According to a “comprehensive business index” formulated by CBN Weekly, Hangzhou “is now recognized as a super city with comprehensive capacity and potential.” Fourteen other municipalities are in fact now recognized as "new first-tier cities" including Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chongqing, Qingdao, and Dalian.
But recognized by whom, exactly?
And, like: So what?
DON’T MIND THE GAP. SHOW US YOUR UNIQUE GLOW!
Congratulations, Hangzhou. You are now a “new first-tier” city. Officially. Well, not really “officially.” It depends entirely on your definition of official. And as for the legitimacy or plausibility of the new designation – well, that depends entirely on how one qualifies “first-tier.” And how one defines ‘city.’
CBNweekly [sic] ranked 400 Chinese cities other than traditional metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen across 10 categories including brand density; number of premium brands entering; GDP; per capita income; number of colleges and universities; number of companies ranking on Fortune's Global 500; and airport throughput.
On the basis of the 10 individual rankings, CBNweekly has calculated the comprehensive business index for each city.
In China, when people want to rate a city's development level, the first consideration would be its administrative level. However, in accordance with the international understanding, a city in the modern sense of the word is a product of commercial and industrial development and a land for capital, talent, goods and information exchange (1).
Chengdu, Nanjing, and Xi’an made the (new) premiere league. The same maths also makes Ningbo (Zhejiang) and Hefei (Anhui) “new second-tier cities”.
The New Atlantases
The word “new” is essential to these new titles, and indeed CBNweekly's proclamation is so new that the American Chamber of Commerce seems not to have had time to adjust its website:
While various criteria exist for defining a particular tier, the tiers of cities in China usually refer to key characteristics of the city, including its economic development, provincial GDP, advanced transportation systems and infrastructure, and historical and cultural significance. China’s first-tier cities usually refer to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen which make “The Big 4.” Second-tier cities include Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen. Third-tier cities include Hangzhou, Chongqing among others (2).
On the subject of tiers and rankings generally, the New Zealand-China Trade Association website offers a little analysis of the matter:
We often hear of China’s first or second or third tier cities, yet what actually makes a city tier? The terms are so often used, yet there is actually no official formula for determining what tier a city falls in. Instead, everyone makes up their own rules. There are a few common views on which Chinese cities fall in which tier, often pointing to population, development of services and infrastructure, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city. First tier cities are naturally the fewest and easiest to find common ground on. China’s four city municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing) are candidates as a clearly-defined group of leading cities. Yet this group doesn’t hold up in terms of the development and stature criteria mentioned above, and in their stead a different quartet is often put forward: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – four huge metropolises with well-developed property markets.
It becomes much more trickier [sic] when we move down to second tier cities (3).
Although the NZCTA item states that “A China consumer study published in 2009 by consulting firm McKinsey, for example, recognized the limitations of using city tiers”, Business Week reported last month that many [luxury retailers] are focusing on China’s second-tier and third-tier cities — which McKinsey Global Institute predicts will be home to 45 percent of China’s middle-class and high-income earners by 2022 (4).” Thinking in terms of tiers – or in just in case it’s not exactly the same thing: generating metrics by which to ranking Chinese cities - seems a difficult habit to break.
Given Business Week’s angle on the arrival in Chengdu of Lane Crawford, and AmCham’s caveat (“Don’t let city tier rankings restrict your business outlooks. Even third-tier cities have populations in the millions and represent a promising potential market for your business”), one wonders what, exactly, motivated CBNweekly’s analysis, what need it fulfils, and what value they (or anyone else) see in its announcement. So-called “second-tier” cities are supposed to be where all the action is these days, and where all heavy-hitters want now to be; and so while the tag might be good for metropolitan self-esteem (the Marco Polo thing is a bit stale), but it might be the worse branding idea since New Coke.
MUMFORD AND SUMS
Human beings have been creating entrepots, flocking to them, gathering in them, and building walls around them for a very long time. There’s nothing new in distinguishing cities from non-cities, urbanites from perioikoi (5), and citizens from non-citizens. The differences among cities, and between cities and non-cities, did not escape antiquity’s notice.
The city as a purely physical fact has been subject to numerous investigations. But what is the city as a social institution? The earlier answers to these questions, in Aristotle, Plato, and the Utopian writers from Sir Thomas Moore to Robert Owen, have been on the whole no more satisfactory than those of more systematic sociologists (6).
Mumford says that “in its various and many-sided life, in its opportunities for social-disharmony and conflict, the city creates drama; the suburb lacks it.”
Mumford, we suppose, had never personally witnessed the social-disharmony and drama at a Lane Crawford sale in a suburban mall; but we’re willing to let that slide, if only because we like his characterization of a city as “a related collection of purposive groups and associations,” and the way the name ‘Mumford’ feels in our mouth and throat when we say it.
