Sunday, May 28, 2006

Asparagus - From Washington to Avondale

Asparagus The Versatile Vegetable
Use It:
On it's own.
As an accompanying vegetable.
Cooked - Microwaved or lightly boiled.
Raw - In salads.
Preserved for winter days.
In soups, stir fry's, quiches and casseroles.
What to look for:
Choose firm straight spear with compact tip.
How to keep it fresh:
In the refrigerator - Keep the butt end moist.
When cooking:
DO NOT OVER COOKAsparagus should be bright green and firm after cooking - Never soft and limp.Asparagus is a vegetable high in nutritional value and low in calories.

Green Bananas

A recipe from my kitchen when I was in Puerto Rico made with green bananas, sweet onion and bacon in a vinegar dressing. I have served it to my North American friends and they love it as well. It is great to serve instead of the same ol' potato salad. Dare to try something new?"

6 small unripe (green) bananas
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin rings
1 cup small shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 cup crabmeat
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and sliced (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the ends off of the bananas, and make a slit lengthwise down the peel. Cook bananas in boiling water until tender (similar to a potato). Drain, cool, and remove peels. Cut into small chunks and place in a serving bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the pieces, and stir to coat.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and crab, and fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Add onions, green pepper and seafood to the bananas in the bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar and bacon pieces. Pour this mixture over the bananas, and toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with slices of hard-cooked egg if desired.


To select the best table fruits, choose those with the highest number of stigma lobes at the apex, for these have the highest number of fleshy segments and accordingly the fewest seeds. The numbers always correspond. Mangosteens are usually eaten fresh as dessert. One need only hold the fruit with the stem-end downward, take a sharp knife and cut around the middle completely through the rind, and lift off the top half, which leaves the fleshy segments exposed in the colorful "cup"–the bottom half of the rind. The segments are lifted out by fork

One of the most praised of tropical fruits, and certainly the most esteemed fruit in the family Guttiferae, the mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana L., is almost universally known or heard of by this name. There are numerous variations in nomenclature: among Spanish-speaking people, it is called mangostan; to the French, it is mangostanier, mangoustanier, mangouste or mangostier; in Portuguese, it is mangostao, mangosta or mangusta; in Dutch, it is manggis or manggistan; in Vietnamese, mang cut; in Malaya, it may be referred to in any of these languages or by the local terms, mesetor, semetah, or sementah; in the Philippines, it is mangis or mangostan. Throughout the Malay Archipelago, there are many different spellings of names similar to most of the above

Mangosteen - A fruit I have never seen before

The mangosteen tree is a small, slow growing tropical evergreen with leathery, glabrous leaves up to 10 inches long. Fruits are borne on lateral branches. They have a thick rind, which encloses 5 to 7 fleshy segments, in which the seeds are imbedded. The pulp, the only part consumed, has excellent flavor, proclaimed by many as the best among tropical fruits. Often two crops per year mature, one in the autumn, and one in early summer. The proportion of edible pulp is rather small. The trees often bear sparingly. Culture is limited except in tropical India and the East Indies. The tree appears to be adapted best to strictly tropical areas and requires abundant moisture.

Chinese Vegetable names

Many Oriental vegetables are widely grown in various regions in Asia. They are often named based on the plant appearance, color, shape, usage and others. They are called with local languages and dialects. More than several hundred dialects are used in China - not to mention many otherlanguages and dialects used in different Asian regions! These names are often translated into English names directly or indirectly based on pronounciation, spelling, meaning, and others. Sometimes, new names are also used by Westerners to call some Oriental vegetables. Therefore, it is very common to have various names for the same vegetable. Many people are often confused and have difficulties to indentify and find Asain vegetables. We have done some research and collected various names used in Asia for your reference.

Chinese Winter Melon

Wax Gourd, also called White Gourd, is a fast-growing, long-season, warm-climate vegetable. The plant produces fruits on vines, like the pumpkin on groud, which can grow up to 50 pounds. Fruits can be stored in a cool place for months and used later in winter time. Thus this gourd is called Tong Qwa, meaning "Winter Melon" in Chinese. The unopened fruits can be kept fresh for a long time, but the flesh shall be used in cooking within a few days once the fruit is cut into pieces.

Turnip Cake

Really more like a bread than a cake, this recipe is traditionally made during the Chinese New Year season. It can also be found in dim sum restaurants throughout the year.Serves 4 - 6
2 1/2 pounds lo bak (Chinese white radish), or substitute turnips
1 cup water
2 cups long-grain rice flour
5 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon scallion, chopped fine
4 dried black mushrooms
1/4 cup dried shrimp, chopped fine, soaked in 1 tablespoon sherry
4 Chinese sausages, chopped fine
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Chinese parsley (cilantro) chopped fine
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

PREPARATION:Peel and grate turnips. Simmer in 1 cup water for about 1 hour, or until tender.Mix rice flour and turnips in bowl until consistency of thick ooatmeal. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix well. Set aside.Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok.

Stir-fry scallion, mushrooms, shrimps and sausages and add to turnip mixture.Add salt, sugar, and pepper. Mix thoroughlyGrease a 6 inch by 9 inch cake pan. Pour mixture into it. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds. Place on rack in steamer. Steam over briskly boiling water 1 hour.When cold, refrigerate overnight.To serve, slice 1/4 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 3 inches long. Fry slices in 1 tablespoon oil until golden brown. Serve hot.

Twisted Chinese Turnips

Also known simply as White Radish, and in Japan as Daikon, this popular Asian vegetable bears little resemblance to small, round red radishes found in tossed green salads. Instead, Chinese white radish, or Raphanus sativus to use its scientific name, resembles a large white carrot. While Japanese cooks rely on Daikon's sharp bite to add flavor to relishes and salads, in China it is used more in cooking. Chinese white radish is added to Chinese soups, stir-fries and "red-cooked dishes", where the food is slowly simmered in soy sauce. Turnip Cake made with Chinese white radish is a popular Chinese New Year dish.In addition to Asian recipes, feel free to use Chinese white radish whenever you're looking for a creative alternative to potatoes or turnips. You'll be helping your family get more vitamin C and calcium in their diet.

Recipes for Duck eggs

Paul Hong, of Triple J Farms, sells duck and goose eggs at the Palos Verdes and Torrance markets, among others.

Most of his customers actually eat them, he says.

Perusal of half a dozen Chinese cookbooks yielded these suggestions for preparing duck eggs. Craig Claiborne recommends simmering them for an hour, then cutting them into quarters, shell and all. For a more exotic-looking variation, try "tea eggs." Cook the duck eggs for 8 or 10 minutes until hard-boiled, carefully crack the shell without peeling it off, then simmer them in tea for an hour. The result: a dramatically spider-webbed, hard-boiled egg that makes it clear to all who see that these aren’t just any old egg.

For an even more exotic version, simmer the duck eggs in a solution of 8 cups water, one-half cup soy sauce, a tablespoon of honey, a piece of tangerine peel, a leek stalk, a couple of cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt for 2 hours.

For the truly intrepid, you can make your own "1,000-year-old" duck eggs--in just 100 days. Pack the raw eggs in a paste of tea, pine needle ash, charcoal ash and salt. The alkali in the ash turns the shell an amber color and gives the egg white a petrified look that accounts for the misnomer.

One other thing. Elizabeth Chong, in The Heritage of Chinese Cooking, warns: "Tradition dictates that whoever prepares the eggs must not gossip or the eggs will not mature properly."

Duck Eggs - Any Way You Want

I have used duck eggs in baking since I have a severe allergy to chicken eggs. They worked beautifully and my home made bread was delicious. It is also very convenient to order them online and have them delivered to my home. I know I could not have bread or baked goods that would be worth eating without these eggs! Thank you!!!

Chickens were domesticated for egg production about 4,000 years ago in China. By the time of the Roman empire 2,000 years later, chicken eggs were old hat. Ancient Roman epicures favored the eggs of peacocks, ostriches, quails, ducks and geese, explains Jeff Smith, in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Through Three Ancient Cuisines. "The more exotic they were, the more they were desired

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Overseas Chinese

Strictly speaking, there are two words in Chinese for overseas Chinese: huáqiáo (华侨 / 華僑) refers to overseas Chinese who were born in China, while huáyì (华裔 / 華裔) refers to any overseas Chinese with a Chinese ancestry. [1].

