This year, I am issuing a challenge to men everywhere to enth

husiastically rise to the occasion to correct the misconception that they are not romantic. Take the t

ime to figure out what kind of gift would touch the heart of your woman, and buy it for her if you can af

ford it. Fight the temptation to purchase gifts that are perhaps useful but not so romantic.

Most women love it when men give them more personal gifts. A man should a

llocate enough time to create a gift that a woman may truly appreciate, such as w

riting a poem expressing his love for her, cooking a delicious meal for two, or arranging a spa treatment for her.

For some people, Valentine’s Day is the loneliest day of the year. For tho

se who have no significant other, go out to spend the evening with your peers in a bar or a ni

ghtclub, as many such entertainment establishments in cities host special events for the evening. You may be lucky eno

ugh to meet the person of your dreams. But even if you don’t, chances are you could still have a wonderful time.

Finally, I wish women and men everywhere a very happy Valentine’s Day.Sava Hassan is a Canadian-Egyptian educator.

www.ashmh.com

old Hunan art form sees revival during Lunar New Year

Deng Xia, a fan of Huagu (“flowery drum”) Opera, a local art form of Yueyang in

Central China’s Hunan province, barely misses such shows at the One Yuan Theater.

“It has enriched the cultural life of residents like me,” Deng, 35, says.

“In the past, we could appreciate the Huagu Opera, mostly during important festivals such as Lunar New Year, but now we can watch it often.”

The One Yuan Theater, located in Rongjiawan town of Yueyang, has staged 30 to 50 Huag

u Opera shows annually since 2012, with the audience numbers for each show sometimes touching 1,000.

“Some people bring along stools or are even willing to stand through a show of two or three hours,” says Deng of the theater that has a seating capacity of 800.

To enjoy a show, each viewer has to pay only 1 yuan ($0.15) as admission fee to the theater, as the prog

rams are covered by government funding. The initiative to provide regular and nearly-free shows to lo

cal residents has been successful in bringing the once-dead cultural heritage back to life.

www.gzbbnet.com

Imax shatters Chinese New Year opening box office record

Imax box offices set a new record over the Chinese New Year period starting on Feb 5, grossing 217 million yuan ($32.3 million) across its 599 theaters in China.

Imax Corporation and Imax China said in a news release on Feb 11 that the results were driven by the

strong performances of three local-language films – The Wandering Earth, Crazy Alien and Peg

asus. The sales figures marked Imax China’s best Chinese New Year performance ever, up 40 percent year-on-year.

The Wandering Earth, China’s first big-budget sci-fi film, led the pack by grossing more than

185 million yuan in Imax theaters to become the highest grossing local-language film in Imax hi

story, surpassing Mojin: The Lost Legend. Imax screenings accounted for more than 9 percent of the film’s gross ov

erall takings. The film also set new Imax records for the biggest opening week, surpassing Avengers: Infinity War, as

well as the biggest single day and best three-day performance for a local-language title.

“We are very pleased with these record-breaking Chinese New Year results, which are particularly significant when com

pared to 2018’s record performance that was up 80 percent over the previous year,” said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

gzbbae.com

Yueyang Huagu Opera originated more than 200 years ago. It is

 mainly popular in a dozen counties and cities in not just Hunan, but also in the adjacent Hubei province and the eastern Jiangxi province.

In its long development process, the opera has widely absorbed features of Yueyang folk tunes and artistic factors of other opera types to f

orm its own style. Traditionally, Huagu Opera had no full-time performing troupes, and was only pe

rformed by amateur artists, most of whom were local farmers, during slack farming seasons on temporary stages.

In 2007, Yueyang Huagu Opera was recognized by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, as a n

ational intangible cultural heritage for its cultural, historical and artistic significance.

In recent years, measures have been taken by the local government to promote the art form.

The One Yuan Theater, which aims to cultivate more audience, has been a successful att

empt, says Yi Wen, an expert of Huagu Opera, who works at a local cultural center in Yueyang.

“Traditional culture still means a lot to the local people. Even some younger residents have shown their interest in the opera,” Yi says.

qianhuaes.com

In the mean time, both Yauatcha City and Yauatcha Soho will

be paying homage to the year of the Earth pig by teaming up with celebrated design team, Isabel an

d Helen Studio to create a bespoke art installation within the restaurants inspired by the zodiac an

imal. An exclusive Chinese New Year menu will also be available featuring celebratory dishes.

The pig occupies the final position in the Chinese zodiac and encapsulates a care free nature marking the end of the cycle. It signifies

growth and contentment and encourages restoration and reflection. The Year of the Pig installation will consist of multiple ‘bio-morphic’ pigs su

spended from the ceiling using wire and created from a series of abstract shapes made from red Perspex and gold brass. The shapes will balance and slowly ro

tate in the air and when viewed at the perfect angle will reveal a Chinese New Year inspired pig.

Encasing the restaurant exteriors will be a vibrant red and gold vinyl wrap featuring an illustration of the Earth pig b

y Quentin Monge, in addition to small colored pig figurines lining the shelves of the restaurant windows.

www.qhfus.com

Chinese crafts, performances bring Lunar New Year vibe to Ame

A 13-year-old American boy’s first lion dance performance was a bit different

than usual. He held up the lion’s head, his younger siste

r, brother and another little girl stood beneath the tail, and the four of them struggled to go in circles before losing the “tail” shortly after.

“It’s so difficult because you really have to coordinate, you have to hold it up and

blink and move, there are a lot of moving factors,” the boy told Xinhua. “It was really cool.”

