Phase 3: Interpreting Information
In this phase, I will be putting in information that I have collected throughout the time in the village. Here are ten big questions that I have come up with in Phase 1. As in Phase 2, I have collected some local contact and sources of information.
Background Information (from Phase 1, Step 4):
Below is some research that I did from a variety of sources, and I have created ten big questions based on that information. I will be answering those questions while I interview villagers in XiZhou, which can be found in Phase 1.
There were mythical stories that I have heard that takes place in Yunnan, yet not necessarily where we are right now—XiZhou. Religious is a very important part of the topic—" Local Spirits / Legends / Stories" that I am investigating more on. A lot of Chinese History, Religion related things are linked to the topic that I will need to work on. As for Chinese religion, there are several of them that has all been passed from other countries, except for Muslim. There has been 85% of the population in China have religious beliefs.
4. Islam (Muslim in XiZhou)
The Huis are the people who had been lived in Yunnan from after Tang Dynasty. They took over this place called "Dali" and built mosques for their kind. The Chinese History itself is also a type of Local Story since nobody in modern days has lived in the past and experienced history. I think that studying the Chinese History will be a great help to my topic. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese were having a lot of overseas connections with other major countries in the world for their governance system. They had a path for trading as far as Germany and Italy, they went to India. They brought their religion, camels, and silk back, they gave gold and weapons to them in return. Since that, China's largest religion is Buddhism.
The Chinese language, history, and religion all links to the mythical stories in China. The Chinese dragon is one of the most important mythical creatures in China. The dragon symbolizes great and strong power and was a very supportive god for the people.
Information From 3-to-5s:
Most of the old people here in XiZhou have a lot of knowledge of the topic you are interested in. People listen to different stories everywhere, it will be interesting to hear from different people. You can also go to the temples here at XiZhou. Mr. Du the Antique store owner.
Mr. Tafel - one of our chaperones
I suggest you have a talk with one of the security guards at YangZuoRan and the cooking staff here. You can ask about what they have heard about your topic in the village and compare them with other people. People listen to different stories everywhere, it will be interesting to hear from different people. You can also go to one of the temples here at XiZhou. There is one nearby the Arhai lake called "八母寺" (eight mothers' temple), there is a family living in that temple and taking care of it. Maybe you can ask them about what they think of your topic, and stories that they have heard.
Ms. Mai - one of our chaperones
I suggest you go to the Linden Centre and fine Mrs. Linden since she traveled a lot within XiZhou. She will give you more of a perspective about some of the stories she heard. Also to chat with some of the reception people there at the Linden Centre, they are professional at this.
Ms. Chu - one of our chaperones
I have some friends who work at the Linden Centre that will give you some more information on your topic. One of them is called XiaoYun 小云 (little cloud), he speaks some English and he is a local Bai people. He heard a lot of stories about your topic and he will give you more perspective on your topic.
Information From Local Contacts:
Mr. Zhao - Security Guard:
I do not know much about your topic but I do know the most popular legend in XiZhou called 忘夫云／望夫云, there are many variations of this story. People in XiZhou believed in this love story/ legend because of the history of this legend. I forgot about this legend already, but you can always go to Zhou Cheng and ask the people there.
Mr. Yang - Old House Cafe Owner:
I have heard about this story before, it is very well known in XiZhou
Once upon a time, there was a huntsman named "Aji" (阿汐) he went to the west mountain and fished there. One day, he met this really wealthy and pretty lady "Lihua" (麗華) they fell in love. Lihua's father is the most powerful wizard by that time, he hated Aji for his job and disagreed for the relationship between his daughter and Aji. Lihua and Aji ran away from the mountain top. They thought that they will be able to hide from Lihua's father forever, but Lihua's father found Aji and turned him into a giant rock that fell into the deepest hole at the bottom of the cliff where no road leads to. Lihua turned herself into a cloud so that she can look at her lover––Aji.
Mr. Du - Antique Store Owner:
I have been collecting antiques for most of my life. These antiques are expensive not only because they are old or rare but because they value, and contains stories and history. I have a friend, he is an author. He wrote a book about the YUNNAN Bai Minority's local stories, I gave him a lot of information from stories that I have heard of. His book is called "南詔大理國演義" (Yunnan Dali Kingdom Historical Novel)
Characters: Person A, B, 龍王 (Dragon King), 玉王大帝 (the jade emperor "the supreme deity of Taoism)
Dragon King was in jail because of stealing The Jade Emperor's favorite pearl. One day in jail he heard from the workers that there will be a big day of raining, 3.3 amount of rain in town A, 9.9 amount of rain in town B, and 6.6 amount of rain outside of the town. Tomorrow will be the day in XiZhou. Those people thought that the Dragon Kind is asleep and so they slept too. After Dragon King realized that those workers were asleep, he used his power to take the keys from the workers. Dragon King escaped successfully. He decided to switch all the amount of rain there will be in town. He gave town A 9.9 amount of rain, 6.6 amount of rain for town B, 3.3 amount of rain for town C. Dragon King cause a lot of trouble to XiZhou. People died because of what the Dragon King did, it destroyed all the crops right away, what he did was starved the villagers, it made The Jade Emperor mad. He ordered Person A to kill the Dragon King, Person B heard and told Dragon King to bribe Person A so that he would not die. Then, Dragon King actually did bribe Person A with gold and pearl. The day to kill Dragon King arrived. Person A did not listen to Dragon King and continued to kill Dragon King. Person A chopped off Dragon King's head. Dragon King died and came into Person A's dream, he asked A why did he kill him because he already gave him the gold and pearl. Person A said being bribed was not his choice, and he knows that killing Dragon King is the right thing to do. Dragon King asked A to bring his head to the main gate of the town/village so that people will remember him. What people actually remembered was that Person A killed him and did the right thing.
