Archives for the month of: June, 2014

datong xiaohar 4You must always be yourself, and do things at your own pace. Someday, you’ll catch up. ~ Natsuki Takaya


13 yubeng xiaohai 3Don’t change, extraordinary one. You’re going to light this place up. ~ Rachel Macy Stafford

A young Tibetan boy lights a firecracker to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan new year, in Yubeng village, northwest Yunnan.

dsc_0922-11The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day. ~ John Milton

A young boy sits on the concrete pavement in the public square in central Xuelin. In the background, rice, millet, and other grain are spread out to dry on stiff, flat, handwoven straw mats and filled into large, plastic storage sacks for processing and handling.

Xuelin Wa Autonomous Township in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, looks and feels as though it has stood still in time. It is a study in contrast between new and old, rich and poor, past and present, mainstream and alternative, majority and minority, and other more stark and subtle societal divisions that seemingly only years of turmoil and destruction followed by a frenetic race to modernize and develop could possibly embody. As such, Xuelin is a microcosm of the dynamics of change that envelope China.

hada wuSo the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~ T.S. Eliot

Tibetan youth from Yubeng village in northwest Yunnan perform a traditional dance to honor their elders on Losar or New Year’s Eve. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, falls roughly around mid January-mid February according to the Tibetan Lunar calendar. In Yubeng, villagers gather in a residents home in the lower settlement (雨崩下村)to celebrate the holiday together as a community. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and other revelry continues indoors throughout the night into the early hours of the morning.

Shidong, Guizhou
No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had. ~ Gabriel Garciá Márquez 

A young Miao girl dressed in colorful, embroidered garments and elaborate silver jewelry celebrates Sister Festival (姊妹节) along with other local Miao women in Shidong, Qiandongnan Prefecture, Guizhou. Sister Festival is both a state-sanctioned event with political overtones and a traditional cultural festival that is a favorite amongst local Miao children for its group dancing, singing, drumming, and feasting. The category “Miao” is a complex label that was once a pejorative for all indigenous groups in the area along with “man” (蛮) and “yi” (夷) meaning “barbarian” in Mandarin Chinese, but was refined over time to distinguish between local populations. After 1949, Miao was officially recognized by the majority Han-Chinese state as one of 55 minority ethnic groups defined according to the Marxist-Leninist ideology of nationalities. Qiandongnan is a multi-ethnic prefecture in southeastern Guizhou province that includes Dong, Yao, Zhuang, and other “minority nationalities”.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. ~ Amanda McBroom

Tibetan men perform in front of Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa in celebration of Shoton Festival, an annual holiday marked by the unfurling of a massive Thangkha and the consumption of Tibetan yoghurt amongst other festivities. ©2007

19e Danum valley treetops dawn
Dawn rises over the Danum Valley, one of the world’s oldest and most diverse virgin rainforests.

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald