Lanterns and Pi

“It was a good film. A little, you know ‘uplifting’, which usually pisses me off, but enjoyable.” -A friend

It was Lantern Festival on Saturday, marking the official end of the Chinese New Year. The gf wanted to celebrate by cooking dinner and watching a movie. It wasn’t something I felt qualified to argue with, so we watched Life of Pi and ate tofu with pork.

I haven’t yet read the Pi novel so I can’t say how it translates to the screen, but I found the film version* to be a very enjoyable story, rich in subtext and metaphor, including some neat alchemical stuff on an island full of meerkats.

Like many stories about stories, I felt Life of Pi offered a roadmap and a caveat about storytelling, travelling and just living life in general. The religious overtones rankled with me, as usual, but the theme of trying to tame the vicious tiger of fear whilst adrift in the lifeboat of isolated disappointment is one that will stay close to my heart.


So the fireworks are over for another year, and I got to celebrate with a beautiful Chinese woman and a good piece of cinematic storytelling. I still haven’t been to the gym, but I did get gf to write “I want a haircut” in Chinese.** The result was my first ‘street’ haircut, at the hands of a little old lady with a tarpaulin, under a smoky sky,  in front of a handful of bewildered locals who were smiling, laughing, and saying “bi-yu-ti-fu!”

*directed by celebrated ‘Chinese’ director Ang Lee (from Taiwan).

**Traditionally, haircuts are a bad idea at Spring Festival because it means that your uncle will have bad luck. One of many Chinese superstitions that I can’t quite get my freshly-shorn head around.