Saturday, April 03, 2010

Don't Wear A Green Hat In China!

Here is a little piece of Chinese culture we just found out about. Somehow this escaped us during a year of living in China...

If you are a man, do not, under any circumstances, wear a green hat!

There is an old story in China, about a businessman, a tailor, and the businessman's wife. (You can guess where this is going...) Whenever the businessman left his village to go on a business trip, his wife would cheat on him with the village tailor. To make it easier for the tailor to know when the businessman was going away, the businessman's wife asked the tailor to make a green hat for the businessman. Whenever the wife put the green hat on her husband's head, this served as a signal to the tailor that the businessman was leaving the village. Over time, the other villagers figured out what was going on, and they would say to one another...Tade laopo gei ta dai lv maozi le..."His wife has put the green hat on him."

To this day, this phrase is what Chinese people use to talk about wives having affairs. This phrase is the reason why Chinese men never wear green hats. So, if you are going to China, whatever you do, don't bring a green hat to give as a gift to a male friend or business partner...

~Steve

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"This One's For You, Dad. I Love You!"

One of the touching stories of this year's Final Four surrounds Duke's Nolan Smith and his late father Derek Smith. Derek Smith was a member of Louisville's 1980 national championship team. It was in Indianapolis where the so-called "Doctors of Dunk" had their one shining moment. And it is to Indianapolis where the Blue Devils are now headed after winning the NCAA South Region this past weekend.

Nolan Smith chose not to attend Louisville, where he would have been playing in the literal shadow of his father's jersey hanging from the rafters. But that doesn't mean that his father, who passed away when Nolan was only eight years old, is ever far from his mind. As Nolan said the other day...

I always play for him, to honor him and he's always with me, but today I could really feel him. There were a couple of shots, that I knew he was with me.

I've thought about going to Indianapolis like my dad since this tournament started.
I just played on adrenaline. I knew he was watching over me and I felt like I could do anything.

~Steve

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Chinese Rice Farmer

This poem, an assignment for English class, imitates the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is a character sketch of a Chinese rice farmer accompanying the characters of Canterbury Tales on a pilgrimage to Canterbury.

On this pilgrimage there also traveled,
A woman who rarely ever babbled,
Or tried to make herself stand out,
For her occupation was without a doubt,
Most difficult. As a farmer of rice,
Her skin was tanned and rough but smooth and nice.
Her modest temper and her sweet nature,
Reflected village values and pleasures.
Throughout the day her shoulders were bent,
But after plowing, back home she went,
To husband and daughter, father and mother,
To smother each, one after another.
Though covered with mud when coming home,
She was soon dressed like a princess from Rome.
With jewelry and hair so neatly placed,
She would come to dinner, eager for a taste,
Of the meal that her daughter had prepared,
During the day for her family to share.
Her hair was like silk, her eyes were like jewels,
But she had never gone to a local school.
From a young age, she had worked in the field,
Although city life had also appealed.
It took hours by bus to reach the next town,
And first she had to climb from the hills, down
To the winding road far below;
She would travel the distance even so.
She came from a village as high as can be,
Near the mountain top in the province called Guangxi.
Her life was simple yet full of delights,
But she hardly ever spoke to the Knight.

~Julie