Friday, January 26, 2007

Chinese Canadian Genealogy The Chinese community in Canada has a long history dating back to the 19th century. The first Canadian-born baby of Chinese origin, Won Alexander Cumyow, was born in Port Douglas, B.C. in 1861. There are many resources available to Canadians of Chinese origin who would like to explore their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history. The purpose of this website is to provide tools and information to support such research.

Japanese War Crime

Interagency Working Group Announces Press Availability for Experts on New Japanese War Crimes Records Volume and Records GuideJanuary 16, 2007

Nanking - The Movie

Need your support for a movie about Nanking

Dear Friends, The following is a worthwhile cause, won't cost you a penny, just two minutes of your time to sign up. The world has heard and seen the Holocaust, but not the Nanking Massacre. This is our opportunity to show what Imperial Japan did to the Chinese.Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL and owner of Washington Capitals hockey team, spent over a year and his own money to make a documentary film about the massacre in Nanking when the Japanese army invaded the city in 1937. During a two weeks period, the Japanese killed over hundreds of thousands of innocentChinese citizens and raped tens of thousands of women and young girls. It is a history that we cannot forget. But some Japanese nationalists tried to change history and deny what happened almost 70 years ago. Ted's team has done a great deal of research. They found and collected over 500 hours of historical film footage, interviewed many war survivors in China, and even talked to Japanese soldiers who took part of the killing. This is a very powerful movie. It is now accepted by Sundance Film Festival and will be shown at the festival in mid January 2007 (Check out Ted's Take - Nanking FilmAccepted at Sundance). Ted's goal of making this movie is to let every one in the world to see what the Japanese did to Chinese and he wanted the Japanese government to apologize to the Chinese people.Ted's team created a web site to educate people about the upcoming film and they wanted to collect one million petitions from people wanting to see the movie when it is coming out.Ted sent the following message to a group of people asking for help. As members of the Chinese community, I strongly encourage every one of us to support this effort by signing your own name, asking your family to sign their names, and forward the message to your friends and others in your community. I have signed my name already! Let's show the world that we care about the victims of our fellow Chinese citizens and history cannot be changed.Please visit the web
site: you get there, please click on the following: "Please click here if you want to see this film"Then put your name, city, state, country and email to show your support for this movie.Please forward this request for support to your friends and family


