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Exploring Chinese Culture in Brisbane

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by Gwen Lee (subscribe)
Staff at asianlanguageschool.com, a language school in Sydney teaching adults and children Japanese and other Asian languages.
Published March 7th 2016
According to Walter Lippmann, a famous American journalist, "Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models the values they appreciate, the quality of life they admire." Chinese culture, being one of the world's oldest, is worth exploring. Australia is blessed with many cultures that can be found in each major city. We can learn more about Chinese culture by doing any of these activities.

Play mah-jong

mahjong
Photo: Kowloonese


If you like to play cards, chances are you're going to love mah-jong. Instead of using cards, mah-jong uses tiles. The game is usually played by four people. It involves picking and discarding tiles to create a winning hand. In Western card games, the cards are grouped as Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds. In mah-jong, the tiles are grouped as Suits, Honours, Flowers, and Seasons. Mah-jong is usually played more by women than men and the game can take hours.

There are mah-jong classes available in Brisbane. Once you've become an expert, you can join mah-jong tournaments with a massive cash prize.

It's addictive! So be warned!

Learn to play Chinese musical instruments

There are many Chinese classical musical instruments still played today. The most popular ones are erhu (Chinese violin), guzheng (Chinese harp), pipa (Chinese guitar), and dizi (Chinese flute). You may even be able to catch a glimpse of an elderly erhu player when traveling to Chinatown.

Watch pipa performance

Chinese music lessons are not widely available in Brisbane, unfortunately. Sometimes you can find lessons advertised on Gumtree, and getting in touch with your local music school can also bring more opportunities.

Join kung fu classes

Kung fu is a term for Chinese martial arts that is differentiated by different schools of fighting styles, such as Shaolin and wushu. Shaolin involves fighting styles that mimic the five animals: the crane, the tiger, the monkey, the snake, and the mantis. If you have watched Kung Fu Panda, you would have seen these five animals and their fighting styles.

Wushu is a modern Chinese martial arts that was founded in China after 1949 to standardise the different fighting styles. A popular international wushu artist is Jet Li. Watch his movies to see what wushu is all about.

If kung fu is too demanding physically, you can try tai chi. Again, you can watch a Hollywood movie starring Keanu Reeves Man of Tai Chi to see what tai chi is like. Tai chi is also known as a form of walking meditation. The focus should not be on the physical movements itself, but on the breathing and the flow of the movements. Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that suits people of all ages. Practising tai chi is also good to improve one's balance, coordination, and flexibility.

School of kung fu and tai chi in Brisbane

Learn Chinese

It is said that language is the body of one's mind. What better way to learn Chinese culture than to learn Chinese language? You can find local tutors or enrol in distance learning. You can also try and organise a language swap with someone who speaks Chinese and is trying to improve their English.
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Why? Find an exciting way to learn more about China
When: Anytime
Where: Around Brisbane
Cost: Prices vary
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