Ang Lee: A Never-Ending Dream

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Following Ang Lee’s second Best Directing win at the Academy Awards last night, this beautiful essay resurfaced. Here is my translation of Ang Lee’s words, written in 2006 (post-Oscar win). Please credit the translation to Irene Shih (and to this blog), thank you!

In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.

Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty. Much of the time, I was helping film crews with their equipment or working as editor’s assistant, among other miscellaneous duties. My most painful experience involved shopping a screenplay at more than thirty different production companies, and being met with harsh rejection each time.

That year, I turned 30. There’s an old Chinese saying: ‘At 30, one stands firm.’ Yet, I couldn’t even support myself. What could I do? Keep waiting, or give up my movie-making dream? My wife gave me invaluable support.

My wife was my college classmate. She was a biology major, and after graduation, went to work for a small pharmaceutical research lab. Her income was terribly modest. At the time, we already had our elder son, Haan, to raise. To appease my own feelings of guilt, I took on all housework – cooking, cleaning, taking care of our son – in addition to reading, reviewing films and writing scripts. Every evening after preparing dinner, I would sit on the front steps with Haan, telling him stories as we waited for his mother – the heroic huntress – to come home with our sustenance (income).

This kind of life felt rather undignified for a man. At one point, my in-laws gave their daughter (my wife) a sum of money, intended as start-up capital for me to open a Chinese restaurant – hoping that a business would help support my family. But my wife refused the money. When I found out about this exchange, I stayed up several nights and finally decided: This dream of mine is not meant to be. I must face reality.

Afterward (and with a heavy heart), I enrolled in a computer course at a nearby community college. At a time when employment trumped all other considerations, it seemed that only a knowledge of computers could quickly make me employable. For the days that followed, I descended into malaise. My wife, noticing my unusual demeanor, discovered a schedule of classes tucked in my bag. She made no comment that night.

The next morning, right before she got in her car to head off to work, my wife turned back and – standing there on our front steps – said, ‘Ang, don’t forget your dream.’

And that dream of mine – drowned by demands of reality – came back to life. As my wife drove off, I took the class schedule out of my bag and slowly, deliberately tore it to pieces. And tossed it in the trash.

Sometime after, I obtained funding for my screenplay, and began to shoot my own films. And after that, a few of my films started to win international awards. Recalling earlier times, my wife confessed, ‘I’ve always believed that you only need one gift. Your gift is making films. There are so many people studying computers already, they don’t need an Ang Lee to do that. If you want that golden statue, you have to commit to the dream.’

And today, I’ve finally won that golden statue. I think my own perseverance and my wife’s immeasurable sacrifice have finally met their reward. And I am now more assured than ever before: I must continue making films.

You see, I have this never-ending dream.

Irene’s Note: If you liked Ang’s essay, you might also enjoy this older essay I wrote: A Dream Deferred (Link).

Original text (in Chinese):

文 / 李安

1978年,當我準備報考美國伊利諾大學的戲劇電影系時,父親十分反感,他給我列了一個資料:在美國百老匯,每年只有兩百個角色,但卻有五萬人要一起爭奪這少得可憐的角色。當時我一意孤行,決意登上了去美國的班機,父親和我的關係從此惡化,近二十年間和我說的話不超過一百句!

但是,等我幾年後從電影學院畢業,我終於明白了父親的苦心所在。在美國電影界,一個沒有任何背景的華人要想混出名堂來,談何容易。從1983年起,我經過了六年的漫長而無望的等待,大多數時候都是幫劇組看看器材、做點剪輯助理、劇務之類的雜事。最痛苦的經歷是,曾經拿著一個劇本,兩個星期跑了三十多家公司,一次次面對別人的白眼和拒絕。

那時候,我已經將近三十歲了。古人說:三十而立。而我連自己的生活都還沒法自立,怎麼辦?繼續等待,還是就此放棄心中的電影夢?幸好。我的妻子給了我最及時的鼓勵。

妻子是我的大學同學,但她是學生物學的,畢⋯⋯業後在當地一家小研究室做藥物研究員,薪水少得可憐。那時候我們已經有了大兒子李涵,為了緩解內心的愧疚,我每天除了在家裡讀書、看電影、寫劇本外,還包攬了所有家務,負責買菜做飯帶孩子,將家裡收拾得乾乾淨淨。還記得那時候,每天傍晚做完晚飯後,我就和兒子坐在門口,一邊講故事給他聽,一邊等待”英勇的獵人媽媽帶著獵物(生活費)回家”。

