Saturday, June 19, 2010

the devil wears prada

The consumerism in this country is a big mess of a problem stemming in part from the refined art of creating demand for things we really don't need (ie. marketers doing their jobs too well). As a second generation Chinese, I still carry with me values of turning off the light when one leaves a room, never throwing away food unless absolutely necessary, shopping at thrift stores, using bath water to feed the garden and plants, conserving gas, owning small cars, and so forth, and it's not an issue of necessity but rather choice. I remember while growing up in middle America, how embarrassed I was in my family's non-materialism and conservative habits. I was raised with these habits before eco-consciousness became a buzzword. But the culture has changed in China and for the rapidly growing wealthy class, it's about the bigger cars, bigger houses, latest gadgets, material-focused lifestyle.

If you've been to Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, it's hard to ignore the thick layer of pollution blanketing the cities juxtaposed with glitzy shopping centers on every block. Air quality wise, Los Angeles on its worst day was never as bad as Beijing on its best. So we have a long way to go in reversing the consumerist trends in large pockets of the earth. Along the way, however, I find myself admiring the Coach bag through a window or plunking down money on yet another long coat, but in a different color. I don't know why. Maybe it has something to do with this from the movie starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep:

"You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo's."

OR this:

"This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff."

Actually, I've never tried on Jimmy Choo's and it's highly unlikely I'll ever work for the fashion industry. It's more likely I'll go vegetarian before that happens.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On comma vox

First the comma: Not only is it my favorite punctuation mark, it also exemplifies the pause and reflect nature of blogging. At least, that's what I think I'm doing when I type stuff out and then hit 'Publish Post.' The blog should be titled "Crazy things in my head, typed out for whoever to read" because there's not much focus here on China or women or earth. It wasn't until tonight that I realize people may actually come across this site, especially if they're set up to search key words, phrases, and poems.

Now re: Vox. It means voice. Giving voice to the moments of pause in my life. These moments have become more rare as our family grows. Primary caregivers of high-maintenance dogs and children under 4 should be banned from blogging. Because blogging will always take the place of valuable sleep time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Poem - Why I prefer funerals

Some day in the near future when I'm given the choice to attend either a wedding or a funeral, I will most likely choose the funeral. Granted I've made it to many weddings and I remember some of them, and a few I will never forget (and no, I will never forget my own stress-inducing, all-day wedding). Nevertheless, no event provides the existential pause, the soul-churning, life-altering experience that is the funeral.

In case someone is watching, I'm sorry I missed your wedding due to illness or fear of flying with a lap child. Rest assured come hell or high water, I'd rather die than miss your funeral.

A poem from Echoes of Memory by John O'Donohue given at a recent funeral:

Beannacht (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ecofriendly Places to Shop!stmenu_template.main

Sometime soon, I shall purchase this tote.

If I ever endeavor into leggings...

Turning 30 is for wearing dangling earrings.

Just an all-around great place to shoppe.