A Present for Our Childhood

The God of Small Things is a magical book. Till the point I’ve read, I am extremely impressed by the vivid descriptions of little Estha and Rahel. Their thoughts and behaviors are simple and predictable that you can tell their age without any hint. I feel like the author put much efforts in inserting those details which make these two children alive in our head.

My favorite chapter is the one talking about their trip to the theater, besides the part which Estha got abused for sure. When I started reading these pages, I can’t stop laughing since I recall many interesting moments in my childhood. On page 91, it depicts the scene of Estha’s first solo peeing. Perhaps, because of we shared almost the same experience, I like Estha’s idea of stepping on something to pee into the higher one rather then the lower one. The author even talked about the habit of aiming the mothballs which were available in my primary school toilets. Another example is on page 95 where it’s said Rahel don’t have the weight to stabilize the fold chair. This was also something that happened to me long time ago. Just like what Rahel did, I’d choose to sit like a sandwich or use my arm to push the chair during the movie. There are tons of such funny moments scatter in the book. I deeply doubt about whether the author installed cameras at my home. Anyway, this is the book that I can say firmly is written in children’s view.

These little events are designed elaborately by the author to allow us recall those ancient memories, but not only that. It also shows us how pure the world is. How simple and beautiful the world can be through a child’s eyes comparing to the complex and messy we see. What’s the point of growing up and why we all become evil adults at the end are the questions this book bringing to me. All these small things consist of our memory. It might not be significant, but it may cause you feel a little bit amused and that may be the meaning of memory.

Orientalism and the Real Orient.

As I was reading the Orientalism article, I feel like I need to step out and say something as a Chinese as well as a transfer student. Personally, I never received any weird comment since I came here. However, I can say people here do have some prejudices or misunderstanding about the Asia. Although I don’t talk much, I record the world by my mind like an observer. One of my friend called Amy, she is also a student of OP. I remember she once asked me if she looked like Chinese because people around her all assumed she was a Chinese. I told her that, first of all, she doesn’t look like Chinese. What’s more, if I can’t tell, I will ask her nationality before making any conclusion as a respect to you. I am not saying that people here are rude, but most Western people actually regard the south Asia as a whole. In other words, people may not recognize that so many different countries lie in that place.

Shanghai highway in city

Another example is that different events no matter from big to small as long as it’s about China here are all kinda of lacking creativity. What does it mean by that? Most of the Chinese-Americans, American artists or Asian scholars prefer to perform the ancient part or traditional culture of China or other Asian countries, but what I want to say is that those old-fashion things can hardly attract me not to mention foreigners. I can understand those people them want to present the cultural charm of Asian, but too much same artworks just make people’s thoughts got locked. Like, if I say what you think of Chinese culture, you may come up with lanterns, dragons or dumplings. It’s fine if you really like those things. However, the reality is that we have not only lanterns, dragons or dumpling, we have share bikes that they are available in all the streets in cities in China which nicely solve the environmental problems; we have the best transportation system in the world that in Shanghai, it just looks like a sky maze which made of intricate highways; we have the widest spectrum of food that includes 8 main styles of cooking that each province got over hundreds of localized dishes and we change the menu along with seasons, weather, even your health condition; Our famous novel series is known as the fantasy of heroes with Kongfu’s adventure, and how many people know the deep love and hatred behind martials and the pageantry existing between the sky and the earth before they criticize Chinese literature.

The return of the condor heroes

Comedy Can Also Be a Profound Art Format

Long time ago, I used to think only great tragedy like King Lear can give reader not only the impact of story but also some meaningful message. These messages transmitted by the miserable ending of those characters always make us think about the society or humanity. We empathize with the story, feel the power from it and make some changes about ourselves or the things around us. However, as I have appreciated some famous art works all over the world recent few years, I gradually recognized the appeal of comedy.

