December 30, 2014

"He Loves Me, Just Not In The way I Want To Be Loved!"

My high school friend married a man who abuses her often. Once that man (is he really a "man"?) even tossed her over the steps from second floor, just because the dinner was not made as he wished. And that's the second day my friend had abortion, for God's sake! Years ago during a conversation with this friend of mine, I somehow started my sentence as such: "Since he doesn't love you..." She immediately interrupted me: "he loves me!" I was surprised. I turned around, looked at her in the eyes and I saw fear. "He LOVES ME, just not in the way I wanted to be loved", she said those words with raised voice and reddened face, and continued staring at me for a length of time, as if saying: can't you understand?

December 29, 2014

Is Suicide Selfish?

My Suicide
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The logic reason that some people believe suicide is selfish is because they think survivors' grief is greater than the dead (suicide) ones' suffering. Truth is, if you never grieved enough to kill yourself, you never know how much those who took their own lives suffered, or how it feels like to suffer so much that even life is no longer bearable.

Is Suicide A Selfish Act?


English: Sunset at Porto Covo, west coast of P...
English: Sunset at Porto Covo, west coast of Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Compassion - caring for others' suffering - is the highest form of love.

December 28, 2014

The Sickness Of This World

A leading member of the Skagen artists
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The sickness of this world is like sickness of our bodies, won't go away just because we ignore its existence.

Freewill & Selfishness

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To believe that anyone can help themselves absolutely in any conditions, or in other words, that we all have "absolute freewill" - under which indifference becomes virtue, is nothing but selfishness in the guise of intellectual concept.

December 25, 2014

A Spoiler Ruins My Reading!

I'm reading Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. Quite enjoy it by far. Being a little confused about characters so I searched online and found a characters list for this book. But this list not only tells your who is who, also briefs what happen to them later in the book! Now I know what happens to the main characters (by just one sentence, caught me off guard!) and probably it is the most important story plot of this book. Terrible! But I will go ahead finish reading nonetheless.

Holiday Kindness And My Gratitude

English: Hot Pot. Magyar: Hot pot és az alapan...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been complaining about how much misunderstanding a chronic illness sufferer would receive in her/his daily life, which is true, but, still, there are plenty of understanding out there, to which I am not blind. The incidence of last night was one of them.

Yesterday (Christmas Eve) I was invited by a parent of my student to a Christmas dinner party. It was a joined family parties by at least 3 families, which I know them all. I thought I was in good condition so I happily agreed to come. So late afternoon, I went to bought some presents, and arrived their house a little after 5pm.

December 24, 2014

Gandhi's "Pacifist" View On War

English: Gandhi during the Salt March, March 1...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have never liked Gandhi, not only because I didn't like what I saw from photos, also some stories I read about his life convinced me that he was not the person people believe he was. And recently, one of George Orwell's essays again echoes my impression of this popular figure.

In George Orwell's essay Reflections On Gandhi, he mentioned that he never heard a (extreme) pacifist answering the question regarding to WWII:
"How about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting war?" Gandhi's answer to this question was that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which "would have arouse the world and people in Germany to Hitler's violence".

December 23, 2014

Sign Of Narrow Mindedness

Artist's impression of Twenty Major
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are many signs of narrow mindedness, adhering to first impressions (of persons or things) is certainly one of them.

December 14, 2014

Can Therapy "Fix" Homosexuality? - See What It Did To Highsmith

I have been off and on a bio of Highsmith: Beautiful Shadow - A Life Of Patricia Highsmith, by Andrew Wilson, in which there is an anecdote of Highsmith that I could not get over it:

During her late 20s, Highsmith was troubled by her sexuality and she sincerely wanted to fix it, because she wanted to marry a man who deeply loved her. So she underwent a therapy, believed it would eventually convert her to heterosexual. Since the therapy was extremely expensive, she had to take another job in a toy store to catch up with bills. It was in that store she met a female customer, who inspired her to write her second novel Price Of Salt (also published as Carol in later editions) - one of (or the only one) greatest romance books about lesbians relationship, or any love relationship!

December 13, 2014

Meet The Genius Highsmith On A Train!

I mentioned earlier in my blog that Edith Diary was my best pick among all Highsmith's books I had read, but now I found I was wrong, because after I finished Strangers On A Train, I had to put it on top of Edith Diary and The Talented Mr. Ripley. As matter of fact I was speechless! (As one of comments in Amazon put: "The only other experience I've had in life that was as ravaging as this book is sex.") I wish I read this book before I watched the movie, though the movie is significantly different from the book (except the first one third, which probably was the reason I did not continue reading the book last year. Also I must to say that the movie loses all profoundness of the book).

I would like to write a more comprehensive review on this masterpiece in future but right now, I need to vent out my owe!

December 6, 2014

"Carol In A Thousand Cities" --- More On "Price Of Salt"

Patricia Highsmith
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After being so thrilled by the ending of Price of Salt, I could not help to go back reading it again, mainly the beginning, where I thought it was slow and boring. Oh it must be I who was slow and bored, because this time I found it enchanting and necessary, so necessary that only after we read all those passages could we be prepared properly for the arrival of Carol - "an amalgamation of all qualities Highsmith admired in a woman" (Beautiful Shadow - A Life Of Patricia Highsmith, Andrew Wilson).

