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February 27, 2009
Welcome to the Pulse Podcast! Having talked to a couple of scholars working in the field of Kunqu (Pai Hsien-yung) and music (Wong Chuen-fung) seems it’s now time to talk something different! This time we”ve invited Kasaundra Howard, an exchange student at City University, who often prefers one to call her Chinese name Lili to share her life. If you want to know why she wants to learn Chinese, her feelings when travelling to various parts of Hong Kong, Mainland and Taiwan and her dream of being a star in Asian movies, then this Podcast should not be missed!
Written by: admin
February 26, 2009
Just received an email from the Man Literary Festival updating me with the 2009 programme. In it there’re a few famous names in the contemporary literary scene, such as Book Thief’s author Markus Zusak, and Margaret Atwood. Of particular interest to me is the talk by Jeffrey Wasserstrom on the topic: ‘Bloggers: Should They Be Taken Seriously?’ While this is partly due to the fact that it’s often the wish of Pulse to attract interested bloggers to contribute to the blog’s contents but also because of the popularity of ‘China Beat’ – one of my favourite blogs on modern China as well. It’s concerned with how China is read and reported in modern era. One may not always agree with their views, yet it does provide a good platform on which ideas can be exchanged and debated.
Written by: hiuylee
February 19, 2009
The weather’s turning pretty nice these days, and always thought it’s good time to get out of the city to venture into countryside or even set sail to another shore. In fact, here comes the chance! Every year the Chinese Civilisation Centre organises field trips for CityU students to different parts of the mainland so as to let them have first-hand experience of their culture and heritage. This year they will go to Xian, Hanzhou, Shanghai and Shandong! All places of distinct cultural and social environment. So just take action if you want to have these valuable experiences! Details of the trips can go to http://www.english.cciv.cityu.edu.hk
Written by: hiuylee
February 11, 2009
The image of a hot, yummy burger simply sprung to mind after reading the story “Once upon a time in another world” posted on the Pulse on Feb10 . Some may say a burger simply cannot compare with the more, well, traditional culinary experience, be it Chinese cusine or Italitan, French or whatever. Yet, probably few can resist the temptation of having a bite from time to time….perhaps it’s because of what the chain restaurants in the western fastfood culture represents: Quick, clean and modern. Indeed, whatever one ventures into the mainland cities these days, the level of their modernity seems to be reflected by the number or popularity of the few famous fastfood brand names, such as Mcdonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and now the Burger King. Sometimes, these outlets may appear in the least expected street around the corner in not that city-like places.
Probably it takes quite a while to debate on the pros and cons of this phenomeon, yet sometimes the names of the food may be able to stretch one’s imagination. When I travelled to the mainland, I often saw some street vendors/shops selling ”Chinese burgers” - some of them are made of “bun” (Chinese steamed bread) and minced meat (but guess there’re simply too many varieties to be taken account of). Seems to me another demonstration of how cultures interact on different levels or aspects of society, isn’t it?
Written by: hiuylee
February 10, 2009
Once upon a time in another world, there lived an Italian and a Chinese. The two lived in the same house in a foreign city. Every morning, the Italian ate a breakfast cold and sweet, while the Chinese, hot and savory. In the evening, they saw in their meals more similarities, especially when one ate spaghetti and the other, miantiao, or when they had ravioli and jiaozi. Although neither of them was ever particularly good at cooking, one day they decided to prepare dinner together.
The Chinese asked, “So would you want to have something Italian?”
The Italian replied, “No, I’m fine with anything. Perhaps you would want something Chinese?”
The Chinese answered, “I’m ok with anything. I just want to cook something cheap and fast because I need to work tonight.”
The Italian agreed, “I have to study, too. Let’s have something that cost the least and is the easiest to cook.”
“So what should we have tonight?” Both pondered for 5 seconds, and…voila !
The Chinese shouted, “spaghetti!” – She had in her mind canned spaghetti with tomato sauce.
While the Italian yelled, “fried rice!” – He had in his mind microwave fried rice.
The two friends stared at each other, as if both have heard the most unimaginable answer.
That evening, they ordered fries and hamburgers from a restaurant.
With fastfood, they both lived happily ever after.
At last, the Italian and the Chinese were enjoying their dinner.
