The Rocky Blackboard and New -democratic Revolution

Jinjing is the name of my town. There is a central park called ShiBiHu 石壁湖, which means The Lake of Rocky Wall.

Look at the photo above, there is such a rocky wall behind me and my students. What is special about it? It was used as a giant blackboard by the local scholars, mainly local teachers, to educate the Jinjing people about a new democratic revolution 100 years ago.

They used limewash and huge brushes to write slogans on this eall, such as: democracy, science, freedom, etc. These modern new words inspired more and more local youth to fight against the old system, and began to see a much wider horizon.

Stone Boat and Mysterious Carvings

There is a place near our town called Stone Boat 石船. There used to be a boat built up with pieces of rocks. Unfortunately the mysterious boat was destroyed by the local peasants during the Great Leap Forward Movement period in 1958. A local friend told me that people destroyed it just to get the rocks to build a foundation of a preliminary school.

At that time, old things were all regarded as useless and obstacles in our path to a bright future. I asked an old man living nearby if he had seen the boat, he said no but told me the size – about five meters long. So it was not small.

Why our ancestors built such a stone boat remains a myth because the place is no way near any river or lake allowing a boat to float.

The only explanation is the globle flood that appears in Bible and many early human legends. In China we had a lengend called YU大禹, he was a tribal leader who led the people to straighten the rivers and let the floods flow fastly into the ocean. I guess such floods existed in Jinjing and the entire Hunan Province, and the floods remained between the mountains for years, so people built such a stone boat to celebrate the success.

Just 50 years ago, many Hunan mountain towns and villages were still threatened by the floods, including the Ph.D Village and my town Jinjing, both are near a river. We have the reason to believe that our ancestors lived in similar situations, or worse, 5000 years ago.

Since the stone boat is at least ten meters higher than the nearby river, we assume the flood was massive and it could be caused by an asteroid hit somewhere on the planet.

But why didnt the locals care about the mysterious and precious antique stone boat in 1958? Well, that was Mao s order and persuasion. People had no respect to the old world. Mao destroyed everything which distract people s respect to build his very own shrine.

I can take you to look for this place if interested. There are still some mysterious stone carvings on the rocks, along side the boat site, in the valley.

People say the carvings are all symbols of fisherman. We have more of similar carvings near our village as well, also deep in the valley, also no way near a river, also about ten meters higher than the water level in a river in our town.

A PERFECT TRAIL OF BIKING BETWEEN JINJING AND SHASHI

I am biking with a student of mine, Peng Yong, going home from Yangtian, the PhD Village. I discovered a perfect trail for long distance biking this time in Changsha.

It took us five hours to arrive in Yangtian, which is also an old town with a lot of stories to tell. After half a day, and rested in a bed & breakfast, we are now heading home. It is a different way and also very safe and exciting. Most of the roads are like below.

The total distance is about 60kms.I will advise future tourists of my inMountains country inn in Jinjing to spend a weekend or two days tour with me.

HIKING

Instead of biking, this trail is also ready for challenging hiking. 60kms in two days are not impossible to hike. What do you think?As you can see, there are almost no traffic on the road in the mornings when we will handle most of the biking. When it is getting too hot in summer, we will just hide in a farmer s house on the road side, or have a dip in the creek in the valleys.Want to join me? My wechat ID is amasia.

21 Ph.D holders walked out of a mysterious PhD Village in Changsha Liuyang

Liuyang, as part of Changsha, is famous for fireworks. It has remained the largest firework production base in the world for decades.

There is a village here called Yangtian, which means fields of rice seedlings. Yangtian Village is like a mysterious paddy field constantly providing nutritions to healthy seedlings for centuries.

In the past half century, the village has astonished the people by offering over twenty holders with Ph.D in various categories. This is very unusual in China since our education level is rather low.

In Yangtian Village, most of the villagers share the same surname Luo, it is actually the common home and root of many Luo families in Hunan Province, especially in Changsha. And the Yangtian Luo family came from neighboring Jiangxi Province.

