Bilingual Children’s Poems was launched in October at Changsha in the Hunan province of China and her most recent compilation is now available in Auckland.
SHARED VALUES: Song Lam reads a traditional Chinese poem from her new book to Point View Primary pupil Ian Choi, 8, who is learning Cantonese. Times photo Wayne Martin.
Ms Lam has written numerous bi-lingual books since moving to New Zealand in the early 1990s.
“I wanted to change my writing ambition so I chose meaningful Chinese children’s poems to translate into English,” says Ms Lam.
“Lots of them are well-written and are suitable to teach children morals such as valuing their time, respecting elders and parents, and to work hard.”
The 26 traditional Chinese poems are relevant to today’s children from all cultures as well as young Chinese immigrants.
“We believe if you work hard when you’re young then you’ll get what you want when you’re older. That’s our custom or traditional thinking.
“Kiwi children want to be sporty and have more relaxed play during the weekend. That’s a good idea but
keeping a balance is the most important thing.”
The flipside of the book contains 200 original Chinese hanpai works by Ms Lam, who lives in Howick.
This modern style of poetry is limited to 17 Chinese characters in three lines. It’s very popular in Hunan and her Chinese publisher has been very supportive.
“I’m the first one in New Zealand to write this and promote hanpai poems,” she says.
The New Zealand Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust provided financial
support for the book, which is recognised as a valuable resource for bilingual children.
Song Lam’s commitment to the Chinese and New Zealand communities was recognised when she
was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public services in the 2006 New Year Honours.