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Newsletter: 2023 June

TCG June 2023 Newsletter greeting

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

- Confucius (孔子), Chinese philosopher, c.551-c.479 BCE

There will be several cultural and religious events, plus a number of national day celebrations this month. If you have read our April and May newsletters, in some countries, Vesak is still celebrated:

  • 2nd: Italy National Day.
  • 2nd/3rd/4th: Vesak Day (in Singapore/Thailand/Indonesia.)
  • 6th: Sweden National Day.
  • 10th: Portugal Day.
  • 12th: Philippines Independence Day and Russia National Day.
  • 17th: Iceland Independence Day.
  • 18th: International Father’s Day.
  • 21st: Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) and Winter Solstice (Southern Hemisphere).
  • 22nd: Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.)
  • 27th/28th/29th: Eid Al Adha.

Amongst the different Chinese festivities, Dragon Boat Festival (端午节) is one of my favourites. I love Zongzi (粽子), for the “sticky rice dumplings” bring back childhood memories of Mum wrapping the pyramid-shaped dumplings in reed leaves and cooking them in a large steel bucket filled with water over the charcoal fire. Today, in most Asian cities or china towns, we can easily find and enjoy these dumplings.

For our Muslim friends, Eid Al Adha is special; it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. Other than the pilgrimage to Mecca, giving charity in the form of money, food or clothes to those in need is also a key tradition.

And as we enter mid-year, people in the Northern Hemisphere will welcome the longest day of the year with Summer Solstice (21st). Some gather at the prehistoric site Stonehenge (the U.K.) to watch the rising sun; others celebrate the Midnight Sun Festival in Tromsø (Norway), etc. At the same time, it is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, with Peruvians celebrating Incan Festival Inti Raymi (Feast of Inca worshipping the Sun God), and Argentinians observing the Dia de la Reflexión (Day of Private Reflection).

With all these – “Let us listen to June’s song, a melody of Life and Harmony. In nature’s embrace, we shall all belong…”

“To June!”

TCG June 2023 brush and ink with Chinese characters


A Journey A Month…

Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.


Here is the original Confucius’s Analects text for our June’s quote: 子曰:“譬如为山,未成一篑,止,吾止也;譬如平地,虽覆一篑,进,吾往也。”

Confucius said: “If you build a mountain with soil, it will come to a point when it needs only one more basket to complete it. You may be exhausted; your decision to give it all up or continue moving forward is ultimately yours.” To Confucius, perseverance is a virtue. This month’s newsletter is our 68th! We have published the monthly newsletter since Nov 2017. For those who have followed us for some time, we hope you enjoy and find something new each month. Hopefully, you have built a library of cross-cultural “small talk” to help you expand your international network. Now, are you ready to have more? Let’s start with the following:

Q1. Which country is the world’s smallest, and which is the largest? If you think Singapore (728 km2 or 281 sq mi) is small, you are far from it. Vatican City, an enclave within Rome, is the smallest country, with an area of only 0.49 km2 (0.19 sq mi) and a population of less than 500. Russia is the largest country with 17,098,246 km2 (6,601,670 sq mi) and a population of ~145 million. (source: Wikipedia)

Q2. Please name the world’s oldest diplomatic alliance. It is the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance (Aliança Luso-Inglesa). The diplomatic/military alliance was established by the Treaty of Windsor in 1386 between the Kingdom of England (now the United Kingdom) and the Kingdom of Portugal (now the Portuguese Republic). Historically, Portugal and the UK have never waged war against each other, nor have they participated in battles on opposite sides as independent states since the signing of the Treaty. (source: Wikipedia.)

TCG June 2023 newsletter collage

Q3. When did Swedish become the official national language in Sweden? Even though Swedish has long been used in local and state governments, it didn’t become the official national language by law until 2009. Besides Finnish, Swedish is also one of Finland’s two official national languages. (source: Wikipedia.)

Q4. How did chillies arrive in India? Thanks to Columbus’ accidental discovery of the Americas, chillies, potatoes, tomatoes, etc., were brought to Europe. Towards the 16th century, European (Portuguese, Dutch and English) ) traders introduced them to the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and Asia. It is an amazing global journey, and if you have 15 mins and want to find out more about how Columbus’ mistakes shaped our modern world, you can watch these TCG clips: TCG SEC SK Modules 07 Chili EN Part1 and TCG SEC SK Modules 07 Chili EN Part2. (source: Wikipedia, TCG Passport series)

Q5. How old is Rome, Italy’s capital city? The traditional date for the founding of Rome is 21st April, 753 BCE; hence, the history of Rome spans about 28 centuries (2,775 years.) The original population of Rome consisted of Latins, Etruscans, and Sabines. Eventually, Rome became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the birthplace of Western civilization. The poet Tibullus called Rome the Eternal City. (source: Wikipedia,


For more facts about June’s events, please watch the following Youtube clips:

“Happy June!”

The world is fascinating simply because differences exist!

Join us to spread the words, share the vision, and do our parts.

At TransCultural Group (TCG), we are determined to play our part in making the world a better place. We have launched an e-book for Youth. We have also uploaded the complete series of “Food around the World” on our YouTube channel.

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Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries

Secret Garden of N

Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO
TransCultural Group