A taste of Chinese tea with guzheng music

Welcome to the BAME&I Social and Wellbeing Event that aim to provide a space for staff members and students to meet and network, share knowledge and enrich intercultural experiences.

This event presents a taster session of Chinese tea culture with an appreciation of guzheng performance.

Organised by BAME&I Staff Network
Facilitated by Dr Liang Wang, The Language Centre
Contributed by Wei DENG and Fengting LIAO

Date: Thursday 23rd June 2022
Time: 15:30 – 17:30 
Venue: The Auditorium, McClay Library

Chinese and Irish Traditional Music – The Language of The Sound

Welcome to join us in a unique traditional music tour between Chinese and Irish music

Following the success of the joint Celtic-Chinese performance for the Chinese New Year celebration organised by the Language Centre and BAME & International Staff Network, we are delighted to run a showcase of Chinese and Irish performance for all Queen’s staff, students and the general public, as part of the Development Week Programme at Queen’s.

This showcase and recital will introduce two popular Chinese traditional instruments, Dizi (笛子 dízi) and Guzheng (古筝 gǔzhēng) focusing on the playing techniques, in comparison with the local Irish harp (竖琴 shùqín) and flute (长笛 chángdí) playing practice. We will talk about the historical, social and regional styles and invite the audience to join the discussion, hand-on practice and the playing session.

Zexuan QIAO and Wei DENG performing for the CNY celebration recording at the Great Hall. Images@LiangWANG

Traditional music plays a very important role in people’s life in Ireland. Local people in Northern Ireland not only appreciate their own music, but also the diverse music from a wide range of different cultures, including the Chinese community. Chinese traditional music has been under revival since the early 20th century with a second boom from the 1970s onward.

Date: Saturday 28 May 2022
Time: 2 – 4 pm
Venue: Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Cloreen Park, Belfast BT9 5HN
Full details and registration

Celebrating Chinese Language Day

联合国中文节快乐!(Liánhé Guó Zhōngwén jié kuàilè) Happy UN Chinese Language Day!

The Chinese language is one of the six official languages used in the United Nations and together with Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish, each of them is designated with a date to ‘celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization’.

Celebrating Chinese Language Day at Queen’s, Image@LiangWang

On Wednesday 13th April, just before the university’s Easter closure, The Language Centre organised a small-scale celebration with students – both Chinese and non-Chinese – at the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast. This is the first on-campus in-person Chinese event after a two-year-long isolation working from home.

Small but highly interactive with lots of fun, the cohort not only learned about the culture of this special day, but also explored a range of Chinese language resources and platforms in support of intercultural language learning both online and in physical settings.

The third semester language course enrolment remains open until Thursday 21st April. Check Mandarin Chinese course page for more details.

– With Kristoff, Sijie, Guangyan and Jiaqi (from left to right), Image@LiangWang

Call for participation –

  • Event 1 – We would like to hear your interesting stories about experience of using Chinese language in an intercultural context. This can be a Chinese-speaking person helping their international friends or learners of Chinese with the language, in which a misunderstanding or miscommunication took place, or a learner of Chinese encountering various situations when Chinese language was used in a creative but funny way.
  • Event 2Chinese and Irish Traditional Music – The Language of The Sound. We warmly welcome you, especially QUB students, to attend the student-led event at Queen’s on Saturday 28/05. Details and registration information will be published soon.
  • Event 3 – We are inviting volunteers to contribute to the Duanwu Festival (Friday 03/06) celebration in a variety of ways. It can be a culture workshop, performance, demo, talent show, photo or short video of your cultural celebration etc., as long as they are interactive and engaging.
  • Regular eventsChinese Culture Forum 2022. While we will do our best to arrange the sessions on topics or issues of potential interest, we are open to suggestions and proposals from you – whether you are a Queen’s staff member, or a student, or a visiting scholar, or a professional from the outside.

You are all welcome to contact us by filling the Reply box (background, proposed topic, ways of delivery, availability, etc.)

Chinese Sign Language Dance

The Chinese New Year is conventionally known as Spring Festival (春节 chūnjié) in China, which welcomes the arrival of spring despite of the cold weather that remains. People are full of hope for a new start in their life when the world comes back to life.

