Theft with Integrity


I love the Chinese movie 老炮儿 ‘Lao Pao-er’ (In English it’s called “Mr Six”). It is named after the sort of person who spends regular time in prison. Set in quintessential Beijing, anyone who has spent time in this enigmatic city will enjoy its familiar scenes. More than scenery, however, I love the way it has much to say about traditional Beijing culture. 

In the opening scene the main character, Mr Six (played by the famous Chinese director, Feng Xiaogang), witnesses a petty thief at work. He approaches the thief and demands that he take the cash but post the victim’s Identity Card back to him (to save him the trouble of applying for a new one). I find this is representative of Beijing’s high moral standards. In all my time here, I have often marvelled at the morality of the true Beijinger. They are truly unique people of honour.

Teacher Wang, senior teacher at 1on1 Mandarin, is a Beijinger – born and bred. She is always ready for a conversation about Beijing culture. So today I asked her about the movie ‘Lao Pao-er’. And she confirmed that, yes, Beijingers are proud of their moral standards, even down to the petty thieves.

Teacher Wang says that when she was a new graduate, in the early 1990’s, she herself had her purse stolen. This purse was no ordinary purse. In fact it was a genuine Louis Vuitton purse. At the time she had only 100 yuan inside. While that sounds like just a small amount, in fact it was 1-2 months’ salary at the time.

Sure enough, true to Beijing principles, a few days later Teacher Wang’s purse, together with her Identity Card and all of her important documents, BUT minus the 100 yuan, arrived at her home in the post. I asked her if someone had found the purse. “No, it was definitely the thief”.

Alas… if only the world’s thieves could learn from the morality of the Beijing petty thief!!

Going to the Movies? How to use Your Smart Phone to Buy Discount Movie Tickets

My wife and I have lived in Beijing for several years. Over the years we’ve had many friends venture to the movies theaters to watch the latest hits while we stayed home and enjoyed the savings of 10RMB DVDs. Now certainly there is a worthwhile savings for those who are patient enough to wait for a quality copy to come out to the dwindling number of DVD stores, but we all know that going to the theater is just not the same experience. There’s just something about the big screen, especially in 3D that blows away the home viewing experience.


A few months ago a local friend gave us some free movie tickets. Another friend then told me about an app that would allow a view of all the current movies and where they were playing. I then chose a 3D movie I knew my life would love to see for her birthday, but you guessed it, the free tickets were for 2D movies. I was now finally motivated, I had to have those tickets, but the price! So I asked another friend and they told me about the app. I actually bought the tickets while standing in line at the theater and saved substantially at the counter.


So, if you have an interest in either watching Chinese or Western movies (in their original language) in Beijing, with the original voice soundtrack, and don’t mind or actually would enjoy practicing your Chinese reading by following the Chinese subtitles, then this app is a must. The app is free and is called Mtime, or in pinyin – shiguangwang (时光网). Below is the step-by-step process for downloading and using Mtime.


Note that these directions are specific to making your purchase using a Chinese bankcard.


1)   Download the app and open it.


2)   The Home page is at center bottom and the current movie list is displayed with a customer rating from 1-10 (this post will not go into what the other bottom tabs are for).



3)   Scroll through and pick the movie you’re interested in.


4)   Push the orange purchase ticket (购票) tab.


5)   Here you will have a choice of dates at the top and below a scroll down for movie theaters showing your movie pick. I prefer to narrow the options by tapping the middle green circle tab (地区) so I can choose theaters in my district. If you’re in Chaoyang District you might want to choose the second tab for your nearby (附近) theaters.


6)   Scroll down and select the tab for your choice of theaters.



7)   You will see optional show times and prices for your movie tickets. Touch the tab for your preferred show time.


8)   Reserve your seat(s) by touching the seats you prefer. You can touch and order as many seats as you want from those that have not been reserved. The seats you reserve will appear orange while the rest are blue. The bottom will display the row (排) and seat numbers (座). When you’re finished you can press the orange next (下一步) button.



9)   Enter the cell phone number and password you would like to use (there should be at least one numerical digit).


10)  Now push the light blue register tab (免费注册) (In the future, once you’ve registered, you can tap the log in (登录) tab, that is, assuming it remembers your phone number).



11) Enter your phone number and your preferred password, then push the tab to obtain your verification number (获取验证吗) and you will receive a text with your verification code.


12) Enter the code and push the (提交) tab.



