Permanent UV ink on canvas, 50cm x 100cm, scroll bound contemporary Chinese style
Visual Work – Sections on Close Up
Chinese character for ‘Learn’ ‘學’. The bottom part of this character is ‘Child’, ‘子’, a child with knowledge on top of his/her head. Please observe the 2 crosses within the top brackets, I picked up this as the symbol for ‘mistake’ / ‘incorrect’ / ‘Wrong’ in the western culture. When you start to learn something new, you often would get it wrong at the start, but then you learn from your mistakes, and to become better and better as you go up the steps. I replaced the 2 crosses in the original Chinese character to ‘circles’, and then to ‘ticks’ at the top!
Chinese character for ‘Write’ ‘寫’
The four dots at the bottom is replaced with ‘A, B, C, D’ in the English Language, to suggest ‘learning to write English’.
Chinese Phonetic System used only in Taiwan
Taiwanese system for spelling Chinese characters phonetically. This is considered the most important thing to remember for a primary school student in Taiwan. This system is only used in Taiwan where traditional Chinese is used; a unique system to spell out a Chinese word accurately. Western Roman system is used in China for their simplified Chinese.
Extract from Yiyi’s notes studying English
“I’ve started reading Julius Caesar today. Other girls in my class have already started it last week. I am so far away behind don’t think it is a good idea for me to read this book because I don’t even understand ‘proper’ English at the moment… As I opened the book, I just got tired because there are so many vocabularies. I didn’t understand them at all. I had to use the dictionary for every two or three words…”
“I continued to read Julius Caesar today. One girl in my class told me that Caesar disappears in the play pretty soon. I was glad to hear that because I wished he would die soon so that the play is going to be finished too, then I wouldn’t have to read it anymore. Everytime when I open the book, I am scared and frightened. I get sick of using the dictionary. I don’t know how many times more I would have to use the dictionary for every new scene, and the play seems to get harder and harder for me to understand.”
Written Documentation: Chapter 3 – Learning English
After what seemed like the happiest time of my life, it was time to go back to school, only this time it was worse because I had little English. At first it was like a Panda trying to talk to a Kiwi bird, with question marks popping up comically. It was frustrating but nevertheless, an interesting period of our lives…
Just before we were allowed to attend regular schools, someone from the Education department actually came to our accommodation to visit us and gave Yiyi and me a little English test. We were asked to write a short story about ourselves in English. All I wrote on my piece of paper was “Joseph”. Yiyi was admitted to the advanced ESL class at Hagley High School, as it was called then, while I studied in the preliminary class. It was already almost the end of the academic year and before I learned any English it was Crafts Week. I chose drawing and Yiyi made a dozen Christmas tree decorations. I spent more time drawing then using my English-Chinese dictionary. Continue reading >>