女子无才便是德 | The goodness of women lies in the lack of talent

Here is a old Chinese saying. It is definitely taken out of contact. The whole paragraph was decribing it is helpful for women to read widely and to deepen the understanding of the big concepts of the world. However such case is rare to happen. Most women read only the popular novels and theatrical scripts, and learn to pick fights and get themselves into dramas. Thus, it is more risky for women to read than not. At least if they do not read, they would listen to their fathers and husbands.

It is interesting that even in modern-day China, this has been recognized as an old-fashioned way to restrain women with moral, I had still been told so many times.

One time, we were carpooling home after a late rehearsal. I was sitting in the back by myself. I remember that, because I remember feeling comfrotable talking and not looking anybody in the eyes. I was telling the two people in front about a book I was reading, and it raises the feeling of fear in me. I fear that I would experience the same thing that the book describes. Passenger seat fell silent. Then the driver, who I respected a lot and still do, said 'that's why women shouldn't read'.

I was confused.

'Why do I have to be so weird? Why did I talk about this with two men? Men probably don't feel as much, since they are apparently more intellectual than emotional. Now I really should stop reading books.............or stop talking about my feelings.'

I now know there are so many aspects of humanity that I've understood by reading. And when I read, I do not just see words, I experience. But by the time, I was only ahsamed by it. It was a time my sensibility really made me feel like a weirdo because I can't seem to get my pieces back together fast enough and move on. To this day, some part me still do not want to read. Solely because I haven't admitted how much that comment hurt when I was really enthusiastic about reading.

It is not fare to accuse any individual. But do I wish it was not someone that I respected so much? Do I wish he could have told me my feelings were real but they may change and new feelings may rise? Do I wish he had identified me as a human being rather than just a woman? Do I wish I had talked to another woman with similar experience? Do I wish women were more outspoken with how they feel, so I didn't feel alone? Oh yes!

As of now, I am able to lay in bed, make myself comfortable, even light a couple candles and enjoy a great book that takes me somewhere I've never dreamt of being. And my heart and brain both roam the wild lands of logics, feelings, thoughts, inspirations, images, sounds, smells... I can't help but stop and think about him, him and a lot of other men and women out there, that is denying this thrilling and wonderful experience. And say no, thank you.

To the Angel that was Just Passing By

You had a human name. It was Elizabeth Kemp. You stopped by on earth for a smidgen of your life time, brought the real humans out of the shell of civilization a lot of times. Then when you saw there are enough humans trying to stay themselves, you just left. The sun is still shining, and you are behind the light, smiling at us. 

You were such a myth to me when I first had you for Basic Technique. I mean, you still are. But I have to admit I couldn’t understand 50% of the words you said at that time. Nervous as I was, I’d be happy enough to understand the assignments of each class. But I remember obsessing over your age. I deliberately pointed you out to one of my Chinese friends, ‘look, that’s my acting teacher!’ ‘She is so young’, he said. I grinned, ‘no, she is 62’. The look on his face was so satisfying and I was so proud, as if you were how I am going to be when I am 62.

It was a task in class to please you. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t want to use that expression. But truth is, that’s the mentality that got most of us a smile of you in class. And that's a gigantic award! We look to your smiling and nodding as the ultimate standard of getting the technique of acting. The journey to please a queen was not easy. There was a lot of tears, a lot of anxiety, a lot of practice, a lot of extra work, a lot of pettiness, a lot of panicking…

When I first got to soften my shell a bit, all I can think of is all the pain you have to live with. Wouldn’t it be horrible to be open like Elizabeth? I always thought to myself. And you looked wounded to me, because of that thought. Though as many horrible things that was revealed, there's as much if not much more beautiful moments. When you can notice the smell of a pine tree, when you can see the cloud move, when you look at the person in front of you, and wonder how the fabric of their shirt feels…. When you hold that warm cup in your hand, and appreciate every little sensory discovery.

You made me believe. The moment you asked me to look at my character’s dead husband on the floor asking her to marry him again, I believed. The moment you said thank you to each and everyone in the circle, I believed. The moment you said there is always light around, I believed. The only thing I still don’t believe, is that you have gone back to be the angel you were again.


I reach out my hand,

to the untouchable.

In the green light, I see your face.

And you are just smiling and nodding.

I whisper…


And when I get tired,

we’ll just sit in the bench on the hallway.

You are holding my shoulder,

and just staring into my soul.

Just looking,

like words are never invented.


爸爸妈妈,可能你们不会看到这封假装写给你们的信。但是这一次离家, 我真的装不出不在乎。







To the person who told me to go live in metropolises

If I, as my 17-year-old self, am looking at myself now, I would judge the shit out of me.

I live in New York, I try the heathy diet, I quit smoking, I am constantly in search of true love, I think about work 80 percent of the time I am awake... The 17-year-old me was way more detached from the common life of struggle. She just left home, learned to smoke like what the other misfits would do. Right, she was proud of being a misfit. Because that is COOL.

I met you, when I was 17.

You went to college in America, and had been working in the city construction office ever since you came back to China. If I hadn't know you through a theatre event, for the arrogant teenager I was, you would be just another middle-aged man.

But, no, you were interesting, even way more interesting than the young people I hang out with. You hated the system, and you joked about working for it to break it. You were extremely honest but polite. You said you think I am really smart. I fell in love with listening to you talking with the southern-China accent that I usually find annoying.

One day at dinner, you asked if there was a city I could choose to live in by my free will, where would it be. I said probably somewhere really quite and small-town-ish. You kept eating, saying 'You gotta live in some really big cities, trust me. If you eventually want to move to a quite and tranquil village, you gotta experience the exciting and fucked-up life in those cities. Or you'll never be able to enjoy it!'. I thought it made sense. And we kept on talking about other things.

Years have passed after that. I didn't know how life led me to make all the choices I've made, but here I am. I wouldn't even realize how your words have been kept somewhere in my mind space, if I didn't have the shittiest New Years Eve ever, and cried my heart  out on the subway home 3 o'clock on the first day of 2017.

But see, I never forgot. I am now living your advise. Who knows if I would follow it all the way through. Who cares? I hope, secretly, you do.