Hong Kong leader calls on citizens to be more like sheep, ‘Mild and Gentle Animals’

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Hong Kong’s chief executive, his highness CY Leung, delivered a Chinese New Year greeting exactly as you would expect him to.

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To ring in the Year of the Sheep, Leung, known for his distrust of poor people, wants the citizens of Hong Kong to be like sheep, “mild and gentle animals” that aren’t known for holding pro-democracy protests. His statement was released in a video he filmed from the Government House (read imperial palace) and which featured his wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, and a group of smiling children who reportedly aren’t paid actors, because of course he wouldn’t pay them.

“Another Chinese New Year has arrived. It is time to bid farewell to the Year of the Horse and welcome the Year of the Sheep. The 12 Chinese zodiac animals represent 12 character types. Sheep are widely seen to be mild and gentle animals living peacefully in groups.

Last year was no easy ride for Hong Kong. Our society was rife with differences and conflicts. In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep’s character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong’s future.

At the beginning of the Year of the Sheep, we wish every one of you good health, great happiness and a harmonious family life.”

According to Shanghaiist, Hong Kong Democratic Party Chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing told SCMP that, while in his mind, he was probably referring to the virtues of the sheep, like loyalty and compassion, Leung has been anything but.

“[But] then he himself is doing exactly the opposite to provoke so much confrontation and he is tearing the society apart. It’s very contradictory and duplicitous.”

It wouldn’t be surprising to know then that most people in Hong Kong consider him more of a wolf. Add the fact that China’s leading linguist actually said it’s the Year of the Goat, not the Sheep, and CY Leung is just making promotional videos full of wishful thinking.

CY Leung’s daughter, make-believe, aspiring model Chai Yan, has not yet released her annual thank you statement to the tax-paying sheep of Hong Kong.

Why do people get cash stuffed into red envelopes during Chinese New Year?

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Red envelopes have been a staple of Chinese New Year for as long as anyone can remember. No matter whether you celebrate the holiday or not, you’ve probably wondered why your Asian friends receive red envelopes filled with cash every year. Heck, many recipients of red envelopes don’t know why either.

Origins

Unfortunately, there is no one consensus on where the red envelopes came from. One popular story dates back to the Qing Dynasty, where the elderly would thread coins with a red string. This money was called yāsuì qián, meaning “money warding off evil spirits,” and was believed to protect elder people from sickness and death. As the printing press became more common, the yāsuì qián was replaced with red envelopes.

Another legend tells of a village where a demon would terrorize children at night. It was believed that the demon would touch the children’s heads while they were asleep, causing serious illness or death. From there, a theory emerged that when they prayed, God would send eight fairies to protect the child. The fairies would disguise themselves as eight coins and hide under the child’s pillow. When the demon would get close, the coins would began to shine very bright, blinding the demon. Word began to spread and the villagers started giving out red envelopes filled with coins to each other to put under their pillows at night. As time passed, red envelopes became a way to bring good luck and prosperity to the receiver.

How much do you get?

The amount of money depends on the occasion, but the amount typically ends with an even digit, as odd numbers are traditionally associated with funerals. Additionally, it is believed that money should never be given in fours, nor should the number “4” appear in the amount (i.e: 400, 444, 4004), as the chinese word for “four” sounds similar to the word “death.”

Who gets them?

During Chinese New Year, red envelopes are typically given by the married to children and the unmarried. The red symbolizes good luck and the money wishes the recipient good fortune for times to come. The red envelopes are also used to fend off bad spirits. It’s not uncommon for red envelopes to be given during birthdays and other special occasions as well.

Chinese weddings are also occasions when red envelopes come into play. The amount given is supposed to cover the cost of the attendees and as a way to wish the newlyweds good luck. While red envelopes shouldn’t be opened in front of the giver, it’s different during weddings. During Chinese weddings, there is a table at the front of the wedding reception where guests can drop off red envelopes as gifts and sign their names on a large scroll. The envelopes are then immediately opened, counted and then recorded to show how much each guest gave. Why? It’s mainly to bookkeep and to make sure the money matches with what the guests brought at the end of the night. Another reasons is that when single guests finally get married, the bride and groom are expected to give the guest more money than what they received at their own wedding.

At work, it’s a tradition that Chinese companies give away red envelopes to their employees on the eve of Chinese New Year. Alibaba has participated in the tradition before, however, according to Fortune, CEO Jack Ma recently announced that they will not give away red envelopes this year due to mediocre performance.

Other Etiquette

You’re also supposed to avoid putting coins in the envelopes, which makes it difficult for people to gauge the amount before opening. Also it’s tradition to put crisp, new bills inside, which explains why my grandma always went to the bank to switch old bills with new ones every year.

