Elisa Nguyen Author

7 Last Lunar New Year Events on the Valentine’s Week

Written by News, Student Life

Haven’t had the chance to enjoy Lunar New Year festivities in Sydney style? Don’t wait to celebrate! Here are some events to get you started. (Hint: it includes food…lots of food)

Lunar Markets (Sun 14th Feb)

If you celebrate Valentine’s Day and are already in the city, why not come by the pop-up food festival at Pyrmont Bay Park? With so many dishes to tempt you from steaming hot dumplings to fried rice, you’ll enjoy a red Lunar New Year/Valentine’s with a full belly.


Lunar Lanterns (Sun 14th Feb)

Take a moment to stroll under 12 enormous, dreamy zodiac lanterns. Sydney Opera House Forecourt will be the last place you can glimpse these lanterns to celebrate the New Year. An Ox made of mahjong tiles will visit Martin Place while 22 illuminated rabbits will be practicing tai chi at Circular Quay, Customs house.


Twilight Performances (Wed 10th – Mon 15th, 6 – 7pm)

Come by for the evening to watch short demonstrations held by thousands of performers from local organisations. They will be roving through Pitt Street Mall, Circular Quay and Martin Place. Against a backdrop of Lunar Lanterns – Ox, Rrabbit, Dragon, Goat and Tiger – watch  the performances highlight the concept of community.

Sydney - February 22, 2015: The 2015 City of Sydney Chinese New Year parade (photo by Jamie Williams/City of Sydney)

Sydney – February 22, 2015: The 2015 City of Sydney Chinese New Year parade (photo by Jamie Williams/City of Sydney)

Showcases include:

  • Street Monkeys – Fairfield’s Dauntless Movement Crew will perform monkey-inspired acrobatics throughout Sydney
  • Tai Chi Rabbits – Sydney Dance Company guest Kristina Chan will direct a ballet-inspired tai chi piece
  • Mah-Jongsters – Brent St Performing Arts School will perform tap routines wearing mahjong-tile-inspired costumes

Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub (Sat 6th – Sun 21st Feb, 8pm – midnight)

Walk under a 50-metre-long canopy of red lanterns at Sydney Town Hall and Capitol Theatre (courtesy of The Sound of Music) and marvel at the wondrous lights. Grab a drink at the Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Bar, the world’s smallest bar, or stop by The Star’s Fortune Garden to try out a game of mahjong. Don’t forget to take part in Westpac’s Lunar Snaps challenge which ends on the 22nd this month of February. Simply Instagram your best Lunar New Year pic with “#CNYSYD” and “#Westpac” to be in the running to win BridgeClimb passes for you and 6 friends.



Lunar Feasts (Sat 6th – Sun 21st Feb)

A night is not complete without some eating whether it’s street food or fine dining. Visit one of the 40 best Asian restaurants where set-price meals and Lunar New Year inspired menus await you. Make sure to book as these special offers are available for a limited time. For a comprehensive list, visit https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/posts/lunar-feasts



Monkey’s Happy Hour (Sat 6th – Sun 21st Feb, 5:30pm – 7:30pm)

Need something after a satisfying meal? Head over to selected venues to get special Monkey Hour drinks (~$8). Part of the profits will go to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to help with world-class brain cancer research.



  • Eat Love Pizza – 31 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour, Sydney
  • Quay Bar – 31 Alfred Street Customs House, Circular Quay, Sydney
  • Edinburgh Castle – 94 Pitt Street, Sydney
  • Chelsea Hotel – 14 Railway Street, Chatswood
  • Since I Left You – 338 Kent St, Sydney
since I left you


Dragon Boat Races (Sat 20th and Sun 21st Feb)

At Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, approximately 3000 paddlers will participate in the southern hemisphere’s largest dragon boat racing festival. Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, the official charity partner for the Chinese New Year Festival, will also have celebrities such as Jim Wilson (Channel 7), Richard Wilkins (Channel 9) and Prof Charlie Teo as participants. To sponsor the celebrity boat, go to http://curebraincancer.org.au

Eye-Dotting ceremony, Dragon Boat Races, Chinese New Year festival, 8th February 2014. Picture by DAMIAN SHAW.com

Eye-Dotting ceremony, Dragon Boat Races, Chinese New Year festival, 8th February 2014.
Picture by DAMIAN SHAW.com

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18 Fun Facts about Lunar New Year

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

Celebrating the Lunar New Year? Here are some fun facts!

