Submitted by Sunitha Vijiyasingam, Co-Chair of the Social & Cultural Club
Being a part of an international cohort of MBA students, fellow Indian classmates and I had the opportunity to share a part of our culture with the rest of the cohort – Diwali, otherwise known as Festival of Lights.
By a stroke of sheer luck, the festival fell just after a very busy first trimester and immediately after our last paper. We gathered together to celebrate Diwali and Oktoberfest on 21 October. Diwali is an extremely important festival in India – Deepavali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights that’s marked by a few days of celebration. In each story of Diwali, the underlying significance is the triumph of good over evil; from darkness into light.
Before the Christmas break in December, our MBA cohort celebrated Christmas – with the theme ” the Filipino way” , the way we Filipinos do it back home, and so we Filipinos were the hosts.. The fun started a few hours before the event itself, as volunteers decorated the room, prepared the food, and set up the photo booth and sound system. One by one, people started showing up carrying their gifts and looking excited to start the program.
The party started with the traditional Filipino feast. We had some Filipino food favorites such as ‘adobo’ (pork & chicken stew) , ‘crispy pata’, (pork knuckles like the ones in Germany) ‘inihaw na liempo’ (grilled pork ), and ‘pancit palabok’ (noodles) . Iris, another Filipino MBA participant, also prepared and served ‘sago’t gulaman’, a cool and refreshing drink with tapioca and gelatin. For dessert, Claire made her special ‘maja blanca’ which is a coconut pudding with sweet corn bits.
After the feast, we asked the participants to form three separate teams to compete in Filipino parlor games. First up was the newspaper dance but with an added twist. Instead of just a pair trying to keep themselves within the confines of the newspaper, we asked the teams to send five representatives. It made the game more challenging and it was very interesting how our classmates strategized and executed their game plans. The next game was ‘hep hep hooray’, a game that required fast reflexes and concentration to not commit a mistake when asked to recite the next word in the sequence together with the corresponding hand gesture. The contestants in this game became very competitive and did a really good job of mastering the sequence and action. And so, to determine the winner, we introduced some changes by switching the hand gestures. Finally, we capped off the games with a relay. During the relay, we introduced the contestants to the ‘calamansi’, a fruit that Filipinos love to use as food seasoning. We also asked them to recite a simple Filipino tongue twister, ‘Pasko paksiw’. Just so you know, ‘Pasko’ is the Filipino word for Christmas.
Before ending the wonderful celebration, everyone gathered around the Christmas tree for the gift-giving and revealing of each one’s secret Santa. The activity highlighted for us that Christmas is really the season of giving and sharing. It was very interesting to see what the secret Santas bought for their recipients. The most entertaining part for me was when Li Qin received a number of joke-gifts from Pratik before finally getting the real thing. It was very funny to see Li Qin’s reactions and Pratik’s creativity. I was also touched when Catherine gave Emily (Student ExCo President) some home-baked goodies and a special drawing made by her daughter.
By the end of the activity, everyone looked happy and content with their gifts and people were getting ready to leave. But as a final touch to the whole program, Mr. Nick Soriano, our admissions director, arrived with a small washing machine to be raffled off. The winning name drawn was Sumin. But he decided that a woman should win the raffle, and so, after a few more attempts, Charu was lucky to take home the prize. Indeed, Chrsitmas spirit is in the air-gifts!
As the day ended, I was very happy that I got to spend Christmas with my new friends and share with them how Christmas can be more fun in the Philippines.
Fun, excitement and delicious runs through my mind upon hearing the words cultural celebration. During cultural celebrations, there will be games, art and most importantly food! Life at Nanyang MBA has been thrilling and entertaining at the same time. I was thrilled to get to know 117 peers from 27 different parts of the world. Past 8 months have been an entertaining journey for me personally.
Nanyang MBA is very diverse in terms of nationalities as well as Industry and background. I was exposed to many different perspectives of thinking, strategies from different industries and various cultures which is the best part!!
There had been several celebrations of culture during my stay at the Nanyang MBA, such as German Beer Fest, Thai Loy Kratong, Deepavali, Christmas (of course), Chinese New Year, and many more to come in the coming weeks. How could I not be excited??Let me share my stories, photos and probably videos about interesting things that happened at these events. Yes, that’s right, some parts of these F.U.N. events are captured LIVE on HD video!! So tag along!! ;D
I’ll start with German Beer Fest, as you m ay well aware of what the name implies; it involved a lot of beers and its many varieties. German beer festivals are among the largest beer festivals celebrated around the world, which in Germany is usually known as Oktoberfest. Many places have beer festivals style as “Oktoberfest’s”. Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival celebrating beer held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October.
