The Friday Five

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:23 pm
damzel: (Default)
[personal profile] damzel
(pinched from lost_spook)

1. What book frightened you as a child?
All of the "Goosebumps" series, pretty much. I remember a book of Irish myths and legends that I was terrified of for a time. I've no idea of the title, though.


2. If you had to become a ‘living book (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
Something incredibly short (Spot the Dog?) because I'd rather read/write books than become one. If forced to choose a proper book, maybe Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.


3. What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?
I remember having nightmares for weeks when my dad let me watch a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Body in the Library. Not sure why this in particular freaked me out so much. Maybe because a very young girl was killed?


4. What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
I'm a horror fan who prefers psychological films. Gore to the extent of the Saw franchise turns me off. But if pushed I might still give it a go.


5. Do you have any phobias?
Ferris Wheels. 

Scholarly woman ends happy!

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:48 am
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[personal profile] heliopausa

It's Vietnam Women's Day today (International Women's Day is also celebrated, but in March, as everywhere else.)  So to mark the day, here’s something about one of the many notable women in Vietnam's history.

Nguyễn Thị Duệ was born in the late sixteenth century, under the Mạc dynasty.  I don't know her parentage, but her name suggests that she was from an undistinguished family - Thị Duệ  (pronounced, roughly, tea zway) means more or less "ordinary worker's daughter".  (It's possible, though, that this was a name given to deflect unwelcome attention - a name to go unnoticed by?) 

At the age of about twenty, she adopted another name, Nguyễn Thị Du, in order to sit the mandarin entrance examination, disguised as a young man.  The name Thị still has something of a female ring to it, but the history definitely says she was disguised when so called, and women did not at that time enter the exams or serve as mandarins.  Anyway, back to the story: 


Statue of Nguyen Thi Due in temple
Statue of Nguyễn Thị Duệ in her temple in Chí Linh District of Hải Dương province.— VNS Photo Bạch Liên


Of her poetry, I have struggled with the translation of just two lines.  I like it very much, but I can't say it neatly enough in English.  Here, in fourteen words, she gives a picture of a young girl (nữ nhi) straining to just barely touch the strings (lề) used to bind together the books of her time, and predicts with certainty that the girl who can do so much will advance, first to the humble copy-card used to learn characters (thiếp), and then to take her doctorate (trạng nguyên).


Nữ nhi dù đặng có lề

Ắt là tay thiếp kém gì trạng nguyên

She who uses all means possible to just touch the book's binding
Advances to spell out the words, and to win her doctorate. 

(Not literal, but I promise you a heck of a lot closer than G****** translate.)

Wet weekend and the Water Temple

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:47 pm
heliopausa: (Default)
[personal profile] heliopausa
We have been having very heavy rains of later, in short bursts - so heavy that it seems amazing that so much could have been up there to start with.  Of course, this means floods and landslides and much loss and sadness in the mountain areas, but here in the city there's very little flooding, and blessedly no buildings collapsing that I've heard of (not that I'd expect them to, but the city is built on river delta land, not on solid rock, so it's possible, especially where people might have built their home themselves, piecemeal). 
The wetness has been a pleasure to the three quiet toads who live in our garden, at least.  They are Big, Middle and Little, and like to lurk under damp things - leaves or the edges of the old lily-bowl.  (Garden is a bit of exaggeration - there's a small paved yard, and in the corner a quadrant of earth, about a metre/four foot in radius.  Not big, but big enough for three toads.)

There was a break in the weather on Sunday, and we took advantage of it to take a walk through the back lanes, and as it happened, found ourselves passing the Water Temple complex - it's not a big complex, but one with a long history, and with two temples, and multiple side-altars and shrines.  It was marking a great day of some sort - the day wasn't in itself especially auspicious in the general calendar, so I think possibly the festival ceremonies were for particular community or family occasions, such as an upcoming marriage - there was a young couple front-and-centre in the side temple - but then again it's just over a week since the birthday/translation day of Princess Steadfast Jade, who is linked (if I've got my history and translations right) to this temple, and possibly it was just her celebration happening late.  (It may have been two different events just happening in both temples at the same time, too.)

Anyway, everything was very splendid, with big paper horses and paper elephants and slightly smaller paper boats with dragon prows, and multitudes of paper guards and attendants, some with swords and some with cymbals, and of course real people as well...  :)   Most of the horses were lined up in front of the central temple, but the side temple had one horse and one elephant and one boat; the paper attendants were too many to count (ie while behaving properly, as opposed to standing up and craning!) in both places.  In the central temple there were preparatory prayers going on when we first arrived, and then later the shaman/priest began to embody different personas, with different costumes and characteristics - the Forest Princess who dances, the General who declares, with swordplay, his determination to see justice, and so on.  Meanwhile, in the side-temple, a scholar/priest was reading and chanting and striking a wooden bell, while people sat quietly and listened. 

And here are some photos!  :)


The elephant stands proudly with eight horses in front of the central temple.  Every horse has a groom, but the sage elephant stands alone. :)





Mandarins and Generals and advisors as attendants in the side temple.  (The thing that looks like an airconditioning duct is a snake - snakes wind around through the rafters.)




Musicians and ladies-in-waiting and a Queen (?) stand in attendance on the left-hand side of the side-temple; the side-altar is like a cave because the Mother-Goddess devotion is very nature-linked, very much seen in terms of mountains and forests.





2017 Assignments Are Out!

Oct. 11th, 2017 12:44 am
morbane: uletide mod image of guinea pig among daisies (Yuletide)
[personal profile] morbane posting in [community profile] yuletide_admin

Assignments Out


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