2010年 2月 16日, 星期二 - 格林尼治标准时间15:31

Emmet's Student Diary 伦敦学生博客第十九周

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly

Wednesday 17th February 2010 – Chinese New Year

Festive greetings everyone,

Thanks to Sylvia and Yang Yang who wrote in during the week asking for advice about their English names. Sylvia, I really like the name you've chosen, you share your name with a poet I liked when I was a teenager – Sylvia Plath. Yang Yang, I think you have two options. You could choose to use Young as a surname and go with the forename that appealed to you – Ruby. Alternatively you could choose an English name that sounds like yours. For example, Yasmine is the closest match I think; it's a lovely name too.

London's Chinatown

London's Chinatown on Sunday evening

To celebrate the coming Year of the Tiger there was a party at the university on Friday evening. Many students of Chinese, our teachers, members of the department and the head of SOAS were all in attendance. The party was hosted by third-year students and there were all kinds of performances.

Some students sang songs and played guitar, some did a Chinese cross-talk. I understood about 75% of it, which was encouraging. Their language proficiency was incredible. I can’t wait to be able to speak Mandarin that well. There was even a Kung-fu display from my friend Ben. Our class sang the song 北京欢迎你.

My favourite act of the night however was by a third-year student who gave a superb presentation about his time spent in 四川 province. He set up an English language school for children in a very rural area. He told us that he's never seen anything like the level of commitment his students showed towards their education. No matter how far they had to walk and what difficulties they might have at home, he always had a full class of eager, attentive students.

This was a timely reminder of what a privilege education is. This week we have a reading week to consolidate what we've learned and this presentation inspired me to use the time to work hard.

Someone buying some dragon beard candy

Some dragon beard candy being made

On Sunday evening I took a break for a brief stroll through Chinatown. It was of course absolutely heaving. I took a few pictures and bought some traditional 'dragon beard' candy. It's incredibly sweet and sticky. The big party is on next Sunday when there will be parades, fireworks and all kinds of madness. I'll tell you all about it next week.

I'd like to wish everyone reading this 新年快乐! I hope you have a wonderful festival spent with family. For any Chinese people overseas missing home, like my friend Anna, I'd also particularly like to wish you a happy and prosperous 虎年.

head 校长, hosted 举办, cross-talk 相声, incredible 难以置信的, display 表演,展示, act 表演,节目, rural area 农村地区, commitment 投入, privilege 特权, reading week  学校给学生的一周阅读时间(这期间学生不用上课), consolidate 巩固, inspired 受到鼓舞, stroll 溜达,散步, heaving 喧哗拥挤的

Emmet mentioned a name that appealed to Yang Yang. If something appeals to you, it means you like it or find it attractive. For example, "The job I

Question of the week

How did you spend Chinese New Year festival? I'd love to hear as many of your stories as possible to understand how it is commonly celebrated.

Email me and you might see your messages at the bottom of this page.

Email Emmet at 按键 chinaelt@bbc.co.uk

Your Replies

Note: We do not correct the English in comments posted.

Dear Emmet,

Thanks for your suggestions. I decide to continue to use Nina as my English name. Louise also sounds a good name. In order to celebrate the Chinese new year, we have a 23-day winter holiday. I spent the first several days preparing for the new year such as buying new clothes and a lot of food, cleaning my house, purchasing something for my parents. On the evening of the new year day, all my familiy members get together and eat Jiaozi (饺子). On the next several days, I visited some of my relatives and attended several parties to meet my former classmates. Tomorrow, I am going to travel to the south of China. Hope the weather will be good in the following seven days.

Good luck!

Liuna (Nina)

Hi Emmet,

I've read your diary for ages. thanks for sharing your stories with us. and I think there is an interesting folklore about the chinese new year I need to tell you. First of all, allow me to introduce myself. My Chinese full name's Yuanyuan Wang (王媛媛), and English name's Isabella which sounds like my nickname爱莎 (ai sha). I'm from china, but now I'm living in Reading and learning English here. Back to the topic, Are you ready? here... we... go....

Once upon a time there was a brutal beast named Nian (年) which used to come out and eat people and animals in the New Year's Eve (大年三十). Most of people were scared of this beast, so they always came back whatever how far they were away from home. When they arrived home they kept the doors closed and the animals in the safe place, prepared the sumptuous dinner for themselives because they didn't know if they were alive the next day. After dinner they sat around, talked to each other and waited for the beast for whole night. The good news was that beast would returned to the deep forest after dawn. and then people would came out for celebrating their still alive. so they said a lot of words of blessing and good luck to each other. but later it chanced that they found the beast was scared of the red colour, the light and the firecracker. Finally they pasted the red paper-cut for window decoration, turned all lamps on, and set off the firecracker for whole night to keep the beast away from them in the next year. Anyway the beast never came out, and the custom has been preserved. So... I'm here. xxx Do you believe this is true?

If you want there are many interesting things waiting for you.

虎年行大运 (hu nian xing da yun) 虎虎生威 (hu hu sheng wei).




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