這樣的生活對一個男人來說,是很傷自尊心的。有段時間,岳父母讓妻子給我一筆錢,讓我拿去開個中餐館,也好養家糊口,但好強的妻子拒絕了,把錢還給了老人家。我知道了這件事後,輾轉反側想了好幾個晚上,終於下定決心:也許這輩子電影夢都離我太遠了,還是面對現實吧。

後來,我去了社區大學,看了半天,最後心酸地報了一門電腦課。在那個生活壓倒一切的年代裡,似乎只有電腦可以在最短時間內讓我有一技之長了。那幾天我一直萎靡不振,妻子很快就發現了我的反常,細心的她發現了我包裡的課程表。那晚,她一宿沒和我說話。

第二天,去上班之前,她快上車了,突然,她站在臺階下轉過身來,一字一句地告訴我:”安,要記得你心裡的夢想!”

那一刻,我心裡像突然起了一陣風,那些快要淹沒在庸碌生活裡的夢想,像那個早上的陽光,一直射進心底。妻子上車走了,我拿出包裡的課程表,慢慢地撕成碎片,丟進了門口的垃圾桶。

後來,我的劇本得到基金會的贊助,我開始自己拿起了攝像機,再到後來,一些電影開始在國際上獲獎。這個時候,妻子重提舊事,她才告訴我:”我一直就相信,人只要有一項長處就足夠了,你的長處就是拍電影。學電腦的人那麼多,又不差你李安一個,你要想拿到奧斯卡的小金人,就一定要保證心裡有夢想。”

如今,我終於拿到了小金人。我覺得自己的忍耐、妻子的付出終於得到了回報,同時也讓我更加堅定,一定要在電影這條路上一直走下去。

因為,我心裡永遠有一個關於電影的夢。

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165 thoughts on “Ang Lee: A Never-Ending Dream

  1. Pingback: Live Your Dream, Share Your Passion « Create & Plate

  2. I can’t wait to share this. Ironically, I’m working on a piece right now for the University of Illinois alumni magazine. Do you have a Twitter handle so I can send my three followers here?

  3. In the second paragraph you write “Taiwanese newcomer” but in his original essay, he says “Hua Ren” which translates to “Chinese people”. Are you getting political on us?

    • David: Ang Lee has historically identified himself as Taiwanese, so I’m respecting the spirit of what he likely meant to say – which is that he sees himself as a Taiwanese filmmaker. I wouldn’t label it a political move. Instead, it’s a reasonable interpretation, grounded in knowledge of my subject.

      • Thanks for translating and sharing this. I remember reading about this in his autobiographical book a few years back.
        Regarding this sentence though, it’s not a reasonable interpretation.

        Ang has historically id’ed himself as first and foremost — Chinese.
        Here’s a video of him saying that he’s proud to be Chinese. (At the 0:08 mark)

        Here he explicitly wrote “Chinese person / person of Chinese descent” instead of “Taiwanese newcomer”.

    • i’m second generation malaysia born chinese. i refer to myself as hua ren which i meant it to be understood as ethnic chinese, and not the nationality chinese. i dare say, many chinese born or naturalised outside china, refers to themselves as hua ren too, and like me they meant ethnic chinese, and rightfully so. we are not zhong guo ren (china person, ie. chinese the nationality), we are hua ren.

      ethnicity and nationality are not the same, .. obviously.

    • “Hua Ren” is actually an ambiguous word; it is just like the word “European”, represents a great sum of people with “close” and “similar” cultures of a region but from different countries or ethnicity. Taiwanese may not be a good example due to the complicate political status with China, but indeed you will still heard some Singaporeans, Malaysians, or Indonesians tell you that they are a “Chinese”. However, when they are saying that, most of the time they are not referring “Chinese” as the sense of people form a state, but rather as a culture, just like what “European” means. Sometime we hate to use this word because the translation to “Chinese people” would easily make readers confused, but sadly there isn’t any word in English could perfectly match to the word “Hua Ren”. Western, or maybe I should say in English language, is always not that accurate when we try to use it as a medium to describe our eastern/Asian culture.

