Watch this space! We have gathered a list of loquacious luminaries in Chinese culture and heritage who have agreed to guest blog on a wide range of fascinating topics here. Our roster includes Katya Knyazeva (Shanghai Old Town: Topography of a Phantom City), Hugues Martin (, Tina Kanagaratnam (Historic Shanghai), and Heather Diamond (Rabbit in the Moon). Please come back regularly—we plan to post a new blog every month.

Latest Post

Art Deco Sophisticate

I was delighted to find this article on Grosvenor House on the Shanghai Art Deco blog, brainchild of my friends Patrick Cranley and Tina Kanagaratnam, and the source of all things Art Deco in that city on the sea.

Claire’s Posts

It’s a Great World After All

I came across a special letter that I received during the early days of my research for Remembering Shanghai regarding the Austrian-American filmmaker Josef von Sternberg. Read More

The Hong Kong of My Youth

Feeling especially nostalgic for the Hong Kong of my youth—if only to return to that age of hope and innocence (and parties). Read More

Nostalgia is a Strange Thing

Nostalgia is a strange thing. Its Greek roots nostos (“return home”) and algos (“pain”) express a tender longing to go back to our origin, suggesting that “home” is magically suspended in time. Read More

The Remembering Shanghai Walking Tour

The Da Vinci Code Walking Tour in Paris may have started the book walk trend, but history buffs in Shanghai have enthusiastically taken it up, and Remembering Shanghai sites have been included in several Shanghai walking tours. Read More

American Club Then and Now

Hong Kong’s American Club has always held a special place in the heart of my family—not only when my brothers and I were kids in the 1960s hanging out in the Chuckwagon at St George’s Building. Arguably, “I” might not exist were it not for the American Club. Read More

IPPY Awards

As I might prefer to stay in that dark comfy cave where I spent 10 enjoyable years writing Remembering Shanghai, when I’m blessed with third-party recognition, I must … go to the COPACABANA?! Read More


Back in NYC for #2 nephew Garrett’s graduation from Trinity high school. Hard to believe that we’ve come full circle after launching Remembering Shanghai in Manhattan exactly a year ago. Read More

An 18th and an 88th

March 2019 was doubly auspicious for the Chao clan, as we celebrated Isabel’s 88th, and her youngest grandson Garrett’s 18th birthdays. Our family gathered in Hong Kong for a week-long food fest. Read More

Chinese New Year at da Shop

It was such an honor and delight to be part of the January Chinese New Year celebrations at da Shop, Honolulu’s fabulous independent bookshop, where I presented Remembering Shanghai to a great audience. Read More

RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong)

RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) is home to our dear friend the legendary Uncle Ray Cordeiro, who was named by Guinness World Records as “the World’s Most Durable Radio DJ”. Read More

House Reconstruction

We have only one photo of Isabel’s childhood home, taken in the 1980s when the house was already fifty years old and in a state of disrepair. So we gave our illustrator Ming-fai Hui an unusual assignment in the summer of 2012. Read More

Isabel’s Childhood Home

We have no surviving photos of the Sun family’s Shanghai home as Isabel knew it. Though the 1930s structure still stands and has a fresh coat of exterior paint, the interior is depressingly dilapidated. Read More

Guest Posts

Art Deco Sophisticate

I was delighted to find this article on Grosvenor House on the Shanghai Art Deco blog, brainchild of my friends Patrick Cranley and Tina Kanagaratnam, and the source of all things Art Deco in that city on the sea. Read More

There’s a Chinese Saying for That

US Pacific-Northwest-born Heather Diamond’s self-described “rebellious streak and itchy feet” led to unusually diverse experiences, including her marriage into a big Hong Kong Chinese family. Read More

Fall of the Bamboo Curtain

Hard to believe that Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China was 50 years ago, during the last week of February 1972. Hard to believe because, as Nicki Chen describes in this article, we were simply used to mainland China being off-limits. Read More

My Mother’s Secrets

To say that I admire Helen Zia is an understatement. In addition to being an award-winning writer, she has worn many diverse hats, ranging from auto assembly worker to human rights activist, Fulbright scholar, and Olympic torchbearer in San Francisco. Read More

From Arcadia to Airline Club

Katya Knyazeva, from Novosibirsk, Russia, is a historian and a journalist with a focus on urban form, heritage preservation and the Russian diaspora in Shanghai. Read More

Blank Space

Yuli crossed my radar in early 2020, when the virus had hit Wuhan, and she was leading #GoWuhan, a social media awareness campaign calling for support and compassion for the people in her hometown. Read More

Cinemas in Old Shanghai

A behind-the-scenes look at the movies in Old Shanghai, by the legendary heritage advocate Tess Johnston. Read More

Isabel’s Shanghai: Seven Decades On

Guest blogger Amy Sommers is the author of Rumors from Shanghai, her debut novel, which delves into World War II history in China. Read More

Cycles from the Past

Dori Jones Yang was BusinessWeek’s Hong Kong bureau chief from 1982 to 1990, and recently penned a memoir of those years, When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China’s Reawakening. Read More

Remembering Hong Kong

We welcome the first of Remembering Shanghai’s periodic guest bloggers, Susan Blumberg-Kason, the author of Good Chinese Wife, co-editor of Hong Kong Noir and a regular contributor to the Asian Review of Books. Read More