Sunday Dim Sum with My Characters

My first novel is gaining some traction as I become more disciplined about my writing. In fact, I’m now over the halfway mark.

When I sit down to write, it’s like there’s never enough time. That’s because I become immersed in my fantasy world, laughing or crying with my characters, tasting their food, feeling their pain, and all that goes on in that sphere. Then before I know it, my train ride comes to an end or it’s time for bed.

This past Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours in the library on an unusually warm and sunny day for March. It seemed too nice outside to be sitting indoors, but I was determined to write. So I picked a window seat that gave me a great view of the park and the entire goings on beyond the glass panes before me. Funny thing was once I started to write, I barely noticed what was happening in the real world. I became the invisible person inside a restaurant watching my heroine and her friends eat dim sum (small servings of Chinese food carted around by servers for patrons to choose) while they discussed their relationships.

Two and a half hours flew by. When I stopped writing, I felt a sense of accomplishment. The thing was, mentally I could have kept going, but for the fact that the library was closing soon and dinner couldn’t be put off. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about taking off like this before to focus on my novel. I highly recommend it and will do it again whenever I can.

Hakka Women Didn’t Bind Their Feet

Hakka women didn’t bind their feet.

I make that statement with pride. Traditionally, up until the early twentieth century, Chinese girls had their feet bound when they were very young. It was a status symbol to have small feet. It was also desirable to walk with a swaying gait. The practice was mainly prevalent amongst the rich whose daughters were assured of marrying into wealthy families where they wouldn’t be expected to work. The disfigured feet made normal walking a challenge.

Hakka women worked side by side with their men. They were warriors as well. I am convinced that a large number of us have inherited our ancestors’ independence and entrepreneurship. Some of the world’s best known Chinese are Hakka. Deng Xiaoping, the leader who opened China to the world was a Hakka, as is Lee Kuan Yew, the longest serving Prime Minister of Singapore. In Canada, the best known daughter of Hakka ancestry is Adrienne Clarkson, the 26th Governor General of Canada.

A Hakka conference occurs every four years in Toronto. 2012 will see another such conference at the end of June. Today there are many Hakka Canadians. While we have assimilated very nicely, nevertheless we are fiercely proud of our heritage.