Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

Women’s Day

Sunday, March 29th, 2009


They taught the kids a special song for women’s day. The holiday is a big deal here. All the mothers and grandmothers were invited to school for (another) special open day. After show and tell the kids served us oranges and honey water and thanked us for all we do.

I can’t figure out all of the song’s lyrics but the main part translates as something like: “I have a good mother, She works so hard. Come sit down and let me give you a cup of tea. Come sit and let me give you a kiss. I have a good mother.”

Max knows that it’s my favorite song. (How could it not be?) His strategy is to start singing it whenever I look pissed off.

Teaching Ethics

Sunday, March 29th, 2009


One of the first songs Max learnt in Chinese translates as follows: “Mother, father go to work. I go to kindergarten. I don’t cry. I don’t scream. I say hi to the teacher.” In China this type of overt behavioral propaganda is an intrinsic part of education. Since China is an atheistic culture, morality is fundamentally humanistic. To learn to act ethically, to distinguish good and bad, Chinese children are told ancient parables whose form is exemplified by the story: ‘The older brother gave the younger brother the bigger pear’. However inconceivably to the Western mind, no reason, justification or reward is attached to such model behavior.


Thursday, March 19th, 2009


At a recent class presentation, a large room at Max’s preschool was decorated with pictures of little boys and girls each standing next to a cut and paste version of a Chinese flag. Despite the fact that Max had painted his hair yellow, he joined with the rest of the class singing in Chinese ‘I have black hair, I have black eyes, I am a Chinese baby.’