One Day

Exploring new tracks,
My hands are running blind,
With my lips kissing.
I am finding my own way
To your satisfaction.


Love & Books

This is a tanka written last year and posted on an old blog under the name W.F. Tyrman.

Raise a mighty tome
As my ever lasting tomb,
Through sheaths i roam,
Searching for feelings unknown,
And hearts, unbroken by me.

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers

By coincidence, as I finish this book, author-director Guo Xiaolu has a new film out. She A Chinese follows Li Mei’s escape from rural poverty to the big city and finally to London’s multicultural East End. It compliments this charming book quite well.

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers is as good as its title. Although, that said, the title is anything but concise. Just as palindrome isnt a palindrome and abbreviation is anything but. The book follows 23 year old Zhuang, Z for short, as she moves from rural China to London to study English. She knows no one and knows little English. While there she learns about the differences between England and China, about East and West.

What charms, the broken English that slowly improves over the novel’s brief length, may frustrate some as they progress. The book shows the sexual liberalisation (as previously seen in Wei Hui’s novels) a chinese lady may encounter upon moving somewhere else. The man she falls in love with is anything but simple. A man who makes art but sees no beauty in the world. And who refuses to sell work. It is clear early on the two are heading in different directions. It made me think of how some relationships exist on a plane where both partners are trying to pull the other in a different direction. One that suits only them.

It is a good read for anyone who wants to know what it is like to be a foreigner in England, specifically someone who is Chinese. It is also good for anyone who has moved from east to west or even vice versa. As someone who has lived in Japan for a long time it’s been interesting to read about someone going the other way. The Japanese novels i’ve read have been too Japan specific. It’s nice to see Chinese literature branching out more. Even if this may cause said books to be banned at home.

Buzz: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

One film I am truly looking forward to this year is the adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Friends in Sweden, where it was written, published and filmed, tell me it is a must-see.

Stieg Larsson famously worked for equal rights over his career before delivering the entire trilogy in one go at a publisher. Sadly, he passed away before he could see his books in print. The trilogy follows crusading journalist Blomqvist as he tries to clear his name (having been convicted of slander) but the true star is Lisbeth Salander, often called the most original heroine in modern literature. Salander, abused and mistreated by the state from birth, is a computer genius with serious yet ultimately understandable social issues. The trilogy runs from a missing woman to Salander’s background and the ultimate role of the state. However, the undeniable theme is the mistreatment of women in Sweden. We should remember it’s not just Sweden where this continues to happen.

We have Noomi Rapace, who plays Salander in the movies, to thank for keeping the form of the books as they are. Pictures and interviews of the movie show a grand job has been done even as people argue over Larsson’s legacy. I say, let the works speak for themselves. Go see, now!