Happy Year of The Tiger

虎年快乐!Hǔnián kuàilè!

The Language Centre at Queen’s and the BAME&I Staff Network invite staff, students, as well as members of the public, to join in welcoming the Year of The Tiger, which falls on Tuesday 1 February, with a variety of online cultural celebrations that explore the theme of Connectedness and Inclusion.

The launch event is scheduled between 13:00 and 14:15 on Wed 2 February featuring welcomes, cultural performances and a guest talk, followed by a variety of culture talks during the festive period, as part of the Chinese Culture Forum 2022. All welcome!

For the full programme and registration links, visit Chinese Culture Programme 2022.

Paper Tiger Workshop

It is customary that Chinese households will do house decorations by putting paper crafts of folding or cutting on windows before the new year arrives. As the year to come is Tiger, we invited Zhuoya ZHANG, a master student majoring in Film from School of Arts, English and Languages to show and tell how to make paper tiger crafts.

The workshop is followed by a series of cultural events covering a wide range of topics.

All welcome!

Laba Festival and CNY 2022

Happy Laba Festival!

The Laba Festival (腊八节 làbā jié), a traditional Chinese festival on the 8th day of the 12th month (called 腊月 là yuè) in the lunar calendar, falls on today 10th January. It is often seen as the signal of the arrival of the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival).

On the day, in many places across China, mainly the north, northwest and southeast, people cook and eat Laba congee (腊八粥 làbā zhōu), typically made of rice, mixed beans, various nuts and dried fruits, etc., all of which are believed to be good for health. Having Laba congee can keep one feel warm and spirited in the cold and wet weather.

Here are some examples of what some local Chinese families prepared. If you have cooked your own Laba congee, you are welcome to share your photos with us.

2022 CNY celebrations at Queen’s – calling for participation

This year the Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday 1st February, when the transition from Ox to Tiger takes place.

The Language Centre at Queen’s would like to take this opportunity to invite all our students, staff members, as well as members of the public, to join in our celebrations of the Year of the Tiger. As we have been continuously working hard to turn things around for a better future, we welcome mighty powers gathered by each and every one of you through the theme of Connectedness and Inclusion. The Chinese New Year is such an occasion we choose to celebrate cultural diversity, in which the Chinese community, together with the other ethnic groups, has done its best to embrace the challenges.

Image@JeanJing

To extend our reach to diverse communities and to ensure a more inclusive programme, we would like to invite you, students and staff, Chinese and non-Chinese, to share your passions through participation and to express your interest to help enrich our programme by considering contributing to one or more of the following options:

  • Cultural demo and performance – short recordings of various types of cultural demo and performances, including music, singing, dance, calligraphy, magic, martial arts, anticraft, and many more.
  • Culture forum and workshop/exhibition – live or recorded culture talks, workshops and exhibitions. The Chinese Culture Forum runs throughout the year and updates on a monthly basis.
  • Festival greeting and gratitude – send us textual, graphic, audio-visual messages that contain Chinese New Year greetings and gratitude on a personal or collective level.

For more information on culture talks, please click Chinese Culture Programme. To express your interest and discuss your potential form(s) of contribution, feel free to contact us by filling the Comment box below.

To share with us your intercultural experience and perspectives of a broader range of themes and topic, please consider joining our Chinese Language Interest Group as contributors.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Our previous article, My Journey to Henan Museum written by Yang LIANG, has been invitingly responded with a new but related article contributed by a current MA in Irish Studies postgraduate at QUB, Martin Duffy, who, with great interest, shared his experience and perspective of visiting the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors in his early years when visiting Xi’an, China.

[The author happily acknowledges the copyright of all videos and pictures included in this article which are reproduced under fair use policy for educational purposes only.]

This is undoubtedly one of the “must see” sights of China. Tickets can be obtained by web, agent or at the admissions desk, and there are a variety of discounts. The Great Wall of China was augmented by the emperor to protect the newly founded Qin dynasty (221–206 BC.). In many ways this is Emperor Qin’s greatest legacy. However, the Emperor’s personal mausoleum and world-famous Terracotta Warriors are treasures to rival even the Great Wall.

Martin duffy

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My journey to Henan Museum

What can you do on a rainy and wet winter day? Perhaps visiting a museum for an exhibition or event will be a good choice. In this post, we invite Yang LIANG (梁阳), a Queen’s graduate in TESOL from School of Social Science, Education and Social Work to share with you her recent experience of visiting Henan Museum (河南博物院 Hénán Bówùyuàn).

About Henan Museum

Henan Museum, built in 1927, is one of the oldest and largest museums in China. Its site changed for several times and finally lies at Nongye Road, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou, Henan. It is a history and art museum with a collection of more than 130,000 pieces of cultural relics through the ages.

China Highlights
The Homepage of Henan Museum (English version). The light spot on the map of China shows you where Henan Province locates while the shape on the left displays the provincial geographical range.

After some ten years, I went to visit Henan Museum again. This time, I went there mainly for a show on ancient Chinese music performance, as well as re-visiting the relics.

