Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages

Twenty-two new sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and one deleted during Committee meeting in Christchurch Friday, June 29, 2007

Brief Description
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, feature the Diaolou, multi-storied defensive village houses in Kaiping, Guangdong Province, which display a complex and flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms. They reflect the significant role of émigré Kaiping people in the development of several countries in South Asia, Australasia, and North America, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the close links between overseas Kaiping and their ancestral homes. The property inscribed here consists of four groups of Diaolou, totaling some 1,800 tower houses in their village settings. They reflect the culmination of almost five centuries of tower-house building and the still strong links between Kaiping and the Chinese Diaspora. These buildings take three forms: communal towers built by several families and used as temporary refuge, of which 473 remain; residential towers built by individual rich families and used as fortified residences, of which 1,149 survive; and watch towers, the latest development, which account for 221 of the buildings. Built of stone, pise (compressed earth), brick or concrete, these buildings represent a complex and confident fusion between Chinese and western architectural styles. Retaining a harmonious relationship with the surrounding agricultural landscape, the Diaolou testify to the final flowering of local building traditions that started in the Ming period in response to local banditry.

Chinese playgroup preserves language

FIONA GOODALL/East and Bays Courier
LESSON TIME: Teacher Lomi Lou explains the different animals to the children.

Learning your ABCs is a thing of the past for a group of Chinese preschoolers.
Ditching conventional educational methods, toddlers at the Shuang Xing playgroup in Mission Bay learn how to play, dance and speak, all in Mandarin.
The aim is to have full immersion by the time children reach primary school.
Founder Raewyn Ho says many children lose their language when living as a minority culture.
"It's difficult to get recent immigrants to come because they think their language is strong, so they put their children in primary school because they want them to speak English.
"But this is how they lose it," she says.
"When they get to my generation, they would be totally Kiwi. It's hard to retain it because the parents are Kiwi so it?s like a lost language and lost culture."
She says the group is a first for New Zealand and is an important way for immigrant and New Zealand Chinese children to reconnect and maintain links to their culture, strengthening their Chinese identity.
As a third generation Chinese New Zealander, Ms Ho was 21 before she learned to speak Mandarin after realising how pivotal language is to culture.
She is now a Mandarin specialist who trains teachers to teach Chinese.
Although the playgroup has only been running for a month, there are Taiwanese, Chinese and Malay teachers, and Ms Ho says they are trying to set it up as a kindergarten.
She sees the bilingual playgroup as a stepping stone to a full bilingual early childhood centre, which will merge both New Zealand Chinese and immigrant communities together.
From there, she hopes to establish an immersion primary school.
"We want to approach a primary school and see if they can introduce a bilingual class where everything is taught in Chinese.
"After a year, 20 percent would be taught in English and 80 percent in Chinese, then the next year it might be 30-70 percent, or they might speak Chinese on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and English on Tuesday and Thursday.
"That's how they get to speak both languages and become bilingual," she says.
She says it takes five to seven years of formal language to become fluent.
Jianlian Liang, an Auckland University language teacher, says children aged two to five years can accept two to five languages at a time and learn them well.
Children who are bilingual have better cognitive and intellectual ability, and have communication advantages.
The New Zealand government's draft curriculum has identified learning languages as a priority for promoting cross-cultural schools.
The playgroups, for children aged two and a half to five years, are at the Girl Guide Hall, Patteson Ave, on Mondays and Saturdays from 9am to 11.30am.
By JUSTINE GLUCINA - East And Bays Courier Friday, 29 June 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