For us, there is an immediate, unfortunate and possibly reprehensible tendency to read “first-tier” either as “cosmopolitan” or “international.” There is also an equally spontaneous and no less prejudicial inclination to equate “cosmopolitan” with the adjectives civilized, humane, tolerant, and open-minded, and “international” with things like: the gentility of a city’s native and imported inhabitants; the efficiency of public transportation; the degree of refinement (or threshold of crudity) of the average driver in the municipal livery fleet; how many good Indian restaurants there are, and whether any can make a good mango lassi; the likelihood that any given member of the uniformed constabulary will on any given day be wearing white socks; the likelihood that simple municipal ordinances for the communum bonum and salus populi are consistently and non-arbitrarily enforced; and whether there is more than one place to buy a half-way decent baguette. But we know better (7).
METRICS AND METICS
However fun (or silly) or thought-provoking (or bigotry-revealing) such metrics may be, they share the fault of applying to indigenous conditions an alien yardstick. Metrics like these seem also to conflate and jumble-together quantifiables with qualifiables – facts and values, or, facts and the preferences based in part on values. One can count airports and reckon their cargo throughput, tally GDP and FDI, and map 4G bandwidth coverage as easily as one can take a headcount of Uniqlo outlets and Bentley dealerships. That’s exactly what Esther Fung and company did in their Wall Street Journal ditty “What Makes a Tier-2 City in China? Count the Starbucks”. Seemingly they too didn’t get the memo from CBNweekly:
What exactly differentiates a tier-two Chinese city from a tier-three city? Officially no one knows, but it might help to start by counting the Starbucks.
China has more than 600 cities, which are often categorized into four tiers. The government, industry experts and analysts all use this classification, but there is almost no agreement about which city belongs to which tier.
Unlike almost every other Chinese economic indicator, the government doesn’t have an official definition for the tiers. Even the country’s official statistics department—which uses the classification system but notes that it was started by the private sector—said it doesn’t have a definitive list (8).
One could of course count instead the number of Meters/bonwe stores, Geely lots, and milk tea kiosks, or the number of cops in tube socks, or the average distance between litter on the sidewalk and the nearest rubbish bin. Or the number of Tom Ford counters. Or the percentage of counterfeit product in the Tom Ford counters. The point is that whereas developmental markers directly related to commerce, industry, and infrastructure seem to support some deductions and a few solid inferences about other quantifiable data, clever metrics are at best playfully probabilistic. They make us grin because of the correlations they propose: high mean net-income correlates with lots of branded coffee shops that sell muffins and ciabatta bread sandwiches; coffee, muffins, and ciabatta bread sandwiches are Western foodstuffs; therefore, high mean net-income is an indicator of how Westernized (or: how non-prejudical against Western foodstuffs) a city’s residents are.
But it’s not that simple. Fun “Freakanomics”-style metrics also wink at values, standards of taste, and the trajectory of possible convergences upon those Western consumer-preferences we’re now in the habit of calling “global,” while hinting that the correlations might in fact be symptoms of deeply meaningful causal relationships. But there’s a world of difference between the market-penetration of a global Western brand, and the kind of value-thick and norm-rich “internationalism” and “cosmopolitanism” we think of when these two words come to mind or slip off the tongue.
Take Greater Hangzhou, which has 38 Starbucks outlets. Not long ago we were smoking outdoors just beyond the threshold of a city-center Starbucks in which we were having a coffee. (Uncivilized and anti-social behavior. We note the possible hypocrisy.) Advancing with a brisk wobble from seating inside the establishment, Granny Liu pushed open the doors with her shoulder and raced outdoors, across the threshold, and down the steps, carrying her splay-legged grandchild by the underside of its knees. There, two meters from the Starbucks landing, Granny Liu aimed the toddler’s southernmost orifice at a clean spot on the pavement, and with a firm but gentle squeeze and bounce facilitated the latter’s discharge of a formidable, non-viscous pile of toffee-colored baby waste. Granny Liu’s flight plan to the door had actually taken her directly past the Starbucks restrooms. A minute or so later, the toddler’s mother, with a reassuring look of mortification upon her young face, came outside with a wad of paper towels in her hand, and made an admirable attempt to clean-up the mess. She then carried the soggy wad of discolored and despoiled paper towels back into Starbucks for deposit in the rubbish bin just inside the entrance. She did not opt for the trash can two meters away from where her child A-bombed a family of ants.
This is normal and SOP in our city, a “new first-tier city” with a Lamborghini dealership, the highest-grossing Lancome counter on Earth, and a pretty good Starbucks-to-Chipster ratio (9). One might be inclined to conclude that “first-tier” is therefore not a designation synonymous with “civilized” (said the public-smoker), whatever else the phrase purports to denote or intimate. But we have no fears for tiers. We are wondering in earnest, though, whether one should even use the word ‘city’ to refer to an administrative jurisdiction in which this sort of thing is de rigueur, the rule rather than the exception.