Overseas Chinese are not limited to ethnic Chinese populations, but rather include also the diaspora of the entire Chinese nation (zhonghua minzu). For example, ethnic Korean minorities from China who are living in South Korea today are often included in calculations of overseas Chinese, because these ethnic Koreans also identify themselves as part of the Chinese nation (zhonghua minzu). Similarly this also applies to Nusantara Chinese Peranakans in South East Asia.

The Chinese people have a long history of migrating overseas. The overseas Chinese of today can be dated back to the Ming dynasty. When Zheng He became the envoy of Ming, he sent people to explore and trade in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. Many of them were Cantonese and Hokkien. A large portion stayed and never returned to China. [2]

Mao a mass killer - Massey lecturer

Mao a mass killer - Massey lecturer19 May 2006
By GRANT MILLERBrainwashed Chinese students should learn the truth about Mao Zedong, a senior Massey University Chinese lecturer said.
Dong Li said the man the students -adore is a mass murderer.
Mr Li is flabbergasted Chinese students spoke so reverently of Mao, glossing over his murderous regime and comparing him with Jesus Christ, as they protested the lampooning of him on the cover of a student newspaper this week.
He said students have been brainwashed by the Chinese government, which keeps the education sector and media under tight control.
"Mao is depicted as a genius. He was a genius - an evil genius, like Hitler," Mr Li said yesterday.
"Seventy million people died because of his cruel and stupid rule."
Mr Li is a lecturer in Chinese language, modern Chinese society and literature at Massey.
And while he agrees there is racial discrimination against Chinese in New Zealand, Mr Li said he was not impressed that Chinese students angrily confronted the staff of Chaff after the student newspaper depicted Mao in a dress as a send-up of Cosmopolitan magazine.
Mr Li said Chinese students should respect other people's opinions.
"When you are here in this Western democracy, you should not study only science, economics and finance.
"I welcome their presence here, but I advise them to take advantage of opportunities to learn the truth about modern China."
That's what Mr Li did about 20 years ago.
He left China to study the compiling of dictionaries in Leeds, England, and read widely in the library while he was there.
"This opened my eyes."
He led protests at North Arizona University, in the United States, over the Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy students in 1989.
"One of the things I hate is the huge portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square."
It's hypocritical that the communist government continues to promote the Mao personality cult while dismantling most of his reforms, Mr Li said.
The image of Mao is used to prop up the legitimacy of Communist Party rule, Mr Li said, but the reality of Mao's leadership is kept quiet.
"The Great Leap Forward was 100-percent folly, which resulted in 30 to 40 million people - mostly peasants - starving to death."
Mao's Cultural Revolution forced the closure of schools and universities while large numbers of teachers, professors, journalists, engineers, officials and doctors were persecuted, he said.
"At least 2 million people were murdered or forced to commit suicide."
Books were burned while temples, churches and cultural relics were also destroyed.
The ancestral home of philosopher Confucius was dismantled.
"All this should be directly blamed on Mao," Mr Li said.
"He was a cultural destroyer, a murderer - even his personal life was full of dirty womanising. He is not a model for Chinese youth."
Ironically, the day Massey students staged their protest - May 16 - was the 40th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution.
"And the man who inflicted untold suffering on tens of millions of people was none other than Mao."
Mr Li said a student's comment about Mao's being equivalent to Jesus was ridiculous.
"It's totally muddle-headed and stupid. Not even Mao himself would say that."
Calling Mao the father of modern China was also wrong, Mr Li said.
"The father of modern China is Dr Sun Yat-sen, who overthrew the imperial dynasty of Qing."
He said the students who protested come from a country where history books are approved by the government's propaganda department.
"They do not know the truth. Some don't want to know.",2106,3673363a7694,00.html

Chinese, NZ poetic quartet

Chinese, NZ poetic quartet show diversity of style and subject
29 April 2006
Flying Against the Arrow, by Jan Fitzgerald, (Wolfdale Publishing, $24.99). Unreal City, by Yang Lian, (Auckland University Press, $24.99). Cup by Alison Wong, (Southern Publishers, $19.99). Hourglass, by Sue Wootton, (Steele-Roberts, $19.95). Reviewed by Peter Dornauf.
The most banal and ordinary elements often provide material for poetry. In Hourglass, Sue Wootton takes small subjects like a dressing gown, a chook or a posh frock as her point of reference for weightier matters.
This is done brilliantly in the poem, Heavy Hen, where grief is described in terms of such an unprepossessing bird.
"Grief is a ball of feathers", it begins. The essence of grief is captured perfectly here and the stratagem is cleverly sustained for the whole poem. A talent to watch.
Jan Fitzgerald's latest collection, Flying Against the Arrow, can be quite visceral. Smells and scents are to the fore. Things to do with fire also predominate in a beautiful suite of poems, one about fireworks which opens with the startling line, "Fireworks are the apparatus of angels". Fireside deals with love on rainy nights, while the poignant Fireplace describes a burnt-out house where only a chimney remains in a "square of daffodils".
Alison Wong, born and raised in Hawke's Bay, brings a Chinese perspective to her poetic observations about family in Cup. A mother's predilection, a father's illness and death, together with childhood reminiscences, are treated with understated poise and an eye for telling domestic detail. Such emotional control is evident in Chinese Settlement, Arrowtown, where prospectors and their dwellings are described.
Yang Lian is a celebrated Chinese poet who came to Auckland in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square massacre, and stayed. His work is now banned in China, lending an edge to any reading.
The poems are difficult –-with a discursive, surreal quality. Huge jumps and disconnected lurches take place between the lines, leaving the reader struggling to find a centralising focus. But within this surging plethora can be found intriguing and stunning pictures.
All four demonstrate the diversity of style and subject matter contemporary New Zealand poetry is enjoying at the moment.
* Peter Dornauf is a Hamilton reviewer.

Students see red over Mao send-up

A mob of angry Chinese students protested at Massey University yesterday after Chairman Mao was lampooned on the cover of the student newspaper.
Students likened the cover of Chaff, which this week satirises women's magazine Cosmopolitan, to the anti-Muslim cartoons circulated around the world in February.
Tempers flared outside Massey's library as about 50 Chinese Massey and UCOL students and a Chinese lecturer confronted Chaff staff.
Students said the issue is racist and the last straw, as many have also suffered verbal abuse on the streets of Palmerston North.
Tianxiang Mao said it was common for Asian students to be lambasted with racial slurs when driving.
"People yell `F-ing Asians' when we are in the car driving down the road. I don't say anything. What can I do?"
UCOL student Xing Tang said Chaff staff are ignorant of Chinese culture.
"Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us," he said on the verge of tears.
"We pay $20,000 in fees and a Musa fee (which funds Chaff) and this is how we are treated."
Student Ronnie Cao likened the cover to the anti-Muslim cartoons.
"This is discrimination against us."
It will have a huge effect on New Zealand's reputation, Mr Cao said.
However, compared with the United States, New Zealand is still considered a safe place for Chinese parents to send their children, he said.
Yang Chenglin said students are proud of their Chinese culture.
"Mao gave us independence. He's no more a killer than George Washington or George W Bush.
"He is the father of China - without Mao, there is no China."
Mao Zedong, or Chairman Mao, was the founder of the People's Republic of China and one of the most prominent figures in Chinese history.
He is also revered as a great spiritual leader and cultural symbol.
Students gathered in tight circles outside the library yesterday, signing a petition demanding an apology.
Students also want remaining copies pulled out of circulation.
Tensions flared as agitated students confronted Chaff editor Edrei Valath and news editor Matt Russell.
"It was an arbitrary decision to run the cover of Mao," Mr Russell said, adding it was intended as a joke.
"We were looking for a picture of Marx or Lenin and we couldn't use Castro because he had a beard and it just didn't work. I didn't think it would offend."
Mr Valath said students are "enraged for the sake of being enraged".
"It is ironic - in China, the students would have no forum in which to complain."
He said Chinese students studying here should be made aware a good sense of humour is part of Kiwi culture.
But students likened the situation to a racial slur expressed in Victoria University's latest student magazine Salient. The "Top Five Things to Be Wary of" rated the Chinese at No 5.
Dogs also featured in the same line-up, the students said.
Salient editor James Robinson said the Top Five column and the Chaff cover are both "culturally insensitive".
"We are getting hate mail by the minute," Mr Robinson said.
Salient has been in strife over the Top Five column and the item has appeared on a Chinese news website.
Massey University finance lecturer Fei Wu, who's Chinese, said students deserve an explanation.
"This shows no respect to our people.
"There are 1000 Chinese students here who spend a lot of money to study here and this is an insult.
"Students come here for a better environment to get away from class and culture differences. This doesn't solve the problem."
However, Chinese Massey student Tony Song said protesters were being "too sensitive".
"It's been done to the Queen before. I'm not offended at all. I was laughing."
Massey University international office director Bruce Graham said the Chaff cover is in "extremely poor taste". However, he accepted Chaff has editorial independence.
"This shows a lack of respect. Chinese students are an important part of the university's community."
Mr Graham has suggested to Chaff an apology is required

18 May 2006

Chinese Gooseberry

In the very beginning In 1904, Miss Isabel Fraser, a teacher at a girls’ college in the riverside town of Wanganui, returned from visiting her sister on a mission station in China with some small black seeds. The seeds grew into big-leafed vines hung with hairy russet-skinned berries with bright green flesh. Kiwifruit had arrived in New Zealand.From its first pioneers and champions to today’s growers who consistently produce superior kiwifruit under the world-leading integrated ZESPRI™ System, there is a tradition of passion, innovation and excellence.

