Mt. Lady Tiger Tamer

April 15, 2009 § 5 Comments


I once came across a majestic mountain called Mt. Lady Tiger Tamer. On the mountain lies a beautiful temple, devoted to the worshiping of a young heroine.

Some years ago, the mountain was terrorized by a ferocious white tiger who made prey of local villagers. The tiger attacked its victims during nighttime and retreated back to its cave at daybreak. The villagers were in constant fear for their lives; many left the village seeking a safer place to live.

The daughter of the village’s chief, a young girl with a big heart, decided to take matter into her own hands; she wanted to save the village from the tiger’s terror. After consuming a sizable dose of poisonous herbs, the girl set out to confront the man-eating tiger.

Her mutilated body was later found near the tiger’s cave; the white tiger was discovered dead not too far away. Apparently, the young girl used herself as poisonous bait to snare the tiger. Upon devouring the girl, the tiger got poisoned and subsequently succumbed to its death.

To commemorate the girl’s heroic deed, the villagers built a temple to worship her and renamed the mountain after her.

[Simon N.]

Culture 101: “All You Can Eat” Diplomacy

April 3, 2009 § 10 Comments

The Chinese have always been known for their creative diplomacy. The “Ping Pong” diplomacy between China and the United States was a fine example. But there was another creative instance of Chinese diplomacy that many aren’t aware of.

In the early 1900s, there were a lot of unrests in the Chinese capital of Beijing. A number of foreigners were killed by a nationalist group called the Boxers. The killings infuriated foreign governments who demanded the Qing government to take swift actions. In hope of reducing tensions, Empress Dowager Cixi invited all the top foreign diplomats to a very elaborate banquet.

The banquet was one of historic proportions. It lasted for several days (& nights) and cost around 80-100 million dollars in today’s value. Unfortunately, very little diplomacy actually took place during the feast; people were just too occupied with their eating. In fact, the participants spent more time in restrooms than engaging in conversations.

Ironically, many Chinese died of starvation during the same period; the money spent on the banquet could have adequately fed most of the Chinese poor for a whole year. The banquet, however, failed to dissuade foreign governments from attacking China and nearly demolishing Beijing.

[Simon N.]

Hard Fate

April 1, 2009 § 5 Comments


Zhang had confined herself in her room for nearly three days. Despite numerous threats and pleadings from her husband’s family, the authorities, and even her own mother, she insisted upon not leaving her room until her demand be granted. Holding a pair of scissors in her hand and the baby girl in her arm, Zhang was willing to do whatever it would take to prevent this lovely little girl from sharing the same fate of her two sisters.

“No one can take you away from me, not now and ever.” If death was to be the inevitable outcome, she would gladly accept.

Zhang married into her husband’s household at the tender age of 17. Her marriage quickly made her the object of envy among her friends. Her husband’s family was one of the wealthiest in the region. She will probably spend the rest of her life not worrying about making ends meet.

The early part of Zhang’s marriage was the happiest time of her life. The husband’s family treated her extremely well. Zhang did not have to work or doing any chore; she was given birdnest to consume nearly everyday. Before the marriage, her mother-in-law was told by a local matchmaker that Zhang was the perfect woman to bear children. Her husband was the family’s only son. They were hoping that she would bear a son for them to continue to the family’s line.

When she was pregnant for the first time, her husband’s parents threw a lavish party to mark the occasion. Zhang’s parents were showered with gifts. They have raised such a fine daughter, exclaimed the husband’s parents. Even when the predictor chart indicated that Zhang’s child-to-be was a girl, it did not damper the optimistic mood. “My gust instinct tells me that it will be a boy,” said her mother in law.

To her dismay, the prediction turned out to be correct. Zhang’s first child was a girl; she named her ‘Orchid’. Although the husband’s family had wanted a boy and not a girl, they remained cautiously optimistic. Zhang and her husband were relatively young; they will still have numerous opportunities to produce a son.

Almost five years after the birth of ‘Orchid’, Zhang became pregnant again. The five-year period seemed like a lifetime for the husband’s household. Zhang and her husband were not getting any younger; they were racing against time. To conform to the one-child law, her first-born was adopted by a childless relative who lived in another region.

When the husband’s parents learned that the second child would also be a girl, they were emotionally devastated. Upon hearing the news, Zhang’s mother-in-law nearly fainted from disappointment. Another opportunity has been lost, bemoaned the mother.

The husband’s family started to question whether Zhang was even capable of producing a son. There were talks within the household of the possibility that the husband would divorce her and marry a more “capable” woman. Some even suggested that Zhang should abort her unborn child to plan for her next child–hopefully a boy. The mother-in-law went as far as asking the matchmaker for a refund.

Zhang was incredibly distressed by the actions of the husband’s household. God knows how many sleepless nights she had spent thinking about the matter and how many tears she had shed bemoaning her fate. Whether she bears a boy or a girl was beyond her control. But what saddened her most were the unfounded hostilities toward her unborn child. Just because the unborn was going to be a girl did not give anyone permission to treat her this way.

Her second child was born under the most inauspicious of circumstances. Her husband was away and there was heavy downpour. Despite her desperate plea for assistance, the husband’s family simply ignored her. They acted as if they didn’t want the child to see the light of day. They wanted to see her dead; the mere sight of her would disgust them.

Fortunately for Zhang and her unborn, an old girlfriend and her husband heard about her situation and offered their help. The two kind souls brought her to the local medical center; Zhang delivered her second daughter ‘Daisy’ after a tough labor. What an adorable little girl Daisy was! She resembled what Zhang looked like when she was little–those angelic eyes and chubby cheeks. Hopefully your life will turn out a lot better than mine, lamented Zhang.

[Simon N.]

Peach Blossoms: Full Bloom

March 20, 2009 § 5 Comments

“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think too far away”

~Robert Frost




Do not use these images without prior consent. 2009

[Simon N.]

Culture 101: Pay to Cry

January 14, 2009 § 10 Comments



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