Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2007
Movie Reviews newlight on 30 Jan 2007
Director: Nick Broomfield
Cast: Ai Qin Lin, Zhan Yu, Wei Zhe
I saw the poster of Nick Broomfield’s Ghosts in Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema some time ago. There have been more press coverage when it released recently, but I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to watch this film. In the evening of 5th February 2004, I was travelling on a train from Manchester to Edinburgh along the west coast line. As in early February, it was dark outside. When I arrived home I heard the news about the missing Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay. The next day it was clear 23 Chinese illegal immigrants were found dead or missing there. Looking at the map, I suddenly realised that on that cold February night, when my train was travelling in Lancashire countryside, I was not too far away from my fellow country men and women who were about to be swallowed by the rising tide.
Chinese Culture newlight on 28 Jan 2007
You may be aware that 2007 is the year of pig. Since the Chinese New Year starts on 18th of Febuary, any baby born on or after that will be born in the year of pig (boar seems more appropriate term), and associated with fortune and fertility, if you believe that sort of things. Indeed the coming year of pig is called ‘gold-pig year‘, and many Chinese couples are planning to have baby this year. If you are born before that, sorry baby, you’ve missed out. Or have you?
I’ve only learned recently that the ‘zodiac year of pig’ starts not on 18th of Febuary, but 4th of Febuary of 2007, when the Chinese solar term ‘Spring Commences‘ (立春) starts. Chinese use both lunar calendar (as in Chinese New Year) and solar calendar. The solar calendar was mainly used for planning agriculure activity and predicting weather. The whole year, according to the solar calendar, is divided into 24 solar terms based on the movement of the sun. And the date of each term matchs very well with the Julie’s calendar – because both are solar calendar. So ‘Spring Commences’ is always 4th or 5th of Febuary. This makes it easy for anyone who happens to be in around January or Febuary to know which animal he or she is associated with.