(Picture from Zhengtao’s Facebook)
By watching Zhengtao Chen, one of Chinese students in UMD, performing Tai Chi the traditional Chinese marshal art, I learned the true aesthetics of the margin. Lots of things between China and Korea are similar but also very different. Korea have Taekwondo which is also type of marshal art but more tough.
2014 is the year of horse in China and Korea. Since our ancestor used lunar calendar, January 31 was New Year’s Day in Korea and China. On February 01 Chinese Student Association celebrated New Year’s Day huge in Ballroom and MPAC.
This is the picture of food I had for dinner at the event. Different from other events that I have been attended, CSSA served dinner not by buffet style but as Chinese take-out style; white rice and sesame chicken with vegetable and fortune cookie in brown folded bag. I was quite surprised at first but it was quite clever thought since it was more ‘real’ Chinese style dinner. Most of the food were marinated in sauce which are very sweet or little spicy. All of the food had meat in which might have been hard for vegetarians. But then I kind of realized that I have never met any Chinese who defined themselves as vegetarian which explained a lot. Since I was familar with Chinese food since I was young and also had been to China few days, most of it taste good. My roommate, Hmong, even packed and I do not blame her since the food quite fit our taste.
They had piece of paper that explains menu and handed us small red bag as you can see in the picture. It was really pretty bag and I had to save it. After dinner we moved to MPAC to watch performances. Since dinner started 30 minutes late, the show started late too. There were some complaints about the time but later bigger problem evolved.
They hosted in Chinese.
It was really new experience and made me felt that the event is not for all but for Chinese or those who can understand the language.
Most of the events I remain seated to respect but I could not understand the word the hosts were saying and even with awesome performances, it got boring. I could see lots of audiences ( who are not Chinese) were shocked that there were no translation and started leaving. Personally, it could have been more successful if the association considered others who have different language background since they did not mention any language requirement or warning to people. After the show, this unsatisfactory led me to question the purpose of the event. No offense but it also led the discussion on ethnocentrism.
Whole construction of show was great and it is always awesome learning new perspective through other’s culture. However, it is also important for the culture who are expending to put lots of effort to help others feel inclusive if the purpose is to unite closer by sharing their cultures.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, the Tai Chi gave me a lesson on the beauty of blank through different mean. In Korea history, arts and life the margin, black was considered very important but Tai Chi was different notion of beauty. I couldn’t breath while the performer was drawing smooth but strong invisible line on air.
Culture could make us unite together but also could define us separate.
God bless Korea.