登鹳雀楼 On the stork tower

I have posted the above poem at my weebly blog. Check it out.

http://bzin2.weebly.com/12/post/2009/12/first-post.html

The Qing Ming Festival 清眀节 The Tomb Sweeping Day

Next Monday, 5th of April, is the Chinese Qing Ming festival, or Tombs Sweeping day, which coincides with the Easter Monday. It is a tradition on that day that we pay respects to our ancestors or those loved ones who passed away. Ancient Chinese wisdom never fails. As our famous poet Du Mu, in his poem of the same title relevantly wrote “ceaseless drizzles drip all the dismal day”. The weather around that day is almost guarantee to be damp, windy, drizzling and etc.. This year is likely to be no exception. You can see from the picture that I took at one o’clock in the afternoon today from my window looking outside, the weather was sheer miserable. Read more about the festival and the famous poem at my blog. Click here.

A Tranquil Night, by the great Chinese poet Li Bai

Here is another poet by one of the two greatest ancient Chinese poets, Li Bai (李白) (701-762).  It wrote about a person, in a far away land could not get into sleep, staring out of the window and watching the moon, thought that it was frost on the ground, which made him missed home more. I have put up a photo of the of the moon taken by modern technology. If you look at it, the white stuff on the moon really looks like frost. Did our great poet have eyes of a telescope and a mind of a modern scientist.

A Tranquil Night 《静夜思》

床前明月光   Abed, I see a silver light,
疑是地上霜   wonder if it’s frost aground.
举头望明月  Looking up, I find the moon bright; 举头望明月
低头思故乡  Bowing, in homesickness I”m drowned.

Li Bai 李白

Yellow Crane Pavilion of Wuhan, Hubei

In May this year I went to Wuhan, Hubei to visit a client. I took the opportunity to visit the famous Yellow Crane Pavilion (黄鹤楼 pinyin: Huáng Hè Lóu), which is a structure of about 7 storeys built on a slightly elevated land at the bank of the famous Yangtze River. The history of the pavilion dated back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). When I stepped onto the terrace on the top floor of the pavilion, I had a fine view of the Yangtze River and the entire city of Wuhan. I was overwhelmed with emotion and proud of the greatness of the history of China.

The building is said to be named after a fairy tale that a fairy once passed here riding on a yellow crane. The building is regarded as one of the three most famous ancient terraces in China. There were many poems using this pavilion as the subject and below are the two most famous ones (sources of the two poems: Wikipedia)

Poem by Cui Hao
Yellow Crane Tower was made famous by an 8th century poem written by Cui Hao called “Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼). The original text of the poem is shown below:

昔人已乘黄鹤去,此地空余黄鹤楼。
黄鹤一去不复返,白云千载空悠悠。
晴川历历汉阳树,芳草萋萋鹦鹉洲。
日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.
Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered without care.
The clear river reflects each Hangyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.
At sunset, which direction lies my home town? The mist covered river causes one to feel distressed.

Poem by Li Bai

There is another famous poem about it by Li Bai called “Seeing off of Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵). The original poem is shown below:

故人西辞黄鹤楼,
烟花三月下扬州。
孤帆远影碧空尽,
唯见长江天际流

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

My old friend’s said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,
In the third month’s cloud of willow blossoms, he’s going down to Yangzhou.
The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,
All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.

My dear friends, please make a translation of the two poems. You may post it at “the comments” or send to me at bzin88@gmail.com

Wealth or Health?

This is a sequel to my blog on the poem entitled “Ching Ming Festival” by Du Mu. It happened that I was talking to a good friend (let’s name her Mary) who happened to live in the home town of Du Mu – Taiyuan of Shanxi, China. For those who had helped me in the translation of the poem in Spanish, a few of them wondered what and where is “杏花村” named in the poem. In Chinese it is “Xin hua cun” and in English it is “apricot flower village”. According to Mary, historians had it that the village was somewhere in the Anhui Province, but she thought it was likely to be in her home province of “山西” Shanxi (literally means “mountain’s West”). Mary thought so because “Xing hua cun” is in Fen Yang(汾阳)city of the Shanxi province and the city is famous for “杏花村酒”(the wine named after the Xin hua cun).

I tried to be nice and made a comment to Mary that her hometown had to be very beautiful, otherwise, it would not have inspired Du Mu to write such a beautiful poem. Mary surprised me by saying that Shanxi is now polluted by the mining industry in the province. If you look up the link on Shanxi above, you will notice that Shanxi is one the most important mining producing centres in China. No wonder there is pollution. It seems that many miners died of related accidents too. I think Du Mu could never have imagined a scenario like this. What a pity that the ambiance of the environment has to give way to apparent prosperity.

I have a friend from Colombia (let’s call him Carlos),who informed me the other day that he did not have to attend classes at his university as there was a protest going on. As I understand from Carlos, the university was on the verge of going into bankruptcy as it did not get enough funding from the Government, which the lacked the funds. I informed Carlos that the Hong Kong Government does not have this kind of problem as we have large foreign exchange reserves. Carlos joked about coming to work in Hong Kong. I told him that he had to put up with the poor air quality here. Carlos informed me proudly that Colombia is one of cleanest country, in terms of air quality,in the world. I envy Colombia because the air quality in HOng Kong is getting worse and worse because of the air pollution blowing out from Mainland China. As a matter of fact. we are getting less and less number of “blue sky” days in Hong Kong in a year. This is just the price we have to pay for a better economy.

So I ask myself the question: Which is more important: Wealth or Healthy?