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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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.

LC Course Registration Open

The Language Centre course 2021 autumn enrolment has made a start –

Interested in learning Chinese language?

Mandarin Chinese courses have 5 levels, with Level 1 at the beginner’s moving up to Level 5 post-intermediate. You are very welcome to start from scratch or to continue with us by progressing into the next level up.

What a language the Chinese is! Every word so full of meaning – every char­acter seems to contain a complete idea.

sir robert hart
Woodcut: Robert Hart with his Chinese assistant in their office in Peking. /CFP Photo / Source: CGTN

Bubble tea time

In our ‘International Tea Day‘ post, we asked what type of tea you would like to drink and there were two replies:

Personally, I’m not a tea person, lol, I think I like yogurt and milk more. In China, the younger generations may take bubble tea as their first choice right now. It may be my favorite drink too if I don’t consider calories or my body shape too much.

– Yang Liang

I love milk tea~

– shiyu wu

So, what is bubble tea, then?

Bubble Tea is the name given to the wide variety of refreshing flavoured fruit teas and milk teas served ice cold or piping hot with chewy tapioca balls that you suck up through a big fat straw!

Bubbleology


A bubble tea made in Belfast, Image@LiangWang

In Chinese, it is widely known as 珍珠奶茶 (zhēnzhū nǎi chá). 珍珠 (zhēnzhū), originally meaning pearl, here refers to the pearl-shaped tapioca balls typically used in the recipe. 奶茶 (nǎi chá) means milk tea.

Today we’d like to invite Jie Rao (饶洁), one of our QUB alumni and fan of bubble/milk tea, to share her thoughts.

To be honest, I am one of the bubble girls as I believe drinking it will help me remove all the sorrows and worries, and make me feel relieved for the time being.


Jie Rao in front of a vending machine for drinks. Image@JieRao

“Tea?”

In Northern Ireland as well as elsewhere in the UK, when people entertain their friends with a cup of tea, they mean to serve tea with milk and sugar. While this custom differs to the thousand-year-long tradition of tea-serving in China, a new type of tea drink, called bubble tea, or milk tea, has become a fashion among the young Chinese.

People see it, get it, post a photo of it and others see it.

Instead of drinking tea at home or in a tea house, young people nowadays enjoy grabbing a milk tea while hanging out with their friends or just for refreshment. One can very often see bubble tea shops or cafes on streets, with long queues of young faces. It is also trendy that people would like to show their first cup of bubble tea through their social media, partly because of the convenience of sharing function and partly due to the showing-off human nature.

Green tea with cheese and rock salt, Image@JieRao

In fact, bubble tea or milk tea is tea-based drink, very different to the original tea drinking. It tastes milky sweet. Of course, you can choose the ice (冰 bīng) and sugar level (甜度 tián dù) according to your preference. The fundamental difference is that bubble tea has essential toppings to choose, like pearl-sized tapioca (木薯 mùshǔ), coconut jelly (椰果 yē guǒ), pudding (布丁 bùdīng), red bean (红豆 hóng dòu), taro (芋圆 yùyuán) and so on. Some variants include adding cheese and fruits, and other kinds of tea drinks even goes without using milk.

Just a few days ago, I went to a popular shop named 茶颜悦色 (chá yán yuè sè), a brand based in Changsha, Hunan Province, and I was kept waiting for almost an hour due to its long queue and time for preparation. However, it was really worth the wait if one would enjoy watching the onsite making.

茶颜悦色 adapts from a Chinese phrase 察言观色 (chá yán guān sè) meaning ‘to observe one’s words and countenance’. In this brand:

  • 茶 (chá, tea) has the same pronunciation as 察 (chá, to observe).
  • 颜 (yán) pronounces the same as 言 (yán, speech).
  • 悦 (yuè) means to please while 观 (guān) means to look, to observe.
  • 色 (), with the basic meaning as colour, has its connotation as facial expressions or countenance.