For a while now we’ve been publically pooh-poohing straight-faced claims that our adoptive city is in any meaningful sense “international”. But what makes, or would make, a city “international” anyway? Should we simply look for a certain density of shop-fronts for “global brands”, or retail outlets for imported luxury goods? Or should we consider instead the sales volume of whichever foreign brands have a retail presence in the city in question? Is a city more international for having four non-profitable GAPs, or for having one highly profitable GAP in which men strip in the retail area to try-on t-shirts and shoppers with kids are not discouraged by sales associates from allowing their children to piss in the potted plants?
Perhaps a city is “international” to the extent that it has a large and diverse non-native population -- long-term residents, or immigrants, or both, the majority of which contemplate themselves as legitimate stakeholders in the city, and are welcomed by the natives to think of themselves thus. But what should count as “a large population”? Shanghai is arguably China’s most “international city” on the mainland, and yet the roughly 173,000 resident foreigners there (out of +/-23 million) account for no more than three-quarters of one percent of the total population. So maybe we should instead measure the influence of non-native peoples upon the character of the city – say, the net effect of their presence upon indigenous folkways, mores, and practices, or, the extent to which the presence of non-natives results in a palpable cultural diversity and productive heterogeneity? Wow. Just try and create a formula for that.
In this extraordinary society [5th-4thc BCE Athens], a peculiar but vitally important position was held by the resident aliens or metics. The so-called metoikoi were in fact a small but special sub-group… of a much larger group of free migrants or katoikoi. [T]hough the majority were Greeks from practically every part of Greece…, by the fourth century they included Thracians, Phrygians, Carians, Paphlagonians, Celts, Lydians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Arabians, Scythians, and Persians. … The concentrated above all in Athens, the city which aspired to economic supremacy. … The anomaly was that they had no political rights: constitutionally, the polis was the state of the citizens, the politai, and no one else. Nor could they own land… [B]ut they had personal freedom, protection of the law, liberty of worship, and almost unlimited work opportunities.
- Peter Hall (1998) Cities in Civilization, pp. 58-59
And so to the heart of the matter: what would any metric cooked-up especially for the sole purpose of rankings really establish? What would it really tell us about the character or quality of any given “related collection of purposive groups and associations”?
With respect to Occidental non-natives looking-in on Chinese cities – even when the observer is a well-adjusted and patriotic metic – evaluative descriptions, whether in terms of the presence of Western-trained doctors or the absence of vino verde, are in the final analysis bourgeois euphemisms for the adjective good. Concede that one point, and let it be Archimedean. Hangzhou is a “good city” in respect of this, but not so good in respect of that; Shanghai is a “great city” on account of X, but a pretentious overpriced hellhole on account of Y. Make a frank confessional of one’s private portfolio of priorities, and the devil with the rankings and qualifiers of others. Try and make a falsifiable proposition out of a statement like “Hangzhou is an international/cosmopolitan/first-tier (&c.) city”, and you’re back immediately to teasing-apart a tangle of objective facts and subjective sentiments --- so, why bother?
NOUN AND COUNTRY
Cities, by definition, have always tended to have more nouns than non-cities. Ur, Jericho, Babylon, Athens, Persepolis… Markets, bazars, harbors, quays, docks – where there is produce and trade, there are nouns. The quest for insulation and the desire for fortification end at last with decoration, public beautification, and private accumulation. Nouns billowing out of baskets and spilling out of gourds and amphorae; nouns hanging from hooks, hanging from earlobes; nouns dangling from wrists and hips, twisted into one’s coiffure, pinned to one’s cloak. Nouns traveling from East to West, West to East, in caravans; across seas, up and down rivers; nouns carried on poles, locked in chests, wrapped in leaves or skins. Nouns for sale. Nouns for rent. A city can have an abundance of blind, deaf, or mute beggars, but not merchants. The more nouns, the greater the mercantile dynamism and economic fecundity of a city. Strip a polis of its nouns, and it is a polis no more.
But of course, a bustling bazar and animated agora all presuppose one thing, the one noun sine qua non. People. Unless we contemplate a city as a hive – as some soulless collective of anonymous iterations, a colony of furtive hymenopterae - a city –proper is (as Mumford says in elegant understatement) an intentional aggregation of individuals. And it is through individuals that we should try to evaluate any flock or herd of human biomass --- intra or extra-mural.
