A recent Log post by Victor Mair presenting an “amazing video of a Hong Kong high school student reciting a couple of Classical Chinese poems” is great not only for the clip, which is lots of fun — that kid is really into the poetry! — but for the discussion, which has a striking variety of interpretations of what’s going on and why the video has gone viral in China. The South China Morning Post says “While some said they found Leung’s emotionally charged performance entertaining and creative, others said it was an overkill”; Mair asked (at least) seventeen “friends, colleagues, and students” and got seventeen different answers, and the commenters weigh in with plenty more. I myself tend to accept the idea that it’s actually (based on) a traditional, highly dramatic (to modern ears) way of reciting poetry, since I’m familiar with that kind of thing from old recordings of English and Russian poets reciting — a graduate student from Hong Kong writes Mair “I actually heard several Chinese (highly educated) say that 梁同学’s way is probably how the Tang poets recited back then! Unfortunately, people probably have to be really highly-educated to realize that…” — but it’s fascinating to see how differently people approach it. See for yourself (and enjoy the video).
(And if you’re interested in Cantonese, by all means see Mair’s latest post, Is Cantonese a language, or a personification of the devil?)