Chapter 4 – Tertiary Education

buddha-[]We became Buddhists one year after we came to New Zealand. Mom and Yiyi have always been very devoted and Yiyi especially finds the Buddhist chants fascinating. She has been exploring the possibilities of using Buddhist instruments and chants in her musical compositions and has successfully given concerts of her works. Mom and I were involved with performances of one of her compositions entitled “Heart Sutra”, which employed one Chinese choir, one English Christian choir, and several Buddhist instruments. The interaction between the two choirs and the Buddhist instruments was marvelous; it was a night of harmonious mix between the East and the West. Yiyi told us that many of her compositions were inspired by Buddhist philosophies and require special attention and concentration from the performers in order to portray the right mood and sound. It was a great experience for me. I learned not only about the music and working with other people in the choirs, but also I discovered new things about my sister and my religion.


Over the years Yiyi has performed numerous times on many occasions. Apart from her concerts and recitals, she has appeared countless times in the various local Chinese activities and celebrations.

melody1A certain degree of homesickness and the festive nature of the Chinese people are probably reasons why the Chinese in Christchurch like to organize events so that they can gather together. New Year Celebration, Chinese New Year Celebration, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Buddha’s Birthday, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Celebration, keep the new immigrants very busy and happy throughout the year. Yiyi has always been asked to do something on those occasions. People ask her not only to perform for them, but also to translate speeches, or as the mistress of ceremony. Unlike David, myself, and most immigrant children, Yiyi has managed to keep up her Chinese, and her years of experience of performing on the piano has made her naturally the centre of attention whenever she is on the stage.

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