So much for nouns. What, then, are the adjectives that matter most to most citizens, in contemplation of their chosen settlement --- their habitat? And what if anything are the citizens doing – purposefully, deliberately - to increase the frequency of positive adjectives, and to decrease opportunities for the flourishing of negative ones? We are back, of course, to subjective metrics of a kind; but the very best of cities are those in which the majority of the citizens embrace the fact hat we are subjects of and for one another, and that in a city-proper we like it that way. Cities are not simply villages with more people, fewer ungulates, taller buildings, and public sewerage. Where most of the inhabitants of a metropolis have carried into the city the folkways and habits of their ancestral encampments beyond the walls, and in so doing have given to urban space a character and tempo inimical to the very idea of the city, there is in fact no true city at all. As Marcel Mauss might have put it: every city worthy of the name has refused or rejected something.
The true measure of a city – rank it as you will – is neither the volume of its nouns, nor the number of extravagant, smiley-faced adjectives which either Officialdom or media wags stick to the metropolis, or append to descriptions of its natives. And given the diversity cities – and the pretensions of some residents in some highly-populated megarural enclaves - we conclude that while we may rate, we might not want to rank.
1. http://www.china.org.cn/travel/qingdao/2013-12/24/content_30994444.htm. Consulted Tuesday 22 April 2014.
5. Perioikoi, Greek, lit. “dwellers about/outwith”.
6. Lewis Mumford (1937) “What is a city?”, Architectural Record. An interesting aside, and good point to consider given Mumford’s reference to Plato and to More, sis that there’s not a whole lot of the utopian genre in China’s long and fascinating literary history. See Geng CM (2010) “Old state and new mission: A survey of utopian literature during the late Qing dynasty and the early period of the Republic of China”, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, September 2010, Vol.4, Issue 3, pp.402-424 – vide http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11702-010-0105-7
See also Chang H-C (1986) “Literary Utopia and Chinese Utopia Literature: A Generic Appraisal” -- vide
7. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8612022/. “In about 1732, ‘civilization’ was still only a term in jurisprudence: it denoted an act of justice or judgment which turned a criminal trial into civil proceedings. Its modern meaning, ‘the process of becoming civlized’, appeared later, in 1752… Hence the first inevitable question: was it necessary to invent the word ‘civilization’ and encourage it in academic use, it is remains merely a synonym for ‘society’?” Fernad Braudel (1987/1993), A History of Civilizations, Part I, Chapter 1, “Changing Vocabulary”. This is hardly cutting-edge scholarship today, but Braudel’s gloss on the etymology of the word civilization, and its conceptual relationship to the word culture, is still worth reading.
9. Chinese hipster = Chipster
FURTHER READING: In addition to the above sources, see generally Bell and de-Shalit (2011) The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in the Global Age. The editors of this volume convened a workshop in May of 2012 (The City, Identity, and Political Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Workshop) at Jiaotong University, Shanghai. Daniel A. Bell is the Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiaotong University and professor of political theory and director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing. We heard from an acquaintance of ours who attended that the paper presented by the delegates from Chengdu (we forget their name[s] and affiliation) was among the most interesting. See http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9544.html. Broadly related to the subject, we also like Niall Ferguson (2008) The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World; Azar Gat (2006) War in Human Civilization; Feher & Kwinter (2002) The Contemporary City (Zone Series, 1 & 2); Christopher Alexander et al. (1977) A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction; Jane Jacobs (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Henry Adams (1918) The Education of Henry Adams.
Over the past eight weeks, the Wellington College International Hangzhou community has rallied together to face and overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, Wellington College International Hangzhou is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries for admissions, and from March 30th the entire Admissions team have been back on campus assisting families through the admissions process.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we are unable to host families on campus for our personalised tours, but that doesn’t mean you cannot learn more about the unique Wellington approach to holistic education. From phone conversations, email and video conferencing, through to our 360-degree virtual campus tours and online information sessions, we can still connect in this digital age despite our distance.
Online Open Day
On Wednesday 8th April, Wellington College International Hangzhou will be hosting an online information session, open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington.
In this webinar style event, Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou, will provide a broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, our heritage, educational philosophy and values.
Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou, will take a deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, as well as exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to take a 360-degree virtual campus tour to view the state-of-the-art facilities we have on offer and how we utilize these facilities to provide the very best possible education for the children in our care.
Finally, we will host a live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions team, allowing us to address the questions that are important to you.
Scholarships at Wellington
In order to recognise and reward the pursuit and achievement of excellence in pupils at Wellington College International Hangzhou, and to make a Wellington education accessible to a broader range of pupils throughout Hangzhou and surrounding regions, scholarships, awards and bursaries are available to different year levels at Wellington. Awards of up to 100% of the tuition fees will be available to successful applications in Year 7 or above in August 2020. For more information, please visit this link or contact our Admissions team directly.
eLearning at Wellington
Results from our recent parent survey are conclusive. Our eLearning provision is meeting the needs of our families and ensuring that children are meeting their educational needs during this difficult time. 94% of Wellington College International Hangzhou families agree that our teachers have ensured that our pupils, irrespective of time zones, have been able to access all learning materials during this period of eLearning.
