A pile of diaries displayed in front of Ma Huilian in her office [People's Daily]
The personal growth of a grassroots cultural worker in east China's Zhejiang Province and the contents of her 73 diaries have revealed a growing confidence of local people in their own cultural activities in parallel with increasing governmental support towards the sector in the past three decades.
Ma Huilian, 55, who retired recently, had worked in township cultural service stations in the county of Longyou in Quzhou City for 34 years.
Ma was mainly involved in teaching local people songs at the very beginning of her work in September 1984. As she never received any formal training before that, she learned musical notations by herself.
Back then, it was difficult for her to find fellow enthusiasts to jointly produce an artistic performance.
The protection of cultural relics became one of Ma's key tasks when she was transferred to the township of Shifo in 1990. Since then, she often visited local markets, checked the cultural items for sale, and reported suspected clues to relevant authorities.
For instance, she discovered in a market an artifact which later turned out to date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been housed in a local museum.
Recent years there have been more activities written into Ma's diaries, including the bid of local cultural forms into the list of intangible cultural heritage, the rehearsal of self-directed dances, and the performance of traditional dramas. The expectation of local people towards cultural programs has increased and become more diversified.
Meanwhile, heavy investment from local authorities in the construction of cultural service facilities in rural areas has further boosted local people's willingness to improve their professional skills and artistic performance.
During a ceremony held last February in commemoration of the completion of a local cultural service hall, all the 18 artistic programs were presented exclusively by local villagers and received huge applause from their peers.
Ma said in a recent interview that she had a firm belief in the bright future of rural China and would strive for higher achievements in her post-retirement work, since she had seen a strong signal to support the growth of rural regions from the report delivered by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping during the 19th CPC National Congress.
(Source: People's Daily/Translated and edited by Women of China)