Yang Liang

The ticket is free, but one needs to book it, either online or on site. I did it via a mobile app for a slot of admission. Then I took a bus there, as the public transport system is very convenient nowadays and there is a bus station nearby.

The collection of photos show what the main entrance looks like and the main exhibition halls from different angles.

This is what it looks like inside of the museum with some of the exhibits. For a full range of exhibition, you can return to the Museum’s website above.

As a layperson of architecture and archaeology, I’m not going to focus on these constructions and relics. However, I’d like to share with you what I felt about this visit from my personal experience of watching the show performance and some other observation.

I watched the music show before walking to the exhibition halls, as I was more interested in the new forms and functions museum nowadays promote – not only for educational purposes, but also to entertain visitors of all walks of life. I was totally impressed by the quality of ancient music performance, fully immersed in the show and the marvelous acoustic effects which allowed me to travel back to thousands of years ago. Here are a few clips of performances that I recorded:

Nowadays, more and more young people enjoy visiting museums, attending both exhibitions and relevant events like talks and shows which encourage more dynamics and interactive engagement, in contrast to the formulaic stereotypes that visitors just took photos around in museums and left without much understanding and appreciation of such exhibitions. I recall that decades ago I went there seeing the same kinds of lifeless objects without any interest in observing, discovering, and imagining how and why they were relevant to me in history and have impacted on my life, let alone a good level of appreciation. If one has no good knowledge about these exhibits, they would easily feel so bored and want to escape.

This time, when I got it in hand, I found the idea of blind boxes, or mystery boxes, really appealing as I never could have guessed what kind of things were inside until I opened it with a ‘Wow’.

(The added line of characters read ‘拆盲盒的快乐 ~’, meaning the happiness (快乐 kuàikè) of opening (拆 chāi) the blind box (盲盒 mánghé). The photo shows that there is a set of samples of palace maid band designed by Henan Museum.)

I also came across two boys who were giving a video call to their mum, making a live broadcast while walking around. They told their mum what they saw and how they were impressed, and their mum sounded really excited over the phone.

I would also like to attribute this wonderful experience to the advance of modern technology which makes these old objects alive. For example, the amazing lighting and acoustic effect made me feel as if I stood in a traditional Chinese ink painting, exploring a wonderland when I saw many white cranes fly in the sky and heard the stream flowing pleasantly. Wow! Who wouldn’t enjoy this kind of visiting experience?

Editor: Liang WANG
Proofreader: Owen Marles

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PARTICIPATE IN AN ONLINE MANDARIN CHINESE STUDY

Please note that The Language Centre is not involved in this research recruitment or study. Any queries regarding this study shall be contacting with the researchers directly.

Calling volunteers

About this study

All you need is a laptop/computer with a camera and internet to participate and you can do the task anytime in the comfort of your home! You will participate in two testing sessions. The first session (30 min) will involve multiple choice questions and a speaking task in Mandarin Chinese. The second session (30 min) will involve a listening task and an eye-tracking task in Mandarin Chinese. We will send you a link to the second session one week after you have completed this first session.

Requirements 

To participate in the study, you must…

  • Understand basic Mandarin Chinese
  • Understand basic English
  • Live in a country where English is the main language of communication (e.g., USA, Canada, UK) 

Compensation 

You will be given $25 or £25 worth of Amazon gift voucher as a compensation for participating in this study. Compensation will be given to only those who have completed both test sessions. 

Sign-up

Please sign up at: https://forms.gle/qndusCfruHcMvjsz9

We will send you a link to the task via email. 

Contact info 

Please contact Maki Kubota (maki.kubota@uit.no) for English inquiries and Li Muhan (lmu008@post.uit.no) for Mandarin Chinese inquiries. 

“Chinese Bridge” Programme Online

Calling our learners of Chinese –

Here’s a good opportunity to learn Chinese and its culture free through this online programme. Read on if you are interested.

Please note that The Language Centre is not involved in this programme provision or enrolment. Any queries regarding this course shall be contacting with the provider directly.

Course title

Visit the Forbidden City and Learn Chinese (I)

Provider

The School of International Education of Tianjin Foreign Studies University in collaboration with the Forbidden City Research Institute

Duration

17th – 26th November 2021

Delivery

Zoom meeting, web resources and online communication

Requirements

Complete the live course and online video course learning, 2-3 assigned tasks by the teacher and send them to the teacher by taking photos, recording short videos, etc. Check the platform of online video course for more details.

Eligibility

Students from overseas exchange universities and colleges; overseas Confucius Institute students; learners who are interested in Chinese culture and Chinese from all over the world

Enrolment

Scan the QR code, fill in the registration form, and send it to 173079507@qq.com. The project sponsor guarantees that the collected student information is only used for the project, ensuring the security of student information.

Documents

Contact

Contact Person: Liang Yuanyuan, 173079507@qq.com, Telephone: 0086-22-23263544, 23240701

Mooncake Festival

The Mooncake Festival (月饼节), officially known as Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) in China, has been widely used by people in some Asian countries.

