The work is represented by a textbook for primary school students, a recording of children reading the textbook and a documentary video in which the children of Kulangsu and I built a playground together.
A textbook or an educational mode is being infused into the deep-rooted memory from the origin of mind and deep heart. By encouraging children to read from the textbook in ivory tower, the roles of teacher and student are reversed challenging traditional power structures and highlighting the lack of concern for children’s well-being. I organized the conversations material from the interview video and made it into a children’s textbook notated with Pinyin; which represents the perspectives of the teacher, administrative committee, parents and tourists in Kulangsu toward the issue of playgrounds for children. The contents of the book are repetitive. The work also includes the documentary video in which children and I build a playground. This is supplemented with the recording of children reading the book. A sound, safe playground is of great importance to children’s growth. Thus, when adults deliver their own point of view toward the recreational facilities, they are completely ignoring the children’s role as the owner.
The shortage of playgrounds for children is an issue nationwide, while the children of Kulangsu experience a unique version of this shortage. Kulangsu is a vacation island; many would consider an amusement park in and of itself. Here local communities and tourist scenic spots are one and the same. There are few recreational facilities for local children, aside from extravagant and often crowded tourist hot spots like the Underwater Seaworld of Science. The government rarely plans strategically from the children’s perspective. Also, some parents can tend to ignore their child’s psychological growth or lack of stimulation caused by a lack of simple, local playgrounds. Having fun comes naturally to a child, and is so important to their social and emotional development. In order to protect children’s growth, public health and society’s development we need to secure more safe activities and convenient venues. This goal requires not only physical facilities but also an update in social values allowing children a place for spiritual freedom.
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The Content of The Book
There are some excerpt words what the different people said. and i collected them to make a textbook for primary school students.
On the way to and back from school, Students would go to Bishan Park, where there are a rockery, swings, and old banyan trees. Students would sit on the tree trunk. We emphasize that students shall not go there because the environment is too noisy for them. Many people think Gulangyu has good environment so that they bring children to study here. The current situation is that increasing migrant workers bring more and more children, leaving little space actually for children to play. Some even said, “The whole island is a children’s playground.” This is never the case. Gulangyu, a former “district”, now becomes a “street”. The government is now in an awkward situation to deal with the problem. Parents are busy for work, which leaves them no time to care about children. And the children have to spend their time on extra-curricular training. Due to all these reasons, there are seldom appeals for the improvement of children’s playground.
Bishan Park would be rebuilt, but might not be an amusement park for children. It is not clearly positioned now. In Gulangyu, there are just a few juveniles. Schools could not admit enough students. We should have some educational and special things to attract people to come. In the community of Gulangyu, we couldn’t say there is no playground for children. As an uninhabited island, Gulangyu is a large park where there are educational places, parks for residents to access for free. The truth is that we don’t have an amusement place for children. Gulangyu is a scenic spot firstly, and then it is a community. We have playgrounds at kindergartens and primary schools, and children can also play at parks and beaches.
Gulangyu is excellent in education, but poorly-equipped in amusement. Although there were some amusement places built by the government, they have disappeared with the development of commercialization. In fact, we didn’t have the concept of playgrounds in our childhood, which is getting worse in your generation. In our childhood, children played in groups and created toys on our own, which is important to children. Nowadays, children play individually. There is no such place for them to play in groups. It’s better for them to play in groups. Commercialization brings many bad influences for Gulangyu, but the residents cannot control this. Only the government can do that. Gulangyu should not be positioned as a tourist area. If it continues, there would be no residents only tourists in Gulangyu which would lose its original intention. Children belong to the future, and it is good to consider about them, but who would make investments for them? Another problem, the guiding thoughts of the officials here was not in the right direction. No one wants to do something practical.
I see little playgrounds here during my visit. There is almost none. Gulangyu is a commercial place, suitable for those petit bourgeoisies. It might be boring for children. I think it is better to build up playgrounds.
The Pleasure Ground of Children
There are some works that children made for their dreamy “Pleasure Ground”.(excerpt)