2010 NYE and beyond...

There are lots of ways to ring in the next decade this evening. But if staying up late and fighting for a cab home isn't your thing, here are a few options to celebrate 2010 beyond tonight's party.

Tomorrow on New Year's Day, the Barbie Cafe hosts a family event from 3 to 5pm. The theme is "I Can Be", a play on all the different kinds of occupations that Barbie has taken on  -- presumably, to inspire you for the new year. The Barbie New Year's Day event costs RMB 150 per family of three, which includes games, prizes and food.

Between 1 to 9 January, you can also make a stop at any Blue Frog location for a New Year treat. Just tell them your New Year's resolution and you'll be handed a free shot. Sounds simple enough... but keeping that resolution might be a different story.

Barbie Cafe, 6F 550 Huaihai Zhong Lu. Tel: 6171 6036.

Blue Frog,

Fellini Gallery's Fashion in the Dream City

For those who seek fashion outside of the confined spaces of independent boutiques or shopping malls, four fashion designers created a truly unique fashion show throughout the Fellini Gallery. To tantalize our senses, they offered a show with elite models to facilitate the coming together of fashion and art -- letting fashion break free from its confines.  


Frau Ana



Frau Ana’s bright and colourful collection sets a playful tone against the sometimes grey side of Shanghai.







Designer Gu Ming presented her line Oiamtink, in which practicality is fused with sophistication while following eco-friendly rules.






Liao Xiaoling presented her cutting edge CONTENT show, a contemporary exhibition that uses digital video projections of both classic and contemporary films.





Mayumi Sato's creations were also showcased. Sato mixes the traditional with a touch of simplicity. Normally sold in boutiques in France and Tokyo, her fashion apparel was used in an installation with lights and coloured fabrics.



 With a show set in the backdrop of an art gallery, innovative and fresh international designers had the freedom to present their clothes with their artistic, emotional and personal touch.


Book Review: The Tao of Business by Ansgar Gerstner

Does the ancient wisdom of Tao have practical principles that can be applied to businesses today?

In his book The Tao of Business, Ansgar Gerstner looks at how to survive and prosper in times of crisis, which doesn’t just have to apply to the current financial crisis but to anytime a business might enter rough waters. Each of the eight chapters deals with separate aspects of what doing business consists of; from analysing a business and working the marketplace to leadership skills, the physical environment of the office and how best to eliminate stress.

As an important part of Taoism, the concept of wuwei is introduced. It translates as “non-action”, but has a deeper meaning in terms of being in tune with one’s surroundings, “understanding all aspects of yourself, and going with the flow – taking action or doing nothing as a natural extension of the situation”. In a business environment where quick decisions need to be reached at times, this means to be equally adept at listening to one’s intuition as well as reasoning to find the best solution whether that be a specific action or to give something more time before deciding. With wuwei, it’s about expanding one’s awareness so that problems can be settled at an early stage or friction minimized.

It also stresses the importance of right leadership; the ability to lead, but without ruling for those in high positions. By letting employees contribute to decision making and development, one can both utilize a collective knowledge base and empower them.

While introducing other important aspects of Taoism, such as harmony, feng shui, trust, emotional intelligence, agility; Gerstner puts them into the context of the western working environment by giving some practical examples. He looks at how business people such as Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft; Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo India; and Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin, all have used such principles for the success of their business. For example, “finding the right people, inspiring them and drawing out the best in them” - Richard Branson.

Whereas the book is not a ‘how-to’, it shows how the Tao has simple little truths which a flexible mindset can implement to improve the profitability, efficiency and sustainability of a business.

Gerstner has a PhD in Chinese Studies, is a Chinese martial arts trainer and for more information you can follow his blog:

Another Mall for Jing'an

Too late for the Christmas holidays, but just in time for Chinese New Year, yet another mall is set to open its doors in Jing'an on 28 January 2010. Yueda 889 Plaza will be an upmarket shopping centre located at 889 Wanhangdu Lu, near Changshou Lu with seven floors of mall madness.

