I heard one of the best explanations for why the arts and culture matter at a Cai Qin concert this weekend with Ma Y.
During an interval between singing some old torch songs from the 30/40s Shanghai and moving on to 50/60s Hong Kong, the 50 year-old Taiwanerse singer (of course, it has to be a Taiwanese to speak of culture!) asked the audience if there were days when they felt 全世界都是為年青人而活 (the whole world was living for the young). There was appreciative laughter from the 6000 strong audience, a majority of whom were folks in their middle age or older. She went on to banter about music in the 50s, but again asked the audience if they knew why it was that their children or the young despised them - I think the phrase she had used was closer to "looked down on". Her answer: because the moms and dads had forgotten and did not have their own music. She called on the audience to reclaim some of the space on the CD racks, long colonised by their children - and by extension, reclaim their 文化culture, their own 艺术 arts, their 個性 (personality?).
On our small island that very weekend, an uncle appeared in the papers' Saturday feature on folks who continue to work way past the retirement age - while another passed away. And while the Arts Council here favour youthful noises, there's something else to be said about a music that endures.