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This circular celebrates
East and South East Asian Heritage month!
Celebrating the UK's second ESEA month
East and South East Asia is a large geographical area of 18 countries stretching from Myanmar to Japan with more than 160 documented ethnicities, making it a place full of a rich, vibrant and diverse culture. 
Last year we celebrated the first East and South East Asian Heritage Month and this year we build on this in the hope of providing you with a small insight into the beauty and to  help us get a better understanding the countries the people the history and the culture this area covers.

So that we can give a little snippet from each country we will share with you three issues. 

This issue will focus on East Asia. 
Spotlight on...
Sun Wukong – the monkey king

One of the main characters in a Chinese classic, The Journey to the West. At first Sun Wukong is a very naughty monkey, eager to take over the world, and it costs Buddha a lot of effort to tame him. He later becomes a loyal companion to the monk Xuanzang on his adventurous journey from China to India and back again.

妖怪 Yōkai

These are strange, supernatural creatures and phenomena from Japanese folklore. The word is a combination of the characters 妖 (yō–attractive, bewitching, calamity) and 怪 (kai–mystery, wonder).

The eerie and strange has long influenced Japanese art. It’s a fascination that’s been enjoyed and nurtured over many centuries, and today these Japanese mythical creatures can be appreciated everywhere, from museum halls to renowned Ghibli films, like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.

Famous Yōkai include Amabie who remerged during COVID-19 the pandemic to help fight it off. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare used images of Amabie in its initial campaign in the fight against the coronavirus!

Find out more here

불 개 Bulgae

Legend says that these fire dogs originated from the kingdom of darkness. Its Korean term is Gamangnara (가망나라). The folklore tells that bulgae are the reason behind the moon’s eclipses. In the legend, the Ganamngnara’s king had so many concerns over the kingdom’s darkness, so he sent out these fire dogs to capture the moon and the sun.

Sadly, each moon and sun proved to be too hot or too cold for these dogs to handle. Thus, they would burn or freeze when they tried to carry them over to the kingdom. The king, however, would not give up and kept sending more dogs to retrieve these things. And therefore, a lunar or a solar eclipse occurs each time a dog tries to retrieve the moon or the sun for its master.

Namjil and the Morin Khuur

This is the tale behind one of Mongolia’s most beautiful and well-loved musical instruments, the Morin Khuur.

The legend follows a young horse herder who went into the Mongolian army. There, they found that he sang so beautifully that they named him Namjil the Cuckoo, and ensured that his only duty was to make music to soothe their spirits.

But after a while, Namjil missed the horses he’d grown up with, and asked his commander if he could take care of the troops’ horses. He was permitted to, and Namjil joyously roamed the nearby Steppe with the horses in his care.

One day, a beautiful young woman appeared suddenly before him and asked him to play for her and her family. He quickly agreed, enchanted by her, and went to play for them. The pair fell in love and spent happy days together making music and roaming the steppes. But eventually, Namjil had to return to his home (and his wife).

His love gifted him with a flying horse so that he could return to her every night. All he needed to do, she said, was to always stop a little before his village and walk the horse the rest of the way, so that it had time to tuck back its wings.

So for a long time, this arrangement worked – but his wife grew jealous and confused, because her husband kept disappearing every night. Then one day, Namjil was in a hurry, and flew his horse right into the village, rushing into his yurt. His young wife saw what happened, and in a jealous rage ran out and cut the wings off the horse. It bled out and died that same day.

Devastated at losing both his wonderful horse and his distant beloved, Namjil made the first Morin Khuur from the horse’s hairs, skin and bone, and carved its regal face into the headpiece. And with it he played many mournful tunes, lamenting the loss of love.

Music played on the Morin Khuur

Blood type personality 
In 1930, Japanese professor Tokeji Furukawa published a report in the Journal of Social Psychology called “A Study of Temperament and Blood-Groups.” In this paper, he argued that establishing a link between personality and blood type “might prove a useful basis for the objective study of temperament.”

The revolutionary idea then quickly spread to Korea and China, where blood type became a popular tool used to judge how dateable a person is.

Blood type A
Earnest and neat 

Blood type B 
Passionate and Creative

Blood type O 
Easygoing and has Leadership qualities 

Blood type AB
Talented and Composed

Find out more here

Words, Rhythm, Harmony

Poetry new & old 


静夜思 (“Thoughts in the Silent Night”) 






Moonlight reflects off the front of my bed.

Could it actually be the frost on the ground?

I look up to view the bright moon,

And look down to reminisce about my hometown.

This popular Chinese poem was penned by one of the most famous Tang dynasty poets of all time – Li Bai (701-762). The poem expresses the poet’s loneliness, pensiveness, and homesickness as he gazes up at the bright moon.

