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  • Writer's pictureClara Hsu

Picking Water Chestnuts

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

I first heard the song from a 90 year old woman in a wheelchair. She sang the song in Cantonese that was laced with her particular village intonation. It was about sitting in a little boat picking water chestnuts: The water was shallow. The weather was fine. The evening wind was cool. The tips of the water chestnuts were red and green. The song was easy. Even the fish from the bottom of the pond were listening.

I taught the song to our Jelly Beans Class of 6 & 7 years old. They liked the song and went home and taught their parents. Yesterday we took a walk downtown. And up two escalators to reach the Salesforce's rooftop garden. There we watched performances of beautiful Chinese traditional and modern dances. And when it was time, the Jelly Beans sang the song for the audience. Now this little ancient song is sailing up the skyscraper into the hearts and minds of modern people. I think Grandma, wherever you are now, would be proud.

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