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Showing posts from August, 2009

Not Quite a Lady

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Oriental women once was stereotyped as a sweet, demure, gentle lady, pleasant in speech and action but then that was yes, just a stereotype and most probably applicable only in thegood old days. Recently in a parking bay in Singapore, a passerby recorded a woman in her 20s slapping her boyfriend and hitting the private parts of her boyfriend with her high-heel shoes. Ah! That reminds me of stilettos and the old Chinese practice of binding womens' feet.Foot binding (chánzú, literally "bound feet") was a custom practiced on young girls and women for approximately one thousand years in China, beginning in the 10th century and ending in the early 20th century. It is said that it was first practised among the elite and only in the wealthiest parts of China where the girls do not have to do manual labor and live only to serve their men and direct household servants while performing no labor themselves but then bound feet eventually translated into sexual desirability among eli…

Growing up

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Among the different cultures in the world, the coming-of-age ceremonies where a child for the first time is recognized as an adult, are many and varied. In Kenya, a girl who is to be recognised as an adult may have to go through female-circumsion, a painful surgical procedure where the clitoris is partially or completely removed. For the Roman Catholics, there is the Confirmation during which time, God the Holy Spirit will come upon the person, accompanied by God the Father and God the Son, just as he did at Pentecost. For the Chinese, a person is often not considered an adult until he or she is married but then, there is also the Chu Hua Yuanor leaving the garden ritual among the Teochew community. Teochew are Chinese whose ancestors moved from the Central Plains of China to present-day Chaoshan. The Teochew believe that a child after being born, will live in a garden under the care of an elderly couple, Kong Pho, which means grandfather and grandmother. After 15 years, when it is ti…

Green Post: Indoor Air Pollution

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Take a shower or wash your dishes and contribute to indoor air pollution! Environmental engineers at the University of Texas at Austin, America have documented that the tap water at home contains trace amounts of harmful chemicals such as radon, gasoline, or byproducts of chlorination and these chemicals can be transferred from water to indoor air through a process called volatilization or chemical stripping. It pays then to have your house well ventilated!

Singing for Charity

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Typhoon Morakot in the Pacific has caused much damage in Taiwan. The whole village of Hsiao-lin was said to be buried in landslide and probably more than 600 people with it, too; and I suppose then, some Chinese artistes in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere must be assembling somewhere, holding a concert to collect funds for the victims. That always happens when there is a big tragedy like when there is a big flood in mainland China or a deadly earthquake like the one that happend in Szechuan not too long ago. In the West, fund has been known to be collected by releasing a charity record or a charity single. There was ABBA's Chiquitita and Bee Gees' Too Much Heaven to aid UNICEF. Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? probably started the ball rolling and in the United States, the charity records peaked in 1985 with We Are The World, and then died out afterwards. The charity single was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.Shortly after Michael Jackson passed aw…

Lttle Great Wall

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If it is Wànli Chángchéng or the long wall of 10,000 Li, otherwise known to everyone else in the world as the Great Wall of China that you are seeking and you are in no way near northern China, perhaps then, you should visit the little Chinese temple, Fu Ling Kung in Pangkor Island, Perak in Malaysia. The Great Wall of China which is one of the seven ancient wonders in the world is but a series of stone and earthen fortifications and had been built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks. In Fu Ling Kung, you would not get to see the massive structure which is by far the only man-made structure that can be seen from the moon but then, there is a miniature of this ancient wonder in its manicured garden. Tourists come in vans to visit the little temple but you'd want to rent a motorbike and weave through the narrow roads that formed a maze in the little Chinese settlement wher…

Some Songbirds!

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I did not watch the 1979 Taiwanese hit movie, Your Smiling Face when it was shown in the local theatre, not too when it was shown in TV some years later but I remember it shot Sibelle Hu Hui Chung (inset), the Taiwanese starlet to stardom. The theme song Gan Lan Shu or The Olive Tree was an immense hit and had since become a Mandarin classic. Strangely though, I did not come to know the identity of the singer of this marvellous song until the mid- eighties when in a friend's house in Dungun, Trengganu, I came across Chyi Yu's album and it was in English! And Chyi Yu, by no means was the only Chinese singer doing cover versions of English songs during that period; there was also the beautiful Taiwanese singer, Tracy Huang, who, if I am mistaken, turned her back on the entertainment industry during her peak. She decided to move over to Singaporewhen she got hitched to a Singaporean man, much to the chagrin of the composer-singer who discovered her, Liu Chia Chang, or so I heard.…

A Lack of Filial Piety

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Not too long ago, the Star paper reported that Chinese make up a huge number of old folk abandoned at welfare homes.The Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said that while the Chinese made up about 25% of the 27 million people in Malaysia, 33% of the residents in government-run old folk homes were Chinese and this she said, did not augur well for a community in which filial piety was much revered as a traditional value. Filial piety ( xiào), a respect for parents and ancestors, indeed, is one of the virtues to be held above all else in a Confucian society. In the Confucian classic, Xiao Jing or Classic of Xiào, said to be written around 470 B.C.E., Confucius and his student Zeng Shen talked about setting up a good society using the principle of filial piety. Perhaps, what we see here is a sample of Chinese in a modern non-Confucian society. Then, perhaps too these old folks may not have children of their own, having not married themselves …

Old Taiwanese Romantic Movies

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Browsing through the net, I came across this old movie, Outside the Window which was the first movie starred by the famous Taiwanese star whose career spanned through the 70s, 80s and 90s, the one and only Lin Ching Hsia. Her first movie about a school girl falling for an older school teacher was an instant hit. Lin Ching Hsia played the school girl of course and her love affair with the school teacher ended tragically with the teacher turning into a drunkard when the mother opposed the relationship. The story was supposed to be based on the love story of the writer Qiong Yao and because of that, it was not released in its country of origin, Taiwan. I remember watching Outside the window at least twice; the first time with my mom in Taiping's now defunct Capitol Cinema while the second time, I watched it on TV with some friends in a hostel in University. I did not get to see the whole movie the second time round though since some Malay boys came into the TV room when we were half…