March updates with impending COVID-19 outbreak

I hope all of you (US) are getting prepared (or are prepared) for and educated on COVID-19.

For one thing, it has been good for the girls to be fluent in Chinese during China’s early battle against COVID-19, when much of the primary source of information were in Chinese.  Our whole family have been keeping tab on COVID-19 development on news commentary shows from Taiwan, like 關鍵時刻 and 年代向錢看, that provide daily analysis on weekdays, with the “real story” from China, Korea, Japan, and the rest of the world.  Armed with such information, we were able to start preparing early on (before price gouging on some items) and even saved some money by getting out of stock mutual fund before the stock market started crashing for our retirement account.  The girls also read a couple of Chinese newspaper clips on COVID-19.

CHINESE POP BAND: COVID-19 did force the cancellation of one of our band performances in February, which was just fine, since we already performed three times over the winter.  Our band’s next performance will be in May, for Mother’s Day, but that will likely be canceled with how things are going now.  So, the girls are primarily working on our own band songs now.

CHINESE DEBATE:  As a result of COVID-19, Debate Asia (亞洲盃中文辯論錦標賽) has not make announcement on its 6th annual competition, 六國封相. It was going to be held in China in late July but, obviously, this is now extremely unlikely to take place.  The coach is looking into an alternative competition in Taiwan in July, 蘇州盃高中職辯論錦標賽.  This competition was previously limited to high school teams in Taiwan, but is now open to international teams for the first time.  Though Taiwan has done an exceptional job so far in her battle against COVID-19, anything can happen between now and July.  By then, air travel and large gathering may still be risky and there may be travel restrictions to Taiwan from the US, at the rate this is going.  So, I am not optimistic that the girls will be able to compete this summer.  But, regardless, the team is still training and that’s what counts.  At this point, the team is working on “Should UBI (universal basic income) replace means-tested welfare programs?”

CHINESE READING: DD#2 is pretty done with 7th grade first semester CLA textbook from Taiwan.  The last lesson she practiced reading aloud was a 1925 essay “背影“ by 朱自親.  It was the second to the last chapter but I have her skip the last chapter since it was just a simple short story.

