Mid-autumn Day – Sep.22, 2010

September 21, 2010

I. Symbols :


II. Activities

In general :
Moon Watching and Family Reunion
Eat moon cake

Different parts of China/ other countries, there are different way to celebrate this festival.

III. Origin
It is said that the mid-autumn festival has been in existence for more than 2,000 years. It has been recorded that emperors worshipped the sun in the morning in Spring, and the moon at night in autumn. From Rites of the Zhou, we are told that “in mid-spring, beating earthen drums and playing Bin Shi are aimed at welcoming the approaching of summer, and it is also true of Mid-autumn to awaited the coming of autumn.” These records are the earliest origin of the Mid-autumn Festival. Over time, this custom would also become a traditional activity in which the common people would also practice.

IV. Legendary tales and folk tales
(1) Chang E ascends to the moon

 
When introducing Chang E, there was another person needed to be introduced- that ‘s Chang E’s husband– Hou Yi. It ‘s said that in ancient times, there were 10 suns up on the sky, then they dried the earth and made the human being and all the other lives on the earth could not make to live. And Hou Yi was a brave and strong man, he shot nine suns down and left only one on the sky, then the creatures on the earth could live on. For his contribution, the God in the heaven awarded him with a magic pill which could make human beings become immortal and would never die. Hou Yi treasured the pill but he did not eat it since he loved his wife so much that he would not leave her wife and become immortal, so he asked his wife to keep the pill. Just one day her wife- Chang E eated the pill along and flied up to the moon… The reasons for Chang E ‘ eating the pill varied among different story versions, also the reason why she chose moon as the residence varies according to different stories. One of the famous version is that she was regarded to save the pill from being stolen by an evil man who tried to steal them while Hou Yi was not home.

Plus, in this story, Chang E brought with her a cute white rabbit up to the moon.

Wu Gang chops the laurel. 


Wu Gang ‘s origin has different versions. One said that Wu Gang was once a rude admiral in the heaven world who admired Chang E’s beauty, and kept visiting the moon palace. Chang E then told him that if you could cut the laurel in the yard down then I would accept your proposal. Wu Gang then tried to cut the laurel. But it ‘s not an unusual tree which grew itself very quickly once being cut. So Wu Gang could never make it to cut it down, till today.

Mid-autumn rebellion
The mid-autumn day was not universally observed until the Yuan Dynasty. In the old days, the relationship between the different ethnic groups in China was not harmonious and conflicts often took place among them. In the Yuan Dynasty, although Mongolian herd owners and landlords were the rulers, common Mongolians were still repressed, while the Hans were treated the worst. It was said that, in order to prevent the Hans from staging rebellions, the rulers subjected them to severe disciplines, and appointed one Mongolian official to take control over 10 families. The Hans were not allowed to use iron weapons and 10 families had to share one kitchen knife. To make matters worse, severe famines caused by droughts or floods resulted in further chaos and social disorder. The commoners hated their rulers deeply. Finally, they could not tolerate the oppression any longer, and began secretly conveying messages to one another by hiding notes within cakes. It was said that, before that particular years’ mid-autumn day, Zhang Shicheng from Taizhou secretly inserted a note into moon cake that said “August 15 Night Uprising”, before distributing them to the people. On the night of the 15th, after eating moon cakes, the people seized kitchen knives, and successfully overthrew the Yuan rulers. Since then, eating the moon cakes had become a popular way of commemorating the uprising.
Although this story is no more than a folk tale, the custom of eating moon cakes has progressively developed from people’s tradition of worshipping and enjoying the view of the moon.

Nowadays when Chinese people appreciate the full moon at the mid autumn night, most of them will recall these aging legends and tales, and tell them to the young generation.

V. Poems
In ancient times, literate Chinese would like to make poems while watching the full moon on Mid-autumn day. Thus, there were a lot of masterpieces handed down the history.
The great poet Su Dongpo’s Shui Diao Ge Tou ( Prelude to Water Melody) is considered as one of the best poems depicting this festival. In this poem, he expressed how much he missed his beloved, and also he gave his best wishes to everyone all over the world on the Mid-autumn’s night.