Actually my ancestor used to live here in Yangtian as well. A man who was later titled as Lord Shiwen relocated to a place in northern Changsha, he did well there and had a large family. And he became the common ancestor of thousands of Changsha Luos, including my grandpa, my father and me. That place nowadays is still called LuoDai, it means two leading families are Luo and Dai in that town. LuoDai is where my mother was born.

RELOCATION IN HISTORY AND WARS

A branch of Luos left LuoDai about six hundreds of years ago and settled down in a nearby town called Gaoqiao, this is where father s family lived. Because of the wars, my grandpa and his brother left Gaoqiao and settled down in Jinjing, which is between Gaoqiao and LuoDai, and we still live here.

FAMILY INSTRUCTIONS

There has been a very strong belief in Luo families that receiving higher education is the most reliable way to climb up to a higher social level and repay the family and nation.

My father told me this ever since I was little, his father told him the same ever since he was little.

Every Chinese family had a formal instruction written or carved on the walls of each family hall in our traditional societies. In our Luo family instructions, studying was strongly emphasized.

A Strong Family Bond

In this Yangtian Village, there has been a very strong bond. Rich or poor, they dont intend to leave. Other families living in this same village are minorities, they would choose to relocate to the cities or larger nearby towns whenever they have the money, but the Luos, which has remajned the absolute majority in Yangtian, always come back no matter how successful they are in the outside world. They would use every piece of the land available to build their dream homes here, because this is their forever home. They are the absolute masters of the land, while other surnames are just someone borrowing the land for survival.

I am the same. I was doing well in California and many Chinese cities, but Iive in Jinjing, where I feel safe the most.

Today I took one of my summer camp students Peng Yong to revisit Yangtian, by biking, hoping to understand how a family instruction build the ultimate foundation of the fate of all Luos.

A UNITED SOCIETY

I have a good friend Deng, who is part of the administration team of the village. He said, whenever the local administration team decides to build a nicer infrastructure facility in the village: higher level road, a park, or a library, the villagers are all willing to contribute. This is not common to see in rural China as well.

I admire the people.

I am thinking, such strong blood bond could be the main force which made 21 PhD holders and hundreds of master degree holders, not the family instructions. When you feel safe and loved, you tend to have more energy and enthusiasm to study hard and contribute to the reputation of the Luos.

来自美国的心灵导师,BARREN KATIE,以及THE WORK

这是这个机构的【网址】。他们是做什么的?简单来说,就是通过心理辅导,解决人们生活中的各种苦恼、怨恨等。他们的主要理论依据是《道德经》,就是引导大家学会从不同角度来看待生活中的各种麻烦,告诉人们,大多数时候,苦恼和麻烦其实都是自己的表象的主观判定,我们并没有能够意识到深层次的原因。如果通过不断向自己反问,找到最底层的根源,很多问题就可以解决了。这个组织经常在美国各地开课,有自己的培训学校,有自己培训出来的“心理咨询师”,有免费的公益网络辅导课等等。上图右侧这个妇女就是来自美国加州的奠基人 BARREN KATIE,她是整个组织的灵魂人物。现在这个组织已经在美国和欧洲等大多数发达国家都有分部,很多人从这套方法中受益,学会看到麻烦的本质,自己的问题,学会原谅别人,因此获得了解脱。

中国达人如何参加美国达人秀节目2020 – 2021年度海选(第16季)

美国达人秀是全球达人秀节目连锁品牌中的一个,这个连锁品牌是由 英国人西蒙 SIMON COWELL创建的(下图那个男人,他是大老板兼评委),在美国,这个选修节目的出品方是 FREMANTLE NORTH AMERICA公司,合作方是 SYCOtv 电视公司。

这个选秀节目是2006年第一次上电视的,每年都是在夏季演出。主持人目前是一个黑人演员,如下图。美国达人秀与英国达人秀都是同一个连锁品牌中的一员。

美国这个节目是英国人 COWELL 先生和美国全国广播公司 NBC 合作制作,所以在很多电视观众看来,是NBC电视台的节目,实际上并不是他们自己制作。

签证

中国达人想去美国参加海选和比赛需要签证,旅游签证其实不是很合适,但作为普通中国达人,也只有这个途径。参加海选用旅游签证没关系,但是如果海选过了,就要上台表演,这个时候旅游签证就不合适了,应该组委会的律师会统一和当地移民局去沟通。