Rape of a city too barbaric to ever forget
Saturday April 23, 2005 By David McNeill
Map of China, Japan and Korea locating Japanese military occupation in Eastern China during World War II and the Chinese city of Nanjing where some 300,000 civilians were killed. Picture / Reuters
Last weekend, 15-year-old Akari Shimoda sat down in Tokyo and watched as snarling protesters in Shanghai shouting "Japanese pigs out" filled her TV screen. Does she know why they are angry? "I think Japan did something to China in the past, I'm not sure what. It was such a long time ago." Japanese children's ignorance of Asian history, thanks to a curriculum that glosses over Imperial Japan's brutal colonial adventure until 1945, has been a source of controversy in Asia for decades. The contrast in China, where every 15-year-old is taught that wartime Emperor Hirohito's brainwashed troops butchered and looted their way across their country for 14 years, could not be starker. "Even though I like Japanese culture and products, we Chinese find it hard to forgive them for what they did to us," says Alice Lee, a saleswoman in Guangzhou, southern China. On December 13, 1937, Japanese troops poured into the wartime capital city of Nanjing after suffering heavy casualties in Shanghai. They began a six-week orgy of raping, killing and looting, carrying out what the United Human Rights Council called "the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific theatres of war". American eyewitness Minnie Vautrin, who kept a diary, wrote on December 16: "There probably is no crime that has not been committed in this city today." Soldiers practised with bayonets on tied-up prisoners, burned others alive and set dogs on children. Pregnant women were raped and bayoneted, decapitated heads were put on spikes or waved around like trophies, hundreds of unarmed civilians were mown down with machine guns. New York Times reporter Tillman Durdin, who called the rape of Nanjing "one of the great atrocities of modern times", wrote how he tried to drive to the river front. "The car just had to drive over these dead bodies. And the scene on the river front, as I waited for the launch ... was of a group of smoking, chattering Japanese officers overseeing the massacring of a battalion of Chinese captured troops." The most famous witness was John Rabe - the so-called Good Man of Nanjing, a businessman who ran the local Nazi party but became leader of an international safety zone that reportedly saved 250,000 lives. After weeks watching children and old women being raped and murdered, he wrote in his diary that the suffering "dumbfounded" him. Exactly how many were killed in Nanjing is one of the most contested statistics of World War II. The best-known account, by Chinese-American author Iris Chang, who committed suicide this year and who said she "felt rage" and suffered nightmares during her research, claims more than 300,000 Chinese died and at least 20,000 women were raped. Her 1997 book, The rape of Nanking: the forgotten holocaust of World War II, was the target of a vitriolic campaign by Japanese neo-nationalists who said it was full of lies and exaggerations. Today, Nanjing is a metropolis of more than 4 million people. It memorialises the winter of 1937 in a sparse concrete bunker where the figure "300,000" is carved in 1.2m black lettering on the museum wall. Inside, an exhibition of pictures of mutilated corpses and glass cases containing the bones of the victims concludes with a guestbook. "I cried when I learned what my country did," reads a comment from one Japanese visitor. In the catalogue of Japanese war crimes in China, Nanjing is rivalled only by the experiments of Unit 731, which was then the most elaborate biological warfare programme ever created; a 6.4km complex of buildings in Ping Fang, south of Harbin that turned diseases such as typhoid, anthrax, smallpox, cholera and dysentery into mass-produced killers. Live prisoners were dissected to determine the effects of pathogens on the human body. Yoshio Shinozuka, who was just 16 years old when he was dispatched by Tokyo to help the Unit 731 scientists, remembers the first time he assisted in an experiment on one of the prisoners who were dubbed "murata", or logs. "I knew the Chinese individual we dissected alive," he recalls. "At the vivisection I could not meet his eyes because of the hate in them. He was infected with plague germs and, ... his face and body became totally black. Still alive, he was brought on a stretcher to the autopsy room, where I was ordered to wash the body. I used a rubber hose and a deck brush to wash him ... The man's organs were excised one by one." The results harvested by military scientists from these experiments were, by 1940, being used to spread typhoid, cholera and plague across China. Soldiers dumped pathogens in rivers and water supplies. When this proved too slow and soldiers ended up poisoning themselves, military brains were racked for more efficient delivery systems. Shinozuka and his colleagues were put to work cultivating fleas. When Japanese planes flew over Chongshan village in Zheijiang Province in 1942, the residents saw a black cloud descending from the skies. Within days, many came down with fevers, headaches and swollen lymph nodes - the symptoms of the same flea-borne plague that wiped out much of the European population in the Middle Ages. Within two months, about 400 people, or a third of the village's population, had died. Estimates of casualties from Japan's germ warfare in China from 1932 to 1945 vary, but the most careful English-language study, by American historian Sheldon H. Harris, says that even by late 1942 the casualty count "fell into the six-figure range". Outbreaks of disease continued long after the scientists - whose parting gift was to release thousands of disease-ridden rats before dynamiting the germ factories - melted back into post-war civilian life back home. Few Japanese students know anything about Unit 731, even though, after years of denial, a Japanese court ruled in a lawsuit three years ago that the germ warfare programme did exist. Most Chinese know the whole tale, including the bitter sting at the end. While Shinozuka and other minions were sent to Chinese prisons as war criminals, the military mandarins who had built the programme and boasted of its war-winning potential to Tokyo were protected in exchange for their research findings. In documents released over the past decade, United States military scientists emphasised the "extreme value" of the information gained in Japanese germ-warfare tests. "The value to the US of Japanese biological warfare data is of such importance to national security as to far outweigh the value accruing from 'war crimes' prosecution," wrote one. The military seal of approval meant immunity for the key figures, including the programme's architect, Shiro Ishii, who died in Tokyo in 1959. Many had lucrative post-war careers in the medical industry. Unit 731 and its aftermath ranks, according to veteran Japanese civil rights lawyer Keiichiro Ichinose, with the worst of the Nazis' war crimes. "The Government here has got to come to terms with this before it can move forward with the rest of its Asian neighbours," he says. Japan's way of moving forward has been to sign normalisation agreements with its former enemies, ending all claims for compensation, and to hand over billions of dollars in development aid, an apology of sorts that means not having to say the word sorry. But its failure to make a clean break with the past has allowed Beijing to manipulate the issue of war guilt, ratcheting up patriotism, anti-Japanese and anti-US rhetoric as the social fallout from two decades of breakneck capitalism has grown. This patriotism threatens to take on a life of its own. As Japanese businesses and consulates in China cleaned up after the rioting, one of the sadder sights on TV was grown diplomats on both sides insisting that they had not said sorry. "It is Japan who should apologise first for its war history," said China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. Meanwhile, Japan's Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura was telling the press in Tokyo that he had not expressed "deep apologies" during a private meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing. "I said no such thing," he said. After all these years sorry, it seems, is still the hardest word. - INDEPENDENT

