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Author Topic: PC182: 起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows)  (Read 5131 times)
Talia
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« on: November 08, 2011, 10:19:59 AM »

PodCastle 182: 起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows)

By Zen Cho

Read by Tracey Yuen


Originally appeared in Strange Horizons

Coco had been with the troupe for six years. She had never been their official president because she preferred not to deal with technicalities; it gave her more time to actually lead the troupe.

“Are Mr. and Mrs. Yu around?” she said.

It was Mr. Yu who had emailed them to ask if they would perform at a Christmas party that was being held at his hotel. It was a new hotel and this was the first big event they were hosting, so he was willing to pay them a generous fee. They had agreed that the troupe would perform before and after dinner. There were also going to be fireworks, and a disco.

Sensibly, Mr. Yu and Mrs. Yu had stayed indoors, but they were very hospitable when the cold dishevelled troupe poured into the lobby.

“We’ve got Chinese food, Chinese decorations, lanterns, fireworks,” said Nick. “It’s all been done up to theme. The company does a lot of business out in China, so they were very keen when we suggested a China night. When we heard about you we thought, well, that’s ideal! We’re so pleased you could make it all the way out here.”

“Very pleased,” said Mr. Yu in English. In Cantonese, he said: “_The ghost is in the upstairs cupboard._”

“Thank you, we’re looking forward to it,” said Coco to Nick. To Mr. Yu: “_What kind of ghost is it?_”

Mr. Yu hesitated.


Rated PG.


Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2011, 02:17:38 AM »

Whoa! Secret Undercover Chinese Ghostbusters!! Cool!

I like the multicultural nature of the overall narrative, and the sense of a parallel world among the Chinese, and I thought it had a very touching ending (sweet without being treacly).

I would like to see this team of lion dancers take on a really malevolent spirit in another story, though.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 08:53:11 AM »

This was light but good-hearted.  +1

That's about all I can say, really, other than that when I heard that the author was a fan of lion dancing, I went, "No! You're pulling my leg!"  I was not sincere when I said this.  :-P
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 12:19:10 PM »

I've just started listening to this, and I must have zoned out a bit while the intro was being read and missed the blurb about the reader, because I just about squeed when I realized that this reader could actually speak Chinese and pronounce all the names and words correctly. Small thing to get excited about, I know, but it's remarkably rare to find.
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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 05:28:18 PM »

I enjoyed this story of lions and cabbages.  The troupe's cymbalist for some reason associated in my head to the debate in Pseudopod's "The Blood Garden" about poets who are or are not symbolists.  After that story (which I liked), I really appreciated the heartwarming humor of this story.  Yay for accidental and weird podcast resonance.

This story has honestly changed the way I'll look at lion dances, and makes me want to go see one, as it has been a while and I worry I've become haunted.  I could use some lion-vomit in my life right now.

In all seriousness, it is nice to learn the mythology behind traditions you've just sort of seen from afar as weird foreign things.

I really liked the narration, but I did just want to point out a couple of skipped sentences:

1: "Coco had told Jia Qi about the lion dance troupe's occasional secret assignments after she'd been coming to their meetings for a couple of months. ->It was earlier than Coco would usually have told a new member..."

2: "The troupe did not seem to notice her quietness. ->They gave her something concrete to work at..."

 I'm using -> to indicate what line the skipped sentences should have preceded, based on the Strange Horizons version (which I read after being a bit confused in the beginning).  Both of these errors were in the first few minutes, and after that, the reader seemed to ease into his storytelling and it was nearly flawless.  But the first one in particular made things harder to understand, at least for me on my first listen.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 05:51:22 PM by Umbrageofsnow » Logged
raetsel
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 11:48:59 AM »

Whoa! Secret Undercover Chinese Ghostbusters!! Cool!

I like the multicultural nature of the overall narrative, and the sense of a parallel world among the Chinese, and I thought it had a very touching ending (sweet without being treacly).

I would like to see this team of lion dancers take on a really malevolent spirit in another story, though.

Totally agree with this. Really liked the story.

I felt the personalities in the team were put over really well and the dialogue between them was very convincing. The part where they are trying to draw George a map made me chuckle.

Great narration and the pronunciation of the Chinese names was integrated seamlessly with the English text so it felt completely natural not jarring.
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DKT
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 12:05:09 PM »


I really liked the narration, but I did just want to point out a couple of skipped sentences:

1: "Coco had told Jia Qi about the lion dance troupe's occasional secret assignments after she'd been coming to their meetings for a couple of months. ->It was earlier than Coco would usually have told a new member..."

2: "The troupe did not seem to notice her quietness. ->They gave her something concrete to work at..."


Wow. Okay, thanks for the heads-up. I'll see if we can get that corrected.

And thanks for the other comments as well! They made me smile Smiley
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slag
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 03:04:25 PM »

Like a lot of other stories here, and on EscapePod and PseudoPod, I really would love to hear more about the
characters and history of this built up world. I liked the interaction between not just two cultures, but also two kinda folklores. We don't really get a lot of that. But I think it'd be neat to see this Lion Dance ghost busting works or does not work with other ghostst of other cultures or religions or ethereal planes of existence.
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 04:39:31 PM »

As a fellow Lion Dancer, I loved the setup to the story.  It really does bring up some old memories when I used to practice with my old kung fu school.   I could tell that the author really knew her stuff.

