Image

20130214-190340.jpg

Advertisements

Zong Zi

Zong Zi is a traditional Chinese food. Westerners know it as rice dumpling, which is made of glutinous rice with different stuffings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The most famous type in mainland China, Jiaxing Zong Zi, gets its name after an east coastal city. The filling is typically pork, but also can be Mung beans, red beans or salted duck eggs.

A picture of Zong Zi from meishi.com

Zong Zi is a must-eat food on the Dragon Boat Festival, a statutory and traditional holiday in every middle May or early June. The festival is to honor an ancient patriotic poet called Qu Yuan, and Zong Zi has a touching story relating to patriotism.

Qu Yuan was originally an outstanding minister of the Chu Kingdom. Because of his advocacy of a foreign policy, as well as the slander from other jealous officials, he lost favor from the king, and became exiled. The exile was years of depression for Yuan, but  during that period, he created a greatest type of poetry in which he expressed strong love for his motherland. Later on, with the expansion of Qin Kingdom, his country died out. After learning the bad news, Yuan ended up drowning himself in the Miluo River. In order to keep fish and evil spirits away from eating his body, people beat drums, and threw Zong Zi into the river to distract the fish. From then on, eating Zong Zi and sailing the dragon boat became a tradition in honor of Yuan’s death.

Nowadays, the ancient Chinese tradition has faced modernization challenge. Back in 2004, the Republic of Korea applied for making the Dragon Boat Festival its own world cultural heritage. The news soon sparked great disputes between the two nations. The Chinese started to realize the young generation’s neglect of tradition. Thus, the Chinese government rearranged the legal holidays and the activity system. However, it still takes huge endeavor to grab people’s attention back to the protection of ancient tradition.

 

Full accessibility tells outstanding stories

Once digging, everyone has a story. Good journalists never give up finding a better central character in their stories. However, to me, I feel the biggest challenge is not finding an idea, not shooting visuals, not writing scripts, but getting access to the strongest character.

Recently I watched a Pulitzer story entitled “Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides.” This masterpiece features the young girls who are forced into marriage. They are vulnerable and helpless. They suffer from abuse, but they have to endure. The photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, spent over eight years in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia, and got extremely compelling photos to tell this unique story to the world.

For fantastic stories like this, the biggest challenge is access to certain sources. The topic is so sensitive, and the local conservative culture makes it even harder. As journalists, we need to approach them as a friend. We need patience, and make ourselves trustable. We want to have audiences see their struggles, and hear their voices, which is a basic function of journalism.

NEVER GIVE UP COMMUNICATING. People may be afraid to expose their own life to the public, or they may be afraid that others would talk about them. In these cases, journalists sometimes act the same role as negotiators, because we persuade people to participate in our stories. We need to make people understand how important they are in order to tell a better story and get better visuals. It’s a profession that most people don’t understand, so we need to communicate and explain.

KNOW THE SUBJECTS. Another important thing to get full accessibility is to know the subjects. Their rejection always goes with invisible difficulties or controversies behind that. We need to understand them, and find a best approach that benefit both sides. This is why journalism sometimes is all about problem solving. Once you get full accessibility, the story will definitely go deeper and deeper.

Dim Sum

Dim Sum represents a healthy eating style in Chinese culture. Traditionally, Dim Sum is served with tea, which quite resembles the combination of coffee and dessert in the British tradition. In America, I think Dim Sum is one of the few foods that still maintain typical Chinese taste and style, because too many foods are Americanized to accommodate the local taste.

This is a combination of various dishes of Dim Sum. Also as a contrast between the Dim Sum dining culture and the coffee and dessert tradition.

Pretty interesting, Dim Sum literally means “TOUCH YOUR HEART.” It consists a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes and other goodies. The function of TEA in this eating tradition is to help digestion and cleanse the palate. With hundreds of years of precipitation, the making of Dim Sum developed into an art. It requires complicated procedures to make each dish look beautiful, smell good, and taste flavorful.

With a couple of small shared dishes, who doesn’t enjoy a lazy afternoon with friends? For most Dim Sum restaurants in China, the atmosphere is hardly conducive to romance. Instead, it’s a place of noise and fun. People talk and laugh loudly, which is also considered a good approach to stress relieve.

This is quite different from the American fast food culture here. In contrast, Chinese people enjoy the time that they spend with friends or families in a dim sum restaurant. They don’t like to buy a fast-cooked food, take it away, and eat it alone. In the Cantonese area, people go to a certain restaurant day after day. Thus, people would develop a group of often-see friends, and gossip about their neighborhood.

