February 10, 2023, by Lisa Chin
Ushering in the Year of the Rabbit with postgraduates
An “extra-special” Chinese New Year celebration for postgraduates
It was an extra special festive celebration for us at the Graduate School as we got to host our postgraduates to a Chinese New Year (CNY) luncheon on Wednesday 1 February 2023, after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even more so as this luncheon was a collaborative effort between us and the Postgraduate Students’ Network (PGSN), a first for festive celebratory events.
The luncheon was very well attended by our postgraduate students where they were treated with an array of local dishes and festive snacks.
Placing people at the centre of our strategy
Also in attendance was Professor Christopher Gibbins, the newly appointed Acting Vice-Provost for Research and Knowledge Exchange. “You are part of the people that the University wishes to prioritise under its Strategic Plan. And also, you are essential to the many partnerships that the University also wishes to prioritise,” said Professor Gibbins as he gave reassurance that the University is looking at how best to enhance our postgraduate research student experience while underlining the University’s commitment to growing an environment that supports research and knowledge exchange excellence and innovation. Last year UNM announced its Strategic Plan which reflects the priorities of its staff and students in emphasising the importance of People and Partnerships.
Read more about UNM Strategic Plan 2022-26
“You, in lots of different ways, are really key to helping the University deliver its commitments outlined in the Strategic Plan,” he added while expressing appreciation to our postgraduate students on being an integral part of the University’s research capability. He also highlighted the recent establishment of the University’s Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (IRCs) and further encouraged our postgraduate students to keep a lookout for the announcement and information.
A warm welcome address was delivered by Professor Maniam Kaliannan, Associate Dean of Graduate School, followed by a short speech by Muhamad Hishamudin bin Mohmad Hasim, Students’ Association (SA) Postgraduate Officer and the lead of PGSN.
A postgraduate toss to a prosperous year
The luncheon featured the tradition of stirring and tossing of Yee Sang, also known as Spring Toss. The dish, a CNY staple that has become a loud centrepiece of the festive season, is essentially a salad usually comprising strips of raw fish with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments. Each of the ingredients represents certain meaning, based on their names in Chinese – Google it up if you want to know more! All the ingredients are then mixed and tossed into the air to represent the rise of fortune. The higher you toss, the higher your fortune!
And so, in a traditional and a very Malaysian Chinese way of welcoming fortune and prosperity, we gathered around the tables and raised our chopsticks as we tossed to a generous tide of abundance for the new year!
A fortunate fare of Lokam
Known locally as Lokam, mandarin oranges were also an integral part in our CNY luncheon. Specially different this time was an inclusion of “fortune”, akin to fortune cookie, by the PGSN team. Lokam is a must during CNY. The Cantonese pronunciation for mandarin oranges sounds similar to gold. So having lots of lokam signifies lots of prosperity!
A cheer to an auspicious and prosperous year
With our postgraduate community, we look forward to hopping towards a successful year ahead!
Did you know?
Yee Sang was declared a Malaysian heritage food by the Malaysian Department of National Heritage. Historians say it was created at a restaurant in Seremban in the 1940s, which served the salad during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Tell us what you know about the CNY things that most people (probably) don’t know
So if you know some of the interesting facts that people might not know about CNY, share them with us by emailing to email@example.com. We would like to feature them on our Graduate School blog and social media platform.