Englishman makes friends on rugby field in SZ

Ben Tomkinson

Ben Tomlinson started playing rugby when he was 8. The full-contact sport has colored his life in China as he plays for a Shenzhen-based rugby club in his spare time.

The 25-year-old from the United Kingdom has worked as an English teacher at Futian Foreign Language School of Shenzhen since July last year. He joined the Shenzhen Dragons, a rugby club mainly consisting of expat players, after he settled in the city.

The rugby club, which is sponsored by several foreign-funded brands, has played against other rugby clubs in Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Hong Kong and other cities around China.

“We were the best team last year. We won an All-China cup and the South China league,” Tomkinson said.

According to Tomkinson, the rugby team was founded by a group of expats six years ago and is the newest rugby club in South China. He added that anyone is welcome to join the club as a social member or a player regardless of age or ability, but they have to pay an annual membership fee ranging from 200 to 800 yuan (US$30.77 to US$123).

“We train ourselves. We don’t have a coach,” he said, adding that the routine trainings were held twice a week in Nanshan and Futian districts. The club also has a women’s rugby team, while rugby training courses for children have been held every Saturday beginning two months ago.

“A small guy could be fast, so he can run away,” he said, adding that playing rugby is not just about the size of a player.

In the club Tomkinson makes lots of close friends, with whom he trains, plays and organizes rugby courses and tournaments.

“We started the child trainings together as a group idea. It’s not like a random guy saying we have to do this. It’s our own initiative,” he added.

Tomkinson said that as an international tradition of rugby games, players of two rival teams always wear their own specially designed costumes in after-parties. He has seen a whole team dressed up as ninjas, Sponge Bobs or Elvises.

Rugby is not the only sport that Tomkinson plays. He started playing soccer when he was 5 and learned how to play cricket when he was 10. Although he said he was too old to be a professional rugby player, his passion for sports may never fade.

Hungarian physiologist in pursuit of fitness dream

Ruben Alaverdo

CLAD in a black leather jacket that highlighted his athletic figure, Ruben Alaverdo breezed into a coffee shop in Bao’an District with a smile on his face on a brilliant spring day.

Trained as a physiologist in university in his home country, Alaverdo came to Shenzhen 14 years ago on a work invitation from a local fitness and beauty salon. All three of his colleagues who came with him had returned home before their contracts expired, but Alaverdo stayed.

“The first year was very difficult,” he recalled. “The weather, the culture, and the food, there were too many things we had to adapt ourselves to.”

He was fortunate, Alaverdo said, to have made friends with a few expatriates who taught him about doing business during that time. In 2007, Alaverdo started his own trading company in Hong Kong and the business has since expanded, exporting a wide range of Shenzhen-made products such as electronics and LEDs (light emitting diodes) to foreign countries.

Once crowned at a national fitness competition in Hungary, Alaverdo has always had a passion for bodybuilding.

Working out on a daily basis, he also has visited quite a few gyms in Shenzhen and has never stopped updating his knowledge on the new findings in the field.

Alaverdo said he has used the bodybuilding theories he knows to reduce his body fat by 7 percent. Without resorting to using the technical jargon, he is good at explaining the theories behind his training methods in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

Before he came to Shenzhen, Alaverdo worked in his home country helping train Olympic athletes and he had hoped to share his knowledge by opening a gym of his own.

“I went to many gyms in the city and found some good ones,” he said. “I found there is a common problem with some businesses here: they lack a passion for what they’re doing.”

People in Europe are prone to choose a career by following their hearts. “If a person has a passion for food, he chooses to open a restaurant. If a person has a passion for fitness, he opens a gym,” he said. “Unlike here, people usually do it only because it makes money.”

Consulate of the Republic of Belarus opens in Guangzhou

The Consulate General of Republic of Belarus in Guangzhou held an opening ceremony on Nov. 9.

