23 November 2008

Book Reviews: "Wild Swans" and "Factory Girls"

Wild Swans, Chang's international bestseller.Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang was a good book comparing and contrasting the lives of her grandmother, a woman of Imperial China, her mother, a daughter of the Communist Revolution, and herself, an expatriate and anti-Maoist. The story is very good, although I think her editor failed her in jumping around in time too much. Chang has been accused of severe anti-Maoist distortions, but I have no way to prove or disprove this. I just know that this book is a very interesting look at China from the early 1900's to today and I would recommend it to any fan of China or history.

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie Chang is a fascinating look at the culture of the factory girls who come from rural China and work the factories of industrial urban China. Over the years things have changed and this has changed the power structure and traditions of China for these girls and their families. This book is a very good introspective of these girls. However, seemingly out of nowhere Chang starts putting her family history in the book. Rather than adding to the book, it distracts from it. Her family history is still very interesting, and not unlike that of "Wild Swans", but I feel that part should have been left for its own book and "Factory girls" should have been left to focused on just the factory girls, which Chang never was.

While both books have serious flaws, I would still recommend them to anyone interested in the sociology of modern and recent China.

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Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers: Tomorrow People

I always thought he was singing, "Where is your best?" I think there was a more powerful message in my misunderstanding!
Oh Lord, oh no!

Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last?
Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last?

Today you say you deyah. Deyah be.
Tomorrow you say you're gone,
but you're gone so long.
If there is no love in your heart - so sorry -
Then there is no hope for you - true, true.

Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Come on!
Tomorrow people, where is your past? Where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last? 10 years!

So you're in the air,
But you still don't have a t'ing to spare.
You're flying high,
While we're on the low, o-o-oh

Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Tell me now.
Tomorrow people, where is your past? Nowhere!
Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Ten years!

Stop tellin' me the same story.
Today you say you deyah. Deyah be.
Tomorrow you say you're gone, and you're not comin' back.
If there is no love in your heart, oh now,
There will never be hope for you. No hope for you.

Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Ten years!
Tomorrow people, where is your past?
Tomorrow, tomorrow people, come on.

If you don't know your past, you don't know your future, everyone!
Don't know the past, you won't know the future, everyman!
Don't know your past, don't know your future, come on!
You don't know your past, you don't know your future, hey!

How many people did that one catch?
How many nations did that one catch, yeah-yeah?
Don't know the past, Don't know the future.
Don't say, don't know your past, don't know your future

How many people did that one catch?
How many nations did that one catch, c'mon, c'mon!
Tomorrow, tomorrow people...
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06 November 2008

Chinese Number Taboos are Often Local


This is from my friend LI Wan, who translated this in to English for a friend of hers.
Taboo, belonging to the category of folk culture, is a cultural phenomenon. China is a multi-ethnic country, and different nations have different totems and taboos. Taboo is the source of moral and civilization. All the Chinese people have regarded long as a totem and worshiped long all the time. When Spring Festival or other Festivals come, people in almost all areas of china will give an performance of dragon dance. In Dragon Boat Festival people will have a dragon-boat race, which reflects the nation's positive and never-give-up spirit.
  1. There are many taboos in Changsha where mainly inhabit Han nationality Just as westerners view the number of 13 as a taboo, we think of the goods priced at 33, 36, 7, 94, 250, etc. as taboos.

  2. Buying a house on the 18th floor is a taboo, because according to Buddhism, there is a saying like driving into the 18 floors of hell, so the land agent usually set a lower price at the 18th floor.

  3. We like 8, 9 to be a number’s ending, and do not prefer the ending is 3, 4, because in china the pronunciation of 8 is the same as “Facai” which refers to making a pile,and 9 means everlasting, but 3 sounds like “Sanhuo” which means separating, and 4 sounds the same as “Si” which is an equivalent of death. In Changsha it is a taboo for 7 persons to be at table together, it is more preferable for 8 , 10 or 12 persons to have dinner together.

  4. Azaleas (Rhododendron),the city flower of Changsha City, is a taboo to be used as a gift as well as chrysanthemum. Now it is the golden autumn of chrysanthemums blooming, but we'd better not send chrysanthemum to other people. Otherwise,you will find your well-intentioned behavior only arouses anger, because Chrysanthemum is always used to mourn the dead.

  5. It is a taboo to present an umbrella or a fan as a gift to friends, because the pronunciations of fan and umbrella are similar to “Sanhuo”. There are also some taboos for young people when they fall in love. It is not necessarily for men to send rose to express their love. Sending some willow branches or a handkerchief may be more effective in some places. Because in China there is a wonderful legend about sending willow branches, as for the handkerchief, it means that it is made of the horizontal and vertical silk threads and silk sounds like “Sinian” which refers to missing.
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05 November 2008

QQ for Mac 1.0 Preview 3 Build 362 提供下载!


QQ for Mac OS X 1.0 Preview 3, Build 362 is out, but not available from the official page, just from the QQ for Mac blog! SO if you want to download it, go to the QQ for Mac blog at http://qqmac.qzone.qq.com/ or download it directly at http://dl_dir.qq.com/qqfile/qq/QQ2009preview3/QQ_P3_362.dmg. The features are very much increased over preview 1, the build available from the official site at http://im.qq.com/qq/mac/.

And just in case you missed it QQ for Linux 1.0 Preview 2 is now available at http://im.qq.com/qq/linux/ as a Tarball, a RPM (SuSe, Fedora), DEB (Ubuntu), and even an installer for Lemote Loonux.

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