      • I have always thought that “Hua Ren” refers to Chinese from mainland China and “Hua Jiao” refers to oversea born Chinese. Hence people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore or anyone born outside of China or Taiwan are refers to as “Hua Jiao”. Which means that they may be of Chinese ethnicity but culturally, they are different from the mainland Chinese. Many Indonesian or Philippines “Hua JIao” can’t speak a word of Chinese and can only speak the Indonesian or Tagalog dialects.

  4. Pingback: Ang Lee On How He Stayed On His Path « Movie City News

  5. Thanks so much for sharing and for making this available to English readers. This has always been one of my favorite essays. Deeply moving, and the translation is wonderful! I do have a few brief notes if you don’t mind considering them:

    1. “In the last 20 years, we have exchanged less than a hundred words in conversation” might be better translated as “For about two decides, he didn’t utter more than a hundred sentences to me in conversation.” “句” does not quite mean “words”, and the translation as it stands might give off the (false) impression that the father-son relationship is still sour- Lee and his father had long reconciled (the period following “the Hulk” was the time when Lee’s father finally showed unrestrained support for his son’s film career), and the elder Lee passed away some years back (before the Brokeback Oscar victory)

    2. The idea of “waiting” is critical to “我經過了六年的漫長而無望的等待”. “I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty” is beautiful, but I wonder if there’s a way to further highlight the idea that this was a period of “waiting”, with no end in sight.

    3. “因為,我心裡永遠有一個關於電影的夢.”- The translation “You see, I have this never-ending dream” is missing the key word “movie”/”film”. The notion of this being not just any dream but Ang Lee’s “movie dream”- which is highly specific- strikes me as critical. This same omission also occurred earlier.

    I hope this is remotely useful! Thanks again for sharing this with the world.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Gene. In response to your kind suggestions:

      1. I tweaked this one. It now reads: “For two decades, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.”

      2. I’m keeping this one the way it is, because the perfect translation for 漫長而無望的等待 doesn’t quite exist. The closest to translating that idea is to say that this time period was uncertain. So, I think emphasizing the agonizing uncertainty more closely captures the spirit of that sentence. ‘Waiting’ carries a milder connotation.

      3. I cut out the “film” part of that last sentence deliberately, to keep the essay poetic and spare. By the time we reach that last sentence, it’s quite clear what his dream is. To reinforce that it’s a moviemaking dream would seem superfluous, even if it sticks more closely to the exact words on the page.

      Ang’s essay reads rather poetically in Chinese, and so my task was to translate his poetry such that it still feels poetic in English. Thanks again for the thoughtful feedback.

  6. Thank you very much for your response. Yes, having re-read the essay again, I agree that the notion of this being a “movie”/”moviemaking dream” is quite clear in the last sentence (particularly given the sentence immediately preceding it) and “agonizing certainty” poetically conveys the hopelessness of his predicament at the time. You’re absolutely right. (The only/last thing I would add is that, given the change you’ve kindly made in response to #1, you might also want to tweak the preceding sentence “Since then, my father and I have had a strained relationship” for the same reason I mentioned.)

    Thanks again for sharing this beautiful essay and for your equally beautiful translation.

  7. so beautiful!!! one reason why I love Ang Lee is his humility in the face of the rare success he enjoys. and that’s what makes him even more inspiring. thank you for sharing.

  8. Thanks for sharing will share it with all my friends & tell everyone including me never to loose hope you have to follow your dream….Success will follow

  9. Pingback: Ang Lee is a boss | secrets of the ice cream diet

  10. thank you irene for the translation of such an encouraging essay. i cant read chinese but i understand it well. do you happen to know if it is read out somewhere? thanks :)

    • minhua, if you don’t have Chinese text to audio software available you can use http://translate.google.com and have it read it out for you. Copy and paste the Chinese text in there, then at the bottom of the text area look for the little “speaker” icon and click on that. Google translate has automatic conversion to pinyin below the input area as well, in case that helps.

