Reflections

中国丽江纳西族 - 木府是土皇帝的故居

中国丽江真是个好地方。这古城有一句非常让人遐想的口号:“来丽江享受柔软时光”。用“柔软”二字形容时间,也许在其他地方是不可思议,也不恰当的词儿,可是在慵懒的丽江午后,坐在茶馆,一手拿杯子轻触唇边,让幽幽的茶香刺激嗅觉,清淡的茶水滋润喉间,另一手握住书卷,让文字填满思维,触动内心最深处的灵魂

单单静躺着读书品茶是很好的选择,可是到了古城,不走走体会当地的古迹文化,却会是人生一大憾事。

木府就是这样一个不能不去的地方。

明代徐霞客给木府留下的惊叹代徐霞客给木府留下的惊叹代徐霞客给木府留下的惊叹从木府出来,门前的大片大理墙上,金碧生辉的金色字体写:”宫室之丽,拟于王者”。那是明朝徐霞客游毕木府后发出的惊叹。我曾走过北京王城,堂皇富丽的装饰,雕栏玉砌的楼台,金碧辉煌的宫瓦,热闹竞艳的宫中野史。。。。。每个转角处都有故事等我去寻探,木府想在这儿跟北京城较量还不够资格。

忠义两双全是木府土司的执著?


诚然,木府有它的特色。它不是万岁王府,也算是当年“土皇帝”的居所。纳西族姓木的土司曾统治丽江470年,历经元,明,清三个朝代,一直对朝廷忠义不二,单单在木府入口处的石牌坊就写有“忠义“两字,乃是明朝万历皇帝批准建造的。第十代土司木泰所题的诗句,如今是对联挂牌坊两侧,“凤昭每来红日近,鹤书不到白云闲”,意即皇帝诏书一到,心里犹如与太阳亲近般暖和;长期没接到朝廷文书,心里就象白云闲飞般空洞。这对联是凸显土司忠君爱国的情怀,还是他猛拍皇帝马屁的脸孔?这是见仁见智的问题。

木府的建筑群没有精雕细琢的纹理,却处处表现粗线条的勾勒,少了一分刻意装饰的荣华,多了一分清新自然的淳朴。这里一花一草,一景一物都与自然融合一体,走在平实的石路上,心情不会有太大起伏波动,也不常出现让人惊叹的飞檐楼阁,可是我的心有着一股平静和安稳,有回归自然的快意。

丽江木府,更深了解你以后,你的魅力不亚于金碧辉煌的王城宫殿!

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Chinese New Year 农历新年

Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.

农历新年是团圆的好时光!

CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner
CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner

Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.

常在远远外地工作的游子,繁忙的作息无法让我们常常回乡探望父母和亲友。农历新年往往就是你可以与他们共享美好相聚时光的好机会。

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.

 

我常听年轻朋友说,农历新年是最浪费时间的节日。一大群的亲戚朋友聚在一起做些毫无意义的活动,例如赌博,讲闲话,烹饪和洗刷。我们年轻的孩子已经不珍惜农历新年的日子了,为什么?我可以想到几个原因。