Designer Thinks outside the square

Designer thinks outside the square using origami
Sunday January 28, 2007
Rachel Young loves creating objects out of pieces of paper. Photo / Babiche Martens
She started folding paper for fun when she was still very young. Now she spends hours folding it into interesting and intricate shapes. And she doesn't get too many paper cuts while doing so, either. But Rachel Young won't admit to being a black belt in origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding.
Because although Young runs Fold, her own company specialising in homewares based on origami, she's never really been all that into traditional origami shapes. "I haven't folded many things from books because I don't really like following instructions," she explains. "Usually it's more that they give me points to start with, that I then change into something else."
Like a lampshade. It took Young around a year to complete this, her first design; she's currently working on several other novel products, which will eventually be patented.
"I don't really draw anything anymore when I'm designing. I just fold. For ages and ages. And I love that - the idea of starting with a piece of paper and developing it into something three-dimensional."

1. Fold Lampshade. The Fold Lampshade is the first of my designs available. I began with folded paper and spent about year developing it through to its present form. I wanted to show that origami could be more than just a pastime for children. I also proved to myself that techniques from origami can be applied to functional objects.
2. Enlai Hooi paper experiments. A friend had shown me a picture of his work in the final year of my design course. It was great to see somebody else who uses origami as their inspiration. There is an amazing amount of variety, not only in the form but in function and material, and his paper experiments are worth a look.
3. Bloom card By Artecnica. Bloom cards are pop-up flower shaped cards which reveal a message in the centre. I am also interested in paper engineering and these cards are a great example. Plus they are available in a range of different styles and colours, which makes it more difficult to decide which one to buy.
4. New Design Technology. To realise my designs and make life easier I use computer-controlled machines. My favourites are the digital die cutter and the laser cutter. These cut amazingly intricate designs and are cost-effective. For instance, with a client, my dad and I had a tree gate laser-cut from steel. The detail of the leaves was impressive. And handcutting is definitely not an option these days.
5. Shanghai Tang umbrella. This umbrella was given to me as a present. Umbrellas tend to be pretty plain but what I love about this one is the unexpected black and white bamboo pattern on the inside. It's almost too nice and I still haven't had the guts to use it.
6. The Panton chair by Vernon Panton. Originally made in 1967 it was the first cantilevered chair made from one piece of plastic. The clean design mixed with experimental manufacturing makes it one of my favourites.
7. London. This would have to be my favourite city for design I have visited. I've recently been on a couple of overseas trips - to Los Angeles, London, Paris, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Macau. Seeing the different architecture, perspectives and people was a real eye-opener. But in London I particularly liked the mix of historic and modern. My favourite examples are the geometric patterns of the Gherkin and the self-contained city in the Tower of London.
8. Luminarium Levity 2 by Architects Of Air. An inflatable sculpture that came to Auckland and was installed in Aotea Square a few years ago. From the outside it looked like a mass of coloured blobs but inside it was amazing. I was surprised by it and it was definitely worth the long wait in the line.
9. Paper Cranes. The paper crane has to be my favourite origami design. This is the first fold I can remember learning. The version I like the most is the flapping crane - when you hold the front part and pull the tail gently, the wings flap.
10. My sister's pencil drawings. In this age of computers, drawings done by hand are not common which is a shame, because the skill and eye for detail that goes into them is phenomenal. Pencil drawings by my sister Ashley are some of my favourites, they look just like a photograph.

