I Heart NY

Sainaahm Yih Baakfu: an elder who spoils the youthIn the old days of apprenticeship, a man owned a shop which made different types of sauces. The owner was called Yih Baakfu, or "second elder uncle." He took students under his wing, but would never advise or scold them. I just returned from a trip to New York City where I was lovingly spoiled by my aunt and uncle :)It was a nice break for me to re-energize. I relaxed with family and met up with college friends. I also tossed in a couple of … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Ngauhyat: birthday Many Chinese characters can be broken into smaller parts. The word "birthday" (??) can be simplified into ngauhyat (??). My blog just turned one! (April 5th marked the anniversary of my first post.) Even though ngauhyat means "cow" and "one" when taken separately, I hope it still proves to be an auspicious occasion.A popular Chinese tradition held at one-year-old parties is to surround the birthday child with different items. These things represent their possible futures. Here … [Read more...]

The Marshmallow Tree and Other April’s Fool Jokes

Jadai: to pretendDuring the last years of the Chin dynasty (around 211 B.C.), people suffered under a tyrannical government. A warrior named Hohng Yuh rose up and rebelled against the emperor. To get more followers to join him, he appointed a noble from the state of Cho as king. Hohng Yuh's army grew stronger and defeated the government. However, Hohng Yuh learned that he had made a poor choice in the noble he had selected. Hohng Yuh drowned him by sinking his ship while he was crossing a river. … [Read more...]

Crowdsourcing for Fiction Authors?

Dohkkiu: try to think of a solutionKiu was opera jargon in former times and referred to humorous plays. Dohk means to measure or to consider. Dohkkiu refers to working out a scenario in a play; nowadays, it means to find a solution.I recently participated in a webinar by Guy Kawasaki, author of APE, a guide for writers interested in self-publishing. One of the interesting points in his talk involved crowdsourcing. He actually sent out an outline of his manuscript to his online followers. Later … [Read more...]

How NOT to Crochet

Chesin: to be a matchmaker or broker (lit. pull thread) Instead of Cupid, the Chinese have Yuht Louh ("the old man in the moon") acting as a matchmaker. The old man carries around a book and a bag with him wherever he travels. The book records the names of the destined couples. The bag contains red threads, which he uses to tie together the feet of the boy and girl who are to marry.  Happy Crochet Week! Yes, National Crochet Week occurs March 16-22.Recently, I tried my hand at crocheting. I … [Read more...]

Topics for New Post

Yatyahn Dakdouh, Gai'hyun Gaai Sing: family and friends also benefit when one encounters good fortuneThere's a legend about Lauh Ngon, the Prince of Waaih Naahm during the early years of the Han dynasty. He was involved in Taoist cults because he wanted to become immortal. One day, eight old men visited him and taught Lauh Ngon how to refine cinnabar. He swallowed the cinnabar and flew into the sky, immortal. After eating the crumbs of the cinnabar left at the house, Lauh Ngon's hens and dogs … [Read more...]

Look Again: Reviewing the Submissions Process

Yat Batjouh, Yih Batyau: to do something by hook or by crook; to not stop halfwayYes, that's me hiking in Montserrat, Spain.I'm excited to announce the publication of my flash fiction piece, "Look Again," in the March issue of Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Part of my enthusiasm comes from finally feeling validated as a writer. Here's a parallel example that explains my thinking: When I did math problems at school, I always double-checked my answers. If I ended up with the same solution twice, I … [Read more...]

Wool on The NYT List

Yauh Fansou: to know what to do and how to do itWheelwright Bin saw Duke Wuhn of the state of Chaih (?-643 B.C.) studying one day. Wheelwright Bin argued that the book would not be helpful to the duke, saying, "I'm a wheelmaker and I'll take this as an example. When I'm making a wheel, I know it will not be any good if I do it too fast or too slow. I understand how to do it well by myself. As for the art (fansou) of wheel-making, I've got it all in my mind, but I just can't explain it. It's hard … [Read more...]

Round 2 with Amazon

Wan Kaausaan: to find a powerful man to back you upChinese people choose to live in places with the best fengshui. When they build a house, they locate it on the southern slope of a hill, which serves to block off the chilly north wind. Having a hill also provides a sense of security; by extension, a powerful person that backs you up is known as a kaausaan.What more powerful person company exists than Amazon? I'm excited to announce that I made it to the second rounds of the Amazon Breakthrough … [Read more...]

Lunar New Year Feasting

Sihk Gau Daaih Gwai: to have a rich meal like a kingIn Ancient China, the number of dishes served to a person during a meal signified their social ranking. The emperor received nine, while feudal kings got seven dishes. A nobleman ate five dishes, officials three, and ordinary people only two. In those days, people also used vessels called gwai to hold their food; most of these containers were made of wood, although some were created from bronze or bamboo.  Happy lunar new year! Yesterday was … [Read more...]