  1. Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
  2. 核心家庭成为常态 – 现在我们如何给“家庭”定义呢?第一个进入脑袋的应该是“丈夫,妻子和他们的孩子们”,对吗?这种“核心家庭”是我们社会所谓正常的家庭结构。我们不再鼓励跟父母同住,因为他们会越权干涉我们的家务事。当然,核心家庭有它可取之处 – 夫妻俩可以学习如何独立处理他们的生活,从而帮助发展他们更成熟的品格。可惜的是这样的家庭结构让剥夺了孩子跟祖父母交流相处的机会。爷爷奶奶,公公婆婆是偶尔在他们家中出现的客人 – 儿往往他们的造访成为父母争吵的原因。处理的方式是让孩子有更多的机会跟延伸家庭成员有更多交流的机会,譬如一起去郊游,野餐,购物或共餐。别让农历新年成为孩子遇见伯伯,叔叔,姑姑,舅舅,姨妈,堂兄弟姐妹,表兄弟姐妹的唯一时间。
  3. Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally”  from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
  4. 父母虚伪的品格 – 当我们的延伸家庭成员不在身边的时候,孩子听见的都是一些对他们不满的埋怨和闲话。话语中充满着愤怒,妒忌和讥讽。农历新年一到,他们看见父母马上换了另一副嘴脸,好听的话很“自然”挂在嘴边 – 孩子看到的是虚伪,他们讨厌这种嘴脸。父母所忽视和轻视的,孩子就会拒绝。解决的方法就是活得真实。我们愿意常常衷心赞美延伸家庭成员的好,停止所有的彼此争竞和妒忌,也为他们来感恩。
  5. The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)
  6. 西方个人主义的影响 – 西方的教育和文化常常以自我为出发点。当父母不再把社群价值观(它是中国和东方文化的核心价值),彼此相爱和慷慨祝福他人的美好品格视为重要,我们不能责怪孩子活出处处只为自己的自私。他们会鄙视任何毫无利益且又带来不方便的相处时间,就算是新年红包里少许的金钱也不足以让他们去承受那么一点点的不便。解决的方式是以身作则,教导他们东方传承的社群文化。我们慷慨解囊帮助有需要的亲戚和朋友,鼓励他们愿意为了别人的好处而忍受一点不方便,不断提醒孩子外国的月亮不比本地的更圆更亮 (虽然西方文化也有值得我们学习的),东方文化和我们的根里面有许多值得我们去学习和传承的正面价值。

Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.

Our CNY tradition - Dim Sum brunch

Our CNY tradition – Dim Sum brunch

Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.

诚然,我们有很多其他的方法来帮助我们年轻的孩子去欣赏农历新年和这个节日所包含的精华。我欢迎你们在这篇贴子下留言提供你们宝贵的意见。

最重要的是:爱是我们欢庆农历新年的原因。我们愿意跟家人亲戚和朋友分享爱,衷心祝福他们。

A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.

一个基督徒朋友在面子书分享了这首他教会会友所编写的贺岁歌曲。我很喜欢 – 农历新年是我们回想神的恩典和祝福,且怀感恩的心来赞美他。农历新年,我们也要跟亲朋戚友分享耶稣的爱 – 因为我们每天都经历耶稣的爱!

I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福

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Only Jesus can give us BOTH

 

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to have both? That’s perfection.” By Timothy Killer

Who can offer us both? Only Jesus!images1

 

“让不懂得自己的人爱着是件很安慰的事,可是这种爱很肤浅。他若懂得你却不爱你的人,那是可怕的事。如果我们能够拥有两者呢?那就太完美了。”

谁能让我们拥有两者呢?唯有耶稣!

image2

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When I cannot see 看不见的时候

一首非常经典的诗歌!

人生未免有起落。

走在高山,有欢欣跳跃的时候;走在低谷,有沮丧疑惑的时候 – 不管你是信徒或不是,这些都是无可避免的真实。

圣经从来没有应许我们天常蓝,花常开,它却告诉我们在苦难和疑惑的道路上,这位慈爱的主牵着我们的手一步一脚印地走过,这不就已经足够了吗?

基督徒无法改变环境,除非神有更高的旨意,他不会刻意去改变自然的定律。

当暴风骤雨的患难中,我们是埋怨神不拯救我们脱离苦难?还是依靠主带领我们走过苦难呢?

