Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Power of Symbols in Chinese Tradition and Culture

This was the title for our latest design lecture at PAMSC given by Prof. Teh Kem Jin from NUS. The two-hour long lecture was presented in a interesting and informal manner; discussing the power of symbols in Chinese Tradition and Culture and its relevance to modern society in general and to design in particular.

This was overhead at the after-talk lunch:-
Si Yong: ..(upon hearing that Stephen's new baby is a boy) your first child is a girl?
Stephen: Yes.
Si Yong: that's good. Get it? (writing a Chinese Character with his fork on the paper plate with curry gravy) - first the girl then the boy is the Chinese character for 'good'
Stephen: Oh! (a banana* learns something new as an aftermath to a fruitful lecture) - that means I can close shop.


 *banana - local slang for a person of Asian who is more assimilated into Western culture than Asian -  white inside while yellow outside. 

Some would argue that the word is represents woman with a child but I think credit should be given to Si Yong for his interpretation to suit the situation. We think that the other 50 participants are similarly informed and inspired.

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