17. Young and Restless in China

This blog refers to the film from Frontline.

I’ve answered few of the questions that our class has discussed about.

Question 3: What do you think Ben Wu, the entrepreneur launching the Internet café, is representative of the “new” China?

One of the factors that make Ben Wu a good representative of the “new” China is his educational achievements and purpose. In the beginning of the film, the narrator mentions that many Chinese people come back from United States after pursuing their educations.  They choose to come back for entrepreneurial opportunities that Western-educated people can succeed in. Ben Wu, after studying in New York, also comes back to China to start his Internet café business. Another way Ben Wu resembles nowadays China is his family issues. Majority of the Chinese businessmen, businesswomen, and workers face trouble dealing with both their family lives and works. Ben had to live separately from his wife because he had to stay in China to regulate his café, while his wife was studying in New York. Similarly, another character from the film, Zhang Jingjing, a public lawyer, lost her fiancé because she tied herself to her job.

Lawyer Jingjing

Lawyer Jingjing

She admitted that she was focused too much on her work, which eventually led to her breakup. The “new” China is a developing nation that is transforming into a center of international and entrepreneurial events, and unfortunately experiencing conflicts between personal lives and business lives.   

 

 

Question 6: Lu Dong likens Chinese ambition to a poor kid going into a candy store and grabbing too much candy because he has been hungry for so long.

        Is this an apt analogy about China?

        Propose another analogy to describe Chinese ambition.

 

As we have seen from the video, most of the people who are having successful businesses have once suffered poor lives. China has been one of the poorest nations in the 20th century. It has suffered through disastrous poverty and communism. The “new” China is, however, developing economically in an uncontrollable speed. The citizens are getting education from America, myriads of independent businesses are blossoming, and the nation is getting richer. Because the Chinese people have witnessed and experienced the hardships, their main goal is to have peaceful lives. And for them to enjoy their lives, they need money.

money

money

China since has become the money-driven nation. As Lu Dong said, the common Chinese Dream nowadays became

 “Get rich as fast as you can and enjoy the rest of life.”

The “poor kid” analogy perfectly fits the circumstance that China is currently experiencing. The people have been economically deprived and hungry, and they want to reverse their lives as quickly as possible.

Another possible analogy that can describe the Chinese ambition is the Burmese Pythons. In 2005, a 13-foot Burmese python tried to swallow an indigenous 6-foot alligator in Everglades National Park. However, the alligator was too big that python’s stomach ripped open. Later on, the biologists and ecologists figured out that the python was starving for days. This also is an apt analogy that represents the Chinese ambition: desires overwhelming the reasonable consciousness.

burmese python

burmese python

 

 

 

 

 

Question 9: Why do you think FRONTLINE producers named this program Young & Restless in China?

        Do you think this is an appropriate title? Why or why not?

        What other titles would aptly describe this program?

 

China is a newly developing country. Compared to its status from the 20th century, it went through tremendous alteration and economical improvements. The improvements, however, could not have happened without the citizens. The new and young generation of arduous workers is slowly yet affectively transforming the nation. Just like each of the nine characters introduced in the video, the Chinese people work hard and continuously. The young people who received education from United States are coming back to China. They are restless. They are the ones who are changing China. The film’s title Young and Restless thereby clearly represents the current Chinese trend; young people working restlessly to make China more prosperous and worldly known.

Another possible title that fits the purpose of the video is Chinese Python. (Just kidding). If the negative sides of Chinese workers being money-blind and money-driven are to be emphasized, then I think a good title would be Indifference or Blindness. This title specifically targets the audiences to think about what the obsessions have resulted in and where they originated from. If the titles were to be a little more optimistic, a good title would be Evolution of China.

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16. The Warrior Tradition

What are some of the universal requirements of becoming a warrior?

