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WINTER SUN, CHILDHOOD, 8 AND CAMEL TRAINS (EXCERPT)
by Lin Haiyin (1918 – 2001)
English translation: Siew-Hsiang Chow

The camel train had arrived and stopped in front of my doorstep. They were lined up in a long queue, standing quietly and waiting for arrangement. The weather was dry and cold. The man that led the camels took off his felt hat, and the heat above his bald head evaporates into the dry, cold atmosphere.

I stood in front of the camels, examining the way they chewed the forage. Such an ugly face, such long teeth, and such a quiet and peaceful attitude. As they chewed, their upper and lower teeth ground together in a crisscross fashion. Steam came out of their big nostrils and their whiskers were covered with foam.

I became dumbfounded and my teeth started to grind too.

My teacher taught me to learn from a camel, an animal that kept its composure. It never rushed.

Instead, it walked and chewed slowly, knowing that it would eventually reach the destination and eventually be full.

Summer and autumn have passed, winter was here again. The camel train came again, but my childhood was gone forever, never to return. And neither would I again do such stupid thing like learning how a camel chewed under the winter sun.

But how I really missed the scenery of Old Beijing and the people who lived there during my childhood!

I told myself to have them written down to let go of my childhood, yet forever saving its spirit. I pondered quietly and slowly wrote. I watched the camel train walk towards me under the winter sun, and listened to the slow and sweet chiming bells, as my childhood returned once more on my mind.

── from Chengnan Jiushi (My Memories of Old Beijing) and others


SUCCESS
by Lin Haiyin (1918 - 2001)
English translation: Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University and William Chong

Loneliness, poverty, and weakness are not what they seem.
If you welcome them with joy at every moment, life would emit fragrances like those of flowers and vanilla: making it richer, more glorious, more enduring─and this, is your success.


UNPERTURBED

Please do not be melancholic over time that has already disappeared; if this is what growing up is about, then let us face it unperturbed.

── from Chengnan Jiushi (My Memories of Old Beijing) and others