On November 9th, the Consulate General of Republic of Belarus in Guangzhou held an opening ceremony at Zhujiang New Town. The office will cover Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Hainan, Jiangxi Provinces as well as the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Before attending the opening ceremony, Zhang Guangjun, Vice Governor of Guangdong Province, met with Andrei Dapkiunas, the Republic of Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with a delegation.

Zhang said that in recent years, the local exchange and cooperation between Guangdong and the Republic of Belarus had been further strengthened. “China-Belarus Industrial Park is one of the large-scale projects part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Guangdong’s participation in the construction of industrial park shows that Guangdong has firmly seized the historic opportunities brought by The Belt and Road Initiative to further expand the cooperation between two countries in the fields of economy, tourism, transportation, logistics industry, information industry and so on.”

Dapkiunas expressed that the consulate general in Guangzhou will fulfill an essential role as a bridge between the two countries and promote future cooperation. Dapkiunas stated, “I felt the passion from Guangzhou, we will provide necessary cooperation on the governmental to promote communication between Guangzhou and Belarus.”

The China-Belarus Industrial Park is located in the suburbs of Minsk, the capital of Belarus. The key projects of the China-Belarus Industrial Park are the development of electronic information, more efficient manufacturing, the logistics industry, and warehousing.

Author | Xiaowen, Hainan

Editor | Simon, Olivia

An Ecuadorian rose shines your journey beyond the heights

The flower wall made by 2,000 roses.[Photo by Newsgd.com]

March 8, the International Women’s Day, over 6,300 female passengers of the China Southern Airlines on over 50 selected domestic flights received a bracelet with preserved premium fresh Ecuadorian roses.

The domestic VIP check-in lounge of Baiyun International Airport is decorated by 5,000 roses, including a flower wall made by 2,000 roses. Most of the passengers are attracted by these colorful roses.

VIP check-in lounge of Baiyun International Airport decorated by Ecuadorian roses.[Photo by Newsgd.com]

To pay tribute to the Chinese Woman on her International Day, it is the second time that the Consulate General of Ecuador in Guangzhou together with Southern Airlines to release the rose campaign. The theme of this year is “An Ecuadorian Rose Shines Your Journey Beyond the Heights”.

Ambassador of Ecuador in China Mr. Jose Borja(L3),Consul General of Ecuador in Guangzhou, Ms Mariella Molina(R3) and Chief Service Officer of China Southern Airlines Mr,?Guo Jianye(L4) [Photo by Newsgd.com]

Consul General of Ecuador in Guangzhou, Ms Mariella Molina introduced that Ecuador is the world’s third-largest exported of cut flowers, 73 percent of which are roses, and over 500 rose varieties currently being produced in Ecuador. The flower industry in Ecuador employs more than 100,000 people, from which, more than a half are women. Nowadays, the modern women plays an irreplaceable role in the world. This campaign is a way to pay respect to women’s efforts in pursuing their dreams.

Ambassador of Ecuador in China Mr. Jose Borja said that the campaign not only helped promote the development of bilateral economy and trade, they helped strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

Bracelet with preserved premium fresh Ecuadorian roses. [Photo by Newsgd.com]

This campaign was prepared from last October, and all the roses were selected according to the theme of this campaign. The color of the preserved roses is match up with Southern Airline theme. The roses which be made as preserved rose were delivered to China on January 10, and cost 2 months to prepare. The fresh roses delivered China 8 days ago. The fresh roses have long lasting vase life of 15 days.

VIP check-in lounge of Baiyun International Airport decorated by Ecuadorian roses.[Photo by Newsgd.com]

Ecuador has been the main supplier of imported roses to the Chinese market during the last year. According to the figures of China custom, Ecuador had in 2016, 65.64% of China market share.

More pictures of Ecuadorian roses, please click here.

