Sunday, March 23, 2014

China on my mind…

Malaysian Airline Flight 370 has been on my mind quite a bit these past days. Like many people, there are a myriad of reasons why some of us are affected by this tragic mysterious loss. Unexplained losses are the hardest.

I spent all my high school years in Singapore, with the last two in boarding school as my parents moved to Malaysia. I have fond memories of a train journey from Singapore through Malaysia onto Thailand with three classmates. Over the course of several years, I took similar flight paths as MA 370. I returned to Thailand when my parents were stationed there. I travelled to Hong Kong and Macau. I went on to mainland China to Guang Zhou. I returned to Singapore twelve years after my high school graduation to re-edit and retrace the steps of The Secret Map of Singapore which my parents had designed, and I was left speechless at the grandeur of the Wall of China a couple of years ago.

Now, living in Northern California, I am often drawn to San Francisco's Chinatown. I always sense a pull from all my years and travels in the Far East. With passengers from the flight being from many corners of the globe, by far the biggest loss is the Chinese. I honor them today with this small collection of colorful photos, which wrap themselves around my fanciful taste for Chinoiserie, whose colors blend with the vignettes of Provence in my home.

A rural home ~ a poem by Mei Yaochen (1002-1060)

The cock crows three times; the sky is almost light.
Someone's lined up bowls of rice, along with flasks of tea.
Anxiously, the peasants rush to start the ploughing early,
I pull aside the willow shutter and gaze at the morning stars.

• the last emperor of China, Pu Yi •
Off to the side of the main palaces in The Forbidden City in Beijing, I discovered stunning large photographs framed in Chinese lacquer red surrounding a small intimate courtyard .
 How nice it would be to sit there today, and reflect on the lives of all the people of flight MA370.
Indeed that would be … very good for the soul.