Out of 27 fruit analysed in US studies , ZESPRI™ Kiwifruit proved itself to be one of nature's most perfect foods. The fruit's many special qualities can help guard against chronic illness, aid digestion and may even help us feel happier and less stressed. And there are so many delicious ways to eat them

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hong Kong still a retail heaven

14.05.06By Rose Pearson
Is your idea of paradise a day shopping for designer labels in a glitzy, multi-storey mall? Or hunting for treasure in tiny side-streets? Or bartering for knock-off bargains in crowded markets? Then welcome to the shopaholics' mecca - Hong Kong. For years, this former British outpost has been famed for its shopping, and no wonder. Not only is this Southeast Asian city easy to reach with direct flights from New Zealand daily, but from the moment you land you're assured of a stress-free holiday (as long as your credit card can keep up). With sensible shoes, my credit card twitching to be used and a suitcase ready to be filled, I hit the busy streets of Hong Kong. It couldn't be easier, as all streets signs are in English, the public transport system is easy to navigate and there's an amazing variety of areas to visit - from the colonial Hong Kong Island, to busy Lantau (where the new airport and Disneyland are), and the bargain areas of Kowloon and the New Territories. While it's relatively simple to shop in Hong Kong, here are some guidelines to ease your way through retail heaven: Quality Tourism Services (QTS) scheme: This is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to help visitors find shops and restaurants they can trust. Those displaying the QTS certificate pass stringent annual assessments. Know your product: Make sure you know what you want in terms of model, features, price, accessories and warranty (such as terms and geographical coverage), especially on electronic goods. Avoid "bait and switch": Some merchants display uncertain prices or request a deposit on a product only to claim later that only an inferior or more expensive product is available. Shop at outlets where prices are clearly displayed. It's also a good idea to compare prices before buying. Inspect your products: Check them before paying and make sure you have all the accessories. Re-check the product before you leave the store. Shop around: In the markets, don't buy the first item you see. Look around as stalls further into the market, away from the main drag, can offer better deals. Just say no: Markets can be intense with huge pressure to buy. If you don't want an item, just say no and walk away. I made the mistake of being obviously keen on a knock-off handbag and was chased through crowded Ladies' Market by a saleswoman screaming ever-decreasing sale prices for "my" bag. No, I didn't buy it. Be prepared: Pack sensible walking shoes and take plenty of bags. Try placing a smaller suitcase inside a larger one so you have two bags to fill. HONG KONG ISLAND This picturesque place has eight defined shopping areas. Central: If you prefer the high end of shopping and are seeking couture clothes and expensive cosmetic lines, then head here. The Landmark, Galleria, Prince's Building, Alexandra House and IFC are upmarket malls with designer shops and exclusive brands. You'll find knock-off stalls in The Lanes, between Queen's Rd, and Des Voeux Rd. The market - with watches, luggage, shoes and such like - is open daily from 10am to 7pm. Western District: The Western Market is a short stroll from Central and is situated in a renovated Edwardian building on the corner of Connaught Rd and Morrison St. It sells Chinese handicrafts and fabrics. Nearby areas have small shops selling Chinese medicine, just don't look too closely at some of the jars on display. Admiralty: This area is famous for its brand-name luxury goods. Try the Pacific Place Mall which is connected to the Admiralty MTR Station. Wan Chai: The historical streets here boast an amazing range of shopping. On Queen's Rd East you'll find Chinese furniture shops which can arrange to have your purchases sent home. Spring Garden Lane is great for export-quality clothes at good prices. Causeway Bay: This area is known as "Little Japan" because of the major Japanese stores specialising in electrical goods. Check out Times Square, Caroline Centre, World Trade Centre, Lee Gardens, Lee Theatre Plaza, Fashion Island and Island Beverley. Tai Koo Shing: Near Quarry Bay, this houses one of Hong Kong's largest purpose-built shopping complexes, Cityplaza, which has an ice rink and an enormous range of shops. Ap Lei Chau: There are bargains galore in this district near Aberdeen. Horizon Plaza, in Ap Lei Chau, has furniture and clothing factory outlets. Stanley: For high-end souvenirs try this famous coastal area. Stanley Market has many stalls and lanes selling Chinese paintings and handicrafts and is open 10am-6pm daily. KOWLOON For a picturesque trip, take the Star Ferry from Central to the Mainland China area of Hong Kong that's well-known for its street hawkers ("Want to buy a Rolex?") and markets. Tsim Sha Tsui: This area has department stores, shopping centres and factory outlets along Granville Rd and the famous Nathan Rd, where the hawkers hang out. Yau Ma Tei: Home of the Temple Street Night Market, this part of Kowloon features neon light displays. Mong Kok: No visit to Hong Kong is complete without a trip to Ladies' Market. This day-long street market is jam-packed with stalls selling every manner of knock-off. But beware, you won't find Lady-like behaviour here - and be prepared to barter. Hung Hom: For an unusual shopping destination, try the inland cruise ship the Whampoa, which is "moored" on the site of a former dry dock. This 110m boat-shaped entertainment centre houses cinemas, shops and clubs. Also well worth a visit is Hung Hom's Factory District that sells clothes and jewellery. Sham Shui Po: For electronic gadgets try this area, especially Apliu St, while Kowloon Tong is one of Hong Kong's newest shopping malls with retail outlets, restaurants, an ice rink and an 11-screen multiplex cinema. NEW TERRITORIES Tsing Yi: Close to the international airport, and ideal for transit passengers, is Maritime Square with more than 200 shops, themed restaurants and a cinema. * * *NEED TO KNOW... Getting there: Air New Zealand currently has a Hong Kong package including five nights' accommodation at the InterContinental Grand Stanford, a complimentary spa treatment and an additional 15kg baggage allowance for $1769 plus costs of $35. This is an internet-only price. For details go to Retail: Promotions and late-night dining options abound during the Hong Kong Shopping Festival (June 24-August 31). Getting around: The Octopus Card gets you onto all major public transport including the MTR (underground trains), ferries and trams, and is accepted at many stores and restaurants. They cost HK$150 (NZ$30) for adults (HK$50 refund when you return it) and HK$70 (NZ$14) for kids (also HK$50 refund). Top them up at MTR stations.