13) You get a pop up window that asks you to confirm that you want to go forward. Touch the definitely (确定) tab if you definitely want the tickets.


14) Now you have two choices, either registering your email address or cell phone. If you want to order tickets only with your phone, then touch the submit (提交) tab (this post only follows the track of using your cell phone).



15) You will get a screen that confirms you order and the amount. If it all looks right tap next (下一步).


16) Now you have a choice of payment options. The simplest is to use the Union Pay online option (使用银联在线付款) which is the second orange tab.



17) Now enter your bankcard number and touch “next”. You will get a second window. Enter your pin# and your registered phone number and then touch the orange SMS tab. You should receive a text with the required SMS number. Enter the number and touch “Start Pay”.


18) When processing is complete, Mtime should hold a record of your ticket purchase. You should also receive a text with the purchase details. You can show either of these at the ticket window to receive your tickets.



Of course I accept no responsibility for the accuracy of this post, or any losses you may incur as a result of following the above instructions.


There you have it. Enjoy your movie!

Where to download Chinese subtitles for movies

Recently, when I was surfing around on some Chinese learning websites, I noticed that some people were looking for a place where they can download  Chinese subtitles for movies. And Since watching movies is one of great ways to learn Chinese,  I’d like to share some resources today, hope it would be something helpful for those who want to learn Chinese by watching movies or for those just want it for entertainment.

The website I’d like to introduce is called 射手网, it’s personal-owned website and has tons of subtitles from way back, probably any movie you can think of. You can download Chinese subtitles for Chinese or English movies, or English subtitles for Chinese or English movies.  How can you make it work to show up the subtitles then?

Here are the steps:

1. type in the name of the movie in search bar and search;

2. then download the subtitles to your computer;

3. to change the file name of subtitles and make sure all the subtitles in different language have the same file name with the movie file name; (please make sure you don’t change the file format)

4. lastly, if your video player recognize  the subtitle file, you should be able to have subtitle showed up and also you can switch between different subtitle languages as well.

One more tip: when you search for subtitles, mostly like there would be many versions available from different subtitle producers, but the only important thing you need to know is what languages available in each version of subtitle? There is a language section of each subtitle description, so you can find out what languages  are available, the most common languages available are simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and English. here are two examples:

subtitle languages: English, traditional Chinese, Dutch and French.

Subtitle languages: English, simplified and traditional Chinese.

Hope this post would be helpful to you and let me know in comment if you run into any problem.

In next post, I will share more about the video player developed by called Splayer.

功夫梦 – The Karate Kid Streaming Online

For those who have yet to watch the latest 2010 remake of the 1984 “The Karate Kid”, you can stream it for free through (奇艺 qi2yi4); though I feel that the movie title should be changed to “The Kung Fu Kid”, since the Chinese title of the movie is 功夫梦  (gong1fu meng4 – aka: dreaming of Kung Fu), and the martial art in the movie is no longer the Japanese Karate, but the Chinese Kung Fu- but that’s just me =)

I hadn’t heard of QiYi before, so I did a bit of research, and I found out that the difference between and other mainland online streaming video services, such as and, is that QiYi aims to gather all of its video content through legal means through several copyright intermediary sources. This also allows QiYi to obtain higher quality and resolution videos, which is pretty nice if you’re wanting to project a movie on a screen to watch with friends.

Here’s the direct link to The Karate Kid on

By the way, if you are those who would like to learn Chinese by watching movies, I’d recommend a product launched recently, it’s great option for those who wanted to learn Chinese in a casual and fun way.

Translate English movie titles into Chinese


The Chinese translation of the title of the movie Top Gun:

好大一把枪 (hǎo dàyī bǎ qiāng) “what a big gun!”

There are just some things that a dictionary isn’t suited for.

Ever try to talk to your Chinese friends about some English movie, but get blank looks? Movie titles are hard to translate, and when translated literally, usually make no sense and tell you nothing useful about the movie.

That’s where comes in. How do you say Hoosiers (1986 basketball film, Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey) in Chinese? Enter the film name in the top right-hand corner…


and you get 火爆教头草地兵 (huǒbào jiāotóucǎodì bīng), or “The Hot-Tempered Coach and the Grassland Soldiers”


Who would’ve thought?

The site also has trailers, reviews, theater information and showtimes for certain cities. Although it’s in Chinese only, covers both Chinese and foreign films.

Now, anyone know any sites for getting Chinese titles for English music, books, or video games?