Belated Chinese New Year

"A thrilling time is in your immediate future." With all the craziness of this new year, I haven't done a proper Chinese New Year post. So Happy New Year and gung hay fat choy!  Monkey years are generally positive and optimistic, so I hope it's a joyous one for you all. It's a fire monkey year; fire monkeys tend to be ambitious and adventurous, but also irritable. My celebration was pretty low-key this time around. Sure, we met up with family and had some delicious food, but we're … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Sesame Sticks

Sesame sticks: rectangular sesame treats If you haven't already heard, Monday marked the beginning of Chinese New Year. It's the Year of the Monkey in 2016 (the fire monkey, to be exact). Overseas, people get seven days off to celebrate the holidays. When we were visiting Taiwan, people looked at us funny because kids don't get winter break there--their time off is consolidated around the lunar new year. Besides meeting up with family, New Year is a great time to eat tried-and-true treats. … [Read more...]

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival?

"The Chinese ancient civilization attracts you." This year Chinese New Year lands on February 19, 2015. Since it's based on the lunar calendar, the start date of CNY shifts annually. The celebration typically lasts about fifteen days. A "Wood Goat" year is slotted for 2015, an event that only happens every 60 years. Since the 20th century, this festive time period has also been known as the Spring Festival in China. This is because when the Chinese adopted the Gregorian calendar in … [Read more...]

The Pantser Resolution

"Life brings you a bold and dashing adventure." You know, I thought of myself as a plotter and not a pantser when writing stories. After completing a number of manuscripts now, I realize that I'm more unstructured than I thought. Sure, I still do research and have a general idea of where the story's going. Nonetheless, my characters always surprise me and act in ways that I never thought they would. Endings also tend to shift around for me, based on the protagonist's unforeseen … [Read more...]

Does Age Make a Difference in Relationships?

"Rats know the way of rats." -Chinese proverb Gung hay fat choy! 2014 is the Year of the Horse. Twelve animals make up the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each exhibits a different personality based on your birth year. As a kid, I remember seeing the zodiac printed on paper placemats in Chinese restaurants (our family establishment had ones with red curlicue borders). Besides the character traits, there's usually a line … [Read more...]

Lion Dance

"A lean dog shames its master." -Chinese proverb Chinese New Year (January 31st) is about wealth and prosperity. The common Cantonese phrase said during this time is "Gung Hay Fat Choy," which can be translated to "Wishing you good fortune!" A staple in new year festivities is the lion dance. (Lion dances can also be held on other special occasions, like weddings or new business openings.) The first recorded lion performance dates back to third century B.C. I remember seeing lion dances … [Read more...]

Laughing into next year

"Better to make a net than to yearn for fish at the edge of a pond." -Chinese proverb New Year resolutions are about being pro-active. Oftentimes in life (and particularly in writing), you're on the receiving end; the only thing you can change is your attitude. This year, my one word resolution is: laugh. Here are some funny things that have improved my mood over this past year: "Imagine You're a Chinese Immigrant" assignment "9 Wack Things White Guy Say To Deny Their Asian Fetish" … [Read more...]

Writing Highlights from 2012

Deihseui: blind manIn Gwongdung province, there is a folk song called "Deihseui naahmyam." Deihseui refers to a blind (man) musician. In ancient times, almost all music masters were blind men.Music, the life of celebrations.Instead of a Christmas letter, I usually send out a New Year's mailing. This is mostly due to procrastination, but I also like reviewing the whole calendar year before I write to family and friends. Oftentimes, though, I feel like a blind man, not knowing what to put down on … [Read more...]