With thanks to our talented graduate Tang LI, we hope that you will be able to enjoy this melody and beautiful Chinese sign language dance.

Song: Early Spring (《春三月》)

Performer: Tang LI, graduate from Queen’s University Management School

For better effect, you may watch it from Youtube.
For audience from mainland China, you may watch this performance by click this link.

The meaning and translation of the Chinese sign language dance:

niǎo’r rào zhǐyuān shēngshēng sù
鸟儿 绕  纸鸢   声声    诉 The birds dance with the paper kite, cooing and wooing.
sānyuè lái bǎi cǎo kāi
三  月  来  百  草  开  The grass blooms in March
yíng xiāng mǎn xiù wàn wù sū
盈   香    满  袖  万  物 苏   The air is full of fragrance as the earth comes back to life.
chóng míng hé zhe huānxiào xīnshì shū
虫    鸣   和 着  欢笑   心事  舒  The insects sing cheerfully, with no worries in mind.
sānyuè lái nuǎn yáng fù
三  月  来  暖   阳   复   The world has warmed since March
xiāng xié qù tàqīng chù
相    携  去 踏青   处  as the people venture out, a new green world to find
mò shàng huā kāi mǎn lù xiāng rù tǔ
陌 上    花  开  满  路 香    入 土 Flowers bloom everywhere alongside the paths and the soil was soaked with incense.
sānyuè lái yǒu guī rén
三  月  来  有  归  人  As people return in March
mǎ tà qiǎn cǎo shēng cuīcù
马 踏 浅   草  声    催促 with horses treading the shallow grass,
chūn yǒu qī guī yǒu rì
春   有  期 归  有  日 Spring has its term and people know to expect it.
jīn guī tú
今  归  途 As people return again
sānyuè lái shēng qíngsù
三  月  来  生    情愫     They plant their sentiment in March
chūn gāng fù
春   刚   复  As Spring arrives again
qíng rù gǔ 
情   入 骨  The sentiment is so profound that it has been rooted to the people’s bones
jiè lǚ dōng fēng hù sù
借  缕 东   风   互 诉   whispering to one another through the spring breeze
xiāng ài mù
相    爱 慕   their love and affection for each other.

Chinese singing and folk dance

There is no celebration without singing and dancing.

Yangge dance (秧歌 yāngge) has a long history dating back to Han Dynasty and has become an essential part of festival celebrations in China. Every year, in the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Yangge will be performed to mark a prosperous new year.

In this short video presentation, we invited the Yangge Dance Team of Chinese Welfare Association Northern Ireland to send their CNY greetings with some folk dance clips for appreciation. Hope you will enjoy it.

For better effect, you may watch it from Youtube.
For audience from mainland China, you can access the video via this link

We are also grateful to Sharon Fan, one of our Chinese tutors, to perform her singing for your appreciation.

For better effect, you may watch it from Youtube.
For audience from mainland China, you may access via this link.

New Year greetings and melody

虎年大吉!春节快乐!

With thanks to Queen’s students DENG Wei (邓维), and QIAO Zexuan (乔泽轩) for coming together to produce this Celtic/Chinese inspired performance to welcome the arrival of the Spring Festival.

For audience from mainland China, you can access the video via this link.

We would also like to share our President and Vice-Chancellor’s New Year greeting with you all. In his message, Prof Ian Greer points out that Tiger loves adventure and challenge – the two characteristics will take you afar here at Queen’s. It’s not that you have to be always the strongest – life is that using all skills you have and those you’ve learned to take you further.

For audience from mainland China, you can access the video via this link.

We hope you enjoy a happy and healthy year ahead and look forward to welcoming you to our CNY celebrations launch event on Wednesday 02/02 and the culture talks that follow.

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 in the following weeks, as part of the Chinese Culture Forum 2022. All welcome!

The online Art Exhibition, in collaboration with the ArtEast Club, is open for viewing now. You are very welcome to leave your thoughts and votes for the ones you like best from each other the artists.

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

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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