What Is Chinese Culture To You?

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The above image is from SPCNET

To summarize, the author of this TOC article, was interested in learning more about Chinese culture at the tender age of 12, but was later let down by all the hollowness and superficial pageantry he encountered when he started taking lessons in Chinese culture at an elite school.

And I saw the problem right there. The author didn’t have to attend an elite special assistance plan (SAP) school to learn about Chinese culture. Those schools tend to have a narrow view of Chinese culture. I could tell right away because, you know, of the “elite” label.

Now, just take a look at my Chinese culture education. I didn’t attend an elite school, so nobody warned me away from wuxia novels. I read lots of Jin Yong as a teenager and that’s where I learned about Chinese culture. Inside the wuxia world of Jin Yong. So I know it isn’t just about landscaping and making teh-o kosong.*

Chinese culture is also about learning martial arts so that you can become strong enough to protect the weak, not bowing down to evil-doers, disregarding outdated societal norms if they get in the way of marrying your teacher** and laying down your life for your country while fighting against foreign invaders.

I also took care to be always polite to beggars in case one of them turns out to be a highly-skilled martial artist in disguise. 降龍十八掌 and 打狗棒法. Need I say more?

To conclude, I can only say if only. If only the author learned about Chinese culture in the wuxia world of Jin Yong like I did.

Teck Y. Loh

* Teh-o kosong is just tea without milk or sugar. You can get them cheap and fast at all coffee shops in Singapore. Just making a crack at the tea ceremony training those elite students went through.

** No. It isn’t sleazy at all. Seriously, The Return Of The Condor Heroes is one of the most beautiful romance stories in Chinese literature. If you can’t understand Chinese, I am sure there are English translations of the novel out there.

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Posted on May 1, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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