In conjunction to the Beer Fest, it was Verena’s Birthday who is from Germany. Happy Birthday Verena! I had a great time tasting variations of beer.
Next celebration that was celebrated was Loy Krathong. Loy Krathong is a Thai cultural celebration. Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. Loi means “to float”. While krathong refers to a usually lotus-shaped container which float on the water.-Wikipedia.
Loy Krathong can be translated to “Floating crown” or “Floating Decoration”.
Munchuga and Apiwat, my Thai friends, organised the event. Sumptuous Thai food was provided and we listen to soothing Thai songs. The highlight of the evens is to make wish and release the handmade loi krapthong float on the water.
Touchdown!! To INDIA!! Some say Indians are exotic, some say Indians are born to be dancers. You got that right! I experienced a Deepavali celebration, and guess what?? My Indian cohorts danced for Deepavali! And they live up to the expectations!! And Yes, it’s on HD resolution!! ;P starting from Art, which was to create colorful pictures out of colored powder debris (Pardon me, I’m not really familiar with the name :P. Below are the pictures of the team that created the arts.
Deepavali or Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights” which is celebrated by Hindu across the world. Deepavali is the celebration of good over evil and light overcoming darkness. During this festival, new clothes are worn and delicacies such as sweets and snacks are shared. Not forgetting temporary tattoos which are done using henna. Henna is a flowering plant used for dye skin, hair and fingernails as well as fabrics.
Next Stop Will be Our favorite time of the year!!Chriiiistmas tiiime… time to share our love… Come and join… the tidings to the world… Chriiiistmas tiiime… the best time of the year… Yes, it’s Christmas timeee…
To get everyone in the festive mood, we decorated the venue (one of our classmates home actually!) with Christmas ornaments, neon lights and Christmas trees.
After the decoration is done, we begin our celebration with Christmas carol. 4 of our classmates – ,Filipino John-Rae and Taiwanese Mimi were singing, accompanied by Malaysian Alex on Keyboard and Singaporean Jonathan on Violin.
Finally the “Secret Santa”!This is the fun part whereby we got to choose our gift from the santa sack. Nanyang MBA cohorts were so creative and out-of-the-box!! You need to expect the unexpected. The gifts were no ordinary gifts.
Quite recently we celebrated Chinese New Year. !! Before the celebration was done we did a lot of preparations such as grocery shopping, decorations and lastly food preparations. We started with our “reunion dinner” by having the traditional Chinese Hot pots. Definitely, it is not complete without beers and Chinese liquors. The food prepared was marvelous and delicious. After filling our stomach we have the Cheongsam competition-“Ms. Cheongsam” competition and voted for best-dressed Ms. Cheongsam.
Unexpectedly none of the girls won… Guess who wins the competition?
After the contest, we started writing of Chinese FU Character to bring good luck and good fortune for everyone.
So there you are – a sprinkling of various cultures – there is no substitute to these experiences – and while you are doing your MBA!
The Nanyang MBA Culture Club and Women in Business Club successfully co-organized the 2013 Chinese New Year Party at Graduate Hall Lounge It was a wonderful festival celebration event that gave all of the guests a happy , cheerful and maybe grand cultural banquet.
With a team of six mostly mainland Chinese people, except for one, led by Jennifer (Chen Yan), Amy, Wu Hao, Alex (Malaysian), Lily and Rayman (Lily’s boyfriend) ,we started the preparation as early as 12 noon. We went shopping at Sheng Siong supermarket near our campus. After almost four hours of grocery shopping, we managed to bring back: vegetables, beef, beers for the dinner and definitely Chinese FU Character and Spring Couplets to get us into the festive mood. It seems a short list but we ended up with so many shopping bags. However, many thanks to our classmates, Hantang Da Ge and Andy (American), for helping us to carry and deliver our food to the Graduate Hall.
At 4 p.m, we were busy preparing for the dinner at Graduate Hall kitchen. This year’s main menu is HOT POT, the must-have meal in almost every Chinese family during Chinese New Year. Hot pot is basically a way of cooking food in a pot , mainly boiling. Meow, Amy and Jennifer’s worked hard in washing all the vegetables and cutting radish. Albert (Indonesian) and Apiwat (Thai), for your help on our venue decoration! And yes, our Singaporean hosts, Amanda, Eng Soon, Weiming and Ingo (German) provided the hotpots for cooking!
