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February 16, 2008 - Bill Ackerbauer
Leejun Taylor, a local Chinese-American businesswoman whom I interviewed for a series of stories last year, has had a role in bringing the NTDTV's Chinese New Year Spectacular to Proctors Theater in Schenectady. The show is being staged at Proctors Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 16 and 17). (For ticket info, click the link above or call Proctors at 346-6204.)
Ms. Taylor, whose mother was detained last year by the Chinese government in Beijing, has kept me up to date on a number of issues affecting U.S.-China relations: the government's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, allegations that Chinese authorities have butchered political prisoners and sold their vital organs, the lead paint in cheaply produced Chinese consumer goods, and attempts to get Beijing to clean up its human rights act as it prepares to host the Olympics.
She informs me the Chinese New Year Spectacular pageant drew the attention of the Chinese embassy when it was first performed in New York City, and Chinese agents attempted to undermine the production because some of its content makes reference to Falun Gong and other elements of Chinese culture that the government prefers to suppress.
It's good to see the production will be performed for the benefit of Capital Region audiences.
On a related subject, I see we have entered a Year of the Rat, according to the Chinese zodiac system. I did a little research and discovered that I was born in a previous ratty year (1972, but who's counting?). A Wikipedia entry says people born in Rat years are "leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking." Ah, but it goes on to say we Rat-folk are "Quick-tempered and aggressive ... Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection."
I'm skeptical as to whether any of this stuff has a basis in reality, but I suppose I can play along for a moment. Rat people are said to make good spies, actors, politicians and ... writers. Fancy that. We're also supposed to avoid Horses, the Wiki entry says. Meaning people born in Horse years, I would guess. But it's an interesting coincidence that I'm allergic to actual equines. Perhaps Chinese astrology is nothing to sneeze at, after all.
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