Ted Ed Lessons for Additional Listening Practice (Customs & Culture)

  1. The history of marriage https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-history-of-marriage-alex-gendler#review
  2. The history of Tea https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-history-of-tea-shunan-teng#review
  3. Where do superstitions come from? https://ed.ted.com/lessons/where-do-superstitions-come-from-stuart-vyse#review
  4. Kabuki: The people’s dramatic art https://ed.ted.com/lessons/kabuki-the-people-s-dramatic-art-amanda-mattes#review
  5. The origins of ballet https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-origins-of-ballet-jennifer-tortorello-and-adrienne-westwood#review

Shenzhen village plays host to Hakka descendants – including Jamaican/African Americans | South China Morning Post

Source: https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/10155800196534820/

Read: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/2118971/shenzhen-village-plays-host-hakka-descendents-including-jamaican/african

Although finding her Chinese grandfather was Madison’s primary goal, coming to Luo Shui He connects her with relatives from around the world.

“What my mother experienced was, if you get too far away, you don’t know how to get back. My mother didn’t grow up as part of the Lowe family; my grandfather looked for her for the entire 15 years he was in Jamaica until he returned to China, but he couldn’t find her. I think it’s important that all our family members have the opportunity to come back every once in a while. Come back and know that you’re connected, you’re grounded, you’re not floating alone in the world. You’re not lost.”

She says China cannot ignore this growing multi-ethnic diaspora, which challenges the definition of being Chinese. “You cannot tell me that I am not Chinese and you cannot tell me that I’m not Hakka, because I am,” she says.

“So what do you do, China?” she asks. “You need to welcome us. Welcome us as we come home because we are also products of Chinese culture, civilisation, principles, and we have an allegiance to our Chinese ancestry, our heritage. That’s why I want people to come here, to Luo Shui He.”


  1. How do you define Chinese / Vietnamese / American etc.?
  2. Imagine this: Your grandparents were from Vietnam but migrated to Australia. You do not speak Vietnamese but English, and enjoy Australian pursuits. How do you define yourself?
  3. In a fast changing world where inter-cultural marriages are on the rise, is it necessary to investigate one’s roots? How closely should customs be followed?
  4. Do intercultural marriages have a positive or negative effect on the world?

Centuries of Preserved Shipwrecks Found in the Black Sea | National Geographic

Read here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/black-sea-shipwreck-discovery/

“When the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago, the Black Sea was really the Black Lake,” says Jon Adams, principal investigator on the project and director of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton. As temperatures warmed and sea levels rose, saltwater from the Mediterranean began spilling over a rock formation in the Bosphorus Strait. Suddenly the Black Sea was fed by saltwater as well as freshwater rivers, resulting in two distinct layers of water: an oxygenated upper level with less salt and a lower saltwater level without oxygen. “The oxygen drops to zero below 150 meters, which is ideal for the preservation of organic materials,” Adams said.


  • How important is it to explore the depths of the ocean?
  • Given the limited budget, how can governments balance the need to preserve culture or pursue technological advancements?

The World’s Largest Pyramid Is Hidden Under A Hill | IFLScience


What looked like a giant mound of earth and grass was actually a colossal pyramid. In fact, according to reports, it is the largest monument ever built. Legend has it that the locals covered the monument with soil themselves when they heard about the Spanish invaders sweeping through the Americas.


  • Are there any important archaeological sites in your hometown/city/country?
  • Have there been sites that were recently discovered?
  • Why are they important?
  • Given a choice between spending money on preserving artefacts and increasing the educational standards in a country, which do you think is more important?

Warning Signs Detected For Collapse Of Ancient Populations | IFLScience

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

~ George Santayana, The Life of Reason


As populations grew, Neolithic Europeans started to over-exploit resources. Nomadic peoples faced with the same problems might have moved, but these early agricultural populations were deeply invested in their locations. They responded in ways that might have provided temporary respite, but made things worse in the long run. “Continuing on such unsustainable courses in the face of steady resource decline ultimately leads to catastrophic failure,” Downey and his co-authors write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Along with sharp swings in population numbers, one of the major warning signs of collapse for these European Neolithic societies was deforestation. Considering the astonishing rates at which tropical rainforests are being felled, this is a disturbing indication that our future may reflect the worst aspects of our past. The difference is that this time we have the warning signs if we wish to act on them.


  • Why is history important?
  • Should it be compulsory in all schools?
  • What kind of history should people learn – from their culture, other cultures, etc?

The Chinese through Abbasid eyes | Middle East Eye


The recently translated Accounts of China and India by Abu Zayd al-Sirafi and other chroniclers gives a fascinating insight into the interconnectedness and mobility of the Abbasid era. For today’s readers, removed in time and place, some of the writers’ observations may seem bizarre and implausible. But in most of their akhbār  – credible reports of what they saw and heard –  one can easily recognise modern Indians and Chinese.