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Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition in Taiwan 死海古卷展览

 与您分享台北信基大楼的“死海古卷展览”

 

我们的信仰根基在于主的话语。信仰里面包含基督徒个人很主观的经历,也有上帝允许留下来的客观证据。

虽然我们的信仰绝对不是扎根在考古和出土文献中,它们也给了我们历史的佐证,不会让人觉得基督教只是神话一桩,与民间传统神话一样没有客观的依据。

希望你能有点时间观看这段介绍影片和下面的叙述。神祝福你。

 

以色列死海古卷展,是今年臺灣基督徒的年度盛事,由臺灣福音書房、臺灣基督徒信仰研究學會和基督教論壇基金會共同主辦。官方網站如下:http://dssexpo.info/

延長展期:
一 10/30(四)~11/1(六)每天11:00~18:00
二 11/7(五)至11/29(六)期間,每週五、週六、週一11:00~18:00
雖然展出的內容十分吸引人,但仍有許多讀者不克前往,並向水深之處反映,希望能夠分享相關內容。正好水深之處的同仁們也配搭了這次的服事,可以近距離觀察;為了服務讀者,我們挑選了一些圖片,佐以簡單的說明,希望能為大家提供一幅鳥瞰圖。

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A word from Spurgeon

If you cannot trust God for the temporal, how dare you trust him for the eternal? – Spurgeon
你若无法在短暂的今天信靠神;你怎么可以理直气壮地说自己在永恒的事上信靠他呢?- 司布真

How true! This is our common blind spot. We believe and trust Jesus for eternal life and salvation…….but we cannot even trust him for today’s problem. Our problems and issues become so much bigger than Jesus when it comes to bolts and nuts of living. Pray that we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit to truly believe and trust Him.
诚然,这经常是我们的盲点。我们相信耶稣赐我们永生和救赎。。。。可是我们却无法相信耶稣能在今天的事上帮助我们。在日常作息的时候,我们的问题和挑战大过耶稣!祈求圣灵赐我们力量来真正相信信靠他!
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Being rich is not how much you have but how much you give

Giving is a virtue and it’s working out of our faith

I received this short film via a Facebook friend.

The story is very simple but the meaning is great, especially for those of us who strive so hard to be successful and rich.

What is success? To different people, it means different things.

Some measure success by the amount of money you have (I mean that kept in your possession), some by the number of properties you own, some by the string of status you put on your name card, some by the profession you are in, some by the number of friends you have (everyone is talking about EQ and networking now)……..the list if endless. However, we notice that these measures are all based on money, material possession and fame.

What is success? Continue reading

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A Real Touching Story of a Chinese teacher

Let us not love by words only but by actions

I received this video shared by Sister Adeline this morning. I find it a great encouragement for us to continue loving in actions and not only by words.

The video is about a 30 year old man spending his time as a teacher in a poverty stricken village in Yunan Province of China. He can play guitar and compose songs. He joined a Talent Search programme with a simple desire to earn more money which could afford him to buy meat for his students. He did not mention a word of loving these children but his action spells “sacrificial love” for them and it can be understood by all.

There are so many passages in the bible telling us that our belief is like noisy gong if it does not touch others’ lives and make a difference. Continue reading

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Life is like coffee

What do you value the most in life?

I received this inspirational video from Pastor Inky – and I like it!

It spells of wisdom from the professor and it highlights the main issues facing us today:

We chase after the unimportant things and forget about what is the most valuable.

What is valuable can be very different to different people. To me a simple test is this:

What money can buy cannot be most valuable;

I am looking for things which matter most in life – relationships.

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恭祝大家农历新年蒙恩 Wishing all a blessed CNY

农历新年终于到了 Finally….Chinese New Year is here

时间过得真快,一转眼明天就是年除夕了。除夕夜是华人全家聚集一起吃团圆饭的日子。现今的年轻人,因为个人主义抬头,大家庭制度的流失,已经无法明白团圆饭的意义了。

Time flies…..we are going to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve tomorrow. Usually it is a time when the whole family (including all extended family members) having a reunion dinner together. With the increasing individualistic value and extended family disappearing rapidly, the younger generations may not see the significance of this event.

可是,你们知道吗?这个简单的年夜饭是很多长辈日夜等待的日子,尤其是他们的儿孙没有跟他们同住的老人。

Do you know? For most of elderly family members, this is a day they have been looking forward for the entire year. This is especially true when most of their children and grand children are staying away from them for the rest of the year.

