Art historian Chiang Hsun recalls a time of basking in the glow of natural light that can be hardly seen or felt today. Modern artificial lights have driven out the darkness, but along with it life itself.
While hutongs are a unique historical sight in Beijing, they are quickly disappearing as people move out and relocate to government housing with modern amenities. Those who remain are generally the older generation, while the look and function of hutongs is also changing. How much longer will hutongs last?
Discovering that horoscopes could be a discipline in itself, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun takes back his earlier dismissal of them as a cheap thrill. Studying the stars and how they gather and scatter with the life choices one makes is a teaching in itself.
Musing at the way modern hands are preoccupied with the mindless scrolling of mobile phones, art historian Chiang Hsun remembers his mother who knew the weight of things with one touch of her hands. Those same hands made countless beautiful sweaters and embroidery for her family — it was her labour of love.
Unless one is of a certain age today, one would probably not have etched wax paper or made printings from them. Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai recalls the days of painstakingly preparing sheets of wax paper full of the memories of youth.
While on an intangible cultural heritage expedition in Changzhou with a group of global experts, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai tucks into Changzhou’s local delights. Trying more than 20 snacks all at once, he was full but could not resist having a taste of thin egg noodles that was a perfect marriage of Suzhou and Shanxi noodles. This is the last article of a four-part series on Changzhou food and drink.
While on an intangible cultural heritage expedition in Changzhou with a group of global experts, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai tries Changzhou’s famed sesame cake. This large local snack is a little like the common shaobing, but also very different in terms of its richness of flavour. This is the third article of a four-part series on Changzhou food and drink.
Ordinary is beautiful, says art historian Chiang Hsun. That’s what the frenzy of war taught his mother; that’s what the simplicity of home cooking reminds us.
"People from northeastern China are like African Americans or Osakans. We have a history of wandering, irrational optimism and a sense of righteous clannishness. In our veins runs comic talent, along with being governed and discriminated against. Under all the snow and ice lie warm poems and folk songs, while the wild fires, steel and concrete encase a helpless rebelliousness. We understand everything, we know everything, but we choose to be kind. We are forced to leave our homes to seek a place that will accept us. We will say nothing. Our leather coats and dark glasses will never come off. We will tell you: 'This is nothing to us.'" - Bai Yi, comic artist