Monday, August 17, 2009

Me and my birthdays

The following is an entry to my Yahoo blog last year after my birthdays. Since yahoo blogs are closing and this entry says something about me, now I am another year older, I thought it's appropriate that I copy it here with some small modifications as part of this new "Me all Me" blog.

I was born on the eighteenth day of the sixth month of the twenty-fourth year of the Republic of China, which was really July 18, 1935 A.D. As most of the people in my parents’ generation, however, life’s festivities such as the new years and the birthdays are mostly celebrated according to the lunar calendar dates. So for most parts of my grown up years at home, my birthday is always the 18th day of the 6th month of the lunar calendar. The other dates never really registered in my mind. When I applied for a passport for the first time to prepare coming to the U.S. for advanced studies, I filled the form for my birthday without thinking as 06-18-1935. That, of course, is really not my birthday but had become my official birthday for the rest of my life. The result of all these is that makes me strangely to be a person of three birthdays: the lunar birthday which my parents celebrated with me when they were alive; my official birthday on all the documents; and a regular solar calendar birthday which is July 18th, which should be my solar birthday in the first place but I never celebrate. I don't usually celebrate any of them anyway, but somehow every year only when all three of the birthdays had come and gone before I am really able to feel that I am finally getting a year older.

Today, July 20, 2008, is the 18th day of the 6th month on the lunar calendar this year. Yes, today is my birthday – the last of my three birthdays. I am really 73 years old now! What's the big deal of being 73? Well, to me its a psychological milestone. I suspect many Chinese may feel this way also. Because at 73, I am officially exceeded the life span of Confucius. One of the Confucius’ famous sayings that most Chinese have learned at one time or another and can recite readily is this: "吾十有五,而志于學,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳順,七十而從心所欲,不踰矩。" which can be approximately translated as:
At age fifteen, I dedicated myself to learning.
At thirty, I established my own stand.
At forty, I extricated myself from delusions.
At fifty, I fully perceived my predestination.
At sixty, I can recognize truthfulness from all that I’m hearing.
At seventy, I can follow the wish of my heart’s content without fretting about wrong doing.
Then he died at age 72.

So being someone who made it into exceeding Confucius’ life span, to me, it also signifies that I am now entering a brand new reign in life which is totally free from the shadow that Confucius cast over Chinese life for over 2.5 millenniums. As one whose ambition is to be a centenarian, this is certainly an important first step toward that goal.

Que Sera, Sera, I am on my way!

Wait a minute. No one can make it here on their own. Everyone who celebrates birthday should always be thankful, thanks be to God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. It is Him that decide whatever will be, will be.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sing Hail Mary in traditional Chinese

With this singing of Hail Mary in traditional Chinese I found on the Youtube, I am starting my 3rd blog. This is all personal, all about of, by, and for myself. It is Me, all Me, nothing but Me!

This version of the singing of Hail Mary in traditional Chinese serves as the gateway for me to get in touch with my own past. By the way, I say traditional Chinese, that does not mean the written characters. The Catholicism has been in China for more than 400 years since Ming Dynasty. The many Catholic prayers in Chinese must have been in use for hundreds of years. For reasons I can never understand, in the late 1980's the Catholic church authority in Taiwan decided to "modernize" the prayers by changing them all to newer versions. For instance the Hail Mary is traditionally as:

女中爾爲讚美,爾胎子耶穌, 並爲讚美。

Now becomes:

萬褔瑪利亞,你充滿聖寵 ! 主與你同在。

I don't see any valid reason to justify the change this new version whatsoever. I still think it's silly, if not wrong, to do this. For one thing the Catholics were unified for two thousand years, now they drive the older and younger Catholics into separate camps. Totally senseless. (I notice the Catholics in U.S. also tried to do some modernization, such as change "the Lord is with thee" to "the Lord is with you" which most people just ignored them.)

Now back to Me, an important element of my past was being a member of Sodality of Our Lady
聖母會,under the spiritual direction of Father Michael Chu during the few years before my coming to U.S. to start a new life. Our Sodality met weekly on Friday evenings as I remember. Every time after the meeting we all stand up and sing together the Hail Mary before dispersal. I never thought about it for many, many years until about 10 years ago when I had an opportunity to watch the video of Father Chu's funeral mass recording. The recording including the burial at the Jesuit Cemetery at Ching Mountain in central Taiwan. Everything went smoothly, then at the end they all standing around Father Chu's new grave and sing this Hail Mary. I have not heard or sung that for all those years, but suddenly that beautiful and familiar melody brought back of all the memories of those bygone years and instantly drove me into uncontrollable tears. I was alone then and I realized that song of Hail Mary is more than just a thing of my past, it is part of my life. I am happy now the Youtube brought the song to my fingertip. It is not a very good rendition, similar but much better than what we did at those Sodality meetings. I guess in there it meant for the audience to join in the singing but they did not seem to have. Anyway I am happy to have found this song and use it to start this personal blog of Me All Me. Yes, it is personal, therefore may be boring to others already, please feel free to leave.