Double 11th Day

Double 11th Day (the 11th of November), more widely known as Chinese Singles’ Day, was invented by some young Chinese college students in the early 90s, who were singles longing for love and affection to end their bachelor’s (pun. single/degree) life before their graduation. However, it has now been switched to the commercial side of it – shopping. More and more businesses have started their marketising of the Day as an important occasion of selling their products and service.

Queen’s alumnus, LU Yi (卢艺), BSc in Accounting (2011-2014), has shared his thoughts on the changing phenomenon of the Double 11th Day celebrations

What I feel about this day is that actually it is not just one day of crazy selling and buying. It’s a season which has started as early as the beginning of November when one could feel the air of massive advertising and promotion. People have already started placing orders in order to secure the Double 11th Day discounts and pay in full by that day.

However, I think that the original sense of celebrating the Double 11th Day has received less attention, probably because nowadays young people start to fall in love earlier than people did in the past. In addition, I think it also reflects the changing social attitude towards those who choose to remain single, from being opposing to becoming tolerant and accepting. More and more young people would agree with the social phenomenon that being alone is their freedom, a decision they want to make for themselves rather than following traditional family value and surrendering to social pressure.

So, how did LU Yi spend his Double 11th Day this year?

The timer LU Yi set for remembering the phenomenal moment

Well, haha, I’ve got married at the beginning of this year so I’m no longer a bachelor – no need to celebrate. But I did place a couple of orders to buy something useful – a pair of trainers for badminton play, a down jacket to keep me warm during winter, and a set of earphones, altogether having a discount of 20%. That’s it.

All images belong to LU Yi.

Related reading

Queen’s Chinese alumni, what did you buy for Double 11th Day? And Chinese students at Queen’s, what are you going to order for the Black Friday and Christmas shopping overall? Tell us by leaving your comments below!

Volunteering for wellbeing

Starting from October 30th on, the whole country has officially entered its wintertime. Have you started to feel depression and loneliness because of the early darkness, wet weather and fast-approaching assignment deadlines? Have you ever wondered how long this awful wintertime will actually last before you can regain your peace of mind?

We are pleased to welcome Sun Xingge (孙邢格), MSc candidate in Advanced Professional and Clinical Practice from School of Nursing and Midwifery, to share her fresh experience of joining the Student Union’s (学生会 xuéshēnghuì) Volunteering (志愿行动 zhìyuàn xíngdòng) and Wellbeing (安康 ānkāng) Fair hosted on Wednesday 2nd November.

It’s been amazing that Queen’s Student Union hosted this Volunteering and Wellbeing Fair at this time of the year as it sets a goal to make us aware of the importance of taking care of ourselves and others. From 12pm to 4pm at the Mandela Hall, One Elmwood, I took part in wellbeing activities like dog petting, crafting, DJ taster session, yoga and more, which was lots of fun and a fantastic feel-good experience.

But it’s about more than just having fun. As a Nursing student I’m keen to meet a range of not-for-profit organisations (非盈利组织 fēi yínglì zǔzhī) to find out about the opportunities available to me, to meet new friends, to discover new interests, to build my confidence, all through participating in volunteering. I believe that this could help me gain invaluable experience for my life and my future career. For example, I had a chance to join the simulation game of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR, 心肺复苏 xīnfèi fùsū), which has updated me with the key steps of undertaking CPR.

Flowerpot design

Among the many activities, I particularly enjoyed the flowerpot designing activity, as I had the luxury of choosing from loads of flowers to design my own flowerpot, which really stimulated my imagination and increased my sense of achievement. When I was focusing on flowerpot designing, I actually tended to forget all my worries and felt much relaxed. I chose orange as the theme color and picked up sunflowers, roses, and daisies, which represent sunshine and hope. After finishing making the pot, I brought my product home and presented it to my friend as a little surprise (小惊喜 xiǎo jīngxǐ). She was so grateful (感激 gǎnjī; 领情 lǐng qíng) and loved my gift. See, my joy from making this flowerpot and my friend’s joy of receiving my little gift has already awarded me double happiness (双倍快乐 shuāngbèi kuàilè) during the day.

Free food and healthy diet

In addition to flowerpot designing, I also appreciated being advised to follow a healthy diet (健康饮食 jiànkāng yǐnshí), which turns out to be a crucial thing for us all as it is one of the main ways to improve our physical and mental health. I was impressed by the provision with free (免费 miǎnfèi) hot lunch boxes (a selection between chicken and vegan curry) and a great variety of free healthy snacks at the fair – rice cakes, chickpeas, corn, and nuts, to name a few. The hot lunch box meant a lot to me because I’m so used to eating hot meal (热食 rèshí) when I was in China, especially since it made me feel warm during this cold winter, being distant from my home.

More student and wellbeing events

Contributor: SUN Xingge
Editors: Lauren McShane and WANG Liang

QUB Chinese student won conference Talks Prize

Congratulations for Yiming HUANG (黄一鸣), a third-year PhD candidate, who recently won the Talks Prize 1 at the 73rd Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium!

There were 72 second year PhD students who gave poster presentations and 40 third year PhD students who gave talks…

It was my first time speaking at an open conference. Therefore I felt very lucky and honoured to be the only Chinese person to win the prize.

All of the PhD candidates in attendance were excellent in their research and most were from local universities in Ireland. Queen’s University Belfast was the only participating university from the UK, according to Yiming.

I’m with Prof. Steven E.J. Bell’s group, based in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The primary area of study for our group is the development of novel nanomaterials for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). My talk at the conference focused on controlling nanoparticle aggregates for stable SERS, which is the project I worked on the entire previous year.

Winning tips

I believe the award could not have been given to me without the following factors. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Prof. Bell, for his excellent guidance in the content of my presentation during the preparation stage. He pointed out that rather than a bunch of data, people prefer to hear a complete story, which was really inspired me. Secondly, to keep the audience interested and prevent them from becoming tired of listening, I used some videos, cartoons and real-life photos to better illustrate my stuff. For example, I made a comparison between my polymer network with nanoparticle aggregates and noodles network with meatballs. In addition, I paid attention to the pace of my presentation and established eye contact with the audience rather than just talking to myself, which enabled the audience to follow my thoughts.

We hope that these tips will be of help to the new comers and also send our best wishes to Yiming for a great success in her PhD research and future career.

If you have similar stories to share with us your successes in study and work, you are very welcome to contact us by leaving your messages below in the comment box.

QUB Chinese students won Anjool Maldé Prize

Congratulations to the winners: Yilin CAO (曹意琳), Fangzhou YANG (杨方舟), Ya LI (李亚) for their Documentary ‘The Gift Tree‘!

About the prize

Anjool Maldé (Jools to his friends and colleagues) […] lived a short but rich life, […] who touched so many lives in special, ​endearing and  enduring ways.

Anjool Maldé Award is as a legacy to Jools’ memory, the Anjool Maldé  Memorial Trust (The AMMT) awards prize money to the UK’s brightest best to reward, inspire and celebrate outstanding talent.

Anjool Madle memorial trust

ANJOOL MALDÉ YOUNG JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Co-hosting the Anjool Maldé Young Journalist Award, Queen’s University Belfast has jointly hosted the award ceremony at Queen’s Film Theatre to three Chinese students – Yilin CAO, Fangzhou YANG, Ya LI – all from School of Arts, English and Languages, majoring in Media and Broadcast Production.

About the Documentary

The documentary, ‘The Gift Tree‘, tells the story of Belfast’s ‘One Million Trees‘ environmental programme against the backdrop of Net-Zero Carbon Belfast plan. We made this documentary with the hope that it can reflect the value of a Net-Zero Carbon city and the need to protect the environment, thus calling on everyone to contribute to environmental protection.

