations: being scolded daily by complete strangers for not dressing her children in warm enough clothes, the struggle to find bread that looked like bread, milk that came from a cow and eggs that came from chickens and the ability to cope with corruption and political spin in their newspaper workplaces. Written in a highly amusing and warmly appealing tone, Katrina's personal observations of daily life in contemporary China are insightful as they are as fascinating.
About the Author
Katrina Beikoff is a Walkley-award winning journalist, columnist, communications consultant and mother of two.
"No Chopsticks Required" is the author's perspective of a year living in Shanghai with her young family. Both she and her husband, Smarty worked at The Shanghai Daily newspaper.
As I've been to Shanghai a few times, I found the expat perspective and inside info e.g. newspaper censorship and the growing role of the internet in everyday communication interesting. I was also delighted in the course of reading, to pick up the names of a few markets I haven't visited yet and that I haven't seen mentioned in guidebooks. A bonus.
In the course of this travel memoir, Beikoff covers topics such as The Beijing Olympics, the Milk Tainting scandal, Tibet, The Sichuan Earthquake and day to day interactions with locals and fellow expats, including some hairy moments and insights into Chinese culture.
As I am familiar with many of the places and day to day life in Shanghai she discusses, I found it interesting. I'd say this snapshot of one year in the life of the author and her family, would appeal to expats living in China, those thinking of living there and those who have family or friends living in China as expats.
It's an easy read and may also appeal to travellers who like to go beyond the guidebooks and get a further insight into everyday China, and in particular, Shanghai.
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