You are on page 1of 1

RACHEL CHAN

H
ERE are the keys to well-
ness practising rites,
music, archery, riding,
reading, writing, and arithme-
tic.
Who came up with this?
Well, none other than Confu-
cius.
Before you dismiss the an-
cient Chinese philosopher, let
Dr Koh Hock Kiat, director of
the Confucius Institute (CI),
convince you otherwise.
Said the 46-year-old: Confu-
cius lived to 73 in an era where
most people didnt live past
their 20s. There must be some-
thing he did right.
Jointly established by Chi-
nas Ministry of Education and
Nanyang Technological Univer-
sity, the aim of the CI is to pro-
vide Singapore with a common
platform for the learning of Chi-
nese language and culture.
It has a wide variety of cours-
es, from conversational Manda-
rin classes to Chinese pop
song-writing workshops and
courses in traditional Chinese
medicine and health cultivation.
Said the soft-spoken Dr Koh:
If you think about it, its weird
to learn the Chinese language
without coming into contact
with the culture, isnt it?
How are the Analects of Confu-
cius related to wellness and
health?
Confucius placed a lot of impor-
tance on leisure activities and ex-
ercise. In his era, one had to
first master the six classic arts
before attaining the three vir-
tues of wisdom, benevolence
and courage.
Confucius used to go swim-
ming and riding, and practised
archery and martial arts with
his disciples. He also had to
write and travel a lot, so you can
imagine how vigorous his life
was.
So, on top of taxing ones
mental faculties, he placed
much importance on physical ac-
tivity as well.
Confucianism is often perceived
as an ancient school of philoso-
phy. How is it relevant to mod-
ern society?
Fundamental to Confucianism
is the idea that there should be
no class distinctions in educa-
tion, and that you can absorb
others perspectives without
changing what is essential to
your own worldview.
Confucius also laid the foun-
dation for social hierarchy. On
top of that, he believed that all
humans are kind by nature, but
that goodness must be nur-
tured.
Today, the essence of his
teachings is still applicable to
the way we live. Its main thrust
is that everyone can be a good
person, if not a gentleman.
How does speaking Mandarin
help one relate better to the
study of Confucianism?
Some feel that they can read the
Analects in English. But
wouldnt you feel weird reading
a Harry Potter novel in Chi-
nese?
A good translation can lead
you to the door of Chinese cul-
ture. But to enter that door and
truly benefit from the original
Chinese classics, you need to
grasp the language a transla-
tion can only be a crutch.
What is your favourite Confu-
cian saying?
Worry not about being misun-
derstood, but about understand-
ing others.
It means that you dont have
to be overly anxious whether
your efforts can be recognised
and accepted by others. As long
as youve done your best, it will
eventually pay off.
rachchan@sph.com.sg
BETTER IN CHINESE: Reading Confucius Analects in Chinese is a richer experience than reading a translation, says Dr Koh Hock Kiat. (PHOTO: JAMIE KOH)
Stay healthy, the Confucian way
Academic Koh Hock Kiat talks about Confucius relevance to wellness in modernsociety
CONTINUING its Yang
Sheng The Chinese Way
to Wellness series of talks,
the Speak Mandarin
Campaign is organising two
events tomorrow.
MORE SOUP FOR
GOOD HEALTH
Physician Kwek Mei Lin
from the Institute of
Chinese Medical Studies
talks about the various
benefits of Chinese herbal
soups.
Conducted in Mandarin
at Ren Hai Clinic,
27 Neil Road
INTRODUCTION
TO WING CHUN
Wing Chun is a form of
close-range martial art
which recently came to
prominence, thanks to the
movie, Ip Man. Mr Chua
Kah Joo, co-founder of the
Wing Chun Kuen Training
Centre, will give a
demonstration-cum-
workshop on Xiao Nian
Tou, a form of training
fundamental to Wing Chun.
Conducted in English,
with key Chinese terms
highlighted, at The
Plaza, National Library,
100 Victoria Street
Registration is required for
both events, and will be on
a first-come-first-served
basis. Please e-mail
info@mandarin.org.sg or
call 6342-4217 to register
or get more information.
OF CHINESE
HERBAL
SOUPS AND
WING CHUN
Rites:
{| l y
Archery:
j} sh y
Arithmetic:
#Z sun sh
Philosopher:
zh xu ji
Analects of Confucius:
j ln y
Wisdom:
zh hu
Benevolence:
rn c
Courage:
yng q
Hierarchy: ]]Q
dng j zh d
Essence:
7[ bn zh
HELPDESK
Platform: )q
zhng gng
Conversational:
{][ hu hu de
HUAYU ALIVE!
Take a journey into the Chinese way of wellness,
in this 13-part series published in conjunction
with the Speak Mandarin Campaign. You can also
view these articles online at www.stomp.com.sg
mind, body and soul with Mandarin
MY PAPER FRIDAY JANUARY 16, 2009
HOME MY NEWS A3