More specifically, Disney songs in Cantonese.
Here are some lyrics from well-known Disney songs in Cantonese. It is very easy for the little ones to sing the English version and let’s face it, I prefer it too as they rhyme. However, as I am forever trying to fly the bilingual flag, every song I sing – including nursery rhymes and lately, well-known Christmas carols, I found the Chinese version and sang them too. If you are trying to do the same thing, I hope this helps.
I will probably update as I go along
Following a recent trip back to Hong Kong, without the kid or hubby (thank you, 身 份 證), I stayed in the family village in Sheung Shui (上水). Every morning I was woken by the soft and penetrating sound of a flute playing Cantopop songs of the 1970s/1980s. It was beautiful and took away the pain of sleeping on a hard mattress that caused either a neck or hip ache, or even one side to go completely numb. I imagine this is something quite a lot of us who are not born or raised in Hong Kong, can relate to.
It struck me how much knowledge I had of old music from my parents’ generation that was generally played on a vinyl record player, or cassette recordings of Hong Kong music shows like 勁歌金曲.
After returning home, I started listening to these songs again on Spotify and instantly felt nostalgic and it transported me to when I was young; listening to my mother sing/hum the songs whilst working on her industrial sized sewing machine, mass sewing blouses for Marks and Spencer. I also remember the distinct smell of the vinyl record that was slotted in a thick cardboard sleeve that usually had some plastic protector around it.
When I grew up, part of learning Chinese included listening to my mother’s records collection (not by choice), along with watching TV series that were either cheesy or incredibly depressing.
Anyway, this post is not about books or reviewing old songs, it is more of a salute to my parents who successfully/unsuccessfully, depending on whose perspective you are looking at it from, kept us learning about Hong Kong culture, Cantonese and what it means to be Chinese, in a society so unfamiliar to them, yet taught us to remain respectful to other cultures (although arguably their opinions of other cultures were controversial).
The next generation of Cantonese speakers will now come in different forms as I suspect second generation Chinese, of which I am one of them, have differing abilities in Cantonese that I wonder the third/fourth generation will have distinct dialects of Cantonese that have morphed from effectively speaking ‘Chinglish’.
Anyway, here’s to a promising 2019 and an acknowledgement to our parents for all their efforts.
If you would like to have a walk down memory lane, or if you’re too young to know, but would like to know what music was like in the 70s/80s, here’s the playlist on Spotify. My favourite is 舊夢不須記
So as you may be aware from my Instagram and Facebook post, I made my own wall calendar/planner/educational thing for my three year old. Aside from a few production mistakes which I have yet to rectify, the planner has been largely successful.
Generally speaking, the planner is really useful as I regularly get asked when something is happening and I struggle with explaining that '[Child's name] is coming for a play date in a few weeks time'. I usually have a response that requires further explanations that no amount of Chinese or English will satisfy. So this has helped.
I am sure a child psychologist can explain why my child has been taught simple weather types in both languages since September last year and has affirmed knowledge in different ways but when asked in whichever language, 'what is the weather today?' it is greeted with a coy ' i don't know'. My response is usually loving, nurturing and encouraging in a scene very idyllic of a parent and child interaction. In actual fact my head is screaming 'you know it, you know it, oh my gosh, you know this!'. But back to the planner, this helps because we can discuss what to wear for the day.
In conclusion, as much as this is home made and I am the creator, it is pretty useful. There are a few parts I would change but it has been in use for over a month now and the little one does refer to it still, so all in all a successful project.
My next one is going to relate to time.
If you are interested in this, please let me know as I am open to selling this (with amendments made).
Things of interest
In my quest for bi-lingual excellence (although I fail quite often), I have found a few resources that may be of interest.