One of them I watched last year called Operation Love . It is a famous Japanese TV series. The story mainly tells a young man who is attending his best friends’ marriage ceremony looks at the slide show of their past and regrets. He believes the bridegroom should be him, but he never has the courage to transmit his feeling to her. He finds Rei(heroin) always kept a sad countenance in the photos which makes him feel even regretful. At this moment, a fairy occurs and gives him the chance to travel back in time and fix those sadness. The plot itself is not so amazing since it is a very classic time lapse. However, as you keep watching, you will probably get fascinated by Ken’s character. He is hard-working but also clumsy. In order to find Rei’s favorite coffee milk, he spent all his afternoon searching in the city. He knows he is a ordinary person, but he doesn’t follow the rules and is willing to take risks to accomplish impossibility. He looks very optimistic, but he is actually anxious and timid. Even though he has tons of weakness, he shows me what is the true persistence looks like.

Ken uses the number of each Japanese character to calculate the success rate of his proposal

As I noticed his efforts, I received a huge amount of courage from him. I tried to express my feelings more straightforward just like him. There is a famous joke came from this show which called Japanese run because Ken is always running in the story. He failed again and again during his time lapse and blamed on the destiny, but he finally speaks out his true voice. Except for pursuing his own love, he helped others during his trip as well. He once encouraged his friend who feels very inferior because of his height to confess his love manfully. What’s more, since he came from the future, he knew that Rei’s grandpa would die soon at that time. So he persuaded Rei to visit her grandpa and tell him her gratitude personally. This behavior made Rei eliminate her biggest pity in the future. The humor of the character, the exciting music, the sincere friendship and the pure love all make the Operation Love a literal great work. I learn so much from Ken and his experience. If a show can make an individual grows and has a better understanding of the world, that’s enough to call it “meaningful. ”

On the train

Years before I read a very profound article on a magazine and it was called “on the train.” The story stated author’s experience on the train of a business trip. Since he came alone, he felt extremely boring about the trip, at last, he decided to make friends with the people on the train to kill the time. His eyes first fixed on a young man on the opposite side of his seat who seems shared a similar age with him. When he was thinking how to start the conversation, the young man opened his phone and started checking the social medias. Then, he looked around and recognized a beauty was sitting beside him. He recovered his energy and tried to speak as gentlemanlike as he could, but after his cordial introduction of himself, he didn’t receive any reply. Then, he saw a black string down her long hair. So she was enjoying the music and tried to separate herself from the carriage, he thought. However, he still didn’t give up, he stood up and walked towards an amiable old man who just like his father. To his surprise, as the old man saw him moving towards himself, he hid his handbag behind him and face his body to the window. This made the author felt very awkward and discouraged. He slightly shook his head and arrived at the back of the train. He lighted up a cigarette and sighed heavily. At the same moment, a little boy came, grasped his pants who can hardly speak but still bravely opened his mouth and asked:”Mr, are the big tall trees over there called oak tree?”

The story itself is very short and precise. It shows authors wish for communicating with people gets discouraged several times. His feeling grows from the initial excitement, to boredness that lets him want to talk to someone, to discouragement and finally to distress. The best part of the story is the insertion of a little boy who just learned how to speak at the end. The author used the radiant boy compare to those indifferent adults to emphasize the problems in nowadays society. That’s a satire towards not only the people on the train who refused to communicate with others but also the wry modern world. It should be a happy thing that the technologies become advanced, but it also become an obstacle between people. We choose to chat with those we familiar with online instead of encountering others in the reality. We watched the horrible news about robbery, theft, and killings on the television and assumed those back lucks also may happen on us. We scared and shook at home and separated ourselves from the whole world. The author used this specific article to tell us that all these behaviors are wrong. We should always be positive, keep a curiosity of the life like the little boy and discovery the beauties in the world. Even though we are scared about, we got hurt in this cruel world, we should never give up our hope like the author who keeps endeavoring and finally find the people that are willing to talk to him.

No matter how dark the world is becoming, the darkness should never get into our hearts.