Lincoln Tan - To live our parents' dreams

I still remember vividly the farewell dinner my parents gave me in Singapore before my permanent move to New Zealand in 1997. My dad, who was never the emotional sort, got rather sentimental that night when he said, "Go to New Zealand and live my dreams." I never really understood what he meant then. His dream never became a reality because life had been hard. His father, my granddad, was killed during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II when Dad was just a teenager. As the only child, he was left to fend for my grandmother, who was illiterate. After marrying my mother, he was the sole breadwinner supporting not only our immediate family - which included Mom, my sister and me - but also Grandma and one unmarried aunt who lived with us. In the tiny two-bedroom government high-rise flat where the six of us lived, there was hardly any room for potted plants, let alone the green pastures and mountains he secretly dreamed his children might enjoy. I still recall the day when my sister opened a letter and was so excited that she had been accepted into Singapore's university. What followed was a long talk with Mom and Dad, and that joy turned into sadness when she found out that she wasn't going to varsity because Dad could not afford the fees. I never knew the sacrifices Dad had made for us because life had been good for me in my growing years. I never had a day hungry. It was only when we were adults - Sis eventually became the director of sales at an international hotel, and me a newspaper journalist - that Dad told us about the many hungry days he had just to make ends meet. At the airport and knowing I knew of his ambition, he repeated those same words: "Go and live my dreams - do everything I've always wanted to do but never got the chance to." As a father I am starting to understand - and was reminded of this when recently working on stories relating to Chinese students in New Zealand . The students we see around us are the first batch of Chinese to reach adulthood since the implementation of the one-child policy in the 80s. They are precious to their parents. As Nancy Hu, the president of the NZ Chinese Students' Association puts it: "Because the law only allows one child, Chinese parents would sacrifice everything and place all their hopes for the future on their son or daughter." Unlike Dad, their sacrifices may not be financial. But letting go of their only child, entrusting them to the unknown, must be difficult. But like Dad, their parents will be living their own dreams in these students. Going overseas for further studies or learning English in a Western country must surely have been their dream, too. They must hope that New Zealand will be their children's ticket to a better life: giving them good academic qualifications that could land them prestigious jobs, perhaps also getting a New Zealand passport allowing them to travel the world freely. They must hope their children meet the right partners, get married, have children of their own and live happily ever after. But some have been sidetracked from the privileged tasks their parents sent them here for - to study, enjoy New Zealand and get a head start. They choose to live the high life: gambling, smoking and buying fancy sports cars with money meant for their living expenses, then turning to crime when they run out of money and places to borrow from. Last week, while working on a story for the Herald, I spoke to a Chinese student who saw her body as the way to easy cash, turning to prostitution when her mother stopped sending money. She let her business studies lapse and then even blamed her mother for her becoming a hooker. In traditional Chinese culture, respect for elders and especially parents plays a very important role. Some Chinese youths are also living in denial - and are not used to hearing or reading anything negative about them. Reading reports in iBall on some non-Chinese responses to the murder of Wan Biao on Good Friday prompted one Chinese student to write saying we were "second-class Chinese" because Charles Chan, my co-editor, was from Malaysia and I was from Singapore. Are these students a picture of China's one-child policy gone wrong? Their parents have no clue about their lives in New Zealand and I cannot imagine the pain they would feel if they found out. How can they be so irresponsible as to turn their parents' dreams into nightmare? With me living in New Zealand, Dad now gets to live his dreams when he makes regular visits. Some of these students would be in a position where they, too, can help their parents to live their dreams - and perhaps repay them a little for the sacrifices that they have made. As I dropped off my son Ryan at school, I think I finally understood what Dad told me before I left Singapore. Parents do live their dreams in their children. In Ryan, I am living my dream, as I watch him grow in a land with green pastures to run around in and mountains to climb - to do the things that I, too, only dreamed of doing as a child. I dream that one day, after he has run around the pastures, he will climb the highest mountain. Then, when he plants the flag, I will be standing there beside him as his very proud dad. * Lincoln Tan is managing editor of iBall, a free fortnightly English language Asian newspaper


More by Lincoln Tan

Student mag in cart for spoofing Mao

Friday May 19, 2006
The Race Relations Commissioner is calling on student magazines to be more responsible following protests against the lampooning of Chairman Mao in a publication.
Angry Chinese students protested at Massey University on Wednesday after Mao was featured on the cover of the student newspaper Chaff.
Commissioner Joris De Bres said although the use of Mao's image was clearly an attempt at humour, the context had to be considered.
"In a context where there is discrimination against a lot of Asian people in New Zealand, you have to be careful you don't unwittingly or deliberately feed that."
He said newspaper editors should bear that in mind.
Chinese students have likened the cover to the anti-Muslim cartoons which caused world controversy in February.
Chairman Mao founded the People's Republic of China and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the country. He is still considered by many to be a great spiritual leader and cultural symbol.
Anti-Chinese sentiment has also been expressed in Victoria University's latest student magazine, Salient. Among a table of The Top Five Things to Be Wary Of, Chinese were rated at No 5.
Dogs also featured in the same line-up. It is not known if the dogs featured above or below Chinese.
Chaff editor Matt Russell said Chinese students should be made aware that a good sense of humour is part of Kiwi culture.
Mr De Bres said the problem is when that sense of humour crosses the line - "when stereotypes that manifestly by anecdote, research or observation, experience higher levels of discrimination than others.
"The fact is that at the moment in terms of surveys we've done, Asian people are among those who face the most discrimination in New Zealand," he said.
"Now is not the best time to be exercising your sense of humour."
Mr De Bres said there was no greater case of a stereotype being wrong than with the suggestion that Asian students are bad drivers.
"If you go to the police or Road Safety New Zealand you'll find the stereotypes about Asian drivers do not stack up."

From Catwalk to Parade Ground

From catwalk to parade ground

Saturday May 20, 2006
N Z Herald By Julie Middleton

Janette Ma says she doesn't feel like a trailblazer - although she is the New Zealand Army's only female officer cadet of Chinese ethnicity. And there's no doubt that she's the only Army staffer who is a former Miss Chinese New Zealand.

Ms Ma, 20, a full-time student in her third year of a five-year law and psychology degree at the University of Auckland, was drawn to a part-time Army role because she loves the outdoors and "wanted to do something exciting. And I thought it would be a great way to get overseas".

Her mother, beauty therapist Isabella To, was dismayed when her only child, who grew up in New Zealand from the age of 8, announced she wanted to enlist.

Ms To was worried about her daughter's safety, but didn't stand in her way: "She's got a good mind and she's very mature."

The seven weeks of Army basic training, says Ms Ma, were "definitely the toughest thing I have ever done in my life, but it was rewarding".

Earlier this year she passed the tests for officer training - which included a five-day assessment during which a psychologist studied everything she did.

Ms Ma relishes Army life - though it took a while for her petite 1.59cm, 55kg frame to adjust to a 25-30kg pack.

She admits, however, she is not really comfortable being in the spotlight, and confesses she entered Miss Chinese New Zealand in 2004 to please her mother.

"My mom and her friends thought it would be pretty exciting. Personally, I haven't wanted to be an entertainer."

They were all "shocked" when Ms Ma won, earning her a place at the Miss Chinese International in her native Hong Kong (she was unplaced).

Ms Ma, whose roots are in China's Guangdong province, is in the Third Auckland Northland Regiment, where her 11-member officer cadet platoon - she is the only woman - is named Gallipoli.

Army recruiters hope that Ms Ma's story will prompt other women and other Chinese to join: just 33 men and four women of its 4484 staff are of Asian descent - that's just 0.82 per cent. Six of them are officers, and the bulk are aged between 18 and 24.

Greater diversity is always desirable, says recruitment director Major Kate Lee, but no special campaigns are planned. "I think most organisations like to be ethnically diverse - it makes sense. You need to be representative of New Zealand."

Another trailblazer is Second Lieutenant Jeong Min Park, believed to be the country's first soldier of Korean ancestry.

Mr Park, who was raised in Wellington, where he gained a political science degree, has been in the Army for two years. He is serving in Bosnia on a United Nations mission.

• More by Julie Middleton
• Email Julie Middleton

Tung Jung Association

Celebrating the 80th anniversary
The 80th anniversary of the Association is being celebrated with a buffet dinner and dance function on Saturday 5 August 2006 at the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre in Wellington (NZ) starting at 6.00pm.
The book, Zengcheng New Zealanders, a History for the 80th Anniversary of the Tung Jung Association of New Zealand Inc. will also be launched at the function. Many people have contributed to this book. It will have chapters about the migration of Chinese from Zengcheng to New Zealand, the history of the Tung Jung Association since its beginning in 1926, stories about the villages in China and the families of the people who came to New Zealand all those years ago, and a specific chapter about Zengcheng women. The book will illustrate the colourful and often painful journey experienced by the early Chinese highlighting their success in becoming established and respected in the New Zealand society. This book will be of interest to families and researchers alike.
Tickets for the function are available from any member of the committee.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Daughter ‘s Sorrow

by Rebecca Tam " Granddaughter of a Head Tax payer

Postman! You brought such great sadness to my family every time I saw you.
Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Hong Kong in the 1960’s, there was nothing I worried more about than the sight of the postman trotting down our street with the mail in his hands.

The scene that followed was all too familiar to all of us: Mom would sign for the registered mail and the postman would hand over a thick letter from Canada to her. Mom would go into her room, open the letter and sob while she read and re-read carefully every single line from her parents who were living in Canada. My mom clung to every word in those letters as if her very own existence depended on it. And who could blame her? Only through these words and scenes that were described in these bi-weekly letters, was she able to get a glimpse of what life would be like with a father and a mother. She could hardly imagine what life would like with a dad. My mom had not seen my grandpa since the day she was born.

