Ever thought that you will be able to travel back to the 1940s to experience the village life in Teochew your parents or grandparents left behind? Or fancied reading a novel written in Teochew? These are now possible, thanks to the Teochew Culture Club (潮汕文化協進會).
Since earlier this year the group formed by enthusiasts of the Teochew language in Hong Kong has been producing a series of audio-readings of 《作田人瑣事》 (“Trivia Tales of the Peasants”), a novel written by a Teochew, about Teochew and uniquely in Teochew. Based on the personal reminiscences of its author Lim Iong-jue 林永銳, a Teochew who left his home in Thenghai in the mid-1950s and became a teacher in Hainan for 50 years, the books uses seemingly mundane episodes in the lives of a farmer Ga-zau Zeg (虼蚤叔, “Uncle Flea”), his wife and children to bring readers into the environs of a farming community in Republican China. Vividly described family conversations and train-of-thoughts of the different characters, interspersed with traditional Teochew proverbs and folksongs, open also a window into a worldview from not too long ago familiar to our older relations, but perhaps completely foreign to many of us.
The Teochew Culture Club’s audio-readings are presented in video format and uploaded to its channel on YouTube. The readings are made according to the chapters in the book, and each last about 4 to 7 minutes. In every video the corresponding text in Teochew read is shown with corresponding Mandarin translation (with traditional Chinese script). This allows you to listen in to the story and read along at the same time. In the few enriching minutes, you are exposed also to the written form of Teochew, as well as its notable difference from Mandarin.
In total the book has 74 chapters, of which 30 will be published in the initial phase of this project. To date four chapters have already been uploaded and subsequent updates will be made once every one to two weeks.
You may view the opening chapter below:
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