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!

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.

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.

Continue reading

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

Dragon Boat Racing

Happy Chinese Dragon Boat Festival! 龙舟节快乐!

The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Festival (端午节 Duānwǔ jié), is a traditional Chinese festival with a history of over 2000 years. It occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month in Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on Friday 3rd June this year.

Duanwu Festival is widely known as Dragon Boat Festival (龙舟节 Lóngzhōu jié) to the rest of the world, as one of its celebrative events – dragon boat racing – has become so popular (受欢迎 shòu huānyíng) in the world.

Today, we would like to invite Dr YAO Xudan (姚旭丹) to introduce dragon boat racing and share with us her interesting experiences of joining in races when she was in Belfast and more recently in Manchester.

Image@LiangWANG

YAO Xudan (姚旭丹) studied her PhD in Queen’s University Belfast from 2014 to 2018. Afterwards, she joined the National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester, as a postdoctoral research associate. Currently, she is continuing her research in Queen Mary College, University of London.

Dragon Boat Racing in Belfast

When I was doing my PhD at Queen’s, I joined dragon boat racing as a paddler twice in 2015 and 2016, as a member of Team QUB, which were organised by Chinese Welfare Association NI. People from different professional backgrounds, including universities, associations, boat clubs, etc., signed up for the events with full enthusiasm. Chinese food was prepared and supplied to all participants. Although we did not win in the end, everyone enjoyed the teamwork spirit (团队精神 tuánduì jīngshén) during racing, despite the bad weather. My colleagues from Spain and India were so excited that they wanted very much to follow up celebrations as such in the future. I believe that our traditional culture (传统文化 chuántǒng wénhuà) could be shared and accepted widely in this engaging way.

Dragon Boat Racing in Manchester

On 29th May 2022, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was held in Manchester, with 36 teams from universities, companies and institutions participating in the competition. With my previous experience of Belfast races I joined one of the University of Manchester teams, which was formed by all girls. The morning was a bit wet but fortunately it became sunny during the race. Again, although we could not enter into the final competition (决赛 juésài), we were satisfied with our great team performance and enjoyed ourselves. Apart from the racing, the festival also included Chinese kung fu performance (功夫表演 gōngfu biǎoyǎn), singing (唱歌 chànggē), dancing (跳舞 tiàowǔ) and tasting (品尝 pǐncháng) traditional Chinese food such as zongzi (粽子 zòngzi), baozi (包子 bāozi), marinated eggs (卤蛋 lǔdàn), making it an exciting and fun experience.

Overall, dragon boat racing is really one of the wonderful occasions for people to get together and celebrate our traditional festival, as well as to enhance intercultural communication and understanding between people of different communities.

About dragon boat racing

Dragon boats are human-powered watercrafts originally made of wood, and in modern times upgraded into carbon or glass fibre composites, as well as other lightweight materials. They are universally decorated with a Chinese dragon head and tail. For racing, a standard dragon boat typically consists of 20 paddlers, one drummer facing toward the paddlers, and one steerer. However, there are also small boats with a capacity of 10 paddlers.

Image@XudanYao

Author: YAO Xudan
Editors: Martin Duffy and WANG Liang

Have you joined any boat racing events before? You are very welcome to share your experience by using the comment box below.

More to read

Here are posts about our past celebrations of Dragon Boat Festival, if you are interested in getting to know more about our celebrations at Queen’s.

QUB boat racing event

After a 3 year absence the 16th annual Queen’s University Belfast Boat Race will take place next month, with Queen’s men and women rowers taking on Trinity College Dublin on Saturday 11 June 2022. As well as the main event there will also be junior races involving local schools racing over the 2km course.

For more information click QUB Event page.

World Baking Day

Various parts of the world choose different dates for World Baking Day, e.g., the two most common dates are the 15th or 17th of May. For baking lovers what matters the date is less relevant than the opportunity for baking lovers to please themselves and their family, friends and neighbours.

Today, we invite Xiuying DENG (also see Eggcellent Easter) to share with us her experience of baking a Basque cheesecake, which is a type of cheesecake with a strong burnished flavour. The Basque cheesecake is baked until the outside of the cake is charred. It is named after the region’s name, the Basque in Spain.

As a foodie with sweet tooth, I tried to learn to bake Basque cake quite a while ago. The first attempt was so successful and the entire process didn’t take much time. I really found it enjoyable and full of confidence for the next one.

– Xiuying deng

Well, here is the way of how to make a Basque cheesecake with only a few required ingredients. At a grocery store or supermarket, one can easily find and buy the following items:

  • granulated sugar (白砂糖 bái shā táng)
  • Greek style yogurt (希腊酸奶 Xīlà suānnǎi)
  • fresh whipping cream (新鲜淡奶油 xīnxiān dàn nǎiyóu)
  • cornflour (玉米淀粉 yùmǐ diànfěn)
  • cream cheese (奶油奶酪 nǎiyóu nǎilào)
  • eggs (蛋 dàn)
Image@XiuyingDENG

Required ingredients: cream cheese 250g, fresh whipping cream 150g, yogurt 200g, two eggs, sugar 55g and cornflour 10g.

When all these items are ready, just get started. The following is the process of making a Basque cheesecake. Let’s go –

Step 1: Add cream cheese, yogurt and two eggs in a bowl and stir them well.

Image@XiuyingDENG

Step 2: After stirring evenly, add some sugar and cornflour in the same bowl.

Image@XiuyingDENG

Step 3: Pour the mixed paste into the mold, and put it into the preheated oven (turn the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes; then turn it up to 200 degrees, bake for another 10 minutes.)

Image@XiuyingDENG

Step 4: Cool the baked cake and put it in the fridge for 4 hours.

Image@XiuyingDENG

Step 5: Use your creative mind to decorate it.

Image@XiuyingDENG

The above is the process of making Basque cake. Finally, remember to take nice photos of the presentation so that you can have your cake and eat it. I hope you all can manage to create delicious cakes!

Author: Xiuying DENG, MA candidate in Marketing, Queen’s Management School
Editor: Martin Duffy, MA candidate in Irish Studies with a focus on Public History at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast.

Chinese Cinema Season

Hooray! The biggest film festival for Chinese cinema of the year in Europe has landed in the UK, with a rich programme of films and events starting from 10th May until 10th June!

UK-China Film Collab

According to the UK-China Film Collab (英中电影合作研发中心), the presenter of Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season –

From 10th May to 10th June 2022, with more than 60 films in 8 curated sections, 10 panel discussions and many inspiring Q&A sessions, we will bring you a whole month of outstanding and innovative Chinese cinema that promises to illuminate your mind. The festival will not only introduce the latest young Chinese film talents to the UK audience, but also provide forums for professionals to exchange creativity and business ideas.

Odysseychinesecinema.com

While many of the events will take place in London and Edinburgh, there are a good many online events and films that one can choose to attend, some of which are free. Below are the highlights for local Chinese community and fans of Chinese films in Northern Ireland.

Neo Horizon: The Audience Award

As audience, you are invited to view the six selected films for free and vote for the Audience Award, starting from 10th May. Don’t miss out!

Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro

This is a great opportunity to enjoy some classic Chinese animated films of different eras and art styles while learning about the history of Chinese animation.

Click OdysseyChineseCinema.com for details.

Discussion Panels

During the month-long China Cinema Season, there will also be ten online discussion panels, exploring aspects of UK-China film collaboration and other topics such as regional cinemas and the role of female film programmers in China.

Click Discussion Panels for details.

Hope you all will enjoy a fantastic season of Odyssey journey with Chinese films!