Summer trip plan – 2017

The theme of our summer trip this year will be learning some of the culture of Taiwan and China.   I plan to take the girls to visit many notable places in and around Taipei and Taichung, followed by a corresponding trip to Beijing.   I am preparing synopsis on each of these places at this point, mainly by simplifying information from Wikipedia, so that each can be printed out on no more than one page, using size 13 fonts with zhuyin added.  The first pieces I just worked on are as below.  As you can see, knowing zhuyin (or pinyin) is immensely helpful in reading more difficult passages.  As the material can be rather dry, even after explaining much of the background information and intricacies, I hope pictures from Google map or YouTube videos will come in handy and make it more lively.

今年暑假的台灣和中國之旅,以學習台灣及中國文化為主旨。在台北時,我會安排他們去龍山寺,艋舺老街剝皮寮,西門紅樓,總統府,凱達格蘭大道,國立台灣博物館,二二八紀念館,台北市立美術館和行天宮,台北101,象山,國父紀念館,松三文創圓區,四四南村眷村文物館,蔣家士林官邸,故宮博物院,和士林夜市等。在台中時,會安排參觀梧棲漁市,高美濕地,大甲鎮瀾宮,郭叔叔獼猴生態區,阿亮香菇園,新社古堡,霧峰林家萊園,霧峰林家宮保第園區,九二一地震教育園區,鹿港民俗文物館,和鹿港老街等。之後,再去北京旅遊參觀。

在暑假前,我會請她們念熟和朗讀景點的簡介,做為中文和文化的教學。以下是剛開始準備的簡介,大多是從Wikipedia得取,再加以簡化,以13字體大小加注音,印出來ㄧ面之內為標準。希望在暑假前,能讀完所有將準備的簡介。

龍山寺

艋舺,今名萬華,為臺北市發源地,其最古老市街在今貴陽街與環河南路口。清康熙四十八年(西元1709年),福建泉州之晉江、南安、惠安三邑人士渡海來此而漸成聚落,當時平埔族人以獨木舟自淡水河上游載運蕃薯等農產品與漢人交易,時稱“蕃薯市”;而獨木舟在平埔族語言中之發音為Banka,漢人乃音譯為「艋舺」。

早年臺灣北部環境十分險惡,俗諺「十人來台,三在六亡一回頭」,漢人前來墾植時為求神佑,多攜帶家鄉廟宇香火以為庇護,後因漢人聚落漸增,三邑人士遂於清乾隆三年(西元1738年)合資興建龍山寺,並迎請福建省安海龍山寺觀世音菩薩分靈來臺。龍山寺不僅是居民信仰中心,舉凡議事、訴訟等均祈求神靈公斷。

初創之龍山寺,規模雄偉,雕塑精緻,歷經多次天災後修復,奠定今日龍山寺之規模。民國卅四年於第二次世界大戰期間受空襲摧殘,中殿全毀,惟觀世音菩薩聖像仍端坐蓮臺;以往遇有空襲,居民皆以觀世音菩薩蓮座下為避難所,然此次空襲前夕,避難居民因不堪兇蚊肆虐紛紛返家,以致中殿受毀時無人受難,居民相信是觀世音菩薩庇護而奔相走告,此一神蹟更使得觀世音菩薩成為艋舺居民一大精神支柱。

龍山寺坐北朝南,面呈回字形,為中國古典三進四合院之宮殿式建築,由前殿、正殿、後殿及左右護龍構成。前殿為11開間,分為三川殿、龍門廳、虎門廳。三川殿前有一對全臺僅見之銅鑄蟠龍柱,正面牆上故事多出自三國演義和封神榜。正殿屋頂採歇山重簷式,四面走馬廊共42根柱子構成,殿內的螺旋藻井不費一釘一鐵,全由斗栱相嵌築構而成。後殿為典型儒、道教諸神佛供奉處。左右護龍各配有鐘樓與鼓樓,晨鐘暮鼓。全寺屋頂脊帶和飛簷由龍鳳、麒麟等吉祥物造形,飾以剪黏和交趾陶,色彩瑰麗,堪稱臺灣剪黏藝術之精華。