4 Major Chinese Cooking Styles

the most popular dishes from four major regions in China.
Beijing. Beijing cuisine is also called "mandarin cuisine". Many of the foods in this region are wheat-based (as a opposed to rice-based). Beijing cuisine consists of a variety of dumplings, baked and steamed breads, various buns and noodles. Mandarin-style meals usually include vegetable dishes, soups, tofu (soybean curd), and fish. The food is mild in taste, is often slightly oily, and vinegar and garlic are common ingredients; food is frequently fried, stewed, or braised.
Cantonese. From Canton or "Guangdong" Province in the southeastern part of China (the same area as Hong Kong), Cantonese food is the mildest and most common kind of Chinese food in the United States and many other countries. Cantonese food tends to be more colorful, less spicy and is usually stir fried, which preserves both the texture and flavor.
Szechwan and Hunan. Food from the Szechwan (or "Four Rivers") basin is characteristic south-western Chinese food. Food throughout the western regions of China are liberal in their use of garlic, scallions, and chilly. Consequently, it's the spiciest region of Chinese food available and certainly very tasty. When prepared in a traditional manner, many of the dishes are very hot, although banquet dishes tend to be milder. Sichuan food is distinguished by its hot peppery taste, while food from neighboring Hunan province is richer and a bit more oily, and may be either spicy and hot or sweet and sour. Chicken, pork, river fish, and shellfish are all popular items.

Gam Lee - Obituary

Obituary: Gam Lee5:00AM Saturday June 23, 2007 By Arnold Pickmere Gam Lee worked tirelessly to repay what he felt was his debt to New Zealand. Photo / Brett PhibbsGam Lee, MBE. Doctor, community leader. Died aged 74.Gam Lee said on being made an MBE for services to medicine and the community that all he was doing was repaying his "debt" to NZ.But the 1995 award followed decades of hectic work both for medicine and the communities in which he lived. During his life he became accustomed to rushing from his medical surgery to local body or medical administration meetings and to fundraising committees.It was a work habit he started as a schoolboy, after his family had settled in Mangere Bridge, South Auckland. They had a 2ha market garden growing seasonal vegetables. Part of the land is now the site of the Chinese Community Centre that Dr Lee had a key role in building.Young Gam Lee's days while at Otahuhu College included helping his parents in the market garden before school and again when he came home, then finding time to do his homework.That was the way it was in those days, for the family were war refugees from the Japanese attacks on China in which millions died.As a young boy Dr Lee walked 100km with his mother and an uncle from their little village in the Xin Tang province in what is now Guangzhou (formerly Canton) to the safety of Hong Kong. He made it to NZ in 1940, his family coming on a temporary visa. The Japanese attacked Hong Kong in late 1941, only hours after their attack on Pearl Harbour.The family's visa included a ?00 bond (the male New Zealand average wage was then ? a week). And they entered on the understanding they would eventually return to China, although the policy was later changed and they stayed.Gam Lee went to Otago University and qualified as a doctor in 1959, the same year he became a naturalised New Zealander. His family describe his approach to life as "sheer determination". He was a psychiatric registrar in Otago for a time and helped his younger brother Peter through medical school.Dr Lee started a general practice in sparsely settled Waiheke Island in the early 1960s. In three years there he was involved in setting up a Lions Club and being a member of the Waiheke County Council. After that his practice moved first to Mangere and later to Pakuranga. Apart from orthodox general practice and obstetrics he also got involved in acupuncture, manipulation, chelation therapy and other treatments and gave time to their organisations. He spent two terms on the Manukau City Council and one on the Auckland Hospital Board.Apart from his numerous efforts in the Chinese community he was also a Rotarian for more than 20 years and helped establish the multicultural Harbourside Rotary Club.He believed it was important for Chinese people in New Zealand to be involved in the community. "New Zealand adopted me and gave me an excellent education," he said in 1995. "I owe this country so much that I will never be able to repay my debt."Dr Lee is survived by Hane, his wife of 50 years, two sons and a daughter.NZ Herald 23/6/07

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dragon Boat Day is 19 June 2007

