Showing posts from December, 2008

A Martial Arts Teacher

Movies could be educational sometimes. Talk about the latest movie in town, Ip Man which stars Donnie Yen. If not for the film, I would never know the existence of this man, Yip Man ( 葉問) or Ip Man, said to be Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher and also the first martial arts master to teach openly the Chinese martial art that specializes in aggresive close-range combat, Wing Chun (詠春). One of the legends about Wing Chun's origin had to do with a young girl by the name of Yim Wing Chun. Trying to reject an offer of marriage by a warlord, Wing Chun had sought the help of a Buddhist nun, Ng Mui, to learn boxing. Thereafter, both of them developed Wing Chun and when Yim Wing Chun got to marry her sweetheart, she passed the art to him. Wing Chun was originally passed down from teacher to student orally. Until Ip Man, I suppose the art was also not taught openly.
Ip Man and Bruce Lee...

Going Places: World's Biggest Shopping Mall

Has China the biggest shopping mall in the world?It seems that the South China Mall in Dongguan, has an area of 892,000 meter-square and there are shops on 6 floors. Would anyone want to window shop there, I wonder and get their children lost in it, too?

Looking Oriental

Oh, My! I was surprised when I read this. It seemed that in the northern Italian town of Treviso, Chinese-run businesses were ordered to take down their lanterns because they looked too oriental. I supposed that must be an incident of a long past era. Chinese had actually settled in Italy for a long time, though their number may not be that big. The 0fficial statistics indicate there are at least 144,885 Chinese in Italy and it had been growing rapidly in the past ten years. History indicates that there were three main waves of Chinese immigration in the 20th century, from the 1920s and 1930s to 1972, from 1972 to 1985 and from 1986 to the present. The first Chinese in Italy were said to have come from France to Milan. Numbering around 40 and 50 and being mainly males, many of them intermarried with Italian women. I bet some of the children may look like the lanterns too, too oriental, that is...

A Pagan Festival

Even when I was holidaying in Makasar, Sulawesi, I had received a Winter Solstice Festival greeting from Peoh Lam. Greetings for Winter Solstice festival or The Extreme of Winter ( 冬至) ( Dōng zhì) which is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians like the Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese must be a novelty, at least to me. People generally sent greetings during Chinese New Years but with the advent of the mobile phones, all sorts of greetings for all sorts of festivals pass through the phones in text messages and while it delighted me so, I suppose it would delight the telephone company even more! The Winter Solstice Festival, by the way is celebrated during the dongzhisolar term on or around December 21 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. For the Chinese, the origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. The days following the celebration will be longer daylight ho…

A Yo-Yo of a Name

Did I read somewhere in the Net about Yo-Yo Ma performing in the inaguration of American latest President, Barrack Obama? This French-born Chinese American cellist and winner of multiple Gammy Awards had performed for some other American presidents before, among whom was Ronald Reagan; and being the child prodigy that he was, he was already performing for an audience at five; and at seven, he played for the late President John F. Kennedy. While I have seen the Hollywood film, Seven Years in Tibet where he was featured on John Williams' soundtrack, it was not until Ang Lee's blockbuster film hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that I learned of his name and even then, I had wondered why he had such a strange Christian name when the truth is his name Yo-Yo Ma is actually Chinese, being written in traditonal Chinese as 馬友友 or in simplified Chinese as 马友友. Then, Yo-Yo actually reminded me of the game little boys and young teenagers played but then, Y0-Yo which mean friend, should b…

Green Post: Green Funeral

Fancy having an eco-friendly green funeral? In a green funeral, a body is dressed up in pure fibre clothes and it is not embalmed as formaldehyde can seep into the water system. A cardboard coffin is used or else if the body is cremated, an eco-friendly urn can be used to pack the ashes. Britain is said to have been a world leader in eco-friendly green funeral for years and for a source of various green burial products other than cardboard coffins and eco-friendly urns, one perhaps could pay a visit to the Natural Death Centre's Green Funeral Exhibiton in London. If you think green funeral is going to be cheap however, think again! Frank Hall, the marketing director for Epping Forest Burial Park has said that it was all about choice and not price. Green funerals can be orpulent and expensive just as they can be cheap and low key!

Eco-friendly casket and urns...

An Ongoing Process

Once in the Netherlands, when traveling by bus to Paris, I happened to pass Rotterdam. Groggily, I had looked out the window and there across the road was a big shop with a big signboard which had Chinese characters on it. The bus stopped and three young Chinese passengers, two young girls and a young man boarded the bus. I started to wonder if the three were travellers like me and my friends but of course, I didn't get to know as I didn't ask. The Netherlands, I got to know is host to one of the largest Chinese populations in Europe. The Chinese populations should be the fourth largest after the French, British and Russian Chinese communities. The Dutch Chinese community is also sharply divided into several independent community. Besides the Peranakan Chinese from South East Asia, particularly Indonesia, there are Cantonese and Fujianese from Mainland China. Since 1985, Fujianese from Eastern Fujian are making their way to this little country and that's an ongoing process…

More on the Huang Mei Opera

I remember watching Lin Dai's ground breaking movie The Kingdom and the Beauty many years after the film was made. After all, the movie was made in 1959, before I was born and while the movie popularised the Huang Mei Opera, this artform which was a part of the operatic genre at the Anqing region of southwestern Anhui province has long peaked with the making of Ivy Ling Po's star vehicle, Love Eternein 1963. The Huang Mei Opera is said to have first appeared as a simple drama of song and dance at the Huangmei county in the Lanyang plateau in southeastern Hubei province a couple of hundred years ago.The music was simple and short initially and was performed only by roving troupes. When immigrants from Mainland China poured into Hong Kong in the 50s, they brought the art along. The talented Lanping Chou rewrote the music style, incorporatingWestern musical instruments,making the tempo livelier and faster. Many Huang Mei movies were made, particularly by Hong Kong Shaw Studios st…