Through The Bamboo Window:
Chinese Life & Culture In 1950S Malaya & Singapore
If you are interested in Chinese Festivals, why not read Dr Leon Comber’s “Through the Bamboo Window – Chinese life & culture in 1950s Malaya & Singapore”.
This book is actually a clever compilation of three books all written by Dr Leon Comber in the 1950s. They include Chinese Festivals in Malaya, Chinese Magic & Superstition in Malaya, Chinese Ancestor Worship in Malaya, and Chinese Temples in Singapore. There is also a section on Chinese symbols.
“Through the Bamboo Window” introduces eight of the most important festivals in the Chinese cultural calendar. They include Chinese New Year, Ching Ming, Dragon Boat Festival, Feast of the Seven Sisters, Mid Autumn Festival, Double-Ninth Festival and Winter Solstice.
The author presents the origins and legends behind the festivals which are in many cases unknown to the younger generation of Singaporeans and usually not discussed in most other books on Chinese festivals.
Since Chinese Festivals cannot be read or observed in isolation of the larger Chinese cultural fabric that festivals are part of, the additional volumes give you the background in an easy to read and non technical and non jargon manner.
Although Dr Leon wrote them in the 1950s, these Chinese festivals continued to be celebrated by Chinese all over the world today.
Of course, there are many books on Chinese festivals in the market and one may even ask why read a book that was written half century ago?
The answer is that festivals have all had a long history some even 2000 years old. That means, the reason or story behind the festival remains unchanged but the way in which it is celebrated changes over time and space.
This reason illuminates the interesting facet of Dr Leon’s books. When you read about the significance of the festivals and read about the way the festivals were celebrated as recorded by Dr Leon, you can actually use his book as a starting point to identify the changes that has occurred more than half a century later. You can also see photos of Singapore and temples taken in the 1950s.
For the serious reader, the Chinese characters are provided for Chinese names and festivals.
This book therefore functions as a fieldwork guide as well! How many books in the market can do this?
If you have already read it, we invite you to share with us your comments and thoughts.
More about Dr. Leon Comber