The Year of the Rat

When I post articles from other contributors (in this case Kate) I try to shy away and let  their pieces speak for themselves.  Not this time. For instance, I enjoy learning about different cultures even to the point of embracing them and therefore flattering myself as a forward-thinkin’, open-minded contributor to world society despite my spectacularly noteworthy flaws. Here’s one of ’em…

“The Year of the Rat”? Seriously?  Of all the critters in God’s kingdom why a rat? Then I evened myself out again in a trying-to-be-understandin’ kinda way whereupon I figured there’s a secretive yet powerful community in China that exalts the nobler qualities of a varmint that would be shot on sight here in the good ol’ US of A.

The result of my subsequent investigation was that there ARE no superb qualities to a rat. IT’S A F&%@ING RAT! (Beg yer pardon. Got a little outta line there.) Anyway, the following whizbang article was written by Kate for The Temple Daily News…

Jimmy

Temple students celebrate Lunar New Year on campus

The Confucius Institute held its fourth annual Lunar New Year celebration on Monday.

(From left to right) Qiwen Yuan, Eddie Chia-Hao Hsu and Aris Tang perform “The Triad of Plum Blossoms,” a traditional Chinese song and dance, at the Confucius Institute at Temple University’s Lunar New Year festival at the Student Center on Monday. CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Confucius Institute at Temple University hosted a celebration on Monday to ring in the 2020 Lunar New Year, which started on Jan. 25 and ends on Feb. 4.

Entertainment included traditional Chinese activities, like a Chinese tea making table, a calligraphy display, a paper cutting activity and various live performances.

Lindsay Fink, a senior global studies major, who was working at the event, discussed the importance of this celebration on campus.

“There’s not a lot of Chinese New Year events in Philly, so it’s nice to have something on campus,” Fink said. “Like, imagine living somewhere where there’s no decorations for Christmas.”

Aris Tang, a management and information systems major, plays the zheng at the Confucius Institute at Temple University’s Lunar New Year celebration at the Student Center on Jan. 27. | CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Since Spring 2016, the Confucius Institute has been providing Chinese language resources for international and domestic students, including a Chinese tutoring program, interpreters for Chinese students during student conduct cases and summer trips to China for Temple students and faculty.

“As a center that promotes Chinese culture and language, it is important for us to hold a Lunar New Year celebration to share the holiday and its traditions with others,” said Ashley Phifer, coordinator at the Confucius Institute. “It also provides our Chinese community here on campus a place to celebrate the holiday with others.”

This Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the year of the rat. The Chinese Zodiac, an ancient system based on the lunar calendar, decides which animal will represent each new year, Time Magazine reported.

Lunar New Year traditions include cleaning one’s bedroom on Lunar New Year’s Eve “to bring good luck to the new year,” said Yingru Zhao, instructor at the Confucius Institute.

“In China, it is the greatest and most important festival…it’s like Christmas,” Zhao said.

Po-sung Hsu, a first year business analytics graduate student, attended the event. His family always comes together for the Lunar New Year, he said.

“On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we [family] have a reunion dinner, and after, the parents and grandparents give out red envelopes with lucky money inside,” Hsu said.

Observing cultural holidays and taking part in celebrations can make students feel more connected with the language they are studying, Zhao said.

“To learn language, you need to know a little background about the culture…in Chinese textbooks we learn about food and Lunar New Year … we celebrate Lunar New Year here because it evokes emotion, despite not being in China.” Zhao said.

Freshman advertising major Alea Burns, who is currently taking a Chinese language class, said she was at the event to familiarize herself with the culture.

“I’m planning on studying abroad in China next year, so I want to dip my toe into the culture,” Burns said.

The Confucius Institute exists to make students feel at home no matter where they’re from, Phifer said.

“Overall, we’re here to provide a safe, warm, inviting environment for any student that comes to our office,” Phifer added.

Katie

Random Thoughts Part II

True story.  35 years ago I hadda supermarket job stocking shelves when one day while I was stacking canned green beans a guy comes along claiming he was the original Jolly Green Giant.  His wife/significant other reassured me that this was true but I wasn’t buying it although I nodded at ’em as though I was.  Can u blame me? How many people do u come across in life who claim to be the f#%@ing Jolly Green Giant???

Secondly, we’ve hadda few hits from Canada recently and I feel the need to give ’em a shout-out.  Yep, the next time anyone in the U.S. decides to call u a bunch of backwoods, syrup-slurpin, seal clubbin’ yahoos, rest assured I’ve got yer back.  Despite the many complex and almost desperate issues going on with the Mexican border these days it’s reassuring to know that NO ONE (not even Donald Trump) is planning to build a wall between the USA and Canada.  Why u ask?  The Canucks would rather freeze to death than associate with us and recipricuosly Americans aren’t that much interested in our northern neighbor seeing as we can freeze OUR asses off just fine in New Hampshire, Montana and Alaska when necessary.

The New England Patriots have suddenly decided to get all spooky again. NEVER count out Tom Brady. The Pats/Raiders and Eagles/Cowboys games are gonna be good watching this weekend.

Just a few thoughts and until next time keep a cold one in the cooler for me.

Jimmy