Saturday, April 29, 2006
Latest Updated by2004-06-06 09:44:49
Allen Chang is the deputy chairman of Tung Jung Association of New Zealand. In March 2004, he joined a tour to China. The following are some experience and impression he would like to share with us.
Earlier this year the Tung Jung Association of New Zealand Inc, organised a tour to China. The 18 participants were greeted by Mr Lu Wei Xiong, Director of the Chinese Overseas Affairs Office of the Guangdong Provincial Government who formally welcomed them and invited them to suggest ways in which his office could assist overseas Chinese.
The group visited their home villages in Zengcheng such as Sun Gai, Bak Shek, Wong Sha To, Gwa Liang, Tong Mee, Sarbo, Nga Yew, Har Gee, and had the opportunity to see many of the famous sights in Guangzhou such as the Chen Ancestral Temple, Sun Yat Sen Memorial, Yuexiu Park, and an evening cruise on the Pearl River.
The tour schedule took the group to Xintang, Kunming, Li Jiang, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, visiting many of the well known tourist places such as the Great Wall of China and Tiannamen Square and some of those not so well known like the Stone Forest in Kunming and the world heritage town in Lijiang.
The group noted the huge progress being made in China and the stark contrast with just a few years ago. New roads and motorways, new office and apartment blocks, greater emphasis on cleanliness, cellphone towers and improved communications, more new cars and less bicycles. The changes taking place in the villages where many of the farmers are now leasing their land to others and concentrating on building businesses employing other people was a clear indicator of the changes and progress being made in China and especially in Guangdong. While there is still much to be done, the progressis obvious.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
By TOBY ROBSON Glen Joe was hoping his hoop dreams would come true when he dropped everything and boarded a plane for China late last year.
He resigned from his job at the New Zealand Academy of Sport, farewelled his Auckland Stars teammates and focused on a fresh start.
The plan was to fall back on the heritage of his parents, who emigrated to New Zealand from China in the 1970s, before he was born, and gain citizenship to the world's most populated nation.
"I saw Brendon Polyblank and Phill Jones and those guys playing in Europe as locals," Joe explained. "Both my parents were born in China and even though they came here at a young age, I thought there was a chance I could go and play there as a local."
Joe arrived in the large Chinese city of New Xiamen, coincidentally Wellington's sister city, and began training and playing for his new team Fugian in the buildup to the China Basketball Association season.
But nothing is simple in the massive communist state and China's immigration officials decided a Kiwi hoopster was not going to sneak in the side door.
"It's a little disappointing, but you chase opportunities as far as you can and if they don't eventuate you know you have given it your best shot," Joe said.
"I was away for about five months and played and trained with the team for about two months, but the Chinese are pretty patriotic and I couldn't get a passport.
"It was an eye-opening experience to see what another country does. I can speak fluent Cantonese, but my Mandarin's not so good, so I was able to pick up on that."
He also missed out on a healthy pay cheque.
"You could make good money. In two months I made more than I made in New Zealand in a year from basketball. It's big money, big populations and a big playing base. In China you are either filthy rich or dirt poor."
Surprisingly, Joe said the league that produced NBA star Yao Ming was not as impressive as its billing.
"It was decent, but I was surprised it was not as good as New Zealand. They were big boys, (but) skill-wise not as good. They trained a lot, but I don't know why (they weren't as good as Kiwis). I guess they didn't train smart."
Joe would know. He holds a masters degree in sports science and has juggled basketball with a job at the New Zealand Academy of Sport in Auckland for the past five years, also lecturing at Auckland University and the Unitech.
China's loss is Wellington's gain after the club finally called Joe at the right time.
"They have been giving me a call at the end of the season pretty much for the last two or three years. It's just timing. When I went to China I had to quit all my jobs in Auckland, so I was not so committed this time."
And though it's not the way he planned it, Joe is glad he will still get the chance to reconnect with his roots.
Born in Lower Hutt he went to Naenae College with Saints teammate George Le'afa and former Wellington forward David Hopoi.
Joe laughs aloud as he recalls his early days at intermediate school in the Hutt Valley.
Back then he was the little Asian kid giving away height and weight to his Samoan classmate Le'afa.
"He was a two guard and I was point guard because he was bigger.
"And he could shoot the ball better back then," he said. "It was funny because by the time I came into the NBL he had been forced to play the one spot (point guard) because of his size and I was a two."
These days Joe, at 1.90m, has a distinct height advantage over his old mate.
The pair have not played much together since those early days in the Hutt Valley, but this year they will jostle for court time with the Wellington Saints.
In his fifth NBL season, which has included several years with Waikato and a title with the Stars last year, Joe is an important addition for the Saints. He'll run the point guard position mostly, but also fills the sharp shooting role vacated by Troy McLean's departure to North Harbour.