December 4, 2014

Price Of Salt - Forbidden Love

 I found Highsmith's work is like an attractive person in unattractive outfits, the more you know this person, the more you find his/her irresistible charm. Usually I had to keep reading her books until quite late to find that "impossible to put down" feeling, and Price of Salt is especially the case. The first 10% doesn't even seem relevant to the story. I actually read 5% last year and quit. This time I decided to just "have a taste", ignore her "unattractive outfit" (yes, I skipped over lots of details), then, I found something that not only need to be tasted, but to be chewed, swallowed and digested.

The story is about a 19 year-old girl Therese, who come from a complicated family, a "newbie" in adult life and romance, falls in love with Carol, a woman who is over 10 years her senior, who is experienced, sophisticated and goddess-like. The beginning of book is very slow, but story picks its pace when Carol enters the scene. How they know each other and starts dating, how they fall in love, and how their love develops is totally absorbing (I had to go through that pain and sweetness all over again!). And the ending - what an unexpected sublimation!

December 2, 2014

Experience In Misery, Misfortune, Etc.

Misery (novel)
Misery (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Experience or study in misery, misfortune, even perverted darkness of human psyche is not a necessity for our happiness, but a must for a good understanding of human nature. And without a good/comprehensive understanding of human nature, humanity would never progress.

"This Sweet Sickness" - This Sweet Pervertedness!

This Sweet Sickness
This Sweet Sickness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This Sweet Sickness is one of Patricia Highsmith's early books. The story is about a young intelligent scientist David Kelsey's obsession of a young woman, Annabelle. As Annabelle pushes him further and further, Kelsey's obsession gets more intense, until he finally traps in an inescapable corner of web woven by himself.

The first one third of book is very slow, I almost gave up, but I am glad I didn't, because the last one third is absolutely brilliant - as situation gets more pressing, Kelsey's hallucination gets more real, he becomes more confused about his true identity. This part of book reminds me The Talented Mr. Ripley, but only more emotionally thrilling (though overall I still like Rilpley more).

December 1, 2014

Talent Vs. Intelligence

Intelligence (journal)
Intelligence (journal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Seeing so many people so easily and openly admit their lack of talent, yet so uneasily and reluctantly judge their intelligence, it can only make sense to me to conclude that no matter how much people venerate talent, it is intelligence that really matters to them.

November 29, 2014


English: Bernardine Oblates make their Commitment
English: Bernardine Oblates make their Commitment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Commitment is refuge for the weak, prison for the strong.

November 27, 2014

Highsmith's Super-antihero - The Talented Mr Ripley

In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith created a serial killer who is extremely anti-social, yet intelligent and charming.

Tom Ripley is a young man who lives in New York with poverty. He is also deft con-artist. One day he is caught by Mr. Greenleaf, who ask him to go to Europe to persuade his son - Dick Greenleaf back to America. Mr Greenleaf offers a handsome amount of money, so Tom embarks on the mission.

In a small town called Mongibello in Italy, Tom finds Dickie Greenleaf, who lies happily with his girlfriend. As story goes on, Tom quickly becomes Dickie's friend, and the relationship between he and Dickie gets more and more complicated and obsessive. As a traumatized person, Tom envies Dickie almost in every aspect of his life, and what worse is, he is "abnormally" attracted to him. Unlike the movie version, his attraction to Dickie in original book is not so much sexual, but more platonic and intellectual (of course, Highsmith was not at all into romance, either straight or homosexual).

Saving Mr Banks - Conquering The Dark Past By Creativity

Again, I watched Saving Mr Banks by chasing Ruth Wilson's filmography, and was again satisfied. Not only I was impressed by Wilson's play, also I was surprised to see that another favorite actress of mine - Emma Thompson - was the leading actress of the film.

Saving Mr Bank is about the life of P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. The film focuses on the part of her life when she comes to America with hesitation to meet Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks), working with other Disney film workers to adapt her book into Disney film. Prior to this point, Walt Disney has been begged her to adapt her book for 20 years, and Travers, who detests Cartoon culture, does not agree until her own financial situation is in trouble. During the teamwork in Disney, the movie constantly flashes back to Travers earlier life, reveals the childhood trauma that Travers carries all her adult life.

November 25, 2014

"Edith's Diary" - The Murderous Mediocrity

Edith lives two lives: in her diary, she has a happy family, her husband is loving and her son is successful; in reality, she has a dysfunctional family, her son is alcoholic and her husband is cheating. As her diary turns page by page, her utopian life climbs up higher and higher, to almost perfection; as reality moves day by day, her factual life sinks lower and lower, until the boredom and heavyweight routine gradually erodes her tender heart, consumes her vital energy, take away her sanity and eventually crashes her life.

Among all Patricia Highsmith's novels I have read -the most famous ones would be The stranger on the train, Ripliad series, Edith Diary is undoubtedly the most thrilling. The character (Edith) she crafted is extremely convincing, the scenario she conceived is hauntingly thought-provoking.

November 23, 2014

"Small Island" - An Underrated Masterpiece

I had not cried for long time, but recently I cried twice, both due to Ruth Wilson's powerful performances, one of which was in Small Island (another one is in Saving Mr Banks).

