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Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

This is a picture of a laisee. That's Cantonese for those little red envelopes you'll see at Chinese weddings or on Chinese New Year. My mom gave this one to me on the occasion of her 80th birthday. It's obviously not red, just as I am clearly no longer a child, though perhaps in my mother's eyes, I always will be.

The traditional Chinese characters on this laisee read nián nián yŏu yú (年年有餘) or, roughly translated: may you have abundance year after year. Fish (魚) and abundance (餘) are homonyms in Chinese, yet another example of the love for wordplay.

Inside the laisee is a gift of money, though it's not about that. To give a laisee is to wish the recipient good luck. Well, it's working. In the one week when I was in Los Angeles to celebrate my mother's birthday:

  • Global Voices republished my Uighur blog and has since translated it into Spanish and Italian;
  • published my review of The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, which you can also read on my book review page as Iron Horse;
  • Canadian flash fiction site published my short story "Frogs"; and
  • The Shanghai Literary Review nominated my essay "Memory Palace" for the Best of the Net anthology 2018.
So fortune is smiling on me from all corners of the world. Meanwhile, back in LA, I stumble upon a few treasures of my own. You can read about them in this week's blog post: Treasure.

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