Egg Shortages Crisis

You may have read a number of reports recently regarding egg shortages. A widespread and ongoing outbreak of avian flu has disrupted the supply of eggs. How the shortage of eggs is impacting on the Chinese community in the UK? 

To cope with the current egg shortages, which has seen some empty shelves, supermarkets across the UK have introduced temporary limits on the number of eggs customers can buy, to try and ensure availability for everyone. Asda, Morrisons and M&S have introduced a limit of two boxes of eggs per customer due to unprecedented demand. 

Current status of egg sales in supermarkets

In the past few weeks, eggs were very scarce in the supply market. The owner of a Chinese restaurant in London Chinatown told me: “The recent shortage of eggs that the UK has been experiencing for a long time has made it difficult for the restaurant to get eggs, or we have to pay very high prices to buy them. This has resulted in many of our dishes not being able to be prepared, so we had to increase the price of some dishes to reduce the cost of operation.”

“Before that, we had a lot of dishes containing eggs that sold very well and were very popular with customers. After the shortage of eggs, many customers would rarely order those dishes because the price had risen some. Sometimes when there are no eggs in the kitchen, these dishes will be crossed off the menu.” The Chinese restaurant owner said.

In addition, some other restaurants have also replaced the dishes that need to be made with eggs with other dishes. For example, some brunch restaurants replaced the eggs in the set meal with bacon or sausage to make up for the inability to supply eggs to customers.

Nutritional elements chart for eggs

Eggs are good source of protein, with a medium egg containing around 6g of protein. They’re quick to cook, versatile and can be enjoyed at any meal in the day. But there are lots of alternative sources around if you find them hard to come buy, including pulses and veggie proteins such as tofu. 

Many Chinese use tofu as a substitute for eggs

When Chinese people cannot buy eggs or the price of eggs rises, in order to supplement the protein needed by the human body in daily life, people will buy tofu made from soybeans or mung beans. Tofu has a high protein content and is of better quality than the protein found in grains and is close to the protein found in meat. Every 100 grams of tofu contains 15.7 grams of protein.

But my Chinese friends said: “For Chinese baked goods, the impact of the egg shortage is so great that many baked goods cannot be made at all because substitutes are hard to find.”

Nobody knows when the egg shortages will end as so many of the contributing factors are still ongoing, such as the war in Ukraine, rising prices, the cost of living crisis and avian flu. Although the government has tried to reassure the public that the shortages will be a short-term issue. 

Eggs are indispensable ingredients in Chinese cuisine. If this is the case for a long time, egg shortages will largely affect Chinese community in the UK and imperceptibly change some of our daily eating habits. Everyone hopes that this crisis can be solved as soon as possible. After all, eggs are very important for the nutrition needed by the human body.

Young people and traditional cultures

Many regions in China have local traditional cultures, which play an important role in the local area. Is it the responsibility and mission of the younger generation to promote and carry forward these distinctive cultures in fast-paced development and the influx of new trends?

Due of China’s vast territory and large population, there are cultural differences between regions, which has led to the creation and development of traditional culture and artistic products with local characteristics in each place. Some of them have been in development for many years now, and have gradually developed into large-scale and influential regional culture characteristics, even to the nation and the world.

The local traditional culture is the symbol of the region and the outstanding material representative that the local people are proud of. It is a common phenomenon that many natives, especially young people, know little about them and even ignore their existence and significance. This is probably a bad thing for the transmission of local culture, which would mean that these outstanding cultural goods would leave the limelight and be disappear in some day.

In recent years, traditional Chinese art forms have caught the attention of more and more young Chinese, due to their innovative nature. One of the most popular among young people right now is Suzhou Pingtan, a folk ballad about the art of story-telling. Pingtan is a regional variety of opera and a musical and oral performance art form popular in southern Jiangsu. As a native of the area, I was exposed to this form of music art when I was a child, but only stay at the level of having some impressions.

