80-year-old Model

"Fate loves the fearless." I love people who subvert stereotypes. Aging is something I want to embrace with grace and poise. But I also enjoyed reading about Wang Deshun, the 80-year-old Chinese model. He's unwilling to compromise his dreams and yield to others' expectations of him. Some of his practices for aging with power? Makes sure he gets both learning time and exercise time in his daily routine Eats a variety of foods, but drinks less alcohol Dares to try new things: "People … [Read more...]

Moon Viewing

“You will soon witness a miracle.” Okay, so it’s not quite a miracle, but it hasn’t happened in 33 years. I was already primed to watch the night sky because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is supposed to be big and bright. (It's also a fun time to eat moon cakes.) The blood moon was just one more reason to take a peek last night. As an aside, friends tell me they can see the lady in the moon when they look up. There's a Chinese myth that says the lovely Chang'e saved … [Read more...]

My Bamboo Generation

"Sow melon, reap melon; sow beans, reap beans." -Chinese proverb Bamboo is hardy. It's one of the first plants I ever received and requires little care. Whether placed in soil or a vase of decorative stones, it revives with a douse of water. According to feng shui rules, it attracts good luck and fortune. In fact, I featured bamboo centerpieces at my wedding. However, in Cantonese, there's a term known as "jook-sing." It refers to a hollow bamboo pole used as a measuring tool. But really it's … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Pork Belly Sandwich

Pork belly sandwich: tender meat sandwiched in a steamed bun wrapper           Pork belly is a totally accurate name; it comes from the underside of the pig. You might be surprised to learn that bacon is found in there, too. Likewise, both cuts of meat are pretty tasty. (In fact, pork belly is a very common ingredient in both Chinese and Korean cuisines.) Now imagine that succulent meat wrapped in a steamed bun, similar to the fluffy pancakes … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Congee

Congee: rice porridge             I'm feeling a bit under the weather today... which leads me to today's post about congee. It's a great meal when you're sick. The porridge turns out hot and soothing to your throat. Also, it's an easy dish to make: Boil rice over a long period of time (I hear some rice cookers have a special "congee" setting), adding in broth for further flavor. The jook (Cantonese) or muay (Taiwanese) can be topped off by … [Read more...]

Of Wasps and Chinese Lanterns

"A swarm of mosquitoes can sound like thunder." -Chinese proverb My story's not about mosquitoes. It involves a different pesky insect. With spring coming, birds are chirping and flowers are bursting into color. But there may also be the arrival of paper wasps in our area. Similar to yellow jackets in looks, the paper wasp is a bit longer and more slender. Yellow jackets love meat and are pretty aggressive, while paper wasps are docile. Nevertheless, their striped danger markings scare me. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Beef Noodle Soup

Beef noodle soup: hot soup with stewed beef, noodles, and vegetables               I'm watching the rain splatter my windowpane, and I can feel the chill creeping in through the walls. It doesn't rain very much in Southern California (cue the Albert Hammond's song). When it does, though, I hanker after a hot dish. What's better on a rainy day than soup? You can find an award-winning recipe of beef noodle soup here. Beef noodle … [Read more...]

Multilingual Households: A Dilemma

"One foot cannot stand on two boats." -Chinese proverb I grew up in a bilingual household. My parents made it a priority to teach me English first because my older sibling had difficulty when he first started kindergarten. For a while, I used my own shortcut language, and I would pick the quicker version (think: less syllables) of the languages I knew to speak with others. I often got odd looks for my efforts. I know that "One foot cannot stand on two boats," but I think language is … [Read more...]

Modern Multicultural Books for Kids

"You cannot help shoots grow by pulling them up." -Chinese proverb Not just sprouting plants but young kids' hearts are very tender. I remember my teacher reading Tikki Tikki Tembo in class. Afterward, all the kids looked my way and tried their own nonsense version of Chinese to talk to me. On the school bus, peers would make slanted eyes at me, sometimes adding, "Konnichiwa." Nobody ever teased me more than that, but maybe they were intimidated by my possible Bruce Lee kung fu skills. I'm … [Read more...]