Family

The Dajia Mazu's litter arrives at a small temple in Xingang, Chiayi, allowing locals to pay their respects and celebrate the sea goddess’ birthday. (SPH Media)

Taiwanese art historian: The joy of sharing food in old Taiwan

Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reminisces about the good old days of simple food and heartfelt folk religious festivals, where regular households threw banquets and opened their doors to friends and strangers. It is in those vignettes of daily life that all of Taiwan’s generosity, harmony, magnanimity and acceptance are on display.
A woman buys pork at a market in Taipei, Taiwan, 4 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Remembering Mother's cleaver in the 'Palace of Versailles kitchen'

Amid the grandeur of his friend’s deluxe kitchen, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun remembers his mother, a skilled cook. With simple tools and deft hands, she whipped up artisanal meals worthy of many a great restaurant.
This file photo taken on 2 August 2022 shows a woman pushing a trolley with twins along a street in Beijing, China. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's 'little emperors' of the 1980s are now the most burdened generation

China has more than 170 million sandwich-generation families. While the sandwich generation grew up in the 80s as "little emperors", they are feeling the strain now with the double pressure of looking after their children and the elderly. Most of them focus on "children first", but if a married couple’s parents live in two different cities, that makes it even harder to care for all four parents at the same time.
Plain porridge with pickled lettuce is enough for a hearty breakfast. (iStock)

Pickled vegetables, fermented beancurd and stinky egg: An art historian's love of preserved foods

Ensconced in Dapu village in Chishang, a Hakka enclave where air-drying is a common way to preserve food, art historian Chiang Hsun muses about the ways that Chinese and others around the world have ingeniously learnt how to preserve food for long periods of time from methods ranging from pickling to salt-curing and air-drying. In food preservation as in life, time builds character and patience often yields rewards.
This photo taken on 24 July 2022 shows a man sailing a boat with tourists along a channel in the Zhujiajiao ancient water town in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

A Chinese professor in the US: Helping my son find his cultural roots

While second-generation Chinese immigrants are not better placed to immerse in the Chinese language and culture compared with their peers in China, US academic Wu Guo believes that they can still leverage their parents’ experiences, their advantage in the English language, and access to information and multiple perspectives to learn about their ancestral land.
Office workers wearing face masks at Raffles Place, Singapore, on 6 September 2021. (SPH Media)

What does multiculturalism mean in Singapore?

As Singapore celebrates its 57th national day, Zaobao senior correspondent Chia Yei Yei shares her thoughts on the importance of understanding one’s ancestry in defining one’s identity. In a multicultural country, a Singaporean’s identity goes beyond that of merely being Chinese, Malay or Indian.
A roadside offering of iced gem biscuits. (Photo: Terence Heng)

Lasting ties: Food for the departed

In life as in death, food brings people together and is a means to commune with one another, as seen in rituals during the seventh lunar month or Hungry Ghost Festival. Perhaps in feeding the spirits of the dearly departed, the unknown and indeed their own, people are reminded that an ending is not the end and that the bond between the living and dead is never broken.
People dig for clams on the intertidal zone of Fangyuan Township, Changhua County, Taiwan. (CNS)

The old days of eating well without a refrigerator

Have we lost more than we gained with the invention of the refrigerator? With giant fridges in each household, sometimes more than one, stuffed to the brim with frozen food and leftovers, are we eating less well now than when we had no means to store food? Chiang Hsun ponders the question.
A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19 works at a stall in a market in Taipei, Taiwan, 26 November 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Taiwanese art historian: Why a mother's winter melon soup is best

Like the art of cooking, which often involves a mastery of heat control, living a good life is determined by how we can temper our souls, do what we are put on this earth to do and not take things for granted. We may not know what our life’s purpose is immediately, but if we stay the course, we can adjust the embers of our lives as we walk on.