Image@维基小霸王, Wikimedia

The brand’s name carries the meaning that good tea drink makes one wearing a pleasant look.

Despite the popularity, people are warned against the sugar content of bubble tea and other ingredients like non-dairy creamer used in the drink that can cause potential health problem. I often order bubble tea with half sugar (半糖 bàn táng) or light sugar (微糖 wēi táng). How would you like your bubble tea prepared?

We look forward to hearing your stories of bubble tea drink in the box below.

Life is like a cup of tea – A cup of bubble tea will be nice😋

CCF10 June Talk

CCF10 – Turning your interest in Chinese into a business: The Chairman’s Bao

Speakers:

Sean McGibney studied Chinese and Spanish at University of Leeds and founded The Chairman’s Bao alongside Tom Reid in his final year of study in 2015. Currently Managing Director of The Chairman’s Bao, he has overseen the company’s growth from university bedroom concept to an international force in the EdTech industry with over 120,000 individual users and over 300 global partner institutions. In his spare time, Sean sits on the Board of charity Leeds Irish Health and Homes and volunteers with Alzheimer’s Research UK, as well as being a keen runner and cyclist.

Coming previously from an Investment Bank specialising in Mergers and Acquisitions, Oliver Leach joined the Team as Business Development Manager in February 2018 and became a Director in 2020. His existing broad role at TCB spans from marketing and branding to sales and customer service. Outside of work, Oliver is a long-suffering fan of Reading FC.

Outline:
In this joint presentation we will cover:

  • the story behind TCB
  • our team, using Chinese in a work environment
  • business achieving success in thriving EdTech sector
  • setting up a business at university
  • lessons learned in business
  • plans for the future and a demo of the platform.

More information:
The Chairman’s Bao

We welcome your attention and would like to invite your questions and feedback on this culture talk in the box below.

Duanwu Festival

The Duanwu (Dragon Boat) Festival falls on June 14 this year.

Duanwu Festival, 端午节 (Duānwǔ jié) in Chinese, is also widely known as Dragon Boat Festival 龙舟节 (Lóngzhōu jié) in the rest of the world, as one of its celebrative events – dragon boat race – has become so popular in the world. However, like last year due to pandemic lockdown in the UK, we are still unable to watch dragon boat races or to have cultural workshops on campus.

The head of a dragon boat in River Lagan. Image@LiangWANG

If you would like to review how we celebrated it in the past, here are some snapshots with links to full albums (via the Language Centre Facebook).

2020 Culture Talk

2019 Interactive Culture Display

2018 Culture Talk and Workshop

This time, while we cannot get together again, we have invited some staff and students to show and tell what they have done to celebrate the festival – making and eating zongzi 粽子(zòngzi), a typical type of food made of glutinous rice with sweet (e.g. dates, red bean paste) or savoury (e.g. pork, salted egg yolk) fillings wrapped up by bamboo or reed leaves, as the photos shown below.

Vocabulary

  • 粽(子) zòng(zi) – zongzi
  • 糯米 nuò mǐ – glutinous rice; 糯 nuò – sticky and soft; 米 mǐ – rice
  • 粽叶 zòng yè – reed or bamboo leaves; 叶 yè – leaf
  • 竹 zhú – bamboo; 苇 wěi – reed
  • 枣 zǎo – date (fruit)
  • 豆沙 dòushā – red bean paste
  • 咸蛋黄 xián dànhuáng – salted egg yolk
  • 猪肉 zhūròu – pork
  • 绿豆糕 lǜdòu gāo – mung bean cake
  • 装饰 zhuāngshì – ornament, decoration

Greetings

In addition to the common festival greeting that you may say 快乐 kuàilè (happy), many Chinese people also choose to say 安康 ānkāng (peaceful and healthy) or 吉祥 jíxiáng (auspicious). This is because Duanwu Festival is considered having its origin from warding off diseases and illness mostly caused by the rising summer heat and humidity which invited the invasion of poisonous animals such as insects and reptiles. Therefore, you will be able to see people use a varied way of expressions:

  • 端午节快乐!Duānwǔ jié kuàilè! – Happy Duanwu Festival!
  • 端午节安康!Duānwǔ jié ānkāng! – Wish you a peaceful and healthy Duanwu Festival!
  • 端午节吉祥!Duānwǔ jié jíxiáng! – Wish you an auspicious Duanwu Festival!

