I love black hip-hop and the NBL [National Basketball League] is my life. I don’t know why. Maybe we look to black American culture because we are so much darker than the Chinese

– Quote from Cheryl, aged, 20, the daughter of a senior Wa official in Shan State Special Region 2. These lines comes from an outstanding Irrawaddy report on current conditions in the Wa area along the Sino-Burmese frontier.

As a little fragment it reminds me of the (analagous?) influence of Korean pop culture in certain parts of the Indo-Burmese borderlands. In that case, I have heard very similar “racial” explanations for contemporary (pop) cultural affinity. Readers looking for a recent account of the “Korean wave” in the northeast Indian borderlands will find this article rewards a quick click.

It highlights a fascinating and largely unknown story of cultural production and exchange.