Small Island is a BBC TV movie that consists of two episodes. It tells a story about lives of 4 people during and after WWII: Hortense and Gilbert, two young black people who come to England from Jamaica seeking for new life; Queenie and Bernard, two young English people who married each other but soon they marriage is disturbed by the war. Hortense and Gilbert have grand dream about their new life in England, but after they come to the country, they not only have to endure poverty, but also racial discrimination. Queenie and Bernard also have to endure hardships brought by the war, but their different dreams and life attitudes seem to tear them apart even further.

November 19, 2014

"The Affair" - A Powerful Affair

Romance bores me, but affair doesn't... The Showtime TV drama series The Affair, is a story about a serious affair - both lovers - Noah and Alison - are married, with their respectively royal (at least so far) husband and wife, yet they fall in love with each other at the first sight, and get more and more passionate and comfortable about each other. There are quite many sexual scenes, played by both actors intensely and realistically, make their secret passion dangerously contagious. I can imagine that it must be disturbing for audiences with conventional minds.

Again, romance is not my type, but I am addicted into this show nonetheless because there is so much more than just "affair". There is humanity in their affair, which draws audiences sympathy "ruthlessly" to the characters, despite our moral principle; there are background stories with "secrets" from each side's family, being unraveled slowly, but intriguingly through each episode; there is suspense - a murder is going on, which we knew from the first episode, but still know so little about it after 6 episodes. So we keep guessing.

November 17, 2014

Forgiveness And Peace

English: White tulips
English: White tulips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do we find peace because we forgive, or we forgive because we find peace?

November 12, 2014


The world might reach its final "peace" if there are only two types people reside in it: one that slap others faces, and one that not only grant being slapped, but also turn the other side to whoever slap them.

November 4, 2014

From Unknown Illnesses To The Limits Of Reason

Hippocrates: a conventionalized image in a Rom...
Hippocrates: a conventionalized image in a Roman "portrait" bust (19th century engraving) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My mother died in 2010 and I was too ill to go back. When my relatives asked me what kind of illness I had, I had to use bunches of words to describe my condition, because there was no term for my my problem. I did not convince them, so judgment came along.

I consider myself a quite convincing person, but why didn't I convince them on this "simple" matter? Years later I found the reason was simple: I did not have a name for my illness. Had I just thrown them a term like "myalgic encephalomyelitis", I could easily shut all of them up. But sadly that's not what I got. What I've got had no name - at least according to  modern medicine, which most people worship, so my explanation became excuse.

November 3, 2014

Religious Attitude

The Rivers of Belief
The Rivers of Belief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Religious attitude is nothing more than holding our beliefs - personal or collective, sound or unsound, such as God, free will, humanism, even kindness - as a general truth. That is to say, we are religious as long as we let our beliefs govern our reasoning.

October 2, 2014


English: Diagram of Myopia in the human eye
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Shortsightedness, other than its clinical definition, can be understood as the lack of ability to look at reality from an angle that is beyond (or wider than) personal experience and current moment. People with shortsightedness, more or less, would fail to see hope when in negative situations, or, take things for granted when in positive situations.

Imagination , Intelligence, Reason, Etc.

English: Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisc...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Imagination is an ability to see invisible or nonexistent things;
Intelligence is an ability to understand existing things;
Reason is an ability to make sense out of existing things;
Intuition is an ability to see unseen things without process of basic (5) senses and reason.

September 29, 2014

To Live Or To Understand Life

Life (BBC TV series)
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's one thing to live life, another to understand life. The former requires subjective belief, the latter requires an objective (honest) mind.

September 9, 2014

My Life In Savannah (Part 4)

4. The Beautiful South 

Looking back, I found that the days I spent down River Street was extremely precious, because the passion I witnessed there was not something I could see in my everyday life. Whenever I recall my life in Savannah, what jump into my mind first are not always beautiful gardens or houses, eloquent professors or kind classmates, but also the heartfelt laughter down River Street,the beautiful bar waitress who brought me free beer on the hot night, or the handsome young man who sitting beside me playing guitar, even the drunk homeless man who crashed my chair, while a couple of “coarse” southern women wrestling together in the middle of the street…

Many friends of mine back then were not so fond of Savannah, or “deep south” like I was. They looked down on its monotone culture and sluggish economy. They said the reason that I liked Savannah this much was because I had not yet seen other cities in the country, had not visited those multicultural places. However, after all these years, after being lived from place to place, Savannah remains as my favorite.

September 8, 2014

My Life In Savannah (Part 3)

3. Street Passion 

Life as a “street artist” wasn’t easy. There were good and bad days, occasionally I could go home with nothing. The working condition was rough. Beside the uncomfortableness like heat or coldness, humidity or mosquitoes, the most troubling condition was weather. Georgia’s weather was so “capricious” that sometime it would rain instantly in the middle of my portrait process. At this moment I usually moved into stores, whose employees were kind enough to let me staying there for a little while, until I finished my works.

