Some scattered thoughts on 端午节 (Dragon Boat Festival)

First of all, 端午节安康!In English, it’s called the Dragon Boat Festival I believe. The holiday originates from the folk hero, statesman, and poet 屈原 (Qu Yuan) from 战国 (before the Qin Dynasty) drowning himself into a river out of patriotic passion. The people in order to prevent the fishes from eating his flesh threw 粽子 into the river. I don’t know all that much about the history and culture behind the holiday. It’s my first time in China during it since age 6. I am reminded of how when in 河南郑州 where I visited 轩辕故里 I actually managed to impress a few people by reciting the first few lines of Qu Yuan’s 《离骚》

帝高阳之苗裔兮,朕皇考曰伯庸。

I saw and heard in the background some study pertaining to 端午节 on TV. I also saw on 新闻联播 (and video recorded part of it on my Huawei phone, if you’re interested in seeing that, contact me) Xi Jinping’s visiting St. Petersburg with Putin. There was Xi in Russia on 新闻联播 yesterday as well.

It occurred to me to write more on this blog after I become too tired to watch 红楼梦 (I’m on the third episode now, https://v.qq.com/x/cover/c2xpl7t4eppkq7n/t00148f3yrh.html), which actually takes some mental exertion, more so than writing what I’m writing right now. I am actually reading parts of the original version as well, the ones I find more interesting, and it’s easier since I have the TV series to match with. For translating the 文言文 that I can’t understand on my own, I’m using some English translation e-book of it I had downloaded while I was still in America. This is kind of weird yes. Reminds me of how since my English isn’t all that great with literary stuff (despite being in America since age 6), when I finally read Pride and Prejudice (back in 2015 I believe), it actually occurred to me to find online a Chinese translation of it, which according to my vague memory actually helped me clear up confusion on a few parts. This using English translations to help me understand literary Chinese, it’s not the first time for me. I had done the same for 鲁迅’s 阿Q正传, with an English translation of it on marxists.org.

Something that’s pleased me much lately is that I for the first time am taking serious action to systematically correct my atrocious posture and consequent “bodily deformations,” and there are visible results already after not long. I was quite physically awkward as a kid. I was certainly not looks conscious. That certainly wasn’t good for my self-esteem growing up. I thought I was just naturally bad. Growing up Asian in (white) America made it even worse. But now that I am older and more understanding, I recognize well that this stuff can be corrected without much difficulty so long as I train systematically with some professional guidance/physical input. I had a rather lame and pathetic experience growing up in America, with some bad memories associated for sure. They haunt me still from time to time, but overall, I am quite “forward-looking.”

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开始读(其实更是看连续剧)红楼梦了

不知为何,想起可以趁着还有时间好好利用读读红楼梦了,我想这对于了解中国更传统的文化会很有帮助的。其实,在美国时,接近两年前的时候,我就试了读红楼梦了,但基本是大失败,实在是太难太长了,而且他的文化背景对我也太陌生了。读过的也基本全忘了,留在脑子里的基本只有很少一点如什么“纨绔膏粱”,“簪缨世族”,跟我们现在生活和语言毫无关系的当时的贵族和文人用的语言。当时的我还对文言文有点兴趣,至少因为我从某种角度在内心里还有傲慢学术精英主义者的一面,觉得如果不知道点文言文,有些中国人会不把我当人看,就如我不把彻底美国化的美国华裔当人看。(注:刚才这话有为了幽默效应而夸张,莫以直译视之,我其实是个相对平易近人的人。)

现在在中国待了半年以上,红楼梦可以再尝试一下。尽然《敌营十八年》四十集的连续剧我都基本全看完了,那五十集的内容文化背景对我远远更陌生的五十集的红楼梦连续剧也是可以慢慢吃的,多久能吃完,难说。若看迷了,可能几个月,甚至就一两个月,也可能痴迷于工作和其他事情,没时间和精力把它放到边上,得两三年。至少现在我可以很欣慰的说我以完成了其百分之二。

我在似懂非懂地看视频的同时,也会在网上读读关于红楼梦的剧情,人物,和相关背景,也创建了在我这网站上一个红楼梦语录页,目前只有来自第一回最开始那部分的语录,这些我都会找到(或理解后自己编也行)其译文,为了我的(和我网站访问者的)学习和未来的参考。我倒是想过找或者买个红楼梦的删节版本读,后来也觉得算了吧,可以看连续剧,也可以读网上关于剧情的内容,归根结底,剧情的概括可不就是个超级删节版么。

网上的原本太长太难则考虑找删节版却把我引到了我爷爷留下的书架。我记得我爷爷特别爱收集东西,尤其是录像,印象非常深刻的是我小时候他家里收集了不少录像,而且内容非常之广,从动画片到纪录片到新闻,其整理分类排序也都做得相当完美,当时九十年代用的还是卡带。

他留下的那书架,其内容让我感到“很有意思”。书前面摆了不少各种各样用石头做的漂亮的东西(不知道这个中文该如何更简洁的形容)做为一种修饰,书很多都是一些跟共产党相关的,至少那些最容易引起注意,也有四大名著,包括红楼梦,只不过那原本红楼梦我网上也能看到。这可能在中国没那么奇怪,但对于在美国长大的我,反应自然会是一种笑。里面包括什么毛选,还有邓小平,周恩来,陈云,等的文集,也有翻译到中文的一些列宁的著作。也堆了不少红色小册子,拿了最上面的看了看,标题却是“中国共产党第九次全国代表大会”,那好像是69年的。

可以说我也以新型的互联网平台做了点类似,我为了自己和别人方便找,也为了troll一下笑一笑,收集了在这上面一些苏联红歌中国红歌的视频,回国后,一旦得知一个新的艺术水平不错的,如白雪唱的《永恒的军礼》,可能也会将其插入到列表里。

有点晚了,就不再写了。红楼梦打算慢慢地看。可以通过它感受一下中国科举封建制度下的贵族文化。