But now in the market, Dim Sum is also on a fast-food trend in order to follow people’s fast living pace. It is packaged, and quick-freezed. Microwaved it, and then it’s ready to be on table. When eating the fast-microwaved Dim Sum, I feel like it’s losing sort of cultural essence, because it no longer has the enjoyful and gossiping environment that should be accompanied with.

Wear Technology While Reporting

New technology time and again renovates how journalism works, from text to video, from paper to online, and so on. To wear a technology sounds like a science fiction, but it’s happening.

Currently Google is developing another interesting tool – Project Glass, which is able to display all sorts of information in front of your eyes. It’s just like a wearable computing process, with combination of smartphone, GPS and so on.

Take a look at the technological breakthrough from the official video release.

New technology could easily bring excitement to the media industry. This is once again the case where the new gear will assist future journalism development.

With the gear, you not only see things you normally see, but also see things you don’t normally see – virtual information. For journalists, the glass means more data collection, faster information researching, quicker communication, as well as free of hand to do reporting in the field. You tell the glass what to research, and it immediately displays everything in front of your eyes. Journalism has a lot to do with communicating and researching, and the tool will help journalists on both sides in an amazing way.

Now the glass is at the very early stage. Allegedly, it carries a high definition camera, and has a relevant app on its scream, which allows journalists to do interview with someone who feels uncomfortable in front of a camera. The person just needs to look at your eyes and talk like in a daily conversation. Another advantage is so obvious in breaking news. Reporters will be able to know latest information on the way, and do recordings at the scene, even without a camera or laptop on hand.

At the same time, this brings concerns as well. Since we could use the device without holding it in hand, it’s even more unnoticeable to know what others are recording or researching. It could lead to more privacy conflicts in the future.

Despite that, I believe Project Glass could be another round of storm.

Wine

Here’s a poem about wine by William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet.

Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That’s all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.


I’ve heard a saying – wine is born for women. At my age of 21, I’ve only drunk wine twice – once with my mom on her 46th birthday, the other at NAPA valley for a drinking test. From then on, I believed in the saying.

It has something to do with the color – red, which represents fascination and passion. At the first sight of a structured wine, it’s like a young girl who doesn’t have much experience in life. The light could come through the red color in the bottle. As the wine stays longer, the color goes darker, just as girls start to absorb all the sadness and happiness.

For the first time I tasted wine, I was sitting at a round table with my mother on her 46th birthday. She held a glass in the left hand. I could clearly remember the reflection of the red color on her face because the light flashed back. She was telling me all the hardships that she went through starting from her twenties. Because of that special moment, I grew to know a women, with a bottle of wine.

A shot of wine bar at Beringe, Napa Valley, California, on August, 2012.

The second time, I visited the Beringer wine cellar in Napa Valley, California. I saw hundreds of barrels lying underground. I was amazed. When asked to make a drinking test, I couldn’t even tell how it is different from the previous wine I’ve tasted. In a different environment, the taste and feeling, all changed. The longer the barrels lie down, the better the wine could be. Suddenly it reminded of the lyric: How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? The same to wine, how long must a barrel lies down before you call it wine?

Isn’t it interesting?

WAKE UP, Chinese people!

People make protests to show their objection by words or action. That’s the case in Iran where people show anger towards the anti-Islamic film, in China where people against Japan’s purchase of Diaoyu Islands, and else wherever people feel irritable with the government action.

In China, I haven’t seen people being so angry until news came that Japan purchased Diaoyu Islands. Tracking the source of anger, it’s due to not just the current islands conflict, but also the historical origin – Japan’s invasion into China during World War II. There’s a deeply-rooted hatred lying in the mind of Chinese people, especially for the elder generation.

In response to Japan’s purchase, Chinese people rally together across the nation to demonstrate on streets, burn Japanese cars, destroy Japanese properties, etc. They hate everything related to JAPAN. Protest crazily upgraded into violence. But what does that bring about? Success? NO! We are hurting our own Chinese people, we are smashing our own humanity conscience, and we are turning into monsters, while these acts do tiny help to address the conflict.

Here’s a short story:

Jianli Li, 51, met the demonstration while driving in his Japanese car on Sep. 15, 2012. The demonstrators destroyed his car, and more seriously, his head got hit by a U-shape iron lock. His wife begged the demonstrators by saying: “Buying this car cost us years of saving. Don’t do that to us! ” But that does no help. After being sent to the hospital, Li was in a coma for three days.

Image

See what has been done? The islands conflict brings nationalism and patriotism. Everyone has their rights to demonstrate their anger, but not in this way. We don’t have rights to hurt others, and to damage other’s property. We should never blind ourselves with stupid patriotism. Refusing to buy Japanese products means less free trade and economic slowdown. Smashing Japanese cars means extra money are needed to repair, or even to buy a new car. Let’s do things in a smarter way.

Hey, guys! We are hurting more!