Thursday, May 24, 2007
Spokeswoman for ACC
Spokewoman for Ethnic Affairs
Associate Spokeswoman for Education (International Education)
Associate Spokeswoman for Immigration
On the strength of my '99 results I qualified to represent New Zealand at the Oceania Games in Sydney. I came 9th in an international field that was run on the Olympic course. Soon after the Oceania Games I started road cycling to build strength and endurance and began competing in road races. This laid the foundation for my third placing in the 2001 New Zealand mountain biking series.
From there I embarked on my first international campaign racing on road and off road in the US, culminating in a respectable 43rd place at the MTB World Championships in Vail. My goal was to join the Commonwealth Games team in Manchester in July 2002.
Back in New Zealand I had an outstanding season to become the NZ Champion. However this was not enough to make the Games and though disappointed at missing selection I set my new goal to qualify for the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Again I headed overseas in 2003 and 2004 to increase my world ranking and gain invaluable international experience. I had a fantastic result in the debut World Marathon Championships in 2003 finishing 14th.
2004 was all about qualifying for the Olympics and I had my best season to date. In a very competitive World Cup field I placed 29th, which qualified me for the Games. Then I got my first podium result in Europe with a 3rd place in the Grachen Swiss Cup. As part of my build up to the Games I joined the NZ road team for two tours which fuelled my passion for road racing. Then it was my cycling career highlight - competing at the Olympic Games in Athens. http://www.robynwong.com/journal.htm
PLASTIC MAN: Canterbury property investor Graeme Wong is branching out into the palstics industry.
Entrepreneur Graeme Wong is diversifying from property projects into what he hopes will become a building block of the future – plastic pallets.
He has a couple of South Island subdivision projects on the boil but is focusing his energy on Icepallet – a company started in Australia by Kiwi industrial chemist Brett Boag.
The light plastic pallets were more easily stacked in space-saving form when used in ships' holds, Wong said as new chairman of the company.
However, they were "three times the price" of the wooden pallets that were produced in bulk by industrial giants such Brambles.
The plastic pallets – with a life expectancy of at least five years – were not only durable, but were less likely to be contaminated by insects or chemical residue, and their embedded tags could easily be tracked, Wong said.
He and other directors, including Mark Ching, were looking to take Icepallet from startup to the next level. The first commercial order had been shipped from China, but it was too early to release financial targets, Wong said.
"We're in the process of putting together the capital structure. A little while ago the guys asked me if I wanted to come on board as a director and I said I would if there's an opportunity to invest."
Wong, a former Brierley Investments Ltd executive has been involved in such projects as the Pegasus Bay township, 20km north of Christchurch and has a stake in an Omaha Beach subdivision de- velopment, north of Auckland.
The holding company for those projects, Southern Capital, is in the process of being wound up.
After being listed as Hirequip, the hire assets were sold to Pacific Equipment Solutions Finance, a Japanese private equity group.
Stuart McKinlay and Trevor Scott – two Hirequip directors – banded together to buy Southern Capital's legacy assets, including some remaining property.
Given that the sale prices had been agreed, Wong said he had worked out the profit of a shareholder who had bought into Southern Capital at its formation in December 1997.
If a shareholder had invested $100 in the initial offering of Southern Capital, they would have received an annualised compound return on investment of 36 per cent per annum before tax, he said.
Wong is working on two land developments in Queenstown and Wanaka – each between 12 and 20 lots worth between $1m and $2.5m.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
NIKKI MACDONALD/Dominion Post
Zhaoxing is quickly making its mark on the tourist trail and it won't be long before it's inundated by visitors. By Nikki Macdonald.
The streets of Zhaoxing are paved with rice. Every tiny piece of flat ground in the storybook wooden village is lined with scruffy canvas mats spread with the new harvest drying in the sun.
On the other side of the road women in hand-dyed indigo traditional dress with legs and backs bowed by hard labour shuffle past a shop selling the latest cellphones.
This is the new China – a land of contradictions and growing chasms between the peasant life of the rural masses and the burgeoning middle class.
