During an interview about her life in the mountains, Taiwanese author and former minister of culture Lung Ying-tai said that even a metropolis like Singapore which does not have a mountain within its borders is linked to “mountains” in the sense that all of us need a spiritual mountain, a shelter from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. She feels that literature and reading can help us cultivate this mental reserve. Zaobao correspondent Wang Yiming tells us more.
As cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai continues on his Changzhou intangible cultural heritage extravaganza, he retraces the steps of ancient literati like Song dynasty poet Su and Qing dynasty scholar Lü Gong who spent days of idyll in artistic pursuits. There was even an artist-monk who could write poetry with tea foam. This is the second article of a four-part series on Changzhou food and drink.
Back in the days of Elizabethan theatre, there was competition among the playwrights, many of whom had gone to university. Shakespeare was the exception, the happy-go-lucky actor and playwright whose plays were well-loved. While he was despised and criticised by his fellow playwrights, he perhaps knew that this was out of jealousy, not so much spite.
Cheng Pei-kai recalls the admirable literati of ancient times, who took risks to make veiled criticisms of emperor excesses. While they tried not to attack the throne directly, sometimes their earnestness led them to wear their heart on their sleeves.
Chiang Hsun ruminates on a myriad of ingredients, marvelling most at the eight vegetable ‘aquatic immortals’ in Chinese cuisine, which showcase the pure and delicious flavours of the season. Best of all, he enjoyed the heavenly dishes during autumn, in a little Shanghai restaurant that feels like home.
While he is credited for creating the famed Dongpo pork dish, Song dynasty poet Su Shi actually savoured several exotic feasts while he was exiled in Huangzhou, Hubei. Chinese bamboo partridge, masked palm civet — you name it, he’s tried it.
Malaysian academic Goh Chun Sheng ponders the weighty issues thrown up by artificial intelligence, seeking a little assistance from none other than OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai ruminates on ageing and what goes on inside and out as one inevitably moves into the twilight of life, not least the obvious signs of failing eyesight. Where once it was a joy to read The Water Margin and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, now the spirit is willing but the eyes are weak.
Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai reminisces about the delectable freshwater shrimps he savoured in Hangzhou, recalling that Jiangnan cuisine is very much poetry on a plate.