interview

Oct 19, 2018

Under the Jade Dragon Mountain: No murders today

Uncle’s Shorts #34

We’re upping our game this week; For the past month, we’ve been working behind-the-scenes on some new features for the Uncle’s Shorts. This week, we’re super excited to be rolling out some of those new bits: interviews and city shots … with much more to come in the future! It’s a way to move my face out of the spotlight, and put the focus more on Luzhou, and the cool and interesting people we know here. Both personally and creatively, it’s already been very fulfilling. We hope you like it, too.

But we don’t really mind if you don’t.

As for this episode: A massage and a supermarket cause and relieve anxiety for Emily this week, but not in that order. And, we talk to our old friend Jessi about her life.

The Kung Fu Boys were filmed in Black Dragon River Park, Lijiang in 2015. They wrote this movie for our English class. Filming was never completed due to attendance issues.

Jul 1, 2018

Happy Dragon Boat Festival 2018

Celebrating Chinese holidays with kids!

In my mind, Dragon Boat Festival — or duanwujie, as it’s called in Chinese — is a somewhat nebulous festival. I mean, to some extent, I’m going to view all Chinese holidays from a remove, because they are often family activities, and my family isn’t here. Our first year here, our friend took us to a boat race, fed us zongzi and told us the story of Qu Yuan, and in the years since then, we’ve pieced together more of the story. But this year, by virtue of working in a kindergarten, where they are passing all this stuff on to the next generation, I got to see some customs that I hadn’t before had access to. A lot of rituals that have to do with keeping the body healthy and safe. And, my colleague Katherine came out to explain the holiday on video for all us waiguoren.

The biggest thing I learned — that after the fact seems totally obvious — is that Chinese holiday celebrations can be quite personal. They vary from region to region, and even from family to family. To that point, in the video, Katherine conflates two stories that are both part of the origin story of duanwujie — Qu Yuan, poet, and Wu Zixu, king’s advisor. They are both men who died by suicide in a river, according to lore, and are somehow connected with the holiday. Regardless, I’m beginning to think that neither of them are actually all that central to the holiday as it is actually celebrated by real people; every time a Chinese person has shared with me their legends, it’s because they looked something up on the Internet. Not because it was something connected to something they or their family did.

Anyway, next year, I’ll probably learn even more about it. Including that I was wrong about everything I concluded this year.