朱自清

我與父親不相見已二年餘了,我最不能忘記的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父親的差使也交卸了,正是禍不單行的日子!我從北京到徐州,打算跟著父親奔喪回家。到徐州見著父親,看見滿院狼藉的東西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼淚。父親說:「事已如此,不必難過,好在天無絕人之路!」
回家變賣典質,父親還了虧空,又借錢辦了喪事。這些日子,家中光景很是慘澹,一半為了喪事,一半為了父親賦閒○8。喪事完畢,父親要到南京謀事,我也要回北京念書,我們便同行。
到南京時,有朋友約去遊逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便須渡江到浦口,下午上車北去。父親因為事忙,本已說定不送我,叫旅館裡一個熟識的茶房陪我同去。他再三囑咐茶房,甚是仔細。但他終於不放心,怕茶房不妥帖,頗躊躇了一會。其實我那年已二十歲,北京已來往過兩三次,是沒有什麼要緊的了。他躊躇了一會,終於決定還是自己送我去。我兩三回勸他不必去,他只說:「不要緊,他們去不好!」
我們過了江,進了車站。我買票,他忙著照看行李。行李太多了,得向腳夫行些小費才可過去。他便又忙著和他們講價錢。我那時真是聰明過分,總覺他說話不大漂亮,非自己插嘴不可。但他終於講定了價錢,就送我上車。他給我揀定了靠車門的一張椅子,我將他給我做的紫毛大衣鋪好座位。他囑我路上小心,夜裡要警醒些,不要受涼;又囑託茶房好好照應我。我心裡暗笑他的迂,他們只認得錢,託他們直是白託!而且我這樣大年紀的人,難道還不能料理自己麼?唉!我現在想想,那時真是太聰明了!
我說道:「爸爸,您走吧!」他望車外看了看,說:「我買幾個橘子去,你就在此地不要走動。」我看那邊月臺的柵欄外,有幾個賣東西的等著顧客。走到那邊月臺,須穿過鐵道,須跳下去又爬上去。父親是一個胖子,走過去自然要費事些。我本來要去的,他不肯,只好讓他去。我看見他戴著黑布小帽,穿著黑布大馬褂,深青布棉袍,蹣跚地走到鐵道邊,慢慢探身下去,尚不大難。可是他穿過鐵道,要爬上那邊月臺,就不容易了。他用兩手攀著上面,兩腳再向上縮,他肥胖的身子向左微傾,顯出努力的樣子。這時我看見他的背影,我的淚很快地流下來了。我趕緊拭乾了淚,怕他看見,也怕別人看見。我再向外看時,他已抱了朱紅的橘子望回走了。過鐵道時,他先將橘子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起橘子走。到這邊時,我趕緊去攙他。他和我走到車上,將橘子一股腦兒放在我的皮大衣上。於是撲撲衣上的泥土,心裡很輕鬆似的。過一會說:「我走了,到那邊來信!」我望著他走出去。他走了幾步,回過頭看見我,說:「進去吧,裡邊沒人!」等他的背影混入來來往往的人裡,再找不著了,我便進來坐下,我的眼淚又來了。
近幾年來,父親和我都是東奔西走,家中光景是一日不如一日。我北來後,他寫了一封信給我,信中說道:「我身體平安,惟膀子疼痛得厲害,舉箸提筆,諸多不便,大約大去之期不遠矣!」我讀到此處,在晶瑩的淚光中,又看見那肥胖的青布棉袍、黑布馬褂的背影。唉!我不知何時再能與他相見!

 

Instead of having DD#2 move unto 7th grade second semester textbook, I now just ask her to do readings on the AP Chinese study guide (and typing).  I figure she might as well get it started and take the AP exam either in 9th grade or 10th grade.  DD#1 ended up not being able to take the AP Chinese exam this year (11th grade) since the schools that offer it locally (not available at her own school) ran out of spots early.  It might as well be that way since she would have to take her AP Bio exam in the morning and then get to another school for afternoon’s AP Chinese exam.  That may end up to be too much of a rush.  Oh well….

 

CHINESE TV SERIES:

DD#2 finished watching 皓蘭傳, a 2019’s historical fictional TV series, which was loosely based on the life story of the 趙姬, the mother of 秦始王 (Qin Shi-Huang), who was the “first” emperor of China at around 200 BC.  So, DD#2 learned about 呂不韋 of 呂氏春秋, 長平之戰 in which Qin buried 200,000 surrendered soldiers alive, and how 秦始王 came about.

 

 

Now, we shifted back to 金庸’s work, 鹿鼎記, which will provide DD#2 with the historical background surrounding the first phase of the Qing dynasty in the 17th century.  For those of you who know this novel, you won’t find it surprising that my DD#2 is having a blast watching 偉小寶!  We are watching the 2014 TV series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas band performance 12-2019

Our “Tu & Only” band was invited to perform again at Atlanta Chinese Medical Society’s Christmas/New Year celebration this year.  My DDs spent hours honing down their performances and did a fantastic job last night!  They each received an outstanding volunteering award for all the hard work they put into supporting the nonprofit organization.

我們的「杜ㄧ無二」樂團再次受邀在亞特蘭大華人醫師協會今年的聖誕新年晚會表演。兩位女兒練習良久,昨晚表現很好,對她們的中文也都有幫助,以她們為榮!我們表演了周杰倫2007年的「不能說的秘密」和李克勤1992年的廣東話經典歌曲「紅日」(小女兒不會說廣東話,發音不標準,請見諒~)

7th grade Chinese Language Art

DD#2, 13, 8th grade now, is moving unto 7th grade Chinese Language Art textbook from Taiwan.  Her Chinese lessons now mainly consist of reading aloud to fluency Chinese Language Art textbooks and doing Chinese debate, besides watching 「如懿傳」(Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace).  This movie series sits nicely between the two series she previously watched,「後宮甄嬛傳」and 「延熙攻略」.