And here's the sticky Rice Zongzi -

Monday, June 18, 2007

Novel provokes outcry

:00AM Sunday June 10, 2007 By Portia Mao
After reading the book, Wei Li checked out her son's haunts. A novel portraying Chinese students in New Zealand as drug dealers, black marketeers, gamblers and prostitutes has upset foreign students and worried their parents in China.
Around 100,000 copies of Christmas in Summer - Chinese Students in New Zealand are being printed in China, after an initial print run sold out. Written by former Manukau Institute of Technology and Auckland University students Mengmeng Xi and Ning Gu, it tells the story of Chinese attending both tertiary institutions. The main characters skip school, sell DVDs and paua illegally, take and deal in drugs, and frequent Auckland's casino and local brothels.
Money worries force one female character into prostitution. Another lives in an $800,000 Mission Bay house bought with her parents' money while her no-hoper boyfriend gambles with money he steals from her.
Most Auckland Chinese students say the novel completely misrepresents them, while others say there are grains of truth to it.
And it's caused so much concern among their parents that at least one mother spoken to by the Herald on Sunday has checked out her son's living environment in Auckland.
Now working back in China, author Mengmeng Xi has defended her work and insisted it's based on real people and situations.
"I was one of the Chinese students in Auckland, why should I demonise Chinese students?... The book actually shows how young people grow up through mistakes.
"I just want to show something true and make readers think why all these things happen."
A few Chinese students say the book does bear some resemblance to reality. Massey University student Guoling Xu told the Chinese Herald the book was based on truth, but that "the authors hurt many innocent Chinese students' feelings by generalising their situation".
Stella Jing, a former student of Auckland University's Business School, from which the two authors graduated, said she was worried Christmas in Summer would mislead Chinese readers.
"It displays the life of 1 per cent of Chinese students. Writing such a book... is not responsible behaviour."
Auckland University of Technology student Rebecca Mu said she had studied in New Zealand for more than five years but had never met anybody like the characters in the novel.
She said with English as a second language, and often having to work part-time to support themselves, Chinese students usually worked harder than the locals. "How could real students have time for other things?"
Wei Li came to New Zealand in May for her son's graduation ceremony. She had read Christmas in Summer and was worried enough to make her son and his friends take her to one of the pubs mentioned in the story.
She was satisfied the place wasn't "a place where dirty things happened or dirty deals were made". However, she said other Chinese parents could easily believe what was written, particularly because the authors were former students in New Zealand. She had at least 10 friends whose children had studied here.
"I am so worried because I am afraid many Chinese parents wouldn't want to send their children to New Zealand after reading the book."
Robert Stevens, chief executive of Education New Zealand which markets New Zealand as a destination for foreign students, said he was aware of the novel.
"From what I've heard about this book, it is not consistent with the recently completed research... undertaken by the University of Waikato," he said. "I can understand why it upset many hardworking Chinese students, as it is unfair and inaccurate. It is a shame."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lonely Planet author missing in China

