stories of times gone by~ Yi woman~ Yunnan

stories of times gone by~ Yunnan~ Yi woman

stories of times gone by~ Yunnan~ Yi woman

It is such a common sight in Yunnan to see these strong women from the Yi ethnic minority with pipes lit in their mouths puffing at tobacco smoke around the streets, markets and village homes. The pipes are hand crafted and each woman holds on to hers for life proudly. When I asked about the place where we can buy one, I constantly received puzzled looks, “you don’t buy these, you get one made for you when you come of age”!

Let me spin you a tale

with every puff of smoke, a story flows

with every puff of smoke, a story flows

I was walking in an old street in Shanghai with my camera taking in all the sights, smells and noises of the crowded narrow lanes when an unusual sight drew me in. I looked inside a smoky large room packed with  rickety tables, chairs, tea pots, and men in hats, so many men in hats. I walked in and after I stopped being looked at as the stranger in the village, I began to be approached by the curious of the gathered men. Each wanted to tell me stories, because this is what we humans do, we carry our his-story with us, in our minds, our hearts, etched on our faces and we long to tell them and to pass them on before we leave, so that parts of us can stay behind and make an indelible mark. I listened and tried my best to comprehend, but the best story this man can tell is written all over his face and I present it to you here in this frozen moment…

Day Two Hundred Fifty Four, October 3, 2011


The state of most young people after the end of school today is overshadowed by confusion. Too many influences all pulling in different directions, too many decisions to make, too many specialties to choose from, to many religious beliefs to adhere to or not adhere to, too many schools of fashion to adopt, too many identities to subscribe to…

It is a critical time and a very important deciding point for the rest of their lives and ironically the time they are most resistant to adult advice. I wonder if we were given a chance to rewrite the steps we took at that age, would we change anything?

photo taken: girl standing near avenue of the stars in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Day Two Hundred Thirty Seven, September 16, 2011

lines engraved by worry

When we have too much to handle, when we take on more than we can cope with, when life pressures us beyond our capacity, when our loads are just too big, we panic, and when we panic, we worry. Worry is a cruel artist, it favors the face for a canvas and its best skill is engraving. Yes, on our forehead, that’s where worry likes to play.