This month, Cypress Books caught up with Mark Rowswell, better known throughout China and beyond as Dashan. He first made his name by performing 相声 (xiangsheng) or ‘crosstalk’, a kind of vaudevillian form of traditional comedic dialogue in the ‘straight man/funny man’ format. Having moved away from that some time ago, he’s spent the last few years exploring the nascent stand-up comedy scene in China. Continue reading →
This month, Cypress Books caught up with Carl Gene Fordham, an Australian translator currently based in Xiamen, Fujian province. After learning Mandarin Chinese in primary school, Carl was lucky enough to enrol in one of Australia’s first Asian language immersion programmes back in 2000. He’s passed HSK Level 6, and wants to one day play his part in sharing the wisdom of ancient Chinese philosophy.
At the age of 13 Mr Xu Jianchu, calligraphy teacher at Guanghwa Books, first got involved in the painting of big-character posters during the Cultural Revolution.
Flash forward to 2016 and after numerous awards and international exhibitions, Mr Xu is now President of the UK Chinese Poetry Calligraphy & Painting Society, and Honorary Principal of the “Yancheng Shifu” Art College of China.Continue reading →
James Trapp was 14 when he sighted a small bronze figure of a seated leopard that was excavated in Hebei province from the tomb of a second-century BC princess.
It was this visit to the Royal Academy Chinese art exhibition that had him hooked on all things Chinese, especially Chinese art. For James, it proved a gateway to what we know as a fascinating culture and civilisation.
When I mention an interest in learning Chinese dialects, I am almost always met with the same response: What’s the point? Their reasoning is clear: Mandarin Chinese is the lingua-franca in China and the importance of dialects is decreasing, so there seems little point in struggling to learn a Chinese dialect. I, however, argue that there are huge economic, cultural and social benefits of learning a Chinese dialect both inside and outside China. The value of Mandarin as a lingua-franca is clear, however, a brief look below the surface illuminates a plethora of reasons why someone may pursue the study of a Chinese dialect.