美国达人秀节目的四位裁判和一位主持

海选城市

和中国的很多选秀节目一样,美国达人秀节目的海选也是在不同城市轮流举行,从东海岸到西海岸都有,总共十来个城市,方便不同州的美国本地达人参加,同时也让海选过程更有趣味,增加影响力。中国达人去美国,要根据自己的签证有效期选择一个合适的城市和日期参加。一般纽约和洛杉矶这两个城市每年都会是海选城市之一,其他城市会有变化。参加2020年的海选已经有些晚了,而2021年暑期选秀的海选城市还没有确定。一旦确定,我会在网页下方补充,请关注。

比赛过程

海选过后参赛者不会立刻知道结果,评委们要等所有城市的海选节目都结束之后,再把节目带回南加州的公司,统一选出可以进入第二阶段海选的节目。在这第二次的海选过程中,选手只要花一分半种,来大致展示自己的实力就够了,不需要表演完整的节目,因为人还是很多。

如果第二轮你又过了,就可以在南加州洛杉矶的固定剧场里参加初赛复赛了,到时候不管有没有取得名次,你都出名了。四个评委中,有两个男的,其中一个是老板,也是说话最刁钻的,另外一个我记得是全国广播公司NBC电视台的主持人。他们两人基本上每一期都在评委席上,另外两位女士一般都是有色人种,因为两个男评委都是白人。这两个女士的人选会有变动,2020这一季一个新上任的女评委是获奖美剧《摩登家庭》中那个哥伦比亚来的美女妈妈。

这四个评委每人都有一次机会,将某个初赛阶段的选手直接送入总决赛,叫做黄金按钮。

经过几轮比拼,最终会从前二人中选出总冠军。总冠军有机会在拉斯维加斯进行专场表演,赚大钱。

所以,如果是中国达人去参赛,可能会有签证问题,因为要等所有海选城市结束之后,海选才会有结果。除非很有实力,给节目制作公司很深的印象,否则中国达人可能需要先回国,或者去加拿大呆一会儿,在那里重新申请美国签证,然后在第二轮海选之前再入境。我们的美国旅游签证可能只有三个月,海选过后等待的时间一般会超过两个月,如果不出去申请延长签证,会导致没有时间参加初赛。所以,尽量选择最后那个海选城市吧,希望全部在三个月内完成。

注册

达人秀的英文名称是 America’s Got Talent,简称 AGT,有一个官方网站,没有中文版本。参加达人秀第一步就是注册。如果你有兴趣参加,请在下面留言,我可以帮你注册,或者加入我们的一个微信群,一起商量如何去参加这个选秀节目。他们的官方网站在国内打不开,被墙,只能我来想办法。

视频节目上传

参加海选报名需要上传你的表演视频,这个也要在其官网进行。如果有戏,我可以帮你上传到你的报名资料里。

奖金

总冠军的奖金是一百万美金,但是这要分40年给你,每年只有25000美元。如果想一次性领走,那就只有30万美金。如果没有得冠军,哪怕是亚军,也分文没有。

参赛费用

费用都要自己出。参加比赛的那两天,会有一些补贴,包括住宿和伙食等,而交通费等要自己来负责。签证费这些更需要你来出,不过这个不多。

表演费

美国电视广播艺术家联盟会给每一季前24名参赛者一笔表演费,如果表演时长是半小时,那么就给910美元,如果是一小时的表演,则增加为1303美元,外加两顿饭钱。

参加美国达人秀,冠军的真实奖金是多少钱?

