In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated differently. The Confucius Institute at SEGi University, together with Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, China, organised an online Chinese New Year event themed “Confucius’ Hometown, Shandong’s Hospitality” to keep the festive spirit alive.
Held on 8 and 9 February 2021, the event, which saw close the attendance of almost 200 people, aimed to shed light on the culture and hospitality from Confucius’ hometown, the Shandong Province in China. Confucius was a notable Chinese philosopher who is known to champion the importance of education. He also established ethical, moral, and social standards that formed the basis of a way of life known as Confucianism.
Present at the event was Mr Zhang Zhen, Cultural Counsellor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia; Mr Norman Chu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at SEGi University; and Dr Lydia Foong, Local Director of Confucius Institute and Dean for the Faculty of Education, Languages and Psychology at SEGi University; and Dr An Fu Yong, Chinese director of Confucius Institute at SEGi University.
In his speech, Mr Zhang expressed his enthusiasm and encouraged the active participation of cultural exchange between China and Malaysia.
“SEGi University is very pleased to support the Confucius Institute efforts in promoting cultural exchange between Malaysia and China. The Chinese New Year celebration is a good platform to bring people together for this purpose. Although we cannot physically celebrate Chinese New Year together this year, I am thrilled to see that the festive spirit is kept alive with online activities such as this event,” said Mr Norman Chu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at SEGi University.
In line with the theme “Confucius’ Hometown, Shandong’s Hospitality”, the event started off with a presentation on the Chinese New Year customs in Shandong by Dr An Fu Yong, Chinese director of Confucius Institute at SEGi University. Following this, Miss Zheng Chuqiu, lecturer at Confucius Institute, showcased Shandong’s culture, food, and attractions to the participants. To make it more interactive for the participants, Miss Zheng further showcased the unique charm of Qilu culture via a video.
The Confucius Institute also invited a famous calligrapher, Mr Huang Chengli from Hainan Normal University, to demonstrate and give a short tutorial on writing customary Chinese couplets related to the Spring Festivals. The calligraphy activity saw many participants eagerly trying out their skills. In addition, the Malaysian and Chinese children and teenagers exchanged their new year customs passionately in the Q&A session, which deepened the intercultural understanding.