Confirmed stores include furnishing retailer Hola, NOVO Concept from Hong Kong, British fashion chain Next, Sephora, Japanese lifestyle brand Muji, and a deli called Han She. We've also been told that Yueda 889's atrium design includes a cloud-like rooftop, which will let in natural light and give shoppers a pretty view of the sky. There's even a rooftop garden with a mini-golf area and children's garden.

Get ready shopaholics ... a new retail challenge awaits.


its on like donkey kong

im there cloud 9 is so 2009

Green Christmas Gifts

Looking for last minute Christmas presents? Check out Roots & Shoots for some green gift ideas. The environmental group has some great stocking stuffers, including the bamboo ornament (RMB 30) pictured above ...

... or a colourful Million Tree Project wristband (RMB 30) ...

... and a reusable Roots & Shoots cloth bag (RMB 40). The best thing about these gifts is that each purchase goes towards planting a tree in Inner Mongolia -- helping to fight desertification and offset China's greenhouse emissions. Items can be delivered the next day in Shanghai. 

Shanghai Roots & Shoots. To place an order, contact Heather Wigmore by email [email protected] or phone 5306 0001 x 531.

It's the Thought (and the Money) That Counts

While we're rushing to complete our Christmas shopping in time, who has time to support the less fortunate? Two of Shanghai’s hotels, Hilton and JW Marriot are taking initiatives to support organisations so that we can.

The JW Marriot is supporting the Baobei Foundation, which helps Chinese medical professionals and institutions to provide critical surgery and aftercare for Chinese orphans born with neurological and gastrointestinal disorders.

The hotel facilitated a charity art auction curated by the Fellini Gallery to raise funds for the foundation. We visited the JW Marriot on auction night and found a mixture of art lovers and hotel guests admiring the artwork on display with starting prices between 3,000-15,000 RMB.

Meanwhile the Hilton’s annual Charity Train project allows companies have their names and logos placed on customized trains, boxcars, hot air balloons, airplanes, bridges, tunnels and billboards, all to raise funds for Shanghai Sunrise, Obis International and the Red Cross.  Shanghai Sunrise and Orbis International raises funds for children to attend school and for the elderly to receive eye care. Kids (and some magazine editors) love the Hilton's Christmas Train - go and see it soon.

Whether it's purchasing a piece of art work or a chance for showing your company's commitment to supporting those more in need, it's great to see some thoughtful spending being done.

Ivory and Ivory: Leslie Howard and Liszt

Dr. Leslie Howard, "the greatest living exponent of Liszt", is giving several performances around town over the next few days. He's in the Guinness Book of World Record for completing the largest recording project ever, churning out all of Franz Liszt's solo piano pieces, many of them technically formidable. Liszt was one of the greatest pianists of his time, so he didn't bother making things easy for performers.

Howard is playing Beethoven's Sonata op.27/1 and Alkan's Symphonie for Piano at Three on the Bund tomorrow (Saturday 12 December) at 11.30am. RMB 480, including a three course lunch. Three on the Bund, 17 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu. Tel: 6321 9922.

Sunday, from 1.30-3.30pm he is playing at South Beauty to raise funds for YK Pao School, who hope to buy a piano with the proceeds. Howard will play Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E Flat and Poulenc's "Babar the Elephant", and discuss the role of music in education. RMB 200 for an adult and RMB 300 for one adult and one child. South Beauty, 881 Yan'an Zhong Lu, near Tongren Lu. Tel: 158 2100 6482.

Lastly, on Tuseday 15 December at 7pm Howard will give an "illustrated talk at the piano" for the Royal Asiatic Society at Mesa Manifesto. He'll be giving an account of his career performing and recording and talk up his main man Liszt. RMB 80. Mesa Manifesto, 748 Julu Road near Fumin Lu.