I was born in Macau, but my grandparents were from Canton, China. Both of my grandfathers went to North America hoping to better themselves and find gainful employment overseas. In fact, my maternal great-grandfather came to work in Canada and grandfather followed him.

Grandpa landed in Vancouver, on April 18, 1918, paying the $500.00 head tax upon stepping on to Canadian soil. He was 15 years old, a young man eager to work, learn and start a new life in the land of milk and honey. However, life was not easy in this strange new land. Chinese workers were discriminated against and employment opportunities were limited to difficult jobs with long hours, generally unwanted menial labour or dangerous jobs, such as laundry workers, domestic servants and railroad workers.

Grandpa worked extremely hard and after years of labouring in Canada, he was able to save enough money to go back to China in 1925 where he found himself a blushing young bride. Grandpa sailed across the Pacific Ocean; he and Grandma were married that year in China. Grandpa might have had a premonition of the political events to come for he stayed as long as he could with his new bride. The new couple had a long honeymoon and Grandpa stayed almost a year in China after the wedding.

My grandpa left China for Canada in 1926, shortly after my mother was born. After returning to Canada, Grandpa spent every ounce of his energy and waking moments working, trying to save enough money to bring his new wife and baby daughter to Canada. He spent a lot of time and money travelling to town to see the lawyers and he made numerous appeals to his M.P. asking for help, but all to no avail.

1923 " 1947 " The darkest period in Canada’s history when our government openly and legally discriminated against Chinese immigrants. Due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, there was no way for Grandpa or any Chinese person living in Canada to bring family members to Canada during this more than 20 year period.

Grandpa was a very determined hard worker. His dream was to be reunited with his family to provide for them. Even with the very limited opportunities afforded to Chinese workers at the time, Grandpa was able to find employment and save enough money to open his own restaurant in Bearmore, Ontario. He consistently sent letters and money to China to support and care for his wife and daughter. Meanwhile, my mother was growing up fatherless in China. Her constant and only hope since childhood was that one day she would meet her father and get to know him, a wonderful, generous and caring man, as everyone who knew Grandpa kept telling her.

My parents got married in 1945. But there was no possibility for my mother or any one of us to immigrate to Canada.

After WWII, the Chinese Exclusion Act was finally abolished in 1947. Grandpa was granted full Canadian citizenship on February 5, 1952. He could now apply to bring his family to Canada.

After a separation of 27 years from her husband, having raised her only daughter on her own, and going through many red tapes, Grandma was finally allowed to come and join Grandpa in Canada in 1953.

I could never imagine what was going through Grandpa and Grandma’s mind when they met each other again. The last time they saw each other, they were a newly married couple. The second time they saw each other again, they were grandparents themselves with grey hair.

How much suffering and loneliness had they endured? How many possible happy memories and precious time had been stolen from them in these 27 years?

Unfortunately, my Grandparents were not to be reunited with their family due to further immigration restrictions. My mother, who was then 26 years old, a married woman with children of her own, was not allowed to come to Canada. The reason: she was an adult, no longer a dependent, therefore, she was not qualified to come as a dependent child.

Again, the letters went back and forth between Canada and Hong Kong " still the only link between Grandpa and Mom. More tears were shed every time when the postman arrived. Grandpa kept trying to bring us to Canada and to fulfill his life-long dream of seeing his only daughter and now his 7 grandchildren as well. However, the immigration process was not going smoothly even though by then Grandpa was very well established in the community and was a proud owner of a very successful restaurant employing many workers.

The Canadian Government started to open the doors to non-European immigrants in 1967 when we could apply as a family to immigrate to Canada. However, the selection process was lengthy and the criteria were strenuous.

Finally, we received news at the beginning of 1971 that our whole family, all nine of us, had been granted immigrant status. There was a lot of excitement preparing for our move to Canada. My mother was bubbly, elated and hardly able to contain her girlish anticipation and happiness of meeting her father at last for the first time. “Oh, there is so much catching up to do! And your Grandpa will spoil you children rotten since he has never had a chance to play with his only child. But he will have all 7 grandchildren to play with!” Mom was sharing her happiness with us as our family prepared our move to Canada in July, allowing us to finish school in June.

1971 - A day in March, the saddest day in our family history. The postman came and the familiar scene repeated for the umpteenth time. Except this time, within minutes after Mom went into her room, she let out the most horrifying and ear piercing wailing I had ever heard. My mother was sobbing uncontrollably. My Dad and my older siblings went into her room to find out what had happened. More crying and sobbing came from the rest of my family. Oh, my God, what had happened? Why was everyone crying as if the sky had fallen?

“Your grandfather had a heart attack and died recently. He was 65,” my father announced to us. I had never seen my mother so sad in my entire life. Her life-long dream of seeing her father was shattered. Her whole world was caving in and she did not see any meaning in life and she saw no hope at all. Mom stayed in her room all day and night and sobbed for days. She refused to eat; she refused to come out of her room or to be consoled. She didn’t understand why life was so cruel to her. All her life, she didn’t ask for wealth or anything, but just a chance to say, “Hi Dad, how are you?” in person. She had been robbed of a father, deprived of a normal family life and an opportunity of knowing the most important, wonderful and caring person in her life.

O Grandpa, thank you for everything you have done for us. I am sorry I never had the opportunity to meet you or know you. I know you must have been a terrific person and the best Grandpa anyone could have. Even though you have been gone since 1971, on many occasions, and recently, I still run into people who knew you from before and they couldn’t stop talking about your kindness, generosity and your restaurant. Grandpa, I know you would have been very proud of Mom and your 7 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. We have all grown up and we are doing really well. Thank you for being coming to Canada, and enduring so much suffering and pain so that we can enjoy our rights and privileges now. We love you and we will never forget you.

Your granddaughter,

Rebecca Tam
April 20, 2006

Chinese Movies

There are 5 films in this series titled Chinese Restaurants. Basically, the film director wanted to document how Chinese have settled in all parts of the world and how the common denominator in these overseas Chinese communities is often a Chinese restaurant that was built not because of culinary expertise or inclination but because of survival instincts. As many of us know, there is a Chinese restaurant everywhere in the world

In Peru, there's a famous Chinese cooking show on TV hosted by a Chinese man who also runs a real restaurant in Lima. He married a Peruvian woman who confessed that she would prefer their 2 biracial daughters marry Chinese men because Chinese values are so much better AND "I love small Chinese eyes! So beautiful! I want grand kids with small eyes!" *LOL* However in another Peru clip, a tearful HongKong immigrant recalls being instructed by her parents to marry out of HK so she could have a better life. Her marriage was basically arranged. The marriage ended in a divorce but she has 2 biracial Chinese Peruvian children who do not understand Chinese and thus holds her back from returning to HK

The Turkey story was the most fascinating for me since I cannot imagine Chinese living there -- even though it is at a junction between Asia/Europe and has witnessed thousands of years of Asian trade and migration. The focus was on the family who opened Turkey's very first Chinese restaurant in 1957! They were Chinese Muslims who were basically kicked out by Communists in 1940s and spent almost a decade slowly migrating toward Turkey (including trekking over mountains in horses and camels and watching family members die during this trek). Their Chinese restaurant in Istanbul refuses to serve pork because they're serious Muslims. Today the kids from the family has married Turks, Germans, and Taiwanese. They've all re-settled in different parts of the world but reunite regularly in Istanbul where Chinese grandma calls home.


Massacre survivors vow to bring Japan to int'l court 2006-05-19 20:10:16

SHENYANG, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Survivors of the Pingdingshan Massacre, in which more than 3,000 Chinese civilians were slaughtered by Japanese soldiers in 1932, say they will bring the Japanese government to international court after their 10-year-long lawsuit for an apology and compensation was rejected by the Japanese Supreme Court.

"We will continue the lawsuit even if we have to go to the international court," said Yang Baoshan, and 83-year-old survivor and spokesperson for the Pingdingshan Massacre claimants.

Three survivors including Yang Baoshan launched their original lawsuit in 1996, demanding the Japanese government admit the crime and apologize and pay survivors compensate of 20 million yen (about 182,000 U.S. dollars).

The Japanese Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday the lawsuit although it acknowledged there was a massacre. It was the third Japanese court to reject the same lawsuit.

