The picture shows Pan Liping patting zongzi.Wei Guozheng
(Chinese New Year at the grassroots level) Guangxi blind people hand-made rice dumplings and finished products “both internal and external” have become popular New Year’s goods
Chinanews.com, Liuzhou, January 15th, title: Guangxi blind people hand-made zongzi finished products “both internal and external” and become a sought-after New Year’s item
Author Li Jiaoyang Wei Guozheng
As the Spring Festival approaches, 41-year-old Huang Suqiong has to drive for nearly half an hour every day, passing through winding mountain roads, to Shuzhuang Village, Changtang Town, Liubei District, Liuzhou City, Guangxi, to buy zongzi. It is hard for her customers to imagine that those beautifully shaped zongzi came from the hand of a blind man.
51-year-old Pan Liping lost her eyesight in an accident as a child. Four years ago, she started making zongzi for sale to supplement her family’s income. Every time she wrapped a zongzi, she would touch the shape of the zongzi with her ten fingers again, and then put it in the bamboo basket at hand with satisfaction. The zongzi in the bamboo basket is shaped like a pillow, with straight lines, and the “head” is bigger than ordinary zongzi. This kind of zongzi is also vividly called “pillow zongzi” by the locals, which is quite local.
In Guangxi, zongzi is not unique to the Dragon Boat Festival, it is seen in everyday life and sold well during festivals. Wanderers who can’t go home will order zongzi to relieve their homesickness by satisfying their “homesick stomach”. “The recent order volume is almost double the usual amount.” Huang Suqiong said that she received orders from all over the country. Pan Liping’s handmade zongzi has become a popular New Year’s item because of its “both internal and external”.
The picture shows Pan Liping making zongzi.Wei Guozheng
Every day, Pan Liping makes hundreds of zongzi, while her husband is responsible for chopping firewood, boiling water, and preparing ingredients. When the bamboo basket in her hand was about to be filled with rice dumplings, there were already bursts of cooking smoke in the kitchen.
“I always feel that my movements are very slow.” While talking, Pan Liping “sized” the size of the zong leaves with his hands, letting the center of the zong leaves fall on his palm, and then put the glutinous rice, mung beans, chestnuts and pork there. When she got up and grabbed the chopsticks and searched the bowl several times but couldn’t pick up a chestnut, time flew by in her imagination.
After holding the zongzi leaves to put in the ingredients, and then bending and closing the zongzi leaves, Pan Liping will first pat the zongzi a few times, because the sound of “popping” will tell her whether the zongzi has been wrapped tightly. “It tastes better if it’s wrapped tightly.” She said as she took out a straw rope, positioned it with her thumb, and expertly wrapped it round and round around the zongzi.
The picture shows the wrapped rice dumplings.Wei Guozheng
When a zongzi was about to be finished, she smiled and asked, “Has it been 20 minutes?” In fact, it took less than 4 minutes from when she picked up the first zongzi leaf to tying the knot. After groping for 47 years in a world that has lost its light, for Pan Liping, the concept of length is not clear, but the shape is very specific.
Recalling the first time she made zongzi, Pan Liping said with a smile: “It doesn’t look good, I can feel it.” From the first time to the countless times since then, she used her ten fingers instead of eyes to adjust the arrangement of ingredients on the zongzi leaves. The location and the curvature of the rice dumpling leaves, relying on feeling and imagination, make the most ideal shape of “pillow rice dumpling”.
Over the past four years, handmade rice dumplings have brought Pan Liping’s family an income of nearly 1,000 yuan per month. Not long ago, she bought herself a small speaker to play music while making zongzi. “Add a little fun and you won’t doze off.” Pan Liping laughed. (Finish)