Here is the first chapter she is working on, which is chapter 2 of 康軒’s 7th grade second semester textbook.  I previously couldn’t acquire the first semester book.

下雨天,真好(琦君)

一大清早,掀開窗簾看看,窗上已撒滿了水珠。啊,好極了!又是個下雨天。雨連下十天,半月,甚至一個月,屋裡掛滿萬國旗似的溼衣服,牆壁地板都冒著溼氣,我也 不抱怨。雨天總是把我帶到另一個處所,在那兒,我又可以重享歡樂的童年。那些有趣的好時光啊,我要用雨珠的鍊子把它串起來,繞在手腕上。

那時在浙江永嘉老家,我才六歲,睡在母親暖和的手臂彎裡。天亮了,聽到瓦背上嘩嘩的雨聲,我就放了心。因為下雨天長工不下田,母親不用老早起來做飯,可以在 熱被窩裡多躺會兒。我捨不得再睡,也不讓母親睡,吵著要她講故事。母親閉著眼睛,給我講雨天的故事。在熹微的晨光中,我望著母親的臉,她的額角方方正正, 眉毛細細長長,眼睛瞇成一條線。我的啟蒙老師說菩薩慈眉善目,母親的長相一定就跟菩薩一樣。

雨下得越來越大。母親一起床,我也跟著起來,顧不得吃早飯,就套上叔叔的舊皮靴,頂著雨在院子裡玩。溝裡水滿了,白繡球花瓣落在爛泥地和水溝裡。我把阿榮伯 給我雕的小木船漂在水溝裡,中間坐著母親給我縫的大紅「布姑娘」。繡球花瓣繞著小木船打轉,一起向前流。我跟著小木船在爛泥地裡踩水,吱嗒吱嗒的響。

天下雨,長工們不下田,都蹲在大穀倉後面玩。我把小花猫抱在懷裡,自己再坐在阿榮伯懷裡,等著阿榮伯把一粒粒又香又脆的炒豆子剝殼送到我嘴裡。豆子吃夠了再吃芝麻糖,嘴巴乾了吃橘子。下雨天真好,有吃有玩,長工們個個疼我,家裡人多,我就不寂寞了。

五月黃梅天,到處黏糊糊的,母親走進走出的抱怨,父親卻端者宜興茶壺,坐在廊下賞雨。院子裡各種花木,經雨一淋,新綠的枝子頑皮的張開翅膀,托著嬌豔的花 朵,父親用旱煙袋點著它們告訴我這是丁香花,那是一丈紅。大理花與劍蘭搶著開,木樨花散布著淡淡的幽香。牆邊那株高大的玉蘭花開了滿樹,下雨天謝得快,我得趕緊爬上去採,採了滿籃子送左右鄰居。玉蘭樹葉上的水珠都是香的。

唱鼓兒詞的總在下雨天從我家後門摸索進來,坐在廚房的長凳上,唱一段「鄭元和學丐」。母親一邊做飯,一邊聽。淚水掛滿了臉頰,拉起青布圍裙擦一下,又連忙盛 一大碗滿滿的白米飯,請瞎子先生吃,再給他一大包的米。晚上就在大廳裡唱,請左鄰右舍都來聽。寬敝的大廳正中央燃起了亮晃晃的燈,燈一亮,我就有做喜事的 感覺,心裡說不出的開心。雨嘩嘩的越下越大,瞎子先生的鼓咚咚咚咚的也敲得越起勁。母親和五叔婆聽了眼圈兒都哭得紅紅的,我就只顧吃炒米糕、花生糖。父親卻悄悄的溜進書房作他的「唐詩」去了。

