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A documentary retelling the 400-year history of the Teochew Opera - the finest representation of Teochew performing arts. This production is worthwhile watching not only because of its subject, but also because it is the fruit of the personal efforts of a young Teochew, Tan Tek Meng 陳迪鳴 to keep alive a tradition close to the heart of himself and his people.
It was the Christmas Eve in 2010, Xuyin Wu was absorbed in a play about the birth of Jesus at a church in Shantou, performed by a group of children.
“Life went completely different when I was a child,” she said, keeping her eyes glued to the children.
58-year-old Wu lives alone on the allowance from the government, which is 225 yuan ($35) per month. Her one-room apartment costs about 80 yuan monthly. It is tidy with four whitewashed walls, a washroom, a bed, and some cooking utensils.
“It is the best house I have ever lived in my life,” she said with a big smile, kept rubbing the middle finger of her right hand.
No storefront, but only a handcart, two gas cylinders, eight wooden tables and some plastic chairs. That’s all they have to earn a living.
The owner of all these “treasures” is an old couple, 60-year-old Chen Shilong, and his 56-year-old wife Zheng Zhu. They sell rice noodles at a road intersection, opposite the Zhongshan Park in Jinping District in Shantou.
The couple came to Shantou with their children 20 years ago from the countryside of Jieyang...
With a hand slickly pressing the strings and the other drawing the bow, 84-year-old Li Xuewen was playing erhu, humming a tone to himself.
Li was a teacher and then a principal at schools in Jieyang, a city neighboring Shantou, for several decades.After retiring in 1985,he began to teach himself play several music instrument including, and gave children in his village music lessons for free.
In 2004 , with the support of Seniors’ Association in Li’s village, he set up a local music training session, teaching the children basic music knowledge and how to play music instruments.
A special series of articles about ordinary people living in Swatow, written by students from Shantou University (STU) Cheung Kong School of Journalism
by Lv Shanshan
Bustling with traffic and pedestrians, Little Park, an older district of Shantou, was busy as usual on a recent winter day. “Drawing, Photography, Video”—A red signboard stood on the first floor of Wang Yulong’s shop. Starting as a self-taught painter, then a sent-down youth, a photographer and a business owner, Wang’s life path had been closely linked with China’s rapid changes....
The flames for the 2016 Rio Olympics have been lit. Over the coming days many of us will be cheering for athletes representing the respective countries we live in and our personal favourite sports stars. While doing so do keep an eye out also for a handful of fellow Teochews competing!
Visiting the Teochew region in China to “re-discover” one’s roots has become increasingly popular in recent years amongst overseas Teochews. Quite reasonably we arrive expecting our ancestral heritage to be perfectly preserved in motherland, only to find that the Teochews here no longer call the place Teochew, but Teo-Swa (潮汕, in Mandarin: Chaoshan) and themselves Teo-Swa Nang (潮汕人, Chaoshan-ren). Baffled, if not also shocked, we question how can this be?
Some of us would have heard at least a couple of pieces by popular Teochew rap group AFinger. Now how about Teochew rock music! “Small Town Teochew" 《小城潮汕》 by Teng Hiok Seng 湯旭昇. (Click Read More for full lyrics)
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.
Ng Chia Keng (黃正經, a play on the expression 唔正經 m-tsia-geng, meaning “improper”) was a household name amongst the Teochew communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong from the 1940s to the early 1980s. Several times a week adults and even children glued themselves to their radio sets at homes and in workplaces to listen to the broadcast of his speeches. But the man whose real name was Ng Yong Khern (黄庸根) was neither a political figure nor a wealthy community leader. He was a storyteller.. (more)
A MAN had a wife who berated him because he did not earn enough to support her and her boy. She told him that, if he could not get work near home, he might better go far away and stay there until he could provide for his family. So he went abroad, seeking employment, but he found nothing to do, and was so homesick that he soon returned to his native village. Fearing the taunts of his wife when she should know that he had no money, he lingered outside his house, and there he overheard a conversation between her and her son,... (more)
A film about a man discovering the inner secrets in father's heart as his old watch repair shop faces eviction. Language: Teochew, with Chinese and English subtitles
This week The Teochew Store reviews Spoken Swatow, a Teochew language textbook for English-speakers by Alvin and Barbara Koons that is again on the shelves after its first publication 49 years ago.
