Recently, upon recommendation by Annie, Sophia and two other ladies from the TS video store in Clementi Mall, I've been watching the Chinese drama 步步惊心. The drama talks about a young girl in modern day Beijing who gets transported back in time to the Qing Dynasty during Emperor Kangxi's reign. Once she is there, she has to accustom herself to a whole new culture where every aspect of one's life is mandated by the emperor (What a great parallel to how every aspect of our lives are in the hands of God!). She finds this difficult to accept since she's been brought up in modern day China to believe that she can make her own decisions with regards to things like marriage.
During her years spent in the Forbidden City, 若曦 Ruo Xi matures into an accomplished young lady who is flanked by no less than EIGHT princes, four of whom have revealed their feelings to her.
That's three too many!
Anyway, while I haven't much to say about the storyline or the values scripted in by the scriptwriters (way too many guys- I don't get it!), I really fell in love with the colours of the flowers and costumes in the drama. Many scenes that were shot in the gardens or palace grounds looked like beautiful paintings in their own right.
I was so impressed by all the 成语s (proverbial sayings?) and various scenes of the characters writing with 墨笔 (ink brush?) that I decided to take a Chinese Calligraphy class.
If only my Chinese teachers from primary and secondary school could see me now!
Me, the stunted Chinese student who couldn't even read a chapter straight through without saying ”什么什么“ at least once. Me, the student who hated Chinese classes with a passion and kept failing tests without even trying. The very same me is now voluntarily taking Chinese Calligraphy lessons!
It's like having a cat voluntarily taking a bath!
Anyway, the first lesson was yesterday, at the Civil Service Centre along Tessensohn Road. There are a total of 8 lessons and the teacher, 王老师, is a Hainanese uncle who reminds me of my own uncles (all people from the same generation).
At the start of the lesson, 王老师 wrote something on a piece of paper and said: "this is nice, right?"
I looked at it, looked back at his expectant face, and realised I had no idea what "nice" calligraphy looked like!
By the end of the night, I was so fired up with excitement from learning how to use the brush and write with basic techniques that I wrote the word 主 at least 30 times in a row, trying to perfect each stroke.
This only goes to show one thing:
Trying to force feed children with information is useless. They will never retain the information they've acquired and instead grow to hate the subject like I hated Chinese. But capture their hearts and their imagination and you will reap a curious brain and unrestrained passion.
I mourn the loss of precious childhood years spent hating the very things I now wish to know more about.