PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2007, 12:00am

Name: David Yuen Wai-leung

Age: 21

Course: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Chinese

School: Lingnan University

Year of study: Year Three

Duration of programme: Three years

Young Post: What courses have you studied?

Yuen: I've studied ancient Chinese literature, including fiction, and plays during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The programme also covers literary works from the Period of Spring and Autumn and Warring States, contemporary Hong Kong literature, prose and fiction by local writers, and ancient Chinese characters.

YP: What is your favourite literary work?

Y: Peony Pavilion, a play written by Tang Xianzu during the Ming dynasty.

The Kunqu opera is a fantasy love story that revolves around the daughter of a court official, Du Liniang, and a civil service exam candidate, Liu Mengmei.

The pair have never met, but they come together in their dreams.

The story is very unusual for something written in such ancient times.

In secondary school, I only studied extracts from the play.

I read the whole play at university and liked it very much.

YP: Which is the most interesting course?

Y: I really like 'Creative Writing in Chinese'. The professor, a writer himself, shared his experiences with us and taught us how the use of imaginative expressions, such as metaphors, can enhance the effects of our writing.

Our department invites famous writers, both local and overseas, to teach us writing techniques.

Last year, Wang Anyi, author of the famous novel The Everlasting Regret, shared with us her thoughts about writing.

YP: Do you have to do projects?

Y: Yes. Sometimes, we have to analyse literary works and the techniques used by different writers.

Last year, I completed a very interesting project for the course 'Chinese Etymology'. We had to research writing systems used in different states during the Period of Spring and Autumn and Warring States.

I looked up ancient books in libraries and learned how today's characters have evolved from hieroglyphics.

YP: Do you have to memorise passages in literary works?

Y: No. The most important thing is to analyse literary works and understand their meanings.

For example, we were asked to analyse the personalities of the main characters and the geographical locations in the novel Shui Hu Zhuan in an exam.

The story revolved around 108 outlaws from the Song dynasty. We had to support our views with examples from the story.


Applicants should be interested in Chinese literature. They should have obtained a Grade E or above in AL Chinese Literature or Chinese History, or a Grade D or above in AS Chinese Language and Culture.

Career Prospects

Graduates can find managerial jobs in bookstores and cultural institutions. Equipped with good language skills, they can also join media organisations, such as news agencies, magazines, newspapers and TV stations.

Those interested in the creative field can write scripts for plays and movies or even their own books.

Those who would like to join the education profession can take up teaching posts in secondary schools or work as textbook editors.