Song of Hope - LyNa


Song of Hope

Three women in three generations struggle with love and pain through times of great political upheaval in China...
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LyNa - MoLi’s grand daughter

MoLi’s granddaughter LyNa is only three months old when her mother is killed. From Hong Kong she travels to Taiwan, where she grows up happily under the loving care of her aunt whom she thinks to be her real mother. For a long time she remains ignorant to the truth about her own family. She goes to study music in Vienna, where she meets and marries Edward Lamatina, an American film producer. They move to California where LyNa begins a successful movie career. Trough a serious of coincidences LyNa receives a photo album containing pictures of her family by the son of the old Butler from Peony Land, who travels to Malibu just to deliver this valuable book of memories. LyNa is moved by the strength of her grandmother MoLi. The pictures awaken something inside her and she decides to rebuild Peony Land on the site of her home in Malibu. She commissions architects, searches for ancient Chinese items, visits auctions and even manages to find the baldachin bed her grandmother was born in. However, the most important thing she finds on her quest is her father, whom she has long thought to be dead. The ill fate that curses the family returns one final time. Whilst LyNa is happily celebrating the reuniting of her family, the newly built Peony Land burns down to the ground. LyNa, desperate to save the family photo album, rushes into the burning house. She manages to rescue the album but ends up badly effected by the poisonous fumes. She is taken to hospital and ends up in Intensive Care where she lies in a coma. While the family is waiting for her to recover, LyNa’s aunt and her daughter, Bamboo Melanie, sit together in the baldachin bed and recount the extraordinary stories of the families past...(read more)

Something about difference from us and china youngers - from china-nafsa.aief-usa-(pre-departure orientation for chinese students)

To understand about cultural differences, it helps to view “culture” as an iceberg.
Most of an iceberg is invisible, below the water level. Only a small part can be seen.

Only a small part of “culture” is open to view. We can see how people act and we can hear what they say. We may understand or misunderstand what we see and hear, but we can see and hear it.

But what people do and say is based on assumptions and values that are invisible, below the level of the water. The behavior is based on the assumptions and values, just as the tip of the iceberg is based on the larger part of the iceberg below the tip.

The behavior of any group of people—Chinese or Americans or any other—is based on assumptions and values that people of another group may not know about or understand. The behavior is thus likely to be misinterpreted and to seem wrong or out of place.

The Chinese and the American cultural icebergs are of course different. The Chinese cultural iceberg includes, below the water level, some important assumptions and values that are not found in the same form in the American cultural iceberg. These differences cause misunderstanding and disharmony when Chinese and Americans interact. Some of these assumptions:


Very generally speaking, Chinese society has traditionally had a hierarchical structure resulting from Confucian ideas about the proper order of life and society.

Americans generally lack the Chinese/Confucian concern with order, hierarchy, and harmonious interpersonal relationships. They prefer informality in their interactions; they are impatient with rituals and with social interactions that follow a formula. The Confucian idea of “filial piety” receives relatively little attention in Americans’ upbringing. Instead, they learn to “question authority,” including that of their fathers. They value “freedom” from external limitations on their behavior.

Some of what they see among Americans disturbs Chinese because the Americans seem disrespectful, selfish, or tending toward disorder.

While Americans may prefer not to embarrass themselves or others in public, they will not generally go as far as Chinese often will go to avoid that embarrassment. To them it is more important to "be honest,"“face facts,” make their views known, and express their questions and disagreements.

There’s Always a Way

Chinese generally learn that, within certain limits, it is possible to get what they want from other people and from organizations. Getting what they want may require knowing the right people, saying the appropriate things, asking often enough, giving the right gift, or paying the right amount. It may require using the “back door.” One way or another, they believe, they can get a “yes” in response to their requests.

Americans, by contrast, see everyone’s choices as limited by a framework of laws, regulations, rules, and procedures. Officials cannot act outside this framework of laws, regulations, and so on, without risking punishment for illegal, unethical, or improper behavior. There may be no “back door” that a moral, responsible person can use.

Chinese students in America sometimes antagonize Americans by their apparent willingness to overlook the “facts” of a situation and their persistence in seeking decisions that, according to the Americans’ rules and facts, they are not entitled to receive. Chinese may view the American approach as “unhuman,” since it relies on impersonal rules that presumably apply to everyone and leaves out human feelings and judgments.

La Guanxi

Americans do not have an exact equivalent of “la guanxi,” which has to do with the link between people who have a mutually dependent relationship. Americans generally avoid relationships of mutual dependence (except within some families), rather than seeing such relationships as essential to daily life.

The Americans have the notion of “networking,” which involves more limited obligations than “la guanxi.” Networking entails getting acquainted with people who are in a position to give information and perhaps assistance in areas related to gaining employment or promotion in a job and to carrying out employment-related responsibilities. People in one’s network might (but might not) give this assistance. People in one’s network are not expected to give assistance in a wide range of aspects of life. In the end, people are expected to take care of themselves.

Chinese students in America sometimes “expect too much” (as the Americans say) of people they have gotten to know, such as teachers or academic advisers. They are disappointed when the Americans act within limits that aren’t visible to someone who assumes “la guanxi” exists between them.


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