Tag Archives: China

Letters from China: Part 6

In my past 5 posts, I translated a few letters from China from 1979 to 1992 without annotations. The letters speak to you directly — the power of love and how my mother helped rebuild the ancestral home in a village in Zhao’an, in the Fujian province of China.

I am forming a picture of my mother’s first visit to China in 1979 through our fragments of conversations over the years. It would have been unreasonable to expect my 80-year-old mother to tell her life stories in a coherent, chronological order. I thank God that she is still alive with relatively good health, with sound memories. Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 5

Many children in the west grow up with their imaginary friends. I had an imaginary uncle.

If an ‘imaginary’ character means someone who occupies your space, your thought, and energy, someone whose existence floats around in the air, then my only maternal uncle in China fit the role perfectly.
Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 4

Reading old letters from China is similar to listening to people chatting on their mobile phone on the train. You only hear half of the conversation. You may not like the noise, but it is impossible to ignore it. You are slightly annoyed because you do not hear the other half of the conversation. You need to make a mental effort to decipher their conversation.

Letters from China represent half of the conversation in the last century between overseas Chinese migrants with their families in China. Where is another half of the conversation stored? Now, more than 30,000 letters are saved and they are on display in various museums in the Fujian and Guangdong provinces in China. Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 3

When the ship from Singapore docked in Shantou, south of China, my mother soon recovered from bouts of sea-sickness, and was taken to a local hotel near the harbour with a hundred of other Chinese passengers sharing the same mission: meeting their long-lost relatives.
Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 2

My mother returned to her ancestral home in China for the first time after 40 years on a big ship from Singapore in 1979. “I was very dizzy for the whole 7-day journey.” How big was the ship? I wondered. “Oh,” my mother recalled, “it was so big that some pigs were on board too.”

My mother could see from her room on the upper deck some pigs eating their left-over food. Continue reading

Letters from China: Part 1

This week, I’ll share with you some letters from China.

My mother left Fujian, the poverty-stricken province in the south of China in the late 30s, and arrived in Singapore a few weeks later, after surviving the turbulent journey of the South China Sea. Continue reading

Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement

Private Eye: Woman has baby

Private Eye on the royal birth: Woman has baby. Image by Duncan via Flickr

When I saw the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) beaming radiantly outside the hospital with her baby boy, George, just 27 hours after her birth, I felt slightly uncomfortable.

Strangely, I heard my mum’s voice ringing in my head: “Terrible! Why is she walking about? She should be lying in bed. Poor girl — oh no, she had washed her hair? Look! It’s so windy. The wind is so bad for her. What? She’s wearing high platform shoes? Not wearing socks? Good grief!”

What’s the one-month postnatal confinement?

Traditionally, Chinese women must observe a strict one-month postnatal confinement. Even now, a lot of modern and highly educated women still follow the tradition. Though there are regional varieties with the rituals and taboos about the confinement, the common taboos are as follows: Continue reading

Blogging in English: Who am I?

I started writing this English blog since April last year, and my embarrassing first post was about cardmaking: it all started with my mother in law. My even more embarrassing second post was one way to make your child more popular.

15 months later, my recent two posts were Pondering Freedom of Speech during Ramadan and Copyright violation: are you a victim?

From cardmaking to Ramadan, have I not noticed the difference in my subject matter, style, and language?

Lorelle on WordPress logoRecently, I took up Blog Exercises set by Lorelle VanFossen, a veteran blogger, and a die-hard WordPress loyalist (Please make sure you spell the trademark WordPress properly with 2 capital letters, to avoid her wrath.)

Her exercises have become my blogging nutrients. I have a dedicated bog exercises series to record my journey, because deep down, I really have a desire to improve, not just in my English grammar, my writing skill, but also my thoughts.

Today, I would like to encourage you to view Lorelle’s comprehensive Giant Blog Exercise Check List Part 1. I think it’ll benefit you as a blogger, a writer, and a thinker, whatever your blogging topics are. This list will open your eyes. It may even change your life. If not, at least it is a place with wonderful resources for your reference. The topics cover: Continue reading

What’s in the news?

I tried to find out some information about the major earthquake in Sichuan, China, however, it’s almost hidden in the newspapers as the earthquake is not major news in the UK, comparing to Boston bombing. Today, I bought the Sunday Times, and expected the earthquake news to be easily found. It isn’t. From the front page to page 5, the news is dominated by Boston bombing, in great details. The China earthquake news is on the bottom right of pg 33 (the main section has only 34 pages of news).

Continue reading

Tweetable in Oxford Dictionaries

Learning English is hard. Some new words recognised by Oxford Dictionaries make me feel a bit dizzy. Below is a list of some of the new words that have been added to Oxford Dictionaries as part of their February 2013 update. Read the original post here.

A selection of new words from the February 2013 quarterly update, by Oxford Dictionaries.

Image from OxfordWords Blog

Image from Oxford Words Blog

appletini, Baggy Green, biosimilar, blootered, braggadocious, burrata,
cane corso, cruft, dumbphone, feature-complete, flexitarian, FOSS, friend zone,
hump day, metabolic syndrome, omnium, range anxiety, schlumpy, sillage, social sharing, SSD,
touchless, tray bake, tweetable, upcharge, voluntourism

Why is Tray Bake a new term? Tweeter is so powerful that now certain things are ‘tweetable’. I haven’t got a Tweeter account, and does it mean that I’m out? It’s also interesting to learn about a new form of anxiety — range anxiety:

[mass noun] informal

  • worry on the part of a person driving an electric car that the battery will run out of power before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached:range anxiety is often cited as the most important reason why many are reluctant to buy electric cars

From the list, I can tell you that I’ve got a dumbphone, and my neighbour is a flexitarian.

Wy not try making a few sentences with these words? Please share your creativity with us in the comments.

It’s a hump day. Let’s have some tray cake, burrata and appletini. Make sure you’re not too schlumpy.