美国达人秀的总角色冠军奖金是100万美金,但是这100万 要在40年内分别获得,也就是每年大约2万5千美金,另外还要交税,所以每年大概2万3000美金,如果选择一次性领走,那这一百万美金将降至大约30万美金。如果成为冠军,将有机会在拉斯维加斯的大剧院表演几场,获得其他收入。观众想看海选过后的表演的话,需要去洛杉矶好莱坞的DOLBY剧院,也就是奥斯卡颁奖剧院。

参加美国达人秀节目,一般来说,大部分表演者会先上传一个表演的录像,如果没有合适的,可能就只能去现场参加海选。参加海选必须先填写报名表,然后带上护照前去海选现场。同时最好还在手机上找到表演者注册确认邮件,展示给接待人员,先把这个邮件确认函打印出来也好。

[Village life] The Chinese New Year approaching

It is January 20th today, 2017. But according to Chinese traditional lunar calendar, it is still December 2016. In most years the lunar calendar is about one month behind solar calendar.
Today is December 22th according to the lunar calendar and we are 8 days away from the end of 2016, as well as Spring Festival.

Jinjing Town has been influenced by the modern culture and lifestyles coming from the city of Changsha for a hundred years, and our lifestyle has transformed into an international standard town in my ways, in just 30 years. We did not have electricity until when I was about ten years old. I was doing my homeworks/reading my first storybook on the side of an oil lamp which could so easily burned the mosquito net and burn me if I was not careful at that age…

But we can still sense the power of traditions of hundreds of years during this special time, spanning from the second half days of December to the first half of January of the new year.
Paying/receiving the salary/debts is one of the major activities in this period. Many families and small businesses have hired labors/carpenters working on various projects: building houses for example, the tradition allows us to pay them at the end of the year. We do not need to pay them right away when the job is done. We pay them during important festivals or when they need money in serious occasions: wedding, funeral, college entrance, hospital bills, etc. There are trusts among people. You do not see that in the cities anymore, not like this.

Chinese people are not religious and we never go to a church or temple to pray regularly. Only during Spring Festival many families go to a local temple to pray for the peace and wellness of the family. When my father was alive, he would go alone in the first day, at dawn, like many others. Going to the GuanYin Temple as early as possible may avoid the impressive crowd, more importantly, it shows the goddess they prayers are sincere.

Nowadays the temple is taken care of by monks and female temple practitioners/keepers. They live in the small temple and asked the pilgrims not to set off firecrackers anymore so that the Buddhas, goddess and themselves can enjoy the peace. “You do not need to be loud to show you are sincere when you pray.” That’s what the female temple keepers told the pilgrims.

I wish I find the peace this year.

This is the house I grew up, the right part. My father was standing in front of the house in Spring Festival. Today when I write this blog, everything has changed around this place. The old house is gone, the person in the picture is gone. But
The family is still here.

An unusually quiet spring festival holiday in fear of coronavirus

This has been a very scary holiday since the breakout of Wuhan respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Everyone stayed at home with the families, unless we have to go out for shopping.

My mom went to the City of Zhongshan by train two days before the Chinese New Year’s Eve, there were many passengers in the train station, very few of them wore a mask. My uncle, aunt and mom wore one that my cousin bought for them online. I didn’t check their mask and I am afraid my mom, my aunt had no idea how to wear them properly. Mom is now staying with my sister’s family. I told her not to make any plan to return home yet, because you never know what will happen on the train and in the train stations.

Ms. Li came to Changsha to talk about working together in the future on Chinese New Year’s Eve. I picked her up in the bus station here in the town. She said the city of Xingsha where she changed the bus lines was almost empty, and the buses she took to come here had just one passenger – herself. Yesterday I walked her to the bus station, only to find out that all buses have stopped. She had to call a Didi car to the train station. The driver is a local young man, single. Other drivers refused to take the risk.

Three days ago, the sun was finally shining in the sky after days of rain. I visited a few neighbors in the village, everybody was in fear of the virus. Nobody came to my house since eight days ago.

I didn’t even open the front door since yesterday, stayed at home the whole day. Luckly I live alone in the countryside, we have enough water and vegetables and rice.

Nobody know if such a disaster will go away in a short period of time. What if we failed to produce a vaccine before millions of people lose their lives? Would my life be threatened soon?

Right now I have White Fox staying with me. She is a nice girl, I don’t know if her going out everyday will make her vulerable. Maybe from tomorrow, I will just keep her indoor, to make both of us safe.

I hope this time we finally get a chance to achieve political reform in the nation.

a beautiful town of tea plantations and mountains, Changsha County, Hunan, China