FP_BELLU_SHANG_FI_001
EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

Rudolfo Botelho must have been about 65, perhaps younger, though of course to a 15 year old he appeared ancient. His white moustache bristled on an otherwise mild beige-skinned face. You didn’t much notice his small size; it was always the moustache you saw. And the twinkle — there was the twinkle. I lived in Shanghai, 15 years old in 1948, a Eurasian child of an Italian-Dutch-Indonesian father and Chinese mother. My parents knew him back in the golden days of Shanghai’s roaring ‘20s like those in America. I met him when he became the accompanist for the choir at St. Columban’s, a church run by Irish priests. More… “Bottles & Me”

Lucille Bellucci grew up in Shanghai with an Italian-Dutch-Indonesian father and Chinese mother. After exile from China, the family sailed to Italy, where they lived five years before immigrating to the United States. Lucille has also lived 15 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
She has five novels and has won many awards for her short stories and essays.
EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+
LF_GOLBE_NAKED_BF_001
EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

In an early scene of Eileen Chang’s 1956 novel Naked Earth (reissued this month by NYRB Classics), Liu Ch’uen – a young, enthusiastic new participant in Chairman Mao’s Land Reform movement – watches the “struggle session” of a local landlord’s wife. The woman has been brought into a courtyard to make a confession before the student recruits, Party members and local villagers. The landlord’s wife is frightened and pregnant.

As they approached the low flight of stone steps they saw that a thick rope hung down from the eaves. It hung loose, swaying a little in the breeze. Several tenant farmers were standing around, looking nervous. The atmosphere was thick, as if somebody had hanged himself here and the body had just been taken down and removed.

More… “Struggling Through”

Stefany Anne Golberg is a writer and multi-media artist. She has written for The Washington Post (Outlook), Lapham’s Quarterly, New England Review, and others. Stefany is currently a columnist for The Smart Set and Critic-in-Residence at Drexel University. A book of Stefany’s selected essays can be found here. She can be reached at stefanyanne@gmail.com.
EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+
Seriously. She's beautiful.

She makes for a beautiful corpse. That alone is impressive. Factor in that she is almost 4,000 years old and she may be the most impressive corpse in human history. You can gaze at her for as long you want at the Bowers Museum in Los Angeles County (she’s in the “Secrets of the Silk Road” exhibit until June 25).

“Secrets of the Silk Road.” Through July 25. Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA.

Nobody knows a damn thing about who she really was. All we know for sure is that she died about 3,800 years ago in what is now the Lop Nur desert of Western China. She was buried amongst a complex of tombs first discovered by a Swedish archeologist in 1934. Chinese history being a complicated affair, no one was able to give the site… More…

Awesome from a distance, less so up close.

 

“China is the most unresolved nation of consequence in the world.” — Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society

Travel vs. Tourism

Paul Fussell, in his nostalgic travel book Abroad, described the difference between travel and tourism: Travel is authentic and surprising; tourism, packaged and predictable. Fussell claimed that the former, in our market-driven, homogenized society, has been more or less superseded by the latter: not just cities but countries, too, have been turned into “pseudo-places or tourist commonwealths, whose function is simply to entice tourists and sell them things.”

My sentiments exactly. And why I tend to balk at the idea of going anywhere, especially to faraway, inconvenient places — like China. I was sure that a two-week, organized trip to China, which my husband had arranged when I was… More…

For when the alphabet is foreign, or the land to cover large.

 

It begins in September. My husband starts trolling travel sites on the Internet and, after dinner, retires to the living room with brochures emblazoned with pictures of the vast Sahara and the high Himalayas. Then he begins to throw out possibilities for our summer vacation: Barcelona? Kyoto? A trip down the Volga?

I resist. Travel strikes me as one of life’s more absurd endeavors. If you live here, why go there? Why not sit on the front porch, go to the local Italian restaurant, and rent a Bollywood movie? As far as seeing the sights, isn’t that why they invented IMAX?

But couples, if they endure, are sites of compromise: The extreme of one partner cancels that of the other and thereby creates a reasonable middle course (reasonable being, admittedly, a relative term). Take, for example, a typical… More…