The Italian told the Chinese, “You know I was quite surprised to hear you actually think making spaghetti could be cheap. It takes parmesan cheese and some very fresh tomatoes if one wants to cook spaghetti properly. It requires real cooking skills if one wants the spaghetti al dente !”
The Chinese replied, “And you think it makes sense to say cooking fried rice could be fast? To make a good bowl of fried rice one must use cooked rice that has been dehydrated overnight to ensure the fried grains won’t stick to each other. Also, one needs a wok to fry rice!”
The two friends looked at each other, as if both have heard an assertion that is unheard of.
….. both murmured, “What have I been eating when I thought I was having a Chinese/Italian meal….?”
(Based on the true story of Leonardo Bonfanti and Szenga Lau.)
Written by: Szenga
February 6, 2009
In response to Szenga’s post “you know you’re Chinese…”
It’s Friday again and it reminds me of how I kicked off this teaching week with a bottle of Traminer Riesling, and a bunch of Champaign students, American students from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They came to visit us with a grand mission of learning a bit of Chinese civilisation. “How happy to meet friends afar.” It was great to celebrate the beginning of the year with a sip of Champaign like what I did with my bride-to-be last year. Champaign students came without Champaign though. Disappointed. In order not to bore them with a self-pretentious list of chronological order of China, I broke the ice with a simple but interesting exercise. I asked them how do they know someone is Chinese and simply write it down on a piece of paper I gave them. Some are particularly fun and I can’t wait to share with you (almost a month though). Here you are:
You know he or she is Chinese when he or she… (with my comments) Enjoy with a sense of humour.
1. uses chopsticks for more than food. (like what? picking green beans?)
2. rants about how good egg tarts are. (Chris Patten?)
3. covers his or her mouth while talking on the phone. (why not?)
4. has soup with chicken heads in it. (where chicken heads have gone to in America?)
5. loves Jackie Chan (why not Japanese?)
6. bows while saying “thank you” (Japanese?)
7. wears thick glasses with gold / thick frame / wears circle-shaped sunglass (living in the 90s?)
8. draws China as centre of the map (Yes, Middle Kingdom)
9. does martial art (like Bruce Lee)
10. loves to gamble (where you can find casinos, you can find Chinese)
11. wears shocks longer than 7″ (like Boy Scouts)
12. doesn’t wear revealing clothing (because of poverty?)
13. doesn’t stop for pedesterians on the street (what for?)
14. does karaoke for fun (the most popular choice after Mahjong)
15. does Taiji (for senior citizens?)
Written by: hoito
February 3, 2009
It’s not usual for me to see live lion dancing in close-distance except in workplace, as it seems there’s often a habit for many companies to hire lion dancing troupes to give a short performance for auspicious reasons probably. But it so happened that this Lunar New Year I encountered two groups of lion dancing troupes in Sai Kung, a place which often gives me nice memories. And as far as lion dancing is concerned, it was where I got a glimpse of how lion dancing practice sessions are like.
Has anyone ever ventured into the now-deserted school (in the sense it no longer functions as a school because it has since moved and renamed) in Sai Kung, which is next to Tin Hau Temple? The classrooms look deserted but the outlook of the school still pretty new. During my few times excursion there, I often saw a group of children/young people practising lion dancing. It’s a no easy art at all because it requires much physical strength. And it was there I met up with a girl aged about 10 years old but has been trained to act in the role of the lion head (The dance of a Lion is preformed by two performers, one at the head of the lion, one at the tail of the lion). An expert even at her young age, she shouldered (at least what I could see then) the expectations of her father, who’s a renowned lion master himself. Several times she seemed to be on the brink of telling her own story – whether she really liked it or not , but it was also on these few times that her father interrupted the conversation, and expectedly, she swallowed the words.
Every time I watched lion dancing, I often thought of this young girl, wondering if she still performs it? And how it’s like to move the heavy lion head in such a lively way? Perhaps more importantly, how she’s going to pen her own story…
Written by: hiuylee
February 2, 2009
‘A translator should “serve the original rather than imposing himself or herself on a work of interpretation. If the poet or writer is a maker or creator, then a translator is the highest-skilled craftsman.” It is a view held by world renowned sinologist and translator Prof Goran Malmqvist, who shared with students at the City University at seminar held by the Chinese Civilisation Centre. So what’s take on this?
Written by: hiuylee