Yilin, Fangzhou and Ya

In retrospect, the winners felt proud of being able to participate in, and contribute to, the competition that Queen’s University is involved in as a co-host. They further explained:

At one point, we saw an advertisement for admissions at Queen’s University, reporting that a student had won the award. This news aroused our great interest in choosing Queen’s for this course. We were really really amazed at seeing our names written on the award certificate this year. To be honest, being international students, producing a documentary and winning the prize takes a lot more effort than any home students will do because of the language barrier and communication across cultures. We had to get to know the places as quickly as possible, find the right people for interviews and understand and select the stories that deserve to be told, which we hadn’t built up in our experiences before. We were really thrilled when we finished the documentary. We are delighted to have won the 2022 Anjool Maldé  Journalism Award for our documentary, thanks to the hard work of the three of us and the guidance of our supervisors and teaching assistants.

As well as collaborating on this documentary, the three of us are also very good friends in life. Although we have shared expertise in film production, we have diverse areas of specialism, which has served us well in the making of the documentary. Together we completed the shooting plan and the subsequent editing of the entire documentary, including but not limited to on-site interviews, video shooting, drone shooting, video production, script editing, post-editing, music and sound effects production. This is our learning practice in MA Media and Broadcast Production at Queen’s University Belfast. The process of making this documentary enabled us to gain a wealth of practical experience in documentary production. The honour of receiving the Anjool Maldé Journalism Award is the best proof our efforts and a testament to the value of this work.

The Anjool Maldé Journalism Award means a lot to the three of us. It’s a recognition of our abilities and a huge motivation for us to continue with the industry of media production. Bearing this in mind, in the future we will shoulder responsibility as media workers and journalists and continue to explore valuable stories and express them in the best form of media.

Yilin, Fangzhou and Ya

Watch the Documentary

Thanks to Yilin, Fangzhou and Ya’s kind offer, we would like to share with you all the documentary ‘The Gift Tree’ for appreciation. If you have any thoughts, ideas, and comments regarding the producers and the documentary, please leave your message in the box below. We are happy to pass it on to the contributors.

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Happy Double Ninth Day

This year the Double Ninth Day, or 重阳节 (Chóngyángjié) in Chinese, falls on 4th October. It is traditionally an occasion for showing respect to the elderly or ancestors, as well as attaching special importance to families. One of the customary cultures of practice is to climb a hill to a high place (爬山登高 pá shān dēng gāo) and think of their departing family members with good wishes.

In contemporary times it is an occasion for outdoor exercising (户外运动 hùwài yùndòng) such as excursion (远足 yuǎn zú). In Belfast, the Cave Hill is such a great outdoor site for both local and international residents to go hiking. The photos below are from Ziqing Wei (魏子晴), a postgraduate in interpreting, who recently went out with her friends to climb the Cave Hill for fun.

‘远离城市的浮躁和喧嚣,感受大自然,在山顶眺望远方海天相接处,享受内心的宁静。’

Translation: It’s great to be able to distance myself from the hustle and bustle of the urban life and to appreciate the peace of mind when I can embrace the nature, looking afar from the top of the Hill until the end where the sky and the sea disappear into thin air.

Chinese course enrolment and call for volunteers

With the approaching of the new semester we are pleased to announce that the Language Centre course enrolment starts at 00:30 on Thursday 1st September. We offer over 80 classes in 14 different languages, including Chinese, that have both online and in person teaching. All classes will commence week beginning Monday 10 Oct 2022.

Online registration will be closed on Thursday 6 Oct and we welcome all to make an early registration as courses are extremely popular and fill up quickly.

Class schedule and registration links are accessible via Language Centre website.

Chinese language courses are offered from level 1 to level 5.

Call for volunteers

We are looking for talented students and staff members to volunteer for our Chinese language and cultural events at Queen’s. It could be in the form of a variety of cultural performances, or language/culture-related topics and skills, and is open to both Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking volunteers.

We look forward to working with you in our future events.

Read the Chinese version here.

When The Teachers’ Day Meets Mid-Autumn Festival

Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we think that it is appropriate and respectful to postpone our Mid-Autumn Festival celebration event. The event will be rescheduled and a further notice will be made soon.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a great occasion for family reunion in the Chinese culture, and we hope that you will join us in sending our condolences to the Royal Family on the loss of their most important family member.

Photo: The Lanyon Building with QUB flag flying at half-mast | ©LiangWANG

You may click to read QUB tribute in English and in Chinese.

It is so special that this year the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on today, Saturday 10th Sept, which coincides with the Teachers’ Day in China. Although we will not be able to get together in person to celebrate this double-festival day, we would like to send our warmest wishes to all who share this culture from QUB and elsewhere.

We have seen our students finding their ways of making mooncakes by themselves with passion and creativity. In the following video clip contributed by Qi SHUAI, you may find it interesting to see how mooncakes can be made by using local materials while she feels being distant (and homesick) from their home.

“去年中秋节的时候我还在家里收拾行囊准备开始我的留学之旅,而现在我已经出国一年了,离开父母整整一年了。中国有句古话“每逢佳节倍思亲”,自从出国开始,每次在异国他乡过中国传统节日时候总是更加认真也更加去认真过节。虽然很想念家里的亲人朋友,但也因为种种原因没有办法把回国列入档期。中秋节算是在中国人心中重要程度仅此于春节的传统节日,因为中秋的节日核心就是在月亮下和家人团团圆圆。但中国还有一句古话“明月千里寄相思”,离开家的我只能望月怀远,将寄明月,把想念化为一句句祝福和一块块月饼。”

(Translation: Last Mid-Autumn Festival I was still packing up at home for my overseas study and now it has been a year since I left my parents. As the Chinese saying goes, one would double-miss their family when it comes to festivals for reunion, I am always keen to celebrate the traditional Chinese festivals when I travel away from home. Once again, now I miss my family and friends so much, although I don’t know a date to return yet. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important event after the Spring Festival to Chinese families, as the full and bright moon in autumn symbolises a great occasion for family reunion. However, as I’m at a distant place, I have to borrow another saying that one can only pass on thoughts to their beloved through sharing the full and bright moon. Hence, I look up and afar, praying that the Mid-Autumn moon will share my best wishes and my hand-made mooncakes to the people I love and care in China.)

We would also like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes to the faculties both in Queen’s and elsewhere for a very relaxing Chinese Teachers’ Day!

A photo of two frames with thank-you messages to teachers, a spider plant as decoration, taken in 2018 | ©LiangWANG

Well, then, did you know when the World Teachers’ Day is and if there are any special date for teachers in your culture? Please share with us in the comment box below.

For our Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations and Chinese Teachers’ Day posts in the past, you may wish to read the following entries:

Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations

Happy September and happy Mid-Autumn Festival which arrives early, falling on Saturday 10th September this year. 中秋节快乐 (Zhōngqiūjié kuàilè)!

Following the successful rolling out of the iRise Social and Wellbeing Event – A Taste of Chinese Tea with Guzheng Music in July, we would like to invite you to join our Mid-Autumn Festival celebration with a cultural talk on its history and social impact, with a taste of mooncakes (赏月 shǎng yuè) and MIDI keyboard performance (赏乐 shǎng yuè) –

MIDI Keyboard with Roses
  • Organised by The Language Centre and BAME & International Staff Network, QUB
  • Presented by Dr Liang Wang, The Language Centre
  • Contributed by Kehan (可瀚), BSc candidate in Music and Audio Production, School of Arts, English and Languages

Date: Friday 23rd September 2022
Time: 15:30 – 17:00 
Venue: The Auditorium, McClay Library

Please note: Due to rescheduling we may have some limited spaces available. For colleagues who signed up for the event and still can attend, you don’t need to do it again. However, if you are no longer able to attend in-person, please email liang.wang[at]qub.ac.uk so that places can be made to others. Please register by 4.00pm on Thursday 22nd September.

Call for participation

Please note that The Language Centre is not involved in this research project. Any queries regarding this project shall be sent to the organiser directly.

Paid Research Opportunity on Chinese and Malaysian Students

My name is Philip Howlett or simply Pip, as my friends call me. I am a PhD student in psychology at Queen’s. My research focuses on friendship, culture, and emotion recognition. I am currently conducting a study looking at the similarities and differences in friendship styles between international students from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia, and home students from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Friendship is an important part of our everyday lives and yet, we all have different preferences and experiences when it comes to our friends. This is especially true and makes great importance when we consider the difference in friendship styles across cultures so that we be aware of potential misunderstandings and therefore bring more people together from all over the world.