However, outside overseas Chinese communities, if dragon boat races are the only form of celebrations, i.e. beyond the context of traditional Chinese Duanwu culture, then people would find it normal to just express a happy festive greeting.

  • 龙舟节快乐!Lóngzhōujié kuàilè! – Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

More to explore

A video of QUB students tasting zongzi and other snacks. Video source: QUB Management School Weibo

Have you done something memorable this Dragon Boat Festival? Tell us and share your stories in the comment box below.

World Bicycle Day

Happy World Bicycle Day! 世界自行车日快乐!

Statues of bicycle riding taken at Suzhou Dushu Lake Higher Education Town. Image @LiangWANG

Acknowledging the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day.

The UN

Do you have a bicycle? What do you use it for? Read the story shared by Haiying LIANG (梁海映), a Queen’s graduate, from Beijing recently.

In Beijing, you can always see people riding bicycles of various colours on streets, which has become beautiful scenery in the city. These colourful vehicles are a type of newly emerged business known as shared bicycle service that has become one of the important aspects of daily life for many people in Beijing, as well as in many other places in China.

Shared bicycles also play an important role in my daily life. While conducting field work in Beijing for my doctoral research, I also take a research assistant intern at Tsinghua University. Its campus is so large that it takes over half an hour for me to walk from the office building to my favourite cafeteria. You may imagine that without a bicycle, I would have spent about two hours for a meal. So I really think that a bicycle does a great help as I can ride whenever I want. Moreover, unlike finding a car park, I can leave the bicycle at the designated parking area nearby, which makes my travel very flexible.

Shared bicycles are indeed a very convenient means of transport in densely populated places where traffic jams are not uncommon and finding a car park is far from easy. In addition, they are not only environmentally friendly, compared with cars, but also very economic – the price of a 30-minute ride is only one-tenth of the price of a single bus ticket in London – which is 1.5 yuan (about 0.15 pound), as this screenshot of the App shows.
Image @HaiyingLIANG

Despite the great advantages, the lack of designated parking area for shared bicycles can also cause the problem of occupying space such as pavements and lanes. As shown in the photo, the intensively parked bicycles have caused traffic congestion and inconvenience for people who are walking on this road. When building the roads and pavements decades ago, engineers didn’t expect that there would be so many shared bicycles in the near future. Therefore, in the new urban planning, the parking sites for shared bicycles should be well planned, and roads and bicycle lanes can be expanded to accommodate more vehicles that may appear in the future.
Image @HaiyingLIANG

Did you know that in Belfast there are shared bicycles as well? Have you ever used them? Share with us your experience in the comment box below.

A person about to use a shared bicycle parking opposite Queen’s McClay Library. Image @LiangWANG

Useful vocabulary and expressions in Chinese

  • 世界 shìjiè – world
  • 自行车 zìxíngchē – bicyble, bike; 自 zì – self, 行 xíng – moving, 车 chē – vehicle
  • 单车 dānchē – bicycle, bike; 单 dān – single (person)
  • 共享 gòngxiǎng – shared; 共 gòng – together, 享 xiǎng – to share
  • 停车场 tíngchē chǎng – (car/bike) park; 停 tíng – to stop, to halt; 场 chǎng – an open space, field, market, etc.
  • 收费 shōufèi – to charge; 收 shōu – to receive, to collect; 费 fèi – fee
  • 便宜 piányi – cheap
  • 方便 fāngbiàn – convenient