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NANJING
FOREIGN LANGUAGES SCHOOL

Adding Soaring Wings to Traditional Culture

Han: Dear teachers and my schoolmates

Xu: I am the leader of the Calligraphy Club from Class 6 Senior Grade 2

Han: I am of a member of the Youth League Committee from Class 7 Senior Grade 2

Both: Good Morning!

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Xu: The aftertaste of the Spring Festival still exists, and the blessings of friends and relatives are still in my ears. In the profound traditional Chinese culture, the Spring Festival is undoubtedly most dazzling.

Han: We posted Spring Festival couplets, ate dumplings, and enjoyed lanterns. During this holiday, all the students were immersed in the joyful atmosphere of the traditional festival. Many students also put the promotion of traditional culture into action, enriching themselves while influencing others.

Xu: In order to inherit and promote traditional culture and add the festive atmosphere in the campus and community, the Calligraphy Club held a series of activities of writing Spring Festival couplets and sending the Chinese character Fu, celebrating the Spring Festival with all the teachers and students and citizens.

Han: "We bid farewell to the old year in the sound of firecrackers and welcome the new year smelling the fragrance of plum blossom." Without firecrackers and the fragrance of plum blossom, the activity was popular and festive. I was thrilled that my couplets with my sincere wishes were taken home.   

Xu: The activity was extraordinary significant. As the calligraphy culture has become increasingly popular, most people are not buying Spring Festival couplets but began to write themselves. Calligraphy is the cultural treasure of the Chinese nation. At the end of an old year and the start of a new one, we combined calligraphy with the Spring Festival couplets and the character Fu to make calligraphy penetrated into our life.  

Han: Let's welcome Ge Yiran from Class 2 Senior Grade 3, who has been admitted to Tsinghua University, to talk about her understanding of the heritage of traditional culture. Please give your applause.

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Good Morning, my teachers and schoolmates. I am Ge Yiran from Class 2 Senior Grade 3.  Let me begin by talking about calligraphy to discuss traditional culture and topics involving inheritance and entrance to the world.

In order to clarify the definition of traditional culture, I would like to use the exposition of Mr. Liang Shuming for reference, which generally means that culture is a way of life of a nation in a period of time. Then "tradition" is to replace "a period of time" with "historical period", and this is a neutral word.

Now let's go back to calligraphy. Why is calligraphy incorporated into traditional culture, and why is it worth inheriting? This is because that from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties to modern times, calligraphy has always played a role in communication in people's lives. It is the exchange of ideas and art.

I will take the Tao Te Ching, Zhao Mengfu's representative of regular script in small characters as an example. In terms of contents, it is obviously the inheritance of Lao Zi's thoughts. As for its composition and strokes, its structure is rigorous and the density is appropriate. The strokes are steady and vigorous, and graceful and free, consistent from the beginning to the end. His calligraphy works combine the style of the Wei and Jin dynasties with the Tang Dynasty, providing people with an opportunity to explore the changes of Chinese characters and the social background of the past dynasties. At the same time, Zhao Mengfu's idea of "common origin of calligraphy and painting" also means that calligraphy and painting are interlinked in the form of expression and sentiment. Similarly, different forms of cultural expression, whether they are practical, such as tea art and traditional Chinese medicine, or ideological, such as Confucianism and Taoism, all have relationship and form a cultural network.

How is traditional culture inherited in the present era and how does it have interactions with people? The history and sense of national pride brought by authentic works of painting or calligraphy displayed in the museum naturally have the rationality and significance of its existence, but it is more practical to integrate traditional culture with life. It can be seen that calligraphy, as an artistic aesthetic symbol, has already been featured in movie posters, album covers, postcard designs and home decorations. In the school or the Lanyuan community, the activity of writing Spring Festival couplets and sending the Chinese character Fu also made calligraphy a public welfare activity. Spring Festival couplets featuring a red background with black letters are not as beautiful as prints, but they have the scent of ink and our sincerity. Traditional culture exists in life, and it may be the effects of cultural inheritance to make people experience it.

Next, I want to discuss how traditional culture steps out into the world. We can think about what we want foreigners to know about and how to achieve it. I think the answer is not to translate the Four Books and the Five Classics into foreign languages and then show them. After all, this is a little difficult for them. In fact, it is similar to a teacher giving a class to make traditional culture step out into the world. We should firstly grasp the interest point and begin from the easy to the difficult and complicated. But how can we grasp the interest point? Regardless of the causal relationship between the entertainment industry and the culture going global, at least Japanese anime, Korean TV plays, and Hollywood in the United States have offered the possibility of making pop elements take the lead and show what they love to see in a plain, popular way so as to better inspire a desire for discovery. Perhaps 10,000 people have watched "The Wandering Earth", and 100 of them are willing to learn more about the Spring Festival elements and the values of Chinese people shown in the film through various channels. Among them, 10 people will choose to continue their studies and become researchers of Chinese traditional culture.

