Erenlai - 按日期過濾項目: 週三, 26 九月 2007
週四, 27 九月 2007 02:28

Voices of Yi Migrant Workers

Let us listen directly to what Yi migrant workers have to tell us. These testimonies come from Yanyuan county, Liangshan prefecture. Most of the people who are interviewed here have been working outside their village, and prepare themselves to leave it again...

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週四, 27 九月 2007 02:21

Yi Migrant Workers in Chengdu

This animation introduces us to the life of Yi migrant workers in Chengdu, with their sufferings and their hopes....
The workers we report about come from Liangshan autonomous prefecture, the core of the Yi (Nuosu) settlement in Sichuan
The whole article and the accompanying photos can be found on
Tale Image

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週四, 27 九月 2007 00:27

Looking For Luck

Some people seem to have good luck all the time. Everything they put their hands to succeeds. They win more than they lose in card games. They always seem to end up with winning tickets in lottery draws. They pick the bingo cards that have the winning numbers. They always seem to come away from casinos with a few jackpots. Other people never seem to have any good luck at all. Something always happens to spoil their day, they seldom get good hands in card games, their lottery tickets never win prizes and they are almost sure to lose in any casino they enter.

Many people carry lucky charms. Some athletes, for instance, insist on wearing the hat or some other object that they wore the first time they won. It is supposed to bring them good luck. Others pin their hopes on four-leaf clovers, rabbit feet or horseshoes. What they don’t realize is that these three kinds of lucky charms that they carry are not really the lucky items they think they are. They are only replicas that don’t necessarily bring with them the original luck.

Take the four-leaf clover for instance. It originally was only thought to bring good luck to the person who found it, especially if it was found accidentally. Was your four-leaf clover found accidentally and did its luck pass on to you when you acquired it?

The use of a rabbit foot as a good luck charm comes from the hoodoo tradition of spiritual-based natural magic brought to the United States by slaves from western Africa. However, there are controversies about its efficacy. Some experts say that it must be the left hind leg of the rabbit. Others add that the rabbit must have been shot or killed in a cemetery, perhaps by a silver bullet and the death must have occurred in the light of a full moon or a new moon or on a rainy Friday night or on Friday the 13th. So what guarantee is there that your rabbit foot meets any of these conditions? I am reminded of the remark attributed to the humorist R. E. Shay: “Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit.”

Not every horseshoe brings good luck. According to some traditions, the horseshoe should actually first have been used on a horse and then found, not purchased, and put where it can be touched. Furthermore, the luck belongs only to the person who found it and no one else. Moreover, some claim that the luck will drain out of the ends if the horseshoe is put upside down. So, what about your horseshoe?

What is luck, anyway? Is it a commodity that can be bought or some good fortune that is attracted by a charm? The implication in saying “he is just lucky” is that his good luck did not come about because of what he did, but happened by chance in spite of what he did. “He is just unlucky” means that in spite of his efforts and good will, something unexpected and unintended intervened to deprive him of what he wanted. If a brick falls from the top of a building, it is a purely chance encounter and its path will not be deflected if the person standing beneath it is carrying a rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover. But on the other hand, if that person happens to look up in time to step out of the way of the falling brick, then that rabbit foot on his key chain just acquired another layer of credibility.

If good luck is the good things that happen in a person’s favor and bad luck is the bad things that happen not in a person’s favor, then good luck and bad luck are real. But it isn’t because there is some special substance called luck. It only means that the lucky person was at the right place at the right time doing something right (or even doing something wrong for that matter) and the unlucky person was at the wrong place at the wrong time when things happened that were not within his or her control.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in luck. I do believe that some people seem to have much more luck than others and some people seem to have no luck at all. The former are not to be praised and the latter blamed. That is just the ways things fall into place statistically in this life of ours, lived as it is in a world full of random occurrences beyond our control.

Still at the same time I also believe that sometimes we do create our good luck and are at least partially responsible for our bad luck. The more we expect something to happen, the harder we try and the more often it happens. The more we expect something to fail, the more halfheartedly we try and our expectation becomes true. I have certainly experienced this in my own life. On days when I feel full of confidence and hope, everything seems to go my way, whereas on days when I am depressed and feeling unlucky, nothing seems to go my way.

My mother and her older sister loved in their old age to visit casinos. My aunt, based on past experiences, always went full of confidence that she would win again and she almost always did. My mother on the other seldom won and she went fully expecting to lose again. She would sit for a long time at one of the machines and win next to nothing. Then the moment she left the machine and someone else started playing it would payoff a big jackpot. It was as though the machine knew that my mother had no respect for it and it acted accordingly.

Life is not a casino full of a few winners and many losers depending upon the uncertainties of chance. But in this life of ours we do experience many chance encounters. The really lucky ones are not those who enjoy good luck, but those who pick themselves up after bad luck and keep right on trying.

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