Welcome to Kunshan, the Hairy Crab Kingdom

Frantically trying to make last minute Christmas plans? Love indulging in hairy crab? Then you should definitely head to Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan – the true home of the hairy crab, one of the most famous delicacies in the country.

It’s now or never (or at least, until next year). Alas, hairy crab season comes to an end at the beginning of January, at which point much of Kunshan City's hungry visitors will be gone. But with a few weeks left in December, you still have some time to eat some of the best fresh water crabs in the world...

Getting there: From Shanghai, it’s a piece of cake. When we visited a few weeks ago, there seemed to be more Shanghai license plates on Kunshan’s roads than ones from Suzhou (Kunshan is under the jurisdiction of Suzhou).

Taking the train is incredibly convenient. Just a short, 20 minute ride away, you’ll hardly have enough time to even settle in your train seat. Round trip tickets from Shanghai to Kunshan are reasonable too – about RMB 40.

Catching crabs: Head over to Bacheng Town, which is northwest of Kunshan City and close to Yangcheng Lake. The area is filled with crab markets and restaurants, as well as coach buses bringing over hordes of visitors who are only in town to get their fill of crab.

The restaurants are huge. Most have three or four floors of private rooms, and each sits on part of Yangcheng Lake -- allowing them to conveniently catch and package up hairy crab on site.

Expect to pay somewhere between RMB 75 and 100 for one set of hairy crabs (one male, one female). Yum! You can also purchase as many crabs as you can carry -- the restaurants are good at preparing lots of takeout bags so you can enjoy these delicacies at home.

When you've had enough hairy crab: Of course, there's more to do and see in Kunshan than hairy crab. The picturesque watertowns in the area -- Qiandeng, Jinxi and the 1000 year old Zhouzhuang -- are must-see attractions. There are also three challenging golf courses to take a swing at.

And actually... there's more to eat. Kunshan is well known for its aozao noodles, which features thin noodles served in a fragrant soup, with fresh duck and fish served on top. It's extremely popular among locals: As a gift to families with a new baby, people often send over coupons for aozao noodles.

Stay:  Swissotel Kunshan, 387 Qianjin Zhong Lu, Kunshan. Tel: (512) 5788 5788.

Fairmont Yangcheng Lake, 668 West Ma’anshan Lu, Kunshan. Tel: (512) 5780 0888.

Glamour Bar's New Face

It’s a time of change in Shanghai. The winter exodus has begun and Bund icon, the Glamour Bar, has undergone a gentle bout of re-branding.

Everyone knows the Glamour Bar as a hot spot for great cocktails and DJ tunes, but Venue Manager, Renata Roberts says that from this month, patrons should expect to see more live music and art performances, a touch of Tropicana and no shortage of great cocktails – some things never change.

So you can spend your December donning woolly mittens, huddled around roaring fires and clutching warm cocoa; or you can try the Glamour Bar’s new ping pong tables, hula hoops, palm trees and beachside cocktails.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in December, Spanish brother and sister DJ duo T.Easy and DJ Pachi Subbuteo will play vintage rock and surf classics to warm you up from the inside. If Santa makes an appearance, he’ll be limbo-ing his way out of the chimney.

Renata says: “There are already a sea of standard bars and clubs, doing DJ and cabaret shows but we wanted to bring something a bit different to Shanghai.”

- Nick Garrett



Irresistible Holiday Cocktails

Just in time for the holidays, Grand Marnier has launched its 2009 limited ‘irresistible’ editition of its classic Cordon Rouge.

The bottle of cognac looks like a candy apple with its red and glossy lacquer coating. Unveiled in Shanghai this week, TALK was invited to try some Cordon Rouge cocktails at M1NT Club. Here’s a cocktail recipe for you to practice your bartending skills this Christmas:

30ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge liqueur
30ml strawberry juice
20ml apple juice
10ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake all ingredients together in a shaker with a few ice cubes. Strain and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cape gooseberry dipped in caramel. 

For more info, visit




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