Sunday, March 22, 2009

Butterfly Effect: Erma Yina, the Blogger, the Movie, the Earthquake and the preservation of Qiang culture

In August of 2004, a tourist took a snapshot of a beautiful young Qiang woman named Erma Yina and posted it on his personal blog. The photo touched other Netizens, resulting in a flood of Chinese tourists to Taoping Village, Sichuan where the girl was photographed, and a flood of more pictures and national celebrity for Erma Yina followed. As a result of the girl's Net-driven idol status, a movie was shot in Taoping, "Erma's Wedding," short on plot but very long on local color.

On May 12, 2008, the Wenchuan earthquake all but wiped out Taoping and Erma Yina's birthplace of Li Xiang and threatened the future of Qiang culture.

Probably influenced by the Internet-spurred celebrity of Taoping Village and its famous resident Erma Yina, approximately 10 billion yuan (US $1.5 Bn) of investment from China and abroad has been allocated "to save and rehabilitate the quake-threatened Qiang culture."

The movie, "Erma's Wedding," was recently released in an English-subtitled DVD in the "Follow Me Chinese" series which features, though not exclusively, movies of a high propaganda value. The movie is described as "A true record of culture and natural landscapes of Qiang ethnic minority before 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake."


kate said...

Just stumbled upon this blog site and noticed a person had been here from Halifax MA. I'm currently in Plympton Ma, the next town over ........ synchronicity strikes again....Great story ad beautiful picture!

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