他们殷切盼望见到你们 They are looking forward to seeing you…………….

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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Songs and Red Decorations

RedNext Thursday is the Chinese New Year Eve. I decided to change the background of my Blog to reflect the festive season and its joyous mood.

It reminds us the year is coming to an end soon and a completely new year awaiting us. I pray that there is peace in every heart, peace in every nation and peace in the world.

And for every Christian, may Philippians 4:7 be with us always; “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Red is the favorite colour in Chinese New Year. Wherever you go, shopping centres, markets, shops, schools, recreation places and streets, you cannot miss the “redness” of these places. I wrote a Chinese article last year about this special colour in this festive season. Let me share with you.

大家一起过个红彤彤的新年

前几天,我买了些新年装饰品,墙上贴上红春联,客厅挂一串闪闪发亮的红爆竹,角落摆设红扇,置放一束红桃花,一篮子的柑和礼篮,再从书房拿出杭州买的”枫桥夜泊”的字画挂在饭厅………….真的满室春意盎然.爸爸一踏进家门,马上露出笑脸:”哈 哈,这样红彤彤的才有新年的气氛!” 他拖着小侄儿的手,站在春联面前,操着浓浓的客家音念着:”甜甜蜜蜜庆团圆,欢欢喜喜迎新年.”

传统的新年是红色的.

近几十年来,”传统”这个词儿让人标签成”落伍”,”老土”和”退步”等负面的意义.记得很多年前,市场风行全黑的“乌鸦”装,爱“酷”的青少年,大年初一也百无禁忌,穿了一身黑向祖父母拜年.长辈一看,脸一沉,背过身去,吐口唾液:”大吉利是!”在当年的确掀起一场热闹的”代沟战”.老的说,年青人不尊敬长辈,年初一穿黑色,象穿孝服出街,别人不知情,还以为家里死了人呢!小的也不甘示弱,他们说,老一辈食古不化,颜色本身是中立的,他们只是随己好穿戴,没半点不敬之意.当年我是个年青人,纵使我不苟老人家的迷信,我选择体恤他们的心情.他们多数没受过高深的教育,他们用咸咸的汗水和坚挺的背脊把一家人养活.他们最怕的是天灾人祸,命运强霸捣碎一家的幸福,所以他们要平安吉利,要风调雨顺,任何触霉头的东西都避而远之. 其实,我还很庆幸,年轻人只是把黑色穿戴身上,而不是让它们变成”乌云满地”.试想想,门前挂黑布条,春联黑纸写,收到的红包是”黑包”………这是怎样的一种新年啊?

传统的新年是连串好话如玉珠洒满地的季节.

新年里,除了保持红润健康的面颊,笑容可掬,温婉有礼外,也要操练自己多讲好话,免说触”霉头”不吉祥的话.新年期间说好话是合宜的.你听,大街小巷播放的贺岁歌曲:”……见面第一句话,就是恭喜恭喜…….”你看,做买卖的最爱收到”恭喜发财,生意兴隆,大展鸿图”的贺年片,同学们互道祝福,”学业进步,万事如意”永远受落,市井百姓要求”年年有余,身体健康,吉祥顺利”.但愿这不是流于表面功夫,乃是从心发出的祝福.

圣经里的箴言如此说:”一句话说得合宜,就如金苹果在银网子里。”金苹果在银网的画面本身就是一种美,绝对符合赏心悦目的标准.如果我们常年都慎言,诚心用话语祝福鼓励身边的人,我相信社会更美,我们的面容也会变得”赏心悦目”吧? 我希望天天是新年,人人讲好话,一切的误会,不欢, 咒诅和怨恨,都要了结,定意要重建温馨和睦的关系.

也许你会说我很老土,我还是喜欢红彤彤的新年,爱听充满温馨关怀的祝福语,它让我看到中国传统的颜色,感觉新春希望的喜悦,增添温馨和喜气,更让人与人的关系有重新出发的盼望.