So, there you have it… Happy Chinese New Year!

Star Wars x JAM HOME MADE (Japan) jewelry collection

 

Chen Man x Beats by Dre 2015 “Year of the Sheep” Solo2 Headphones

A delicious way to celebrate the Year of the Sheep — cute sheep bread!

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RocketNews 24:

As we follow the Chinese zodiac here in Japan, we too are celebrating the Year of the Sheep this year. Not surprisingly, that means we’ve seen an abundance of sheep-themed products for the New Year, including some in edible form. Famous bakery chain DONQ is just one of the many companies that offered such sheep-related food items, and their selection of sheep breads was so cute, we simply had to share them with you. Just take a look at the pictures, and we think they’ll get you in the mood to start off the Year of the Sheep in good cheer!

Headquartered in the city of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, DONQ has been in business for nearly 110 years, with over 120 stores across Japan. Befitting a chain spread across the country, they sold a variety of sheep-shaped breads in different areas of Japan over the New Year’s holiday, and while they’ve now finished selling these breads, the different creative designs certainly make for entertaining viewing. So, here are pictures of the baked sheep goodies from DONQ according to the area where they were sold:

●Hokkaido Area: “Fluffy Lamb Bread” and  “Happy Red and White Sheep Bread Set
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The set of two sheep breads in the center, done in the traditionally lucky colors of red and white, contained strawberry cream cheese and custard cream respectively, and was priced at 389 yen (US$3.25). The slightly smaller white “lamb” breads surrounding the red and white sheep contained custard cream and sold for 260 yen ($2.16)

●Kanto Area: “Chinese Zodiac (Eto) Bread Sheep
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These fellas, who look like they’re sleeping blissfully, were melon breads filled with custard cream and cost 281 yen ($2.35) each.

●Tokai Area:  “Chinese Zodiac Bread (Sheep)
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These cute sheep-year breads with googly eyes were made from melon bread and priced at 238 yen ($1.99).

●Kyoto/Hokuriku Area: “Fluffy Sheep
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These soft-looking sheep breads were filled with chocolate cream inside and sold for 303  yen ($2.53).

●Kobe Area: “Chinese Zodiac Bread (Sheep)” and “Osechi Cuisine Bread
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In the front here we have smiling sheep breads that were filled with chocolate cream, priced at 238 yen ($1.99). The set of New Year’s osechi cuisine-themed breads in the back cost 562 yen ($4.70) and included snapper-shaped bread containing custard cream, melon bread in the shape of a traditional hagoita wooden paddle, crispy prawn crackers and bread filled with chestnut and sweet potato paste.

●Chugoku/Shikoku Area: “Mr./Ms. Sheep 
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These sheep shaped creations contained custard cream and sold for 281 yen ($2.35). The chocolate legs look precious!

●Kyushu Area: “Chinese Zodiac Bread (Sheep)
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These adorable round sheep with a white cookie-like surface were priced at 281 yen ($2.35).

There were also two beautiful sheep breads from Johan, another bakery chain belonging to the DONQ group:

● (Johan) Kanto Area: “The Dream Pursuing Sheep 2015
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This artistic bread was made from a cocoa flavored base bread filled with raspberry jam and chocolate cream and was priced at 260 yen ($2.18).

●(Johan) Nagoya Area: Chinese Zodiac Bread (Sheep)
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And the last of the sheep breads from the DONQ group this year is this soft-looking creation filled with custard cream, which sold for 260 yen ($2.18).

So what did you think of all the darling little sheep in baked and edible form? They look absolutely sweet, and judging from the descriptions with all those custard and chocolate creams, we’re sure they tasted plenty sweet too. The time for New Year’s bread may be over for this year, but we’ll certainly be looking forward to lovely zodiac breads from DONQ again next year, when it will be the Year of the Monkey. Until then, we wish you a splendid Year of the Sheep!

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JAM HOME MADE 2015 “Year of the Sheep” Collection

After linking up with Stussy to celebrate the new year and the Chinese zodiac, JAM HOME MADE returns with its very own “Year of the Sheep” collection for 2015.

This time around, Harris Tweed figures prominently as the collaborative party involved as two sheep leather wallets — each draped in the Outer Hebrides’ signature virgin wool — are paired with a sheep-inspired ring and matching bangle.

Ranging in price from ¥20,000 JPY (approximately $167 USD) to ¥80,000 JPY (approximately $669 USD), the entire “Year of the Sheep” release is now available via JAM HOME MADE’s web shop.