Back in April, the President of the United States, Donald Trump and the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, met each other in real life in Florida.
Trump describes that they both have ‘great chemistry’ and mostly discussed issues regarding North Korea. The meeting included offering China better business deals with the United States in return for weakening China-North Korean deals.
China is North Korea’s biggest oil importer and major trade partner. China has, in recent months, turned down coal shipments from North Korea. The United States makes North Korea its top security concern and for many years have pressed for tougher sanctions to be placed on Pyongyang.
Many Chinese locals feel that their country should not be punished and constantly criticized for North Korea’s missiles and nuclear program, instead they would not want any conflict to happen in the Korean Peninsula. Beijing has stated that the missile and nuclear program should be settled through negotiation.
Trump had also admitted that he listened to Xi for 10 minutes and realized that it was not all that easy and that China does not have ‘tremendous power’ over North Korea. It seems like Trump did not realize the complexity of the situation until being enlightened.
After the meeting Trump tweeted, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea,it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”.
Locals feel The United States continues to use China to affect North Korea. U.S. action in East Asia would have to be consulted with the South Korean government because of the U.S.-South Korean treaty after the Korean War.
The Mid-Autumn Festival （中秋节）is originally a harvesting festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar during a full moon – which usually takes place in September or October.
The Chinese National Tourist Office and Hong Kong Tourism Board describes this day as the day of the year in which the moon is roundest and brightest. Traditionally, families pray to the moon, offer sacrifices to the moon and express yearning for the loved ones who live afar.
The Mid-Autumn Festival emphasizes family gathering, thanksgiving, and praying for a prosperous and good life. On this day, Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Indonesian, Malaysian, Taiwanese families gather and eat special traditional mooncakes called Yue Bing （月饼）filled with egg yolk or lotus seed paste.
Legend has it that the celebration when the Moon goddess of immortality, Chang’E, drank overdosed on the elixir of life. The drink was intended for her husband, Houyi, who shot nine out of ten suns out of the sky. Chang’E unwillingly floats to the moon (not too far from earth), leaves her husband and had to become immortal. Her husband loves her so much and displayed his wife’s favorite foods and fruits as sacrifice to the moon. Another historical legend has it that mooncakes originated in the Yuan Dynasty when revolutionaries passed on messages to organize an uprising against Mongol rule.
The round shape of the mooncakes symbolize reunion and familial unity. Traditionally, the senior family member would cut the mooncake and give a slice to each family member. In recent times, family members gift each other mooncakes. After talking to some locals, they mention giving and receiving too many mooncakes to eat from different family members and family friends. This gesture reminds locals of the importance of family unity.
Being born in the summer, I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday in many countries. This year, I had the good fortune of celebrating my birthday in Beijing! Being of Chinese descent, I can or cannot have a birthday cake, but I must have my longevity noodles. I’m so happy to be able to try a bowl of authentic Chinese longevity noodles (长寿面)。
The tradition of the longevity noodle dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Legend has it that Emperor Xuan Zong was facing financial troubles during his reign but was able to trade a purple shawl for a bowl of longevity noodles on his birthday. To understand the symbolism and hidden meaning within Chinese architecture, interior design, literature, lifestyle is to understand Chinese culture. Food is also an important reflection hopes and aspirations of the Chinese people.
There are many various ways to prepare these noodles. At home, my mom would cook it Singaporean-style rice noodles (mee sua) with eggs, vegetables and meat. In Beijing, the noodles are usually made of wheat to prevent breakage and served in a plain soup with vegetables and a poached egg.
Longevity is about hoping and wishing for wealth, health, happiness and a long life for the birthday celebrant. Chinese culture and society value believe that without life, there is no meaning. Therefore, the Chinese value a long, prosperous life tremendously and what better dish than noodles to embody the concept.
The noodles should be made of entirely one strand and should not be cut when being eaten as it would mean cutting one’s lifespan short.
I am very happy and blessed to be able to spend my birthday in Beijing this year, and to understand the meaning behind my annual longevity noodles, as I also hope and aspire the same things as the Chinese.