However, when this step-by-step process has developed, it is inevitable that some academic exchanges will be involved. At this time, translation is likely to become an obstacle to communication because Chinese characters and foreign characters do not correspond. Therefore, many contents can be sensed but can not be explained in words and they can be understood with a personal practice and a macroscopic understanding of traditional culture's network structure.

In a word, traditional culture, along with its inheritance and entrance to the world, is a big topic. It is indeed closely related to people's conception of history, the soft power of a country and international exchanges. However, the smallest unit that constitutes these macroscopic subjects is individual, so all of us are expected to make contributions to it.

Xu: Hearing her understanding of traditional culture, how can we spread traditional culture by starting from ourselves and from details? On the afternoon of January 25, 12 members of the NFLS Yuanxiang Young Eagle Holiday Team visited, studied and experienced Mapu Drum, an excellent folk traditional culture. Let's welcome Zhao Shiyu from Class 9 Junior High 1 to give a speech.

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Respected teachers and my dear schoolmates:

Hello, everyone! The title of my speech is "Adding Soaring Wings to Traditional Culture!"

On January 25, the sound of drums and gongs filled the Mapu community in Jiangning Lukou Street. The NFLS Yuanxiang Young Eagle holiday team held an activity in the community to learn about and experience the original traditional culture, Mapu Drum.

Mapu Drum is the intangible cultural heritage of Nanjing. It was founded in the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty and is well-known traditional drum music in Nanjing. In 2008, folk artists were invited to perform Mapu Drum in Malaysia and received international acclaim. Our team was warmly welcomed by residents in the Mapu community. Mao Youhua, the fourth-generation successor of Mapu Drum, organized a group of more than 10 people to teach us performance skills. After two hours of hard study and training, the students performed the music "Feng Dian Tou."

Look! When the commander knocked the drumstick, the students began to perform big gong, small gong, bass drum, Pan-Ku and Top Cymbal. The sound of gongs and drums were sometimes rapid and sometimes soothing. Suddenly, with a bang, all the sounds came to an abrupt end, and it was immediately quiet. The teachers were very excited and amazed, saying “The NFLS students are so great. In such a short period of time, you learned a piece of music.”

Really, we were also very excited for our achievements.

This was a vivid traditional culture class. We not only learned how to perform drum music but also had a deep understanding of the unique charm of traditional culture by getting in close touch with the folk art, enhancing our experience of the culture and celebration of traditional festival.

We were also shocked at our excellent traditional culture.  

With its unique rhythm, Mapu Drum expresses local people's good wishes for a happy life. With the touching melody, we felt as if hard-working and wise Nanjing people were struggling in the vast field and as if we were visiting the streets of the city and experienced the ancient and passionate historical culture.

This is the unique charm of our excellent and amazing traditional culture.

However, before long traditional culture was seen as a symbol of obsolescence. People would rather learn the piano and drums at higher costs than touch these traditional folk instruments. Popular culture has become popular around the country, and traditional culture was once been forgotten. For our learning spirit, Teacher Mao looked into the TV camera and said emotionally, "This activity is a testament to the love and importance NFLS and the students attach to traditional culture, and I also see the future of our traditional culture."

Dear classmates, let's assume the reasonability together! Excellent traditional culture is the treasure of the Chinese nation. It is our responsibility and obligation to inherit and carry it forward. Let's add soaring wings to it together!

Xu: General Secretary Xi said that the ideals and struggles of Chinese people and their values and spiritual world are always deeply rooted in China's excellent traditional culture, and at the same time they are continuously advancing with the times along with the development of history and the times.

Han: Learning history helps us see success or failure, distinguish gains and losses and know about prosperity and recession. Learning poetry makes us high-spirited and clever. Learning ethics makes us have the sense of shame, understand honor and disgrace and distinguish between right and wrong. As an NFLS student with Chinese soul and global horizon, we can not forget the inheritance and development of Chinese excellent traditional culture.

Xu: This not only means that we passively accept the knowledge in the textbook or go through the motions but also we should make it get close to daily life and integrated into life. When one day we walk to the world, we can proudly say,

Both: We are Chinese descendants. 

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