People started to make dragon heads in the past to remember that they need to thanks, Person A for killing Dragon King because of what he caused to the Village.
Mr. Linden - Linden Centre Owner:
大黑 (big black) statue:
Once upon a time, people living in XiZhou, such a beautiful place with Arhai. Many gods and goddesses visit XiZhou all the time after knowing that it iss such a wonderful place. The biggest and strongest god is jealous since other gods were not spending time with him in the heaven so he ordered 大黑 to kill every living thing and destroy XiZhou. When 大黑 arrived XiZhou he saw an old lady carrying her grandson on her back. He asked that lady, "Why are you carrying him? He can walk himself," The old lady explained about how her grandson is tired. 大黑 got very guilty about what his mission was, so he drank the bottle of poison himself. He turned blue and a snake came by and sucked the poison out for him. He did not die. Because of the poison, he turned into the look of a monster, but he saved XiZhou.
Mr. Zhao - Security Guard at Linden Centre:
I do not know much about scary stories or any stories, but I have heard of one. If you really need more information or detailed stories, I suggest you go talk to some elderly.
Once upon a time, there are 2 kids and a mother living in a house by the lake where many monsters live. One day, the mother needs to go shop for food. She told her children to keep the door lock and do not open the door to anyone. Then, she left with a basket. Later on, a monster came by knocked on the door and asked the kids to open the door. They did not open the door and said: "You are not our mother, your voice is different." The monster said, "I have a sore throat, open the door please." The younger kid peeked through the window and saw hairy hands. "Why do you have hairy arms? My mother does not have hairy arms", the younger kid asked. The Monster used all his power and broke through the door, the kids screamed as loud as they can and ran away. The Monster caught the younger kid and ate him. The older kid ran onto the Gold Thorn tree, the monster chased him onto the tree. The monster's leg was pricked by the thorn and died. The older kid survived.
Jenny - Front Desk at Linden Centre:
I have had some experience before on ghost stories and paranormal activity. I do not think it is actually real, but that is what I often feel. When I was in my college dorm, I was alone in my own room. Every single night I will have this thing called (鬼压床) "Ghost Forcing on the Bed", basically meaning that a ghost forces you on the bed. It was bothering me for such a long time.
Ms. Yang - Caretaker of Benju Temple:
I took care of this temple for 24 years, this temple is built for around a hundred years.
Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):
1. What are the most important/well-known mythical creatures in XiZhou?
Guess: The myth about the Chinese Dragon, or more specifically "Descendants of Dragon" as a sign of their identity.
The most well-known mythical creatures in XiZhou is 财神爷 (fortune/wealthy god) and 大黑 (Big Black).
2. Have you seen or encountered any mythical creatures?
Yes, I saw the statues talking to me. One of the statues told me that I am his daughter and I have to take care of this temple.
3. What impact do these stories have on people's lives and how they act?
Guess: People will not be disappointed or be thinking the wrong way of their life, they would not feel so down all the time and decide to give up on their lives. They believe that mythical creatures exist and they will have hope in their lives, depending on what stories or creatures have the effect on.
When they have physical issues, they will think about their gods and believe that their gods will come and save them.
4. Which religion are the myths mostly based on?
People in XiZhou has their own religion called "本族" (benju), they believe in the religion that they created a long time ago.
5. How did people learn from these myths or stories?
Guess: They learned how to think positively or the opposite, depending on the stories that they have heard. They also will be able to learn so parts of the Chinese History, by listening and thinking about the stories/myths they heard.
They usually go to the temple and learn about them by connecting with people.
6. How did legends and myths change your mindset in reality (the human world)?
Guess: People would not be so negative and emotion all the time during their lives. They would instead care and think more about others while they are taking care of themselves. They would have fewer problems in their lives.
People in XiZhou here are all very positive about their gods, they would not disobey them and thinking that what they do are always right.
7. What are some of the "Minjia" myths?
Guess: Minjia in one of the ethnic groups.
There are no Minjia myths that I heard about.
8. How did myths change over time?
Guess: People change the actual story.
Their families and friends may or may not include the whole actual story.
9. Are the stories disappearing over time?
Some of them are since people do not usually keep the stories in mind.
10. How will we make sure that these stories get passed on?
Guess: We will have to spread it all over China and to other countries.
We will protect the temples in XiZhou here and also tell more people about the stories of the statue.
7. Ms. Chu, interview conducted on 20 November 2016
8. Mr. Zhao, interview conducted on 20 November 2016
9. Mr. Tafel, interview conducted on 20 November 2016
10. Ms. Mai, interview conducted on 20 November 2016
11. Mr. Du, interview conducted on 22 November 2016
12. Mr. He, interview conducted on 22 November 2016
13. Mr. Zhang, interview conducted on 23 November 2016
14. Ms. Jenny, interview conducted on 23 November 2016
15. Ms. Lee, interview conducted on 24 November 2016
16. Mr. Yang, interview conducted on 28 November 2016
17. Mr. Linden, interview conducted on 29 November 2016
In this phase, I have collected information from 3-to-5s and local contact. During this phase of reaching out to people and discovering more about my topic, I learned a lot. In phase 4, I will be preparing for my final product.