Greetings to everyone:
Happy New Year! According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this is the Year of Roost/Cock/Chick (鸡年). Don’t laugh, because the phrase “鸡年” does not mention the stage of the two-footed bird which could not fly. And neither does this phrase tell the gender of this animal. But, because of the traditional mansplain, it is assumed to be male, which I am not sure would irritate those feminist who are marching in the States.
Let’s come back to the Xmas-New Year holiday, several big things happened in China. However, in order not to turn this newsletter into a four-page report and make you yawn while reading my gossip, I will just pick the latest one that is now being debated by the general public and media. At every Chinese New Year Eve, China Central Television (CCTV) organises a five-hour Spring Festival Gala for the general Chinese community around the world. But this year the producers and directors really want to promote the ‘Main Melody’ or ‘Positive Energy’ to the general public. But part of the community, especially the Chinese Generation Y and Z. treat the Gala as a really handy way to promote traditional Chinese virtue and family culture while some others treat this Gala as a male chauvinism show and/or an awkward preach. I haven’t got time to watch it so I will not make a comment on this year’s Gala. As I fell asleep when watching last years’ Gala, I might not watch this year’s.
Well, now for this years meetings. I will disclose all meeting dates during the year so you can pen them onto your calendar if you like. They are all on Sunday and we are still meeting at our old time and old place.
26 February 26 March
23 April 28 May
25 June 23 July
27 August 24 September
29 Oct. 26 November (End of year lunch)
Our committee would like to ask everyone to provide some topic/idea for this year’s meetings or nominate speakers. All ideas are welcomed. And we would also like to develop some good events to mingle with the local Chinese residents, especially the mid-age to senior residents, with the local community. We will talk about it more during this coming meeting.
As indicated in the last newsletter, I will talk about my trip to China and the 2016 International Youth Organisation Forum & Beijing Sister City Youth Camp. It was an unforgettable week and I got the opportunity to make lots of friends from 32 different counties. Although the forum only lasted a day, we visited many different places and my Beijing Cough lasted more than three weeks afterwards. If you were not able to watch the video clip that I posted on the last newsletter, you won’t miss out. The meeting time and place is :
DATE: SUNDAY 26 February
TIME: 12:30 P.M.
VENUE: ROTORUA ARTS VILLAGE, 1240 Hinemaru Street
We will will have our usual shared lunch before the presentation to give everyone a chance to catch up after the long break.
Also due to the success last year, Waitsu will continue with her Mandarin classes this year. She is offering an evening class on Wednesday at the Mokoia Community Hall starting at 5:30 pm to 7:30 p.m. Registration will cost $20 to cover the cost of a text book with a gold coin donation for each session. The focus will be on learning conversation Mandarin. Ring 3455971 to register. Unfortunately the first class was on 8 February but I am sure late registrations will most likely be accepted.
Also Waitsu will hold another class in the Rotorua Library starting on the first Thursday of March also starting at 5:30 pm to 7:30 p.m. For more information about this session you can contact her by Email: [email protected]
Continuing on from Smith’s book: After talking about the politeness of the Chinese people, Smith used a whole chapter to complain about the Chinese society’s disregard of the concept of time in many aspects. He mentioned the ambiguous time system and the endless banquets during night time. Ancient time system divides a day into 12 ‘hours’ and use the sundial to record time. People also measure how many rods the Sun has risen in the morning. There was a poem describing a rich landlord’s relaxed life: “still in his duvet when Sun rises to three rod of a day”. Although the time system doesn’t have an accurate definition, but Chinese people have adapted their lives but it is still used in many idioms nowadays. When it comes to the endless banquet, it was related to the lack of food in ancient China. During a normal or bad year, farmland yield would, hopefully, only provide basic food for most ordinary families. Therefore hosting a banquet to invite guests became a symbol of rich or generosity. The longer a banquet is, usually the host showed more respect for the guest. This is still true in modern China, where the more expensive a banquet is, the more respect a host expresses to the guest. For example, during my week in China, candidates sitting on every table could not finish even one single meal. The food was always too much for the number of people sitting at the table and about 30-45% was wasted.
I just heard that several lone wolf attacks have happened in Paris, California and other places around the world in the last few days. It has reminded me that on the 31st January, which is the first day of lunar calendar in January, one young police officer sacrificed his life chasing and fighting against a criminal in a small Chinese city. His family fell into deep sadness and millions of Chinese people raised funds and promoted a memorial event online. He is just one of thousands of police in China that give their lives while on duty. Although we still complain that the police are not efficient solving crimes, such as burglary, I can proudly say that China is among the safest countries around the world now, and I never feel scared when I have to walk a half an hour to get back home at midnight in my hometown. Wish the world was more peaceful rather than falling more and more into conflict or hate. What would you wish for this year you this year if you were my age !