Tag Archives: culture

A missing cat and a murder enquiry

Have you seen Billy?

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

This is a story about a missing cat, and a murder enquiry.

Last October, we rescued Billy from an old lady in our little town. Billy used to be living in the wild, as we were told, especially around Asda. Billy was a bit rough, we were warned. Continue reading

What’s in a Dragon?

Today is St. George’s day and it is all about dragons.

My son joined the scout parade yesterday in town, as St. George is also the patron saint of scouting.

Google’s image today for St. George’s Day

Dragons, my son told me, in the west, are always evil. “They breathe fire, Mum!” They are monstrous. They are to be defeated.

Painting by Pere Nisart

Painting by Pere Nisart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I told him, however, in China, dragons carry a completely different concept. For a start, they don’t breathe fire. Continue reading

This is a Chinese poem you can’t possibly perform

I learnt from Daily Post that April is the National Poetry Month in the USA.

“National Poetry Month is a month-long celebration of the art of poetry and American poets. ”

It immediately reminds me of a quirky Chinese poem, which may be of interest to you.

It is called ‘The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den‘ (施氏食狮史), written by an accomplished Chinese linguist, Zhao  (or Chao) Yuanren (赵元任, 1892-1982). The poem uses just over 90 characters. However, all of them have only one sound — shi, in different tones.  Continue reading

Who are the Butterfly Lovers?

What do butterflies mean to you? Freedom? Beauty?

If I say butterflies also mean a tragic love, like Romeo and Juliet, do you think it strange?

I use butterflies a lot in my cards. Sometimes I wonder, ‘What do they mean?’

Hopeful thoughts with butterfly

Here is a Chinese tragic love story, The Butterfly Lovers. The young lovers were Liang Shanbo (梁山伯, man) and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台, woman). Their names are normally shortened for Liang Zhu (梁祝).

Their tragic love is almost like that of Romeo and Juliet.

The basic story line is: Zhu pretended to be a boy and became Liang’s classmate; Liang didn’t know Zhu was a girl. They spent 3 years together as boys. Zhu was engaged to a rich man by her father later. Liang was too late. He died of a broken heart. Continue reading

What is a Tomb Sweeping Day?

Sending Love and Sympathy

Spring brings renewal of life; spring also brings us closer to those we have left us.

While daffodils are blossoming, morning dews refreshing, on April 4 this year, in China, it is a Tomb Sweeping Day.

What? A national day to sweep the tombs? Indeed, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and many Chinese speaking regions, it is a Mourning Day. We call it  清明节(qīngmíng jié),  or Clear Bright Festival, and it normally arrives in early April.


Remembering ancestors in Singapore. Image via Flickr by themediaslut


(To be precise, 清明节(qīngmíng jié) is on the 104th day after the winter solstice.)

People all head for graveyards, cemeteries and temples.

Traditionally,families visit the graveyards to clean the graves of their ancestors.  Rituals are performed.

Qingming Festival — paying respects to the loved one. 

When I was young, I often heard stories about people struggling to find the tombs of their loved ones, because the tombs were often unmarked, weeds had overgrown and even the landscape had changed.

It is a sombre day of reflection. It is a day we learn to retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, and focus on paying respects to our ancestors and our loved ones. It is a day when the young ones learn from their elders and connect with their past.

Qing Ming — remembrance. Image from Flickr by sieuyen

Do you have a similar remembrance day in your cultures and countries?

Do you have a remembrance day as a public holiday as in Taiwan and China?

What do you think of this tomb sweeping, grave cleaning tradition?

Please leave a message and share your thoughts.

Along the River During the Qingming Festival, ...

Along the River During the Qingming Festival, detail of the original version showing wooden bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Related Posts:

Why do the Chinese eat Red eggs, not chocolate eggs?

The Easter eggs remind me of the Chinese Red eggs.

Chinese people don’t eat a lot of chocolate eggs, but I do know they eat a lot of Red eggs. Since birth!

Red eggs — they are hard boiled eggs, coated with red dye or red food colouring.

In case you still don’t know what I’m mumbling about, here is the image:

Bowls of Red Eggs (Image from Flickr by owaief89

Continue reading

It all started with my mother in law

I think it all started with my mother in law.

In the eyes of my mother in law

My lovely mother-in-law is a magician. She made unique, personalised hand-made cards.

She designs each individual card with the help of some computer software.

For each card, she spends lots of time designing, with fine details and a great sense of humour.

Each card is created with love.

Continue reading