Five-fold Happiness uncovers important values and concepts which are vital to understanding Chinese culture and contexts. The concepts fu, lu, shou, xi, cai or luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth are deeply woven into language, architecture, literature throughout thousands of years of history. These values and beliefs have had a lasting impression and are still relevant in contemporary life today. Understanding these concepts give insight to beliefs and behaviours engaging with Chinese audiences.
When author Vivien Sung returned to Australia after a trip overseas she brought back o’clock as a gift to her mother. Her mother seemed apprehensive about accepting it, and then suggested she give it to another friend.
Her response left Vivien puzzled. When she pressed further, her mother replied she simply had no use for another timepiece in the house. And then, as an afterthought, she added that for some Chinese sending a clock as a gift is considered an omen of death.
As the happens, the word ‘clock’, zhong, is phonetically identical to the word ‘end’, and combining it with the word ‘to send’, song, creates the phrase ‘to send one to ones end.’ It suddenly dawned on the Vivien that there were many things Chinese she did not understand. This stimulated her interested in exploring and deciphering the rich signs, symbols, and superstitions which are inherent in her Chinese heritage.
Since then, Vivien has been passionate about bridging the gap between East and West and deepening the China-Australia relationship.
First-generation Australian Vivien Sung slips easily between Eastern and Western cultures. She fuses together her Eastern heritage and roots with the Western perspectives, upbringing and aesthetics. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia by parents from Shanghai, China, she took her first trip to Asia at age five to see her grandparents. She returned to China later to study Mandarin at Beijing Normal University. She has lived in five cities – Sydney, London, New York, Beijing and San Francisco. Five-fold Happiness is her first book available as an ebook.