Chinese Canadian Culture

Canada Immigration

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lincoln Tan: Let's make NZ Idols of our real-life heroes

Lincoln Tan: Let's make NZ Idols of our real-life heroes
4:57AM Monday January 08, 2007
At A New Year gathering with fellow immigrant friends, the topic of our conversation turned to some of the challenges our children face growing up in New Zealand.
Feeling nostalgic at this time of year, we also spoke of the people we looked up to in our own growing-up years.
For me, it was a teacher who had the reputation of being able to give hope even to students who had lost faith in themselves.
He was Brother Sebastian Gabriel, from the Catholic De La Salle order, who continued to be a source of inspiration for me long after I left school.
I still have a card he made himself and gave me on my last day at secondary school. He wrote: "To make a difference in this world, be true to yourself."
In my working life, a person who I greatly admired was my first editor, T.S. Khoo.
Each time we were short on news to fill the pages, I was amazed at how the former editor-in-chief of the Straits Times in Singapore - puffing on his cigar and taking a 15-minute stroll around the block - could come up with no less than 10 good story ideas.

One of my friends at the gathering said that our children growing up in New Zealand lack real role models and heroes they can relate to and identify with.
This could put a glass ceiling on their dreams and aspirations.
Last year, in the course of some work for the Journalists' Training Organisation, I spoke to several Asian students doing media studies in New Zealand.
Although some said it had been their dream to become a journalist, one of the main reasons cited for not choosing journalism as a career was because they did not see any Asians succeeding in that field in New Zealand.
Today, a person becomes a hero in New Zealand when he dons the black jersey.
Woe to those who grow up not excelling in rugby and worse may befall those totally without interest in the game played with an odd-shaped ball.
Having the first Asian All Black is still a dream away, so where can our young people find role models to look up to?
Looking through this year's New Year Honours, there were several Asian names on the list, including Dan Chan, Elsie Ho, Ngoy Dun Meng Ly, Narayana Nair and George Wong. They could be great role models for our children, but we know hardly anything about them.
Other than hints such as services to the Chinese community and services to the migrant community, we know little of the value of their work or how they made the honours list.
Some of those honoured had stories that were inspirational, such as that of Wayne Burton (Officer of the Order of Merit) who rescued two wounded soldiers in East Timor in the middle of fierce gunfire, even though he was caught unarmed.
How Burton had to deal with the aftermath of a machete attack, where a mother of two was killed hugging one of the children, would have made a great Hollywood movie script. But in typical unassuming Kiwi fashion, we don't like to blow our own trumpet and say little of the actions of our modern heroes.
This is sad, especially at a time when many of our young people, not just young Asians, are in dire need of heroes and role models.
Contrast that to how the brazen Americans do it. When they find a hero they make sure everyone knows. When construction worker Wesley Autrey rescued a teenager who fell on the subway tracks, he was given celebrity status.
He was in news reports, on major talkshows, honoured with a Bronze Medallion at New York's City Hall, and taken by limousine to meet Donald Trump who presented him with a cheque for $10,000. As well, companies got in on the act, showering him with gifts.
People told the media that Autrey's heroism made them proud to be Americans and some said it inspired them to do good things themselves.
In New Zealand, where drug abuse, violence and crime are a commonplace for our young, and with a growing number losing interest in their studies - and even losing hope and faith in themselves - there is a desperate need for heroes and role models.
Last year, the Child and Youth Mortality review committee said the suicide trend among those aged 10 to 14 was of extreme concern, with more than 10 per cent of all deaths in that age group from suicide.
When my friends and I asked the children and teenagers who were at the luncheon who their heroes were, all of them cited fictional characters who were either from computer games or Hollywood movies.
We need to do more to identify and highlight the work of our own Kiwi heroes to bring hope and inspire our disenfranchised young so that they can have real heroes to look up to - not Yu-Gi-Oh or Superman.
In a year when broadcasters are considering whether to screen another season of NZ Idol, perhaps there could be a reality series where people can nominate their Kiwi heroes and viewers vote on who becomes the winner of the real NZ Hero.
Our heroes need not be anything super. They don't have to be Sir Edmund Hillarys or Sir Peter Blakes, but ordinary New Zealanders who excel and take pride in what they do - actors, musicians, community workers - such as those on the New Year Honours list.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Damned Statistics

