Category Archives: Fan Wu

17th Discussion: Fan Wu’s February Flowers (17 Feb 2011)

We missed the zen of Isaac terribly.

1. Alex gave a brief summary of the book: it’s a Mrs Dalloway moment stretched to 200 pages, although Aaron thought it isn’t as poetic.

2. Characters:

a. Ming: Raj didn’t like the character because of the detached style of narration, as if it was a record of impersonal events, although Alex and Yusa countered that, as Ice Queens themselves, they could identify with the distance of trying to detach from the narration. Timmy detested Ming because she’s pedantic and narrow-minded but Yusa claimed that these traits might stem from her insecurity and immaturity. Aaron agreed with Timmy, citing that Ming’s listing of the books she read is a showoffish behavior although Alex and Yusa said that it is her way of finding experience in books.

The question of the night is whether Ming is lesbian. Raj claimed it doesn’t matter. Timmy said no or she’s confused. Alex and Yusa stated she may be bisexual. Aaron noted that her desire for men is only by their attributes, attributes that society deems worthy in a man (broad-shouldered, successful, intelligent, etc) but she has true emotional attachments to women – so she’s likely to be lesbian. Yusa continued the train of thought by saying that perhaps she is inhibited by the conservative society, which impedes her progress of her sexuality, especially when she’s timid and idealist.

Alex brought up the point that she isn’t interested in both sexes, except for Miao Yan; Ming is perhaps attracted to ONE person alone. Aaron was entirely against this idea of essentialism; it is romanticizing and ideological and anti-feminism, and as if we were always the same person across time and space. This riled Yusa up, because he believes in essence.

b. Miao Yan: Although many members obviously had issues with their own parents, Aaron thought that Miao Yan’s Oedipal hangup in a fiction is outdated. We questioned why Miao Yan and Ming are friends at all. At first, we said that it is because Miao Yan intends to make use of Ming but Aaron questioned this in a roundabout argument which the writer of this piece has forgotten what the argument is, concluding that Miao Yan is simple-minded. Their friendship, Raj brought up, is based on non-judgement. We also asked if Miao Yan knows Ming is in love with her. Raj claimed that Miao Yan likes the attention and is stringing Ming along. Yusa says such acts are cruel but happen in daily life.

c. We found Donghua, the masturbator, who is forever knitting very comical. Knitting needles as phallic symbol? we joked.

3. Themes:

a. Power/Men: We suggested that Miao Yan’s way of gaining power is to relinquish power. Aaron joked, “Just like a bottom.”

b. Why titled “Feb Flowers”? Timmy joked, “Because of the alliterative F.” Yusa emo-ed for a moment: “However beautiful the flowers, they are still cold. The lone traveller [something something something which leads to] perfection is death.” How tragic.

c. Space: Raj said, “It’s so crowded in China!” Aaron was interested in the migration narrative but we couldn’t think of anything to say.

4. Scene Analysis:

Many of us were most interested in the masturbating hunk scene, except Aaron who had bad encounters with a few Chinese who don’t shower. (Aaron is such a slut.) On the other hand, Alex was turned on by the stench of armpits. Remember, boys, if you’re dating Alex, don’t shower.

Raj noted this scene is about power, about Ming using her power. Yusa, however, said that Ming may be craving for experience, mistakenly thinking that once she has sex, she becomes a woman. Timmy reminded us that Ming and Miao Yan are doubles; Ming wants to be Miao Yan and Miao Yan could have been Ming. Yusa astutely pointed out that instead of extreme opposites, the two characters mingle into each other, and one has the possibility of becoming the other at any moment.

We went down to DYMK and it was a full moon night, so we talked about sex.

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