However, through the field trip to Sheehan, the sentence has convinced me that this is exactly the description f the ethnic minority people there. They are the catchers in Sheehan. On the 17th of November, we human class took a trip to the China Folk Culture Villages in Sheehan for the purpose of getting to know the current life of ethnic minority people who have immigrated to cities. I was expecting a normal tour as usual, while the trip turned out to be surprisingly fascinating, especially the direct communication part. Not only did we visit the villages there, but also we interviewed the ethnic minority performers personally.
After that, the talk with the Guru hawkers in Futile District has brought me insights to the ethnic minority people’s life as well. Besides, my report will be divided in three parts, the visit part, the interview part and the conclusion. The Visit Part As we arrived at the China Folk Culture Villages, a strong atmosphere of traditional Chinese art burst upon our view. The huge statue of a bull figure at the gate was decorated with traditional Chinese garment, which indicated the start of our trip of Chinese ethnic minority culture.
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The first stop at the Dad Village gave us a view of traditional Dad people’s life. The Dad architecture was mainly bamboo towers. As was located in the Dad Village, the major structure of the bamboo tower was on the second floor. The second floor included the dining room, a kitchen, some bedrooms and storage, where we could have an open view on the platform outside the rooms. According to the spinning machine lying on the platform, the Dad people living in their autonomy area tended to live a self-sufficient life and they were likely to plant their own food.
Decorated on the door, the spring festival couplets were written in Thai language. Apart from it, the statues of elephants indicated that the Dad culture could date back to Thailand. The costume the Dad performer wore was so attractive that I couldn’t help thinking about why the minority people tend to use a variety of colors on their clothes. Take the traditional Dad costume as an example. Black, red, yellow, green and blue filled out the cloth, which brought people a positive and energetic feeling.
I did receive such feeling when I was looking at the costume, so I guess the origin of the colorful traditional clothes might lie in the fact that the people lived in the remote area had more opportunities to get close to the nature. Another conceivable reason might be the color of the nature. Since they were always communicating with nature, they absorbed the color of nature to their costume so as to express their respect and love for nature. On the other hand, I firmly hold the view that the ethnic minority people used the colors to get rid of the feeling of loneliness.
I have paid a visit to Shanghai-La, Yuan and the similar view in the China Folk Culture Villages Just reminded me of my experience. When I was standing in the field of Shanghai-La, I felt a little lonely because I seemed to be the only and one person in the open area. I could communicate to no one but nature. However, the ethnic minority people there had to spend their whole life in the remote and open area so they had to add the light and various colors on their clothes so as to get rid of the loneliness. I didn’t know whether my explanation was true, but I enjoyed the thinking during the trip very much.
Then we crossed the Dong Wind & Rain Bridge to reach the Yea Village. It was a very interesting experience to cross the bridge. I could even imagine the ethnic minority people gathered together on the bridge, seated themselves along the bridge and were elated to chat with each other since the professor told me that he Wind & Rain bridge was used to hold a festival or a gathering. Compared with this bridge, those stone bridges in Ghanaian area, designed by Han people, emphasized more attention on the carving of stone rather than the usage.
Quite different from the stone bridges in Ghanaian, the Wind & Rain Bridge had ceiling, Civilian House, I was a little shocked to the appearance and the structure of the house. It was so similar to the Han architecture. The dining room was in the center of the house, and the cupboards or so was in the nearby kitchen, which was exactly how the objects were organized in the Shipmen house where I lived in my childhood. I could see the cooking on the table with the dim light while the photos were hung on the wall.
According to the comments taught in class, Yea people were divided into many groups such as Yahoo, Honey and Papaya. I also found that the name of Yea was from the kiln, which had the same pronunciation with Yea in Chinese. A stove in the middle of the dining room indicated the cold weather in the place Yea people lived. According to the information I found online, Yea were living primarily in Axing and Yuan where were mainly mountain regions. There was one small Tate in the dining room, indicating the Yea people’s religion for ancestor worship.
Yea people’s religion mainly included nature, totem, ancestor worship and Christianity, which shared a large similarity with the religions of Han people. There’s also a statue in my grandmother’s house, which is used to memorize the past relatives. After that, we went to the Hi Civilian House. Unlike the previous houses or villages, it was an open place which was mainly used to display farm implements and grinders. Judging by the stone grinders, the Hi culture seemed to feed on a variety of crops including corns, rice as well as wheat. There was also a watermill outside the Hi Civilian House along the river.
When I was concentrating myself on the watermill, some crisp noise from the other side of the road caught my attention. The sound was so unique that I thought there must be someone in a special kind of boots walking behind. However, the result didn’t appear to be so. It was a special-designed device located in the stream that ran downwards the hill. The professor said that it was used to drive away the rats in case of their stealing the crops. Just as the Hi people living in Yuan together with the Maxi people, the Maxi Civilian House was organized lose to the Hi Civilian House.