Savannah's River Street is a popular destinati...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But all these hard time could not beat good time. How can I forget all those beautiful faces I drew, the joyful eyes that looked back into mine, or the broad smiles that messed up my drawing process but lightened up my heart? Once after I finished drawing a lady and her newborn baby, the lady gave me double amount of money and asked no change back.

September 6, 2014

My Life In Savannah (Part 2)

2. River Street 

The first (illegal) job I got in America was working in restaurant: washing dishes on Sunday, from 11am - 6pm, paid total $48. It was on the fourth day after I came to this country, when I had not yet settled down myself. Since then, my daily life was mostly from classrooms to restaurants, and back to my cheap apartment at late night. I was impressed by the beauty of the city, but could only enjoy it during some brief moments like when biking to school, or taking bus to restaurants. Most of time, my focus was on one thing alone: survive.

Hanging out with "rich friends".
Jacksonville, FL. 1996.
Working in restaurants didn’t help me to “survive”. SCAD is an expensive private art school. The first quarter’s tuition pretty much took most of (borrowed) money I brought with me from China. So I had to work very hard every day. However, despite of situation, mentally I was quite relaxing. I hanged out with rich students (most students in this school are from rich families), went to beach couple of times, occasionally went to parties, had lots of fun. One day in library, a guy from China told me he decided to quit school, “advised” to me that I should do the same: “I can’t believe you go out with those Taiwanese or Japanese… their one meal would cost your whole day hard work in restaurant!”

September 4, 2014

My Life In Savannah (Part 1)

My Life In Savannah 

(Savannah, Ga was the first stop of my American adventure. Though my life there was extremely challenging, the beauty of the town and my rich life experience made it an unforgettable chapter of my life.)

1. Savannah, GA 

English: The view looking southeast from atop ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In my memory Savannah was always hot and humid. Maybe that's why those giant oaks threw their dense shadows all over the town, cooled down the brutal summer heat. Streets were laid out neatly, on each sides stood elegant old style buildings and houses, which was why Savannah drew tourists. At intersections of streets there were garden-like squares, in which you would see people walking leisurely, or sitting on the benches chatting friendly, while feeding pigeons or squirrels. Everyday, colorful tour buses drove by with the speed of snails, some time even stopped for a while, let passionate tour guides to finish their fascinating stories. Old style coaches moved by now and then, also slowly, but those handsome horses would keep their paces brisk. The showy coach drivers in colonial costume occasionally took off hats, gently greeted to people with smiles. The crisp sound of horse hooves sometime could be heard from blocks away, made the town even quieter than it was.

Yes, quiet and slow. It was south. Nobody was rushing to nowhere.

Outside of downtown was Nature's territory. Driving towards east to Tybee Island, the endless vista stretched all the way to horizon. Swamps scattered here and there, water glittered under the Sun, vaporized in the heat. Sometime, the vapor could be so dense that it became a transparent milk-white sheet, floating ghostly a few feet above grass, giving a mysterious touch to this otherwise a bit empty view. But most of time, the vapor would carry damp heat and penetrated through every inch of air, created that typical sticky humidity of deep South. At Sunset time, the intense color reflected in swamps, turned the whole view into a crimson landscape oil painting. Every time, when this “painting” appeared in my mind, I always heard that familiar song by Ray Charles: “Georgia On My Mind”: 

Georgia, Georgia 
The whole day through 
Just an old sweet song 
Keep Georgia on my mind … 

Savannah is a small city located on the east side of Georgia, about 15 miles away from Atlantic Ocean. It is small, only about 2.5 square mile in downtown area, but it’s old, famous for its rich history.

In 1733, authorized by British government, James Oglethorpe led 114 men, women and children, after months journey across Atlantic ocean, landed in Savannah. Together with local Indians they built the city. Oglethorpe designed the city by himself, made it the first “planned city” in United States.

Savannah was both the first city and the first capital of Georgia. Most buildings were made in 18th and 19th century, and they luckily survived through all these centuries, especially Civil War, during which majority of southern cities were destroyed. In 1864 just before Christmas, after ransacking Atlanta, Union General William Sherman and his army occupied Savannah. Deeply impressed by the beauty of the city, the general decided to keep the city unharmed, and gave it to president Lincoln as “Christmas gift”.

Walking around downtown area, one can hardly not impressed by all those elegant architectures, from Italian or Victoria style houses, to Greek or Roman style buildings and churches. Among all of them, the most outstanding masterpieces I can remember would be the Telfair Museum (Regency style), Cathedral of St. John (Gothic Style), Forthyth park (French style). Of course, the 23 squares scattered in downtown are also inseparable part of this harmonical design.

Savannah was once left behind, almost forgotten. As someone described it as “a beautiful woman with dirty face”. Fortunately, in 50s of last century, several rich and far-sighted women founded “Historic Savannah Foundation”, so Savannah was finally back on its way to revive. Started from 70s of last century, Savannah not only began to draw tourists, also became an ideal place for filming. The well known movies made in Savannah include “Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil”, “Force Of Nature”, etc. and the most famous probably would be “Forrest Gump”, which begins with a piece of further drifting above the downtown Savannah.

Savannah College Of Art And Design (SCAD), the school I once went to, is located in the downtown Savannah. Instead of building school in an empty area, this school purchased existing buildings of city, one after another, so the project of constructing the school became project of preserving the city. This process ended up that the whole downtown area is SCAD’s campus.

