Chopsticks Newsletter: Week Ten

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Chopsticks Newsletter: Week 10

Rise and shine my lovely pandas!

Unfortunately for the past few weeks the newsletter took an early hiatus because of the crush of certain assessments and such. Certainly this Chopsticks member now knows better than to leave things till the last minute HSC-style. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

Ahem! Anyway, this week we’re back, and hoo boy do we have a lot to catch you guys up on. This issue (to make it up to you guys) will be the longest yet, with not one, but TWO interviews brought to you by yours truly, and a new section suggested by another one of our awesome execs, Anna, about interesting Chinese Facts (which is totally, utterly, not at all related to our upcoming trivia night tomorrow or anything…)

I don’t know about you, but I really need a break. And who better to spend it with than us, right? 😉

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Upcoming Event: Trivia Night

Clear your schedules for tomorrow, because it’s Trivia Night!

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When? 14/05/15, 5pm-7pm.

Where? The International Student Lounge, Wentworth Building.

Who? Your fellow teammates/rivals in the quest for knowledge, food and prizes!

What? Knowledge on all things Chinese from History to Food (plus a bonus section on us execs), as well as actual food.

Why?  

Okay, yes, we get that this time of semester is busy and stressful. Luckily, we have all the answers for you, right here prepared to defeat any of your qualms and internal conflicts.*

But I have an assignment due!

How better to procrastinate?

I have work and if I don’t work I’ll go broke!

Money is an awful construction of capitalism and to honour the way of China, we boycott your money. We spit on your money!** The ultimate goal of Communism is to bring the world to a happy utopian end, people! Get with the times! It is our sacred duty to “educate [you] on the failings of capitalism” as written in the Little Red Book in the words of the oh-so-wise Chairman Mao.

But I have plans with friends tomorrow!

Reschedule! If your friends are kind and understanding and awesome people, they’ll wholly understand your new desire for trivia.

I have a date with this super hot male/female/other/space-alien I prefer!

Trust me, we have hotter. 😉

 

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Disclaimers:

*Chopsticks will not be held liable for any damage our advice might bring to your studies, your friendships, your employment status or your love life. Please take with a pinch of salt… or soy sauce and vinegar, if you want to be fully Asian. 😉

**Well, okay, maybe we do kinda maybe need money to run our events and keep our society funded. And to appease the USU. And for our own daily lives. You can’t rely on MasterCard all the time, after all.

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Interview in Eight Questions with Talib the Marketing VP

(Which one of these is the true Talib? YOU DECIDE)

 

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1. Tell us something interesting about yourself!

I’m not Chinese, and yet I run a Chinese club. I also studied Japanese and Chemistry for 4 years before switching to economics.

2. Why did you join Chopsticks?

I spent my first four years at uni studying and being a recluse. After I switched to economics, I wanted to make new friends and be a part of something big. I took the plunge, and I’ve never looked back since.

3. What so interested you in the Marketing side of Chopsticks that you chose to become VP?

I had a lot of ideas for marketing (and Chopsticks as a whole) during my first year as a marketing executive. This included vamping up photography and social media, as well as making videos and reshaping the executive team to what it is today. I was determined to see them through, and ended up as the marketing VP. If you have a passion, follow it and see it through!

4. What was your most memorable moment with us?

The executive road trips! We get to spend a week away before semester starts at Jervis bay. It’s 5 days of beach, bbq, cozying up by the fire, bushwalking, stargazing and planning out events for the rest of the semester!

5. Outside of Chopsticks, what do you do?

I work full-time as an analyst at a bank. Work life is demanding, and balancing it out with part-time study even more so. If I had to name a hobby, it would be creativity – I love photography, writing, and coming up with absurd ideas for books and movies.

6. As a returned student and someone doing a postgraduate degree, why did you choose to return to Chopsticks?

You get to meet people from all walks of life, everyone has their own story and their own paths in life. Chopsticks is that point where we converge, share an experience, and learn about ourselves and each other. It is a great way to keep refining my social skills, which, trust me, comes in very handy in the workplace.

