Today is the Dragon Boat Festival, a holiday about villagers celebrating a corrupt official.

Jeremy and I have inverse holiday schedules. My employer follows the official Chinese holidays and Jeremy has mostly U.S. holidays. This means that most of my days off I’m left on my own. I’m grateful for the time alone, but I’m not always as adventurous when I’m on my own.

Greenpeace published this nice graphic (© 绿色和平/Tai Wang) for the holiday to draw attention to water pollution in China.

Dragon Boat Festival 2013

Toxic chemical pollution is a real and deadly danger for many people in China. Some 320 million people here lack access to clean drinking water, while 700 million more are drinking contaminated water. [Read more…]

[Wikipedia: Dragon Boat Festival]

My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor

My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor [Amazon]

Recently I finished Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, My Beloved World. Her voice is so refreshingly understandable. I didn’t really think there was much that I would get out of her story, given her current position of power and privilege. I am usually baffled by the ambition that drives people to serve these kinds of roles, but she is very convincing in presenting her love and dedication to improving the world. I had some idea that she came from a modest background, but humble beginnings don’t always guarantee a continued connection to the inequity and disadvantages that remain in many people’s lives. Anyway, she is amazingly articulate beyond what you might expect from a highly skilled lawyer. She is precise in her language (that’s the educated lawyer in her), but she is also a thoughtful storyteller. I am impressed.

[Wikipedia: Sonia Sotomayor]

Rita Moreno: A Memoir

Rita Moreno: A Memoir [Audible]

At the same time, I finished listening to Rita Moreno’s memoir. Her family is Puerto Rican, like Sonia Sotomayor, but she is from one generation earlier. (Moreno, b. 1931. Sotomayor b. 1954.) Fun to hear the difference in their experiences of PR and growing up in the Bronx, but also many similarities! Moreno immigrated with her mother when she was five, while Sotomayor was born in the Bronx.

[Wikipedia: Rita Moreno]

An Enemy of the People by Arthur Miller

An Enemy of the People by Arthur Miller [Amazon]

Back to the issue of water pollution, I came across a play that Arthur Miller updated from An Enemy of the People by Henry Ibsen about a man exposing a local water pollution scandal. I cannot find an ebook version of the Arthur Miller edition, so I downloaded a free version of the Ibsen original — translated from Norwegian.

From the description on Amazon.com:

Dr. Stockmann attempts to expose a water pollution scandal in his home town which is about to establish itself as a spa. When his brother, the mayor, conspires with local politicians and the newspaper to suppress the story, Stockmann appeals to the public meeting—only to be shouted down and reviled as ‘an enemy of the people’. Ibsen’s explosive play reveals his distrust of politicians and the blindly held prejudices of the ‘solid majority’.

Sigh. Ibsen published this in 1882. Miller updated it in the 1950s. Still topical in 2013.