International students at Queen's
International students at Queen’s | Photo © QUB

Invitation to participate in my research

I am looking to recruit 60 international students to come into the David Keir Building for a 40-minute session where participants will answer some questionnaires and take part in an eye-tracking task. This is a great opportunity for students to contribute to funded research at Queen’s. All participants will receive £5 immediately after the session. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw for a £20 Amazon voucher.

Requirements

To participate, you must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Aged 18 – 35
  • Originally from one of the following areas: mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia
  • Have lived in Northern Ireland for at least 6 months
  • Have not previously taken part in this study in February-May 2022.

Check for slots

If you are interested in taking part, please click here sign up to the study. If there are no slots available that suit you, please email me (phowlett01[at]qub.ac.uk) to express interest as there may be a chance for me to add more.

Looking forward to your participation!

Happy Summer with Yangzhi Ganlu

While in Northern Ireland we have embraced a cool autumn it remains scorching hot in most places in China, where having a bowl of chilled dessert soup sparks so much joy in a hot summer. This time we invite CHEN Jiangyue (陈江月), a graduate in MSc TESOL, to share with us a type of popular dessert soup called ‘Yangzhi Ganlu’.

As a girl raised in Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, my favourite dessert soup is Yangzhi Ganlu (杨枝甘露 Yángzhī Gānlù), a type of Hong Kong-style dessert soup that is often widely known as ‘Yangzhi Nectar’, or simply, ‘Mango Pomelo Sago’ in English.

Photo: CHEN Jiangyue

The dessert soup of the day

Rich in fruit, especially mango (芒果 mángguǒ) and pomelo (柚子 yòuzi), as the name suggests, it often contains grapefruit (葡萄柚 pútaoyòu), coconut (椰子 yēzi), strawberry (草莓 cǎoméi), and sago (西米露 xīmǐlù), served in coconut milk (椰奶 yēnǎi) and syrup (糖水 tángshuǐ, aka Tong Sui in Cantonese). Deliciously sweet and sour with a silky milk flavour, it will soon perk you up with the feeling of infinite freshness and happiness! While it is best served chilled, especially in summer, it is nevertheless a great drink for all seasons.

Whenever I feel like a summer treat, I will make it myself at home as it is easy to prepare, or buy it at local stores as they are so popular. It is also my top recommendation for my friends coming to visit Guangdong. Every time we meet at my place, I always take my friends out to taste Yangzhi Ganlu at some must-try restaurants or dessert soup stores.

What does the Chinese name mean exactly?

Yangzhi Ganlu is a contemporary syrup invented by the Lei Yuan Group, a Hong Kong-based business, in the 1980s, although its name is embedded with connotations of traditional Chinese mythology.

Yangzhi (杨枝 Yángzhī), literally meaning willow branches, refers to the holy branch held in the sacred porcelain vase of Guanyin Bodhisattva (观世音菩萨 Guānshìyīn púsà) in Chinese Buddhism, a figure synonymous with the pinnacle of mercy, compassion, and kindness. Ganlu (甘露 Gānlù) refers to the holy dew dropping from the willow branch, which is believed to have the power to bring people back to life or to make one feel refreshed.

Photo © nationsonline.org

Hence, the name was adopted to highlight its health benefits and its effectiveness at cooling people down in hot weather.

Taking a pioneer role in a competitive dessert industry, Yangzhi Ganlu has evolved into many different variations overtime and has won the heart of many people, both young and old, in greater China and elsewhere. It is believed that its success does not merely rely on the business itself, but also on the cultural associations of its name.

Author: CHEN Jiangyue
Editors:
Lauren McShane and WANG Liang

What other type of dessert or drinks have you ever entertained yourselves? Let us know your choices and the stories behind by leaving your comments in the box below. We look forward to reading your blog post in the near future.

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