Author Profile: Vianey Luna

Biography »

Vianey is a third-year Journalism and Spanish Literature major at the University of Texas. She is currently a Program Leader for Latinitas, a non-profit organization that empowers girls through media and technology. She enjoys poetry by Pablo Neruda, frozen yogurt, a nice cup of coffee and soccer.
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After: China is forever on my mind

[4 Jul 2009 | No Comment | ]

My story ideas changed as soon as I arrived in China. There were so many people! The streets were overwhelmed by loud voices, car horns honking, and people walking.
What did people want out of life? Ferreting out the aspirations of youth would give me insight to what the future holds for China. So I developed a theme that would link all my stories: people’s dreams. It went like that until I hit Xi’an. I knew martial arts were very popular so I went in search of the martial arts dream …

Martial arts dreams: Qiu Bao endures despite tough conditions

Martial arts dreams: Qiu Bao endures despite tough conditions

[28 Jun 2009 | No Comment | ]

In hopes of becoming the next Bruce Lee, 10-year-old Qiu Bao endures demanding training at the Zhao Changjun Wushu Institute, a martial arts school located in the suburbs of Xi’an. For Qiu and his classmates, the tough conditions represent a test of character in a hoped-for tradeoff for a better future.

With a half-dozen ceiling fans pushing around the hot, humid air in the school gymnasium, Qiu does his best to keep up with the grueling daily routine. He dashes down a strip of burgundy carpet, sweat pouring off his face, leaps in the air, sticks his landing and returns to the back of the line to repeat the process.

But the heat and exertion take their toll. During a subsequent drill, Qiu falls, hitting the ground with a loud thump. Hastily righting himself, he steals an apprehensive look at his two trainers. Then, in the last group routine before a break, he lags behind the other students, clearly exhausted, with bruises visible on his slim legs. Yet by the end of the drill, he manages to stand straight and tall, ultimately triumphing over his shortcomings… Shortcomings will have to disappear if Qiu hopes to ever prove that he can master this demanding vocation.

A Gung-fu success story

[27 Jun 2009 | No Comment | ]

In the trendy Maoming Road section of Shanghai, Longwu Kung Fu has established itself as a popular martial arts center among both local Chinese and foreigners as well. That is thanks in large part to the studio’s owner, Alvin Guo, who has dedicated his life to the study of wushu, as martial arts is known in Mandarin, since he was three years old.

Guo was captain of the prestigous Shanghai Wushu Team for 12 years, as well as a three-time national champion, until an ankle injury forced him from competition to become the Chief Instructor and Director of his wushu center. “Kung Fu is getting [more] popular,” says Guo, now 32.

Film expression incubates underground

[24 Jun 2009 | No Comment | ]

“Can I smoke in here?” said Wu Jiang, 27, glancing around the lobby of a Beijing hotel with annoyed nonchalance. Without waiting for a reply, the shaggy-haired film student lit up his cigarette with a hint of rebellion.

“I started to listen to rock ‘n’ roll,” he said when asked when his interest in shaking the status quo first began. “I wanted to be a rebel.” While many of his high school classmates prepared to enter university, he waited until a few years ago to enter one of China’s most prestigious film universities — the Beijing Film Academy.

Wu said his parents have rejected his choice of career and lifestyle, preferring that he establish himself in society as a “normal” person without calling attention to himself.

Before: China is on my mind

[23 Jun 2009 | No Comment | ]

My imagination runs elated as each day approaches to head over to China. It will be my first visit to the country. However, my journey will go beyond taking the routine pictures and enjoying the cuisine. I hope to observe the society with an open mind and be able to capture aspects of it to later share. The language barrier will be an obstacle but it is something I look forward to overcome with some help. Since I was young, it was my dream to explore the world. …

Making the Monkey Style dream come true

Making the Monkey Style dream come true

[5 Jun 2009 | No Comment | ]

Once upon a time, four friends drinking together at a bar in Beijing discovered that three beer cans placed together resembled a monkey. Today, four years later, their company, Monkey Style, is growing into a brand that caters not only to the city’s burgeoning population of skateboarders but ordinary young Chinese who find confirmation of the city’s new urban cool in the trucker hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and shoes that bear the monkey logo. Although the four partners are convinced the search for new means of personal expression. . . .