SCAD was found in late 70s, so it’s development was perfectly synchronized with Savannah’s tourist industry. I still remember vividly when I worked as a greeter in SCAD, there were always tourists asking me: “Where is that bench Forrest Gump sits in the movie?” “Where is the bus stop that Forrest Gump waits for bus?”

However, even though I lived Savannah for almost 4 years, I had not learned her rich history until years after I left her. Throwing myself into a New World without much “preparation”, my life in Savannah was extremely challenging. Yet I survived. Not only that, when looking back, I found my life there was the most unforgettable chapter of my “American adventure”.

(To be continued)

part 2

August 26, 2014

Love Of Life vs. Fear Of Death

Ocean Park sunset 2
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Those who truly love life do not fear death, because their love of life is based on appreciation, not possession (of life).

August 12, 2014

A Giant Step Forward In Regard To Not Take People's Cr*p!

A parent of my students (she has two kids in my class) came last Saturday 20 minutes earlier than class time (2pm). She knew perfectly I needed rest because I "accidentally" met her in restaurant around 12noon and I told her I had to rush back to rest so I could have enough energy to have my afternoon class. Not only that, I have a note on my front door, saying "Do not disturb between 1pm - 3pm unless class time". Nonetheless, she brought her kids came right after their lunch and knocked my door. And after I let them in, she said: "we are earlier." Not even a "sorry".

I was not used to make people embarrassed so I said that's OK. I quickly let kids playing with some craft sticks and told her that I must go back to upstairs to rest until class start. She said Ok. So I went upstairs and lied down in bed until a few minutes before 2pm.

August 7, 2014

Following Rules

Cover of "Rules (Newbery Honor Book)"
Cover of Rules (Newbery Honor Book)
It's always easier to follow the rules made by others (majority, power classes, traditions, social systems, etc.), than to have rules inside one's own heart, and to follow them even when they contradict rules made by others.

Does Everyone Deserve Respect?

All About Evil
All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I always believe all humans are equal, believe that everyone deserves respect, but sometime I found, only when I accept the fact that someone are indeed selfish, vile motivated, don't deserve respect, I can then get my inner peace.

August 6, 2014

For The Love Of Game

Playing go, from The game of go, the national ...
Playing go, from The game of go, the national game of Japan book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My passion to "Go" (Wei Qi 围棋in Chinese) revived recently. For over three weeks, I've been play this game whenever I had time, whenever my physical condition permitted. Some time I played all day long. I even wonder, if my brain is strong enough, I wouldn't mind to be a professional go player.

Fact is, my brain is not as strong. Playing too much Go gives me headache. So I have to rest. I hope it is just due to the fact that my current physical condition restricts me from using my brain too much (reading also brings me headache).

August 5, 2014

Who Killed Marilyn Monroe?

Marilyn Monroe
Cover of Marilyn Monroe
I know Marilyn Monroe was sexy star and died at young age, and that's pretty much all I know about her. I never bother to know anything more about this legendary figure simply because she was not the type of person I would be interested. So do I really care how did she die? No. But still, this morning when I browsed through a news forum, one article that compares Monroe and Audrey Hepburn drew my attention. It says, that all residents of this planet know that Monroe was murdered by Kennedy brothers except news medias.

So I must lived somewhere else than Earth until this moment!

As matter of fact, I am not interested in Kennedy brothers either. But why I bothered to read through, because of my natural interest in "murder mystery". I would not put myself in labor of writing those details of the "conspiracy", but only want to say, that I have a "natural" tendency to believe in "rumors" about "high profile" figures - especially politicians, than news medias. Just like I believe those nasty stories I read about Mahatma Gandhi was true, so I would like to believe that Monroe was murdered by Kennedy brothers. Not big deal to me, really.

Again, I am interested neither Monroe nor Kennedy brothers, so writing this post probably only shows how bored I am (but I guess by doing so I can at least be qualified to be a "resident of this planet"). I would probably still go ahead to read more details about this case, only because I am a mystery reader, and this is still a unsolved mystery.

At last, even though I said I didn't care, I would still say, poor Marilyn!

July 25, 2014

Lush Green, Crape Myrtle, Fleas, etc. - My Midsummer Capriccio

IMG_8108 Crape Myrtle in Full Bloom
IMG_8108 Crape Myrtle in Full Bloom (Photo credit: carlfbagge)
Since I learned words "lush green" (from my dear blogger friend Madilyn - aka "jerseylil's 2 cents") early this year, these two words jumped in my mind wherever I went, simply because that's all I saw during the season. Trees in NC are so dense that I once complained they blocked my view. Now, I learned to love them. They did not block my view, they are the view! Had I lived somewhere with wide open vista, I may lose the sight of all these beautiful plants. As I drive around everyday, I enjoy watching all the dense woods and I realized that I should only appreciate them because in somewhere people have to pay to just see them. I can't be too greedy!