By 6 p.m., the traditional Chinese Hot Pots were set on the table. Chinese cabbage, rape, mushrooms, radish, fried tofu, vermicelli rice (thin white noodles) are laid on the table around the hot pot. While waiting for the soup stock in the pot to boil, we gathered around the table impatiently with chopsticks and plates ready to attack. At the sight of boiling bubbles, we placed the food ingredients into the pot. And the countdown begins- Five minutes… two minutes… one minute… Hooray! It is ready! Oh yes, we have the special sauce prepared by Lily & Amy! Yummy! The sauce is sumptuous and complements the delicious food cooked hot pot style. This made us eat more! The lounge became warmer with the steam from hotpot and more than thirty people who are having hot pot together, in summer!
Nevertheless, this is the best time of the whole trimester-gatherings, enjoying with so many friends companion and enjoying hot pot
After 2 hours, we finallyfinished our dinner. We are now full and bloated. Nonetheless, we need to get into our sleek costumes for the Cheongsam Competition! Cheongsam or Qipao is a Chinese traditional costume which has been worn since the Manchu dynasty ruled China in the 17th century.
Before they wore the original qipao was wide and baggy. The one-piece dress featured a high neck and straight skirt. The qipao worn today are modeled after ones made in Shanghai in the 1920s. The modern qipao is a one-piece, formfitting, floor length dress that has a high slit on one or both sides. Modern variations may have bell sleeves or be sleeveless and are made out of a variety of fabrics. – About.com
Who will be our Miss. Cheongsam?
Finally, we have the winner…. No other than Henry (thorn among the roses), the only guy in traditional Chinese Changshan! The prize is a red envelope with $20! Thanks Mr. Changshan, for bringing us so much fun!
At 9 p.m after the contest, we started writing of Chinese FU Character. Put the red paper on the table, raise up the writing brush, dip the ink, and you can write Chinese Fu now- it is that simple??. Yes,it is that easy! You can do it! Don’t believe me? Look at Josephine’s professional gesture! Wish our Fu bring good luck and good fortune to everyone and to our Nanyang MBA! Thanks Hantang Da Ge again, for helping us to get the writing brushes, ink and red paper.
And that is how we celebrated the Chinese New year – with the company of our friends!
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar. It is the time to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new spring, to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. Thanks to everyone, we have had an unforgettable Chinese New Year with you! Till the next one.
1. Spring Couplets – In Chinese poetry, a couplet (simplified Chinese: 对联; traditional Chinese: 對聯; pinyin: duìlián) is a pair of lines of poetry which adhere to certain rules (see below). Outside of poems, they are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people’s homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior. A special, widely-seen type of couplet is the spring couplet (simplified Chinese: 春联; traditional Chinese: 春聯; pinyin: chūnlián), used as a New Year’s decoration that expresses happy and hopeful thoughts for the coming year. – Wikipedia
2. Hot Pot: Hot pot (simplified Chinese: 火锅; traditional Chinese: 火鍋; Mandarin Pinyin: huǒ guō), refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the centre of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. Vegetables, fish and meat should be fresh. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. – Wikipedia
3. Cheongsam: Qipao or cheongsam (旗袍) are one-piece Chinese dresses that have been worn since the Manchu ruled China in the 17th century. The original qipao was wide and baggy. The one-piece dress featured a high neck and straight skirt. The qipao worn today are modeled after ones made in Shanghai in the 1920s. The modern qipao is a one-piece, formfitting, floor length dress that has a high slit on one or both sides. Modern variations may have bell sleeves or be sleeveless and are made out of a variety of fabrics. – About.com
One of the goals was finally met. After several cultural events that showcased interesting facts about diverse cultures that form the Nanyang MBA, from the tasty Korean BBQ, Chinese full-of-lights Mid-Autumn festival, the very rhythmical Indian Bollywood dance, or the traditional songs of ‘German’ Christmas, it was time for the Mexican MBA students, like me to share a little about our culture.
The excuse was perfect: September 16th 2012, the 202th anniversary of the Mexican Independence Day, is around the corner. With a short time for preparation but the best efforts, myself and Allan Perez (Mexican, Exchange Student from EGADE MBA), organised a party gathering among senior students (graduating batch) and new cohort and also with the Exchange Students. The reception to this party was very good as the slots were full in only a couple of days. For me and Allan, the celebration was indeed the best opportunity not only to show a little about our culture, but also to thank all the support and kindness we have received from our Singaporean and foreign colleagues over all.
