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Old CUCCS (CUCUS) website

First CCS logo Jump to: language | cookery & calligraphy | later developments

Some members of the CU Chinese Undergraduate Society (previously Chinese Culture Society) said they're interested in the club's history, so I'm re-posting some of the public material we had online in the early years.

(I originally ran a multi-format server for them using Apache Cocoon 1.5 on a Debian 2 GNU/Linux PC in my room at St John's; I've now simplified it into a single page. The logo had slightly too much space between the "n" and the "e" because I forgot to fix TeX's kerning when I captioned it. They also had a private chat forum on my server which the committee moderated, plus I archived the emails. It was registered as "Chinese Cultural Society" in line with older clubs' use of adjectives in their names, but I'd been publishing for the Computer Society and wasn't averse to attributive nouns.)

1998--2000 committees

[The society was set up as CUCEC in about November 1998, with my new Computer Science classmate Lucy Lian playing a leading role---unfortunately I didn't keep a definitive list of who the others were. We gave it a website in 1999 when the second committee was established: ]

Cantonese and Mandarin classes 1999/2000

15 students at a conference table
Original website's front-page sentence:
The Cambridge University Chinese Culture Society has the aim of making Chinese language and culture accessible to all who are interested.
[The original constitution had a similar clause in its first section. The word "accessible" had been my suggestion, and yes I was thinking of the `disability' context, but also more generally---after all, my Web Access Gateway, although originally designed to help blind and partially-sighted people like myself, now also had a mode to let Chinese and Japanese students use those languages on Cambridge's older computers that didn't have the fonts---and my server was called `access' for both purposes---so there was a feeling of "we're in this together" and I didn't think anyone would object to putting that `A' word into CCS from the start.]

Classes introduction, written in 1999/2000:

These are classes run by Cambridge students, for other Cambridge students. The teachers are not paid. Classes cater for all levels of ability, and concentrate on useful everyday language rather than specialist terminology. They provide opportunity to learn/practise pronunciation, to practise reading, or writing. The classes should thus be suitable for complete beginners, for those who can speak but never learnt to read/write, or those who are already fluent in another dialect but want to be able to speak in Cantonese or Mandarin. Each class will cover a specific topic, to provide a structure to the learning. Dictionaries and audio resources will be available.

Cantonese is the language used in Hong Kong and the Canton region of China, and to a lesser degree in Malaysia and Singapore. Mandarin is the national language of China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Following the takeover of Hong Kong in 1997 and the takeover of Macau on December 20th 1999, Mandarin will become even more important as a world language.

[I often booked the St John's College Library Seminar Room for them, but there doesn't seem to be a picture of that. I think the picture above was taken in New Hall---SSB]

Beginner Mandarin handouts

Handouts from 1999 (scanned images)

Handouts from April 2000 (scanned images)

Cantonese handouts

1999-10-30 (scanned image)

Cantonese, Lesson 2, 2001-02-04 by Li Zhong, Robinson college

Cheung: 老陳,呢位係我同事,李小姐。

Chan, this is my colleague, Ms. Li.
Chan: 李小姐,你好。

How do you do, Ms. Li?
Li: 陳生,你好,叫我Kelly得啦。

How do you do, Mr. Chan? You can call me Kelly.
Cheung: Kelly,老陳係我死黨離架。

Kelly, Chan is a very good friend of mine.
(We've known each other for a long time.)
Chan: Kelly, 你有冇去過`香港戲院'?

Have you been to `Hong Kong Cinema', Kelly?
Li: 冇呀。

Cheung: 我地一陣去啊,你去唔去?

We are going later, are you going as well?
Li: 唔啦,我下晝要去行街。

No, I'm going shopping tonight.
另在在朋輩或常當熟認的男性,我們也常以`老李' `老黃' `阿張' `阿陳' 的稱呼。

In Cantonese, the title `Mr' is `先生'.  But when saying `Mr Li', we usually say `李生' instead of `李先生'.

Morning, Afternoon.

Cantonese, Lesson 4, 2001-02-18

by Li Zhong, Robinson college
Conversation 1
1) John: 陣間去邊食晏?

