Monthly Archives: December 2013

Four Chinese classics and one forbidden plum

金瓶梅, Jin Ping Mei, or The Plum in the Golden Vase, also translated as The Golden Lotus is a Chinese naturalistic novel composed in vernacular Chinese (Wu dialect) during the late Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). It is written by 蘭陵笑笑生, “The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling”, a pseudonym, and his identity is otherwise unknown. Earliest versions of the novel exist only in handwritten scripts; the first block-printed book was released only in 1610.The present complete version comprises one hundred chapters,amounting to over a thousand pages.

Jin Ping Mei is considered to be the fifth classical novel after the Four Great Classical Novels, including King Monkey Travels to the  West, Three Kingdoms, Shui Hu (Water Margin), Dream of The Red Chamber. Its graphically explicit depiction of sexuality has garnered the novel a level of notoriety in China akin to Fanny Hill in the English literature. For the past four centuries since it was born, it has been banned in China, even though it has been replicated and passed around underground ever since.

Adapting it for ballet, admittedly a form of high culture, and presenting it to people from a prudish and sexually repressive culture that often either goggle or ogle at erotica, can be the hardest nut to crack. Director Wang Yuanyuan seems to have nailed it. Ballet Golden Lotus received critical acclaim and great box office in Hong Kong.

Watch the impression & trailer:

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Yellowface  strikes back, or Size matters (not)?

“Size matters not…Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?” Master Yoda

On 28 Nov 2013, something utterly unoriginal — and supremely bad idea      (thank you for compliment, XiN magazine!) — took p…lace during one of      those talent shows on Dutch television. The name is Xiao Wang, pronounced Xiao One, hence the eloquent Master Yoda saying.
Let’s take a look at the video fragment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wzEPgpSRm4

Next I would like to invite you to go through the systematic bias that controls the depiction of Asians in popular culture. A quick overview of  some stereotypes and caricatures.
***When Asian immigrants first arrived in the West, especially the United      States, they were welcomed as cheap labor. But after the California gold      rush brought a flood of Asian immigrants to California, the cheap Asian      labor began to be seen as a threat. What began as neutral or amusing      stereotypical caricatures of Asians soon took on more negative      connotations.
Coolie- The “Coolie” stereotype originated with Chinese laborers  in the 1850s as a means of preventing Chinese from entering the skilled  trades. The lowest-paying unskilled jobs were called “coolie labor”      or “nigger work.”
Yellow Peril -The “Yellow Peril” or pollutant stereotype began to      take hold in 1890s California. Asians were viewed as alien and a threat to  wage-earners, and a movement began that had the goal of making California racially pure.
Deviant -The “Deviant” stereotype was a response to the movement of Asians from common labor to household servants, laundrymen, and operators of opium dens, and the importation of women for prostitution.
Dragon Lady -Asian women have often been portrayed as cunning “Dragon Ladies” — aggressive or opportunistic sexual beings or predatory  gold diggers. Non-threatening stereotypes include servile Lotus Blossoms,  China dolls, and Geisha girls.
Gook- The “Gook” stereotype originated with the US Military      during the Korean War as a generic term for Asians, and became more popular during the Vietnam War. A gook is an invisible and powerful enemy  with superhuman endurance and ability to absorb punishment.
Model Minority -The “Model Minority” stereotype originated in      the 1950s as a representation of successful assimilation of Asians that was contrasted with the less successful assimilation of Blacks and Hispanics.***source: yellowface.com

XiN celebrates those to show just what can be achieved, the traditions,  history, and Spirit of Freedom. This is an extension of XiN warmth and  devotion to all our readers and friends.

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Ready? Let me hear your voice. 🙂

<Photo:Anna May Wong (黃柳霜 1905 – 1961) was the first Chinese American movie star>

Julie O’Yang   | Editor-in-Chief

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