Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Chinese Legend of the Jade Rabbit

Cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is no ordinary bunny. Calling the moon its home, the Jade Rabbit is a mystical and enchanting Eastern legend. When the bunny isn’t busy making immortality elixirs, it keeps the beautiful goddess Chang’e company in the Moon Palace. Out of the various legends explaining the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the tale of Chang’e tends to be better known, but what’s the story behind her tailed companion?
In East Asia, the Jade Rabbit is a widespread cultural symbol, and the various legends associated with this Eastern bunny differ from country to country. This is how one Chinese legend, an ancient Buddhist story, goes…
The Jade Emperor disguised himself into a poor, starving old man and begged for food from monkey, otter, jackal, and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, and otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds. Rabbit though, could only gather grass. Knowing well enough that grass can’t be offered as food to humans, rabbit decided to offer its own body, sacrificing itself in the fire the man had started. Somehow, though, rabbit wasn’t burned. The old man suddenly revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor! Touched deeply by rabbit’s selfless sacrifice, he sent it to the moon to become the immortal Jade Rabbit.
This mystical Jade Rabbit made its Shen Yun debut in the 2014 dance Monkey King Thwarts the Evil Toad. In this story, a big, bad toad wants to devour the Tang Monk. But after Monkey King comes to the rescue, toad flies off to hide in the Moon Palace. There, it finds the Jade Rabbit busy at work—pounding herbal medicine into magical elixir with its mortar and pestle.
When the Moon Goddess Chang’e appears and summons bunny away, the toad, which had been lurking the entire time, shape shifts into the likeness of the Jade Rabbit. It then swipes some elixir to heal its injured leg and runs off with bunny’s pestle as a weapon. With a malicious, armed meta-toad on the loose things get pretty hectic. Luckily, Monkey King’s golden gaze sees through every demonic guise. He thwarts the toad and saves the day, returns the magic pestle to the Jade Rabbit, and all ends well.
* * *
It is said that if you look up at the moon, you can see an outline of the Jade Rabbit pounding with a pestle. More than just cute, fluffy, and white, the Jade Rabbit is a sign of selflessness, piety, and sacrifice. Maybe that’s why the Jade Rabbit is on the moon—so that no matter where we are on Earth, we always have the ethics of righteousness and self-sacrifice to look up to.
So, the next time you look up at the moon, recall the Jade Rabbit who has nothing to give but himself—for others.
Ancient China was a land where gods and mortals lived in tandem and created a divinely inspired culture. And so it became that early Chinese history and mythology are wholly intertwined. Our new “Mythistory” series introduces you to the main characters of the marvelous legends of China.

WATCH Legend Of The IMMORTAL Rabbit On The Moon

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WATCH 2018年神韵 SHENYUN

(https://youtu.be/gKRyRe6EQ_4)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

MUSIC: Remembering Wong Ka Kui, Japanese students singing “Under a Vast Sky” 怀念黄家驹 日本学生日文演唱《海阔天空》

WATCH Remembering Wong Ka Kui, Japanese students singing “Under a Vast Sky” 怀念黄家驹 日本学生日文演唱《海阔天空》


“Under a Vast Sky” (海阔天空) was a 1993 hit by Hong Kong band—Beyond.
The song was composed by the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Wong Ka Kui. He expressed his disappointment with Hong Kong’s music industry in the 1990s, through “Under a Vast Sky”.

Wong Ka Kui 黄家驹 (1962 – 1993)

Sadly, the talented Wong Ka Kui died at the age of 31 on 30 June 1993, after a tragic accident. On 24 June 1993, he fell accidentally off a three-meter stage during the rehearsal of a game show for Fuji Television in Tokyo, Japan.
“Under a Vast Sky”—Here’s part of the lyrics:
“Forgive me for embracing freedom in my life
But also fear of falling down some day
To give up one’s hope, it isn’t for hard for anyone
It would be fine if there’s only you and me”
In 2014, “Under a Vast Sky” has become the unofficial anthem during Hong Kong’s umbrella movement, as the protesters could relate to the song’s quest for freedom in the lyrics.
“We were all in awe of [the late] Wong Ka-kui’s immense talents. Full of energy and creativity, he was the soul of the band,” said Beyond’s ex-member (1986-1988), Lau Chi Yuen told the South China Morning Post.
今年的6月30日, 是香港Beyond乐队主唱黄家驹逝世24周年纪念日。为了纪念黄家驹,日本圣德学园的学生用日文深情演唱了黄家驹担任主唱的最后一首歌曲,Beyond的代表作之一 ──《海阔天空》。
《海阔天空》是黄家驹在1993年,亲自作曲、填词及主唱的歌。
在很多华人心中,《海阔天空》已经不只是一首歌,它的价值和影响远远超过了歌曲本身。只要唱起《海阔天空》,就能忘记身边的冷眼与嘲笑,就能找回内心的自由自我,充满力量。

WATCH Wong Ka Kui performed “Under a Vast Sky” for the last time in 1993 (1993年,黄家驹最后一次演唱《海阔天空》 )

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WATCH The Musician Who Perished Nine Years Ago

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Recipe: Condensed Milk Raisin Cookies

This recipe is adapted from http://jesska.co.za/2012/12/30/condensed-milk-cookies/

Makes 48 Condensed Milk Raisin Cookies (Sugarless) – I replaced sugar with 3 tbsp honey


Ingredients:
  • 125g butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (120g to 200g condensed milk – depending on your preference)
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 90 g raisins OR Sunmaid Natural California Raisins 3Sx30G
Preparations:
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, set aside.
Directions:
  • Cream butter and honey (OR sugar) in a bowl by hand or  an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix
  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt and mix until no trace of flour can be seen
  • Slowly add in the condensed milk and mix
  • Fold in the raisins
  • Put the dough in a transparent plastic bag or plastic wrap, and roll out the dough to about 5mm thick 
  • Put your dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters
  • Place cookies on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper
  • Bake in oven at 170 C for 10 – 12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies turn brown

Enjoy!

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WATCH Song Composed by the Little Angles of RideToFreedom 骑行三千公里的壮歌

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Recipe: Raisin Cupcakes with Lychee

This recipe is adapted from ‘Baking with Tropical Fruits’ by Melinda Lim

Makes 12 Raisin Cupcakes with Lychee (Sugarless) – I replaced 200 g castor sugar with 3 tbsp honey

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of lychee, drained and chopped, reserve the liquid
  • 220 g (7.5 oz) cake flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp honey OR 130 g (4.5 oz) castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 tbsp reserved lychee water
  • 180 g raisins OR Sunmaid Natural California Raisins 6Sx30G
Preparations:
  • Drain the lychees and cut into small pieces, set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, set aside.
  • Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
Directions:
  • Cream butter and honey (OR sugar) in a bowl by hand or  an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the eggs and beat on medium speed till it is incorporated.
  • Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sifted flour mixture.
  • Mix until no trace of flour is left.
  • Slowly add in 20 tbsp (or lesser) lychee water and mix.
  • Fold in the raisins and diced lychee.
  • Scoop into cupcake liners about three-quarters full.
  • Bake in oven at 180 C for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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WATCH The Meaning of Life 

(https://youtu.be/xVlKzDVojds)