7. Do you even Mahjong?

Of course I Mahjong, I’ve been teaching members how to Mahjong for years. I warn you though, if you ever play me, I’m an aggressive and competitive player, and also the king of 對對和 ~

8. You coming to Trivia Night?

Yes! But I won’t be revealing any answers. Instead, you will see me with a camera, snapping away all the happy faces.

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Interview in EIght Questions with Sam the Treasurer

(back to shorter titles, woo hoo!)

(The image doesn’t do him justice, I assure you)

 

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1. Tell us something interesting about yourself!

Interesting…hmmm… all I can say is that I am actually from further than down under, Aotearoa, which is Māori for “land of the long white cloud”. That’s right, I’m from New Zealand and have kiwi pride. Also rugby union is better league. Go All Blacks!

2. When and why did you join Chopsticks?

I’ve been part of Chopsticks since my first year of university back in 2014. It was during Orientation week that I was convinced to join because of their incentive of free food.

3. What do you hope to achieve as our newest Treasurer?

As treasurer of 2015, I hope to do my absolute best to contribute in event organisation from behind the scenes.

4. What was your most memorable moment with us?

Most memorable moments has to be the camps which is a great escape from city life for a couple of days. The weekend away home is definitely a worthwhile experience to meet new people and have a lot of fun. Either sand surfing in the sand dunes at Port Stephens or star gazing near Katoomba, these moments are hard to forget.

5. Outside of Chopsticks, what do you do?

I’m a University of Sydney student studying Bachelor of Pharmacy. Besides studying, I’m surfing the internet on reddit, imgur, and youtube. I also keep myself updated with television series such as Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield, and Game of Thrones. When I have plenty of spare time I would play video games like Final Fantasy and Hearthstone.

6. Which of our past events this year did you enjoy the most?

This year has been surprising, excluding annual camp this year, it would have to be Black day, an event in collaboration with WASABI and KCAS had a massive attendance where everyone was having fun including me. The blind-dating game and Mahjong were amusing and especially enjoyed the noodles, too bad it ran out so quick!

7. How well-versed are you in all things Chinese?

My parents are from Guangdong, China, so I can speak a bit of Cantonese and minimal amount of Mandarin. I was a fan TVB back in primary school days, with a few of my favourite series including Heart of Greed, and Scarlet Heart. Also, my passion for music, led me to Fish Leong, Della, and S.H.E.

8. You coming to Trivia Night?

Definitely, heard there are prizes going to be won at this event. Chopsticks is after all a cultural appreciation society, and trivia night would be a great time to test my knowledge on Chinese culture.

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Eight Three Interesting Facts Not-So-Small Tidbits on China

 

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(believe it or not, the Qin Dynasty’s Great Wall of China, actually can’t be seen from space)

It’s been suggested by the super-awesome Anna (and if you care to find out which exec she happens to be, here’s the link to our comprehensive full exec page: http://www.usydchopsticks.org/wordpress/chopsticks-executive-team-2015/) that the person who keyboard-smashes-out this newsletter should include interesting, informational things for all you guys who read or accidentally open this newsletter. The goal with this is to be not only interesting and informative, but to tell you a few things just a little bit outside of the box. I mean, I could tell you that oh, China has a population of 1.35 billion, that it’s national animal is the panda (surprise!) and other random trivia facts, but that would be predictable and boring and not worth your time.

Due to this, the newsletter shall break the cardinal rule of lucky numbers and only offer you three not-so-small tidbits per week. Yes, that’s right, three. Not eight. Yes, I know all our line breaks are eight “=” signs, and yes, our interviews are done in eight questions, but sometimes even keyboard-smashers need time away from the screen.

Coincidentally, some of this stuff may be in our upcoming trivia night, but that’s beside the point. Really.

1) Chinese linguistics is weird.