如果我一直不長大,就可以永遠沉浸在雨的歡樂中。然而誰能不長大呢?到杭州念中學了,下雨天,我有一股淒涼寂寞之感。

有一次,在雨中徘徊西子湖畔。我駐足凝望著碧藍如玉的湖水和低斜低斜的梅花,卻聽得放鶴亭中響起了悠揚的笛聲。那是許多年前的事了,笛聲低沉而遙遠,然而我卻仍能依稀聽見,在雨中…。

第五屆亞洲盃 美國東南區亞特蘭大聯隊 資格賽 (Qualifier debate for SE US Atlanta Team)

It was an incredible journey for the Southeast US Atlanta Team.  Our team members have various Chinese proficiency levels.  Truly, one’s language proficiency (or lack of) affects the ability to listen, comprehend, organize, and express various parts of the debate.  Shawn Yen, our excellent and most devoted coach, was able to utilize the best qualities of each debater and put each in the best line-up position.  The team went through so much in the last few months and we are ecstatic over their accomplishment (one win, one tie, one loss). In addition, my DD#1 was voted as the Best Debater for our second debate and our second chair debater was voted as the Best Debater for the first debate. Go Team USA!

 

Changing direction – social studies textbook

DD#2, “Georgia”, almost 13 now, is finishing up reading aloud to fluency the first semester Chinese Language Art (CLA) textbook from Taiwan. My original plan was to move onto six grade second semester textbook, which would be the natural progression. But, now that she recently joined the newly organized Chinese debate team, I am changing our plan.

Debate Asia, the organization that runs the Chinese debate competition, frequently uses as debate topics subjects that are of concern to the United Nation. There are, therefore, much use of social studies terminology and language, in Chinese of course.  Regular CLA textbooks would not be efficient in providing such subject languages exposure. 

The following two pictures are from a 7th grade second semester CLA textbook that I prepared for my DDs before. 

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Compare the above with the following images from an 8th grade second semester social studies textbook.

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As you can clearly see, the social studies textbook provides excellent and efficient exposure to relevant Chinese terminology and language.  It is also fitting that these materials overlap with Georgia’s English based social studies course material at school, which makes learning via scaffold reading experience (SRE) possible.

Yes, it is more boring to read these social studies textbook aloud, but I hope she can appreciate the language knowledge soon, when her debate competition gets closer and closer.  We will see how it goes!

(There are videos online which go over much of materials presented in the textbook, but some narrators kind of just read the slide content off the screen, which is boring.  Their pronunciation could be “better” also.)

Fewer posts

One reader noted that I don’t blog as much about my DD’s Chinese learning journey these days.  That is absolutely true. There is simply less to blog about these days, as we are mostly in late consolidation to maintenance phase.  For me, most of the work for Chinese learning before they finish high school would have been done toward the end of middle school.

DD#1 “Charlotte”, almost 16, is finishing up 10th grade.  She has already switched track and commit most of her effort and time to academic and extracurricular activities with emphasis on future college application.  She attends a competitive high school and it is harder to stand out these days.  I have her do just a little maintenance type of Chinese reading to keep up her proficiency.  We continue to converse in Chinese at home, though I do have to correct her often as our conversation topics and depth increase further.  We spend maybe 15-20 minutes a day watching a Chinese high school teen soap 「致我们单纯的小美好」or “A Love So Beautiful.  She loves the show but cringes at the awkward teen puppy love interactions, LOL.

Charlotte does attend a Saturday simplified Chinese “AP” class a couple of times a month just to maintain some exposure to AP Chinese topics.  There are only two to three students in the class, one of whom is my DD#2.  That class provides more of an exposure to the Chinese AP topics rather than being a test preparation course.  It is unfortunate that her high school doesn’t have Chinese AP class.  However, since my goal has never been about test taking and has always been about actually knowing and using Chinese as a communication tool, I am not sweating it and would rather that she commits her time to other areas.  For more formal instruction, I recently resumed having her read aloud select piece in CLA textbook about 10-15 minutes a day several days a week, picking up where we left off almost two years ago in 6th grade CLA textbooks.  That’s all the time she can commit to Chinese these days.  But we hope to move onto junior high level textbooks soon.