艋舺龍山寺為國家保護之二級古蹟,每年定期舉辦節慶祭典及民俗活動,如農曆正月花燈展覽、四月浴佛節、七月盂蘭盆勝會等,民眾來到艋舺龍山寺除了欣賞臺灣寺廟建築藝術之美,亦可以感受傳統民俗文化的樂趣。

剝皮寮

剝皮寮位於臺灣臺北市萬華區,北臨老松國小,東至昆明街,南面廣州街,西接康定路,為臺北市今日碩果僅存的清代街道之一,開發至今已有兩百多年的時間,混合著閩南式及西洋巴洛克式的獨特建築。

「剝皮寮」之名始於戰後的1950年代,而「剝皮寮」的地名來源有二說。一是殺牲製革所在,意即剝獸皮而得名。二是清朝時期商船運進杉木,在此剝去樹皮而得名。現鄰近康定路、廣州街交會口一帶的路段,則因早期發展為煤炭販售地而通稱「土炭市」,當時曾是商業交易熱絡的街道,擁有不少精緻洋樓房屋,該街道約成形於1850年代的台灣清治時期,而台灣日治時期實行「市區改正」將原本窄小彎曲的道路拓寬、拉直,自台灣清領時期至今,仍保有初期開發的空間特色與都市紋理。除了有歷史背景之外,該街道亦為唐景崧力主台灣民主國,1895年5月27日發起台灣仕紳遊行的起點。

西門紅樓

西門紅樓位於台北市萬華區的成都路上,在臺灣日治時期俗稱八角堂,緊鄰西門町徒步區。建築為兩層高的紅磚洋樓,其外觀每正立面8公尺,八角堂主建築體後面連接著的是十字型外觀的一樓磚造樓房,而結構不太相似的這兩棟建物合稱西門市場,紅樓則為市場入口。

1895年,台灣進入日治時代,大量日籍移民進入台北市。台灣總督府規劃台北城西門附近空地為日人居住處所。而為因附近日人生活機能需要,台灣總督府於1907至1908年興建西門市場,台灣第一座官方市場。1945年台灣進入中華民國時期,連同八角堂的西門市場轉由新政府經營,後方十字型建築繼續擔任傳統市場。1949年,移居台灣的上海知名商人陳惠文向政府承租八角堂,並改名為滬園劇場,以表演京劇為主,但並不受歡迎。1951年,陳惠文將滬園劇場改名為紅樓書場,表演內容也從京劇變成了說書相聲,而取其紅樓名。1963年,因電影日漸普及,紅樓再度改名為紅樓戲院,開始播放國語電影影片,該電影院也為西門町早期電影街的起始點之一。1970年代,紅樓戲院日漸沒落,於1997年正式歇業。

1997年,內政部將西門紅樓列入三級古蹟。2007年,市政府以官辦民營方式,將西門紅樓委由「台北市文化基金會」營運管理,轉型成為台北市西區新生之文化創意產業發展中心。如今,西門紅樓與十字建築旁的公共空間也經常舉行藝人的簽唱會或專輯發表會。諸如王力宏、林俊傑等等藝人都於西門紅樓廣場舉行相關活動過。同時,西門紅樓也成為台灣同性戀者與外國人的知名聚集場所之一。

Classic Chinese poems 唐詩

唐詩:下課坐車時ㄧ個禮拜讀ㄧ首,每天花1-2分鐘而已。

I have started using this particular book for my dds (10 year old “Georgia” and 13 year old “Charlotte”).  It was published in 1991 and was probably a used copy that a friend gave us a few years back.  My girls have memorized a few poems before and did a Chinese stand-up comedy a couple of years back.  So, they are familiar with classic Chinese poems.  We are using this during their car ride back home from school.  I simply have them read one new poem a week and they each recite the poem about 5 times a day.  All it take is about one to two minutes a day for each girl.  There is well written explanation on the pages.  I read the poem ahead of the time myself, as my knowledge on the subjects is fairly limited also (maybe about twenty poems).  I make sure to explain to them the poem myself the first day they read it.  I don’t need them to memorize the poems this first time around, but they can memorize it somewhat by the end of the week.   So,  1-2 minutes a day in the car, easy peasy.