This might be just from an outsider’s and non-linguist’s perspective, but the Chinese language itself vaguely resembles the models they teach you in year nine chemistry. There are single characters, each with an individual meaning, which, like atoms, can be rearranged to mean things radically different from their base meanings. Time and non-usage has phased out a lot of characters, while character arrangements have become ever more complex to describe concepts that didn’t really exist back in ye olden days (like the Internet).

Which can lead to stuff like this:

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Of course, Chinese also has evolved into two different character systems. Though if we really want to make the metaphor accurate, genetically modified would be a better term for it. In order to increase literacy levels upon the Mainland, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) decided to implement a simplified system to replace the traditional system.

Handy tip: To tell whether a character is simplified or traditional, estimate the level of wrist-cramp and eye-strain it would take you to write that character on a regular basis from 1-10. Your average simplified will average around 4 and top out at 7, while your average traditional characters average out at 8.5. Which is not to say they’re completely separate; the simpler “traditional” characters weren’t changed at all in the conversion to simplified.

You’ll find that the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau still retain traditional, and thus many restaurant signs around super-Asian Sydney areas will be in traditional rather than simplified. Also the Japanese kanji system follows the Chinese traditional character system, though of course they’re pronounced and grammatically used completely differently.

To sum it up: it’s complicated.

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Hong Kong: Freed from British and Japanese Rule since 1997, and proudly resisting the CCP since then. Or something.

2) Chinese period harem dramas are, bafflingly enough, still a thing.

I really don’t get the appeal, personally; from what I can tell, the plot usually involves an Emperor and his retinue. Romances laid out in such settings between an Emperor and a poor but pretty concubine who climbs her way up to Empress status are surprisingly frequent. They also involve the sorts of stuff wives/concubines and the various things they get up to, usually in the realm of backstabbing, gossip, political intrigue and occasionally murdering each other’s children. Well, what with the appeal of Game of Thrones, I suppose it’s not too unexpected. Unfortunately, none of the women are ever made rulers, though I suppose for historical accuracy that makes sense: the only woman to become empress was Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty, so there you go. :L

 

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Curiously enough, if certain websites are to be believed, this “genre” was banned from Chinese television in 2012 for being bad for civic morality and whatnot. Not sure if that’s actually true, though, considering the proliferation of them (at least in my household).

Dude look at these nails.

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3) China is a younger nation than Australia.

But how can this be, perhaps you ask. Does China not have a long and rich history all the way back to the feudal dynastic era? Disney can’t possibly ever be wrong!

Let me rephrase. The new, modern construct of China as a nation that is the People’s Republic of China, has only existed since 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defeated the Nationalists (Kuo Ming Tang, or KMT for short). By comparison, Australia federated in 1901, so, honestly, The Commonwealth of Australia is older than The People’s Republic of China.

China has not always been one nation. Even after the reunification under Qin Shi Huang Di (the first emperor) way back when, bits of territory would fall under the hands of invaders, state borders would fragment under civil wars and places nominally under “Chinese rule” would actually be run by warlords during times of dynastic weakness and corruption. This continued until the Qing Dynasty, when all that colonisation stuff started. A key example of feuding inner nations can be seen in the literature classic “San Guo”, where the kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu fought for supremacy.

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Though I would also like to point out that if you go by existing cultural standards, Australia is still older if you count our Indigenous community.

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Past Events

Movie Night

Thanks to all of you who turned up for the movie, the company or the free pizza (we know who you are!) Good times, man, good times. If you want proof, the fact that our photographers were too busy enjoying the movie to snap any photos should be enough for you. 😛

International Day

Mahjong + Chopsticks + Weather-that’s-actually-good-for-once = WIN

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And that ends this week’s Newsletter! Now that you’re now back up to speed, hopefully you’ll attend our weekly events and say hi to us. 🙂 We hope to see you at Trivia Night, because you’ll definitely see more than a few of us around!

Catch you soon,

Chopsticks

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