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They gathered around the hot pot to celebrate Chinese New Year

February 9, 2022

These photos are from a Chinese New Year’s dinner that Manqiu Xiu and his family had with friends pre-COVID. Manqiu is the manager of Mineral Processing, Technology and Innovation at our Sheridan Park office. Photos: Manqiu Xiu

When Manqiu Xiu moved to Canada in 1985, Chinese New Year was not a well-known holiday beyond the Asian community. “Now more people know about it,” said Manqiu (pronounced Man-chu), “and that speaks to the growing diversity and inclusivity in Canada. 

“Diversity and inclusivity are one of the main reasons I stayed in Canada,” he continued. “I could have returned to China, but I stayed because I love Canada.” 

Manqiu is the manager of Mineral Processing, Technology and Innovation at our Sheridan Park research and lab facility, located in Mississauga, just west of our downtown Toronto office, where he manages a team of 17, plus three co-op students and one contractor. 

He and his team are responsible for four areas: 1) Accessing future technology the company may invest in 2) Consulting on technology problems that operations may run into 3) Providing technical assurance with opinions on projects and technological changes to ensure operations follow and meet Vale’s guidelines and standards and 4) Consulting on Geometallurgy where they determine the value of a project that is under consideration, but not yet mined, by providing independent verification of resources and the mine’s potential value.  

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, which this year fell on February 1. The date changes every year based on the cycles of the moon and the sun, but always falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20, and each year is represented by an animal. This year is the Year of the Tiger – commonly associated with courage and strength. 

As a young child living in Central China near the Yangtze River, Manqiu said that Chinese New Year meant new shoes and clothes, which for him, was a big deal and very exciting. “At no other time of the year did we get these things.”

He said it often lasted for 15 days, and sometimes longer, and saw the entire community celebrating together. “Everything closed, from factories to government offices and every day there are festivities, food and candies.” 

Manqiu and his family, wife Lilan, son Michael, and daughter Lisha and her boyfriend Max, celebrated Chinese New Year at home last Saturday, February 5. They all gathered together in the kitchen to cook. 

Hot pot. Photo: Markus Winkler, Pexels

The signature dish was the hot pot. Manqiu points out that the hot pot is a symbol of togetherness and conversation because it sits in the middle of the table, keeping the soup hot for hours, allowing diners to converse and relax. “Chinese New Year is about good times, feelings of happiness and reunions with friends and family. It’s plentiful time.” 

For the hot pot, they started with chicken then added spices and herbs like ginger and cilantro, plus cooking wines and oils. “It’s a bit of an experiment. My wife tends to be more flexible than me in the kitchen; I’m more precise,” said Manqiu who holds a PhD in mineral processing engineering. In addition to the hot pot, the family made dumplings, fish, shrimp, lamb, beef and a range of vegetables.  

May the Year of the Tiger bring prosperity to all, strength to get through this challenging time, and new beginnings to the year ahead. 

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