North Carolina is a natural huge plantation. Here I see the most trees in my life. Not only "green", other colors joined landscape as well since spring. Pink, purple, red, white, all different kinds, show up here and there, made the view even "lusher". Among all these colorful plants, I found crape myrtle the most showy. They have all qualities of different plants: trees and flowers, deciduous or evergreen. You would mistake them as small bushes when they are young, but some of them in fact grow into 30 feet high. They are as elegant as roses or rhododendrons, as upright as maples or pines. I absolutely fall in love with them and very pleased to see we have many of them in the area. I even decide to plant several of them around my house.

Oh I love plants. So much more than I love animals. As matter of fact, I am not sure if I love animals - include humans - any more. Let's face it, what plants contribute to the earth? Oxygen, beautiful views, nutrition, cure remedy, you name it, all good thing, right? What do they take for survive? Water, light and air, which is almost nothing! For what I know plants make their own "foods" out of air and light. What animals take? Other lives. And what do they do to the world? Jeopardize each others life! Life of humans and animals is completely rely upon other lives, both animals and plants. We humans could not live independently like plants. We have to kill other lives in order to survive our own.

I have to wonder, if there were a designer, is this (living by killing each others) really a good design?

A few days ago while I was driving, I suddenly wondered, if I look at earth from sky, and imagine the earth as a cute little pet, such as a dog, plants - trees or flowers - must be the dog's hairs, beautiful and soft, nice to be touched, yet they protect the dog from harsh environment. Then what are we humans like? Fleas. Yes, we, together with all other kinds of animals, are fleas, or parasites, live on the body of this beautiful dog, bring her/him only trouble, while he/she doesn't need us at all.

I understand I am being cynic again. I better give more credit to humans or animals, since their (our) being here is not their choice. I have made decision, in my next life if I cannot choose to be an eagle - which is a selfish choice, as I just mentioned animals' lives depend on other life forms, I would be a tree, absorb light and air, quietly be part of this selfless and unconscious beauty of the Earth.

Right now it's middle of Summer. Humidity has been giving me trouble, but the beautiful view makes it worth it. And while I enjoy this lush view, I patiently wait for the autumn, another highlight of the year.

Do I Deserve Help? My Pride And My disappointment

The Help
The Help (Photo credit: __MaRiNa__)
During my relapse I am extremely debilitated so I often need help. But, I am living alone, also I happened to be a person who never learned how to ask help. What's worse, I am a person who doesn't look like need help. My relatively strong body build, my absolutely decisive countenance, my firm stride as long as my health permit me to be vertical, all these qualities make girls want to depend on me, guys want to leave me alone. This, also is why I better live alone during my chronic condition.

I have been in major relapse since June, and just started recovering since recent several days. This morning I feel almost perfect so I wanted to move several gardening stones (small size like football!) back to my backyard. Trust me, this is far less than a piece of cake for anyone in normal health condition, but for me, it is a serious task, so serious that I planned to do but have not touched it for days due to the fact that it might trigger another crash, which also could cause the cancellation of my weekend classes, on which my current income depends. Anyhow this morning I felt I could do it, at least I could do part of it. I also had my strategy, first to put several stones in my small dolly and push them to backyard. Plus, the fresh morning air was tempting, so I put myself in action.

Right after I put about 5 stones into my dolly, I realized that I once again overestimated my strength. Half way to my backyard there is a small slope, and I realized that if I "pushed" myself to pull the dolly up, I might have big trouble following up, and my weekend classes will be again jeopardized . So I decided to stop right there no matter what. But my dolly was right in the middle of lawn, between my house and my neighbor's. Just as I was wondering what to do, I saw a guy was knocking my neighbor's door, so I asked him if he could help me because I had heart problem. Since I was already breathless, my voice was extremely weak. He looked at me and said: I too have heart problem. And he lifted his shirt to show the scar on his front chest. So I immediately said never mind.

What happened the rest was that I struggled to move the stones one by one to my "territory", which is only a couple yards away from the dolly, then I took the dolly back to my backyard, and after that I immediately went back and lied down for a little while, let my heart back to normal function. So far, I don't feel big trouble but, I already could not cook lunch as I planned. I decide to boil some dumplings instead, because it costs almost no energy at all.

Thing is, I believe that guy could help me. Though he does have scar on his chest, but from his attitude, his loud voice, his brisk stride, I can hardly believe that he could not handle what I asked. Why didn't he offer me help? I don't know exactly, but based on my past experience, I have reason to believe it was because I did not convince him that I needed help. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I happen to have a relatively big build, don't look fragile, so I generally give people an impression that I am a strong person. During my past years, I just cannot count how many times I had to handle things I was actually not able to handle, and caused my crashes sometime relapse for days or weeks, and these disasters could be avoided only if people knew how serious my health trouble was so they could give me a hand. But I am very proud person, I would rather die than having people pity me, or misjudge me. Thinking that people would take my weakness and my asking for help as "mentally weak" would simple kill me. Truth is, this character of mine certainly contribute its huge share on worsening my health problems.

Of course, lessons after lessons, I have learned that I need to take it easy on how people think of me. It doesn't matter. I also should learn to be responsible to my body, my health. It's the only thing my life rely on. If I need help, I should just ask. As one of my blogger friends said, asking help is being responsible to yourself.