Since eLearning started, Wellington College International Hangzhou pupils have been able to maintain their close-knit relationships with their teachers and classmates. These ongoing relationships, personalised learning plans, 1:1 tutoring where required and innovative use of technology to smoothly facilitate learning objectives has ensured that our children are all progressing as they should during this time.
This high-quality eLearning provision is a testament to Wellington’s ongoing commitment to always providing the best possible learning outcomes to the children in our care, regardless of circumstance or challenge. We remain committed to this objective and welcome enquiries from all parents who are interesting in providing a world-class education to their children.
To learn more about eLearning at Wellington College International Hangzhou, please click the links below to learn more;
Top 12 FAQs | All you need to know about joining Wellington!
The Admissions team regularly fields questions from parents who are keen to learn more about Wellington, and as a result have compiled the following useful FAQ. Please click the link below to see what other parents are curious about.
Do you have different questions? Are you interested in learning more about Wellington? If so, we welcome you to join our online open day being hosted at 7pm on Wednesday 8th April. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t forget that our Admissions team are available at any time to answer your questions. Due to the international nature of the school, we field questions at all times of the day. Feel free to contact us using any of the methods listed below and we will respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.
The Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao is known for a lot of things, except being moderate. They will give you a free manicure and clean your shoes while you’re waiting for your table, provide a big stuffed animal to keep you company if you’re lunching alone, and perform an acrobatic dance if you order noodles.
Haidilao is the epitome of the “client comes first” mentality that will go to great length to provide you with first-rate service. However, as experience shows, some clients find that the best service is when they are left alone and not bothered by pesky over-the-top courtesy.
At one time Chinese Internet was replete with articles titled along the lines of “Don’t let Haidilao know your birthday, it’s too scary” where users would detail their experiences dealing with the restaurant’s overblown birthday service that included singing and dancing waiters holding LED lights and more. Some have even joked saying “If you hate your friend, go to Haidilao for their birthday.”
To tackle the problem and better cater to the needs of different groups of customers, Haidilao recently introduced a witty solution. Tables in some of the chain’s restaurants are now equipped with “Do not disturb” flip-boards. Customers who do not want to be approached too often by waiters can use the sign to fend off their insistent advances.
The flip-board also provides other options such as “I’ll serve dishes myself” meaning that the waiter does not need to help with the dishes frequently or “detailed services are not required” telling waiters that they are only wanted to bring dishes and clean the table.
According to Haidilao, the service is still in the pilot stage, and it will be tried in some stores. It will continue to be optimized according to the needs of customers and different situations. Stores and employees will be continuously encouraged to innovate and provide customers with more personalized services.
Though Haidilao's service has always been known as "perverted", but sometimes it is too intimate and it can cause embarrassment. A while ago, a post named "Don't let Haidilao know your birthday" went viral on the internet.
“I went to Haidilao with my girlfriend, we just asked if we could get a discount on birthdays, then a group of people appeared with LED lights and sang the birthday song, they even gave us a ‘Most Beautiful Girlfriend Reward” and asked us to read the girlfriend vows to each other.’
“Two of us went to celebrate my friend’s birthday at Haidilao, we hid the cake in our bag and sneaked some scoops every now and then, just because we were so scared that the waiters would find out that’s her birthday, then we would be the super star of the night.”
“Look at me, I looked so surprised and happy!”
Therefore, for many customers who like Haidilao, the appearance of "Do Not Disturb" flip-board is simply a relief and has been unanimously appreciated by everyone.
From a steaming glass of traditional mulled wine, brimming with spices, to an indulgent mudslide cocktail, our winter drinks recipes are perfect for seeing in the festive season. Curl up in your fluffiest jumper with a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, or get the party started with a batch of our marvellous mulled gin.
Keep everyone's glasses topped up with our favourite festive drinks, and mouth-watering non-alcoholic drinks for every taste. Find top mixology tips, reviews of our favourite products and even more triple-tested recipes in our cocktails & drinks hub.
Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine & Cloves
Our spiced apple syrup with clementine and cloves will add a burst of fabulous Christmas flavour to any drink. Try adding to hot apple juice or mulled wine for festive fruit and spice. It's even delicious drizzled over ice cream for an upgraded frozen treat. It will keep for about a month, so store it in the fridge ready for impromptu gatherings.
200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole allspice
1 mace blade
2 whole cloves
Small strip fresh ginger
1 clementine, zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
100g golden caster sugar
1. Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.
