Auto-Summarized Chinese New Year

By Aaron Rockwell, Staff Writer

Courtesy: Kechen Jiang
Courtesy: Kechen Jiang

If you’ve already broken your Gregorian calendar New Year’s resolution, you’re in luck, the Chinese New Year is almost here (28 January, Saturday). This year, the fire rooster shall reign supreme. The Chinese New Year tradition has a long and rich history–there are many days to celebrate with different activities. Instead of doing the deep and dirty research, I thought I’d try to take a shortcut.

Courtesy: wikimedia.org
Courtesy: wikimedia.org

And so, while writing this article, I started thinking about machine learning and auto-summarization. I don’t know if y’all remember the glorious days of Microsoft Word. The days when you were a chubby child sitting on your computer all day and where you made your first true friend: Clippy. Well in those times Microsoft Word had a feature that they’ve long gotten rid of: the Auto-Summarize feature. This would allow the user to take a giant document and haphazardly summarize it down to a couple paragraphs. It wasn’t very good at its job (just like Clippy, who ultimately was laid off… but I heard he received a good severance package).

Thus, in celebration of Clippy’s retirement, my personal inefficient efficiency, and the Chinese New Year, I created a combined summary of the top six Google search returned websites. I used an auto-summary site and a ridiculous usage of a paraphrasing site with the top six websites that Google populated to widdle down exactly what the Chinese New Year means to a computer, in 1 sentence:

“In the Melbourne suburb of Footscray, Victoria a Lunar New Year celebration initially focusing on the Vietnamese New Year has expanded into a celebration of the Chinese New Year as well as the April New Year celebrations of the Thais, Cambodians, Laotians and other Asian Australian communities who celebrate the New Year in either January/February or April.”

Courtesy: insteading.com
Courtesy: insteading.com

I think the computer just went with the longest sentence with the most usages of the word “New Year.” The major takeaway would be that, if in the future you want to hide important information from our computer overlords, write important tiny sentences alongside giant fluff sentences.

Now to be fair to the Chinese New Year, of the sixty sentences that the summary site pulled, a couple of them were great and might have learning value, so here are my favorites:

  • An empty rice jar: A depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
  • New Year’s breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don’t want to start the year “Poor” as this is a bad omen.
  • Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
  • A firecracker symbolizes “Good luck in the coming year”.
  • Some singles resort to renting a boyfriend or girlfriend for the New Year to avoid the awkwardness!
  • Playful New Year! Happy New Year! Perky New Year to every one of you! We are singing; we are moving.
  • Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year.
  • Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve.

 Methodology:

Sites used in the creation of this article:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Yearhttp://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/special-report/chinese-new-year/
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/chinese-new-year/
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/chinese-new-year-2017-fire-rooster-when-is-it-how-is-it-celebrated-what-does-it-mean-a7540546.html
  • http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/chinese-new-year
  • https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/china/spring-festival
  • http://www.topmarks.co.uk/chinesenewyear/chinesenewyear.aspx

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