Charley has died of bowel cancer. In her last blog post she writes:
And so I leave a gaping, unjust, cruel and pointless hole, not just in Halliford Road, but in all the homes, thoughts and memories of other loved ones, friends and families. For that I am sorry. I would love to still be with you, laughing, eating my weird and latest miracle food, chatting rubbish ‘Charleyisms’. I have so much life I still want to live, but know I won’t have that. I want to be there for my friends as they move with their lives, see my children grow up and become old and grumpy with Rich. All these things are to be denied of me.
But, they are not to be denied of you. So, in my absence, please, please, enjoy life. Take it by both hands, grab it, shake it and believe in every second of it. Adore your children. You have literally no idea how blessed you are to shout at them in the morning to hurry up and clean their teeth. Embrace your loved one and if they cannot embrace you back, find someone who will. Everyone deserved to love and be loved in return. Don’t settle for less. Find a job you enjoy, but don’t become a slave to it. You will not have ‘I wish I’d worked more’ on your headstone. Dance, laugh and eat with your friends. True, honest, strong friendships are an utter blessing and a choice we get to make, rather than have to share a loyalty with because there happens to be link through blood. Choose wisely then treasure them with all the love you can muster. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Life has a lot of grey and sadness – look for that rainbow and frame it. There is beauty in everything, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it.
Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) is a confident, intelligent 16-year-old girl who is falling in love with the diffident, moody boy next door: Kaito (Nijiro Murakami). Kaito’s parents are divorced: his dad, a tattooist, lives in Tokyo and his mum works in a restaurant. Kyoko is dealing with something even more painful: her mother, a delicate and beautiful woman, is dying, perhaps of cancer, although the film is a little too otherworldly to acknowledge the exact illness, the exact medical care or the ugly, un-Zen physical toll it can take.
Set against this fraught situation is a shocking event: a dead body is washed up on the beach. Despite the film’s title, the water is far from still – there are tropical storms and the waves and currents are dangerous. The dead man turns out to have a connection with Kaito’s mother, and realising this forces him to re-evaluate his relationship with his parents and with Kyoko herself who cannot understand why he is so shy and reluctant to make love to her.
A beautiful movie about love, life and death.
So, what does it feel like to be old?
It’s a bit like this, with a cat that has luminous eyes and sleeps on its back.
From time to time something reminds you of the past.
You remember things.
Mostly nice things.
Stan has done quite a few things in his life.
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I passed my first exam today. But it means more to me that I could read and sing some Chinese songs at KTV this evening.
No electricity in the middle of a Skype call. Maybe because of the foaming over washing machine. Always the same when washing the bright clothes. No problems with the dark ones. 房东明珠 is not so happy and told me about the different spoon sizes trying to convince me that I better don’t use any detergent.
The Ba rong ba chi (Eight Honors and Eight Shames) (Simplified Chinese: 八荣八耻 Traditional Chinese: 八榮八恥 Pinyin: bā róng bā chĭ), officially the Core Value System or the Eight Honors and Disgraces, is a set of moral concepts developed by current President Hu Jintao for the citizens in modern-day China.
Namely (emphasis added):
- Love the country; do it no harm.
So what does that mean? Obviously not that you should tell the truth. Faked fireworks, a faked singing girl and now 55 faked children. They were said to represent the different ethnic groups inside the country but in fact were all Han.
A Chinese friend suggests that the organizers might not have found beautiful children in the ethnic groups. Let’s check Wikipedia again (emphasis added):
Besides the majority Han Chinese, China recognizes 55 other “nationalities” or ethnic groups, numbering approximately 105 million persons, mostly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.
So no beautiful children in 105 million persons? I admit that it might not be the easiest task to find the 3000 Lhoba, the “smallest officially recognized ethnic group in China”. But then be honest and don’t call it:
Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups.
Find a Chinese girl because the children will be more beautiful…
Or this waitress at a café: