Public Speaking Trial by Fire – Speakers Corner [Bound Feet Blues]

There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! As part of the Inspiring Speakers Programme run by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes we get the chance to have a rant and whip up the crowds at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. It was scary but once we got onto that step ladder each of us socked it to the crowd with vigour and panache.

I had a rant about why women hate our bodies and do violence to ourselves via cosmetic surgery. And ended by asking people in the crowd to tell me which parts of their bodies they loved! What a blast!

via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/nosx1Q

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Bound Feet Blues – Researching My Great Grandmother’s Journey from China to Malaya by Junk

I am now working on the second half of Bound Feet Blues. There is very little factual information or evidence in our family stories about my great grandmother. All we know is that at some point, as an adult, she left China and travelled to Malaya where she would meet the man who would become my great grandfather. We have no information about where she lived in China or which port she would have left from or arrived at.

I want to insert a line in Bound Feet Blues about how long the journey by sea would have taken her eg “It was a ….. days or …. weeks journey”.

For that single sentence, I looked at Continue reading

My favourite pair of hiking boots [Bound Feet Blues]

This pair of boots has taken me 200+ miles – along the South Downs Way and the Cotswold Way and more. It will soon clock 300 miles once we do St Cuthbert’s Way later this year…via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/niG6G5

My story performance Bound Feet Blues is a way in to talking about contemporary feminist issues

I  workshopped Bound Feet Blues at The Centre for Solo Performance with 6 other solo performers and two facilitators. What was fascinating was that after my piece ended, in addition to giving me feedback on my performance and the structure of the script, the others in the group started talking about contemporary issues of body modification, body mutilation, the outward signifiers of feminity and masculinity and the eroticization of different part of our bodies in different cultures and times.

The facilitator had to interrupt the animated discussion to bring Continue reading

My vision for Bound Feet Blues is as a pure form of storytelling

I have added a page to my blog giving the background to the development of Bound Feet Blues.

Bound Feet

My vision for the piece is as a pure form of storytelling with no costumes or props and minimal lighting and music or sound effects. As a child, I loved listening to the stories my mother and Continue reading

How to avoid Easter Bank Holiday traffic [Bound Feet Blues]

One of the things I love the most is going for walks in nature, roaming free under the power of my own two feet. We tried to drive out of London on the Easter Bank Holiday and got stuck in traffic not far from home – so we veered off to our local woods and had a leisurely walk. By not being attached to our destination, we could relax and discover a lovely afternoons walking wherever we found ourselves.

via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/ngZ4Hw

Yang-May Ooi: My great-grandmother with bound feet [Bound Feet Blues]

This photo hangs on the wall in my study. It reminds me of my freedom to walk where I choose, to stride through my life, to stand on my own two feet
Bound Feet Blues - Yang-May Ooi: My great-grandmother with bound feet

Why I love running in the rain [Bound Feet Blues]

Researching the crippling effect of bound feet on women in ancient China for my story performance Bound Feet Blues has made me appreciate the freedom I have as a modern woman have to enjoy the simple pleasure of going for a run

I went for a 3 mile run on Easter Sunday in the pouring rain and came back utterly drenched. You may not believe me but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Why such seeming madness?

Of course I’d prefer to run through a sunny landscape, with the warm sunshine on my face and the vibrant colours of spring bursting around me. But there’s something tactile and Continue reading

How hard hearted can I be in Editing Bound Feet Blues?

I Finished the script of Bound Feet Blued a couple of weeks ago. Now be hard task of editing it begins.
 
 
 
I laid out all 25 pages of the script on the dining table so that I could see the flow of the story in one glance. Also, having it spread out in front of me means that I could see how each section relates to other sections.
 
 
 
Assuming three minutes per page, the script was running to about 75 minutes – which is the outside running time. My aim is to try and
Continue reading

Decades after the practice of bound feet died out, women are still mutilating their bodies in the name of beauty [Bound Feet Blues]

This is a fascinating article about Chinese photographer Ji Yeo and her project to photograph women in the recovery room just after cosmetic surgery – See http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2014/mar/18/ji-yeo-cosmetic-surgery-frontline

According to the Guardian, she hated her body when she was younger – which was tied into her low self esteem –  and looked into having cosmetic surgery.

She didn’t have the surgery but started the Beauty Recovery Room photography project instead, taking photos of women just after cosmetic surgery.

A shot from Ji Yeo's Beauty Recovery Room series

As I’ve been thinking about bound feet and why women in China did that to themselves for my story performance Bound Feet Blues, I’ve been so much more aware of issues around women and their self esteem, body image, the role of fashion as power and body mutilation/ modification.

This project is particularly striking for me because it involves Chinese and East Asian women – symbolically making Continue reading