Zhaoxing is heartland, a subsistence village in southern Guizhou province, reliant on the endless staircases of paddy fields. It's three days to the nearest airport; three days on local buses lurching along unpaved roads in the brain-crunching heat. Three days sitting in the aisles on plastic kiddies' tea-party stools wedged between ducks and chickens on their way to or from market.
Pacing the flawless boutique-lined boulevards of Shanghai, flanked by trendy teens with feathered and blonded hair, and cellphone charms, it's easy to forget that only a fraction of China's 1.3 billion population are reaping the benefits of the country's incredible economic boom.
It is hard to imagine that this is what Karl Marx pictured when espousing the virtues of communism – the rich flourish as half the country's gross domestic product comes from private companies, while the poor still have to pay for their education and healthcare.
Zhaoxing at least has the drawcard of tourism. Populated by the colourful Dong ethnic minority, with swaths of egg-white-coated indigo cloth drying in droopy M shapes from balconies and buck-toothed old women yakking by the canals, the pedestrian village has a charm that transcends its relative poverty.
The trappings of tourist cash are already beginning to show – cafes with an English menu selling pizzas and banana smoothies, satellite dishes, guest houses under construction, an assortment of ethnic wares for sale in dingy shops.
A strangely familiar tune blares out from the barber's shop TV – "A, B, C, D . . .". An enterprising mother has bought a Learn your ABCs DVD for her young son, in a bid to get him learning English early. Too bad he's more interested in his super robot swap cards.
Fittingly, Zhaoxing means "beginning to prosper".
In 20 years, when the road has been upgraded, Zhaoxing will be awash with foreign and Chinese tourists, like countless other small towns and villages that have already captured travellers' imaginations.
But for now its residents are mostly still more interested in going about their daily lives than paying much attention to their curious guests.
Lulu's Place takes a very relaxed attitude to business – trying to find someone to take your money requires commitment and though the guesthouse has a menu including dubious delights such as cow bile and pork with fresh blood, there is no kitchen or chef to be seen.
Zhaoxing is one of those places where you can fritter away hours wandering, watching, absorbing the rustic scenes. Shrunken old men with drawn faces but beady eyes sit cross- legged in the shade of covered bridges, playing some kind of variant on chess.
Children practise their version of the Kiwi schoolyard favourite of elastics, cartwheeling over a raised rope.
Men and women, young and old, scale the surrounding hills to the rice paddies. Stalks are scythed, their heads thrust into treadle-powered barrel threshers to separate the edible grains. The crop is packed into great sacks and wobbled back down to town, one sack hung over either end of a pole, slung across the back of the neck.
Left on the field are browning bundles of stalks, standing like scarecrow sentries at a community meeting.
Back in town celebrations are afoot. A wedding perhaps? From the lantern-lit second-floor restaurant balcony, furnished with a cold beer, we watch as an explosion of firecrackers breaks the peace. What looks like an entire roll of double happies is lit and unravelled along the street, scattering sparks and waxy red paper and carrying its reverberating cackle to the door of the celebrations.
Small children follow hopefully in its wake, snatching at unexploded fragments, which they rebelliously light and toss into the river at the first sight of flames.
Zhaoxing is quickly making its mark on the tourist trail but nearby villages are not so fortunate. Caught out late afternoon with no bus connection, we stay in a town where tourists are rare and men stop to gawp at the white intruders. There is only one guesthouse of a standard that allows it to take foreigners, and that is modest. Poverty prevails and the marketplace is strewn with filth and flies.
It's a sight unremarkable in travelling terms but for the flashy opulence that seems to be increasingly synonymous with China's international image.
We share the pre-dawn bus out with a gaggle of men commuting to work – probably a factory in Liping about two hours away. This is the reality of life in the provinces – back-breaking labour in the fields or a four-hour daily commute.
Perhaps the most startling development is that their own countrymen are increasingly joining, if not supplanting, the stream of international tourists. With a middle class of more than 100 million and growing, many now use their brief holidays to sign on to a package tour to a scenic or rustic provincial destination.