He hasn't given up on playing for the Tall Blacks or going overseas next season and is eyeing the Hong Kong national league where he hopes to play as an import.
But for now he's keen to add to his one NBL title.
He's got first-hand experience of how tough Le'afa and the Saints can be. In 2003 Joe scored 17 points for the Waikato Titans in the NBL final a 97-88 overtime loss to the Saints in Hamilton
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Chinese First Families Register
We are meeting the challenge of making our heritage resources relevant to Chinese Aucklanders for the present and future generations by compiling a register of first families in Auckland from 1840 onwards. This project will register the first families of immigrant groups arriving in New Zealand and their family histories.
The aims of this project are to preserve histories and the living memories of the first Chinese families arriving into New Zealand, as well as providing a place to hold our shared history in trust for future generations.
The Chinese First Families Register forms can be downloaded here:
Guide to filling in the register forms PDF 442 KB
Chinese First Families Register forms PDF 280 KB
If you have trouble printing the forms, they can be obtained through contacting our Family History Librarian.
Chinese woman using a foot operated spindle, Possibly in China or Hong Kong - From the Pirie Photo Albums
We welcome your donation of family and organisational documents and photographs in the future. These treasures will be preserved and made accessible to the public as part of the Special Collections on the Heritage Floor at the Central Library.
Please contact our Heritage Collection Manager, Theresa Graham for further information on collection donations.
Ph: (09) 307 7983
Since the arrival of Chinese goldminers in the 1850s, Chinese immigrants and New Zealand Chinese have fast become part of the New Zealand society. However, little has been documented about the Chinese in Auckland.
Auckland City Libraries has the largest family history collection in a public library in New Zealand. Our heritage collections also include many books, maps, manuscripts, photographs and ephemera which chart the changing face of this country and city through its short history. We are in the process of identifying heritage resources relevant to Chinese Aucklanders for present and future generations.
Civil war and the establishment of a Communist government in China created large waves of Chinese refugees from the 1940s. New Zealand’s response was slow, probably due to a reluctance to resettle refugees who were not white.
Eventually, small numbers were accepted. In 1962, 50 Chinese orphans from Hong Kong were admitted for adoption by New Zealand families. For a few years in the late 1960s there was a quota of six families a year. Twelve Chinese families from Indonesia were admitted in 1967.
23.04.06 1.00pmBy Lincoln Tan
From the moment the plane hit terra firma, the excitement began to build. Wei Ming, 19, from Shaoxing in China's Zhejiang province had been told that New Zealand was "the most beautiful place on Earth" - and he could not wait to see it for himself. He was on his way to realising his dream of a better life in a place his parents called "Xin Xilan" - "God's own country", a crime-free land of beauty and opportunity. He had been told that New Zealand was so safe that houses had no gates and people could even sleep at night with their doors open. To most New Zealanders Wei Ming, the only child of carpenter Li Cheng and school teacher Li Hui is just one of the many Chinese students. To some Kiwis, he spells trouble - a potential reckless driver, gambling addict, kidnapper or even murderer. As an English language student, Wei Ming will be in a class made up of his own countrymen, or from some other parts of Asia. And like many others who have passed this way, Wei Ming will probably go home without ever making a Pakeha or Maori friend. Every day Kiwis walk past students like Wei Ming. But sadly, for many New Zealanders, they only get acquainted with the Wei Mings through the news headlines when something goes awfully wrong. Lately, it has been as victims of kidnap and murder. The latest murder victim was body-in-the-suitcase victim Wan Biao, and like Wei Ming, he was also 19 and from the Zhejiang province, not far from Shanghai. The murder has sent shockwaves through the Chinese community. Discussion forums have run hot on Chinese websites. There was a feeling of a "loss of face" with one contributor writing: "It is not one person who has lost face here, it is all Chinese." Anger was also directed at the media for insinuating that triads may have been involved. Questions were also asked of the Ministry of Education's statement that New Zealand was still a safe place to study. Newspapers carried reports daily on the murder of Wan Biao, and in death, this one Chinese student was given a face, name and an individual profile. But does it mean things have to go awry before Kiwis get curious about them? Would it have made a difference if Wan Biao had a local friend to turn to? Jimmy Xu, 19, who came to New Zealand in May last year, recounts how difficult it was at first. He has asked for his real name not to be used for fear of repercussions. Before arriving in New Zealand, all he knew about the country was through brochures and photographs: pohutukawa trees lining Tamaki Dr, sandy beaches and the Sky Tower. His initial reaction was like "all the dreams have come true". But that slowly changed when he met his homestay family. "When my New Zealand agent sent me to my homestay family, the only word I knew was hello, so I cannot talk with them," Jimmy said. "On the first day, they