It wouldn't be winter without a steaming mug of mulled wine, complete with a glug of sloe gin for a sweet twist. Simply leave your wine, (we recommend an unoaked tempranillo) to infuse with seasonal spices like star anise and cinnamon and a little citrus zest. Keep a batch warming on the stove and let guests top up their glasses. Want to try something different this year?
750ml bottle red wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml sloe gin (we used Gordon's) (optional)
1. Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
3. To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin (if using) and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
Winter Whisky Sour
Warm up from the inside out with our simple winter whiskey sour. Give the classic sour a couple of delicious tweaks and it's ready for the festive season. Add a splash of orange juice to your favourite bourbon, a little sugar syrup, some fresh fruit and some sparkle. Need some more help getting into the spirit?
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
2 slices of oranges
Gold edible glitter
1. Using a small paintbrush (or your finger), brush some honey around the rim of two tumblers and use another small paintbrush to stick edible gold glitter around each.
2. Fill each glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon into a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into each glass, and serve with an orange slice and short straws.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Nothing says 'indulgence' like a velvety-smooth hot chocolate, made with rich dark chocolate and double cream. Stir our peppermint hot chocolate with a striped candy cane and let it melt into the drink for a refreshing minty flavour. These delectable drinks are hard to resist. Got something.
200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
150ml pot single or double cream
Sugar, to taste
6 peppermint candy canes, to serve
1. Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
2. Divide the hot chocolate between 6 mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.
Cinnamon Buttered Rum
Once you're tried our super smooth, gently spiced cinnamon buttered rum, it'll be your drink of choice when the nights draw in. Serve up mugfuls of this buttery brilliance for your next party. Neither sickly sweet nor too citrussy, this perfectly balanced tipple will warm you up in no time. Whether you prefer white or dark, spiced or smooth, we have a rum cocktail recipe to get your party started.
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
200ml spiced rum
1. Gently heat the butter, golden caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Stir in the spiced rum, then pour into four small heatproof glasses to serve.
Mulled Pear & Cranberry Punch
Our versatile mulled pear & cranberry punch can be served as a cocktail or a non-boozy version, simply miss out the sloe gin. The beauty of this all-in-one recipe means you can simply chuck your ingredients in a pan, leave to heat, then ladle out as needed. It takes just ten minutes to make, so no need to sweat it out in the kitchen.
1l pear cider
1l pear (or cloudy apple) juice
1l cranberry juice
Good handful fresh or dried cranberries
150ml sloe gin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, scored lengthways
Put all the ingredients into your biggest saucepan or casserole dish. When you're ready to serve, heat to just below simmering point, then ladle into glasses.
This creamy, coffee-flavoured cocktail is for adults only. Our mudslide is pure decadence, something to be savoured and sipped at your leisure.
50g dark chocolate
60ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
60ml Irish cream liqueur
100ml double cream
1. Put two small tumblers in the fridge to chill overnight. Put 30g of the chocolate in a shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Dip the rim of the chilled glasses in the melted chocolate, then stand them upright so it gradually drips down the sides. Return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the coffee-flavoured liqueur, vodka, Irish cream liqueur and double cream. Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
3. Put a few ice cubes in the prepared glasses, then strain in the cocktail. Finely grate over the remaining chocolate and serve with a paper straw.
Winter Pimm's Punch
This archetypal English cocktail isn't just for summer. Our Winter Pimm's punch is paired with sweet brandy and light apple juice for an instant cocktail cabinet winner. You'll probably have most of the ingredients already lurking in kitchen cupboards. It can be served warm or cool, depending on what you prefer.
1½ l apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine the Pimm's and brandy with the apple juice in a jug filled with ice, cinnamon sticks and a sliced apple and orange.
Looking for something a little different than the standard festive fare? Move over wine, this mulled gin is our new favourite Christmas cocktail. Infuse apple juice with aromatic spices like bay, cloves and cardamom, a few crushed juniper berries and a little honey for sweetness. Cut through rich canapés and sweet treats with this more delicate drink.
400ml apple juice
½ lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp runny honey
For the garnish
4 bay leaves
2 lemon slices, halved
1. Divide the gin between four small heatproof glasses or teacups.
2. Tip the apple juice into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently until simmering, then strain into a jug. Pour the mulled apple juice into the glasses with the gin and stir gently to combine. Garnish each glass with a bay leaf and half a lemon slice and serve warm.
Perk up the after-dinner lull with a luxurious Irish coffee. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top of the thick layer of cream adds some seasonal fragrance. Need some help choosing the perfect dram? Read our review of the 10 best Irish whiskies, from light and smooth to rich and spicy.
2 tbsp double cream
150ml freshly brewed black coffee
50ml Irish whiskey
½ - 1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.
2. Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.
My first encounter with Marco was through my friend’s WeChat moments. I can’t really recall for what reason we added each other, all I could remember were his big muscles and that bright smile hailing from L.A. Later on, we had more contact due to a few common friends who are involved with martial arts and I started to know him more.
Who is Marco
Marco has gained quite a reputation in the martial arts world since arriving in Hangzhou in 2018. He used to train at Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in USA, an international academy, competition team, and family of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in thirty-four American cities and sixteen countries worldwide. You can find world-class, hands-on instruction that has been tested on the practice mats and proven on the competition field.
In Hangzhou, Marco started his own brand - Marcola Jiu Jitsu. It offers Jiu Jitsu training classes to people of different ages, whether professional or not. As one of the few black belt holders in China, his classes are really popular. Marco’s lifelong love of competitive athletics has molded him into both a lover and a fighter. His passion for athletics and a genuine desire to help people reach their fitness goals motivates him to continue learning each day, and develop new techniques to challenge himself and his clients. You see doctors, lawyers, students, law enforcers, businessmen and women walk into his class for the same reason - to get better at Jiu Jitsu.
Marco’s full name is Marco Alvarado and his Chinese name is rather cute: 马可乐. His Chinese friends would just call him 可乐, same as Cola. Before we tell you more, take a look at his incredible championship records below, the man is a real fighter.
Bronze Medal at International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship Blue Belt
Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation All Americas Tournament Purple Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF Pan American Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF World No Gi Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF American Nationals No Gi Brown Belt
Silver Medal at Jiu Jitsu World League San Diego Championships Black Belt
Gold Medal at NABJJF All Americas Tournament Black Belt
Marco has been involved in many kinds of sports - boxing, taekwondo, karate, running, American football – and also physical rehabilitation. Like many other athletes, Marco’s first coach was his dad who was a boxer. Marco was just 5 years old when his dad introduced him to boxing. It was the classic story, his parents decided to put him in taekwondo and karate training when they found out that little Marco was being bullied in kindergarten. Six years later, he received his first black belt in taekwondo.
After that, he decided to move on to a new sport: running. From sixth grade till he graduated college, he never stopped running and he became one of the US national athletes in track and field.
Eventually, he knew he needed to find another new sport to challenge himself. One day, he went to a free Jiu Jitsu class at his college. Someone caught him in a choke, he had no idea what to do and that got him really interested. He wanted to know how it happened, how he did it, and how to do it back. He was 22 at the time. 10 years later, he won the Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Championships.
It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It
As an amateur boxer who has only been training for 4 months, there was a question I really wanted to ask so I brought it up when we were having a lunch break at Blue Frog. “Before you had your first fight, how did you overcome your inner fear?” Marco took a bite of his big, juicy burger and said “My first Jiu Jitsu tournament was six months after I started training, I was very nervous. We sparred every week in college, so I learned how to deal with the fear, but this time was different. I knew who my opponents were, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got destroyed badly in two fights, one guy caught me in the armbar in 20 seconds, the other guy beat me so bad like 20-0. I left deflated and frustrated, but I wanted to do it again, I wanted redemption. This gives you more motivation to go back to train harder and learn from mistakes. In the fights later on, I started to get into my rhythm and started doing well. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to tap and lose in practice, because it hurts your pride for a day or two, but you come back for more training. It’s ok to lose, just learn from it. That’s an important life lesson.” During Marco’s career, his arms were almost broken a couple of times, he tore some ligaments on his knees and he got two broken teeth. With all these injuries, he had to learn about physical therapy in order to fix himself.
“Martial arts is more about avoiding problems than anything else. These days, there are always those untrained people or the ones who watched too much UFC and are looking for trouble. If you trained a little, you’ll have respect for your body. This stuff is no joke, it can really be dangerous.” Marco continues, “My teacher used to say if there is a fight, he’ll just run away, because he would feel bad for the guys once he’s had enough. He would turn around and fight.”
Back in L.A, Marco was teaching in a big chain gym where he soon became friends with a Taiwanese trainer. He followed his friend’s journey that brought him to Hangzhou to continue teaching for Checkmat and he became aware that there are a lot of blue and purple belt holders who opened Jiu Jitsu schools in Hangzhou, but there were only 2-3 with a black belt teaching here. Marco thought that he can bring people more advanced technique and professional training. So in June, 2018, Marco came to start his first job in a gym in Xiaoshan, teaching conditioning and creating a Jiu Jitsu program.
