Dimsum (Dim sum) is a non-profit website for people interested in the experience of being Chinese or East Asian in the UK. The aim of the organization is to raise awareness of the complex issues Chinese people face in trying to fit into a predominantly European culture, specifically the issues British Chinese people face. Dimsum's main goal is to give a voice to and represent a cultural minority in the UK .
Dimsum currently runs as a non-profit company. All members of the management team and all contributors participate in Dimsum on a voluntary basis.
Translated literally, Dimsum
(or Dian Xin, in Mandarin) means "a bit of heart or mind". In everyday usage, dimsum generally means light refreshments. The Chinese often take light refreshments by drinking tea and eating a variety of delicious morsels of food, very much like Spanish Tapas
or Greek Meze
. This is Dimsum. Often, when eating dimsum, people use this as an opportunity to talk about politics and life. Therefore it has become a large part of social life. Chinese restaurants all over the world serve dimsum all day and provide a space for people to meet and share experiences of life. This is the reason the website is named so, the idea being that it is supposed to be a meeting place for social discussion.
Just for Chinese?
The emphasis on Chinese in Dimsum is not meant to be exclusive or racially discriminating. Dimsum was started by a group of people who are Chinese or are interested in Chinese issues. As a natural consequence their website has a definite Chinese leaning.
Competitors and Similar organisations
Dimsum is the biggest organisation of its kind in the UK. Their largest rival is another similar website called Squat, however that has a different focus. Globally there are several similar types of organisation such as nihao-usa.com.
Dimsum's aims are to
- Positively explore and promote British Chinese culture, community and perspective in Britain and abroad
- Give voice to those within, and those with an interest in the British Chinese community
- Encourage the British community to incorporate the Chinese perspective
Several notable accomplishments Dimsum has made include the following:
- Successful campaign against racial scapegoating during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak, involving the first ever British Chinese political demonstration, a government apology, and widespread media coverage and support. Dimsum was the central portal for the issue and was able provide rapid dissemination of information to a geographically dispersed community.
- In partnership with the Scotland-China Association, Dimsum launched the UK’s first ever British Chinese film festival, showcasing the work of British Chinese filmmakers. Patrons were David Yip and Zhang Ziyi. A second festival also exhibited films from other countries in the Chinese diaspora
- “Electric Shadows” finalist for Pearl Awards 2004
- Winner of Windrush Community Champion Award 2003
- Wai Kwok Cheung won the silver award for 'Best Diversity Feature in New IMPACT Journal' which reprinted his Dimsum article, 'Being Chinese in a Westernised Workplace’
- Runner up in Windrush Small Business Award 2002
- Finalist in Windrush Technology and Community Awards 2002