Royal wedding celebration held in Guangzhou

On May 19, 2018, the British Consulate-General in Guangzhou partnered with a local renowned British bar and restaurant The Happy Monk to turn the deck floor of the restaurant along the Pearl River into a get-together place for friends of the UK to view the live broadcast of wedding ceremony of the HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle.

Karen Maddocks, British Consul-General in Guangzhou giving a speech. (Photo: Daniel Sun)

Three countries officially launch joint visa application center in Shenzhen

The new visa application center for France, Germany and the Netherlands in Shenzhen officially opened its doors on May 3.

Each year more and more Chinese citizens travel to Europe. TLScontact and their local partner CIIC handle over 170,000 visa applications per year for tourists, companies, individual travelers and traders travelling to France, Germany and the Netherlands. With the simplified visa application procedures, France, Germany and the Netherlands hope to welcome even more Chinese tourists.

Around 40 percent of all visa applications the French, German and Dutch Consulates General in Guangzhou received last year came from applicants living in or around Shenzhen.

The new visa application center in Shenzhen with its customer oriented approach will offer a high level of service to visa applicants. People who want?travel these?countries?can apply faster, more comfortable and over a shorter distance for their Schengen visa.

The new visa center will be used to record biometric data and submit visa applications. All applications will be transferred to the Consulates General in Guangzhou for processing.

Address of the visa application center:

Room 0406, 1, News Building, No. 1002 Shennan Zhong Road, Futian District, 518027 Shenzhen

Opening hours (Except public holidays)

08:30 to 12:30 – 13:30 to 16:30/ Monday to Friday

Experimental Peking opera “Faust” starts premiere tour in Germany

The poster of the experimental Peking opera “Faust” (file photo)

Experimental Peking opera “Faust” was staged Monday evening in the western city of Wiesbaden, starting its premiere tour in Germany.

Co-produced by China National Peking Opera Company and Italy’s Emilia Romagna Theater Foundation, the play was performed as part of the International May Festival, a world-known traditional theater festival.

The story was based on a breakthrough adaptation of the Western masterpiece “Faust,” written by Johann Wolfgang Goethe more than 200 years ago. The play combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics.

Since its debut in 2015, the opera has been staged over 70 times,triggering warm responses from audience as it offers a creative blend of Western classic with oriental culture as well as presents a perfect cooperation between Chinese artists and performers from Italy and Germany.

“We have come to the homeland of ‘Faust’ to examine our three years’ efforts,” said Xu Mengke, co-director of the opera.

“It was a great performance during which I was touched by the actors’ and actresses’ deep emotion,” a German audience told Xinhua after the play, adding that he could well understand the performers’ body language although the Chinese dialogue was difficult to catch.

The opera has been added to this year’s German-Chinese cultural program, a national event in Germany featuring the theme “China Today” to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The play will be staged in other cities including Duisburg, Kassel and Saarlouis till the end of May.

Roman: a man with six-pack can speak 5 languages

“Chinese is so difficult to learn! You have to put lots of time and efforts to prepare before and after the classes, in order to memorize a large number of characters and grammars,” says Stoszek Roman, who hails from Slovakia and has studied Chinese in Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) for eight months.

Roman in the interview.

Roman loves studying languages and has studied Italian, German and English in college. He is also learning some Russian as there are many Russian students in GDUFS. For him, language is the entrance to people. “To understand a nation’s culture, you must know the language,” says Roman.

“I feel somehow in my heart that I would like to experience Eastern things. China not only has huge commercial potential, it is also a country that you can get lots of experience and become internal rich,” explains Roman who prepared for a year to get the Confucius Scholarship while working as a legal translator in Slovakia.

Roman picked up a private teacher for learning Chinese and spent three to four hours after work every day studying the language. “You had to put aside many opportunities or hobbies, and just learn, learn, learn,” said Roman.

The scholarship prepared him for life in Guangdong which covers accommodations and provides a 3,500 RMB per month stipend. It saves him from worries of making a living and gives him more time and energy to study here.