  11. Irene, thanks for being so open to feedback and again, translating this for everyone to share. The beautiful thing about this essay is that it’s a dream that is shared by all people regardless of where they are from.

    • David: Of course! I appreciate your feedback, and hope you continue to peruse other posts on my blog as well. My dream – not unlike Ang’s – is to be a writer. I hope his story will give all of us the courage to give our own gifts a chance.

  12. Great translations and great that you took some suggestions from people’s comments to make it more true to Lee’s writing. Just wanted to point out a few rather minor things.

    1. Hundreds words sound wrong but “a hundred phrases in conversation” doesn’t sound right either. Maybe a verbatim translation word for word for “近二十年間和我說的話不超過一百句” just didn’t work here.

    2. “My wife was my COLLEGE CLASSMATE” A better translation is “My wife was my schoolmate in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). First, 大學同學doesn’t always mean classmate in Chinese; in this context it’s more schoolmate than classmate. His wife Jane Lin, at the time a student from Taiwan, was pursuing her biology PhD degree at UIUC. I doubted Ang (majoring in theatre) ever took the same class with her. Second, Lee said 大學/university I believe in part because he was completing his undergraduate university degree at UIUC. (He had a 3-year college degree in Taiwan and got his BA at UIUC).

    3. His eldest son’s name is Haan, not Han. Han is a direct translation but not the name Lee gave to his son.

    4.“At one point, my in-laws gave THEIR DAUGHTER (MY WIFE) a sum of money”.
    Why not just “At one point, my in-laws gave MY WIFE a sum of money” Their daughter (my wife) seemed redundant.

    5. Third paragraph from the bottom: Recalling earlier times, my wife CONFESSED, ‘I’ve always believed that YOU ONLY NEED ONE GIFT. 重提舊事 isn’t quite the same as confessed (to me anyway). Also It seem the translation isn’t complete. One gift for what? I felt that by “人只要有一項長處就足夠了”, she meant you only one gift to succeed or to stand out in the crowd.

    6. The title of the article 十年一覺電影夢 wasn’t translated. Because it wasn’t, it made any reference of dreams in the essay sound less poignant. For example the last sentence “You see, I have this never-ending dream.” could have been more emotionally powerful if the title is translated or the last sentence is edited: “You see, I have this never-ending dream IN FILM MAKING”. Anyhow the essence of this essay is about his never ending dream in film making.

    It’s a great translation. Just some suggestions to hope to make it better as I wish more people can read the English translation about the back story before he became famous.

    • Hi Sol, thank you for your feedback. In response to your detailed suggestions:

      A lot of this translation is mapped onto my own sensibilities about the poetry of Ang’s essay. Again, I translated verbatim when it felt appropriate, and opted against when it seemed cumbersome or not translatable. To that end:

      1. I’ve decided to keep this the way it is – I do think the “hundred phrases” part is key to illustrating (with specificity) just how strained that relationship was. I agree that this translation can’t hope to mimic the original text, but I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      2. Schoolmate, I think, gets even farther from classmate. It’s pretty typical in the U.S. to say someone is your college classmate even if you never attended class together. Schoolmate has more of a boarding school connotation.

      3. I will edit that, thank you.

      4. In-laws aren’t always the parents of your wife. They could be her siblings or some other relative. So I do think it’s important to stress that they were her parents. Additionally, I find it poignant to emphasize that they were giving this money out of love and concern for a daughter. The money was an expression of parental love, so it’s important to emphasize that this exchange was between parent and child. Jane Lin is more than just Ang’s wife. She is someone’s daughter, too.

      5. Again, “confessed” is to add to the poignancy of that passage. It places emphasis on the fact that she had never said that to him before. I think it’s appropriate. “You only need one gift to succeed or stand out” sounds cumbersome to me. I think “you only need one gift” delivers the same message without the burden of too much specificity.

      6. I think it’s quite clear what his dream is, don’t you? Specificity is important when it serves an otherwise unaddressed purpose. His ‘filmmaking’ dream is not an unaddressed point. To hammer that ‘filmmaking’ part home feels heavy-handed to me.