According to Wikipedia,

Warrior codes often have common features and usually value honour in the forms of faith, loyalty and courage. Examples include the medieval knights‘ code of chivalry, the Kshatriya code of Dharma in India or Japan’s samurai class which uses a warrior code known as Bushido (The Way Of The Warrior).

However, there are some features that Wikipedia has missed out. From our class discussions about various warrior-related films, books, and articles, I have narrowed down the Warrior Tradition into three main categories.

The first one is gender stereotype. For many centuries, and even nowadays, a warrior is considered a true warrior only if the warrior is a male.

Spaniard from Gladiator

Spaniard from Gladiator

The above video is a scene from Crouching Tiger. When the thief (played by Zhāng Zǐyí) appears, we can quickly realize that she is dressed up as a man. When the villagers yell out, “The thief has stolen the Green Destiny!” they automatically assume the thief to be a “he.” Indeed, most of the warrior movies star male warrior, like Gladiator, Conan the Barbarian, and Skywalkers from Star Wars.

The second noticeable characteristic of being a warrior is “Qi” (or Ch’i).

In traditional Chinese culture, qi () is an active principle forming part of any living thing. It is frequently translated as “energy flow”, and is often compared to Western notions of energeia or élan vital (vitalism) as well as the yogic notion of prana. The literal translation is “air”, “breath”, or “gas” (compare the original meaning of Latin spiritus “breathing”; or the Common Greek πνεῦμα, meaning “air,” “breath,” or “spirit”; and the Sanskrit term prana, “breath” ).

The “warriors” from the Eastern cultures, such as Bruce Lee, have definite composures and poises. They are able to express their inner potential energies and control their minds. Some Western movies, such as Star Wars, includes this theme of Qi. The universally-beloved cliche, “May the force be with you,” is an example of Westernized interpretation of Qi.

Last but not least, the warrior tradition embeds some supernatural elements, animalistic features, and the idea of origin, master, and “respect.” In the first two chapters of Woman Warrior, the readers can find numerous supernatural and animalistic insinuations in the warrior life. When Fa Mu Lan gets the training from the old couple, she learns the movements of animals.

Every creature has a hiding skill and a fighting skill a warrior can use. (Pg.23)

She learns how to run with the deers, leap like a monkey, and be wary like the birds.

The idea of “respect” becomes evident in the film Crouching Tigers. No one ever dies (except for the one poor man). The goal of the warrior is not to kill, but to be respected and force the submissions from the losers. Also, in the film, the characters are able to identify the origin of the enemy by observing their moves. Their moves represent their masters.

Overall, the Eastern idea of warrior tradition focuses more on the themes of respect, supernatural, animals, gender role, and masters.

15. The Woman Warrior at 30

This post refers to the article from the Slate.

Young Kingston

Young Kingston

The novel Woman Warrior embeds different writing styles. Some identify the novel’s genre as memoir, some as autobiography, and some as a bridge between fiction and non-fiction. I, however, want to recognize this book as pleasantly unorthodox.

Kingston has a unique, talented voice. She knows how to show and express the events with delicate words. Her tasteful choices of dictions can be found from the very first chapter. When she describes Fa Mu Lan’s life in the mountains, her language is mesmerizing. She uses rich imagery and metaphors that connect the beauty of nature, characters of animals, and sensitivities of human senses. One example of the comparison is the dragon and the mountain. Kingston gives animalistic characteristics to the mountain, like the cloud represents the smoke from dragon’s mouth, earth as dragon’s skin, and trees as dragon’s hairs. 

Another unique aspect of Woman Warrior  is the spontaneously altering narrator’s perspectives. The narrative voice changes from Kingston to Fa Mu Lan in the first chapter. I was initially very confounded by this alteration, but now that I understand, I think this aspect added to her uniqueness and unorthodox behavior.

 

Old Kingston

Old Kingston

Just like the quote from the article:

The Woman Warrior stubbornly refuses to be either entirely fictive or entirely real.

Whether young or old, she will always remain as an enigma, an anomaly, and an exemplary writer.