Summer Palace Marginalia

Today, a less commercial event in the bookstore of Q and her friends, close to the Summer Palace. In the garden a group of musicians from the Xinjiang province is playing traditional music of their region. About 120 guests sit underneath the trees, listen or even try their feet and hands at the dances of the Chinese Wild West, under the tutoring of some local girl.

Audience dancing

After an extended lunch in the garden of a neighbouring Yunnan restaurant we are sitting at the periphery, chatting with Isaac Stone Fish, an American boy scouting for writers in mainland China, and Joel Martinsen of the excellent Beijing-based media weblog Danwei, talking about this and that, about american poetry, the current Harry Potter novel – Joel has finished it in just four hours reading time -, and the newest Beijing movie craze.

Joel and Isaac

Postscript: Even Q now blogs about “Transformers” (Title: “Why should we save humankind?”): She tells the story of a colleague who after watching the movie got “strange feelings” toward his newly-bought car, and emphasizes a small but important piece of dialogue that I hadn’t really noticed within the noisy spectacle. It’s about the question why mankind should deserve the mercy of the Autobots. Optimus Prime responds with a little lesson about Human Dignity. Something like: “They are still young, but they’ve got some good dispositions. And all sentient beings have a right for freedom.”