More than 40 of us, a very diverse group, attended the fiesta (or feast in English!): Singaporeans, Filipino, French, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, German, American, Spanish, among other nationalities. The first surprise they encountered was the possibility to adopt a Mexican Name. John Rae Philip (Filipino) and Martin Schmidt (Austrian, Nanyang- St. Gallen Double Masters) helped the visitors pick their name based in the translation or adopt one that they liked. They provided a Certificate of Name Adoption to each of the attendees. For example, Hao Wu (Chinese, Nanyang Essec Double Masters) decided to pick Señor Gabriel, which is the name of one of the archangels that he likes. Harutaka Ichinoki (Japanese,) chose Don José as it is easy to remember.
After the name adoption, participants indulged in Mexican food and beverages. For beverages, it was possible to try Michelada, a beer cocktail that includes lemon, salt, Maggie sauce and chili. For food, they tried Carne Asada (roasted beef) with Tortilla, a combination more popularly known as Taco in Mexico, the most popular food. They had the possibility to accompany the food with a large selection of salsas, from non-spicy to very spicy, and of course, including in that selection the famous avocado sauce, Guacamole. Our Vegetarian peers had also the chance to try dishes that did not include meat.
Tortilla chips, quesadillas and chicharron (fried pork skins!) were also part of the celebration. Some of our classmates were decisive and willing to help out- Steven Quimby (American) and Jaewon Park (Korean) provided a key support in the grill section and showed their BBQ expertise.
For the event closure, two (2) traditional Piñatas were brought in and those who wish to play this game were blindfolded and asked to hit the Piñata with a stick. The reward, when the Piñata was hit and broken is an avalanche of assorted candies- we had fun as we competed among ourselves to try to get as much as possible. Vida Zhou (Chinese,) and Aditi Jain (Indian,) were the first ones brave enough to try the Piñata. Overall, we have fun during this enjoyable evening- eat, chat and play while celebrating Mexican culture. Viva Mexico!
By Bui Vinh Nguyen (William), Vietnamese, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Last February, we had a gathering at a beautiful condominium in the western part of Singapore, Bukit Batok, to celebrate the Chinese New Year or CNY, the most important event for among the Chinese. Daniel Ho, a Chinese Singaporean, opened his wonderful home to us, non-Chinese MBA classmates, to learn more about CNY. My classmates were very excited about it because they all wanted to experience a new and different culture. Our ever affable host, Daniel, shared his impressive knowledge about Chinese snacks, served during CNY.
The NANYANG MBA Ex-co organizes BBQ for the AY 2011/2012
By Charles Chua, Singaporean, Nanyang MBA participant intake 2011, VP for Socials Student Ex-Co
No matter where you come from, sharing a good meal in the midst of like-minded company is a great way to spend a weekend especially if it is after a rigorous week in school. It is not a hidden fact that having a delicious meal is one of the many things our cohort enjoys most. With a very diverse cohort that we have, we thought – why not have a BBQ, with an Asian twist? And so, the first BBQ was organized by the Student Ex-Co 2011/12 at one of our classmates abode (and gracious hosts for the night) in a condominium in the Western part of Singapore.
By Joseph M. Kainady, Indian, The NANYANG MBA Participant, Intake 2011
Being a part of an international cohort of MBA students, one will always have an opportunity to learn a new culture or share your own to your classmates and this is exactly what happened during the last quarter of last year – my fellow Indian classmates and I had the opportunity to share a part of our culture – The Diwali or known as Festival of Lights.
As the festival fell on a very busy period for us (exams week and trimester 1 break), we celebrated Diwali in November. Diwali is one of the most important festival in India – it is important for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains but it is celebrated by everyone.
Gathering at the MBA lounge, my classmates were welcomed with Indian folk art pattern or Rangoli and diyas (oil lamps), which set the festive mood. The celebration started off with a Pooja ceremony, a religious ritual performed by the Hindus as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons or special guests. It lasted around 15 minutes and was conducted by an NTU PhD student. Our classmates were amazed by the ritual, as Cheng Zeng, from China, puts it, “I was amazed to see the versatility in the PhD student conducting the Pooja in such a professional manner.”
Rangoli or Indian folk art pattern welcoming my classmates upon entering the MBA lounge
By Kabeer Chaudhary, Indian, Nanyang MBA Intake 2011, Student ExCo VP Cultural
Seeing some photos taken during Christmas season brings back fun memories of my first Christmas in Singapore, celebrated together with my Nanyang MBA peers. The fun and laughter we had that night still resound in my head.