To help right some of the wrongs done by Disney in depicting Mu Lan, Victory Press has published an historically accurate Mu Lan doll with cassette and book.
Girl Harnesses Spirit to Win Writing Contest
by Selicia Kennedy-Ross, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
(c) Friday, April 2, 1999
reprinted by permission
Magnolia Junior High School seventh-grader Marcia McGuire proved last week that the spirit of Mulan is alive and well in the Chino Valley.
Marcia, a Chino resident, was named the grand prize winner in Victory Press's national essay contest March 22nd for her essay on her grandmother. The paper compared her grandmother's spirit to the 2,000 year-old legend of Mulan.
Victory Press, publisher of The Legend of Mulan: A Heroine of Ancient China which was published in 1992, sponsored the true "Spirit of Mulan" essay contest.
"My grandmother recently passed away," said Marcia, 13. " She wrote about her life in a letter and I read it. Her life reminded me of Mulan's in certain ways."
"I'm excited and surprised about the award. I'm glad that all I learned in my English classes paid off and I was able to honor my grandmother."
Entrants selected a theme from seven different topics. Marica chose to write her essay comparing the general spirit to Mulan in the 20th century to the spirit of her grandmother, Pansy Wong.
From the rich history of ancient China, the legend of Mulan has passed through generations and dynasties. The story of Mulan is based on a 2,000 year-old Chinese poem about a girl who disguises herself as a man in order to join the army in her father's place.
Disney released a widely popular film last year based on the legend of Mulan. Children from 7 to 15 were eligible to enter the contest.
Marica's essay was chosen from more than 100 entries. Entries were judged according to content, writing style, grammar and punctuation.
Eileen Hu, publisher of Victory Press based in Monterey, which publishes multicultural children's books, sponsored the contest to insure that the story of Mulan was correctly portrayed.
"We were a little concerned about the Disney version, which featured several historical inaccuracies," Hu said. "In the film she runs away. The historical Mulan represents filial piety or honoring one's parents, she represents strength and bravery in one's self."
When Disney's Mulan opened in Hunan, China, on Feb. 23, its reception was cool, according to China's Xinhua News Agency. The film closed in China's Hunan province after taking in only $30,000 in less than 22 days.
Xinhua ran a story last week in which it quoted Chinese moviegoers airing their feelings about Disney's version of Mulan.
The Xinhua story quoted a viewer in Hunan, China, describing the film's heroine. "Her complexion, disposition and manner of behavior were different from the Mulan of Chinese poems and folk stories," the story stated. It was the true spirit of China's ancient heroine which Hu hoped to bring to light in the essay contest.
"We wanted to give the youth an opportunity to capture the essence of the poem which has lasted throughout generations," Hu said.
The film will open in Beijing on Sunday.