And at home, in the cities with their lustrous sheen of new money, Lamborghini showrooms jockey for place with Louis Vuitton (the genuine article, that is).
Pet trainers, shoe designers and real estate brokers were among the list of new professions in 2006 and pets have become the latest accessory, paraded on seaside boulevards and through pedestrian precincts.
There can be little doubt that China is on the up. Or that it is a stunning, diverse and fascinating destination.
And who would deny the simple folk of Zhaoxing the chance to earn a healthy living without turning hunchback at middle age?
But for those seeking a slice of old time unspoilt by the endless drone of tour guide megaphones, the time to go is now.
Nikki Macdonald travelled courtesy of Cathay Pacific, Adventure World and Travel Indochina.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Beijing is clearing neighbourhoods to fulfil its Olympic dream. Photo / Reuters
BEIJING: Threatened with eviction but desperate not to leave, the residents of a derelict corner of China's capital cling to their crumbling homes like haggard castaways on a surging tide.
By day, the heart of the Guandong Dian neighbourhood teems with poor migrant workers buying cheap food and slurping hand-pulled noodles at stalls.
By night, prostitutes whisper at passers-by from doorways.
Its reeking alleyways and grey-brick huts lie in the shadows of luxury apartments and shimmering office blocks at the fringe of Beijing's brand new central business district.
But not for long. "By the end of this year, all of this will be gone," said snack vendor Wang Jinglong.
"People like me who rent and own stalls will have to find another place."
Guandong Dian, soon to be cleared to make way for an office block and a wider road, is one of dozens of crumbling shanty-towns pockmarking Beijing that have been earmarked for demolition before the Olympic Games in 2008.
Branding them "illegal urban villages", town planners demolished 55 of them in 2006 and started clearing another 25 as part of the city's "beautification" work.
Authorities are spending US$40 billion ($54.9 billion) to upgrade Beijing's creaky public transport system, build event venues and shift heavy industrial polluters far from city limits in line with a pledge to the International Olympic Committee to unclog congested roads and reduce air pollution for the games.
In a city of glittering skyscrapers, the shanty towns are inconvenient reminders of grinding poverty in China's heartland.
"There are at least 1000 of us here," said Wang, who once farmed a small plot in his home province of Henan, but now ekes out a living selling slices of "thousand-layer cake" from a hand-wheeled cart in Xiangjun Nanli. "Most of us are from outside of Beijing, from all over the country."
Wang is one of about four million migrant workers who live in Beijing but are not counted in its official population of 15 million.
Tens of thousands more arrive every year to wait at tables, work on construction sites or in the homes of the nouveau riche.
The dire poverty in China's heartland has created a drama played between Government officials determined to rid the city of its urban underclass and migrant workers equally determined not to leave.
For the poor people of Guandong Dian, the drama involves an obstacle course to basic rights including housing and health care.
Every day after waking up in an unheated room with a leaky roof, Wang wheels his cart past foul-smelling drains that quickly overflow when it rains.
Wang makes about 800 yuan ($137) a month from selling snacks. He can't afford to see a doctor if he gets sick and doesn't receive health care subsidies. He also hasn't seen his five-year-old daughter, whom he left in Henan with his mother, in over a year.
"Sure, it's tough here but I can make more than twice as much as I can at home," Wang said, adding he does not know where he will go. "But I won't be leaving the city."
Lei Guiying, a Chinese woman who testified that she was forced to work in a brothel run by Japan's Imperial Army during World War II, has died at age 79.
Her death marks the passing of one of the few remaining known victims of sexual slavery during Japan's brutal invasion and occupation of much of China, Xinhua News Agency said.
Lei had said she was 13 when she was abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers, who four years earlier had sacked her hometown of Nanjing in the war's worst single atrocity.
She escaped after two years, but was unable to have children and remained silent about her experience for more than six decades.
Researchers say about 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, were forced to serve Japanese troops as prostitutes in army brothels during World War II.
