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1 March 2018

1 March 2018
A very happy Chinese new year to you all.  Chinese find reasons to feast, to gather together all the time. Feast is a fundamental activity among Chinese families, in any parts of the world; the idea of plenty of food signifies prosperity for a big family and its extended units. Indeed, Chinese have starved for too long and we cannot replace it with ball game or weather conversation openings. But I like to talk about movies as conversation openings, oh yes, old movies. In one movie the protagonist ends with Lennon’s words, everything is okay in the end, if it is not okay, it is not the end.  In “Eat Pray Love” (2010) Gilbert (Roberts) is not okay, not even at the end of the movie, but it is okay being not okay.  
Gilbert begins her journey on the floor, curling up. She deliberately throws herself to the base, literally, in order to rise again. She continues her rebirth with food, making some simple Italian dishes and dining on the floor in her new apartment, train traveling to another city for pizza, learning the language so as to order without a menu. She forces herself a rebirth, going back to a thumb-sucking oral stage.   But food is quickly taken away from her when she travels to India to look for her Guru, not only food but another oral activity, speech, and other simple everyday pleasures like a chair—going back to the floor—are all gone. The story continues in a fashion parallels her muddled state of mind: she knows she does not want to be in a marriage anymore, but she does not know what she wants, zigzagging between torture and pleasure.
Although Gilbert is in a spiritual setting in India, her mind is still chaotic, and she realizes it, until the mentioning of the Italian joke that a poor man keeps praying to the saint that he should win the lottery, the saint comes to life and tells him to buy the lottery ticket first.  In many ways, we are trapped in our own “pleasure of doing nothing”, because we fear to charge on. She comes to India broken, leaving India still broken but with a confident stride, because she knows now it is okay being not okay.
At the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and school anniversary I may add, I hope we all look for changes to advance ourselves, to embrace a rebirth, to do our best in areas we are not okay in, accept them and learn better the next time around.
Anson Yang