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!

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

Eggcellent Easter

Happy Easter Break! 复活节假期快乐!

Did you buy some eggs or egg-shaped chocolate for Easter? They look so cute and tasty that one can hardly resist the temptation not to buy one.

Chocolate eggs in a supermarket. Image@LiangWANG

But why it has to be eggs or egg-shaped thing during Easter? Here’s the explanation:

‘The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.’

History

Besides buying ready-made egg decorations from shops, painting eggs is one of the most popular activities for not only those families with young children, but also others who want to have creative experience with lots of fun during Easter. International student ambassadors from Queen’s recently joined an egg decorating event, organised by AHSS (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences), to celebrate their Easter on campus.

Key words in Chinese

  • 复活节 (Fùhuó jié) – Easter
  • 装饰 (zhuāngshì) – to decorate
  • 绘画 (huìhuà) – to paint
  • 彩绘 (cǎihuì) – colour painting
  • 蛋 (dàn) – egg
  • 巧克力 (qiǎokèlì) – chocolate

How did it go? We invite one of the International Student Ambassadors, Xiuying, to share her experience with you.

Xiuying DENG is currently a postgraduate student in Marketing from Queen’s University Management School. Images@XiuyingDENG

I was so lucky to be invited and it was such an amazing experience! Drawing is not my strong point at all, to be honest, so I felt a bit nervous before getting started. Here I chose to paint a chick at first, which is really out of the ordinary with different colors because it wore a pair of glasses HAHA! Then, I “dressed up” three plastic eggs. As you can see, some were with colored ribbons and some were with small spots.

At the end of the event, we all voted together to see which was the best. Fortunately, I was awarded a souvenir by Queen’s. I felt that my drawing was not that bad. Anyway, it was an unforgettable experience for me to celebrate Easter in the UK, especially with the cohort of 10 lovely student ambassadors!

We hope you have had fun together with us. If you have done your own egg paintings or other decorations, you are very welcome to share your photos here for a collection of ‘eggcellent’ show.

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.)

Longtaitou Festival

What’s Longtaitou Festival?

The traditional Chinese Longtaitou (龙抬头 Lóng tái tóu) Festival, or Dragon-Head-Raising Festival, falls on the second day of the second lunar month every year, and recognises the start of spring and farming. This year it falls on 4th March.

Dragon Dance at the Chinese New Year Celebrations at Queen’s in 2020

In Chinese mythology, 龙 (Chinese dragon or coined as Loong), with its connotations for good luck and supreme power, is also the god managing weather and water, bring rainfalls for crops to grow and harvest. So this Longtaitou Festival is mainly about praying for good weather in spring with good rainfalls, the key time for plowing the fields.

Learning Chinese language and culture at Queen’s

3rd Semester Language Course Registration is open and closes promptly at 17:00 on Thursday 21 April 2022. Classes are expected to be extremely popular and fill up quickly, so early registration is strongly recommended.

To register with a Mandarin Chinese course, please follow the course information page for more information with links to registrations.

2022 Chinese Language Video Festival launched

‘China Chic’: Chinese Language Video Festival launched to celebrate UN Chinese Language Day

CGTN.COM

The theme this year is “China Chic” – a modern take on traditional Chinese heritage from young people around the world. As China has continued to progress and innovate, unique cultural elements have been adapted to fit the very latest trends, with the younger generation increasingly aware of regional differences.

All non-native Chinese speakers from around the world are invited to submit an original video showcasing the beauty of Chinese traditions and how they are incorporated into the modern world.

Read CGTN for more details.

Chinese Competition for UK HEI Learners

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

2022 Chinese Competition of Charitable Projects & Business Innovations for UK University Students

Following the successful running of the online Chinese Competition of Charitable Projects and Business Innovations for UK University Students in 2020 and 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Competition will be held in April 2022, organised by Centre for Language Education and Cooperation, UK.

Competition Date:
10th April 2022 (Sunday)

Format:
Zoom Online

Contestants’ Qualifications:
Undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students studying at schools, faculties, departments, Confucius Institutes and language centers of the UK universities and people who take part-time courses, short courses and/or evening classes at the UK universities in 2021 to 2022. The mother tongue is not Chinese and the key family members’ mother tongue is not Chinese.

Theme:
Topics related to charitable projects and business innovations, including but not limited to charitable projects, business plans, product introductions, introduction of companies and enterprises, business cases, project initiatives and market researches.

Content:
Speech presentation*: 8 to 10 minutes
Q&A: 5 minutes
*Remarks: If there are videos produced by the contestant imbedded in the presentation, the videos can be no more than twice and longer than 1 minute.

Language:
Mandarin Chinese

Prizes:
Contestants who rank top 6 of the competition will be awarded certificates and partial contribution to the return airfare of undertaking work placement and/or attending business Chinese classes in China. The rest of the contestants will be awarded certificate of participation of the competition and souvenirs.

Enrollment:
1) Contestants please complete and submit the online application form together with the speech synopsis and other required supporting documents no later than 5pm on 11th March (Friday)
2) Participating universities please email the signed and dated confirmation form to the Organising Committee on later than 5pm on the 11th March (Friday).

Number of Contestants:
In principle no more than 3 contestants from each participating university.

Support from the industry:
Senior business personnel of the UK based key Chinese entreprises and companies and the local British counterparts will join the judging panel of the competition and provide awards for the competition as well as offer work placement for prominent contestants of the competition.

Contact:
Name: Christina Zhang
Email: bccompetition@clecuk.org

Application Form (to be submitted by contestants online)