In 1993 Japan's government issued an apology for running the brothels and two years later established a private fund to support the former slaves without conceding official responsibility.
Like most of the former slaves, Lei said she would reject any payment that did not include an official admission of guilt
Saturday, May 05, 2007
To the ancestors whose names still ring loud and clear over these mountain ranges from Kaimanawa to Tararua, Rest in the name of the lord not forgotten. Salutation to our sacred mountains, our rivers, and Mother Earth.
Pakeha history in the mid Rangitikei dates from 1839 when the first missionaries entered the area. The Rangitikei Block was purchased in 1849 for the Provincial Government, though a farming community was established only at the turn of the century.
There is reference in Robertson’s (1995:25) centennial history of Taihape to unemployment problems in the area as early as the 1890s.
‘Townships’ such as Mataroa, Ohingaiti and Mangaweka were once centres of activity, because of poor roads, and horse-drawn transport, sawmilling, building of the railway line and farming. In 1911 Mangaweka had a population of 600. There were once two grocers, two clothing shops, a tailor, a stationery shop, 2 garages, a Chinese fruit shop and many more shops and businesses. Today it has a population bordering on 200 and four shops or businesses: an adventure garage, a pub, an electrician and a secondhand furniture shop. Hunterville Primary had over 400 children attending in the early 1950s.
In 1960 the Railways Department was the biggest employer of boys and men in Taihape. For boys it was often work on the railways, or roads. One woman suggested that a choice of career for girls growing up in the area meant either "the telephone exchange or the post office". In rural areas farming was the favoured way of life; boys followed their dads onto the farm. Sport was crucial important, then and now. Football "was never played in Pohunui as we never had a piece of level ground large enough".
Fruit World managing director Ronald Chan in his Ponsonby, Auckland, fruit shop. Picture / Kenny Rodger
Fruit World managing director Ronald Chan in his Ponsonby, Auckland, fruit shop.
The annual Roger Davies Trophy for services to horticulture has been awarded to a greengrocer who started selling fruit and vegetables to Aucklanders more than 50 years ago. Ronald Chan started work in his father's Auckland fruit and vegetable shop aged 13 after immigrating to New Zealand with his family in 1949 - 56 years later his Fruit World franchise has 19 stores and growing. Most people would call it a day after 56 years but at nearly 70, Chan still gets up in the dark six days a week to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables he can find at market - and looking 20 years younger than he should - he doesn't plan on retiring. "It's my hobby, my life, my dream forever," he said. "This industry is mine, it's me." The trophy was established by horticulture produce distributor Turners and Growers to commemorate the contribution of the late Roger Davies to the industry. Davies was president of the Kerikeri Fruitgrowers Association and was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to horticulture. Nominations are open to anyone involved in the manufacture, supply or sale of horticulture produce, with winners decided by the Turners and Growers board of directors. The winner must show leadership, enthusiasm, determination and innovation in achieving a project or development beneficial to the industry. In 1973 Chan and two partners won the contract to run the fruit and vegetable section of 3Guys retail chain. Their constant appearance at meetings with founder Albert Gubay left Chan pondering whether they were in fact the inspiration for the store's name. A break from greengrocery in 1986 took Chan to Hong Kong to try his hand at the jewellery business. But the grocery trade was in his blood and he was soon back in New Zealand looking to challenge the supermarkets with the co-founding of Vegie World in 1991. In 2001 he founded Fruit World before quickly expanding it to 19 stores around Auckland and Hamilton. An earlier meeting with Foodtown founder Tom Ah Chee inspired him to find a way to compete. "He said to me in 1970, by 1980 there will be no more fruit shops," he said. "But I am so happy the fruit shop still survives [and] we still make a good living out of it." Rather than hide from the supermarkets, Chan targets locations beside them, encouraging the shopper to walk just a little further to buy their fruit and vegetables. "We have to be better before [customers] come to us," he said. "We've got to be better, cheaper and fresher." A motivation to succeed still gets him to the market as early as 3am six days a week to buy the best quality at the best price. Chan demands a seven-days-a-week commitment from anyone wanting to own a Fruit World franchise. "If you don't love what you do, don't be in the game. You won't be successful." Although he lives and breathes the fruit and vegetable trade Chan does have another passion - performing Chinese opera. Not surprisingly his favourite role is as the emperor. The Winner * What: The Roger Davies Trophy. * Who : 2005 Winner, Ronald Chan, managing director Fruit World. * Why: For his contribution to the fruit and vegetable
KC opened shop in 1949 and wife Eileen joined him in 1953 and they have not missed a day since. KC arrived in New Zealand from China as a youngster in 1939, just after the outbreak of WWII.