"It is our hope, as it is with most linguists, these volumes will inspire younger generations to not only appreciate their language inheritance, but be the impetus for continued upgrading of the language learning process."
- Dr. Alvin D. and Mrs Barbara A. Koons
The traditional Teochew rice dumpling is called the zanggiu ("dumpling ball"). It is unique as it comes in three types of taste: salty, sweet and sangpeng, that is a combination of both salty and sweet.
In Swatow there is a stall that has been selling its rice dumplings since the 1920s. Known as the Lao Ma Geng Zanggiu, after a nearby old temple, the stall is a household-name in Swatow. This week we bring to you a video showing how its rice-dumplings are made (read more for steps and list of ingredients)
Though the Teochew region is less famous as a tea producer, its inhabitants hold the reputation of consuming more tea per capita than anywhere else in China. According to a local news report in 2006, residents in Swatow alone spent 720 million yuan (approximately US$110 million) on tea every year, while a typical household used up more than one kilogram of tea leaves every month. The Teochew perception of tea as a daily staple is reflected in its language, wherein tea leaves are called te-bi (茶米) and tea is not said to be drank, but eaten ziah-te (食茶). Thus the reported amount of tea consumed did not surprise many, though how this feat was achieved by the use of the tinniest of tea-cups does amaze!
A lively song by popular Teochew female singer Mona Zhang 张梦弘. MV is shot in her hometown Pholeng 普宁. Click "read more" for full lyrics.
For some of us, childhood came with the blessing of having grandma singing us to sleep with one or two soothing tunes in Teochew. But even if you were not so fortunate, you'd probably still have come across on social media an all-time favourite Teochew lullaby "Ong ah ong, ong kin kong" (唪啊唪 唪金公).
You have not? Don't worry, there are several versions circulating on YouTube to make sure you don't miss out..
If we could foresee the dark clouds in life, what would we do differently for the sake of ourselves, or for our children? For those of us who have weathered the worst tempests, we know that this is only a hypothetical question.
When Teochew-born photographer Hang Tsi-kuang (Han Zhiguang 韓志光) capture the stunning picture of a lone man walking by the sea with dark clouds gathering like mountains in the background in 1951, he could not have imagined the turmoil that would ravage the whole of China for the next three decades.
"Jubilation" would hardly seem like the correct word to describe the mood of the masses when Mao Zedong's Red Army marched into the Teochew region in 1949. After all the Teochews are a people known above all for their business acumen and the chief port Swatow was China's shining model of capitalistic and modern progress in the 1930s.
Yet beaming jubilation was the very emotion shown on many faces captured by the camera of photographer Hang Tsi-kuang in the historical year of liberation. Gripped by intense fear for their livelihood as the value of the money in their pockets plummeted each day under the Kuomintang government, hope was all the common people looked for. In their eyes the triumphant entry of the communists was not the takeover of a peasant army, but about them becoming part of an army of peasants to change the world order
Through the Eye of a Master Photographer (I) - 15 Vivid Images of Life around the Teochew Region in 1948
The demise of old art forms following the appearance of new technology is now an all familiar story. However when a Hong Kong company made a novel experiment to produce the classical Teochew opera play “Fire at the Riverside Pavilion”《火燒臨江樓》in cinematic form in 1958, the magic of the silver screen instantly ignited the imagination of audiences in Swatow, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
“Yeo Bhue Eng"《杨梅英》is a film about the life of a former Teochew opera adolescent actress who performed by the same name (real name Ang Hui Eng 洪惠英). Sold to an opera troupe at the age of 7, she became famous by 15 and was married to a man she loved five years later. However when she was 37, her husband became a victim of the Cultural Revolution and she was left to bring up their five children alone.
Teochew opera is said to have over 1200 traditional plays that fall into two broad categories - those adapted from the 12th century nanxi 南戲 from Southeast China as well as chuanqi 傳奇, and others derived popular local lores including romance tales and ghost stories... The most dramatic episodes however were the ones played out behind the scenes that were summed up by this Qing Qianlong era (1736 to 1796) saying: