SHA HUI: A long time ago, maybe 10 years or so, during one or two years I had the same dream again and again. I was young and more innocent, the dream was also very pure, I still remember it very clearly. I was walking in the open countryside, there were a few trees along the way but not very many. It was a place where you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable or scared, even though there was nobody else around. The path wasn’t always clearly visible, but I had the feeling that it would reveal itself as I kept walking. So I went on, and after a while I reached a lake. At that time, the Sand Lake in Ningxia didn’t yet exist, but the lake in my dream had almost the same size as the Sand Lake. I don’t know how I crossed the lake because there was no boat, I just passed through the reed and kept on walking. I don’t know how, but I crossed the lake. Then I saw a beach, but it wasn’t a sand beach, it was more like wet mud. With every step I made, I left a footprint in the mud. I was walking and walking straight on until I reached a very big wooden house. The wooden planks were joined together very tightly so they didn’t let through any air. There was a big window in one of the walls and the door was open. I stepped inside but the house was completely empty, only the window and the wooden floor. I walked around the house, sometimes I looked out of the window. But all I could see outside was the sky. I couldn’t see the lake or the beach or anything on the ground, only the sky. Maybe I didn’t really try to see the ground, I always looked up. This is where the dream ended. Every time I had this dream, I’d wake up as soon as I saw the sky.
    Many years have passed since then but I can still remember this dream very clearly. I think I was very young and innocent back then, so I had a pure heart, that’s why I had this pleasant dream. Now I hardly ever have dreams like this, I always dream about my job now. My job is quite stressful, I often dream I have to produce a video or deliver some plan, or tomorrow I have to do this or that... not the kind of dreams I used to have. My dreams are always quite colourful. Many people say most of their dreams are in black and white, but my dreams are always in colour. I can see that the sky is blue, I see the colour of the lake, it’s not pure blue, more like real lakes are, a mixture of blue and green. The reed is white. But I don’t remember the colour of the house, all I remember is that it’s made of wood. I was 30 when I had this dream, 10 years ago.
    The lake was very big, like an ocean, I couldn’t see the other side of it. But it was not the sea because it had reed on the shore, lots of reed. So it must be a lake. My job was going quite well at the time, it was stressful but it went quite smoothly. I guess I had this dream because my life was going smoothly, I felt clean and pure inside. I had this dream many times over a course of one or two years. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and drink a glass of water and the dream would continue after I fell asleep again.
    I had a very weird dream once, in fact it was quite scary. I have to think to remember the details... it was... maybe in the middle of the 90’s, in 95 or 96. We had a conference in Beijing and the night before I went to Beijing, I had this strange dream. I dreamt about myself and three or four other people, I don’t remember who they were, anyway, we were going to a meeting somewhere, I don’t remember where. When we arrived, I saw a very big red coffin on the ground. I got very nervous because the other people had suddenly disappeared, I was there alone, standing in front of the coffin. I didn’t know what to do, I just stared at the coffin. Then suddenly the lid opened and a person jumped out of the coffin. I knew that person, but I have no idea why I dreamt about him. He is the chief editor of a newspaper. He jumped out of the coffin and started to dance and sing. I was standing there, he was singing and dancing around me and this scared me very much. Then all at once he jumped back into the coffin, the lid closed with a big noise and I woke up. I sat up and thought about this dream, the next day we would be going to Beijing and we Chinese people like to believe in omens and things like that. So I was trying to figure out what this dream could mean. A big red coffin... I thought about it for a long time, my heart was beating very fast and I was sweating.
    After half an hour, I calmed down and fell asleep again. But the dream continued! I was still standing in the same place, and suddenly the people who had been with me were walking behind me, carrying the coffin. I was walking in front and they followed behind me. I didn’t know where I was going, I just kept on walking. Then I woke up again, it was already early in the morning and the sun was about to rise, I didn’t want to sleep anymore so I got up and went outside.
    The next day was quite interesting. Our train to Beijing went around 10 or 11 o’clock in the morning. We went to the station but we missed the train because the person who had bought the tickets had remembered the wrong time of departure. He thought the train would leave half an hour later, so he arrived late. But he had the tickets, so we couldn’t get on the train, either, although we had arrived in time. We had to watch the train leave without us. After a while the last person arrived and asked us why we hadn’t gotten on the train yet. We said: “How can we get on the train when you have the tickets?” He said: “But it’s still early.” I said: “The train has left already!”
    I never found out why I had this dream about the red coffin. In fact I had never seen a red coffin before, well, maybe I had seen one in a movie or on TV. But I never knew why I had this dream and why I dreamt of the person in the coffin. About a year later, I met that person in a conference. I felt my hair was all standing up. I told him that I had dreamt about him. He asked me what I had dreamt, but I didn’t dare to tell him, I just said it was fine and walked away.
    The Chinese say it’s a good sign to dream about a coffin. But I think it’s scary. Think about it: a person suddenly jumping out of a coffin and singing and dancing around you, isn’t that scary? The coffin was pretty big and the lid opened in a flash second, the guy jumped out and did his dance, then he jumped back into the coffin. I don’t know if the coffin fit his size, I didn’t see him lying in there, I only saw him after he jumped out. But he didn’t look like a corpse or a zombie because his body wasn’t stiff. He looked more like a shaman of the Manchu people, dressed in rags and with coloured ribbons hanging from his clothes. The difference is that the shamans have small bells on their costume which make a sound when they dance. But this person was just wearing clothes that looked as if they were made of rags, very bright and colourful. I didn’t feel he was doing any witchcraft or wizardry, but I was so scared that I woke up. I remember some of his singing, but not very clearly. I don’t even want to think about this dream now, it still scares me. I still see that red coffin in front of my eyes. It was actually a traditional Chinese coffin, which is higher on one side and lower on the other. It was not a Western coffin. Chinese coffins are bigger in front and smaller in the back.