 

 

This is the first poem.  They know this one already, as likely do many children.  So, we skipped ahead.

 

This is the second poem, which they read last week.  Nice and easy to understand.

 

This third poem, they know already.  So, we skipped it this week.

 

They are reciting this fourth poem this week.  It is another easy to understand poem.  After all, this is a book for kids.

 

If things go well, we can go through some 30-40 poems in a year, when school is in session.  That will more than I knew myself as a kid (and now, LOL).  We will come back a second time next year and they will be able to memorize the same poems readily then.  What’s the purpose of learning classic Chinese poem?   I don’t think they are on the AP Chinese exam.  But, we don’t learn Chinese for testing purposes.  It is just to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Chinese culture.  In addition, they will learn broader usage and definition of Chinese characters and words as well.  Benefits on the side: they may be able to better understand the lyrics of some of 周杰倫 Jay Chou’s songs, but not for the fact that one simply can’t understand his enunciation!

三十六計之第十計: 笑裏藏刀

No. 10 of 36 Stratagem: Hide a knife behind a smile.

Chugging along, 10 year old “Georgia” finally got through reading and recording stratagem #10.  Since we started reading this series in October, she averages recording one stratagem every two weeks.  At this rate, it will take us till the end of this year to finishing reading and recording all thirty-six stratagems.  But it is well worth it.

 

The modern Chinese culture and language of love

My dds and I have been watching Taiwan’s 2015 romantic comedy TV series “Love Cuisine/料理高校生” (available on YouTube or Netflix, both with Chinese subtitles) for the past month or so and they are loving it, particularly my 10 year old.  It’s pretty funny and there are so many good lines.  The romantic gestures and culture demonstrated by the two ~ 30 year old protagonists are very wholesome (i.e. conservative), probably comparable to secondary school level.  I didn’t know Taiwan can still be so conservative on screen.

You might ask, why am I spending all these time watching TV shows with the girls, given I have tons of other things to do.  Well, I am the facilitator and instructor for their Chinese within our small Chinese social group of three (and their only social group of this nature and Chinese proficiency level).  So, I have to know what’s going on so that they can share with me the various things they learned from their CLE (Chinese Language Ecosystem).

 

After listening to scripted dialogues for the past month, however funny they are, I figure it would be good to introduce real life dialogues of love and lost in China or Taiwan.  So, I found a couple of reality TV shows in China and showed a couple of segments to my dds, though they are primarily meant for my teenager.  In this first video lasting 15 minutes, a young lady’s raw emotions were laid bare after she learned that hers was an unrequited love and the man she loved all these years has married already.  In just 15 minutes, the show host and the guests used languages involving young love, excitement, expectation, shock, devastation, and closure.  Shaken somewhat by the raw emotions in Reality TV, my teenage dd was nevertheless captivated and asked to see other segments.  I can see how some parents may think it is too early for her to watch such program but that’s another topic.  Regardless, it seems to be a very “efficient” way to learn this aspect of the Chinese language.  I also see teaching moments in these shows for my dd in terms of what NOT to do, given the hosts invite guests with the most intense stories.

 

三十六計之第九計:隔岸觀火

It’s been a while since I posted another reading of 三十六計 by 10 year old “Georgia”.  She has been working more on math lately as she is hoping to enroll in Algebra I next year.  Here is stratagem #9.  It’s incredible that anyone thinks that such story is appropriate for little kids.  Regardless, these readings are fantastic in terms of learning Chinese, as they contain a large number of new vocabularies and expressions in such a short story.