The moment we entered this area was the most exciting part to me because it reminded me of my trip to Yuan province about five years ago. When it came to the topic of Yuan, I always had endless words to express my appreciation for the unique and amazing culture, scenery and folkway there. Although Professor Ma said the wind-bell was from Japanese culture instead of Maxi culture, I still loved the view full of wind-bells with a riot of color. The visitors have written their wishes, pray and blessings on the wooden wind-bells. On the back of the wind-bells, there tended to be Sino-Tibetan figures.
As for the offshoot of Sino- Tibetan, the language used specific pictures to express the meaning of the things around the Maxi people. It was recorded on the board that the culture of wind-bell was originated from the ancient tea route. Flying to the hometown and bringing peace and happiness, the noise was gone with the wind. Then I remembered an anecdote told by one Maxi person, whose name was He Kiang, when I was in Yuan. He Kiang said that the Maxi people had only two surnames that were He and Mum. Mum was the surname of the governors in old times so that only the noblemen could use he Chinese character Mum.
Thus, He was the surname for all the great masses of people. I was then curious about the reason why the Maxi people would choose He as their surname since Mum was quite easy to explain. He Kiang wrote down the the inside Mum can be regarded as a man, then the stroke above the Mum looks like a hat while the square beside the Mum is like basket, which drew the vivid picture of a Maxi farmer, also is the normal civilian. I appreciated the creativity of the Maxi people from this anecdote but also felt depressed for their strong sense of hierarchy.
Across he Maxi civilian house, we entered the Most wooden house. The house was log- fenced with comparatively good performance of protecting insiders from the cold in winter and the hot in summer. Moreover, the structure of the wooden house was similar to the Sheehan, a classical architectural style of Han people in China. The implementation of both of Sheehan and the wooden house comprised of a middle garden surrounded by four houses. As for the Most wooden house, the principal room faced the south and was generally used as the grandma’s room where the oldest woman of the family stayed.
The four houses were all two-storey high, which included approximately six rooms for the members of the family and each daughter had one room for walking marriage. Finally, we went to the ethnic area of Luau Nationality. Since it was a village to display the culture of the nationality, the serious problems brought by the modernization were not reflected at all. There was a simple house covered by straw in the area and inside lay some Purer leaves. As was mentioned in the class, Luau people made a living by planting and selling Purer leaves.
As we walked through the China Folk Culture Villages, we experienced the story as well as the traditional life of the specific ethnic minority people. They did add to the cultural diversity in China greatly. We had great fun in the villages while the real and current life of ethnic minority people were hidden. Thus, in the next part, I would like to write about the interview with the ethnic minority performers and two Guru people in Sheehan. The Interview Part During our visit in the China Folk Culture Villages, we interviewed three groups of ethnic minority people.
They worked as the regular performers in the China Folk Culture Villages, representing their nationality. However, due to the limited cost of villages, some of them had to perform the dance of other ethnic minority groups. The first group was two Yea people who were an elder sister and her younger brother. They introduced their traditions including the dance with long drums the singing competition that was held once every 18 years. They also introduced the immigration situation that there were over 60 Yea people had settled down abroad.
As for the change of life in their hometown, they said that most young Yea people no longer lived in the traditional houses, buildings organized in rows, while some old t is with the traditional costumes. The old people had no passion for the fashion and lived a self-sufficient life in the mountain area so they still wore the traditional costume. In contrast, young Yea people were free to dress the convenient and fashionable clothes. Then they talked about their current life. The siblings wouldn’t go back to their hometown because they had to do the performance for the visitors in Sheehan so they Just took the annual holiday.
Compared with the workers in Shanghai, my hometown, the siblings shared the similarly hard life with them. They loud rather sacrifice their time with the parents than enjoy the luxury holiday life in city. Although they were still young as us, they had already taken the burden of making money and supporting their family. I am also staying in a city far away from my hometown, but I’m still living on my parents and I only have to study in HOOK, not to work. I wonder what impact would such lonely experience leave on them. In my humble opinion, they are likely to become more mature than us in dealing with the hardship in reality.
However, in some aspects they may be simpler than us. For example, they are more unsophisticated when they are dealing with people in life. The younger brother said he was really confused when he saw some the disabled beggars on the overpass. He wanted to help them but he wasn’t sure whether they were Just cheaters. He added that he had little communication with the citizens due to the nature of his Job. I think this is a common problem for the ethnic minority people working in cities. The confusion may mainly result from the simple society in their hometown. In the mountain area, they deal with only the natural objects.
