Chinese festival celebrated

With a wink and wiggle of their tails, lion dancers summoned luck and fortune to the delight of guests at a Chinese Moon Festival on Saturday.

Finishing their performance with a bang a group of lion dancers and percussionists are showered with streamers outside the Red Star Restaurant in Red Deer on Saturday.

With a wink and wiggle of their tails, lion dancers summoned luck and fortune to the delight of guests at a Chinese Moon Festival on Saturday.

Also know as the Mid-Autumn Festival, about 75 people gathered outside the Red Star Restaurant to watch the traditional dance and celebrate the harvest with family and friends.

They also came out in support of the GooGo Centre, an online site created to assist the Chinese of Central Alberta.

GooGo means service in Chinese and since May, the site — www.reddeerchina.com — provides local information in Chinese and helps new residents make connections. People can post or seek jobs, buy and sell, learn about events and activities, and stay informed with news stories.

“This is an excellent example of what social networking is all about,” said Red Deer Deputy Mayor Frank Wong, who brought greetings on behalf of city council.

Yuan Bo Teng, 30, a web designer who moved to Red Deer a year ago from China, developed the site.

He said meeting other Chinese people in the city has sometimes been difficult. He heard of one newcomer who went through the telephone book.

“If the names were Chinese names, she called,” said GooGo Centre president Teng with a little help from translator and GooGo director Lindsay Olver.

According to a 2007 city census, Chinese, either Cantonese or Mandarin, is spoken by 11.6 per cent of Red Deer citizens.

The non-profit service group hopes to encourage people to become active citizens in Red Deer and surrounding communities.

Teng said moving to a new country, where you don’t know the language and is like being a newborn, Teng said.

“We need to learn everything about Canada and Canadian culture,” said Teng who is taking English classes in the day and works nights at Jackpot Casino.

GooGo Centre wants to set up an office in Red Deer, provide English classes to teach Canadian slang, and host more public events.

“I want a lot of Canadians to know the Chinese culture.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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