The Tokyo District Court and the Tokyo High Court ruled against the plaintiffs in 2002 and 2005. All three courts said that the Japanese government cannot be sued for acts committed prior to the State Compensation Law which was enacted in 1947.


The Pingdingshan massacre is seen as one of the most despicable crimes of World War Two. More than 3,000 women, children and elderly of Pingdingshan Village near Fushun city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, were killed by invading Japanese soldiers on September 16, 1932. The villagers were murdered just aday after the Mid-Autumn Festival which celebrates the harvest moon and for centuries has been a time for family re-unions in China.

"The Japanese soldiers told us they were going to take our picture and gathered us in a group. But under the black cloth they didn't have cameras, they had machine guns. The soldiers even bayoneted bodies to ensure the villagers were dead," said Yang Yufen, a 83-year-old survivor, who was just nine-years-old.

"I survived because my parents shielded me with their bodies. Eighteen members of my family were massacred," said Yang Yufen.

It's estimated that 20 to 30 villagers survived the massacre.

The Japanese soldiers burned and buried all the bodies the day after they shot them. They also burned down 800 houses in the village, wiping it off the face of the earth.

Yang Baoshan, the elderly plaintiff, was just 11 years old whenhe lost his parents in the massacre. He was shot twice and still remembers that there were six machine guns firing at the villagers.

Since then he has never been able to sleep on the on the Mid Autumn Festival.


Before the lawsuit Japan would not even acknowledge the massacre had occurred.

The Tokyo District Court heard the lawsuit the first time in March 1997. Mo Desheng was 75 when he traveled to Japan to appear in court and accuse the Japanese of their crime.

In its ruling in June 2002 the Tokyo District Court finally acknowledged that there was a massacre. Yet it rejected the need for an apology and the compensation claims.

The case next went to the Tokyo High Court on appeal.

Mo Desheng died 10 days after the Tokyo High Court ruling in May 2005 upheld the lower court's ruling.

Only six survivors of the tragedy are still alive. The youngest is 73 years old, while the most elderly is 92.

The lawsuit can now only continue in Japanese courts if other plaintiffs come forward, lawyers said. The survivors and their lawyers are discussing what action they might take next.

The lawsuit has at least raised awareness of the terrible truth with the Japanese public, said Ooe Kyoko, a Japanese lawyer for the plaintiffs. There are thousands of web pages on the Pingdingshan Massacre in Japan.


As a signatory to international laws, the Japanese government should own up to its responsibilities, said Fu Bo, head of Fushun Academy of Social Sciences and leader of the Supporting Association for the Pingdingshan Massacre Survivors.

Fu said, the Japanese courts are using the Compensation Law as an excuse to avoid providing atonement to the survivors of the massacre.

Japanese courts have made similar rulings in dismissing similarlawsuits against the brutal acts committed by Japanese soldiers inAsian countries.

"We do not sue for money. I'll give up the compensation claim but the Japanese government must apologize or else the dead will not rest in peace," said Yang Baoshan. Enditem

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Related Story

- Japan's supreme court rejects Chinese damages lawsuits for massacre

Solomons Chinese

Chinese back home after nightmare in Solomons 2006-04-26 04:04:38

GUANGZHOU, April 25 (Xinhua) -- After a six-hour flight and nearly four-hours on a bumpy bus, Ma Peizhu finally saw her parents' grey-brick house on the outskirt of Taishan, a southern Chinese city and the ancestral home of generations of overseas Chinese.

"Thank God I am home." said Ma who burst into tears as she hugged her parents tightly. Her two-year-old daughter, understanding little of what was happening, turned on a beaming smile for grandparents.

Ma and the other four members of her family were among the hundreds of Chinese who have returned home from the Solomon Islands after escaping recent riots there.


At half past midnight on Tuesday morning, 310 overseas Chinese including 21 Hong Kong citizens arrived in Guangzhou City in South China's Guangdong Province after being air-lifted from Solomon Islands.

Outside the airport, local officials from the nearby cities of Jiangmen, Kaiping, Enping, Taishan waited for hours with idling buses to pick them up.

At 3:00 a.m., a coach carrying 45 weary Chinese from the Solomon Islands heads to Taishan. Most of them fell asleep shortly after the bus departs.

Three hours later, they were received with warm hugs and foods.

Twenty-year-old Feng Youyu looked terrified recalling the nightmare experience.

"Local people broke in as I rushed out from the shop's back door. They took away everything they could and smashed the things that were too heavy to move," said Feng, who went to the Pacific country for two months.

"I'm so relieved he's finally home. I was so worried I stayed in front of TV all day long following the situation," Feng's father said.

Over 1,000 Chinese nationals or people of Chinese origin lived in the Solomon Islands before violence erupted in the country's capital Honiara and local rioters looted the city's Chinatown.

Lu Xiongwei, an official with the Guangdong Provincial office for overseas Chinese affairs, said most of the returned Chinese were from his province and many had worked in the Solomon Islands for ten to twenty years.

"Most of them have families or relatives in Guangdong. Our top task is to help them back home," he said.


As home province of many of the overseas Chinese, Lu said Guangdong learned about the unrest in the Solomon Islands on April 19, one day after the violence broke out. The province immediately reported the information to the Central Government.

Since China and the Solomon Islands have no diplomatic ties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry made urgent contact with the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, asking them to provide assistance to Chinese citizens if required.

Meanwhile, the ministry also ordered the Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea to immediately dispatch diplomats to the Solomon Islands to contact local Chinese people.

"I was born and grew up in the Solomon Islands and had good relations with local people. I had never imagined that I would be looted," said Li Qingji, a man with Hong Kong citizenship.

Li said he and his wife woke up at night when local people broke into the hotel where they were staying. Finding nowhere to hide they ran toward the sea shore, where they found a boat and stayed on board the entire night.

"Watching towering fires from the boat, fleeing the place was the only thing I had in mind," he said.

With the help of the Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea, most of the Chinese in the Solomon Islands managed to find safety in the local police headquarters. Most then left for Papua New Guineaon charter flights rented by the Chinese government.

On Monday, China sent chartered planes to bring the Chinese home from Papua New Guinea.

"This is the first time I have come back to the homeland. I never expected I would return under such circumstances," Li said bitterly.

With the arrival of the second group of 310 overseas Chinese evacuees from the Solomon Islands early Tuesday morning, China announced that it had completed its rescue of overseas Chinese from Solomon Islands.

A total of 325 Chinese people were brought back home safe and sound.

"It was fortunate that we had no casualties in the disaster considering all the property damage," Ma Zhongming, whose two shops were set ablaze by the rioters. He estimates his losses to be 2.5 million yuan (312,000 US dollars).

"The government's quick response helped us survive the disaster," he said.

Ma said he felt the rescue work had been conducted quite orderly.

"Old people, children and women left first. There was no disagreement with such arrangements. We all believed that the Chinese government must have ways to help us out."

A special work group, consisting of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs of the State Council, and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, remains in Guangzhou helping with the resettlement mission. Enditem

Editor: Luan Shanglin
"The best advice I ever got was from an elephant trainer in the jungle outside Bangalore. I was doing a hike through the jungle as a tourist. I saw these large elephants tethered to a small stake.

I asked him "How can you keep such a large elephant tied to such a small stake?"

He said "When the elephants are small, they try to pull out the stake and they fail. When they grow large, they never try to pull out the stake again."

Moral - we have to go for what we think we’re fully capable of, not limit ourselves by what we’ve been in the past.