Alone on the train

On Your New Journey


On Your New Journey was the 3rd album released by next gen girl band, Poppin’Party. Perhaps, you are confusing about next gen band, so did I when I just heard this. It is actually a program conducted by Japanese musician and anime lovers. They invite famous dubbers and animists to create stories about those who believe in music, overcome difficulties and eventually become a real idol. At the same time, dubbers of the main characters are asked to form a band under the same name in the stories in the reality. Although they are professional dubbers, no one know anything about music at first. As the story continuous, the dubbers started to get interested in music and they grow as the characters do. I was deeply attracted by such program(by the way, it called “Bang Dream” for anyone who is interested) or by such group of people who are chasing their dream and enjoying the life, the friendship.

anime character

Back to the theme, On Your New Journey was released just after the first season anime had come out. At that point, the program was new and in order to keep up the popularity, they wanted to hold live and practice hard for that. If you watch poppin’party’s ancient mini live, you must get shocked. Their singing were terrible, the instruments were fake, but still lots of fans supported them. Few years after the official anime came out, they had made huge progress. As a result, the main point of this song is to commemorate their efforts and encourage those who still working towards their dream. On You New Journey is the official translation of the song-Hashiri Hajimeta Bakari no Kimini. Honestly, I don’t feel this interpretation fit the original meaning most. In my own words, the title means “to those who just start to run. ” Comparing to On your new journey, it feels more poetic. Not simply starting my journey, I am dashing towards a trusted goal; this song is exactly what I need to keep me running.

On this endless road that continuous

I had decide on only one thing…

From the beginning of the song, it depicts a lonely person who is walking firmly on a long long way.

You can change the present

by changing the upcoming future

Although you’re trying to whisper the song,

you still haven’t made a step out.

Then, comes another character who is a idol that the singer wants to be. She blamed herself that lacks the courage to move forward, but finally,the encouraging words form the idol let her regain confidence and endeavor to stand abreast with her some day.

Running through each shinning season

A tear shed as I looked at you

I cannot reach you just yet

but please don’t stop the song of friendship

The climax of the song shows a strong will that doesn’t fear future and challenges. Even though you see me cry, see me topple on the road, as long as you company with me, I have infinite energy to keep running. When I listen to this song, there is always a lively and persistent figure running on a stretching road in front me. She has flashing tear drops on her face; she also feels the pain inside her knees; but I can see neither of those expressions under the afterglow. All I know is that she never ever stops.

Silent “human”

One day when I was reading the Beloved, I encountered an unfamiliar word. It was not a rare thing for me as a foreigner. I looked it up in the dictionary but couldn’t find a suitable meaning. Surely, it was not a unit, an adjective or something for horse inside Paul D’s mouth. Definitely, it can’t be such item. So, to prove my thoughts, I opened my browser and googled it. A iron mask with belts and necklace which fix the equipment on one’s head was all I saw. I was really confused about what the purpose of such a weird mask at first, however, I got astonished after went through all the passage under that picture.

The iron bit was something invented by cruel slaveholders to punish the slaves. Inserting the bit is considered abnormally painful and horrifying. Equipping the iron bit would let the user lose the ability of speech. What’s more, it also prohibited people to eat or drink even his or her own saliva since the inner part of the mask prevents the tongue from lifting. What’s more, the outspread hook attached to the necklace plus the heavy weight of the whole mask made it impossible for the victim to run, escape or rest. Generally, the iron bit is designed to torment slaves both physically and mentally.

According to Toni Morrison, she believed the bit has a deeper meaning that is silence. I fully agreed with her since the iron bit is not similar as other instruments of torture—it focus on mouth. The biggest difference to distinguish us human from animals I would say is language. Animals don’t have a whole system of language, they often use different voice for informing, threatening or giving other simple signals without detail. As a human we own colorful language. It is an advanced way of signaling because we include emotion, personality and those special beauty owned by each person. With language, knowledge can be spread out; with language we encourage those deep inside the abyss; with language, we become unique and inscribed by others forever.

The brutal punishment of depriving human’s basic right is definitely dehumanizing. One’s endless desire drives the appearance of such tragic object. Now people trace back to the dark history, but how we suppose to know those silent but deep deep scars under the heavy and thick iron piece.