Roman works as a part time legal translator and learns business and law as well. He has found some business opportunities in Guangdong.

“The food industry is interesting. Here I have problems finding foods that I used to in my country, like cheese. The choice is limited and the price is double or even triple. When prices differ that much, there are huge commercial opportunities,” said Roman.

Roman plans to stay in China for five to seven years until he is fluent in Mandarin. After this semester, he plans to apply for another scholarship to continue his studies. Guangdong will still be his first choice. “Shanghai is isolated. Guangdong is near Hong Kong, and it’s quite good,” says Roman.

“I want to have some major success in Chinese. I’m still preparing for the HSK 5 test. It’s hard, but I have to try,” Roman said. “If I fail to get the scholarship to continue my studies, then I will apply for it next year,” he said. It seems that either way, Stoszek Roman is determined to be a master in Mandarin.

(By Sylvia)

HSBC BWF World Tour Finals’ athletes get a taste of Cantonese cuisine handcrafted by the LN Garden Hotel

This December, the LN Garden Hotel has the pleasure to host the elite international athletes and VIP delegates for the iconic badminton sporting event, the “2018 HSBC BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Tour Finals.” This marks the first time that the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals have been held in Guangzhou, and from December 12-16 the world’s top international badminton athletes will battle to the finals. The LN Garden Hotel is the official catering service provider for the tournament and the host hotel for the athletes and VIP delegates during the week-long tournament.

For any professional athlete, one key to an amazing performance is a healthy meal. By offering selections that are both nutritious and delicious, the hotel’s service team takes pride in helping the athletes fuel up before their important matches. All the menus are prepared and executed in accordance with strict food quality standards and balanced nutrition. A healthy diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), and high-quality proteins (such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes) is a part of the tailor-made breakfast, lunch and dinner menus for athletes which is being offered on all the tournament days. Since this is the first time the event has ever been held in Guangzhou, the hotel took this as an opportunity to introduce the distinguished guests attending the tournament and VIP delegates from HSBC and BWF federation to some signature Cantonese dishes including the Barbecued Pork Puff Pastry, Steamed “Siu Mai”, Fried Rice with Preserved Meat and many more.

The Hotel’s service team is enthusiastically executing the responsibility over the consecutive tournament days despite cold weather conditions prevalent in the city, and is offering world-class hospitality and three healthy meals a day for the athletes and VIP delegates during their stay.

On December 10, a ‘Fun Dim Sum’ Workshop was organized an hour before the finals’ draw announcement, which was intended to help release some pressure from the players while providing an experience with Cantonese cuisine and culture. The workshop was led by the hotel’s head Dim Sum Chef Ben Chen, who has over 30 years of culinary experience. Later that evening, an elegant Gala Dinner was organized at the Hotel’s Grand Ballroom which was attended by athletes, HSBC and BWF’s VIP guests and the mayor of Guangzhou. The hotel’s professional chefs and service team expertly executed this elaborate feast for over 350 guests.

This is the second time that the LN Garden Hotel has provided this kind of service for HSBC; the first was an extravagant outside catering for over 5000 guests in 2015. Guangzhou has a storied badminton tradition, having produced eight world champions and two Olympic champions and hosted many important badminton events; hosting the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals is another milestone event for the city. The LN Garden Hotel has a proven track record of hosting large-scale, iconic events for renowned organizations, and has been the strategic venue partner for prestigious international events, including the 2010 Guangzhou Asia Games. In December of 2017, the LN Garden Hotel added a new milestone in its outside catering service by successfully hosting the Gala Dinner for the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, presenting authentic Cantonese and international gourmet dishes to more than 1000 distinguished guests. In September of 2018, the hotel executed outside catering service for the more than 2500 delegates of the 24th World Route Development Forum in Guangzhou, and in the same month also executed the Gala dinner for the 12th Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin. The LN Garden hotel has been a forerunner in executing outside catering for numerous government and international events.