Alberta Chinese

Alberta: The Chinese Canadian Perspective - Past and Present
Yesterday, Sharon, Annie and I attended the 7th annual Western Canadian History Lecture on "Alberta: the Chinese Canadian Perspective - Past and Present" at the Hotel MacDonald. The lecture is sponsored by the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts and is given by Honourable Vivienne Poy who is a Senator in the Senate of Canada and a Chancellor of the University of Toronto. We missed the first 15 minutes of the lecture but still got to hear her speak for about a hour. Here are some points I remember from the lecture:
Anti-chinese sentiment was very high in the past
Vivienne cited a quote from a letter written by a Chinese in the early 1890s/1900s (not verbatim): "You send missionaries to our country to preach. If you don't think we're good enough to live here [Canada], then why do you try to send us to heaven?"
During the depression in 1930, welfare payments for white people was about $2.50 but only a little more than a $1 for chinese people. After a few deaths due to malnutrition and the frigid winter, the government increased it to around $2 - still lower than that of White people.
Surname associations such as Tong or Wong assocations were actually formed to help fellow chinese out.
If I remember correctly, the first chinese business was a laundry service. It was one of the most popular businesses among chinese people at the time as the only real investment was manual labor to wash the clothes.
The first chinese Edmontonian actually came from Calgary. He was quarantined for small pox and after he was released, a mob burned his business down and tried to drive him out. He decided to move to Edmonton along with his family.
In the 1940s, there were only about 350 chinese women out of the total 3500 chinese people living in Alberta. This was mainly due to the head tax enacted in 1885 followed by the immigration act in 1923. The head tax provided a strong obstacle for potential immigrants who had to pay an exuberant amount of money. The immigration act virtually banned all Chinese immigrants from coming to the country. Ironically, this act was introduced on Canada Day - July 1st, 1923.
In World War II, many Chinese Canadian volunteered for the war. This began to change the face for chinese people.
In more recent years, immigration to Alberta has actually decreased but interprovincial migration has increased. Alberta has the highest postivie interprovincial migration rate.
She talked about how the face of Chinese people in Alberta and Canada has really changed and even noted people like Gary Mar and honorable Norman Kwong.
Surprisingly, the demographics of the audience comprised of mostly non chinese people. It would have been nice if some notable chinese figures from the community made an appearance. I really enjoyed the first half of her speech and wish I caught the first 15 minutes. However, I did not enjoy the later half as much as she drifted off topic and it became more statistical praising of Alberta. Sharon and I agree that she sounded like a spokesperson for the Alberta government. In any case, I did learn quite abit about the past life of Chinese Canadians and also enjoyed some wine and cheese at the reception afterwards.

You can learn more about Canadian Chinese History here.

Canada Alberta History Chinese China Canadian Edmonton Vivienne Poy

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Locations of visitors to this page

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Paua Debt

Paua debt link to alleged hit
13 May 2006
By DEBORAH DIAZThe alleged hitman in a Triad shooting may have killed his "very good brother" for $10,000 because of a debt from the illegal paua trade, a court has been told.
Tam Yam Ah, 37, was shot once in the chest by a masked assassin outside an Auckland karaoke bar in July last year.
In Auckland District Court yesterday, Wellington man Chow Wan Yee – nicknamed Gao Lo, or the Tall Man – was committed to trial for Tam's murder. He had earlier pleaded not guilty.
A key witness in the case is a self-confessed "petty criminal" from Hutt Valley who claims to have driven Chow, 53, to Auckland to collect a paua debt.
Tam was shot instead and, after a panicked drive south, the handgun used in the killing was concealed in a paint bucket and buried in scrub on Hayward's Hill.
Chow's lawyer, Peter Kaye, advised that the evidence presented to the court had yet to be tested.
Crown prosecutor Emma Barrett made successful applications to suppress the identities of all civilian witnesses so publicity did not discourage them from taking part in the trial.

The witness, who has an extensive criminal record, said he had known Chow for a decade and they were, at times, partners in crime.
Chow had asked him to go on a debt-collection mission to Auckland and, before leaving Wellington on July 6, the accused had met some men at a restaurant.
During the drive north, Chow allegedly confided that they would collect $10,000 from one of the men on their return.
The witness claimed they reached Auckland about dusk and first set about watching Tam's Flower City Restaurant in Anzac Ave before parking near his flat, which was above the Symonds St karaoke bar.
There Chow put on a balaclava, took a handgun from a bag in the boot and tucked it in his pants, then left the witness in the car. While waiting, the witness had to go to the toilet and – as he went into some bushes – heard a bang.
Chow came back two or three minutes later. The witness "started to freak out and felt dizzy".
He claimed Chow told him: "Only you and me know about this murder. The police don't know, the gang members don't know, no one knows that it was us.
"Now if I get charged, you get charged, that means you said something to the police and your life will be in danger."
The witness claimed he helped bury the gun and that he also dumped the balaclava along with two guns and his own ammunition on Paekakariki Hill.
When he spoke to police in November after being arrested for burglary, he told them Chow's family had made threats on his life.
Another witness, a woman with Tam the night he was killed, said Chow and Tam were "very good brothers". Chow is due to reappear in court on June 28.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Canada Chinese

I know you are aware of the excellent Chinese genealogy resources of the Vancouver Public Library - are you also aware of the Historical Chinese Language Materials In British Columbia: An electronic inventory:" develop the Web page which comprises a database of records of archival materials, virtual exhibition of photo collections, images, links to related materials and listings of organizations. We offer a comprehensive inventory of the materials, searchable on the Web by keywords in Chinese, English and Pinyin and advice on options for preservation so that information is not lost with the memory of those involved or decay of materials.Since the inception of the project in 2000, we have documented over 13,000 records and uploaded more than 500 images of archival materials contributed by 17 resource centres, 9 pioneer families and numerous individuals. With these achievements, known sources that are interested in participation were all covered and the core collection of the database completed. The focus is now on digitisation of major collections by stages. "

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Pig Oven Mangere

The Pig Ovens - Lees Garden Mangere

Cantonese roast duckCategories: Chinese Poultry Yield: 6 servings
1 Duckling rubbed inside and out with 2 tablespoon salt
2 tb Sherry
2 tb Hoisin sauce
2 tb Dark corn syrup
1 ts Five spice powder
1 tb round brown bean sauceRub duck inside and out with salt and refrigerate overnight. Mix remaining ingredients and rub on duck inside and our until used up. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place duck on rack, breast side up, in pan with 1 inch of water. Roast 1 hour, turn duck over, roast 1 hour more. Turn duck breast side up, increase heat to 350 degrees and roast 30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. To serve, carve in the chinese manner, bones and all. Or carve as you would poultry. If carved chinese style, the duckling may be wrapped in foil after carving and frozen. Reheat in foil in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Chinese Citizenship in NZ

Learn Mandarin and Cantonese

Go to this site and download the FSI Standard Chinese (Mandarin) course: Many American universities have used this course for teaching Chinese.It's put out by the Foreign Service Institute, originally to teach US Diplomatic Corps personnel. Because it was written by the US government there is supposedly no copyright on the material so many different publishers have put out versions of the material. Now a guy has put all the stuff on the Internet.There are many other languages available as well as for the Cantonese dialect: Put the audio on your mp3 player and enjoy the pleasures of learning another dialect or language.Learn the language of your ancestors!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pings Pie Cart - New Plymouth

Ping's Pie Cart - Pride of the West
By Rhonda Bartle

Pie cart on Ariki Street
For more than 25 years, Ping's Pie Cart stood on a vacant lot next to the Army Stores on Ariki Street and served hot nosh to late night diners. After midnight, Ping became the most popular man in town.

Most of his patrons on a Friday or Saturday night would head first to the pictures at the State, the Regent, the Opera House or Mayfair, before heading to the back bar of the Royal for a sly pint after hours.

Or there was usually a dance to rock up to, first at the Trades Hall and later at the War Memorial Hall or the Star Gym. And after all that socialising, there was always the stop at Ping's for pea, pie and pud.

Ping, Ping the ChinamanIf he can't cook it, nobody can…
After midnight, Ping Choy Leong became the most popular man in town. Image Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection TS2006_1004.
Ping Choy Leong
Ping Choy Leong was Chinese, short of stature and long on patience. He wore a black apron and had big hands for a small man. He could pass a plate with one while pouring tea with the other.

A market gardener and former fruit shop owner, he began selling fast food in the 1950s. His caravan, with its duckboard at ankle height to keep patrons up off the pavement, and metal shutter over its narrow serving window, opened at 5.30pm each night and didn't close till dawn.

Though it was called a pie cart, the menu boasted 24 items, all variations on the usual theme of pies, steak, eggs and chips. Everything came with tea or coffee and you paid when the plate arrived.

Ping's reputation for cooking at the speed of light and delivering just as fast meant his loyal clientele quickly grew to impressive numbers.
And the food was always good. Legend has it that hungry revellers often sent an empty taxi to pick up an after party order on the strength of his fried egg sandwiches alone.

Having fun with Ping
People loved to bait Ping to see what he would do. They'd take the fish slice from out of the groove where he kept it next to the cooker and scratch their heads with it. Once, though it's never been proven, someone caught Ping doing his laundry in the dish washer. Next time Ping took an order, it was for "socks and underpants on toast."

One of the funniest yarns is about his so-called meat supply, when a local hunter apparently slung a bloody possum carcass across Ping's countertop. "That's the last you get from me! You don't get another until you pay me!"