On the other hand, I can't help but feel so disappointed about some of our fellow human beings. The selfishness, the distrusting each other, and many more negative aspects of human nature, just darken my view on life. And sometime, I just can't help but think, that this earth is not for me, simply because I am too good to be here.

Call me cynic!

June 30, 2014

"Dam Street" - A Chinese Version Of Oedipus Legend

Cover of "Dam Street"
Cover of Dam Street
Yesterday my friend Marty (aka "nothingprofound") recommend me a Chinese movie Dam Street (红颜,literally translation: Rouge Face). He claimed that it was very different from other Chinese movies he had watched. I could not wait, found a streaming video online and watched it right away. After watching it I asked Marty what's the difference. He said that this movie "seemed to be more personal and universal at the same time". I feel exactly the same way.

As a Chinese American who lived in China for the first 30 years of my life, I feel the same way as my American friend who never lived in China, interesting, isn't it? I cannot speak for other Chinese people, but for me, this is the only Chinese movie I have ever seen that I would describe as "honest". From the beginning to the end, there's nothing pretentious, nothing were hidden or added for any different purposes from the needs of story line.

The story takes place in my hometown Sichuan province, the main character of this movie is about the same age as me, almost the same name as well (except Yun is not my legal name), so both geographic and cultural background are all familiar to me personally. Further more, the movie was shot in Sichuan dialect (or Sichuanese), which made it sounds more genuine to me than those made in Mandarins (maybe this is personal judgment, that I always feel the mandarin has "phoniest" accent among all Chinese dialects). The geographic environment is in some small town in Sichuan province, shabby and dirty. To my "horror", first time I saw "traditional" Chinese public restroom on screen (even just one shot, the "horror" cannot be missed). The brutal scene of killing of eels for meal brought me back to those days of my early life. The genuine touch on sexual life is refreshing, especially the boy's sexual fantasy, which was, and still is a "taboo" in Chinese culture.

Of course, all these details are not as important as the story itself. It is about a teenager girl who gets pregnant when she is 16, and since then her fate is somehow "defined", not by herself, but by unseen fate. The story reminds me classic legend of Oedipus, the one from ancient Greece. How interesting it is, that we humans with such different cultures always embark the same voyage in this giant ocean of human life, from time to time, places to places.

This movie premiere was in Venice, won several awards which were not so recognizable. Not sure it's ever screened in China (I talked to my nephew in China and he said he never heard of it). Of course, this is not a surprising treat for a movie without famous actors and actresses, or famous director. However, I am profoundly moved by this movie, and I hope it continues striving for recognition. I also hope the director Li Yu will continue making movies like this, provide the world more truthful images of "modern" China.

June 20, 2014

Strength vs. Challenge - My Relative View On "Attitude"

Spartacus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We often get idea about how strong or how weak a person is by looking at how much he/she can do, or cannot do. Is it really that simple? Is it true that a person who can lift 200 pounds stone is stronger than the one who has trouble even to hold a cup of water? Maybe, or maybe not.

I love watching tennis tournaments, because it provides me opportunities to study personalities. I found, that no matter how good a player is, when he/she faces a better opponent, he/she would not appear as good as he/she usually does. A top ranked player usually have the toughest personality and most diversified techniques. They hit balls hard, move fast, and mostly, they always take control of games. Watching them playing, you would feel they are absolutely invincible. However, when they faced some opponents who were better than them, the whole scenario would be changed: they would  appear to be sluggish, tame, even tactless. Did we misjudge them before? Maybe. But my answer is, the challenge changed, so our' impression changed along.

We humans like to believe that we are strong, especially when we refer to our mental strength. Nowadays, "positive attitude" is in everybody's daily dictionaries, being stretched to an extent that anything as long as we believe, we can do it. Based on this "positive" view, logically, those who "failed" to do things were considered as "negative", because they must have not tried their best. Of course, things may not be as extreme as I think, but more or less, this is a "fashion" I noticed. Personally, I found it's just a new type of "wishful thinking".

Relative perspective is what I prefer to use whenever I try to get right idea about reality. I believe life success (whatever your definition is) is not based on a single condition, but a combination of our born strength and our real life challenges. i.e., the reasons that some of us succeed could be due to the fact that they were born strong, or, their life challenges weren't as great, or both; and the reasons some others did not succeed could be due to the fact they were born with less advantages, or their life challenges were too great for them to overcome.

My own life experience can be an example of this "hypothesis". Before I entered middle age, most people I knew viewed me as an extremely positive person (that's how I view myself as well), achieved some "missions impossible" (such as my first several years experience in the "New World"), but since I got into health trouble, I found I was viewed quite differently, mostly because I spoke more "no I can't" than "yes I can". Have I really changed? I would say no, but my challenge changed, so just like tennis games, accordingly, my "appearance" and my "audiences" impressions changed.

I also noticed the difference between people's reactions to me during my "bad times" and "good times". During my bad time, people's reaction told me that I gave them a “negative” impression, during my good time a "positive" one. Since I knew inside me I was a same person, I realized that how our impressions can give us wrong ideas.

Our living conditions vary significantly, some favor our life and some don't, some elevated us, some would destroy us. So the challenges we meet can be very different. Because of this reason, people with approximately same abilities would hardly end up to the same place. I also don't believe that we all are born with equal ability in regard to cope with living situations. And because of this reason, when facing same challenge, different persons could end up with different outcomes - some would fail, some would win.