He was one of the last immigrants from China to pay the notorious "poll" imposed to stem the flow of migrants.
The current site of KC Loo's fruit shop is in the prime retailing location in the Village. Its unique design marries well with the older style of the Village and adds to the Bohemian flavour of Mt Eden.
Just before school started for the term, Jin arrived from China. His mum and dad bought the fruit and vegetable shop.They moved into the flat behind.
At the same time, Barry arrived from the South Island.His mum and dad bought the bakery.They moved in upstairs.
Jin helped his mum and dad put out the fruit and vegetables.
Barry helped his mum and dad put out the cakes and pies.
The two shops opened on the same Saturday.
Barry and Jin started school together on Monday.The school was close to the shops.
“Good morning, Room 2. We have two new pupils today.Barry has just moved up from Dunedin and Jin comes from Canton.”
Barry and Jin didn’t look at anyone.They both felt shy.
When the lunch bell rang, Mrs Hurinui smiled at Barry and Jin.“Since you both live close by you are allowed to go home for lunch. Don’t forget to come back before the bell rings at 1.00 though.”
The two boys nodded and walked out to the road.
“Hello,” said Barry. “I’m Barry.”
“Hello,” said Jin, copying what Barry said.“I’m Jin.”
“Jim,” said Barry. “So you’re new too.”
Pretty soon, everyone was calling Jin “Jim”.
“Do like being called ‘Jim’?” Jin’s mum asked.
Jin nodded yes. He liked Barry.
“Okay,” his mum and dad said. “We’ll call you ‘Jim” too. That can be your New Zealand name.
“Could Barry come home for lunch with me one day?” asked Jim.
Jim’s mum looked at Jim’s dad.Jim’s dad looked at Jim’s mum.They were pleased that Jim had a friend.They both nodded.“You can invite him to come next week. We’ll talk to his parents.”
So on Monday, Barry didn’t go home to the bakery for lunch.He went home with Jim instead.
Behind the fruit and the vegetables and the cash register there was a bead curtain. Behind the bead curtain there was a world Barry had never seen before.
There were blue cups and Chinese newspapers.There were soy sauce and chop sticks.There were bags of rice and two ducks sitting in a cage.
Barry had never had chai chow fan before.He’d never eaten with chop sticks.Jim showed him how.Barry loved the taste of the fried rice Jim’s mum had made.He held his bowl the same way Jim and his mum did.It was easy.
The next day, Jim went to the bakery for lunch.“Pick what you want,” said Barry’s dad. “Barry’s mum is making cocoa upstairs.Jim picked out the same things Barry did.Then they took their hot pies and cream buns upstairs.
Barry’s mum smiled and put three mugs of cocoa on the table.“I’ve got to look after the shop,” she said. “I’ll be back in a bit. Will you two be okay?”
Barry put tomato sauce on his mince pie.So did Jim.Barry took a bite.So did Jim.
The mince pie was the strangest thingJim had ever tasted.He liked it. He took another bite.
Barry showed Jim how to take one bite of mince pie, one bite of cream bun, and a sip of cocoa and then swallow.
“That’s disgusting!” laughed Barry’s dad when he came up with his lunch. “Don’t let Mum catch you!”Then he did exactly the same.
Jim thought it tasted wonderful.
After that, Barry and Jim took turns having lunch at each other’s shops.Behind the fruit and vegetable shop Barry grew to love Chinese food, though he was a bit sad about the ducks.