      Again, thanks for your feedback. Your thoughtful suggestions were an important viewpoint to entertain, even if I didn’t end up employing all of them.

  13. The first gift Ang-Lee received was his wife. You have to be very lucky to find someone that love you so much that she supports you while you are going through tough times.

  14. Hi Shih,
    Thanks so much for the translation. Will share it with my friends.
    Seems you grew up in US, how did you learn to read Chinese? (Speaking is much easier with Chinese speaking parents at home).

  15. this is so inspiring for the people who have lost hope and are giving up their dreams due to the fact that others come along to crush every bit of confidence in you. well done Ang Lee and thank you for sharing this article with me. it has shown some light of hope and inspired courage. fate helps those who help themselves.

  16. Shih, thank you so much for this beautiful translation and for making Ang Lee’s words available like this. I stumbled upon this completely by chance, but it has transformed my day (and many more to come–what a gift!).

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  18. Pingback: Sounds Like Con » Blog Archive » For you dreamers…

  19. This is a beautiful translation of his essay and I love that while it’s not always an exact translation, you’ve captured the essence of what was written in poetic/lyrical way.

  20. I believe that in everyone, their is a dream. The ‘Dream’ is your essence, your passion that your creator put in you. To pursue anything else, whether it be money, fame, conquest..it’s a waste. Never give up on your Dreams! It is what defines you!

  21. Reblogged this on whimsical {space} and commented:
    February is ending and March is just beginning. Time never seems to stop – but of course, it shouldn’t – what I really meant was how sometimes it just whizzes pass you. There’s no pause. It just drags you and you end up lost in its pace.
    It’s easy to get lost.
    Often, I lose sight of what I want and most of the time, I don’t know what my dreams are anymore. Or maybe, I do but they’ve become an illusion of sandcastles. You know what it is but it’s so transparent that it doesn’t seem like it’ll ever be solid.
    Which brings me to this point. For the past few days, I seem to be stumbling upon inspirations, like a sign from a God. A gentle nudge. A reminder. And this is one of it.

    This is a reminder to me, and to everyone out there.

    “I’ve always believed that you only need one gift. Your gift is making films. There are so many people studying computers already, they don’t need an Ang Lee to do that. If you want that golden statue, you have to commit to the dream.”

  22. Dear Irene,
    Thank you for this beautiful piece – for translating it, and for sharing it. I think this inspirational message to follow your dream and work on something you love, is critically important. If more of us could do it, the world will definitely become a happier place.
    Warm Regards,
    Anand

  23. Some of the translations were great, some awkward in your choice of words. But it’s better than no translation that’s for sure.

    I agreed with Sol. Classmate is very specific referring to people who attend the same class and shouldn’t be used in this context. A (college) classmate means someone you take the same class with (in college) and a schoolmate is someone who attends the same school that you attend. The two words are not interchangeable. In English we say we go to the same school/university, or we are both class of 2006 (meaning we graduated the same year 2006). None of them can infer we’ve taken the same class or in the same class room. By saying she was a college classmate, you are suggesting they have taken the same class in college.

    Also I agree with Gene and Sol, you shouldn’t omit the words “movie/film” or “film making” in your translation. That’s the key of Ang’s article. Ang Lee has a dream and the dream in movie making and how he never gave up the dream. It’s inferred in the translated text but the original writing is quite explicit spelling it out and it’s strange you insist omitting it.

    Otherwise a good translation overall.

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  26. I’d like to point out that the visual effects company that played a very large part in his oscar win is now filing for bankruptcy. The artists, out of a job. I make my living doing visual effects so I find it more than a little confusing to read a touching story like this, then from the same person, “I’d like it to be cheaper” when it came to making his vision on Life of Pi. I’d tend to think he’d be a little more accommodating given his history

    • He was referring to the fixed cost of the visual effects industry being very high to begin with? He said he was sad the company filed for bankruptcy.