The good news is that she has just been recruited to join a brand-new southeast regional Chinese debate team that will compete in Taiwan with teams across Asia at the end of the summer.  This is a wonderful opportunity to hone in her Chinese colloquial proficiency, as I have been seeking out extracurricular activities that require much actual Chinese usage.  Since there are few such activities for teens, we often have to come up with our own, such as our band.  To receive coaching in Chinese for debate conducted in Chinese is like a dream-comes-true.  So, hopefully the whole things goes smoothly.

As for my almost 13 years old DD#2 “Georgia”, we continue to do Chinese read aloud exercises 5 days a week as mentioned in recent blog entries.  She is using 6th grade textbook also, moving at a faster pace than “Charlotte” three years back.  She attends the same casual Saturday “AP” Chinese classes every week, which I plan for her to repeat next year to improve her familiarity with simplified Chinese and get really acquainted with the material.  She watches about 30 minutes of Chinese drama 後宮甄嬛傳 with me at night, which she loves.

“Georgia” is also finishing up reading the third book (out of four) of 神雕俠侶 kungfu novel.  I recently printed the remainder of the novel out with zhuyin included, since her comprehension and reading speed do go up with them.  I plan to have her finish reading this novel with zhuyin assistance and then try another 金庸‘s kungfu novel without zhuyin.  She doesn’t particularly enjoy reading Chinese kungfu novel (but loves watching such TV shows) and that’s why it has been taking this long.  Maybe I should have her pick out the next novel herself.

“Georgia” was also recruited to try out the Chinese debate team as well.  She took three semesters of English debate classes before; so, this will be an excellent opportunity for her as well.  In terms of her English, she is doing extra reading comprehension exercises to “close the gap” further.  She is in accelerated ELA class one grade level higher at school, but can still work on her English more.  She is not one of those “brilliant” kids who are two-three years (or more) ahead in multiple subjects.  My best guess is that such “brilliant” kids probably have IQ (in the general sense) of around 150  (~1 in 2,000 people) or higher.

In terms of our band, we performed four times in February and are taking a little break.  We plan to work on one popular Cantonese and one Taiwanese song in the coming months.

Overall, IMHO, how well a child handles Chinese-English bilingual education in the tween to teen years, even with favorable Chinese Language Ecosystem (CLE), depends much on the individual’s general intellect, given high level competition for top college spots these days.  Most children likely need to divert attention away from Chinese learning to participate in the college application rat race.  So, it is ever more important that the majority of a solid Chinese instruction and foundation be laid down by the end of middle school.

翠玉白菜 (Jadeite Cabbage) – expository writing

About 5 weeks out from when DD#2, “Georgia”, started working on a 6th grade Chinese Language Art textbook (first semester) from Taiwan, she is right on track, at a pace of one chapter a week.  She just finished reading to fluency chapter 5.  It is on 翠玉白菜 or Jadeite Cabbage, a piece of jadeite carved into the shape of a Chinese cabbage head with insects on the leaves.  It is a prized piece at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

This is a tougher piece for her to read aloud, given it is an expository and descriptive writing, with more difficult expressions and wording.  I think she’s got it down pretty good after working on it for about an hour and half, spread over five days or so.