The long history has also laid a solid foundation for Pingtan’s development. Its contents are rich, though the form is simple. “story telling, joke cracking, music playing and aria singing” are the performing techniques, while “reasoning, tastes, unexpectedness, interest and minuteness” are the artistic features. After that, Pingtan became a new form of performance by innovating and carrying on the tradition.

I spoke to Mr Wang Chi-liang, the deputy head of the Suzhou Pingtan Performing Arts Troupe, he told me: “Young people have an inestimable and guiding role in spreading and publicizing traditional culture and folk art forms such as the Suzhou Pingtan. Their influence is extremely huge in today’s society.”

“Going to the theatre to watch a live performance of our Pingtan Art Troupe, and then posting wonderful clips on their social media, which are good to propaganda and support for the local traditional culture. After that, more and more people of the same age will contact and understand this art form.” He said to me.

Suzhou Pingtan live performance in China Central Television

As he said, this is indeed the case. The appeal and the communication power of young people are very powerful, and it is with such strengths and characteristics that they can be the executors in promoting the outreach and wide circulation of local traditional culture. As a new force in the national modernization drive, young people are placed with unlimited hope. They just make some modest contributions will have a positive and promoting effect in some extents.

Mr. Wu from Nanjing University told me “Local traditional culture is the precious cultural wealth and folk specialty, also adding some colour to people’s lives, which is deserved to be protected and respected. The contemporary youth should have shouldered the heavy responsibility of inheriting Chinese traditional culture.”

A variety of art forms emerge one after another. In the era of commercialization, traditional cultures and other cultures are more like competitors in some ways. The old artists undertook the task of passing the tradition on to the new generation. Pingtan is popularized by radio, television and Internet. Meanwhile, it faces challenges as a result of the popular entertainment industry. 

With the rapid development of science and technology, young people have a strong sense of freshness with the emergence of some new entertainment methods and artistic performances. This is a huge blow on traditional culture, which means that fewer and fewer young people will get to know these great local cultures that have been passed down for years, while more people will try out the emerging cultures to experience their charms. How to attract young people to experience traditional culture is a thorny problem.

Culture is the soul of a nation, and traditional culture is the root of the local people. It is imperative to carry forward traditional culture. China is now vigorously developing its intangible cultural heritage, which also requires many people to inherit. They may endure loneliness and isolation in the process of inheritance. Nowadays, most young people seek fame and make a fortune, but they identify too little with their sense of responsibility to society.

The cultivation of a cultural concept is not an overnight thing, but a long-term and lasting thing that needs to be accumulated. Culture needs to be infiltrated, young people can’t really feel it and go deep into it in a short time. At present, what is most needed is for influential people to really like it and spread it forward.

Where is the pure football?

How the non-league game is a far removed from the glamorous, wealthy, over-hyped image of English football presents to the overseas football fans through their consumption of the Premier League?

Football is essentially a second religion for many people in England and around the world. The British football industry is the most advanced and successful in the world. There are multiple levels of football leagues in the country, however, with so many leagues and divisions, it would be simple for someone unfamiliar with the system to become perplexed about the English football pyramid.

Despite the low standard has its low position in the football world, there are plenty of reasons why non-league football is well worth watching, particularly in England where the lower leagues are taken much more seriously by fans and players than elsewhere in the world outside the UK.

Non-league football often gets an unfair label of being fairly agricultural in comparison to the Premier League. Playstyles might differ between the top and the bottom of the football pyramid but passion runs deep throughout. While it’s clear the quality in non-league football is below that of football league teams, there is still plenty of great action to witness.

To experience the distinctive ambiance of the local football scene, hear interesting tales, and have some intriguing experiences need to go to the scene in person.

Clearly, the stadiums in non-league football certainly don’t have the facilities, size or glamour to match those that you’d find in the Premier League, but that isn’t the point of non-league football. It’s all about the charm, and the passion, which is better demonstrated at non-league stadiums than anywhere else in football.

Stadiums like Champion Hill, Meadow Park and The Hive, have a certain element of comfort about them that simply can’t be replicated by a bigger team with a bigger fan base. You will have a totally different experience to watch the game at the home of a non-league team.

