Confucius Institute Update December 2018 Edition

In the second half of 2018, a range of programs with schools and communities were undertaken, bringing opportunities for Chinese language and cultural understanding. Highlighting this period were joint programs and events run with key UQ departments such as the ‘Little Asia Laneway’ event showcasing Asian culture and cuisine.

With 2019 The Year of the Pig in sight, UQ CI is appreciative of all the support received from the UQ and local communities in supporting a better understanding and engagement of Chinese language and culture, and offers well wishes for a prosperous year. 

Key Events of Q3/Q4 2018: 

‘Little Asia Laneway’ Event draws large numbers 

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In September, UQ CI partnered with UQ Life and UQ Clubs and Societies to run a number of workshops and free cultural activities as part of a new cultural initiative: Little Asia Laneway. Held on UQ’s St Lucia campus, up to 1000 visitors attended the event.

Key highlights of the event included foods from across Asia available to guests, students and staff attending the event. UQ CI offered paper cutting and calligraphy interactive sessions to promote Chinese culture. With UQ’s focus on multi-culturalism, as well as a strong international student body, this event was a success in bringing together students and community members to celebrate the diversity of Asian cultures. UQ CI was pleased to be able to contribute to such a large-scale and high-impact event.

Community outreach Taichi promotes healthy living      

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In October and November, UQ CI facilitated a series of Taichi sessions with community service groups to encourage more active and healthier lifestyles.

With Taichi being one of the most well-known and symbolic representations of the Chinese culture, the introductory course aimed to teach a range of calming and relaxing movements. This course was well attended over the 5 weeks.

Taichi sessions were also offered for the first time as part of the UQ Life Wellness program 2018, an initiative aimed at promoting healthy living for UQ community members. UQ CI hopes to add further programs of a similar nature to benefit community groups and UQ students and staff in 2019.

Chinese films roll at UQ    

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Supported by the ACYA student association and UQ Life, UQ CI facilitated the 2018 UQ Chinese Film Festival at UQ in October, showcasing 2 popular Chinese films. Films ‘Detective Dee’ (Action) and ‘Oolong Courtyard’ (Comedy) were selected as part of the 2018 offerings, helping to raise the profile of Chinese culture in Brisbane across the screenings held over two nights at UQ’s Schonell Theatre.

Over 800 people attended the film festival, making it the largest UQ CI-run event of the year. Events like this importantly provide opportunities to experience different mediums of Chinese popular culture.

Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) numbers on the rise

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For many students involved in Mandarin studies, the HSK is fast becoming a useful way to test language abilities and certify language skill levels internationally. The HSK test has been facilitated by UQ CI as a certified test centre for a number of years, and in recent years, test taker numbers have continued to rise with 2018 seeing the highest number of takers since UQ CI’s establishment. 

The standard HSK test (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) is open to all ages and is an important part of the Chinese testing system. The standardised exams for Chinese language proficiency are aimed at non-native Chinese speakers, from basic to advance levels.

Throughout 2018, UQ CI increased its engagement with Queensland schools to offer the HSK test. Schools interested in testing in 2019 are welcome to contact UQ CI.  

At UQ, the test is facilitated four times a year, with HSK scheduled for March, May, September and October in 2019. The HSKK spoken test will be offered in May and October.  See UQ CI website for details. 

UQ CI celebrates collaboration with ATSIS

In August, representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit, The Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Engagement and UQ CI came together to celebrate the participation of two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who recently returned from the UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China organised by UQ CI.

The UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour is an annual program organised by UQ CI in collaboration with various faculties across UQ to provide a four week in-country study experience at Tianjin University.

In recent years, UQ CI has successfully worked with ATSIS to provide pathways for ATSIS students to experience Chinese culture through the Tianjin study tour, yielding highly positive outcomes for those who participate. The initiative has also importantly fostered ties between two key cultures.

2019 UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to China information will be released in February. See UQ CI website for details.

Esteemed Australian Studies Professor visits Brisbane

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Prominent Chinese academic of Australian Studies, Professor Hong Chen was welcomed to Brisbane in July to deliver a keynote address as part of UQ CI’s Public Lecture series. With over 100 people attending the lecture including representatives from the business community, Professor Chen presented on the Australia-China relationship.

The public lecture was part of the Australia-China Emerging Leaders Summit (ACELS) 2018, organised by the Australia-China Youth Association.

Mr Hong Chen is currently a Professor in Australian Studies at East China Normal University (ECNU) and is the Director of ECNU’s Australian Studies Centre.

Qld schools support cultural learning

UQ CI regularly engages with Queensland schools to support Mandarin programs and cultural initiatives. The second half of 2018 was no different with school Immersion days and culture weeks a key highlight during this period.

In early August, UQ CI keenly supported St Peters Lutheran College’s Multicultural Gala evening, an initiative focused on the promotion and understanding of different cultures, backgrounds and traditions. Contributions to the Gala included Kongfu, Guzheng (instrument) and lion dancing.

Also in August, UQ CI supported the Chinese District Network Schools (CDNS) Immersion Day hosted by Mt Maria College, Mitchelton. The Immersion day event focused on Year 9 and 10 local students studying Chinese at Mt Maria College, Mitchelton and St Paul’s School at Bald Hills. UQ CI teachers offered classes and demonstrations in various traditional Chinese art activities including Chinese knot tying, Chinese calligraphy, painting and paper cutting.

UQ CI was also pleased to have hosted a senior student from Mt Maria College mid-year as part of a student experience initiative. Such opportunities are useful in providing interested students a pathway to exploring Chinese cultural aspects in-depth.

Did you know? 

Food is an important part of Chinese culture, emphasised by the renowned Chinese expression ‘min yi shi wei tian’ (民以食为天). Each region and province has its own set of tastes, delicacies and food culture, offering a wide range of experiences for the foodie traveller.

With many local dishes, there is often a story or history behind that dish. Anyone who has visited Tianjin may have come across the well-known Goubuli buns (狗不理包子). As one version goes, Goubuli was established in 1858 by Guiyou Gao, a talented young man of Tianjin origin. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Gouzi’, Gao showed good skills and a strong work ethic from a young age, and after setting up a baozi stand, his unique offerings fast become popular for their unique flavour. Attracting customers from far and wide, the business flourished, yet ‘Gouzi’ was so busy he had no time to chat. People would say Gou was too busy and never had any time for his customers (bu li: to ignore). Over time, the name Goubuli would take shape.