Chiwi Journal December Issue: Adele 30, Power of Myth, Johan Cruyff, Spirituality and Democracy in China
December 3rd, 2021

Welcome to the December Issue of Chiwi Journal! Your monthly newsletter with the content I filtered, curated and wrote based on 140+ hours of reading and listening time.

Quick update from my side:

I've turned into a party animal mood since I got involved with a music project in Aveiro. Super glad the first unclassifiable music festival, VAGA 2021, went very well with six genreless musicians from Portugal, France, Argentina, Serbian and Spain.

In a world full of copycats and assembly-line music production, I'm appreciated those indie musicians made an effort to express themselves uniquely. Check out the photo highlights here! I also interviewed the art director of this festival and one of the performers on my podcast.

On a side note, December is my favourite month of the year because it's my BIRTHDAY MONTH. I'd like to take this chance to share the happiness and say thank you for all your support in the past year, and stay tuned for more fun stuff from the Chiwi Journal next year! Happy holiday season!

Now, let’s get straight into the content.

​Album of the month

Once again, Adele transforms her heartbreak into an emotional rollercoaster album 30.

I followed her instruction to listen to this album in order(no shuffle play, please), experiencing the confusion, pain, isolation and helplessness from the beginning to the final acceptance of self-love in the end.

In 2017, the year I went through severe self-doubt and existential crisis, Adele came to Auckland and delivered a fantastic concert. I thought it would be a concert where I would cry my eyes out. Instead, I had such a heartwarming moment through Adele's hilarious stage speech and powerful music. Back then, she was immersed in love. I could feel her happiness and all the love around her.

However, all fairy tale has an ending. Adele got divorced this year and made this album to record her journey from heartbroken to continue choosing to believe in love. Both Adele and Taylor Swift like to write about their love stories or lovers in their songs. So do I.

I had the theme song for all the people I loved and wrote articles or poems for each of them. Some of them are exasperated, some are indifferent, and some are appreciated.

To me, memory is not reliable. Words and music are a more accurate way to record precious moments.​Love is my source of creativity, and I hope it will never run dry.​

​Reading of the month

When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball 3 minutes on average … So, the most important thing is: what do you do during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball. That is what determines wether you’re a good player or not.

- Johan Cruyff

Many people are surprised that I'm a hardcore football fan. One of my friends told me, "you are a glorious contradiction because you're so clever, so subtle, so nuanced, so interrogative, so thoughtful, and yet you came to the UK primarily to watch football games??!! It seems hard to believe".

My father (another contradiction figure, a university professor but has played amateur football league since a teenager till now!) took me to the stadium to watch football games when I was little. Since then, I have fallen in love with the vibrant atmosphere, football tricks, teamwork and (of course) handsome and skilful footballers like Beckham and Ronaldinho.

While living far away from my family, football ties me with my dad. We often talked about football games and watched Champion League and World Cup remotely together. The other reason is I learned so much from great players and coaches in the past two decades. Football is never a simple entertainment sport, but my great teacher in history, geography, mentality and mathematics.

Since I grew up watching Barcelona FC, I have studied Spanish and the club's history out of curiosity. One of the most critical figures in Barca's history is Johan Cruyff. Although I didn't have the chance to watch him play, his football philosophy has already been embedded into Barce's blood and has impacted the club along the way.

Cruyff's autobiography, My Turn, is a great read even if you have zero football knowledge. As a Chinese saying goes, through craftsmanship you enter Dao (由艺入道). Cruyff is the perfect representative that through practising and studying football, he found the Dao, his turn and his philosophy. By following his bliss on football, he left a legacy of Total Football that benefits the future generation.

Extended materials:

​​My all-time favourite books recommendation.​​

​Documentary of the month

Thanks again to my friend Richard for always recommending me with brilliant information! This time is a documentary, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.

Joseph Campbell is best known for his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life and inspires the blockbuster movie Star Wars. Joseph was interviewed by writer Bill Moyers (bonus point: George Lucas appeared!). Together, they discussed the ongoing role of myths in human society.

I've been into myth and stories since I was very young, thanks to my family members who are all great storytellers and tell me countless fascinating stories from historical contexts. Recently, I started to re-read those ancient Chinese myths such as Classic of Mountains and Seas and Huainanzi but with the purpose to see behind the metaphors to find deep meanings.​For those interested in exploring the meaning of life, here are a couple of resources to dig deeper:


​Podcast of the month

I used to listen to Aubrey Marcus's podcast for business and athletics purposes because of his proven success in those two areas. Even since I started to study psychedelic, his podcast has been even more relevant to me.

Recently, I listened to the episode that featured guests Aubrey's wife Vylana Marcus & former fiance now best friend Caitlyn Howe. I don't usually cry while listening to a podcast (Jordan Peterson's one is an exception). However, I had to stop several times to deal with my emotions while listening to this episode where guests shared their darkest hours and deepest shadows, which resonated in many ways:

  • The name changing
  • The rage from inside
  • The sexual harassment
  • The self-harm and self-love

and so many more.

Psychedelic medicine is not the cure for everything and might not be suitable for everyone. If you are well-prepared, please don't be afraid to give it a go. We need the courage to face the fear we buried deep inside us. Psychedelic could turn the wall into the door to let you discover your fundamental truth.

​​Here is my experience FYI. ​​


Question from a digital nomad I met in Aveiro:

How do you describe China's political system?

My answer:

Rather than sharing a long essay to explain the Chinese political system, I find this TEDtalk is very clear and easy to understand.

Here you go! 

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