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"Chinese New Year" or "Lunar New Year"? Both?
A display about Chinese New Year at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was vandalised with the word "Lunar" crossed out and replaced by "Chinese."
The incident has sparked a debate on Reddit and the Chinese social media platform Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) about "Chinese New Year" being supplanted by "Lunar New Year".
One Little Red Book user, who apparently supported the vandal, was upset that the words "Chinese New Year" are not allowed by NTU.
"Our spring festival, culture and history, if not stolen, will be snatched away by NTU," said the post.
The post was shared on Reddit, which added fuel to the controversy.
Redditors called the Little Red Book user "fragile", "pretty petty" and having a "thin skin".
In the NTU sub-Reddit, someone wrote: "After we found the board was vandalised, we used the marker pen and paper tape to fix it (really angry at that moment)."
He said that the tape was later removed by the vandal. So the display was then cordoned off.
"To be honest, this behavior is damn disgusting," he added.
Another Redditor in the same sub explained how the words "Lunar New Year" ended up on the display in the first place: "The whole fiasco began when there was miscommunication between the Student Affairs Office (SAO) and Chinese Society.
"What happened was some Chinese Society communities were in charge of organizing many new year events, setting up their shows, posters, campaigns and videos et cetera. After setting up, they were informed by SAO that 'Chinese New Year' should not be used, but rather 'Lunar New Year' for the sake of inclusivity.
"As a result, they had to scrap everything and modify every poster and banner that had the phrase 'Chinese New Year' and obviously, students are not happy because they had to do everything all over again.
"TL:DR miscom between SAO and Chinese Society with the usage of the term 'Chinese New Year' and 'Lunar New Year'. Society members had to redo all their materials and campaigns which they had completed."
In response to a Stomp query, an NTU spokesman said: "NTU Singapore has a cosmopolitan community of students and employees from different countries, including those from countries like China, Korea, and Vietnam, who mark and celebrate their new year at or around this time.
"In the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness, the phrase 'Lunar New Year' was used in our annual celebratory event.
"The celebration on Jan 18 and 19 organised by the NTU Chinese Society, Students’ Union and Graduate Students' Association, where Chinese culture and traditions such as Chinese paper cutting and writing Chinese spring couplets (chunlian), among others, were featured. It was well attended by local and international students."
Such vandalism is not just happening in Singapore.
In New York, a Beijing woman said she was arrested after angrily tearing down a poster that said "Lunar New Year" in a mall.
额，一个Lunar New Year至于吗... pic.twitter.com/HRKNijoHKM
— 李老师不是你老师 (@whyyoutouzhele) January 18, 2023