Building Cultural Connections Through Performing Arts: The Fourth Annual Cantonese Fun Night

Poster of Cantonese Fun Night 2023 (designed by Bevery Yuen)

On the evening of November 24, 2023, the Arts Student Centre was transformed into a vibrant venue of cultural celebration during the Fourth Annual Cantonese Fun Night. Hosted by the Cantonese Language Program, the event was attended by more than 70 students from CNTO 311 – Basic Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers and CNTO 401 – Intermediate Cantonese I, who showcased their talents, enjoyed their peers’ performances, and grew their passion in Cantonese language and culture.

手洗 (Handwash) performing hip-hop music on the stage

The event unfolded with a talent competition, allowing participants to show off their skills in solo or duet singing and stand-up comedy. In total 14 groups of performers competed for the top spots. The four masters of ceremonies—Elina Tian, Leo Liao, Kelly Yeung, and Yuhan Zhao—steered the event in fluent Cantonese confidently, creating an engaging atmosphere for the night. Further captivating the crowd, the special guest, 手洗 (Handwash)’s hip-hop performance brought the show to a climax.

Educational segments were integrated into the performances, featuring guest talks by respectable speakers. Dr. Helena Wu shared information about the Hong Kong Studies Initiative, Dr. Zoe Lam enlightened the audience about the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies & Go Global Exchange Program, while Larry Chin and Sarah Ling delved into Chinatown Wonders. These talks added depth to the cultural experience, combining entertainment with knowledge.

Honourable guest Mr. Dominic Chung (left) presenting a prize to Su Yu Ding (right), who won First Place with his original rap song 每日三一一 (311 Every Day)

In contrast to previous iterations of Cantonese Fun Night that involved a panel of judges, this year, the audience actively participated in voting for their favourite performances, and the results were as follows.

  • First place was won by Su Yu Ding with his original composition 每日三一一 (311 Every Day), a rap song which depicted his daily effort to study for the course CNTO 311 – Basic Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers.
  • Zane Zhang got second place with his rendition of 囍帖街 (Wedding Invitation Street).
  • Peter Na took third place with his performance of 你瞒我瞒 (Lies Between Us).

The performers’ commitment to enunciate lyrics, despite Cantonese not being their native tongue, showed their dedication and love for the language and culture.

Chinatown Wonders’ booth in the Mini Fair vendor booth

Adding a new dimension to the event, the Mini Fair vendor booth provided participants with a variety of unique finds and goodies before and after the talent competition. We’d like to give a big thank-you to sponsors and vendors – including Cantonese with Brittany, Chinatown Wonders, Little Candle Matters, MAMAinthekitchen, and 飲湯思源 (yumtongcyuen) – for contributing to the vibrant atmosphere.

一 二 三 , 笑 ! (one two three, smile!)

Gratitude was extended to all faculty members, teaching assistants, participants, and guest performers for making the Fourth Annual Cantonese Fun Night a huge success. The event allowed students from beginning and intermediate classes to mingle, fostering a sense of community and providing a platform to express their shared passion for Cantonese language and culture.

Written by: Bevery Yuen