  27. So inspirational, thanks for the translation! I love hearing about Ang following his passion despite the discouragement of his father and also about his wife’s powerful support over the years. It often seems (as in the case of Ang almost giving up and studying computers) that temporary hardship and discouragement is very nearly followed by the realization of one’s dreams and ambitions through unwavering faith and persistance. Beautiful post, thanks Shih!

  28. I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT. inspirational because every one of us struggle in life in order to fulfil our dreams. There comes a time when we see it all shattered in front of our eyes, but stories of people like Ang Lee are here to inspire us and keep us going.
    thank you Shih :)

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  30. Pingback: Ang Lee | Raymond Roman's Visual Blog

  31. Dear Irene,
    Thanks a ton for the beautiful post and translation. It really is a message that is of such critical importance. And as I see from the many responses from across the world, it looks like many of us are searching for that path that we belong to. For those of us who have found it, or think we have, we wonder if we have the courage to tread upon it.
    Hope this message inspires many many people and encourages them to follow their dreams.

  32. Hey, I’m just curious where do you get the original chinese note from? Can you cite the source? because whenever i google, all the search results are pretty much copy & paste without citing the source.

  33. This is lovely and I admit to having a huge Ang Lee crush–further deepened by his adorable, and apparently whip-smart, wife. No feedback on your translation and certainly have no intention of wandering into the political debate, but wondering where this (the Chinese-language) version first appeared and how/where you came across it? (apologies if this is noted somewhere above in the comments. I didn’t see it.)

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  38. This is so sweet. I don’t know Richard Bach probably wrote of kingfisher wherein the female one carries the male on long voyage. One is always lucky t have such companion.

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  41. Irene, thanks for translating it so more people can read this beautiful essay. I think Ang Lee’s life and the love story between him and his wife should be made into a movie. It is inspiring. Out of all the film directors, Ang is one of the few male directors who always show a sensitivity toward the women in his film. It’s obvious that his wife is a huge influence. I love that his wife wore a tuxedo rather than a gown at the Oscar. She also keeps her own name “Jane Lin”. She’s no Mrs. Ang Lee. It’s an equal partnership. Actually I get the sense she wears the pants in that family and Ang seems to be perfectly happy with that.

    I don’t mind others but the meaning of the Chinese saying was really not translated clearly. It think the better translation would be: “At 30, one stands on his own two feet.” It’s more about being independent. The word “firm” doesn’t quite convey the message. One more nitpick. :-)

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  43. What an inspiring article? Dreams are meant to be realized. It has come true in Ang Lee’s life. There are many more who have achieved their dreams against all hardships because of their focused attitude. Surely there will be a person to support to attain the dream like Ang Lee’s wife in his life.

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  53. Irene, proud to be a Chinese descendente (Peruvian-Chinese-American), I Don’t speak Cantonese, just my Dad did. But I know some Chinese words. What a beautiful & inspiring essay.
    Thank you so much, for sharing this story.

  54. Hello,
    I was deeply inspired by your post and so I have added into my site provided all credit to you and your website.
    I have given back link to this page and also to your about page.
    Great Work Irene
    This is the link of my site where I have posted this: http://www.pophap.com/life-of-ang-lee/
    If you have any objection regarding this, please drop a mail to me.
    Thank you for sharing..

  55. Pingback: A Moving Essay by Director Ang Lee | Stand-Up Philosopher

  56. This text just went on my fridge! It will be part of the inspiring pictures and mementos I have there that help me stay on track towards the dream of mine… Thanks so much for sharing!

  57. My sister sent me here! :D I’m getting married next month and I want to be Ang Lee’s wife. :) What an inspiring personification of what a true partnership is really about!

  58. I admire Ang Lee for such a big success in Hollywood and being proud of his Chinese Heritage. In fact I have been asking Chinese to be proud of their Chinese identity and stop using English names instead of their Chinese name which will identify them as pure Chinese. We are no longer under the English colonial rule.
    It is also very surprising that Ang Lee has not mentioned how he feels for his father at the moment. What his father did was for Ang Lee’s sake and well being by just advising him of the most likely outcome even using statistic. His father just wants the best for him. It shows his father really cares for him and loves him. Family to the Chinese is very important mainly through Confucius teaching. Chinese parents go all out to care for their children. I am sure Ang Lee’s father will be very proud of his exceptional success even though he did not follow his father’s advice then. Ang Lee is also very lucky to have such a nice supportive wife which I really admire her for her part. Ang Lee is without doubt one of the most talented person I have come across and make us Chinese proud.