Where are you going for lunch (later)?
2) Kelly: 我想去沙田食麵。

I want to go to Shatin have to some beef noodles.
3) Kelvin: 去(口個)間呀?好多人(口個)喎,要搵人早D去等位先得。

That one?  There are (usually) lots of people there.  You should ask someone to wait for the seats first.
Conversation 2
4) Kelly: 聽晚去食自助餐定日本菜?

(Shall we) have buffet or Japanese tomorrow night?
5) John: 食自助餐啦,上次食壽司食到我肚痛。

Let us have buffet. Last time, I had stomach-ache after having sushi.
6) Kelly: 邊個叫你食咁多喎。

Who asked you to eat so much?
7) 總之你以後食野小心D啦。聽晚你唔好食咁多沙律啦。

Anyway, be careful when you eat next time. Don't eat too much salad tomorrow night.
8) John: 知啦。

OK (I know).
注意 3) 第一個(口個)字和第二個是不同音的。

In 3), the first `gor' and the second `gor' have different tones.

Committee established in February 2001

Cantonese and Mandarin handouts 2001/2002

Beginner Mandarin

The First Mandarin Lesson (2001-10-13)

Materials for revision: Table of the Combinations of the Initials and Finals in Common Speech, and pages 13 and 21 from Youqu de hanzi
Concise information of lesson 1: (Above are for beginners) (This is among the most interesting and famous bits of Chinese language. It helps you to remember characters and understand radical index, which will be used when looking for words in a Chinese dictionary.) (Chinese characters accompanied by phonetic alphabet and English explanation)

Lesson 2 handout

[Pages 2 to 6 of the Routledge book Chinese: An Essential Grammar, not reproduced here for copyright reasons. I do recommend that book though---SSB]

Lessons 3 and 4 handout by Chloe Liu

Ni3 好!Hao3

Qing3 Wen4 Ni3 Xiang3 Yao4 Dian3 Shen2 么?Me1
What would you like to have?

Qing3 Wen4 Ka1 Fei1 Duo1 Shao3 钱?Qian2
May I ask how much the coffee is?

San1 Yuan2
Three yuan.

Qing3 Gei3 Wo3 Yi4 Bei1
Can I have one please

Qing3 Shao1 Deng3
Please wait for a while.

Xie4 Xie4

Zai4 Jian4

Ni3 Men2 Chi1 Guo4 Bei3 Jing1 Kao3 Ya1 吗?Ma

Hai2 Mei2 有,You3, Wo3 Men2 Zheng4 Xiang3 Chi1 Ne

Ting1 Shuo1 Kao3 Ya1 Hen3 Hao3 Chi1

Shi4 De, Bei3 Jing1 Kao3 Ya1 Hen3 You3 名,Ming2, Ni3 Men2 Ying1 Gai1 Chi1 Yi2 Ci4

Wo3 Men2 Qu4 Quan2 Ju4 De2 Chi1 Kao3 Ya1 Ba

好,Hao3, Yi4 Yan2 Wei2 Ding4

Scanned images of handouts for Lessons 5 to 7

Intermediate Mandarin handouts 2002

Mandarin Intermediate Lesson 1 (2002-01-27)

日期: 2002年1月27日

你的假期过得还好吗? 你(在假期里)都做(干)了些什么?/ 你的圣诞节/新年(元旦)是怎么过的? 周到

Mandarin Intermediate Lesson 3 (2002-02-10)

如果方便的话, 你可以帮我也买(一个)。。。吗

Cantonese handouts

Cantonese, Lesson 1, 2001-10-14 by Li Zhong

Most expatriates say Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. But believe it or not, when you have the right weapon and you are really serious about learning the language, it is only a "piece of cake".
What is Cantonese?

Cantonese is not the official dialect of China. Putonghua is. Literally translated, Putonghua means "the common dialect." It is meant to be the common dialect for the whole of China. According to statistics, about 73% of the population in China speaks Putonghua. Only about 5% speak Cantonese, but 5% already accounts for about 60 Million people.

