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Date: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 10:06:48 -0700
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
From: Frank Conlon <conlon@u.washington.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Urban Life-Parks in China and Taiwan
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@msu.edu>

(x-posted from H-URBAN)

Urban Life-Parks in China and Taiwan

A dialog from H-Asia list, August 1995

Ed. note: Professor Stapleton's note leads me to ask the list at large if there are any recent works touching on the concept of leisure in Asian societies? H-ASIA member Jim Masselos has done some interesting things on colonial Bombay—he is off list just now on sabbatical; I have studied the emergence of a restaurant culture in Bombay, but I am not well versed in the wider world of research on urban leisure and its growth in modern times.


Date: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 10:06:48 -0700
From: Kristin Stapleton <KESTAP01@ukcc.uky.edu>

In Wendy Plotkin's abstract of Urban Form and Social Context by A. Loukaitou-Sideris she notes that the author states that The concept of the American park as an expanse of green space for active recreation, sports, and picnicking is unknown in China and Taiwan. If the emphasis is put on the word green, that may be true. Grass isn't a significant feature of Chinese parks. But expanses of packed dirt or concrete space are used in China for active recreation and even for picnicking—if bringing in quantities of food to consume in open-air teahouses counts. The most common park sports in China don't need as much space as many American sports. Taiji is a favorite, but ballroom dancing is also common. College campuses built according to Western models all have sports fields which are heavily used, although to what extent members of the public unconnected to the schools are able to take advantage of them is not clear. Open spaces along river banks are used as parks, and I've seen lots of people flying kites from bridges across rivers—where there are no electrical lines. The staff of the provincial library where I spent a year doing some research turned its courtyard into a park. They played endless games of badminton there, all day every day, all year long.

Kristin Stapleton
Assistant Professor phone: (606) 257-3675
Department of History fax: (606) 323-3885
University of Kentucky e-mail: kestap01@ukcc.uky.edu
Lexington, KY 40506-0027

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 1995 07:53:20 -0700
From: Ken Pomeranz <kpomeran@benfranklin.hnet.uci.edu>

For urban leisure in modern China, I'd start with Frederic Wakeman's recent Licensing Leisure: The Chinese Nationalists' Attempt to Regulate Shanghai, 1927-1949, in the February, 1995 _Journal of Asian Studies_. There was also an article on middle class leisure in contemporary Taiwan in the Oct., 1994 issue of _Modern China_, but I don't have the exact title of it here.

Ken Pomeranz
UC Irvine

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 1995 07:53:20 -0700
From: R.McRobbie@unsw.edu.au (Robert McRobbie)

With reference to Frank Conlon's query arising from Kristin Stapleton's post:

The _Far Eastern Economic Review_ conducted a survey last year titled: Asian Affluents - A Study of Affluent People in Asia - Their Attitudes, Interests, Activities and Consumption.

They surveyed 3436 FEER subscribers in Sth Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Unfortunately it only deals with Affluents, but nevertheless provides some interesting statistics. One of the questions to do with leisure is interesting for the purposes of this discussion:

Forms of Exercise: Walking (57%), Swimming (36%), Jogging (32%), Exercise Equipment (27%), Golf (23%), Tennis (20%), Aerobics (15%), Team Sport (7%).

The survey should still be available from Review Publishing Company Ltd, GPO Box 160, Hong Kong. Ph 852 508 4300, Fx 852 503 1537 ( I think it cost about USD25).

Robert McRobbie
Research Assistant
The Asia-Australia Institute
The University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
Ph. 612 385 9111 - Fx. 612 385 9220