By syw on Jan 17, 2008
Walk into a park anytime on a good day, you find many active Beijingers. Starting at daybreak, exercising crowd group themselves by activities: folk dancers, martial arts, muscle trainers, Badminton, etc. Afternoon will have duelers attempt their kills on one of those cement ping-pong tables. Of course you will also find dog walkers, baby strollers, or simply people chit-chatting their hearts out loudly enough for you to join in. Evenings are for people dancing waltz, tango, swing, and cha-cha too.
That sunny day I walked into the famous BeiHai park. Live singing distracted my examination on historical relics. I searched the source and found a crowd gathered around this lady, in her early 60s. She had this portable amp on the ground and clicked on a microphone Madonna-style. She sang, danced, acted, and worked her audience. They rewarded her with applauses song after song. Wow, live street performance by true amateurs. What a sight.
Then I realized what I just stepped on.
Several elderlies have been writing on the ground. Their grand-kids will take the long brush, run to a bucket nearby, soak it up with water, and run back to them. They will then write on the ground until the brush is dry. At that moment, a nod will send the grandkid happily for another dipping trip.
What a sight. These are just like side-walk chalk arts but will disappear in minutes. The artists enjoy doing a lot more than being appreciated by speculators. I walked up to the elderly artist, "Sir, these are very good works. You have been practicing long?" "No, just for about 15 years or so after I retired." "I think they are very good. Why don't you do it with ink and paper?" "No, no. These are not good enough to waste paper and ink yet. Beside, this is good exercise for me. Good for my Qi."