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

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:

Happy graduation

It was another day filled with celebrations, music, champagne, and smiles on campus as graduation continues. While we would like to say congratulations to all our graduates, we dedicate this special post to two students –

On Friday 1st July, Isabella (苏蔓伊) and Caleb (白威凯), two students from Queen’s Management School on International Business with Mandarin Chinese degree pathways, rejoiced with their families and their teacher Dr Liang WANG to cheer for their successful graduation from Queen’s.

Celebrations with a forget-me-not photo

They are the first cohort of graduates following this pathway at Queen’s and they deserve the great efforts after spending 3 years of study plus one year work placement. Congratulations!

We would like to send our very best wishes for their future and hope that they learn from what they have experienced for the preparation for what they aim to achieve.

千里之行,始于足下
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

For any students who are interested in our International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, please visit the course page.

Continue reading

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.)

One day in London

Monday 28th March – What an intense and packed day at the UCL Institute of Education for our students Isabella and Caleb from Queen’s Management School, together with Dr Liang Wang from The Language Centre, to help with promoting the University and its International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, among a cohort of a dozen of universities from the rest of the UK. 

It was great to be in attendance at the UK Schools and Universities Day 2022, sharing details of our offer, listening to what prospective students’ interests and concerns are, and joining in discussions on how to strengthen the ties between schools and universities across the UK in terms of Chinese language provision. As a final year student of International Business with Chinese, Isabella noted that: 

‘I learned a lot about what other universities across the UK were offering in relation to studying Mandarin Chinese, and spoke to staff of universities and schools from whom I understood there is a demand for studying Mandarin at university, particularly in conjunction with other subjects, such as business, sciences, arts, law and other languages.’ 

For any students who are interested in our International Business with Mandarin Chinese programme, please visit the course page.  

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.