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Chinese Evening Party: Listen to Our Story

On 2 February 2016 a Chinese New Year Evening Party was celebrated on the university campus

  • As part of the practical course “Project Management” the students were asked to to organize a party characteristic of their own culture background. Photo: private
  • During the Chinese New Year Party dumplings and chicken wings were served. Photo: private
  • The show performance represented a mixture of culture artefacts of China. Photo: private

For someone who is interested in the Chinese culture and food, a Chinese New Year Evening Party is definitely a feast that could not be missed! On the 2 February 2016, the party that had been prepared for so long, was finally brought on stage in the “Club der Kulturen” (CDK) on the campus of the TU Chemnitz. 17 exchange students explained Chinese New Year and Chinese cultures to European students – one of them, Mo Hongru, explains the background of this event and how it took place.

Why this party?

This long story dates back to a practical course “Project Management” by Professor Josef Schmied, aiming at facilitating the communication and collaboration between Chinese exchange students from Sun Yat-sen University and the students from the English Department of TU Chemnitz.

Essentially, the so called “Project” could just be said as to organize a party characteristic of its own culture background under the collective “Management” among the responsible participants. Recall the last Christmas party on 15 December 2015, held mainly by western students from the English Department, which set an excellent example of a party preparation and participation. Now it seemed that the Chinese students were faced with a great challenge: how could they manage a party which could be at least equivalently good as its successful counterpart? Well, clearly, everyone had a strong conviction: Wir schaffen das (We can do it)!

What exactly was done before?

Before a specific plan of a party takes its shape, rounds of rounds of discussion must be made beforehand to make things clear. In order to enhance the efficiency and quality of the collaboration, all students including Chinese and westerners, were divided into three groups, and each of them, with a strong and responsible group leader, had their own mission, which could be seen from their names, namely: food group, decoration group and singing group.

That was how they began: members of the food group bought everything they needed from the supermarket and further processed them to satisfy their needs in the ultimate cooking; the decoration group showed their conversant skills in handicraft making such as Chinese traditional character writing and red paper cuttings; the singing group discussed how to introduce and spread Chinese culture through music, which surely involved rehearsals for several times. To make everything go well, they were even in position in CDK several hours before and started their preparations. Striving for the shared goal for quite some time, they were going to make it happen for real.

Here came the feast!

With traditional Chinese music playing out loud, red paper cuttings pasted almost everywhere on the wall, colorful neon lights glittering joyfully, and the fascinating smell from the Chinese dumplings, the CDK had already been full with laughter and happiness. Even the German professor, Prof. Schmied, wore a traditional Chinese garment, a costume particularly dressed for this special occasion. The feast of dumplings and chicken wings were served right after everyone was ready. Noticeably, some Indians and middle easterners, perhaps out of curiosity, were also found in the scene. See, delicacy could always travel over the national border.

After everyone was served, here came the show performance, a mixture of representative culture artefacts of China. Through the translated Chinese subtitles and the explanation of the moderator, the audience got a glimpse of Chinese Pingtan, an oral story-telling and singing art form originated in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Then followed the music of Chinese ballad, a singing and dancing show by Xie Yanrong and Wang Ying pushed the party to its highlight: Wang, with a traditional Chinese paper fan in her hand, spinning around and stretching her soft figure, showed her unique Chinese beauty while dancing at the center of the floor, while Xie, the Champion Singing Queen of Venus Singing Contest in SYSU, conquered everyone in the scene with her overpoweringly affective voice. When the ancient Chinese ballad met the modern music style, the chemical effect generated appeared strikingly fascinating.

The collaborative performance between Chinese and westerner students also played a key role in presenting what they had really got. Maybe you have already seen people of different ethnicities singing in English numerous times, but how about listening westerner students singing in Chinese? Yes, that was what they did: standing in the spotlight singing a well-known Chinese folk song “Jasmine Flower”, a harmonious picture of “easterner meeting westerner” was perfectly produced. Then in the game playing, Xie, such a talented lady with performance gene, successfully engaged westerner students with their Chinese partners: four westerner students were selected and taught the pronunciations of four Chinese characters of a Chinese idiom, then they were required to speak out the syllable they learnt simultaneously so that the other two Chinese students could guess what they exactly meant. As simple as it seemed, this game actually involved an intricate interaction between teaching, remembering, pronouncing and guessing. Despite its potential tricks and traps, most Chinese participants were able to figure out precisely which idiom was addressed.

Laughter, joy, happiness, the party was still continuing, in the delightful atmosphere and on everyone’s satisfactory faces. Wait, we didn’t forget those thoughtful organizers standing behind the crowd and preparing for cleaning and restoring the place as it used to be. They should be given all due respect and applause goes to them!

Thanks to the collaborative product of the course “Project Management”, the evening party, an invisible cross-cultural bridge has been built between students of different national backgrounds, in which every stage of preparation among the organizing participants contributed to its final massive success. The party may have come to an end, but the friendship established and the memories created will absolutely be embedded in everyone’s heart deep inside.

(Author: Mo Hongru)

Katharina Thehos
05.02.2016

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