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  63. How interesting….I watch mainly Asian movies (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Thai, etc) because they’re still such good story-tellers. It was Ang Lee movies (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) that got me started on that. I’m so inspired by the his story. Thank you immensely for this story. I myself directed “The Sobbing Stone”, which got nominated Best Feature Drama at a European festival in Europe. And I’ve lived a very similar life to Mr. Lee. Only difference is…I haven’t yet been considered for an Oscar. But, that’s okay. I’m living my dream. Again…I thank you. :o) Robert G. Christie, filmmaker

  64. The lesson on this is, be rebellious to your father and find a good lifetime partner. Lack of either one, Ang will be nobody today.

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  75. Irene, thank you so much for this important translation. I will share it! I am a life and leadership coach and help people follow their dreams. This message is so important for people to hear, especially Asian American youth today! Thanks again! Cheers!

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  79. HI, Irene,

    關於如何避免混淆華人/中國人 和華語/中國話 的翻譯

    華人 Sino-ethnic poeple

    華語系 Sino-phone (包括北京話、和其他方言,例如:粵語、潮州話、閩南話、客家話、台語等等)

    Sino 這個字根,原本是由 「支那」演變而來 (秦朝的阿拉伯語Qin (Ch’in)→古希臘文Sinae→拉丁文Sinae)

    原則上,華人 (不等於) Chinese people, 改成 Sinoethnic people,或 Sinoethnicity

    華語 (不等於) Chinese language,改成Sinophonic language,或 Sinophone

    一般,華人在講自己所屬的民族,以及使用的語言,有時候很困擾,因為典型的說法都是說「中語/中文」,「中華民族/華人」。但是,長久以來,英文講法全都變成了Chinese language/ Chinese people,別說外語人士分不清,連自己聽起來都覺得就是 「中國人的語言」,「中國人」。

    其實,中國以外的華人可以不再用Chinese 來翻譯,目前學術界有另一種避免混淆中國國籍/華人或華文的說法,華文是 Sinophone (形容詞 Sinophonic ),華人/華語系民族 Sinoethnicity (形容詞 Sinoethnic) (在流行文化圈,Sino-ethno 通常是指「華人民族風」,不要再翻譯或理解為 「中國民族風」)。

    另外,華人在讀接觸英文時,由於慣例使然,常會遇到各式各樣冠有Chinese的說法,例如: Chinese culture, Chinese society, Chinese tradition, Chinese classic, Chinese philosophy, Chinese world, Chinese people…..其實很多時候,不見得是帶有中國的涵義,但是很多人在翻譯或理解的時候,制約成性,不假思索就想成了,中國文化、中國社會、中國傳統、中國經典、中國哲學、中國世界、中國人…….中國這個,中國那個的,實在不是很恰當。

    同樣地,以後華人也可以有意識地,把看到/聽到的 Chinese……,翻譯/理解成,華人的、華文的、漢民族的 (甚至隱含有大中國認同潛在意涵的「中華」,也應該盡可能避免使用)。而不要一看到/聽到 Chinese……,就不知不覺毫無抵抗地直接翻譯/理解成,大中國認同的「中國的…..」。

    舉例來說:I am Taiwanese (我是台灣人), Taiwan is a Sinoethnic society (台灣是華人社會), I speak Sinophoic language (我說華語),Sinophonic culture (華語文化), Sinophonic world (華語世界),Sinoethnic culture(華人文化)、Sinoethnic ethics (華人倫理)、Sinoethnic family value (華人家庭價值)……

    以上意見,酌供參考

    今年夏天,翻譯《Philosophy of Ang Lee》台灣繁譯字版本(台北市:五南圖書,2013年),我也是盡量喘模李安和其他歐美作者使用的Chinese字眼,除了明確指涉中國的地方,其餘盡量適度翻譯成「華文」、「華人社會」、「華人文化」,乃至於「台灣」、「香港」等等。

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  89. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally
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