VI. Useful links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival 

Days off for 2010 Mid-autumn Festival:
September 22-24 off work
September 19 and 25 at work


Why not the hijack ended in other ways???

September 4, 2010

August 24th a Hongkong tourist bus hijacked in Manila Philippines, after deadlocking for 11 hours,it ended in 8 deaths among the 15 hostages. Chinese feel so angry about the ending and so confused with the proceeding– why the Philippines police could deal hostage crisis like this?

Philippine said:”sorry, this is Philippines, a completely different country.” this is not an accepted answer.

If the gunman was trying to negotiate with the police; he would not hurt the hostages. So the focus should be on negotiation. In this hijack, the gunman proposed two demands: 1st , resume his work as a policeman; 2nd , compensate him for his loss since his dismissal. If the police could not agree the conditions, they should think of the possible worst result and come up with corresponding solutions. In this kind of cases, if the agreement could not be achieved, the worst result was that the gunman would hurt the hostage. But for the police, the safety of the hostages should be placed on the top. So actually for the police they did not have many choices but two: agree the two conditions or disagree the two conditions and protect the hostage. Back to this case, the police took the 2nd choice, not fully, just disapprove the two conditions, but not protect the hostages. Stepping one step back, people wonder why the police could not agree with the two conditions? The police must have their reasons. Now when we look back, we wish that when the police decided to refuse the criminal ‘s conditions, they should do something in advance or at least meanwhile to protect the hostages’ safety.

Pictures show that there were chances for the police to shoot the gunman down, but they did not and allowed these innocent hostages to be trapped in the deadlock situation for 11 hours until something really bad happened, out of all the people’s expectations, especially the Philippine police’s.They did not realize the situations,though they were the only force which could balance the gunman’s power, just they looked down upon the power of one single former policeman,it worked like challenging the rival ‘s strength, then it was too late when the gunman got triggered.

When I firstly got the news, I got shocked and confused; this mishap should have some turning points, and it should end differently, like the movie “John Q”. John Q was risking to save his son–he did use his gun to hijack the doctor/nurse/ patients in the emergency room, he negotiated with the police, but he did not harm anyone of the hostages, even his hostage became moved by him and even hoped to help him achieve his goal. In reality, things were quite different; the conditions different; the gunmen different; the police different; the result different…now it does not matter whether the gunman was demanding something he deserved, just we see that this gunman was making big mistakes since the moment he started the shooting, irreversible mistake.

This mishap is probably a piece of news for most people,who will give some kind sighs and pray for the dead; but for those people involved in, it is disaster, unacceptable, unbelievable,unforgettable. Will there be any decent answer for those people? no. Unless life could be revived. So, no matter what explanation given from the Philippines, things will not become better; just keep it on the level to avoid becoming worse.

What left us, is mainly sad after all. Since anger will not help, only making things worse. And lessons, we should learn and keep in mind.


one-person show

August 22, 2010

Last post was about comedy duo–  two persons;  two also form a team.

One- person’s show, i guess, is harder than duo, is more harder if there is no audience.

sometimes there are one-person show situations, you might not intend to prove to anyone else, but your own heart.

so donot care about whether there’re any applauds in the end, just fulfill your heart’s dream…


Chinese Comedy Duo

July 26, 2010

If you have seen Chinese New Year Celebration Gala Evening ( 春节联欢晚会- it is a CCTV programme), you will always enjoy the Chinese Comedy Duo most (and 小品-xiao pin: I didnot find the english counterpart for this meaning yet.)  