The Hive Stadium, the home of Barnet Football Club, a professional football club based in North London. The team compete in the National League, the fifth tier of the English league system. In this field, people can even stand very close to the grass of the stadium to watch the game, with beer in their hands, and also dance, as if they were celebrating a festival. There were also some fanatical fans who form a circle and sway to the music and sing the team’s exclusive cheering songs as if they are the main characters in the stadium. We absolutely can’t see such a scene in the Premier League clubs game.

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round in The Hive Stadium
Recorded by Junsheng Xu

In fact, there were almost 2,000 fans standing in the stands. It was hard to imagine that this side in the UK’s fifth level football league has such a large fan base. You remember the entire day, not just the game being played on the field, and non-league clubs definitely have more memorable individual details than most professional ones.

In a game held in that stadium, a teenager who stand in front of me and looks very energetic, he said “I am a local of Barnet and live nearby. On every match day of Barnet, I always come to the stadium with some friends to watch games and almost never miss them. This has become our daily life habit for a long time.” He swayed joyfully with his friends again. I even thought he was at a party right now.

“We gather here to support the players on the field, which is like our entertainment way to release pressure.” he added.

Barnet FC fans celebrate scoring a goal
Recorded by Junsheng Xu

People don’t think they come to the hive stadium just to watch the match, but they see it more as a social place in this block. Here, they can enjoy their favourite activities including singing, dancing, drinking, and making new acquaintances. 

In the modern day, where loyalty seems to be a dying quality, it is of great comfort that there are still those people out there who seek to support their local sides rather than simply selecting a random big-name team to support, with no emotional attachment to them, simply because they think they’ll win trophies.

The latter is no type of football fan, whereas the former is more likely to have some genuinely emotional and enjoyable experiences while supporting their local team, because of the history that’s there and the attachment to the local area.

There is a sense of pride when watching your local non-league team win, as you realize it is mainly comprised of people from the near surroundings and may even contain some friends, or you may even have played for this team as a youth.

During the halftime of the non-league club Barnet FC home game, a middle-aged fan named Charlie told me

“I came to watch the match with my father today. He is a veteran fan of Barnet FC and has supported this team for more than 30 years. I was influenced by him and fell in love with this team since childhood. We really enjoy cheering for this hometown team here”.

By contrast, most supporters of bigger clubs don’t quite feel the same attachment towards their own team. You feel as though you’re not only supporting your team, but also your town when you go to watch your local non-league team, and this feeling cannot be underestimated in a time where people are attempting to take the heart from football and treat it solely as a business. The purest football is the most advanced enjoyment.

Ticket prices in English football are probably the worst thing about it. The cheapest adult ticket for the West Ham United on home vs Arsenal game I watched before was £65. That’s an absurd amount of money to regularly pay to watch the team they love, and many fans are forced not to watch their Premier League teams because of the horrendous prices, as West Ham are not alone in having high prices.

Compare this to the game I attended recently, Barnet FC vs Weston-super-Mare, where the price of admission was only £10 for what turned out to be a fantastic match, with several goals ensuring a 3-0 win for the home side. The home team successfully entered the next round of the FA Cup. It was a good game but at such cheap prices, it’s well worth attending a match.

Full Match Score: Barnet 3-0 Weston-super-Mare
Football and money closely linked

As we are all aware, Premier League has a very strong and profound football culture, and the competition atmosphere is excellent. With the gradual commercialization and maximization of benefits, the Premier League has shown more high brand value and huge profits, which has lost the significance and essence of some football itself. In non-league games, we can continue to enjoy the most primitive and pure football, place ourselves in the team, integrate ourselves into the club, and experience the real charm and happiness of football.

23 February 2009: Fans of football team show their dismay at the influence of big business on football prior. (Photograph by Joern Pollex/ Getty Images)

Non-league football is inclusive and community driven with supporters just as passionate about their clubs as their professional counterparts. Going to a non-league game opens you up to a world of unique footballing experiences no longer available at your average Football League or Premier League match day.