showed me my small room and taught me how to take a bus to school and then went out." Unhappy with his homestay situation, he went flatting with two other classmates and they rented a central city apartment. Two months into staying in the apartment, three men stormed in and demanded that he pay $500 for "protection service". He was told that he would likely face severe beatings if the money was not paid. His found out later his flatmate had tipped off the men, and was given 10 per cent for each tip-off on new students. He has since moved out and is now renting a room in Mt Roskill. "People say New Zealand is safe, but it is not a safe place for Chinese students," Jimmy said. He believes students are drawn into crime for easy money. "My friends say if we want to make money from P, or get [extort] money from people, this is the place to do it, because if we try it in China, we may have to face the death penalty," he said. Ironically, it was also this view of New Zealand's lenient laws that deterred Jimmy from reporting his extortion case to the police. New Zealand had now become a cold, dull, dry place. "My parents spend so much money for me to come here to learn English and hopefully get a good education and residency, but I will want to go back home to China soon. I miss it very much." President of the New Zealand Chinese Students Association Nancy Hu said Chinese students were deeply affected by the murder of Wan Biao. "As a Chinese student myself, I cannot imagine the sadness that the parents of Wan Biao must feel," Ms Hu said. "Because the law only allows one child, parents would sacrifice everything and place all their hopes for the future on their son or daughter. "For Wan Biao's parents, it has been all for nothing now." Ms Hu said the association was organising a student safety seminar next month in response to Wan Biao's murder. But she realised that a solution would not be as straightforward as just telling students what to do if they are in trouble. In all likelihood the predator and the intended prey could be sitting in the same room at the seminar. * Lincoln Tan is the editor of iBall newspaper.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Date: April 4th, 5th, or 6th of the western calendar. Purpose: To honor ancestors and enjoy spring. Traditions: Clear brightness is called "quing ming" - when the outside air and light becomes pure and clear as in springtime. People go to the graves of their ancestors and clean up the area. They put little pieces of red paper that look like roof tiles on top of the tombstone. They offer food such as dumplings, oranges, meats, vegetables, cakes, and candies set out like a real meal because ancestors are believed to live in an afterworld that's like the world of the living. After these honored guests have enjoyed their meal, the real food is shared with family and friends.
Chinese face a burial ban
Chinese clean up the graves of their ancestors in the week leading to Quing Ming, the Grave Sweeping Festival
The Chinese southern province of Guangdong is to prohibit most burials and the creation of new cemeteries, in favour of cremation. Provincial officials said the ban was being introduced because the rapid spread of new cemeteries was eating up precious agricultural land.
Cremation has been encouraged in China for many years. But the official news agency, Xinhua, said many residents of Guangdong preferred traditional tomb-burials. As a result, more than 250 hectares of land were lost in the province every year.
With China's limited arable land already under threat from rapid urban expansion, the authorities have been trying for some years to reverse the spread of cemeteries. The official China Daily newspaper said 670 million hectares of land had been re-claimed in recent years, after the removal of hundreds of millions of old tombs.
Deng Xiaoping set an example
The government has advocated cremation and done its best to overcome traditional taboos about preserving the human body intact. Last year, around 37% of China's dead were cremated - some perhaps inspired by the example of late leader, Deng Xiaoping, who asked for his ashes to be scattered at sea.
But, in southern Guangdong province, the custom for lavish tombs apparently is persistent. Less than a quarter of its dead were cremated last year. In some cities, the figure was just 5%.
Officials said forest and farm land were disappearing, as luxury private cemeteries expanded to cater for more than a quarter of a million annual burials.
A local newspaper quoted one official as saying the province could no longer allow the dead to take land from the living.
Another told the BBC that new cemeteries would now be banned. He said existing graveyards could still be used, but could not expand.
Provincial authorities say they are seeking a 60% cremation rate within three years and hope eventually to reach 100%.
Grave Sweeping Festival
Last Sunday the Chinese celebrated the annual day for remembering the dead, Quing Ming. In the week leading up to Quing Ming, it is customary to clean up the graves of their ancestors, and make offerings of food and drink.
Many traditional Quing Ming activities, such as burning fake money and paper home appliances, which are intended to ensure a comfortable afterlife for the deceased, have been banned by China's Communist Party, which claims they are "feudal superstitions."
The BBC correspondent in Beijing reports that when Guangzhou students launched a campaign in support of cremation on Quing Ming last Sunday, only a dozen people, out of hundreds of thousands, visiting a local cemetery signed up. She says this shows the scale of the problem that the Chinese authorities promoting cremation have to tackle.