Friends of the Taiwan Alumni Association Enjoy a Chinese Knotting Workshop in Los Angeles
The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles and the Taiwan Alumni Association (TAA) jointly organize regular workshops to strengthen the bonds between TAA members, and introduce both traditional and modern culture to people in the broader community who are interested in learning more about Taiwan.
More than thirty people took part in the first cultural workshop for 2019, a Chinese knotting workshop held on Saturday March 23. Mrs. Grace C. Wei, a master of this traditional handicraft with more than 20 years of experience, was the teacher. Knots were a form of communication in ancient China and eventually evolved to be used to express good wishes and blessings. The different knotting techniques were passed down through the generations by word of mouth but were almost lost as a side-effect of industrialization and modernization.
The participants included TAA members who have studied in Taiwan on a government scholarship, Dr. Shin Liu, a Cerritos College trustee, and professor at Rio Hondo College, Dr. Cathy Wei, a professor at Pasadena City College, and more than twenty students from Cerritos College and Rio Hondo College, who have already done or signed up to do English teaching internships at public schools in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Tainan, and Hualien County in Taiwan.
Rebecca Lan, the Director of the Education Division at TECO welcomed everyone and thanked Alyssa Johnson, the TAA president, and the TAA members working with TECO to organize events and activities like the knotting workshop. Alyssa then shared some details of her experience studying Chinese in Taiwan after receiving a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. She commended the students who’ll soon be going to Taiwan on their decision to get out of their comfort zone, and she urged them to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the country, where they’ll find friendly people, diverse cultures, and delicious cuisine.
Professor Wei and Professor Liu then both encouraged the interns to take Chinese courses in Taiwan. Rebecca Lan endorsed their suggestion and mentioned two online courses for learning Chinese, each developed with Ministry of Education support: “Learning Chinese: Start from Scratch” and “Who is speaking: the Lovely Taiwan”. The courses are offered on Coursera and will be repeated every six weeks. Learners can register at any time at the following links: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learn-chinese-mandarin and https://www.coursera.org/learn/learn-intermediate-chinese-mandarin.
After their knotting efforts, everyone enjoyed some Taiwanese snacks and refreshments, and Joseph Diaz and Enrique Valencia spoke about the internships they did last fall in Taipei City. They described how they planned lessons and prepared teaching materials and quizzes to help Taiwanese kids to learn English, and some of their wonderful memories of their experiences in Taiwan. You can see some photos of the knotting workshop and the snacks and refreshments, taken by Professor Liu, on the YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvATKpehThA. If you’d like to try Chinese knotting, Lydia Chen’s book "Chinese Knotting", first published in Taiwan in 1981 by Echo Craft Books, and republished many times since, is an excellent place to begin.
Photo:The workshop participants with the Chinese knotting dragonflies they made.