 

第五課  翠玉白菜

玉是一種半透明、具有光澤的美石,中國人極愛玉石的雅致和溫潤,喜歡拿玉來比喻美麗或尊貴,更將玉石巧雕成各式各樣的吉祥造型。

玉器的製作相當費工、費時,玉匠為了充分利用玉料,雕琢時會順應其自然天成的外形或色澤來設計製作,這就是所謂的「量材就質」。故宮博物院典藏的「翠玉白菜」,就是依循這種理念的經典之作,因為奇巧無比,所以成為名聞中外的藝術品。

一般而言,質純的玉石呈白色,有些因為含有不同的金屬元素,會呈現翠綠色或赤色。翠玉白菜就是以一塊半白半綠的玉料雕成,玉匠巧妙利用玉質顏色的變化,將玉石綠色部分,雕出翻捲的菜葉;白色部分,雕出脈絡分明的菜莖,白、綠的漸層變化,渾然天成,有如一顆鮮嫩欲滴,可以掐出水來的白菜。更有趣的是,玉匠巧妙的在葉片上雕了活靈活現的螽斯和蝗蟲,這神來一筆,讓原本靜態寫實的作品,頓時活潑起來,充滿令人驚喜的動態美。

翠玉白菜原是北京紫禁城永和宮中的陳設品,是清末光緒皇帝的妃子——瑾妃的嫁妝。這件嫁妝不但貴重,還隱含著父母對出嫁女兒的祝福:白菜寓意清白,象徵新娘的純潔;螽斯,俗稱「紡織娘」,能高聲鳴唱,而且繁殖力很強,用來祝福新娘多子多孫。

遠近馳名的翠玉白菜,結合了玉料天然的美和玉匠精湛的雕工,除了令人賞心悅目,還有一層寓意傳情的物外之趣,堪稱為玉器中的珍品,也讓所有慕名前來參觀的人,留下深刻的印象。

 

第五课  翠玉白菜

玉是一种半透明、具有光泽的美石,中国人极爱玉石的雅致和温润,喜欢拿玉来比喻美丽或尊贵,更将玉石巧雕成各式各样的吉祥造型。

玉器的制作相当费工、费时,玉匠为了充分利用玉料,雕琢时会顺应其自然天成的外形或色泽来设计制作,这就是所谓的「量材就质」。故宫博物院典藏的「翠玉白菜」,就是依循这种理念的经典之作,因为奇巧无比,所以成为名闻中外的艺术品。

一般而言,质纯的玉石呈白色,有些因为含有不同的金属元素,会呈现翠绿色或赤色。翠玉白菜就是以一块半白半绿的玉料雕成,玉匠巧妙利用玉质颜色的变化,将玉石绿色部分,雕出翻卷的菜叶;白色部分,雕出脉络分明的菜茎,白、绿的渐层变化,浑然天成,有如一颗鲜嫩欲滴,可以掐出水来的白菜。更有趣的是,玉匠巧妙的在叶片上雕了活灵活现的螽斯和蝗虫,这神来一笔,让原本静态写实的作品,顿时活泼起来,充满令人惊喜的动态美。

翠玉白菜原是北京紫禁城永和宫中的陈设品,是清末光绪皇帝的妃子——瑾妃的嫁妆。这件嫁妆不但贵重,还隐含着父母对出嫁女儿的祝福:白菜寓意清白,象征新娘的纯洁;螽斯,俗称「纺织娘」,能高声鸣唱,而且繁殖力很强,用来祝福新娘多子多孙。

远近驰名的翠玉白菜,结合了玉料天然的美和玉匠精湛的雕工,除了令人赏心悦目,还有一层寓意传情的物外之趣,堪称为玉器中的珍品,也让所有慕名前来参观的人,留下深刻的印象。

Six grade textbook

Sixth grade Chinese Language Art textbook from Taiwan is indeed a step tougher than that of fifth grade.  It takes DD#2 a bit longer to read till fluency.