Besides seeing red everywhere, you also hear Chinese new year songs being played everywhere. Most of the songs are traditional with fire crackers, drums and cymbals as the background. They are great to add to the festive atmosphere.

However, I like a more sentimental Chinese songs sung by Kelvin Lau 刘勇男 & Angie Leong 梁爱慈 recorded in 1997. Click the video below and start enjoying it.

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Merry Christmas! What does this mean?

Did you say, “Merry Christmas”?

I know, Christmas is coming soon. It’s just less than a month away. Are you starting your busy schedule yet?

I can imagine you are busy shopping and buying all sort of things to decorate your beautiful home. Yes, glittering ornaments hanging on a Christmas trees at the corner of your living hall is a class of its own. You feel good that you have a share of this holiday season.

Of course you will not let the church goes bare during Christmas season, right? You will volunteer yourself to put up the most traditional nativity scene at the church’s entrance. A small wooden bed surrounded by hays and sticks; may be a small little doll sleeping on the bed. How about putting up a few cattle around it, it adds to the Christmas atmosphere.

One more thing, your children must join the church’s carol team. When they stand up there wearing their best outfits, singing with cheers and confidence, your face will beam with happiness and pride. “Haven’t I brought up my children well? Look at them. They are the shining stars among the other children.” Parents are usually not objective when they come to looking at their own children. 🙂

Are these Christmas all about?

I came across the following video which I thought captured the heart cry of those who truly know the meaning of Christmas. Go ahead and listen to it and tell me what you think about it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

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The Best Is Yet To Come

EmailEmail Messages with Stories

I love receiving emails which contain stories.

I particularly like my friend Simon Yap’s emails. He has been sending me different stories, jokes and sometimes riddles – and without fail these emails would either send me into laughter or set me thinking about life. Instead of enjoying them myself, I choose to share some of them with you.

Thank you, Simon, for your friendship. Let the email’s stories coming.

This story has an encouraging message which keeps us walking courageously as a Christian in this world. I hope all of you will enjoy it.

Woman and a Fork Continue reading
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How does the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

abundantToday is 19th September, 2013 Thursday. I am rushing to post this before the midnight clock strikes.

What is so special about this day? It may not mean much to most people but it is an important day for the Chinese and Vietnamese. Today is the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar,  a day of a full moon, which we commonly call it the Mid-Autumn Festival. (中秋节). Originally the Festival was to celebrate plentiful harvests and family reunion. Most families, especially children, love to light up lanterns and walk in the streets or gardens.

Moon in Chinese literature and songs

The Chinese has many poems (诗词)and songs associate with the moon. We have a special kind of love for the moon. During our secondary school time, we are to memorize many nice poems written by the ancient scholars. One of the popular ones is LiBai (李白)’s “Quiet Night Thought” (静夜思) written in the Tang Dynasty:

床前明月光, 疑是地上霜,举头望明月,低头思故乡。

 Moonlight shines on my bed side, it looks like snow on the ground. Raising my head I see the moon, bowing my head I think of my homeland.

An attempt to put music into this poem can be viewed below:

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The Greatest Ambition of A Mother

chickenWhat is the greatest ambition of a mother?

When I was much younger, something always happened at the dinner table.

Which parts of chicken and fish are mother’s favorites?

When there is a whole chicken on the table, my mother would take the two drumsticks and put them into the plates of my brother and mine. She would then say this, “The two chicken wings are for your father.” (All of us are fully aware that, up to these days when he is over 80 years old, Dad still loves chicken wings. We have given up advising him not to eat these most unhealthy parts of a chicken.) And then mother smiled and said,  “I love eating the neck and the boney parts of the chicken.”

When there is a fish on the table, the unsaid rules in the family are that I will take the tail and the two fins, my brother and Dad will take the “meaty” parts. Mother always takes the fish head. She said, “Fish head is delicious. Anyway, nobody knows how to eat it in this family.”

When I grew a bit older, I thought for myself, “Does mother really like boney parts of the chicken and fish head? Did she eat them because Continue reading

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