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Unity in diversity: highlights from Tsinghua Gala Night 2024

By Kor Zhe Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-27 08:49
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Students from the US, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Germany performed a pop song at the Tsinghua International Students &Scholars' Gala Night. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Tsinghua International Students & Scholars' Gala Night, affectionately known as the "Gala Night", has been a cherished tradition for over three decades.

Annually, as the year draws to a close, it unites the university's 3,000 international students from more than 120 countries in a harmonious celebration of the new year.

In my capacity as the president of the Association of International Cultural Exchange and the primary student coordinator for the event, I'm honored to have had the challenging yet meaningful task of orchestrating an evening that transcends borders and fosters lasting connections among international and Chinese students.

Just like every other Gala Night, this year's event, held on Dec 15, showcased a myriad of captivating performances.

The night commenced with the performance of the 24 Festive Drums, a mesmerizing fusion of the 24 solar terms on the Chinese lunar calendar and calligraphy, as well as the traditional lion dance drumming.

This performance unfolded each solar term with unique drum beats, accompanied by spirited shouts, dynamic movements, and captivating formations. Beyond its rhythmic prowess, it carried a profound significance in preserving and showcasing the essence of both Chinese and Malaysian culture.

"From the traditional simplicity of Malay dance to the graceful elegance of Chinese dance, we took you on a vibrant journey through a cultural feast of colors and lights," said Heng Rok Meng, one of the Malaysian performers and a senior student majoring in software engineering at Tsinghua.

"The dance is both a heartfelt homage to Malaysia's profound cultural legacy and a radiant wish for a future where all communities join hands in pursuit of harmony and prosperity," added Khor Zin, another Malaysian performer and a senior student in the Department of Construction Management.

One performance that left an impression on me was the Mongolian dance, which portrayed the vastness of the grasslands and the courage of its people.

"The movements in Mongolian traditional dance are predominantly characterized by powerful yet gentle and fluid motions. The dance incorporates distinctive actions such as horseback riding, wrestling, and archery, which are unique to the nomadic cultures of the grasslands," said Jay Barkhasbaatar, one of the performers and a Mongolian student at Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management.

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