MMA vs. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
I couldn’t help asking what Marco thinks about this outspoken Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong a.k.a. “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog has made it his mission to expose fake kung fu over the past two years by pulverising fraudulent traditional martial arts “masters”, but his actions have drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. “In my point of view, Bruce [Lee] was the first MMA fighter in the history of martial arts, because he was always so open minded about everything. He took things that he thought were useful and added on something unique of his own. I think Xu Xiaodong’s mission is to show that not one martial arts is dominating. If you know a bit of everything, that is more effective. I think Jiu Jitsu is very useful and complete, cause you go from standing to the ground, you can also go back up to defend yourself, knowledge is powerful. Martial arts is changing, and you need to keep yourself updated. Back home, some guys can use their chi to make someone fall. This is not video games, we call it McDojo.”
The Distance Between China and the World
Many are also immersed in the joy of Zhang Weili who won China’s first Gold Belt in MMA. She is now gearing up to defend her UFC strawweight title against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk on March 8, 2020. Marco thinks that China has started to close the gap with the other western countries and now there are more and more young Chinese fighters in UFC. Marco told me, “With Jiu Jitsu, specifically, China is a little bit behind. Brazil and US now are the two countries with the best fighters. There are a lot of 15-18 years old kids that have been training since they were 5. That means they have over 10 years of experience on the mat which is more than me. They have all those tricks that I have never seen, the level is just incredible. Even though China has a lot of catching up to do, they are doing a good job.”
How Did My First Jiu Jitsu Class Go?
I joined Marco’s class at R8 a few weeks ago. I was not only impressed by his superb Jiu-Jitsu skills, but also his passion in coaching. When a fight moves down to the ground, it can be quite brutal, especially in Jiu Jitsu where there are so many different kinds of chokes. It seems that getting bruises, breaking teeth or arms are normal in this sport. Plus, did I mention that if you are practicing with a guy, you’d better get used to some rather odd positions? Even Marco himself admitted that Jiu Jitsu positions can sometimes be awkward.
So I didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but Marco’s explanation and demonstration of each move made everything seem possible. It is a grappling-based martial art where the central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Jiu Jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. All those awkward positions can be very effective; the basis behind it is all about leverage. It’s about using the whole body on another body part, even if your opponent is a bodybuilder, he can’t win. If you are skilled in Jiu Jitsu, you can definitely hold yourself against 95% of the population; most people don’t even know how to fall down properly.
The Beauty of Jiu Jitsu
Marco has about 30 tough students at the moment and he’s determined to stay for a much longer time. Recently he took 7 people to attend the Shanghai Tournament and got 10 gold medals, this shows that this tiny team is going in the right direction. For the next step, Marco wants to create a kids’ program. He wants to share what he has with the next generation.
"It's important to stay focused and keep an open mind when it comes to learning Jiu Jitsu." The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle goes beyond just training. It's about taking care of yourself, making friends, and striving to put your 'best foot forward'. Setting your mind to learning and improving every week will help you to improve mind, body and soul. His over-all team goal is to improve at least 1% every week and this requires a positive attitude.
In light of the success of the first online open day, Wellington College International Hangzhou is very much aware of requests for an additional session held on a weekend, to enable more families to tune in and join the interactive Q&A session. The coming online open day will be held at 10am on Saturday 18th April.This event is open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington College International Hangzhou.
The open day includes;
· A broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, royal heritage, educational philosophy and values by Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou.
· 惠灵顿杭州校区总校长Paul Rogers将对惠灵顿大家庭的姊妹学校、悠久历史、以及我们的教育理念和价值观做整体介绍。
· A deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, and a presentation exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about by Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou
· 杭州惠灵顿外籍人员子女学校校长Kathryn Richardson将深入阐述惠灵顿教育的与众不同之处以及就家长们关心的一些常见问题与大家进行探讨。
· A live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions Team, allowing the team to address the questions that are important to you.
All interested families are suggested to scan the QR code on the poster to register. Registered attendees will receive a reminder notification prior to the event starting.
Welcome Back to Wellington
As pupils quickly approach the highly anticipated return to schools in Hangzhou, Wellington College Hangzhou has been strictly following the local regulations on epidemic prevention in order to prepare the Wellington community for a smooth transition back to normality.
At Wellington College Hangzhou, ensuring the safety of the school community and protecting the health of Wellington pupils and staff always takes top priority. Over the past three months, the Senior Leadership Team and a specially appointed school emergency team have implemented a detailed COVID-19 plan that covers all aspects of school life, and ensures that strict guidelines will be followed to minimize risk and increase safety.
The Wellington College Hangzhou campus has undertaken a comprehensive site inspection by both the Education Bureau and the Hangzhou medical authority. Both inspection teams were incredibly impressed with Wellington’s preparations.
Wellington understand that this will be a difficult transition for their children, yet remain confident that with careful guidance, and through demonstrating the Wellington Values of Courage, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Integrity, the children will adapt quickly and fully embrace the mission of ensuring a safe return to school.
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