CELEBRATING LIFE WITH JOY IN RUSSIA
One unforgettable event was when Julia took us for a walk through a pedestrian walkway where motor vehicles were prohibited. The shops were bright and elegant, contrasting with a gloomy picture I had from a description of what a student who went to Moscow in the 1980s told me. However, I did not find people smiling, unlike in Malaysia or India.
But I soon found a possible reason when we came to a statue of Pushkin, considered the greatest among Russian poets and founder of modern Russian literature. In a flash of inspiration, I also realised that the first courses organised by Julia and Irene would bring joy to the Russian people.
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was a romantic poet, dedicating many of his love poems to married women. Though he did this before his own marriage, this is not a value we aspire to in our school. We prefer our unmarried men, especially those who have talents, to spend time finding lovely unmarried women, and leave the romantic dimension of married women, reading poetry or otherwise, to their own husbands.
Pushkin deservingly married a beautiful woman, but unfortunately, soon it was rumoured that she had a romantic affair with an army officer. He challenged the officer to a duel. Pushkin who survived in 28 earlier duels was fatally wounded in this one.
“Many people in Russia admired Pushkin,” Julia said.
“That’s understandable. He was a great poet. But he died young. This is not something people should emulate,” I commented.
“Many people seem to love death. They also seem to love melancholy.”
“These are perverted views. In our school, we teach students to love life, their own as well as others’. From our perspective, there is nothing romantic about melancholy. We aspire to live long life, and celebrate life with joy.”
Judging from the increasing number of people in our courses smiled, we felt justified to believe our Shaolin Wahnam arts had helped more people in Russia to celebrate life with joy.
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