Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Waiting For The Bus

                              I was invited to participate in a gala and auction event in Shanghai last week. My painting, Waiting For The Bus, depicts 14 children from a poor village in Taiwan who studied hard and were given a chance at a good education.  The story below tells what happened to them.

The Auction, Shanghai, March 22, 2014

                                                 Waiting For The Bus

Every morning, the mothers and grannies of my neighborhood hustle their children out of the house before day break to catch the bus to school.  The Zero South bus would take them to the Gong Guan Depot and there they would then scatter, each taking addition bus lines going to their own school. It would be the first of several long bus rides before they returned home in the evening with their heads crammed full of lessons that hopefully would bring them each a better future.  They were lucky.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red Noise at #23 Mo Gan Shan

While Shaio Ni washed the dishes, laughter and chatter, prayers and prattles, dancing and a good deal of Red Noise could be heard from the front room where a large foreign family had gathered for a weekend retreat.  Between all the extensions there were so many children that the housekeeper could not count them all.

The family seemed happy and grateful for this mountain refuge and this made Shaio Ni’s work-load seem lighter. There is nothing more satisfying than contented guests.

~for my brother Jonathan and his lovely Judy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Three Is A Good Number

Three Is A Good Number

“I wonder how many children will make their way to me,” Mariko wonder to herself.  “Three is a good number.”

~posted in July of 2009 

A Family Affair
I gave this painting to Mariko in 2009, when my sister-in-law announced to our family that she was expecting her first child. She and my brother had been married barely a year and they were living in Shanghai in the house of yet another of my brothers.

My brother and Mariko now have two children. A few months back  while on a different trip here in Hong Kong, the topic was broached about having a third child.  There was a long and affectionate debate weighing the pros and cons.

But the decision was largely made when Mariko pointed up to this painting called Three is a Good Number and said with a slight hint of victory in her voice, “but Da Jie, you predicted we would have three.”

And so now a third is on the way.

Today I am alone in their house painting and I thought Three is a Good Number  needed some repairs.  It is chipped from their many moves.

Update:  the third....Julian Suzuki Brantingham 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Bright Future Electrified

At next dawn, Fung Yang would begin his new job at the Chai Yi Electric Company. It would be his first day working anywhere other than his uncle’s bicycle and motorcycle repair shop, where he had shown some natural talent fixing motors.
Fung Yang suspected that this new job would change his life forever and he dreamed it would better the prospects for his family.  He would be part of the bright new future that seemed just on Taiwan’s horizon.  Even so, while deep in thought he took extra care in feeding his youngest son.  He wasn’t sure if his new job would allow him to be home in time for DiDi’s supper ever again.

This fear turned out to be true.  Fung Yang retired from the Chai Yi Electric Company thirty years later, and, was never home in time for his children’s dinner except at Moon Festival and during the Lunar New Year holidays.  His little son, Di Di grew up to be a technician at a factory making television sets.  A bright future, indeed.

Saturday, September 7, 2013



Auntie Bao could not believe the effect her goddaughters had on her rabbits. When the three sisters came to visit, they had immediate good effect not only in her barn, but on her general outlook about the family’s future.  The next time she saw their father, Bao Gu Gu punched his arm and made tsk tsk-ing sounds with her teeth and then said loudly, “Wa! Lao Bao, you so triple lucky! Your daughters are such good credit to the family. They are helpful and look after each other very well and all while each one is so unique and independent. Three such good daughters are better than three dozen sons.  Ai Yo, even better than San Min Zhu Yi for the Republic.”

This is for my beloved goddaughters....Rylee, Kasey, and Jamie

~from Victoria

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Uncle Tu gave his maid, Li Mei Hwa,  a scholarly work bound by course strings that and  silken papers. In the evenings the old man tried to teach the young girl to read and write all with the intention that this would lead to her ability to recite poetry from the Tang dynasty poets to him in the evenings. Little Li had never been to school a day in her life but this did not deter Uncle Tu from jumping right into the classics. The book was his treasure and sharing the stories within to such an eager student, was his pleasure.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I met this little sister, Shaio Wu in a temple; a place of worship in a large city in Jiangsu Province.  We made small talk as we waited for the ceremony to begin.  She asked me many questions about my travels around China. While we waited for the musicians to tune their instruments and chanters to begin singing about the origins of mankind, Shaio Wu turned to me and said.  “You know auntie,  I am adopted. I know nothing about where I was born.”  She paused and listened to the chanters warming up and then asked me.  “By looking at my face, can you tell what province I am from?”

~from SuZhou