At The Benevolent Society, we foster an inclusive workplace culture, value diversity and diversity of thought; and encourage our people to bring their whole selves to work.
As an organisation, we support those who want to acknowledge and celebrate their diversity in our workplace or days of cultural significance. The people of China and other Asian cultures celebrated Lunar New Year on Saturday, 25 January, 2020. To acknowledge this, we’re sharing cultural stories from our people who celebrate Lunar New Year.
Meet our Home Support Partner Shirley Lu
Shirley Lu is a Home Support Partner in Ageing Services. Shirley assesses client eligibility for short-term, overnight respite care for Rosemore Cottage. She manages a team of seven Home Support Team Members (HSTM) based in the Cottage who provide care services to clients.
Shirley’s cultural heritage is Chinese. “I came to Australia in 1996 as a student to study English and then went to university to learn Nursing. I also speak Cantonese and Mandarin,” said Shirley.
“In my hometown, Chinese New Year (CNY) is the biggest celebration of the year. Families come together on CNY to celebrate and eat food that we usually don’t get to eat throughout the whole year,” added Shirley.
Shirley’s favourite dish is ‘Gok Zai’ (pronounced gok-zie), which is a Cantonese sweet fried dumpling. She said, “When I was little we’d make them in our own home and friends would too. We’d then visit each other’s homes and give each other our home-made dumplings. They would all taste different and it’s not an easy dish to make, which usually takes a whole day to make.”
The elders in Shirley’s family would give red pockets to the younger family members. “My mother would always say that the red pockets would stop once I got married, so now I give red pockets to younger family members.”
Shirley said, “If you want to say ‘Happy New Year’ in Cantonese, you would say “Gong hei fat choy” (pronounced gong-hey fat choy) and in Mandarin you say ‘Xīnnián kuàilè’ pronounced ‘shin-knee-en-quai-la.”