Sunday, June 7, 2015

Chinese wedding accessories

A few years ago, I followed a friend who was shopping in Bukit Mertajam for her weddings - yes, a Chinese wedding in Penang and a church wedding in Germany :)

We went to this shop along Jalan Pasar that specialized in Chinese wedding paraphernalia (among other things like Chinese New Year decorations) and I was fascinated by what the owners shared with us about Chinese wedding customs.

The first thing I learned is the phrase "shuāngxǐ" 双喜, which means "double happiness". "Yi shuang" also means "a pair" thus, for a pair of shoes, you'd say "yi shuang xie".

Now, I understand why I always see 喜喜 at Chinese weddings - double the happiness, get it?

That's also why you always give gifts to Chinese in even numbers i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

I truly enjoyed this shopping trip because I learned so much about Chinese weddings.

Feast your eyes on all the Chinese culture below:

A pair of Chinese table lamps

These are oil lamps that come with a real wick! They're not useless ornaments - you can use them if ever you experience a power blackout. You can enjoy a romantic, candlelight dinner with your betrothed too.

A teapot set

I liked this teapot set because it's pretty and practical: a teapot, four tea cups and a tray. Plus, you get a beautiful dragon motif.

Wedding favours

In the past, a wedding favour is usually a slice of wedding cake. Now? Wedding favours can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and flavours. Recently, I got some lovely fruit jams :)

Below are Chinese wedding favours packed like "money bags" in red paper with "double happiness" . I think they contained some traditional Chinese sweets.

Madame Butterfly?

A classic Chinese hand fan - my grandmother used to have one in her handbag.

A scented, pink, fabric one, if you like.

Toiletry set

This collection below constitutes the basic necessities the newly married needs in their journey through life together: (left to right) a cup for toothbrushes, a pair of wooden clogs for the bathroom, a spittoon cum potty and a face basin. All in vermillion!

These are tiny aluminium coins stamped with "double happiness", wrapped in red paper. These little packs are tucked into the corners of the bride's wardrobe. Personally, I wouldn't do it because fine red "dust" fell from the red paper and stained my fingers.

Lastly, let me introduce you to the friendly husband-and-wife team at this wedding shop:

Married for more than 30 years, aren't they symbols of "double happiness"?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Culturally Speaking by Rhona B. Genzel and Martha Graves Cummings

I stumbled upon Culturally Speaking while browsing for EFL/ESL textbooks in the library and found it to be quite a good resource for advanced level students.
Since many EFL students grow up in a rote-learning environment where the teachers gave instructions and students take notes or do exercises/worksheets, they are not accustomed to asking questions in class, independent study or even the concept of plagiarism.

I found Culturally Speaking a useful resource to prepare students for study in an American/Canadian/Australian/British-style college/university that encourages active participation in class from students.

Without giving too much away, you'll find vocabulary exercises, discussion questions and role plays on various topics.

I'd only used a few sections from the books but the advanced level students REALLY enjoyed the activities!