고생 끝에 낙이 온다 -The end of hardship comes happiness

Korean Proverb

Food lovers 

Delicious recipes from East Asia 
Har Gau



For the dumpling dough 

  • 600g of potato flour
  • 600g of wheat starch flour
  • 1l hot water

For the filing 

  • 450g of prawns, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp potato flour
  • 1 pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 20ml of vegetable oil

Begin by preparing the prawns for the dumpling filling. Fill a bowl with cold water and put the prawns in to soak, leaving for 30 minutes to firm up

Drain the prawns, then transfer them to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the stock cube, flour, pepper, salt, sugar and oil to the prawn paste, stir to combine and reserve in the freezer for 2 hours

To make the dough, sieve both the wheat flour and potato flour into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in the hot water, stirring the mixture with a palette knife. Once all the water has been added use your hands to lightly knead the mixture until you have a smooth ball of dough

Divide the dough into individual balls, taking into consideration that there will be more dough than is needed for the filling. Freeze any excess dough and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls into 6mm thick discs

To assemble the har gau place a dough disc in the palm of your hand and spoon one level tablespoon of the har gau filling into the centre of the round. Using your index fingers and thumbs, mould the dough upwards around the filling and pinch it together into a shell shape

Place the har gau in a steamer basket and steam for 3–6 minutes. Remove from the steamer and serve immediately

Recipe from Great British Chefs


花より団子” “Dumplings over flowers” or “substance over style”

Japanese Proverb

Did you know?

Interesting facts......

Each part of the Mongolian flag has a unique meaning the blue stripe in the middle of the flag symbolizes the eternal blue sky. The red stripes to its left and right symbolize eternal prosperity. The golden symbol in the red stripe to the left is the ‘soyombo’. It represents the Sun and the Moon, fire, earth, and water, and yin and yang


Macau got its name from a misunderstanding.

The name ‘Macau’ is thought to have been coined through a misunderstanding by Portuguese seafarers when they first arrived on the island. They asked the locals for the name of the land, but the locals misunderstood, and answered with ‘A-Ma-Gau’, thinking that the Portuguese were asking for the name of the local temple called A-Ma. From there, the Portuguese took ‘A-Ma-Gau’ and the territory officially became known as Macau.


What is your Korean age? 

When a Korean baby is born, he or she is already one years old. When the New Year strikes, on January 1st, every Korean turns one year older. That means that a Korean baby born on December 31st will turn two years old the day after, on January 1st. Let’s say you were born in 2000. It means your international age is 19 years old, while your Korean age is 20 years old.

Find out more here


Bubble tea!

Bubble tea was originally created in Taiwan in the 1980’s, after which it has spread all over Asia and even to western countries.

Bubble tea, also called boba or pearl tea, has countless of variations starting from the traditional milk tea with tapioca balls all the way to refreshing fruit tea served with coconut jelly


Keep Exploring

Read, Watch, Listen
Kim Ji-young, Born 1982

The story-line centers on a housewife who becomes a stay-at-home mother and later suffers from depression. It focuses on the everyday sexism the title character experiences from youth.

Asakusa Kid
It is a biopic based on the apprenticeship of Takeshi Kitano by Senzaburo Fukami, and adapted from Kitano's 1988 memoir of the same name
Anita 梅艷芳 (2021)

Anita made its mark at the local box office in 2021 as a biographical musical drama film chronicling Anita Mui’s legendary rise to superstardom. As one of the region’s most iconic female artists, the late Anita Mui – aka 'Madonna of the East' – is an award-winning Hong Kong singer and actress who has changed the Cantopop music scene forever.

Spill the Cha

Join Phoebe, Elsa, Lauren and Joelle as they discuss the British Asian Female experiences today. From exploring growing up Asian in Britain to adulting. 

What's on

News and Events 

Hallyu Con 2022 - Where Korea Meets You | Live At Samsung KX

Date and time
Sat, 1 Oct 2022, 13:00 BST


Samsung KX
1 Stable Street

Find out more here

Chinese Food Festival

Fri 28 Oct, 2022
Location: Bedford Square Gardens

Find out more here
More events here
.... and finally

Mid-Autumn festival 

Mid-Autumn Festival, Zhongqiu Jie (中秋节) in Chinese, is also called the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival. It is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. It is also celebrated by many other Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In China, Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of the rice harvest and many fruits. Ceremonies are held both to give thanks for the harvest and to encourage the harvest-giving light to return again in the coming year.

It is also a reunion time for families, a little like Thanksgiving. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners, worshiping the moon, lighting paper lanterns, eating mooncakes, etc. 

Find out more here

This month's issue was compiled by
Wing Han Wu from ICH Genomics & Genomic Medicine Research &  Teaching Department

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