Trees, crops and animals have kept them company for over ten years. The neighbor relationships are harmonious and simple and everybody is likely to know all the other villagers. As a result, ethnic minority people lack the experience in handling such complex situation. Apart from it, the simple environment in mountain areas may leave an influence on the ethnic minority people that they are more benevolent and pure. Their characteristics make it difficult for them to survive in the complicated city. The second group of ethnic minority people was several girls.
They also chose to stay in work during the Spring Festivals. They said that they would go shopping with other girls when they had spare time. It was quite glad to hear that they would go with the girls from city because both they themselves and the city girls wouldn’t care anything about the nationality. I’m really happy to know that they have friends in cities because this will give them more opportunities to communicate as well as to know about the city as well as the citizens. And they won’t feel lonely then. The third group of people is actually one optimistic man from Yuan.
He was a Maxi person who has worked in Sheehan for about ten years. So talkative was he that he not only told us about his life in city but also his past life in his hometown. The better economic situation in city absorbed him here. His performer life replaced arable farming and hunting. He also mentioned that he used to plant bananas and Purer leaf in Yuan. He said everything was going on well in Sheehan except the fact that he was not used to the life here because of the lack of salt in the food. The optimistic feeling he delivered when he talked really convinced me that he was living an enjoyable life in Sheehan.
Besides, it seems that one essential reason why ethnic minority people leave their hometown and work hard in the city is the higher salary they can earn. One hawker laid a cart that was used to store the local snacks from Gaining. He had been worked in Sheehan for seven years. He complained that his snacks sold better in weekdays because lots of Sheehan citizens would go out for a trip at weekends. As for the income, he mentioned that he could earn about 10 thousand Yuan monthly. He also mentioned that the expense of home charge was about 2 thousand and 8 hundred Yuan and he didn’t need to pay for the mains.
It was said that his fellow countrymen would go to Guanos, Asian and Human for work. He reminded me of such hawkers in Shanghai. My parents used to tell me to get away from Guru hawkers because they usually got into a group and it would be dangerous if I contacted one snacks seller. Besides, it seemed lots of pickpocket were from Gaining. Thus, in the past years in Shanghai, I haven’t talked with Guru people for even one time. However, I was astonished when I talked with this Guru hawker in Sheehan. He was so kind and tame that I didn’t believe he would do the evil things as my parents told me.
I think this anecdote did reflect our incorrect view on Guru people. We are used to identifying them as the unkind people but it’s not fair or erect at all. They Just wanted to make a living in the city so that they can support their family in hometown. They already suffer from the discrimination when applying for a Job because of their religion so we should never give the cold shoulder on them. An approach of communication during a sale is a good and easy way to break the ice. The other Guru person ran a barbecue place nearby. He had been worked in Sheehan for six years.
He mentioned the tough problems he had to deal with when he Just arrived here. He couldn’t find a store place to start up his barbecue business during his first year in Sheehan. Fortunately, things got better and he didn’t have such problems now. He said that lots of his countrymen would gather together and celebrated the traditional holidays in Gaining. They sang and danced and had a good time. At the end of our interview, his little son came to his shop. It could be seen obviously that he loved his son very much and it was a warm family.
I found an interesting thing during our conversation with the Guru people. They could speak Chinese but not so well. If I spoke a little faster, they felt very hard to follow me, so I asked them how they learnt the language. They both said that they didn’t know Chinese at all when they first came to Sheehan. Even a single word could be difficult for him to get clear. Then they paid great efforts to learn Chinese so as to survive in the city. I was quite touched when hearing this because they were always trying their best to get involved in the city life. On the other hand, we did nothing to adopt them.
The Guru hawker said that he did his business in Futile District because they were not allowed to set the cart in the other area in the city. For the whole Sheehan city, they had only the small area in the district where ethnic minority people gather to cake a living. How pathetic! So flourishing and large Sheehan is but no place else could adopt them! I think there do exist lots of things left to the government for improving the ethnic minority people in cities. The above part is my interview with the ethnic minority people. Apart from it, I also asked my prepared questions.
The first question was how they got access to education in their childhood. The Yea siblings said they didn’t come to Sheehan until they finished their high school study. The education resources are not rare in their hometown, but there is still little nettings in his high school but due to the lack of money he couldn’t enter Art College. As a result, he is now working in the China Folk Culture Villages. The Maxi young man said that he was lucky to attend the university of tourism. He studied the ethnic minority culture there so he finally decided to work in this China Folk Culture Villages.
