Growing up as a second generation Chinese, I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to pass our Chinese roots well to my future children. While I have little concerns with my listening skills on the language, my speaking skills have started to go downhill – I’m out of practice.
I remember as a little girl that I would be worried I wouldn’t be able to order dim sum without my parents one day. I couldn’t read the menu. We don’t learn how to read food in Chinese school – a real essential that teachers don’t understand is important to us younger students. I pleaded with my teacher one year to teach us the menu, and to my delight, one day, she brought in photocopies of a hk diner take out menu.
Over time, with great determination, I did pick up on how to read food. At least, I definitely know what all my favorites are.
But there are so many other things still… just, old age wisdom and traditions. I worry that I won’t be able to keep these alive. And I want to.
I think I come from an extremely rich cultural heritage. My dad knows the history of every king, their fate, their wives, their battles. I’ve tried learning Chinese history in university – but it’s not the same. I don’t recognize the names of kings I’ve grown up hearing when their names are in English translations.
Just have to make time to try harder, maybe.
My thoughts go out to Tainan this Chinese New Year. I will pray for them tonight.