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Blue tiger butterflies. (Facebook/蔣勳)

What is the colour of 青春 (qingchun), or youth?

In Chinese terminology, the colour which looks a lot like cyan is called qing (青). Yet it is used in many contexts and may even refer to black. What do we mean when we say qing and what do we understand by it? The permutations are vast, if we are open to them. In a similar vein, fixated ideas or assumptions can be the very barrier that obstructs one from seeing that which is truly beautiful. Free your mind, let loose a little, art historian Chiang Hsun says, to experience life in its full splendour.
A cleaner walks past screens promoting Disney's movie Mulan as the film opens in China, at a cinema in Beijing, China, 11 September 2020. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Mulan: The people-pleaser that ended up offending all?

Companies like Disney hoping to capture the huge Chinese market must buck up and understand the cultural and political sensitivities involved even more. Otherwise, in an age of increased tension between China and the West, they might find themselves tripping up over landmines from both sides.
Suzhou Museum, a masterpiece of world-renowned architect I.M. Pei. (Suzhou Museum official website)

Suzhou Museum: Why I.M. Pei failed to learn the lessons of the ancient Chinese

The building and landscape architecture of Suzhou Museum has been lauded for its intricate blend of old and new. Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai is in awe of the late architect I.M. Pei, but sees at the same time, the need for man-made landscapes to blend into their natural environment. Otherwise, the handprints of their maker will all be too visible and the result far from the scenes of nature it was precisely trying to capture.
Demonstrators, holding signs with Mongolian script, protest against China's changes to school curriculums that remove Mongolian language from core subjects, outside the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 31 August 2020. (Anand Tumurtogoo/Reuters)

Inner Mongolia's new language policy: Will it endanger Mongolian culture and language?

Inner Mongolian students were told that they will be taught in Mandarin instead of the Mongolian language using national textbooks. This policy seems to be for the greater good of fostering national unity in China, but the implementation methods can certainly be better refined. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong examines the issue. 
What did Confucius say about the colour purple? (iStock)

Did Confucius abhor the colour purple?

Art historian Chiang Hsun sifts through countless shades of purple. Like the vicissitudes of life, they are at once strong yet fragile, beautiful yet complex, and transient yet everlasting.
Proverbs encapsulate profound life experiences and reveal a culture's thoughts and way of life. (iStock)

Proverbs and sayings: Understanding a culture's biases, thoughts and way of life

Proverbs and sayings are not just traditional phrases handed down from generation to generation, says cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai. Dissected, they reveal a culture’s biases, thoughts and way of life. Understanding a country’s proverbs is understanding the people that use them.
The delectable miantuo liuyuehuang dish. (Internet)

Remembering a mother’s beautiful smile and Suzhou's ‘Sixth Moon yellow’ crabs

Every autumn, what a treat it is to savour hairy crabs, or Chinese mitten crabs as they are also known. Better yet if you can catch that tiny window in late summer when the mignon “Sixth Moon yellow” crabs from Yangcheng Lake in China’s Jiangsu province are in season. Harvested when they are on the cusp of adulthood, these crustaceans’ sweetness and vitality are a spitting image of carefree summer days of our youth.
Czech author and illustrator Miroslav Šašek has captured sights and scenes of Hong Kong in the 1960s.

Czech illustrator Miroslav Šašek and his images of Hong Kong from the 1960s

In the 1960s, Czech author and illustrator Miroslav Šašek came to Hong Kong and captured the sights and scenes of that period in This is Hong Kong, one of the books in his “This is…” series of children’s picture books. Cup Media has recently published a Chinese version of the book, in a timely throwback to good old Hong Kong, before any of the current unrest took hold of the city.
Attendees browse as a humanoid robot stands in the exhibition display area at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, 9 July 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

'Kiasu' Singapore, 'yao mianzi' China, and 'leela' India: How does culture influence innovation?

In a study conducted by academics from the NUS Business School surveying the China, India, and Singapore landscape, respondents often described the Chinese as disciplined and focused, Singaporeans as structured, fearing failure and sticking to the plan, and Indians as creative, flexible and frugal. While it is not the only or most pertinent factor, cultural traits matter when it comes to managing teams and maximising their potential to innovate.