Chinese Comedy Due is a traditional art, which is popular through time and space.  Just like Abbott and Costella,  Chinese Comedy Duo shares the same pattern, just with different content. The crosstalk comedians are good at wording, making funny stories – and making the audience laugh and getting their support. In China, the Comedy Due is more popular in North area, especially in Beijing and Tianjin; without age difference, youth love it, senior love it too; I guess men love it more than women, since normally the comedy duo are male, just very few female appear in this stage. Let us meet some of them here:

Jia Ling & Bai Kai Nan ( post 80s)

Hip-hop Cloth-wrapper Shop ( post-80s)
they declared : they donot sell matches, donot sell cigarette, donot sell cars, donot sell real estates, they just sell FUN!
In 2008, they are nothing, and at the beginning, they look for audience, sometimes there were only one or two listeners there. But nowadays, they travel around to perform, and it is not easy to get their ticket.

Master Ma Ji’s followers

Da Shan & Ma Dong
Da Shan is an Canadian – he might be the first foreign celebrity in China’s Comedy Due stage.
Ma Dong is the son of Ma Ji– who represented an era for Chinese Comedy Duo.

Jiang Kun ( left) –
He is normally regarded as the success of Maji, on behalf of the mainstream of Chinese Crosstalk.

Master Ma Ji
He passed away in 2006.

Guo De Gang ( left)
He was growing  his crosstalk dream from grassroot and he  became the most influential crosstalk master in present society. He called himself – unfamous crosstalk comedian.


Duan Wu Festival ( June 16 in Year 2010)

June 6, 2010

Falling on the fifth day of the fifth Lunar month, Duanwu Festival is also known as the Double-Fifth Festival. It is also refered to as DuanYang or Poet’s Day. There are as many as twenty different names for this festival. As one of the three most significant traditional Chinese Festivals, the other two being Spring Festival and the Mid-Autumn Day, Duanwu is widely celebrated in China.

There are some symbols for Duanwu Festival which you won’t overlook during this festival.

1. Qu Yuan
The best-known story about the Duanwu Festival commemorates Qu Yuan, the greatest poet who drowned himself in Miluo River( now in Hunan Province) around 2,000 years ago. He drowned himself to express his love towards his coutry. His country began to make sacrifice like rice to him in the river since then. It’s said that one man had a dream that Qu Yuan in the dream told him that the sacrifice they ‘ve thrown into the river were eaten by the river dragons. Thus people chose to wrap the rice into the reed leaves and tied them up with five-colored threads before throwing them into the river. Later, we had a name for this special “sacrifice”, we called them “Zongzi”, till today. 

2. Zong zi

Zong zi is a special food for Duanwu Festival. It is made of sticky rice,mixed with date and nuts, which will be sweet; or mixed with meats or eggs, which will be salty, and they will be wrapped in reed leaves. Now you will find them easily in the refrigerator cabinets for sell. And you just need to steam them and get ready for delicious taste.

3. Five Colored threads
Five Colored threads express people’s wishes to avoid evil and keep bless. Usually the small kids will be equipped with five-colored threads around their neck, wrists or ankles.


4. Hanging plants
Hanging some special plants are also tradition in this festival, to avoid evils and diseases.

5. Scent bags
Scent bags are delicated bags stuffed with some plants or spices which will spread aroma. It also expresses people’s nice wishes to keep happiness.

6. The Dragon Boat Race
According to the name, racing boats are decorated after a dragon, especially the head part. And cheering audiance will watch the race along the both banks of the river. It is an traditional activity which will be held in many rivers around China, also this activity has been introduced to other neighbour countries.

7. Zhong Kui Portrait
Zhong Kui was a figure existing in the Chinese myth, and was regarded as a powerful figure to eat all the ghosts and evils. So no doubt that people would love to keep this figure to scare away all the ghosts and evils.

8. Besides Qu Yuan, there are also some other people commemorated on Duan Wu Festival, such as Wu Zixu and Qiu Jin.


Lei Feng – always ready to help others

May 23, 2010

Whenever I was asked to introduce some Chinese people, I would always start from Lei Feng; since I think all the people would like to know him and would like to know his spirit.

Lei Feng - a model to follow all the time!

