Author Archives: feliciaz

Riddle About Man

Riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?

Answer: Man. He crawls on all hands and knees as a baby, walks on two legs as an adult, and walks using a cane in his old age.

This is a well known riddle, cited from The Braingle.com.

According to the UnMuseum, this riddle was given by the Sphinx to all travelers. It would eat all the travelers who could not answer his riddle, until Oedipus gave the correct answer of “Man,” and caused the Sphinx to die.

The fact that his riddle from such a long time ago is so well known even today shows the universality of riddles about humanity. This riddle causes people to reflect and look at themselves and their lives in order to answer the riddle. It makes people think about the concept of life and aging, and brings an awareness to the natural progression of life in a clever way.

Chinese Proverb: Kind Words

Informant is a 53 year-old Chinese female. She was born and raised in Beijing, China. She now lives in Southern California.

Informant’s folklore: A kind word will warm a person for three winters; evil speech will hurt people and make people cold in June. This means that when you say something nice to a person, you make them feel happy and warm. It will even keep them warm through three winters, at the coldest times. If you say something bad about someone, in this way, even when it’s June and it’s really hot weather, that person will feel coldness in their hearts. This saying means to never say bad things about or to someone, because it will hurt them.

Collector: Do you like this saying?

Informant: I love this saying, because a person you must say nice words to people. You shouldn’t use words to hurt people.

Collector: What does this mean to you?

Informant: Everyone has a different way to help people. Some people have money or materials to give to other people, but other people don’t have anything to give. But when you don’t have anything to give, a kind word is enough.

Collector: Where did you hear this saying from?

Informant: I learned it from my mother.

I think that this proverb is a saying to live by. It’s a saying about the power of words–how words can help or hurt people. It shows people to be kind to each other, because words and ideas can shape people into the persons they want to become.

Chinese Proverb: Wish for Plums to Quench Your Thirst

Informant is a 53 year-old Chinese female. She was born and raised in Beijing, China, and now lives in Southern California.

Informant’s folklore: In China, there’s a proverb called “Wish for Plums to Quench Your Thirst.” Cao Cao and Liu Bei were at war. But during the war, the troops walked a lot and trekked for a long time, so much so that they were tired and couldn’t walk anymore. So, they were thirsty and tired. So Cao Cao said, “Hey we should keep walking forward! Ahead there’s a garden of plum trees, and when we get there, there will be water.” So this proverb means that when you hear of plums, your mouth starts to water, and when your mouth salivates, it satisfies your thirst.

Collector: Where did you hear this proverb?

Informant: Everyone knows about this story, and I heard it from my mother.

Collector: Do you like this proverb? What does it mean to you?

Informant: Yes, because to me it sounds like when you’re so tired, or worn out doing something, if you have hope, you can make it to the end.

This proverb originated from Chinese history dating to thousands of years ago. I think that there’s a universality to the meaning of the proverb, in that it’s about human will power. The proverb shows how despite your physical conditions, your mind can overcome hardship and keep you going to accomplish your goals.

What are “Dank Memes”?

The informant is a 20 year old, American college student, who studies at the University of Southern California.

Informant: “Dank memes”–is just like like, you know how marijuana is dank? It’s described as dank. So people describe these memes as dank memes. It’s basically just shit you find on the internet, and stupid stuff that people post about whatever topic.

Collector: Do you collect dank memes?

Informant: No, I just look at them, and laugh.

Collector: How did you hear about dank memes?

Informant: Just on the internet. Like on Reddit. Here’s the perfect example of a dank meme. “The most perfect anime ever created, in terms of story, direction, characters, plot development has got to be Corey in the House. It’s like the greatest anime ever made.” That’s an example of a dank meme. (Explanation: Corey in the House is not an anime, nor considered the best show ever created, hence the irony and humor.)

Collector: Who creates these dank memes?

Informant: Everyone on the internet can.

Collector: Why do you think people like these dank memes?

Informant: It’s just something super inane, something stupid that you laugh at for the stupidity of it rather than the merit it actually has. It’s just something funny to spend your time on.

I think that the significance of this is that the internet gives everyone a voice to express their opinion and humor on something. It’s reflective of the audience’s reaction to a television show or to make fun something. The internet gives way to express and share the humor in a widespread way. The producers of culture spread culture through the vertical mode of communication, yet the internet is an equalizer and gives people the ability to create their own counter culture and express their dissatisfaction for the culture that’s being sold to them.

For reference, see Corey in the House (TV Show).

APASA Annual End of the Year Banquet

USC APASA is the University of Southern California’s Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, a student run organization that aims “To celebrate and share Asian Pacific American (APA) heritage and diversity, USC APASA supports its member organizations and sponsors cultural events to foster unity and growth within and beyond the APA Trojan community. We strive to create a more united community, where students support each other culturally, socially and academically by educating each other with their heritage, history and traditions.”

Every year, they have a tradition of hosting a gathering at the end of the year to celebrate their achievements for the school year. The informant is a college student and member of the organization.

Informant’s folklore: Every year, APASA invites the presidents and representatives of the Asian Pacific American organizations to this big dinner. It’s like an end of the year celebration to celebrate everything we’ve done as an organization. We have a really nice three course meal, and everyone dresses up really nicely. You go through superlative awards the executive board votes on like “Best Representatives,” or “Rising Star,” or “Best Culture Show” awards. We do that to recognize that our member orgs are trying and all the work the put into everything they do. It’s really fun to be able to nominate your friends when they do something really good. We also make a video to celebrate everything that we’ve done and encourage their good work.

Why do you like celebrating this event?

I think that it encourages everyone as a community to work together, and foster everything they’ve created. It also rewards those who put the effort into it. And I feel like everyone who puts in the effort should be rewarded for it. And it’s also a nice time to reflect how far we’ve come since the beginning of the year.

Where did you learn it from?

I learned the tradition from the existing members.

I think that the event is not only a way to celebrate and look back on all the great work that APASA has done over the school year, but also a way of bringing together community on the college campus. College students are in a time of developing their identities, and this organization and their celebration helps to shape and form their identities and the communities they identify with.