And Jim fell in love with hot pies with tomato sauce and cream buns and apple turnovers.He especially liked potato top.
Slowly, Jim learned the names of things in English.
Barry learned how to say some things in Cantonese, which was the kind of Chinese that Jim spoke.
And they never stopped being best friends.
This story is dedicated to Jim Lai (28 May 1949 - 10 December 2004).
With thanks to Barry and Jim’s family, whose story this really is. Thank you all for giving me permission to tell it.
There are now as many people in New Zealand of Asian ancestry as people of Pacific Islands descent. People of Chinese descent form the largest group.
© Don Long
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Company director; President, Yiu Ming Society; Chairman, Tiy Loy & Co
I was born in Hong Kong in 1938 and then taken back to China when I was three months old. My mother had given birth to ten children, but only three had survived and it was safer to deliver a child in Hong Kong. I was the only son. My grandfather was a judge in mainland China and had seven daughters and five sons. He owned about 18 acres and 15 houses and had two male servants and two female servants. The family fortunes declined when the daughters were married off, as each of them needed dowry. My father had been sent to work in Australia in 1908 although he went back to China once or twice a year.
My village is known as Datangbian/Taitongbian, in Gaoyao/Gouyiu county. Our village had a temple known as Song Jian/Song Gan, similar to the Yiu Ming temple. There were many village celebrations; we would parade the temple figures during the Mid-autumn festival on 15 August. The lion dance was common in the countryside also. Weddings were celebrated at Song Gan, and funerals were held there as well. The bodies were left there one or two days, covered by a piece of cloth, for blessing and protection by Guanyin/Gunyom [Bodhisattva or Goddess of Mercy] and then they were dressed for the nether world before they were put into coffins. Prayers were also held at Song Gan before going abroad. In 1950 when the Communists came, they demolished the temple, and also burned the figures and all scriptures. This happened at every village, not only my village. It became unsafe to leave me at home as I was the only son from a big landlord family so l was brought out by my father to Australia. My mother had a very bad time. She stayed in China and was beaten with stones and spat on. I eventually brought her and my sister out in 1957.
The Chong family, however, has exercised real influence over Australia's eating habits since 1945 when Elizabeth's father, William Wing Young, began the restaurant Wing Lee's, and produced the first dim sim.
"My father was the first to create the style and shape and the commercial production of the dim sim," says Elizabeth.
"He chose the thick skin for ease of transport; he used to deliver them in his Chevy to the football where he set up in competition with the Four-and-Twenty pie. Before long, his factory was producing thousands of them for sale throughout Australia."
Elizabeth recalls living in Franklin Street opposite Victoria Market and beside the dim sim factory. Her father was also a wholesale fruiterer, one of the largest in the market, and was known, according to Elizabeth, both as the Chicken Roll King and the Peanut King.
"Food and cooks were always a part of my life," says Elizabeth. "I stopped briefly to have four children, but found I needed to express myself out of the home scene. I started giving talks to the parents of children in my son's class, and they asked me to give them cooking lessons. So the cooking school began in 1961." Elizabeth demonstrates - this is good for the eye-sight and that for prosperity - Chinese tradtion explains every ingredient.
In 1882 George Carter Stent was assigned to Takow by the Chinese Maritime Customs. By the end of 1884 he was dead and buried in the Takow Foreign Cemetery. Despite his modest beginnings, Stent built a successful career in China, became a Freemason, and made solid literary achievements with several books and dictionaries. Perhaps, above all, George Carter Stent offers a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle of an Englishman in China and the East in the latter part of the 19th century
The Chinese-Australian Historical Images in Australia (CHIA) database is a catalogue of historical images of Chinese, Chinese immigrants and their descendants held in Australia. It primarily draws on the photographic holdings of the Chinese Museum but also includes photographs from other online archives, publications and private family collections. Built into the database is the beginnings of an encyclopaedia of Chinese-Australian history, complete with bibliography, which provides contextual information about the images in the database.