Following last year’s celebration, we would like to welcome you again to join our online Mid-Autumn Festival culture programme which involves

  • A culture talk with quiz
  • Cultural performances
  • Making mooncakes (demo)
Festive greetings from the Language Centre with invitation

The event is jointly contributed by Queen’s Chinese staff, students and alumni. The event is scheduled between 1:00 and 2:00 pm on Tuesday 21st September – the Mid-Autumn Festival day. You are all very welcome to attend the session with the information and registration link below:

How to greet people on the day?

Normally people would greet each other by saying ‘Happy Mid-Autumn Festival’ 中秋节快乐 (Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè). However, in this special time of facing pandemic threat, we often wish people peaceful and healthy by adding 安康 (ānkāng) in addition to 快乐 (kuàilè), which becomes “中秋节快乐安康 (Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè ānkāng)”.

  • 中 (zhōng) – middle, centre
  • 秋 (qiū) – autumn
  • 中秋 (Zhōngqiū) – mid-Autumn
  • 节 (jié) – festival, day
  • 快乐 (kuàilè) – happy
  • 安康 (ānkāng) – peaceful and healthy

To learn more Chinese vocabulary and expressions in a structured way, you are welcome to attend one of our Chinese courses for non-specialist purposes. Click the link below to check for Mandarin Chinese course information.

Thoughts on Chinese Teachers’ Day

Happy Chinese Teachers’ Day! 中国教师节快乐!

On the arrival of the Chinese Teachers’ Day on 10th September, we are happy to invite Dr Hui Ma, who shifted between his roles of student and teacher, to send his festival thoughts.

My name is Hui Ma. I just received my doctorate degree in education at Queen’s University Belfast, specializing in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

My research interest is in language assessment and language education. Currently, I am working as postdoctoral research assistant in education at Queen’s. I also have recently received offers to work as lecturer in some key universities in China.

Graduation, Image@HuiMa

With 6 years’ experience of English teaching and working as a part-time student counsellor in a Chinese college, I had decided to pursuit the doctorate degree at Queen’s University Belfast in order to better qualify myself as an educator and researcher. During my years at Queen’s, while being a research student learning a lot from my supervisors, I also worked as part-time student assistant for the International Office to offer due support to international students, most of whom are Chinese students. Quite often, I was called as ‘Ma laoshi (lit. Ma teacher) when I was contacted with enquiries or thank-you messages. I am glad to have been helpful.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely wish my teachers, home and abroad, and my fellow colleagues who are teachers and educators in China as well as elsewhere a happy and healthy life.

Language in use

If you are learning Chinese, one of the first few words you may have learned in class probably included 老师 (lǎoshī) when your language teacher established the relationship by telling you how to address them in the Chinese way. Later you will have learned another word 教师 (jiàoshī) when talking about profession. Both mean teacher but the former is used as appellation while the latter refers to the occupation. So you can address your teacher, regardless of their academic titles (lecturer, professor, teaching fellow, etc.), by calling their family name followed by 老师 (lǎoshī). If one’s a teacher, in filling forms when asked about their occupation, they need to write 教师 (jiàoshī).

Sign up for a Chinese class to learn more

Celebrating the Teachers’ Day

On this day, students often present flowers or cards to their teachers to thank them for their devotion and care. So, here’s our card to all teachers and also wish Dr Ma a great re-start of becoming a teacher when he returns to China.

Photo collection from QUB alumni who teach in China

If you have any thoughts to send to your teachers who mean a lot to your growth at Queen’s, feel free to share your Teachers’ Day messages in the box below. We would like to continue this topic until the World Teachers’ Day on 5th October.

Milk Tea from Inner Mongolia

In our previous post we introduced milk tea or bubble tea (奶茶 nǎichá) which has gained its popularity among young people nowadays.

Today, we continue with this ‘milk tea’ topic by inviting Yuanting Qiao (乔苑婷), a QUB PhD candidate from School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, to share some of her experience of drinking milk tea in Inner Mongolia, where her home place is.

With sunflowers, Image@YuantingQiao

Inner Mongolia, in full Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, … is a vast territory that stretches in a great crescent for some 1,490 miles (2,400 km) across northern China.

Britannica

The Real Milk Tea from Inner Mongolia

In Inner Mongolia (内蒙古 Nèi Ménggǔ) in China, people drink milk tea every morning. This Mongolia-style milk tea is a kind of traditional hot drink mixed with black tea and fresh milk in a pot for boiling. Some people add salt or sugar in milk tea while most of us prefer to drink it with the original taste. Some others put in butter-fried rice and dairy products. Thus, it is served in big bowls rather than in cups.

Image@YuantingQiao

Also, people in Inner Mongolia like eating beef and lamb, and they cook them with very little condiment, only using salt and green onion. Each time they prepare large quantity of beef or lamb so that every morning they put the cooked beef or lamb into the milk tea directly. Thus the milk tea can cool down very soon with great taste while the beef and lamb are heated. Quite often, people will add a traditional type of cheese when drinking milk tea.

Image@YuantingQiao

What other tea drinking cultures in China would you like to recommend? Write us your personal experiences and stories in the comment box below or you are welcome to contact us if you want to write a short introduction of your local tea culture.