Ready to ring in the Year of the Monkey?
First, some important information about Chinese New Year in 2016:
According to Chinese Five Elements Horoscopes, this is the year of the red monkey, which contains 2 elements: Metal and Water.
- Metal is associated with gold.
- Water is associated with wisdom and danger.
This forecasts more financial events in the year of the Monkey, according to the wise predictions of Economics Professor Lee. And, if one wants to have good returns on financial investments, one will need to outsmart the Monkey.
Metal is also connected to the Wind. That implies the status of events will be changing very quickly. So think twice before making changes for your finances and career!
On the 31st of January, the MBA cohort of 2016 celebrated the year of the red monkey with a unique cultural experience for all foreign Nanyang MBA classmates.
The event was initiated by one of the Singaporean MBA students, Kevin Tay, who volunteered to share the festive mood and atmosphere of the lunar New Year. Along with the fellow Chinese and Singaporean students Isaac, Wenduo, Veronica, Steven, Darren and Sheng Jie, he put together an entertaining and educational event program – in just 10 short days!
In order to have an authentic experience of how Chinese New Year is celebrated in its own unique way in Singapore and China, the team planned were 3 highlights to the event:
The evening started with a wonderful presentation which explained the mythical origins of “Nian”, the Chinese word for “Year”, and how Chinese New year got its traditions.
A long time ago, a mythical monster has terrorized the peace of villages every year; however one day, a wise old man prepared fireworks and red decorations. When the mythical monster Nian came, the loud noises and bright decoration managed to scare the monster away. This was how the Chinese New Year came about and ever since, the people love to gather with loud noises and red, the colour that symbolizes luck.
Next, the event´s MC, Shen Jie, started the celebration with Yusheng (Chinese Salmon Salad). This is a tradition unique to Singapore and Malaysia. Everyone gathered around platters containing the mixture of grated carrots, radish, pomelo salmon slices, and garnishes it with sweet plum sauce, spices and crunchy ‘pok chui’ crackers. Each ingredient represented blessing, fortune and good luck.
an introduction to CNY traditions in Singapore
The MBA students then equipped themselves with chopsticks, and started tossing the salad as high as possible while shouting, “Prosper”, “MBA”, and all the wishes for the New Year. It was definitely a vibrant & joyous atmosphere, just like how Singaporean families & friends do it. Huat ah!
To kick off the last activity, the most exciting highlight of the night, Kevin instructed all participant on THE game to play for Chinese New Year – Mahjong 101.
From the basics to the complex, advanced rules, Kevin explained the art of tile building to bring all students up to speed for a series of gambling. It was quickly evident that the gambling module involved a high level of strategic planning, patience, keen observation skills and critical decision making – and certainly invigorated the competitive spirit of the MBAs.
students at the gambling tables
The topics covered in the quick Mahjong lecture included superstitions and quirky practices, such as wearing red undergarments to maximize luck. At the end of the evening, the top scorer in class was Ms. Aki Narita, sweeping a staggering 7 out of 8 games. Then, Anshul, Gauri and Aditiya also topped their respective tables.
All in all, the event organisers hope that everyone who attended not only learnt more about Chinese traditions, but really got to experience the full atmosphere, activities, food and liveliness of this festival.
Special thanks to everyone who attended, and the organizing committee for a job well done. Indeed, we strongly believe that in many years from now, the highly diverse MBA cohort of 2016 will still gather and practice the skills learnt from this cultural module, Mahjong 101.