I doubt that "yes we can" can be as simple as a choice, I rather think it's an outcome of confidence. Further more, I also doubt that confidence can be a choice, rather, I like to believe it's a result of long term progressive experience. If a person failed and failed again, it is unlikely he/she would say "yes I can" soundly. I tend to believe, that how much we can do, how confident we can be, even who we really are, all depend on not just our desire, but also many other factors, among which our born nature and life challenges are the most crucial.

I understand that being confident and positive can be extremely helpful when we facing challenges, but I also believe, there's a fundamental difference between "positive attitude" and "self delusion". Sometime, being realistic can help us to have a better understanding about situation, thus we could have a more effective strategy to cope with problems.

There are all kinds of challenge in life, hard to say which is harder, and all depend on persons. However I have reason to believe, for most (probably all) people, those challenges that directly threaten to our life existence can be the most challenging. This why I consider my past several years health problem the biggest challenge in my life. I also realized, that the reason that most chronic illness patients endure a stigma of being "negative", is simply because that most people measure "strength" (or "toughness") by what they can see, not by "challenges" that we cannot see. For this reason, I have the most profound admiration to those who suffer unknown chronic illnesses for years, some of them for decades. Even though many of them would have tremendous difficulty to lift their arms, they are true heroes by all measures.

By conclusion, I think we can judge people's achievement by how much they actually achieved, but we cannot judge their inner strength by the same measure. Some people may appear to be weak, but that appearance doesn't necessarily speak for truth. Challenges are always out there, some we can see, some we cannot, and some we can never imagine, because each of our experience is highly limited. There is no one single absolute measure for our body and soul. The true value of our life, lies in our complicated interaction with this multidimensional world.

June 18, 2014

Honest Mind

Close up of The Thinker
Close up of The Thinker (Photo credit: Brian ⚓ Hillegas)
An honest mind would never let belief distort its observation, no matter how ugly the truth is.

Institutional Child Abuse In China

I always think, that child abuse is the number 1 problem in China. But, no matter how serious I think it is, the facts never failed to stun me. Based on recently news, there are some new type of "schools" in China, which I never heard of before, called "correctional schools" or "correctional camps", where kids are sent there for the purpose of correcting their bad behaviors, such as obsession with online, etc. Not sure if the concept was actually adopted from elsewhere. During training period, parents were usually forbidden to contact with schools (more ridiculously, many parents granted this rules). The consequence is, children were serious abused (mental and physical) and some of them died.

One girl in this news died by corporal punishment, with was common in this "school" (Zhengzou New Concept Combating school, 郑州新观念搏强学校), called "back crashing" (后倒): several "teachers" held kids' limbs who were face up, and hit ground repeatedly. Sorry, I don't feel like continuing for the details. I guess you all get idea what's the consequence.

Yet, still majority of Chinese people do not think this is a problem. Something seriously wrong with that nation. Call me paranoid!

June 17, 2014


Holding, pushing
Holding, pushing (Photo credit: madamepsychosis)
Maybe, isolation really is one of the worst culprits for human mental illness - an isolated person would likely have an unhealthy personality, and an isolated society would likely develop a sick cultural tradition.

June 14, 2014

To Be Yourself

English: Three quarter length portrait of Osca...
English: Three quarter length portrait of Oscar Wilde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What does it mean "to be yourself"? Coming from a collectivist culture (Chinese), I found in many cases it meant to break connections with others, if you happened to be different from majority. Even here in US I still can see that there is a strong tendency of conformity, which makes many people fear to be themselves.

I am a person who is very different in many aspects from majority of population, not necessarily "by choice". I knew this since I was very young. I have feared, also tried very hard to blend in, until I felt there was no room left for myself. Frankly speaking, I am quite tired of trying to be "one of many", so I decided it's time for me to relax, just to be myself.

Why it is so hard to break up with the "others"? The answer can be very complicated but, to simple put, I think it is because by nature we are still social animals, so without spiritual and material support from others, the loneliness is just unbearable to most of us. So based on this understanding, there is an exception, that is, if you are strong enough to be alone, to live alone, not to be afraid of rejection from the others, there will be no reasons not to be yourself.

So it's matter of how strong you are, in terms of how independent you can be. Those who sacrificed their lives just because of their being different, such as Oscar Wilde, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and so many many more, were truly strong souls. Today, we are on the threshold of humanism, of individualism, being different is not at all a crime, so there are less and less reasons for us not to be ourselves. However, for those who do not have enough courage to break the connection with other, there is nothing to be ashamed of to admit their weakness, as we all humans, and we all have our own weakness; for those who are naturally "one of many", I think it's time for them to understand that those who are different are still just as normal as they are; for those who feel "superior" just because of they are "one of many", i think they better not to consider themselves "superior", nor "normal", but vulgar.

June 13, 2014


Happiness (Photo credit: -Reji)
Happiness derived from ignoring others' suffering is false happiness, because it is based on personal luck so it can be transcient; happiness derived from passion or compassion is true happiness because it embraces all life brought to us, joy or sorrow, so it lasts as long as we live.