Feng Jicai, writer and CPPCC member, is surrounded by reporters as he registers for the annual session March 2, 2015. [Photo by Jiang Dong /China Daily]
The plenary sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), popularly known as the two sessions, kicked off recently. Feng Jicai, a famed author, and a CPPCC member, talked to The Beijing News, and shared his views on cultural issues.
Learning culture is mainly about experiencing culture
1. I know that your proposal this year is about strengthening primary school and middle school students' participation and experience in traditional life and culture. Then in which forms is traditional culture presented?
Feng: Traditional culture is presented in two forms. One is ancient classics, which can be put in textbooks. I remember that when we recited poetry in our childhood, the artistic conception portrayed in the poem was engraved deeply in our minds.
The other is culture in life. For example, during each Spring Festival, we exclaim that the new year atmosphere is disappearing, and young people are detaching from tradition. If we put Qingming Festival, Duanwu Festival into textbooks, then will young people get more interested in the traditional festivals? It is very important to capture their interest first through education.
2. So how does one arouse their interest to get closer to traditional culture?
Feng: Take an example, the Qingming Festival, which is drawing near. If we put it in a textbook, that will include an introduction to the festival's customs, such as tomb sweeping in memory of the deceased. In ancient times, it was also a festival celebrating the early spring, with people taking spring outings, picking willows, flying kites, and swinging. If you explain this to children, they only know it as a concept without any feeling and experiencing. But if you take children outdoors to experience these things, they will learn to cherish nature and life.