Text：UM Reporter Grace Chen, Trainee UM Reporters Tina Tian & Alice Liang │ Photo：Editorial Board │ ISSUE 84 December My UM
20 December is a day worth celebrating. The UM Student National Flag Team held a flag raising ceremony to mark the special day. Established this year, the National Flag Team is a university team comprised of UM students. Although the team only mobilises for important holidays or special occasions, team members never slack in their training.
Practising Hundreds of Times
Team captain Zhang Di, a postgraduate student majoring in physical education and sport studies, says team members need to follow strict discipline. He says, ‘As the team’s captain, I am not only responsible for the team’s training; I am also responsible for team members’ mental wellbeing, because I want to create a cohesive group.’
Vice captain He Tingnan is a postgraduate student in e-commerce technology. He says, ‘When we raise the flags, we have to make sure that the national flag is the highest, with the flags of the Macao SAR and the university successively lower. This requires good coordination between the three flag bearers. To get it right, we need to practice hundreds of times. This is a process that tests our perseverance.’
The Flag Represents a Responsibility
Vice captain Tu Jiayun is a second-year student from the Department of Communication. She treasures the rare opportunity to be a flag bearer, because female students in her high school had almost no chance to become flag bearers. Perhaps that’s why she doesn’t mind getting no preferential treatment as a female member. She says with a laugh, ‘Apart from getting up early, the scorching sun is also a big challenge female flag bearers have to overcome.’
In addition to routine training that takes place every Sunday, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, the team also undergoes intensive training during the time leading up to important occasions, such as the graduation ceremony, the convocation ceremony, National Day, Macao SAR Establishment Day, and New Year’s Day. The intensive training usually takes place in the afternoon, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, and then again from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Lei Chi Kit, a second-year student from the Faculty of Business Administration, says, ‘The national flag is not just a flag; it represents a responsibility. So although the intensive training is tiring, it’s worth it.’
A group photo of the UM National Flag Team and guests after the flag raising ceremony
Unforgettable First Flag-raising Experience
For Zhang Yong, a postgraduate of international law, the first flag-raising experience stands out in his memory. It happened on the day of the graduation ceremony, in May this year, not long after the team was formed. Zhang and his team members didn’t have much time to train. Even their coach told them it would be extremely difficult to get the rhythm of the flag-raising right in a little more than ten days. But eventually, he performed very well at his first flag-raising ceremony.
Fostering a Greater Sense of Belonging to China and UM
Dean of Students Paul Pang, who was responsible for establishing the National Flag Team, says the purpose is to foster a greater sense of belonging to China, Macao, and the university among the students by letting them participate in solemn flag raising ceremonies.