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Family Cultural Activities Thriving

Year:1991 Issue:1

Column: CHINA


Release Date:1991-01-20

Page: 18-20

Full Text:  

In Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis, family culture has a strong vitality.

The year 1989 marked the beginning of family culture in Shanghai. More than 7,000 family cultural activities took place during the year, with participants totalling more than 1 million, from four-year-olds to seniors. The 1989 First Family Culture Festival in Shanghai, the first of its kind in China, pushed the “family culture fever” to a climax.

Besides singing and dancing, family cultural activities in Shanghai were varied, including family-based calligraphy, photography, potted plants and scenery, arts and crafts exhibition, cooking, tailoring, knitting and interior decoration. The stamp show and bird competition sponsored by the Changning District were very unique, while residents from Chuansha County and Hongkou District were innovative enough to start the “Happy Sunday” designing competition. Some of them even held family performances on their own balconies. The “Family Singing Competition” in Putuo District was equally attractive.

With the advantages of self-entertainment and extensive participation, nearly everybody can find an opportunity to enjoy themselves. So after some guidance and organization, the activities will soon be developed on a larger scale.

Statistics show that about50 percent of the families in Luwan District participated in various family activities. More than 10,000 families entered competitions of different types, which also drew at least 145,000 spectators. In Yangpu District, which has the largest population, 250,000 people from 60,000 families participated in various activities. In regard to age formation of the participants in an art exhibition last September in Jingan District, which pooled 379 exhibits, the youngest was four years old while the oldest 83. According to a survey of 100 families in the district, nearly everybody expressed their appreciation of and interest in these activities.

Colourful Contents

Family cultural activities aim at improving people’s lives.

In Huangpu District housewives are invited to share their cooking experience so as to learn the most scientific methods. At the “best homemaker” competition, held last September in Jingan District, participants were required to bring forth exhibits made of ordinary and inexpensive materials in order to encourage the frugal spirit. Visitors showed special interest in a sweater made from more than 10 kinds of short knitting wool and a skirt made from 58 pieces of cloth.

Shanghai people pay much attention to the interior decorations of their houses, so exhibitions of imaginative designs usually attract many people. The home-made arts and crafts exhibition sponsored by Luwan District gathered paper straw hats, ashtrays made from ring-pulls and bamboo carvings.

Xu Shenwen arranged his balcony near the People’s Square with various plants, potted sceneries and goldfish in glass containers. He said that he retired more than 10 years ago because of poor health and that raising plants gives him much pleasure. It was also good for his recuperation.

People in Shanghai have abroad choice of hobbies like raising plants, collecting stamps and cooking topping the list. Organizers of family cultural activities have paid great attention to encouraging these hobbies so that more families will be involved in these activities to constantly improve their daily lives. The Tianshan neighbourhood committee in Changning District has selected 90 families for their achievements in painting, photography, stamp collecting, plant nursery, carving and knitting. Certificates are put up in front of their houses so that other people can come and visit. Hu Renpu has practiced root carving for more than 30 years. More than 400 pieces of sculptures are displayed in his living-room.

A Rich Life

With its unique suitability to all kinds of families and lively forms, family cultural activities are gradually changing the spiritual outlook of the families and the society at large.

It was discovered, through a survey conducted by the women’s federation of the Changning District, that mahjong fever had already caused a lot of family disputes and divorce. So while actively banning the gambling, the district also gave guidance through family cultural activities. The results have been good.

Qigong and senior’s disco courses have been set up in Huangpu District to lure the retirees from the gambling tables. The family singing competition has attracted thousands of families, including families of four generations.

Many people live in independent houses at Qingyun Street in Zhabei District and do not have much social life. In order to promote communication, household appliances repair groups, family education consulting groups and family service groups have been set up among the neighbours so that they can help each other. As a result, there is a friendlier atmosphere among neighbours.

Developing Intelligence

Family cultural activities have also developed people’s intelligence and skills.

According to a survey conducted in Nanhui County, children from families actively involved in cultural activities develop a better moral character and intelligence. Another survey of 30 families in Putuo District shows that 20 percent of children from families actively involved in cultural activities perform outstandingly at school and 25 percent have learned some specialties. They have won great respect from heir teachers and classmates. Zhu Yijun, 10, who has won the second prize in the Meilan Cup national children’s competition of painting and calligraphy, receives great influence and help from her father. When Li Juxian and his wife performed dancing at the Shanghai Cup Family Entertainment Competition, their son played a flute to accompany them. To their surprise, their son’s performance won the appreciation of Lu Chunling, the “master of flute,” who accepted him as a student. Wu Hongbao and his family is another example of success. Wu is known as a “worker musician” as a result of his excellent performance at the Casio Family Singing Competition. His daughter also became famous for her beautiful voice.

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Two families race during a family sports meet in Shanghai. XINHUA

Two families race during a family sports meet in Shanghai. XINHUA

A family’s acrobatic performance in Shanghai. XINHUA

A family’s acrobatic performance in Shanghai. XINHUA

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