第三課 大自然的規則

山在晨曦照耀下開始甦醒,發出劈啪的聲響,並且朝天空吐出一縷一縷的蒸氣。當陽光解除了樹林死氣沉沉的冰封盔甲時,山還「ㄆㄥㄆㄥ」低語了幾聲。外公一直注意著這一切,我也一樣。我們還留神傾聽在林間呢喃的晨間微風,以及各式各樣的聲響。
「山逐漸的活起來了!」外公輕聲說,眼睛仍專注的望著山。
「沒錯!」我回應外公說:「她復活了。」突然間,我發現我和外公同樣擁有的這種感覺,卻是大部分人從未經歷過的。
夜晚的陰影一直向後退,只剩下山腳下草地對面的一塊陰暗角落;沐浴在陽光下的青翠草地,閃著光芒。外公指著草地上一邊撲打著翅膀,一邊忙著尋找食物的鵪鶉要我看。接著他把手指向清冷的藍天。
天空潔淨得沒有一片雲。一開始,我並沒有看見外公指的那個在地平線上移動的小黑點。黑點愈來愈大,直朝著陽光飛來,這樣牠的影子就不會比牠先落在地面上。只見那隻鳥加速直往山邊俯衝下來,飛快掠過尖尖的樹頂,兩隻翅膀向後伸展,就像一顆褐色的子彈筆直的射向鵪鶉。
外公低聲笑說:「那是老鷹泰坎!」
鵪鶉們突然起了一陣騷動,紛紛朝林間倉皇奔逃,有一隻腳步稍慢了些。老鷹發動攻擊了,只見牠的頭快速起落,如雨點般死命的啄擊這一隻鵪鶉,一瞬間,撲擊便結束了,鵪鶉羽毛在空中四處飛散。老鷹用雙爪抓起牠的獵物,朝著原來的方向,越過山頭揚長而去。
我沒有哭,但我知道我的樣子很沮喪。外公對我說:「別傷心,小樹,這就是大自然的規則。」
外公拿著刀子,從地裡掘出一段甜菜根,把皮削掉,切成兩半。他把大的一半遞給我,甜菜根飽含著用來過冬的汁液,順著刀身流下來。
「這就是大自然的規則。」外公輕輕的說。

新春演出 CNY performance 2-2019

Our family band “Tu & Only” (杜ㄧ無二)performed three times this month for various Chinese New Year festivities.  To get a glimpse of my DD’s (12 and 15) current colloquial fluency and accent, at least on a scripted level, you can listen to their introductory remarks at the beginning of the first video.  They do speak Chinese at home with each other about 80% of the time, at least when I am around.  When they say things incorrectly in Chinese or don’t know how to say certain things in Chinese, I do my best to correct them and then ask them to repeat it a few times.  Since I left Taiwan after fifth grade, not infrequently do I have to look up things I don’t know how to express in Chinese as well.  We then learn to say it together.  These are normal part of our lives and the girls don’t get mad at me for doing so.

I learned to play the bass guitar (very badly though) a year ago so that I can play along with the girls.  Then, I got busy at work and haven’t practiced much.   A few months ago, I decided to learn to play the drum (also very badly….) and let DD#2 play some of the bass.  I learn just enough to get by.

We performed four songs at a Chinese New Year celebration in Atlanta this past Sunday.  There was a crowd of probably 250-300 people with standing room only.  Here is their introductory remark and first song, 朋友 (Friends) by 周華健.  (I missed a few notes.  Sigh…..)

 

The next video is DD#2 singing 楊培安‘s 「我相信」 (I Believe).

 

Our third song was better recorded from an evening church performance the day before.  It is 流星, the Chinese version of “Yellow” by Coldplay, one of the theme songs in the movie “Crazy Rich Asian” last summer.

 

The last song is the classic CNY song 恭喜恭喜 by 陳歌辛.  You can listen to their closing remarks at the end of the video.

 

Our band is getting better with each performance over the past year, though we still need to squeeze in vocal lessons in the future.  A major local Chinese school troupe just asked us to collaborate with them in the future!  Not bad for the end of our first year!  Our family band has certainly brought the family even closer and has given us more things to talk about, in Chinese of course!

Happy Chinese New Year!!