1.2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey. Those born in the year of the Monkey are already known as intelligent, competitive and witty. The Fire element further influences the Monkey’s adventurous and energetic nature

2.Red symbolises fire and is the colour of longevity, wealth and happinessChinese+Zodiac+for+2016-+Year+of+the+Fire+Monkey

3.Celebrations of the new year take 15 days, but children in China take a month off from school and university students have an even longer break

4.Guests are offered Chinese new year sweets from an 8 compartment ‘tray of togetherness’ to sweeten their year. The tray includes kumquats for good health, coconut for harmony, peanuts for longevity and longan for “many good sons”cny-2013-8

5. Some families spend almost 2 weeks preparing for the New Year’s banquets

6. Fireworks and lots of noise is made to ward off evil spirits such as the dragon Nian. Legend has it, Nian used to enjoy scaring villagers every year until he got frightened from a villager’s red tunic


7. “Shou Sui” is a tradition where the family will stay up until midnight to greet the new year

8. The number 8 is considered lucky as it is a homophone for “wealth”


9. Since Scottish people celebrate Robert Burns Day on the 25th,  Chinese-Canadian Thomas Wong decided to combine the two cultures into a new festival known as “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” (Chinese Burns Night). It is celebrated through music, poetry, performances and finally ends in a large feast. People are sometimes seen wearing kilts to celebrate this day

10. Tofu is not eaten on the New Year as it is white and signifies death in Chinese culture


11. Similarly, the number ‘4’ is not used as it is considered unlucky. In some buildings, there are no 4th floors

12. Noodles symbolise long life and as such, should not be cut with scissors or knives


13. The first person a Chinese person meets and the first words that they hear define the kind of luck they will have for the rest of the year

14. Vases of flowers such as the plum blossom and water narcissus are classically associated with new year’s for regrowth


15. Bowls of oranges and tangerines are placed around the house to symbolise hope and prosperity, and apples represent peace

16. Chinese people open the windows at midnight to scare evil spirits from the house1506812_824069840998848_4346822870679524367_n

17. Young people who are being pressured by parents to get married are increasingly hiring ‘fake’ girlfriends and boyfriends from $20 to $600 a day to bring home to the family reunion

18. Red and gold banners with messages of good fortune usually decorate the front doors of houses and the entrances of rooms to invite luck


Feature Photo: Raul


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Case for Airline Ticket Scam Postponed

Written by News, Student Life

A woman under the alias of “Vi Tran” has been accused of dishonest retrieval of finances totaling almost 360 000 AUD. Approximately 300 international students from Sydney and Melbourne were scammed over Facebook, having been promised cheap flight tickets to Vietnam. However, once the fees were transferred, she provided them with an invalid code and disappeared. The victims could no longer get in contact with either “Vi Tran” or their money.


The court opened at 9:30 AM at the Downing Center today (03/02/16) for the initial mention. Among fifty other court cases was “Vi Tran’s”, outlining the allegations and claims made against her. However, her case has been adjourned for another two weeks as per her request so she can seek further legal advice.

At present, the court will continue to gather more evidence until  24/02/16. By that date she must plead guilty or not guilty so preparations for a formal trial can begin.


Some of the student victims who had been anxiously waiting outside the room for news were disappointed upon hearing that the date has been postponed. They could only glimpse “Vi Tran” as she left the court room along with presumably her family and lawyer.


If you are one of the victims or have any further information, please report and contact the Police to assist the investigation.

  1. Contact Sydney City Detectives on (02)92656499
  2. or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
  3. or Crime Stoppers online reporting page https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

All the information you provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and translators from all different languages are provided. Police advise to not report crimes via social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.

photos: Thi Tran

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Happy Australia Day

Written by Student Life, Uncategorized

What is Australia Day?

Today is a national public holiday which celebrates the founding of the first European settlement in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip. His fleet, the First Fleet of British Ships landed at Port Jackson and claimed Australia as Great Britain’s own by raising the flag. The action of landing began the history-long battle between Australians and native Australians that is still present and continuing (even if it’s not visible).


Why do we celebrate?

A columnist for brisbanetimes.com proposes that we change the date of Australia Day. Why not because, if we were being honest, not many Australians who were born here remember why we even celebrate it anyway (sometimes they even forget the date). Or maybe if we do remember the brief reason, there’s still a disconnect. Nowadays we associate today with lazing about, celebrating all things Australian (drinks and barbecues, anyone?) And “the only people who really care about the arrival of the First Fleet are the poor bastards who lost their country because of it”. So why should the rest of us care? There’s the beach, fireworks, good food and family time. What’s not to like?

