Traditionally, the Lunar New Year is a time for people to gather together as a community, share good food, and welcome the upcoming year of favor and fortune. As 2022 ushers in the Year of the Tiger, this Lunar New Year celebration especially serves as a renewal of our tiger-like strength and courage. For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges. That is why it is all the more important that in this Year of the Tiger, students can rejuvenate themselves by gaining power from inspiring words, deeds, and persons.
Therefore, the UBC Chinese Language Program held the “Tiger Power: Roar into 2022 with Renewed Strength” event to not only honor the Lunar New Year, but also provide students from all Chinese language and literature classes with a chance to share uplifting quotes and role models with each other. Students view these quotes and models as featuring tiger-like strength as well as courage, and empower each other via mutual learning and inspiring. With around 150 submissions, students across all Mandarin courses showcased numerous positive traits of the tiger, such as bravery, courage, and so forth. The event successfully gathered an abundance of inspiring and encouraging submissions from a variety of cultural backgrounds, reminding everyone that there is more than one way to overcome the current pandemic.
The “Tiger Power” event presents an opportunity to extend the Mandarin-learning community beyond academia into friendship and familial life. When asked about a role model that reminds them of a tiger’s positive traits, many students responded by mentioning a member of their family or a close friend. Ethan Wong, a student from CHIN 233, sees his family members as featuring tiger-like qualities. He is particularly inspired by his younger sister, Emma Wong, who chose to study medicine at the McGill University in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. Her bravery and diligence in pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor has encouraged Ethan to do the same, and embrace the tiger’s traits of courage and persistence when faced with an unpredictable future.
Submission by Ethan Wong, a student from CHIN 233, of his sister Emma
Friendships are another source of mutual empowerment, and for Xianze Meng, a CHIN 465 student, this is manifested in his friendship with Leo. During times of loneliness and uncertainty upon moving to Vancouver just before one Mid-Autumn Festival, Leo took the tiger-like initiative to include Xianze in his family’s festivities despite their novel friendship at the time. Years later, Leo has gradually guided Xianze out of his shell, allowing him to be more courageous and develop his own tiger-like qualities. As they step into the Lunar New Year together, Xianze and Leo continue to admire and learn from one another’s strengths, whilst helping each other achieve their 2022 goals.
Submission by Xianze Meng from CHIN 465, of his friend Leo, who “has been a great source of guidance and companionship for [Xianze] when [he] felt alone and uncertain in [his] new environment.”
Apart from strengthening their peer connections, the “Tiger Power” event also provided students with the opportunity to share inspiring quotes that helped them overcome difficulties and challenges. The submitted quotes came from celebrities, athletes, historical figures, and other inspirational people. In this way, the event promoted exchanges of ideas, intercultural awareness, and new ways to draw on courage in the Year of the Tiger. Maika Lee, a student from CHIN 131, shared the following quote from the English actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!” The clever wordplay demonstrates Hepburn’s positivity, which in turn has encouraged people from Hepburn’s time up till today. The quote inspired Maika to consistently tell herself “I’m possible” when she had felt like giving up. Hepburn’s bravery and positivity has inspired Maika and many others to take a leap of faith, reminding them of not being afraid of the unknown.
Submission by Maika Lee, a student from CHIN 131
The quote-sharing during the “Tiger Power” event also enhanced students’ awareness of the tiger-like qualities’ cross-cultural potential. The submission of Rachel Su, a student from CHIN 143, on the Olympic figure skating athlete Yuzuru Hanyu serves as a great illustration. Despite a serious injury, Hanyu still managed to win the World Figure Skating championship through constant efforts. His resilience and perseverance stood out to Rachel, who was considerably encouraged by Hanyu’s example. She realized the necessity of changing her mindset in the face of challenges so that she could come back stronger and better to achieve greater results.
Submission by Rachel Su from CHIN 143, who writes that “even though our efforts may not avail or result in our desired outcome, [they] will never be wasted.”
Apart from drawing their inspiration from other cultures, some students sought strengths from classical Chinese literature as well. A passage from “Difficult Road to Travel” by Li Bai, submitted by Catherine Yang from CHIN 483, illustrates this perfectly. Like Li Bai and many other students, Catherine is unsure of the road in front of her due to the pandemic. However, she still holds onto the determination that these hardships will pass, as long as she keeps moving forward with the strides of life. Drawing hope from Li Bai’s poem, Catherine looks forward to the day when COVID-19 will be over, knowing that there is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. Catherine’s optimistic submission shares Li Bai’s wisdom to inspire and guide other students that find themselves in similar situations.
Submission by Catherine Yang, a student from CHIN 483. The caption reads: “There will be times to be ambitious, just hold onto the clouds to cross the sea.”
The “Tiger Power” event for the 2022 Lunar New Year has brought various learning communities together so that students can inspire and encourage one another in preparation for the upcoming Year of the Tiger. By creating a platform for students to share who and what has been encouraging them to keep their chins up, the UBC Chinese Language Program united the many “tigers” and drew on their strengths to empower students. With the “Tiger Power” in mind, students will definitely overcome all the difficulties and challenges and employ their strength, determination and power in 2022 and the years to come.
Written by Kristen Tam
Edited by Kelly Tan