Cantonese is a dialect spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, the greater part of Guangdong Province, the southern part of Guangxi Province and some other parts in South East Asia. The number of ethnic Chinese resident outside China who speaks Cantonese is also a very important factor to consider when we assess the usefulness and popularity of Cantonese.

Frankly speaking, it is very difficult to learn Cantonese as there are totally nine tones in this dialect. (Note that some systems use 12 tones, and some use 6 tones.)

You should note that Cantonese is a dialect for speaking but not for writing. People speaking in Cantonese usually write in Chinese.

Tones are important!

With English, the tones can be interchanged without sounding funny. But with Cantonese, each word correlates with one tone and saying a word with the wrong tone is the most common problem with people learning Cantonese. One must apply the right pitch to each tone; otherwise, what is said may convey a totally different meaning.

Some Basic Cantonese to get started

The following table is to give you a “taste” of the pronunciation of Cantonese as well as the Chinese characters (in Traditional form). Notice that the system the table is using is the 6-tone version used in the LSHK transcription scheme (香港語言學學會注音方案) [this is now known as "Jyutping"---SSB].

Eng­lish Writ­ten Chi­nese Can­ton­ese pro­nun­ci­a­tion
Hello. 你好。 Nei5 hou2
How are you? 你好嗎? Nei5 hou2 maa3
Good mor­ning. 早晨。 Zou2 san4
Good night. 晚安。 Maan4 on1
Good bye. 再見。 Zoi3 gin3
Thank you. 多謝。 Or 唔該。 Do1 ze6, Ng3 goi1
Sorry. 對唔住。 Deoi3 ng3 zyu6
Con­grat­u­la­tions. 恭喜。 Gung1 hei2
Useful terms for tourists
When you bargain in a shop, you may say…

(Cheaper please.)

When you want to pay the bill in the restaurant, you may say…

(Check, please.)

When you want to ask how much the piece of good is, you may say…

(How much is this?)

P.S. Of course if you are in Hong Kong, you can also use English.

Cantonese Lesson 2 (2001-10-21) by Benjamin Li

幾位呀? How many people?

兩位,唔該。 Two, please.

樓上定 樓下? Upstairs or here?

樓上,唔該。 Upstairs please.

(依度) ? Here (this table)?

好呀,唔該。 Sure, thanks.

飲什麼茶? What type of tea do you want?

菊花。 Chrysanthemum tea

if no one serves you

唔該,可唔可以比個menu我? Excuse me, can I have a menu plz.

等等la Wait a second.

唔該 …我想點菜 。 Excuse me, can I order now.

點菜未呀? Ready to order?

得la。 Ready.

未呀。 Not ready yet.

酸辣湯Hot & sour soup
雞蓉(蜀)米湯Chicken and sweet corn soup
蟹肉(蜀)米湯Crab and sweet corn soup
白飯Steam rice
叉燒飯Char sue with steam rice
燒肉飯Roast port with steam rice
燒鴨飯Roast duck with steam rice
揚州炒飯Yung Chow Fired Rice
乾炒牛河Fry beef with rice noodle
上海炒麵Shang hai fried noodle
星洲炒米Singapore fried noodle
雲吞麵Dumping noodle

埋單呀,唔該。 Can I have the bill please?

Read from the bill, then leave the restaurant.(oh remember to pay the bill, or hehehe)

Cantonese Lesson 3 (2001-10-28) by Benjamin Li

的士站 taxi stand / rank
巴士站 bus stop
火車站 railway station
地鐵站 underground station
飛機場 airport
碼頭 port
天橋 bridge
方向 direction
轉左 Turn left
轉右 Turn right
直行 Go straight
穿過 Go through
第一個路口 The first crossroad
第二個路口 The second crossroad
請問,的士站(係)邊度? Excuse me, can u tell me where the taxi stand is?
唔該,巴士站(係)邊度? Excuse me, can u tell me where the bus stop is?
唔該,最近 (gei) 地鐵站(係)邊度? Excuse me, can u tell me where the nearest underground station is?
直行,第一個路口轉左,跟住直行,穿過個天橋 , 轉左 Go straight, turn left at the first crossroad, then go straight, after go through the bridge turn left.
唔該,(E)(格) 巴士去唔去機場(ga)? Excuse me, does this bus go to the airport?
去 / 去(ga)。 Yes.
唔去呀,你去(搭) A56 la。No, but u can take A56.
In a taxi

唔該,去機場要幾錢呀? Excuse me, how much is it to go to the airport.