Besides, he is now studying the traditional culture of Maxi so as to present better to the visitors in the villages. He also mentioned another reason that he was very willing to get educated because he wanted to go to the cities; he wanted to see whether the outer world was the same as the one he has imagined for years. I think lots of young ethnic minority people have the eagerness to reach the outer world and to try something fresh to them. They would like to earn money in cities and to improve the living standard in their hometown. However, the location of their hometown and the lack of resources have gasped them from the cities.
Education seems to be the best way to link the ethnic minority people with the citizens. We should also promote the education in the places lacking such resources. Currently, there are more and more young people offering assistance to improve the schooling n backward areas. I quite agree with the practice but I think there’s a lot to improve. For example, as is told by the younger brother whose nationality is Yea, some schools in their hometown have exchange tours with the schools in some cities but they never contact each other after the exchange.
I think so it is with the assistance to improve the schooling in backward areas. The children lose contact with the teachers as soon as the teachers leave the school. It’s so hard for the teachers to keep in touch with the children in the mountain area due to a variety of reasons such as the fisticuff in transportation of the mails or the lack of online communication resources. The second question is whether the ethnic minority workers are going to stay in Sheehan for a lifelong time. As for this question, all of the people I have interviewed first expressed their strong feeling of missing home.
Although they all claimed to have been used to the life in the city, they mentioned the food that were greatly different from that in hometown. I think this answer have implied their inadvisability to some extent. As they talked more about this question, they gradually aid that they would return to their hometown years later. Their parents are still in the mountain area and it seems extremely difficult for them to move into the city since the old people have little capability of make a living, which to some degree stimulates the young ethnic minority people to move back to their hometown.
Although they said that they wouldn’t mind the nationality of their conceivable mate in the future, they were more likely to marry the people with the same nationality. I reach the conclusion because of some reasons. Firstly, they can speak the same language apart from Chinese. For instance, the siblings used to speak Yea language. Secondly, the people with the same nationality can solve the problem of raising the old people more easily. The two families could support each other in many aspects.
Last but not least, the money they earn in the city now is still limited, which I think is a barrier for them to survive in the city foe a lifelong time. They haven’t got the healthcare insurance or the public accumulation fund for housing construction yet, which makes it harder for them to live a normal citizen life. All in all, the impressive field trip to Sheehan really inspired me in many problems bout the current life of ethnic minority people that I have never come up with before. The insights are so unique that I would like to study further in these aspects.
As for the conclusion, I want to summarize some of the points I have mentioned in the above part as well as give out some of my suggestions. First and foremost, there’s a conflict between whether to apply modernization to the ethnic minority culture or not. As has been told by the people we interviewed, only the old people in their hometown are still living in the traditional houses and wearing the traditional costumes. Does it mean that the moment when the current young people become old, there will be no traditional culture of the ethnic minority people at all?
The modernization can definitely raise the living standard as well as improve the ethnic minority people’s life but it will also help vanish the old things. In my humble opinion, we can improve the situation by changing the way we promote the culture. As for the appeal for the ethnic minority culture, the protection and spread need more innovation. The China Folk Culture Villages have already been a creative way of presenting the unique traditions of different nationalities. However, there’s still a lack of interaction as well as further thoughts into the culture.
What exhibits in the villages is mainly the visual heritage of the culture. Lots of anecdotes told by the performers are much more interesting than the instructions on the display board. The Maxi performer has said that he loved his culture and was willing to spread the traditional culture of Maxi people to the outer world. As can be seen, we can explore new ways of promotion. The protection and spread of the ethnic minority culture need more innovation not only in the culture villages but also in the range of society. Secondly, the ethnic minority people have difficulty in their involvement in the city.
They face the problems of language, vacation and contacts with citizens. Although they have entered the cities and have worked in the cities, they tend to stay in the group of people with the same nationality. It’s not because of their preference but the reality. The Maxi performer mentioned that he felt depressed sometimes because of the missing of home and the loneliness in Sheehan, but every time he was sad, he would think of the life in his hometown. He said that the village in his hometown as proud of him for his spreading the ethnic minority culture.
In order to solve the problem of alienation, one suggestion is that maybe we should not divide them apart on purpose. Some policies is claimed to benefit the ethnic minority people but somehow they clarify them apart to some extent. They should have the right to share the similar or the same healthcare resources and education resources. As for the education, there should be something that can last for a lifelong time or even a circular form. The exchange programs with the schools in the remote ethnic areas doodads need a lot of improvements.
As is said by Professor Ma, the reality of the ethnic minority people in Sheehan is not as good as they’ve said. Although they all claim to have a good life in Sheehan, lots of potential problems need our attention. They stay in a marginal position in the city. The valuable work they offer haven’t people. They provide the citizens with the insights into the ethnic culture; they offer the convenience of life; they keep trying to get involved into the city and the modernized life; but there’s little payback. The outer world do need to offer them a better environment.