Singing in the New Year

By Gus Bode

In addition to eating traditional foods to bring in the Chinese New Year, students from the Center for English as a Second Language took part in a more contemporary Asian pastime – karaoke.

More than 50 students from across the globe gathered Friday in Faner Hall to eat Asian food and sing karaoke in celebration of the first day of the Chinese New Year, which officially began Sunday.

Karaoke is a popular form of entertainment in China, said Olivia Chen, a CESL student from China. She said the pressures of Chinese society have caused the practice to become more popular.


“On the weekend, after school or after work, we karaoke,” she said.

Thach Vo, a CESL student from Vietnam, sang karaoke to “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song to the blockbuster “Titanic.” Vo said the song, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997, is still popular in Vietnam.

CESL Director Marilyn Rivers said Friday was the first time the center celebrated the Chinese New Year. She said the event is not exclusive to Chinese students, because many Asian countries celebrate the holiday.

Max Yen, an engineering professor from Taiwan, said the Chinese New Year is traditionally an opportunity to reflect and recuperate from the past year.

“It’s like our Christmas,” he said.

Marc Chang, a CESL student from Taiwan, made tea eggs – a traditional Chinese dish often associated with the New Year – for the event.

“Tea eggs bring luck,” he said.


Jiyoung Lee, a CESL student from South Korea, wore a handmade hanbok to the event. Hanboks are traditional pieces of Korean clothing known for having many colors and no pockets. Lee said she only wears the hanbok on days of celebration.

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association will host a performance in celebration of the new year today at the Carbondale Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $6.

[email protected]

536-3311 ext. 259