“We are all migrants”

“We are all migrants through time.” This is my favorite sentence from Exit West. Like the literal meaning, we are always traveling during the whole lifetime. Sometime we leave our hometown reluctantly by wars, disease or political chaos that all make the society into a huge mess; sometime we step out our comfort zone to find challenges and opportunities; sometimes we don’t have a clear reason but just want to see the world. No matter which one fit us, or maybe none of them do, the environment surround us definitely changes, including encountering new people, blending in to the local culture and many other skills to learn for staring from zero. This process must be difficult or even painful.

I didn’t really understand those exhausted eyes on the trains moving outwards the city under the dusk, until it comes my turn to sit like their postures but on a different train and overseeing a different dusk. loneliness, stress and fears are keeping accumulating along the journey. Let’s try to be nice to the people who are new to our community. Being patient when a foreigner ask you the direction with an unfamiliar tone, or maybe giving the seats to those who carry huge sacks because ,one day, we will also feel powerless in a different city like a tree loses the connection to its root and is transplanted in a deserted plain. However, that’s how a new forest starts to form.

“We are all immigrants.” We are all brave explorers.

Happiness Occurs from Unconsciousness

Happiness occurs from unconsciousness, this was part of Camus’ argument in his work, The Myth of Sisyphus. He believed that Sisyphus only felt painful of the futile and hopeless labor when he realized his wretched condition(Page 19). This was an interested idea which I’d like to talk about.

Perhaps sometimes you may notice that there are different type of people around us all the time. However, some of them, you always see they’re at their best mood, how can that be possible. We are all human being and all suffering at some point. The difference is that they ignore the things which make them unhappy. The way we think about the same object or event can be totally from person to person. A negative way of thinking may cause to a bad mood and affect our life the following day or even longer than that. A positive one can look beyond and ignore the “unimportant” parts.

Yesterday, when I just went home, I opened the fridge and picked some shrimps for dinner. I washed them, and lay them out on a towel to unfroze them. As I was staring at the shrimp, suddenly I trembled a few seconds and wondered that why I gazed the “bodies”. Frozen shrimps basically are form of nice preserved body of shrimps. What would happen if we see frozen people’s bodies lay on the towel without head ?Would our saliva also comes out of the mouth ? That’s a good example which we ignore the undeniable facts in the reality. People create such illusion called food to help us have a better dinner experience, help us to forget the cruel human nature and help us to throw the great sympathy instantly like the one we giving to the human-friendly animals close to us. I can tell you I had a terrible meal last night.

All in all, like Camus mentioned in his passage, this myth was no longer tragic and the goal was no longer meaningless, if at every step the hope of succeeding uphold Sisyphus. Instead of thinking the heavy strong force in his hand pushing him down, he felt the supports from the steady warm earth boosting him to see the scenery at the summit. Was him happy during that journey of uphill? If we neglect all those stupid theories and ethics constitute the goodness for a little while during the holy period of feeding our belly, can we notice the sweetness covered by the pliable and juicy shrimp meat this time?

Some Thoughts about “The Cariboo Cafe”

The Cariboo Cafe was a profound story indeed. When I started to read this story, I could hardly comprehend since its fragmentary narrative. Then, I started to think about why the author arranged such “chaos” throughout the story. The answer I come up with was that Helena Viramontes, the author of this story, hoped us can dive into the unfriendly worlds that these “illegal” immigrants used to. By achieving this, author inserted different aspects towards each unique narrative. Like both stories of the lost Mexican children and a refugee woman were written into a first person version and a third person version. Most of the time, we judged others merely by their appearance just like the owner of the coffee shop. He said the refugee women was a weirdo. However, after we read the story later, we knew that she was a pitiful mother and her only wish was to stay with her son. We would never know these facts of someone unless we had a deep talk to him or her. I believe this was something Viramontes wanted to emphasize by such special arrangement. Nobody came to this country for no reason. Why don’t we sit down and listen to the people around us peacefully when they feel depress or powerless, or we can just make a cup of coffee for them. A coffee with soft and sweet scent.