There's one about the local fisherman arriving with a large, wet octopus and telling Ping to, "Cook this!" The same man was said to have once hooked his ute up to the caravan in a threat to tow it away.

There's a story that someone actually did take Ping's pie cart on a tiki tour. And word has it that Ping shifted his trays of eggs from out of the reach of punters, after they were stolen one at a time and then pelted up and down the street.

Ping and the police
Though rumour has it Ping's caravan was wired directly to the police station so a touch of a button would bring the law running, it was always understood that Ping could sort out trouble by himself.

"You behave or I call police!" he'd warn his most unmanageable diners. But stories exist that Ping often chased errant patrons down the street, swinging a meat cleaver over his head, while shouting loudly in his unfathomable English.

Ping's language was known by some as 'Chinese otherwise." But what sounded like abuse was possibly just his version of "Don't you *&^%$#@ come back!"

Yet, Ping was quite fair-minded. One New Plymouth woman recalls gathering up loose change dropped by blokes who'd been in the pub too long, and trying to give it back to the pie cart proprietor only to be told, "You find it, you keep it."

Henry Leong serves the long-haired crowd in 1975. Image Daily News. Copy from Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection TS2006_1003.

Henry Leong
If Ping was world famous in New Plymouth, then Henry Leong, Ping's cousin, and Daisy Lee, Ping's niece, weren't far behind. For years they worked behind the counter, first with Ping and then without him when Ping retired and Henry took over the business.

Henry was a small man too, but according to Jock Ross, a young constable at the time, he would have made a brilliant policeman. The man could pour oil on troubled waters as easily as tomato sauce on pies.

Even today, Henry Leong has a fresh, infectious laugh despite the fact he's old enough to have retired many moons ago. "I worked at the pie cart for 14 years, on and off," he says. "From 16 to 30."

His cheerful voice comes down the phone from Tauranga where he moved post-pie cart, post-the Chalet Coffee Lounge, post-his Golden Phoenix restaurant in Currie Street.

When asked if he enjoyed the late night work, his tinkling laugh rings out even stronger. "I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. I meet a lot of people. Some crazy people, some good people. We had doctors, mayors, city councillors; all came to the pie cart.

"Lot's of funny people, you know? But mostly quite good. Usually have the rugbies and singers like the Howard Morrisons and Eddie Lowes and people like that."

The most famous man Henry served was All Black Ross Brown and the most popular order of the day was always pea, pie and pud. "After dances, after pictures, after parties, after pub, people just come in. Even rough people were sort of friends. We treated everybody the same, no matter. People from the street. Even Mongrel Mob.
Always treated them the same."

Sometimes there'd be impromptu sing-alongs, when a guitar would suddenly appear and everyone launched into song.

Henry has no idea how many pies were sold over the years. "Hundreds. Maybe eight or nine dozen a day. Might have made more money if we make those pies ourselves," he says. The next popular choice was steak and eggs, followed by those famous fried egg sandwiches.

He only closed early once, on a single day in February 1971 when downtown New Plymouth flooded due to heavy rain. "Water up to the parking meter," Henry chortles. "But we didn't float away. No. No. No. No damage either. We just close down and go and have a look around."

His voice drops to a whisper. "When we close for good, we had sad people, you know? One woman was crying outside."

On the job in 1975 - the lovely Daisy Lee. Image Daily News. Copy from Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection TS2006_1001.

Daisy Lee
Even today, Henry and Daisy are remembered as "lovely, lovely people," and there's no doubt that Daisy was the loveliest of all.

Rumour has it the young men, who worked at the Social Security Department directly across the road, would wander into the typing pool late in the day, not to chat up the typists but to stand on tip-toe at the window, trying to catch a glimpse of Daisy with her beehive hairdo and her short-short mini skirts.

To Daisy, those days seem a hundred years ago. "I was only young, for God's sake," she giggles." It's not surprising she was such a stand-out babe back then because, in 2006, she still has the figure, the hair, the smile. And she's still in the food industry, serving customers with her customary charm at the Aromas Café in Devon St.

The speed with which she and Henry worked together was legendary. They developed a kind of sixth sense. "It was like we knew what the other was thinking. Besides, I love him like my brother. He's such a great guy. I would have done anything for him. But we did work well together."

After Ping's closed, she continued to work with Henry at the Chalet Coffee Lounge in the Manchester Arcade.

She says the era spent behind the counter at the pie cart was a memorable one. "It was a good time to be a teenager, with only beer, and no drugs or hard alcohol."

Coming from a big family meant she enjoyed the customers and, like Henry, made it a rule to treat everyone the same. The police, too, were always friends and never the enemy.
When the pie cart closed, for some strange reason, she took the menu boards home with her and stored them in the basement. Today's she's quite pleased, as they're a tangible link to the past.
An early shot of Ping and his young family, with Henry on the right. Image Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection TS2006_1005.
Jock Ross - policeman
Talk to anyone of a certain age and memories of Ping's Pie Cart flow like mushy peas. Jock Ross, who was on the beat during its heyday, says it was a wonderful place for young coppers to go for a feed at 3 o'clock in the morning.

"Henry was very good to us, serving us great plates of steak, eggs and chips at Henry's prices. We looked after Henry and he looked after us, but you didn't abuse it. No one ever abused it."

He has no doubt the meat cleaver story is true, though he says Ping would never ever have picked a fight. "Ping was a man who wouldn't take any nonsense, and he and Henry together would have been quite formidable if they'd decided to lose their rag. But there was no aggression with them at all."

Jock, newly arrived from Glasgow, says Henry could usually break up a fight with a simple look or phrase. "I knew, if the chips were down - if you'll pardon the pun - Henry could look after himself. Henry had the gift of the gab and his English was probably better than mine!"

On the other hand, he doubts the tale of the panic button hooked directly to the police station is for real. "Ping might have had a big red button, but it wouldn't have been connected. Not in those days. He had a whistle that he'd blow if there was trouble, though there was never a lot of trouble, just usually a couple of punchies (sic)and then it was all over."

And the police always attended knuckle-ups once they heard a fight was on. "Usually it got back to us. Someone would come rushing in the front door of the station and say there was a punch up, or a taxi would ring us, or scream up out front and we'd all jump in the back and shoot off down there."

When Ping's closed, even the force went into mourning. "We weren't very happy. We were quite upset. It was hugely popular. I never heard a bad thing about Henry and I remember him with great affection. He was a terrific guy."
An original Ping's menu in shillings and pence: Image Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection TS2006_1006.
Pie cart poscript
It's not hard to imagine the hole the pie cart left when the vats were turned off and the tables cleared for the last time in March, 1975.

For two and a half decades, Ping's had squatted on its familiar concrete pad, with a few stools and tables at one end, serving all who fronted up.

It had fed bodgies and sailors and long-haired louts imitating The Beatles, as well as those kissing couples who had met at the Be-Bops dance on Saturday night. A rowdy witness to a myriad of social trends, even 10 o'clock closing had failed to quiet the tills.

In 2001, in the wake of an announcement of the name for the grand new library and museum which would occupy Ping's old site, a local wit was prompted to write a letter to the editor of Taranaki Daily News.

It ran under the heading A Steak in the City's Heritage: "I was interested to read last Saturday's Daily News that the full name for the project was "Puke Ariki Information, Knowledge and Heritage Centre for Taranaki.

"If we take the first letter of each word, we come up with PAIKAHCFT. If we drop three letters and add one, we could come up with Pai Kart."

The letter continued: "Those of us over 40 can well remember the Pai Kart. This was a truly multicultural centre, a place of huge knowledge where I, personally, had my heritage explained to me on several occasions…This was truly a centre for the exchange of information, a place where people could gather, enjoy a good feed and take part in interactive displays - like police training exercises, or watching couples frolic in the doorway of the Army Stores, or enjoy the pleasure of New Plymouth's first and only outdoor urinal."

And ended: "To think all of this is gone only to be replaced with a stuffy and boring museum and library that is going to cost the ratepayers millions of dollars - a civil disgrace, I'd say. I demand the name Puke Ariki etc be replaced by Pai Kart, and all the people who support me should gather at the Wind Wand at 3am tomorrow. I know the Pai Kart would attract a far better class of punter."

The response was a small one-liner. "Bring back Ping's and get rid of Puke Ariki."

The one time Ping's closed early was during the flood of 1971, when water rose up to the parking meters in town. This photo was taken outside Whites in Devon Street: Image Puke Ariki Pictorial Collection.

Published 28 April 2006

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