"Even in large metropolitan areas such as New York, many people still do not know much about other cultures, nor do they have much opportunity to be involved in cultural exchanges. That is why it is fantastic to see the Chinese New Year Splendor here!" These are comments from Meiji Liang, director of the Wall Street-located Chinese Language Immersion Programme. Ms. Liang met with this reporter during an intermission at one of the Splendor performances over a week ago.
US born Meiji Liang learned about the show from the Internet and arrived with eight family members and friends. She thought that the show taught Americans about China's traditional music, language, and customs and China's ethnic minority cultures. More importantly in her opinion, this show piqued people's interest in and appreciation for China.
As a Chinese language teacher, Ms. Liang discussed views about China from a different perspective and commented that the first thing people think about when they hear the word "China" are egg rolls and fried rice. She thought that this performance would give people a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.
She continued, "For instance, the dance 'Fairies of Changbai Mountain' presents Korean culture. Koreans are one of the Chinese ethnic minorities. The Xinjiang peoples and Mongolians are also part of China. Average Americans have limited knowledge of or interest in other cultures. They do not know much about Chinese Han culture, let alone the ethnic minorities in China." In fact, most young Chinese do not know their own history, either.
Ms. Liang's deep interest in ethnic cultures may have come from her family background. Her father is from Guangdong, and her mom is Mongolian. Her husband was born in Shanghai and grew up in Taiwan. His parents are owners of a well-known food company in Taiwan.
Ms. Liang's Chinese Language Immersion Program accepts children from six months to five years old. They not only study the Chinese language, but also learn Chinese culture and customs.
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