Here's a link for those interested in what a Lion Dance may look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP0fb2umEUA  Note that this a competition routine, emphasizing tricks and difficulty.  Thus, no cabbage eating or bowing.

I want to also commend Mr Tracey Yuen for an excellent reading.  As others have said, it was refreshing (although not strictly necessary) to hear the Chinese words pronounced correctly.

Story wise, I agree with the others that it seems a bit slow.  Not a lot really happens, and the ending was pretty anti-climactic.  I liked it personally for the Lion Dancing, but I can see where other people would be rather bored by the lack of action.
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 05:53:04 PM »

This was a creative story, I thought, with a heartwarming ending. However, I think that the heartwarming-ness was kind of a cop-out so the ghostbusters wouldn't have to kill the kid-ghost. The ending, therefore, disappointed me a bit.

Also, in the crit group I'm in, people tell me that I have too many characters in the story we're going over now, and that it's hard to differentiate them. It's even harder to do that in audio -- to me, the ghostbusters were basically a party of Final Fantasy adventurers, where you swap them in and out depending upon what skills you need during the battle. I think too much attention was paid to Tsiatse (sp?), as if she was supposed to be the stand-in for the reader, but in the end I didn't care enough about her to justify that.

I enjoyed the reading because it's nice to hear how certain words are supposed to be pronounced, although it did take a couple of minutes to get into the groove of the English narration.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 07:20:25 PM »


I really liked the narration, but I did just want to point out a couple of skipped sentences:

1: "Coco had told Jia Qi about the lion dance troupe's occasional secret assignments after she'd been coming to their meetings for a couple of months. ->It was earlier than Coco would usually have told a new member..."

2: "The troupe did not seem to notice her quietness. ->They gave her something concrete to work at..."


Wow. Okay, thanks for the heads-up. I'll see if we can get that corrected.

Just wanted to add that the file has been corrected. Thanks for the heads-up, and my apologies for it taking a little while longer than normal.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2011, 10:13:48 PM »

This story made me smile from beginning to end! I loved that it went the "heart-warming" route, though I do agree with InfiniteMonkey that I would love to hear a second installment in which our band of Lion Dancers (including George!) takes on a more menacing ghost.

I also noticed and appreciated the excellent pronunciation, which only served to enhance a great reading. I'm by no means a Mandarin speaker, but I am the only member of my lab that learned English first, so most days I hear way more Mandarin, Cantonese and Hindi, than English, and I could tell that the narrator knew what he was doing. Smiley
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Spindaddy
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2011, 09:44:45 PM »

I loved the story, but was disappointed that the Lion eats the ghosts and it's game over. I also don't understand why they didn't put the cabinet in the basement and let the kid run around the basement to heat the hotel. They would have saved a ton of  money on heating!
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 09:51:19 AM »

I've never heard of Lion Dancing.  It made me think of Chinese dragons that you see sometimes in parades, not sure if that is at all related.

Anyway, very interesting setting here, but it seemed like we never really got off of a summary narrative telling me about the setting.  I like it when the setting comes out as the story unfolds instead of frontloading lots and lots of explanation.  It was interesting to hear about other cultures (though I'm not entirely sure if it was all true culture or if some of it was made up for the story), but would've liked a more fleshed-out story about this culture.
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InfiniteMonkey
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2011, 06:16:51 PM »

I've never heard of Lion Dancing.  It made me think of Chinese dragons that you see sometimes in parades, not sure if that is at all related.


To Western eyes the two can look very similar, though they are not identical. Basically, the lions don't look all that lion-like. You see at lot of lion dancing at lunar New Years.
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2011, 10:04:27 AM »

I've never heard of Lion Dancing.  It made me think of Chinese dragons that you see sometimes in parades, not sure if that is at all related.


To Western eyes the two can look very similar, though they are not identical. Basically, the lions don't look all that lion-like. You see at lot of lion dancing at lunar New Years.

I knew that Chinese lions don't look all that lion-like from the guardian lions that I've seen outside of banks in China (I've been to Changsha and Xi'an, as well as to Hong Kong), like this:


But I've never seen a lion dance....  

Actually, having gone to look it up on Wikipedia, I may have seen a Lion Dance in parades, the pictures there look a lot like Chinese dragons to me (and don't look particularly like the guardian lions at banks):

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LaShawn
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2012, 01:02:45 PM »

Cute story. Very sweet. So, thinking of the Ghostbusters analogy, George = Slimer? But not gross, quite cute, and a definite plus on those cold nights.

I did wonder, though, if there might be problems down the line. Is it possible for George to move to a new 'home'? What if they did meet a more maleovent ghost? What if the lion tries to attack George out of hunger? What if the lion troupe change members? Will George always stay a little boy?

Then again, I can see George befriending the lion spirit. Heh, a ghost boy and his lion. Now there's a tale begging to be told.
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