The boy and his siblings from Odenton, Maryland, were joining hundreds at a Chinese craft demonstration at the Ma

ryland Hall for the Creative Arts, located in the state capital Annapolis, on Tuesday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.

The mother of the three, Annette, who only gave her first name, told Xinhua they have done “a li

ttle bit of research” on lion dance before going to the event, and her son, who has learnt Chinese for

three years, watched the Spring Festival gala at school to better understand the Chinese New Year.

Chinese artist Zhang Longze told Xinhua that the enthusiasm of local residents was way beyond his expectation. “So ma

ny people came. They don’t just look and walk away, they asked me many questions, and I’m running out of name cards,” he said.

ourside.cn

Rating agency Moody’s terms Pakistan mini-budgetpositive for

A US rating agency Moody termed the Pakistani government’s recently presented mini-budget as “positive” for manufacturing and export-oriented sectors, local media reported Saturday.

Moody’s said that the mini-budget will lend much-needed support to enhancing the cou

ntry’s foreign income and curb the current account deficit, Express News reported.

The agency also said that the new budgetary measures weakened the gove

rnment’s income generation side as tax incentives awarded to industries and the agricultu

re sector further toughened the challenge of achieving the tax revenue collection target, and the budget deficit is feared to remain high.

“While the mini-budget will bolster the export sector, there is a greater risk of fiscal slippage and slower fiscal consolid

ation in the absence of additional revenue-raising measures,” the rating agency said.

Last year in June, the agency downgraded Pakistan’s credit rating to “B3 negative” f

rom stable after it found that the country’s foreign currency reserves were insufficient to pay back foreign debt.

The latest commentary suggested that foreign currency reserves were inclined to improve, whic

h might lead the credit rating body to consider revising upwards the country’s credit rating going forward.

It said that if the new measures were effective, they will help improve Pakistan’s man

ufacturing sector, fostering export and import substitution, and help narrow the current account deficit.

However, in the absence of new spending cuts or revenue-raising measures, the steps may not sufficient to narrow the country’s budget deficit.

www.xi-dun.cn

Consumption in catering, tourism, culture and entertainment

s expected to see significant growth during the week-long holiday, Wang said.

The lives and working conditions of those who stick to their position during the holiday is also what China’s leadership cares about.

After visiting grass-roots government employees and residents in hutong, or traditional alley, in central Beijing’s Qian

men, President Xi Jinping also went to a property service center on Friday to visit staff and community workers.

On the way back, Xi dropped in on a restaurant, talked to the owner and some customers and w

ished them good luck ahead of Spring Festival. Xi also called on a nearby express delivery station and visited

the deliverymen on duty, stressing that priority should be given to solving employment problems and creating more jobs.

In his 2019 New Year Speech, Xi also expressed appreciation for deliverymen, street clean

ers, taxi drivers, and countless others who are sticking to post during New Year holidays.

“We should thank these workers who contribute to the creation of our beautiful society. Their hard work is much appreciated,” Xi said.

chechezhineng.cn

International Regimen Ice and Snow Festival opens in Arxan

The opening ceremony of the 13th China Arxan International Regimen Ice and Snow Festival was held in Arxan, Hinggan League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on December 21.

Hosted by Hinggan League Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Hinggan League Administrative Office, undert

aken by CPC Arxan Municipal Committee and Arxan municipal government, the festival will last until

May 31, 2019 and will conduct over 30 activities involving ice and snow sports, arts, culture, trade and tourism.

Gao Changsheng, Party secretary of Arxan, gave a speech at the opening ceremony.

He said that in recent years, Arxan follows the developmental idea which was mentioned by Chinese

President Xi Jinping that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and so are ice

and snow” in building an ice and snow tourism brand and transforming the ecological advantage of Arxan into

a developmental advantage. This year’s Ice and Snow Festival also opens the curtain to the Hinggan League’s winter tourism season. Hinggan League an

d Arxan sincerely welcome visitors to enjoy the ice, snow, hot springs and other winter scenery here during the festival.

Forums and meetings on winter sports, the tourism industry, regimen and poverty relief have already been held, respectiv

ely. Arxan will also witness sports such as aerial skiing performances, teenager snowfield soccer mat

ches, snowfield horse racing and motorcycle racing along with a series of cultural activities,

such as the China-Russia-Mongolia painting and calligraphy exhibition, and interactive activities and programs held in the frozen city.

Arxan means “warm and holy spring” in Mongolian. It is a city with abundant tourism resources, where tourists can enjoy rare volcanic landforms, hot spring

s and snowy forests. In 2018, the number of tourists who visit Arxan is currently 4,005,300 with a year-on-year gro

th of 17 percent. The revenue of the tourist industry in 2018 is 5.13 billion yuan ($744 million) with a year-on-year growth of 18 percent.

akiok.cn

Russian woman in Wuhan wishes to see the world by Chin

A Russian woman who lives in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, has said she hopes that

there will be more trains linking China and Europe in the future, so that one day she will be able to travel ar

ound the world by the China-Europe passenger train, Chinanews.com reported on Feb. 1.

With the Spring Festival approaching, almost all Chinese people are heading h

ome for family reunions across the country. Instead of returning to her ho

metown in Russia, Liu Yina (Chinese name) has decided to stay in Wuhan and enjoy the traditional Chinese festival.

Liu, who is fluent in Chinese, works for Wuhan Asia-Europe Logistics Co., Ltd., the operator of China-Europe freight tr

ains between Wuhan and Europe and a public platform for international logistics and transportation services.

mexml.cc