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An essential element of Chinese culture

January 6, 2010

By Akina Li Suet-ying, Pooi To Middle School

When you hear the words “Chinese culture”, what do you think of? Many people might say herbal tea or dragon dances. The first thing that comes to my mind is Cantonese opera.

In my opinion, Cantonese opera is a very important symbol of Chinese culture. It mixes drama with traditional music.

Cantonese opera is often based on traditional stories that have been handed down for generations. Some operas explain old customs or show the audience how people used to live in the old days.

The make-up, costumes and accessories are also very impressive.

Unfortunately, Cantonese opera is not as popular as in the past. Young people seem more interested in musicals from overseas, such as Cats, or listening to modern music and going to pop concerts.

Many young people find traditional arts boring, so don’t try to learn about them or pay attention.

Sadly this means very few young people are interested in things like Cantonese opera. If younger generations do not take an interest in these ancient arts, they will eventually die out.

The government should arrange more performances. They should also promote Cantonese opera by posting adverts online, and find ways to get young people more excited about the art. Unless young people participate, I’m afraid this important part of our heritage will disappear.

What do you think of Cantonese opera?

What would you say is an essential element of Chinese culture?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 12:09 pm

    By Ian Law

    I totally agree with Akina Li.

    When I first heard about the problems faced by Cantonese opera, I was concerned that it may all disappear one day. How can this wonderful mix of traditional drama and song end? Sooner or later, we may find that the main reason for its disappearance is the lack of government promotion.

    Looking back, it seems we have not done enough to save this treasured art form. In terms of education, Cantonese opera can be a fun way to learn about art and the meaning of emotion. The government needs to get behind it more.

    Increased promotion of the art to foreign music lovers may be one method. I’m sure there are more than enough people in Hong Kong to educate them. If they can discover the joy of Cantonese opera with our assistance, they may even help spread the word and save it from extinction.

    We must rescue Cantonese opera, and every great leap starts with small steps.

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