去機場呀,唔該。 Take me to the airport plz.

Cantonese Lesson 4 (2001-11-04) by Benjamin Li


請問,(yi) (家) 幾點? Excuse me, can u tell me what time is it?

1:00一點 /一點鐘
2:05兩點(踏) 一/ 兩點零五分
3:10三點(踏) 二/ 三點十分
4:15四點(踏) 三
5:20五點(踏) 四
6:25六點(踏) 五
8:35八點(踏) 七
9:40九點(踏) 八
10:45十點(踏) 九
11:50十一點(踏) 十
12:55十二點(踏) 十一
上午 morning
下午 afternoon ( after mid day)
夜晚 at night

今日星期幾呀? What day is it today?

星期一 / 禮拜 一 Monday
星期二 / 禮拜 二 Tuesday
星期三 / 禮拜 三 Wednesday
星期四 / 禮拜 四 Thursday
星期五 / 禮拜 五 Friday
星期六 / 禮拜 六 Saturday
星期日 / 禮拜 日 Sunday
禮拜 week
上個禮拜 last week
今個禮拜 this week
下個禮拜 next week
(擒)日 yesterday
(ting) 日tomorrow
What are you doing next week?你下個禮拜有(mug)(野)做?
Are you free tomorrow? 你 (ting) 日得唔得閒?
Do you want to see a film tomorrow?你 (ting) 日想唔想(體)戲?
I have to go to London tomorrow. (ting) 日我要出London (wow).
How about this Saturday? 今個星期六?
Ok, lets see it on Saturday. Ok, 今個星期六(體)戲 la.

Cookery Club

Introduction written in about 2001:
Each time, the guest chef will demonstrate the cooking techniques of specially chosen dishes and people who attend will have the chance of tasting them. Anyone can be the chef.

Cookery handout for 2nd February 2002

Introduction to making Spring Rolls

Calligraphy Workshop

Introduction written in about 2001:
Chinese caligraphy is an ancient art respected and appreciated by both the Chinese and foreigners. Well-written caligraphy is as admired as Chinese painting itself. The Caligraphy Workshop is a chance to learn to write beautiful characters using real ink and brushes: all teaching materials are supplied, just turn up and join in. Soon you could be creating works worthy of display, to impress your friends with!
[CCS later dropped this, then a separate society was set up for it for a while. I tried once, but I ruined my coat by spilling Chinese ink on it. That ink does not wash off.]

Committee established in 2002

Later developments

In 2013 CCS started organising "orientation camps" in Shanghai for new Cambridge students.
In 2015 they started calling this activity "OCamp".

This picture from 2018's OCamp adver­tising made the founders feel old: 82 students born when we set up CCS were already old enough to take over

They called CCS a "big family" for main­land under­grad­uates (as opposed to the "post­grad­uate" CSSA and the "non-main­land" ChiSoc etc)---this was form­al­ised in July 2020 when the committee decided to change the society's Chinese name to Cambridge University China Undergraduate Student Association (剑桥大学中国本科学生会) and the following February they re-registered with university authorities (having been de-registered due to a technicality) and used the English name "Cambridge University Chinese Undergraduate Society" (CUCUS), [CCS logo as used in 2016] still internally abbreviated to CCS for continuity (and so they didn't have to change the logo which now included the letters "CCS"). They said they still wanted to promote culture, but the new name communicates to potential members and sponsors their increased role as a "hub" for Chinese undergraduates (although it's still open to others---all registered societies must be). In 2024 publicity they changed "Undergraduate" simply to "Students" (剑桥大学中国学生会) but "undergraduate" was kept in the registered name.

They still perform an annual play with English subtitles projected for non-Chinese, and it's usually possible to ask in advance for the script if you can't see projector screens, or if you'd like to try following the Mandarin in Wenlin or whatever.