Chinese Myth Tuesdays: Chinese Valentine's

Edited and with additions from Fuck Yeah Chinese Myths!


Chinese Valentine’s Day (七夕节, qīxījié) falls on the seventh day of the seventh month in the old Chinese lunar calendar, and has been celebrated since the Han dynasty. This year it’s on Saturday 2nd August, so date night. Here’s the really awesome story behind it.

Once, there was a cowherd, Niulang (牛郎 Niúláng) who married a beautiful fairy girl, Zhinü (织女 Zhīnǚ, literally “weaver girl”). Zhinü was the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven, but she got bored, came down to earth and fell in love with Niulang. In another version, Niulang’s cow talked to him one day, and told him to go to the lake where fairies were bathing, and take the red set of clothes as it belongs to the prettiest one.


Min Xie, Tue 29 July 2014 - 06:47

Summer Shorts: Train Station

Tickets please – flash fiction by Anthony Tao


It’s too humid to be raining. The water caught in the sky doesn’t fall so much as appear on our skin, so that it feels like we wear another person’s sweat. We turn into a narrow entryway, the thick orange characters transomed atop informing us that the station is ahead, past jewelry shops, milk tea stands, and a side entrance to Kentucky Fried Chicken. The air here is different, hefty and choked with presence, as if, according to some law of physics and society, it pushes back against our breath.

Travelers sleep on the grubby linoleum in the lobby. One man lies with his head pillowed by his single-zippered rucksack. A crowd has begun to pool around the only two functioning gates.


Anthony Tao, Sun 27 July 2014 - 12:37

Dark Displays

Sightseeing the Nanjing Massacre Museum – by Christian Shepherd


"Alright mate. Where've you got to?" I'm sat on the benches at the exit."

Relieved, I up my pace to a brisk walk. "With you shortly."

"No rush mate – watching an interesting documentary on the author of The Rape of Nanking. You don't want to skimp on the torture and beheadings section."

I slow down. "Hold on – you're still downstairs?"

There's a pause on the other end of the line. "Upstairs? There's more?"


Christian Shepherd, Fri 25 July 2014 - 05:44

Chinese Myth Tuesdays: Dragons!

Edited, with additions, from Fuck Yeah Chinese Myths!


If you’re not from Asia, you’ll be familiar with dragon slaying tales. In Western culture, dragons are evil, but in Chinese culture, they’re benevolent and kind, and made of awesome. Here’s why.

The story goes that in the earliest time in China, people formed clans. Each had an animal to represent their clan, like a pig or a snake, to show how badass they were.

Over time, one clan led by the legendary Yellow Emperor (黃帝 Huángdì) adopted the fearsome traits of animals from the clans they defeated, joining the claws of an eagle, the body of a serpent, the face of a lion, etc. – forming, you guessed it, the dragon.


Min Xie, Tue 22 July 2014 - 07:11

Poem: Salvation (拯救)

A bilingual poem by Tom Mangione



Plastacine pilgrims at the shuttle launch

Combinations, switchbacks in time

Black holes of memories leading back

We go under by going over


Priestly penny pinchers

Gather on the periphery

Flags of our fathers rise up


Tom Mangione, Mon 21 July 2014 - 05:01

Summer Shorts: Censor

From inside the machine – by Alicia Lui


It started simply, with those words, “Just hold me.” Normally he wouldn’t have taken a second look; after all, those words were harmless. As a censor at the largest social network in China, it was his job to scan thousands of messages daily to make sure “sensitive” messages didn’t get out. All the new hardware and algorithms his employers invested in made his job easier, but users were finding creative ways to bypass automated filters. Luckily so, or he’d be out of a job.

Every now and then, to alleviate boredom, he would read entire conversations: couples planning the weekend, company executives scouting apartments, teenage girls gossiping about cute boys, all manners of debates, jokes and puns.


Alicia Lui, Sun 20 July 2014 - 15:08