What is death without life

“Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death.”
~ Angela Carter

Last week I attended the funeral of my cousin’s wife. Her death was totally unexpected to me. She was a brisk woman and always active. Although she was much older than I am (my mother took a gamble for a daughter after three sons and the result is an age gap of 18 years between me and my eldest brother) and we don’t see each other very often, but there was always some sort of connection between us. After all we are family.

Death is something that we don’t talk about much. People from my culture are superstitious. It’s bad luck even by mentioning it. But just because we don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it won’t affect us. Even though my cousin’s wife was in her seventies she was still a very active woman with a lot of friends and busy social life. But one day she was hit by a cyclist and fell on her head. The accident didn’t take her life immediately. She suffered nine months before she past away.

One accident can change your life and the lives of your loved ones drastically. Life and death lie closer to each other than we think. So, live your life to the full. Stay positive even if life is hard at some times. Be grateful with everyone and everything in you life. Love your family, friends and even your enemies. For a feud has no meaning when life comes to an end. Right or wrong, love or hate, rich or poor, all of it doesn’t matter when your time has come.

Do the things you want to do. Don’t wait and think that you have plenty of time. Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as you can. You can never show too much love, but you will regret it at the end when you’ve shown too little. Choose wisely when life hits you hard at some point. Remember that nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death. Make every minute of your life count, so you can leave without regrets when the end is near.

Carpe diem!

My heart goes out to my cousin and his family. I wish them lots of love and strength for the hard times they have to go through right now.

Enjoying the journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
~ Lao Tzu

It’s been more than a month since I’ve attended the London Screenwriter’s Festival. Time really does go by too fast.

I have enjoyed every bit of this wonderful event! Starting from the opening speech till the last drinks with fellow writers at the Globe, a lovely pub. I’ve met a lot of new friends, fellow voyagers on the writer’s journey. I learned a lot from well-known speakers; heroes of every screenwriter. Above all, it provided me exactly what I was looking for: acknowledgment. Fellow writers who treat me as writer too.

A few years back when I finally had the courage to take a step onto the writer’s journey, I was pumped with energy. It felt good! It still feels good. Like I’ve finally found the right path. I started with a blank screen and now I can call myself the writer of a feature screenplay and several short scripts.

But as the journey advances I started to feel lonely too due to the lack of fellow travellers who understand what I’m doing and what I stand for. I have no one in my surroundings with whom I can share my struggles and discuss about writing. It’s like being lost in the ocean holding just a raft. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I started to lose my motivation. Slowly procrastination became a habit.

Fortunately, somewhere in the ocean there is an island called LSF. And I started to swim to it. When I’ve reached it, I found out that it is a very big island. I felt a bit tense stepping onto this island for the first time. But tense faded away immediately when a fellow writer reached out to me. And from that moment on I’m reassured that this is a safe haven for writers!

Everyone is welcome at LSF! Whether you’re a novice writer or a seasoned master of the craft, LSF greets everybody with a warm embrace. Complete strangers would make contact with each other and it doesn’t feel strange, because we all have one thing in common: the passion for writing. It’s like one big family and I am grateful to have found this family.

Although I started this journey many years ago, it is not until now that I finally feel to have leapt one big step forward. With so many fellow travellers around to share my adventures with this trip can only get better and better! And I can safely explore the ocean without feeling lonely again!

You too can be part of this big family! LSF is offering an early bird ticket now. Go to the website HERE and grab this deal!

Family matters

I want to dedicate a tiny section on this blog to some cultural things that I want to share with who ever is interested in some Chinese culture.

My parents were early immigrants from Hong Kong. They moved to the Netherlands in the 1960’s to settle down. As a result I, youngest of four, only child born in the Western world learned to live a double life. When I was out with friends I was Dutch. At home I was Chinese. In my early years it was quite difficult to find a balance. As I grew up I started to found a way to live with it.

Although it sometimes was difficult to live between two cultures I do cherish the Chinese traditions and I’m grateful my parents insisted that I should know my roots.

Chinese traditions contains many ridiculous things. But most of the things have a background story. And that background story sometimes intrigues me very much.

Let’s start with family matters. Few weeks back a nephew of mine became father of a baby girl. As I am his aunt (his mother is my cousin so he is next generation) I am thus the baby girls great-aunt. Believe me, I’m not that old!

My daughter (8) is very happy with her little niece. The little baby is so cute that she couldn’t stop cuddling her. But most of all she’s more impressed by the fact that she has become aunt! She proudly announced at class that she is someones aunt now. Where as her classmates all look impressed at her.

Why is my little girl aunt of the baby? In Western terms the relationship between my daughter and the baby girl would be called nieces. But my daughter is of the same generation of the baby girl’s father, hence according to Chinese tradition she has to be called aunt by the baby girl.

Nowadays we all ignore the complicated family relationships. We are all just uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces to someone. But this ancient Chinese rule to call family members by their rank is still very interesting. Why is it so important to make clear the relationships? Why does the older generation still insists the young ones do it right? Well, it’s because in Chinese culture family is very important. You have to know your family and you have to help your family when it’s in need. Bloodline is sacred.

The other thing is respect. The younger generation has to show respect to the older generation. That is the first thing a Chinese child will learn from his or her parents. If you know how to show respect you will be a good human being.

Family and respect. The basics of life.