By Keith Ng - Listener December 2 2006

North & South writer Deborah Coddington’s claims of an Asian crime wave don’t stack up.
Here’s a disturbing fact,” wrote Deborah Coddington in her newspaper column, “in 2003 four of every five pregnant Asian women aborted their babies.” The implication was that we Asians, with our alien culture and inscrutable ways, have scant regard for human life, even that of our own offspring.
The week before that, she wrote in North & South that the “Asian menace has been steadily creeping up on us”, in the form of a “gathering crime tide” that Asians brought to these shores.
Coddington described herself as one who “dares point out that, contrary to what the PC brigade pretend, not every Asian is a good Asian”. Media commentator Deborah Hill Cone called her “courageous”.
I can appreciate the spirit with which Coddington is railing against supposedly uncritical reporting on Asian migrants. However, she is wrong to believe that she is under attack because Asians don’t like to be criticised or because the “PC brigade” won’t allow criticism of Asians.
For the record, it’s okay to investigate crime committed by Asians, it’s okay to investigate rates of abortions among Asian women. Asian New Zealanders face problems like everyone else, and we rely on journalists to bring these problems into the light so they can be addressed. No “PC brigade” will stand in the way of Coddington or any other journalist doing his or her job.
For her claim that four in five Asian pregnancies are terminated, she used data from a Statistics New Zealand report: “ … Asian women had the highest crude abortion ratio.” She left out the first half of that sentence: “Among women aged under 20 years … ”
Coddington took the abortion rate for pregnant teens – 824 abortions per 1000 known pregnancies – and wrongly presented it as the abortion rate of all Asian women. Applying her methodology, one would conclude that “in 2003 one out of two pregnant Pakeha women aborted their babies” – a patently absurd claim.
While Asian teens are more likely to seek an abortion when they become pregnant, they are less likely to get pregnant in the first place. When this is taken into account, their abortion rates are actually below the average for teenagers. In short, Coddington is presenting low teenage pregnancy figures as evidence that Asian women generally take a “casual approach” to contraception. Although abortion rates are higher among Asian women, Coddington’s misrepresentation grossly exaggerated the difference.
For her North & South article, Coddington looked wistfully at 2001, when Asians were 6.6% of the population but were only responsible for 1.7% of crime. Between 1996 and 2005, she is shocked to discover, Asian crime had risen by 53%. This was surely proof that the tide of Asian crime is gathering?
Fact 1: The number of offences attributed to Asians in 2001 was 3182. In 2005? 3182. Over that more recent period, the difference between the good old days and the latest figure is precisely zero.
Fact 2: Between 1996 and 2005, the proportion of Asians in New Zealand rose from 3.8% of the population to 9.3%. Asian representation in crime statistics rose much more slowly than the Asian population.
Asians went from being under-represented in crime statistics by a factor of 2 to 1 to being under-represented by a factor of 3.7 to 1. Roughly speaking, this means that an Asian New Zealander is about a quarter as likely as the average person to be a criminal.
This decrease in Asian representation in crime statistics is Coddington’s “gathering crime tide”.
Coddington interviewed senior politicians from both Labour and National. Both said they had not seen evidence that an Asian crime wave exists. Both were dismissed as “ignorant”. She contacted three prominent members of the Asian migrant communities. None of the interviews made it into the article.
Senior politicians, community members and police crime figures were in agreement – there is no Asian crime wave. Coddington refused to acknowledge the evidence. She omitted or glibly dismissed contrary voices. The figures show the very opposite of what she contended.
For pursuing a sensational claim at the expense of any regard for balance, fairness or accuracy, Deborah Coddington and North & South owe their readers and the Asian communities an unreserved apology.