By DAVID BRAITHWAITE - SMH Tuesday, 5 June 2007

A search has been launched for an Australian travel writer missing for more than a month in a mountainous region of China.
Clem Lindenmayer, a 47-year-old man from Victoria, who has written for the travel guidebook company Lonely Planet, disappeared while hiking near Minya Konka mountain, also known as Gongga Shan.
A contributor to Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum, who was described as a family member, said Mr Lindenmayer was believed missing in the area of Kangding, a city in the Sichuan province in south-west China.
"Clem is a 47-year-old, very fit Australian male with a ready smile," the post by 'Heather' said.
"He is well built, approximately 183cm (6 feet) tall with grey/brown hair, blue eyes, and a short greying beard. He speaks Mandarin, German, Spanish and English.
"Clem is a seasoned traveller with many years trekking experience.
"His last email was sent from Kangding and his intention at that stage was to do a six-day circuit around Mount Gongga.
"If he completed this circuit we would have expected him to be back in contact on or about 10 May, which is now three weeks ago."
A Lonely Planet spokeswoman said Mr Lindenmayer was not on assignment when he went missing, however its staff were aware of the situation and were in touch with his family.
She said he had written for the travel publisher for more than a decade and his last book for the company was Lonely Planet 'Trekking in the Patagonian Andes', published in 2003.
He had also written Lonely Planet 'Walking in Switzerland' and contributed to various country guides.
Sydney resident Michael Woodhead, who is a frequent visitor to the Minya Konka area, said an experienced hiker like Mr Lindenmayer should have had no trouble with the terrain.
He said exposure and altitude sickness could pose problems for people trekking in the sparsely populated region, but a more pressing danger was posed by roaming gangs of bandits.
"There is a danger from roaming bands of guys - it happens very rarely, but you do hear stories of people who disappear," Mr Woodhead said.
"[The local people] all carry guns and knives, it's a tradition in the area - I've been robbed there myself once by a bunch of guys with daggers, and a lot carry rifles.
"When you speak to people in the area they say, 'Don't travel by yourself, there's lots of bad guys around'.
"If you're on the roads things are quite safe, but off the beaten track there's no police - it's a very remote area and you might walk two or three days and not see another person."
However, the editor-in-chief of Hong Kong-based Action Asia magazine, Steve White, said the area's unstable terrain was more likely to be a factor in Mr Lindenmayer's disappearance.
He said the remote region had a lot of unclimbed peaks and did not have the safeguards of more established climbing areas.
"It's a cutting edge destination for adventurers in China.
"It's an amazing-looking peak and people go to climb in the area because they are put off by the circus revolving around places like Mount Everest," he said.
"The world's best mountaineers are heading to these new areas."
Two well-known American climbers, Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff,were reported missing after attempting to climb a nearby mountain late last year. The body of Mr Fowler was found in December.
The Sichuan Mountaineering Association's Gao Min told Xinhua that a search had been launched for Mr Lindenmayer and that his family were travelling to the area.
A notice was also published last Friday to alert locals to Mr Lindenmayer's disappearance, Mr Gao said.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed the family of an Australian man travelling in southern China were trying to locate him.
Mr Lindenmayer's family had been offered consular assistance to assist with their search, he said.
A mountaineering expedition website says the 7556 metre-high Minya Konka is the highest peak in eastern Tibet.
The "beautiful" mountain was "rugged and rarely visited", the website said.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jack Chong's New Look Cook Book

Chinese Laundries: Tickets To Survival On Gold Mountain

The New Book That is Out - By John Jung

To Order: for anyone interested is to do it online:

A social history of the role of the Chinese laundry on the survival of early Chinese immigrants in the U.S.during the Chinese Exclusion law period, 1882-1943, and in Canada during the years of the Head Tax, 1885-1923, and exclusion law, 1923-1947. Why and how Chinese got into the laundry business and how they had to fight discriminatory laws and competition from white-owned laundries to survive. Description of their lives, work demands, and living conditions. Reflections by a sample of children who grew up living in the backs of their laundries provide vivid first-person glimpses of the difficult lives of Chinese laundrymen and their families.

Some Praise For "CHINESE LAUNDRIES" …important window into the history of the early Chinese immigrants. . . The laundrymen faced struggles, challenges, and even disappointments; yet, the Chinese laundry became a valued and necessary enterprise … Sylvia Sun Minnick, SamFow: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy and Stockton's Chinese Community … a significant contribution to the history of Chinese laundries … best told by someone like Jung who experienced a ‘laundry life,’ and understands its psychological impact on the Chinese laundrymen and their families. . . Murray K. Lee, Curator of Chinese American History, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum … rewarding study of an era marked by invention born of dire necessity, an unforgiving host society that demanded Chinese laundrymen’s services but then punished them for being too good at it, … a long overdue analysis of a familiar experience hidden in plain sight. Mel Brown, Chinese Heart of Texas, The San Antonio Chinese Community, 1875-1975. From the Foreword: What is remarkable is the combination of this historical perspective with his social psychological descriptions and analyses of laundrymen and their descendants. The personal life stories, with their inner thought, feeling, values, attitudes, work experiences and survival hardships, are skillfully presented with penetrating insights and observations. These perspectives present an overall picture of the history and the life and work of the laundrymen. Ban Seng Hoe, Curator of Asian Studies, Canadian Museum of Civilization

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Jack Chong's New Look Cook Book

Seen on Trade Me -

exciting new ways to cook chinese and kiwi food.. good condition. contents include:super stock and soups, rice boiled and fried, noodles, sweet and sore dishes, crispy veg, tasty fry, roast chicken and soy chicken, stir fried dishes, beef stews curry casseroles, etc

Going Bananas