Celebrating the 40 year old young city

The immense crowd, the technicolor buildings, and the labyrinthine markets. No, we are not in Tokyo — this is Shenzhen. This sprawling megalopolis is often touted as China’s Silicon Valley, but this city offers far more than tech campuses and hipsters’ joints.

On my flight from Beijing to Shenzhen, I spent the 3-hour flight watching a Chinese home-grown produced movie about the often-heard stories of China’s educated youths. A master student on the verge of graduation trying to secure a sought-after position as a university lecturer in Hebei, a province in North-East China…


Going back in time and getting to know the Dong and Miao ethnic minorities

Children in Dong traditional clothes warming up around the ‘fire pond’ in Zhaoxing

Living in Beijing, I feel the urge to venture down south once in a while. While I don’t miss the humidity, there’s something in the air whenever I head down south. The rice tastes swetter, the people warmer and the water is found everywhere. In fact Guizhou is often described with these 3 lines:

天无三日晴 (There is no 3 clear days uninterrupted by rain)

地无三里平 (There is no 3 ping* of flat land)

人无三两银 (There is no one with 3 liang** of silver)

*ping is a…


Why do so many Chinese feel so much pressure to get married, but less so in staying married?

A dashing farmer in Beijing

One of the things that I was relieved about when I left Indonesia for China was to finally stop hearing my relatives’ push for marriage. In Indonesia where the mean age for first marriage is 23.5 for men and 20.8 for women, many of my unmarried late 20s, early 30s friends and I stick out. Back at home, my single status becomes everyone else’s business, so much so that when a potential match was presented on a silver platter, I was expected…


The Qinghai ring road: endless sea rape flowers, lush grasslands, Tibetan temples, and more.

Fei Cui Hu

Route 1 (10 days): Qinghai — Gansu — Qinghai

Day 1:

Xining 西宁 — Kanbula National Forest Park 坎布拉丹霞 — Guide 贵德县


Step-by-step guide on legalising document in Indonesia

Like every bureaucracy in Indonesia, legalising your documents is a headache. Granted, the government is trying to make this process easier with an online application. This is in NO WAY an official guide but I hope my shared experience in getting SKCK (Surat Keterangan Catatan Kepolisian / Non-Criminal Record) legalised for the Chinese Work Visa in 2019, will ease your pain in going through the same bureaucracy.

In order to get my documents legalised by the Chinese embassy in Jakarta, I had to first get the document authenticated by Kemenhukam (Ministry of Law…


A step-by-step breakdown of my Chinese work visa application

Congratulations on your new job in China! You are in for long haul — both in visa/permit application and the content of this post. I’m not joking; let me forewarn you that the process is lengthy and tedious, but on the bright side, not impossible!

Step 1. Apply for Notification of Work Permit

First thing first, to be able to apply for a Chinese work visa, you need to have secured a job with an employer in China. The work permit should be arranged by your potential employer in China and the organization must be licensed to employ foreign…


Social distancing is a privilege not everyone can afford

‘Mbok’ selling fabrics by the streetside of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

When I came across this video on a friend’s page, I cringed at the title he gave “Why Collective Stupidity Can Be Dangerous”.

For those that don’t speak Indonesian, the video above basically shows an activist investigating the opinions from real people on the streets of Jakarta in regards to what they think of the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the country. To the question of “Are you scared of coronavirus?”, all of the interviewees in the video replied “No”. Some even elaborated, “Why should I be scared?


A comprehensive guide to absorbing the rich history and local cultures of Xi’an

Due to its central, strategic location, Xi An 西安 was not only the cultural and economic centre of ancient China but was also the terminus of the Silk Road. What draws most people to this city though is actually located 40km outside of the city. In the district of Lin Tong lies the world-famous terracotta army. Some of the most precious sites from two of China’s most definitive dynasties lie here, making Lin Tong the belly of Chinese history.


Just like there are many roads that lead to Rome, there are plenty of ways to reach and conquer Hua Shan. Here’s mine

The granite peaks of Hua Shan, cut into a valley laden with greenery

Hua Shan 华山 is a sacred Taoist site, infamously known as the most dangerous out of the Five Great Mountains of China. While it is now mostly paved, the endless stairs and constantly changing elevation means that Hua Shan is still not for the fainthearted. Here are a few things you need to note before making your way to this sacred mountain:


Is this really the face of humanity?

Humans in crisis are such fascinating things to see. There has never been a better time to witness the amount of humanity (or stupidity) our species is capable of. Unlike the name we give ourselves, Homo Sapiens which is Latin for ‘wise man’, we as a collective have not behaved as such.

Firstly, one thing about humanity is that despite our differences (race, place of birth, geographic location, political view, etc — the list of what separates us is endless), we are of the same species. Hence the way we respond to a…

Vanessa Intan

A thinker, a designer, a maker https://www.vanessaintan.com/

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