Lei Feng - a model to follow all the time!

Lei Feng(Dec 18, 1940- Aug 15, 1962) led a short life in his world, but his spirit last long in this world. He ‘s the symbol of LIVING ANGEL in the world.

He was born in a poor family in the miserable age; his father was beaten to death by the Japanese invaders, his elder brother died from illness caused by severe working environment, his young brother was starved to death, then when he was six, he had only his mother to be with; what ‘s worse, his mother committed suicide after being insulted by a cruel landlord. So, little Lei Feng became a orphan when he ‘s seven years old. Then he was adopted by the a neighbour grandma. When he was 9, he found the liberation party when they liberated his village; and he asked to join the army but was refused due to his under age. When he grew to 10, he became the head of the Children party, actively involved in land reform. The same year, the local government offered schooling and education to him for free, and then he joined Young Pioneers. That ‘s the early years of Lei Feng.

In the summer of 1965, he became a courier for the local government, and later was appointed as a civil servant while being acclaimed as a worker model. He joined Chinese Communist Youth League Committee in his 17. He worked very hard in each position and he was determined to join the army when he was 19.  He was only 1.54 m tall, lighter than 55 KGs; under the requirement for a soldier.  On account of his solid and excellent politics quality and working experience, he was admitted into the army as an exception.

Since he was always ready to help others, his good deeds were widely spread among the party and common people. Then he became an icon highly appraised by the party, and was often invited to different places to make speeches. There was a saying: Lei Feng does a train of good deeds while traveling 1000 miles. There were a great many stories about LeiFeng. I will select some to share here:  one day when he traveled to a city, he came across a crowd and he found out there was a middle aged woman inside carrying a baby, who lost her money and ticket. LeiFeng bought a ticket for her as soon as possible. Another case, one day, he came across a senior woman in the underground walking hardly, carrying a heavy bag on her back. He soon came up and asked her where to go. Then he helped her to carry the bag and sent her to her destination…

He didnot make great achievement-  but he was always ready to help anyone in need. Do one good deed is easy for almost everyone; but keep doing good deeds is not easy for everyone. So this ‘s the greatness of LeiFeng. He didnot ask for fame, he just did himself, under that special period. Nowadays we are calling for more LeiFeng people, everyone can be a live LeiFeng in the world.


the Confucius said– what chinese teens learned in school about Confucius

May 16, 2010

 

学而时习之,不亦说乎?
Is it not a pleasure to learn and apply a new knowledge once in a while? 

温故而知新,可以为师矣。
If he can learn new from his already-gained knowledge, he then can act 
as a teachers for other people to follow.

学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆。
Learning without thinking will be frustration; thinking without learning 
will be a danger. 

敏而好学,不耻下问。
He is smart and always ready to learn, he will not feel shameful to ask people 
who is lower than him in ranking. ( he is highly praised by the Master)

知之者,不如好之者,好之者,不如乐之者。They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who 
love it are not equal to those who delight in it.

默而识之,学而不厌,诲人不倦,何有于我哉。
To understand (the knowledge/the world/ the truth) silently, to learn 
(the knowledge/the world/ the truth) wearisomely , to instruct people 
tirelessly, which of these traits I hold? 
( the master is very humble.)

我非生而知之者,好古,敏以求之者也。
I am not born with all the knowledge, I am just fond of knowing the past, 
and eager to know.

三人行,必有我师焉。择其善者而从之,其不善者而改之。When I stay in a threesome company, there must be someone who can 
be my teacher. I will observe them, learn and follow their good traits; 
meanwhile I will discard the bad ones If i find their bad trait in myself .

学如不及,犹恐失之。
To learn as if you are chasing after a moving object, you are always near 
to reach it, feeling like it belongs to you, you fear to lose it.

吾日三省吾身——为人谋而不忠乎?与朋友交而不信乎?传不习乎?
I examine the deeds I do three times a day -whether being loyal when be consulted,  whether being honest with friends, 
whether review the new knowledge ?


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