However, it’s the ‘newly-made’ Australians, those who’ve come from overseas and especially Indigenous Australians who find more meaning in this day. It was a day of successful settlement by one country, a day of invasion for another. And if we looked a little closer, we question why our present generation should feel guilt if we’re three centuries removed from what happened.

It’s an idea that we would rather not think about – it’s ‘irrelevant’, ‘ unimportant’…but only to us, the non-indigenous Australians. The proposal, made by an Anglo-Saxon person, to move the date to just some other day so that we can “get another piss-up at the dry end of the year” diminishes the importance of the date. We’ve already physically moved native Australians out of their homes, so why not move their day of commemoration as well.

It’s like if your birthday was on Christmas, and your family are big celebrators of the holiday. Why not move it to the beginning of the year so that you can get one celebration at the beginning of the year, and another at the end of the year. Plus, if you’re into presents, you would get two gifts instead of one. More convenient? Probably. Would you want to though? Maybe, maybe not.

Even if a public holiday isn’t as individually important to someone as their personal holiday, it uses a similar principle. In moving a date, we are only thinking of moving the culture of food and drink for our own convenience. In time, we may forget the reason why we moved the day, and maybe even why the day existed in the first place.


People are a-historical

There’s a concern with people, and more commonly youths of today, being known as “a-historical”. That is, without knowledge of where they came from or what their heritage is. It’s the idea of ‘irrelevance’ again – we just don’t care enough to know. And why would we when it doesn’t affect us directly or have any visible importance in our daily lives?

Although I can see where the columnist is coming from, there’s a reason why we celebrate and remember something on one particular day every year. For quite a number of people, there’s a sense of tradition and a sense of connection to history. When we remember history, we remember that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents celebrated a certain day or movement or language. We move back in time and, in doing so, we connect to our culture. We can establish our identity.


If we think a little more closer, what does it mean to be Australian? Is it the Australians who go through the motions and have big lunches and dinners, is it the Asian family who waves around the Australian flag, is it the Australian who has no idea what Australia Day is about, is it the Aboriginal family that stands off to the side?

It’s all of these things.

So, on Australia Day, every year, there’s the smell of coals and sunscreen, but also celebration and acknowledgement.


photo: http://www.australian-flag.org/australia-flag-648.jpg

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Local Foreigner in Vietnam

Written by Entertainment, Uncategorized

When you’re an Australian local who’s never been to their home country before, you’re going to find a few things different. Here are six of them:


Smaller places only specialise in one thing whether it is pho or noodles, and can be an actual establishment with tiled floors, or out on the street with food served from enormous pots. In the mornings, peak hour is usually 9 am and there’s little to select from after that. At all the restaurants that I’ve been to, iced tea is served like Australia’s standard table water – the servers nod as soon they know what you’re asking for: “Can I please get iced te-” “Yes”.



Viet people seem to really like their coffee. It’s everywhere – found at home, sold in cafes, stalls parked on the side of the street, even at the beach (when you don’t need the extra heat). As I was looking out of the taxi window I’m sure  there were at least five on one street. The names were original though, like “Startup Coffee Shop” and “No Name”. In the late afternoons or evenings, people can be seen sitting around the low wooden tables in their sandals and shorts, a cigarette in hand and their coffee beside them.



It was really strange to see the beach being shared by swimmers and fishermen – relaxed families and hard-workers side-by-side. You can rent large, thatched, mushroom-shaped shelters for the day, complete with beach chairs and banana lounges. It’s also not uncommon to see people cooking sea creatures caught straight from the ocean on a small grill over coals (the smell was amazing).



You can find large places, such as warehouses or churches, that have been re-purposed to fit hundreds of stores selling clothing, food, jewellery or souvenirs. But, when I say “stores”, I actually mean piles of food or clothes neatly stacked inside each tiny rectangular area which are crammed beside each other. The shop keepers themselves sit in what space they can find and try to keep cool. Speaking of shop keepers, you need to know how to negotiate with them.



You can walk right underneath the waterfall or as close as you possibly dare, which is a refreshing (and slightly frightening) change from the places that I’ve been to in Australia. In Vietnam, there are no handrails or people there to warn you that you will get drenched (even if you think you’re standing more than far away enough – it’s surprising how far spray can travel). 



Vietnamese people can hustle. When the sun doesn’t even touch building tops, people are selling goods from wicker baskets attached to the back of their bicycles or wagons. It became normal for me to wake up to a loud, pre-recorded voice of “Bread! Hot bread here!” blaring from a speaker as a hustler cycled around the apartments.

Photo: Nguyen Huu Trong

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