Newsletter: 2019 June

"Twere pleasant, that in flowery June, when brooks send up a cheerful tune..."

– William Collen Bryant (1794-1878) – 

If you read TCG’s June’s newsletter last year, did you make it to Rovaniemi and experience the 24-hours daylight? If you didn’t, this year, you could catch the experience from 7th June till 6th July. Remember, the longest day in the northern hemisphere will be 21st June, there is still time to book that flight to Helsinki!

For our Muslim friends, they will be celebrating the Eid-Al-Fitr holidays starting on 4th June to mark the end of the Islamic holy month, Ramadan. Wishing them ‘Eid-Mubarak’ shall bring blessings and joys to all. Other celebrations around June include the Chinese’s Duanwu Jie, also known as the dragon boat festival on 7th June, and Shavuot (an ancient agricultural festival that marks a significant event of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai) for the Jews, starting on the 8th and ends on 10th June.
By the way, this is also the time of the year when you might want to look up at the sky. Every year in early June, the Arietids meteor showers (shooting stars) streak across the sky (it usually peaks around 7th or 8th June). To find out more, click here. Who knows, you might be lucky enough to wish upon a shooting star and have your wish come true!
Let’s get out there, and discover the richness the world has to offer us!

Where in the world can you find these colourful buildings?

Here is the answer for May’s Photo Contest:
U.S.A.
The building is the Tribune Tower. You can find fragments brought back from correspondents, taken from world’s famous sites, such as: The Great Pyramid, Notre Dame de Paris, The Forbidden City, The Berlin Wall, Hagia Sophia, Taj Mahal and many more… Today, the Chicago Tribune no longer owns the tower, but it’s still definitely a legendary building in downtown Chicago!
Click these links to find out about the history of the iconic Tribune Tower:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiOIeAH0UGc

Want to find out what are the 149 famous “foreign” fragments on the wall:

A Journey A Month...
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.

This month, we want to take the Chinese festival of Duanwu, and speak about how it may help us in making cultural connections with others. If you haven’t watched the National Geographic’s video clip on Duanwu in the section above, please click here to find out its interesting cultural background, customs and activities: China’s Dragon Boat Festival Celebrations.
Now that you have watched the video clip from NATGEO, you must have noticed that, though celebrating the same festival, there are different types of dragon boats made for the races (I love those little round basin-liked fishing boats!), there are also different rice dumplings made from different ingredients, and wrapped in various forms and shapes.
For the last week, I have been browsing through the online promotions of restaurants, advertising all sorts of different rice dumplings, abalone, Japanese purple sweet potatoes, durian, etc. In a cosmopolitan city-state like Singapore, varieties count! To my family, Duanwu Jie has always held a special meaning, because according to the Chinese calendar, my elder brother was born on this day. So, as a little girl, those delicious homemade rice dumplings were the “cakes” I got to enjoy on my big brother’s special day until I learned the story about the patriotic poet, and the significance of the festival to my ancestors.
My love for the rice dumplings continues till today. Even though we now can find them throughout the year, but I will search the market during this festive season, just to try to find the reminiscent childhood flavour that I so loved. It is clearly a nostalgic quest because I should know that nothing will ever bring back the taste of those dumplings wrapped by my mother.
During the festival, we also see communities from Chinese villages to international cities around the world, enthusiastically taking part in organised dragon boat races. From Ottawa to Auckland, participating paddlers train for months before these races. Today, the International Dragon Boat Federation has a member list of over 50 dragon boat associations from different nations. This vibrant activity, steep in ancient history, has become a popular high-performance team sport, especially for corporations that want to build strong “community spirits” within.
Whether you are rowing, beating the drum on the boats, or simply cheering for them, there is always a “shared” energy, because everyone participates. Less exerting perhaps, but in a similar fashion, when there is a common dish for everyone to “dip in” around a dinner table, there is always this sense of doing things together, which has a unique unifying effect that helps bind us as a group.
So, the next time when you need to build “unity” around Diversity, we suggest you look into how “food” and “sport” can help.
One action you can try is to start your conversation with someone from the group by simply asking them what the best dishes from their culture are, or what are their favourite sports. You may be amazed at how these small talk topics can open people up for conversations.
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And, if you are planning for a cross-cultural team meeting, plan for a meal (where sharing is necessary), so that you could bring everyone back together should things get too testy in the discussions. If outdoor sports are not possible, competitive in-door activities can also help bind members of “sub-teams” and diffuse contentious situations. Technically, the higher the intensity of the competition between sub-groups, the stronger you can build a bond within each. Comradery is often enforced when people have a shared purpose, especially when they have to confront external forces with that purpose intact!
Throughout human history, some things unite us, and some divide. Food and sports usually have the tendencies to unite people, and through festive celebrations, they bring us back to the cultural heritage that we each hold dear and preserve through times past. Together, when we share our different cultural DNAs, we make the world richer for the others, and also for us.

Have fun with June!

We, at TransCultural Group (TCG), are determined to play our parts in making the world a better place, and we have teamed up with the Cultural Intelligence Centre, U.S.A to bring their well-researched and designed CQ assessment tools to our clients in the Asia Pacific.

We are passionate about building bridges and breaking down walls. Please join us in our journey,

Beyond Boundaries – Crossing Cultures

We have so much in common, we just don't always notice it...

Spread the words, share the vision, do our parts:
There is more that we share in common than what divides us.

To learn about Cultural snippets and festivals around the world, you can also subscribe to TCG’s Youth’s Cross-Cultural Competency course here:

https://www.transculturalgroup.com/youth-young-adults-pricing/

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