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C H I N E S E C U LT U R A L G RO U P, M E RTO N Summer 2011


The Group has completed a busy year in the eight months since our inaugural meeting. We have 37 paid-up members but the average attendance at our meetings has currently dropped to about 11 to 14. I would thank the hard core of members who attend so regularly. But we would like to hear the ideas of members as to how this decline could be reversed, and also about what contributions they may be able to make to any of the activities mentioned below.

Chinese proverbs

For the regular meetings the basic format has continued. The taichi appears to be the most popular of the different activities and we are grateful to Maggie Woo, Alex Roney and Lee Monczakowski for taking turns in leading the exercises. Maggie‟s recent trial of DVDs that can be followed seems to be the way forward. Thanks also to Maggie for her hard work on traditional festival celebrations and the New Year dinner. The Confucius Restaurant has also been generous.

If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.

The newsletter produced by Lee Monczakowski is a vital communication tool that is also useful in public relations promotion. I thank her most sincerely for her hard work on this very attractive production and I would urge members to come forward with any contributions that they can provide.

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.

We have worked on PR promotion in various directions. The London South West Chinese Community Association, a large and active body meeting in the Acasia Intergenerational Centre, Eastfields, with its Chairman Patrick Lauson, has promoted a friendly social collaboration with us which has been mutually beneficial. I hope to develop a similar contact with an active group in Kingston, and to have our name included on local activity websites. For the past two years we have sponsored talks in the Wimbledon Bookfest which have been very successful and have produced a few new members. This October we hope to sponsor a showing of the new type of Chinese documentary films, with an introduction by Prof Chris Berry who is perhaps the leading UK expert on Chinese cinema, but the Bookfest arrangements for this remain to be confirmed.

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions.

Inside this issue: Antiques Road Show


Christmas Party


The 18 Tai Chi Shibashi


Spring Rolls demonstration


The Mid Autumn Festival


The World’s Longest Sea Bridge


2 Great Chinese Writers


Programme Jul to Dec 11


A Poem by Bao Zhao


Finally, the Committee. Sadly, other commitments have forced Gregory and Soot Yee Liaw to leave us but we hope to have them back one day. We are very glad that Lee Monczakowski has been able to rejoin. The Guild has been supportive as always and Helen Marti who had to resign some time ago still works there part-time and has been very helpful. I-Chen Tsai has worked hard but has had to be away recently. We are badly in need of an assistant secretary since at the moment much of that work is falling on other committee members. But fortunately for me, my colleagues‟ attitude is gong he (pronounced “goong her”, work together) a slogan which, although it was devised by the Communist Party, in my view reflects an ancient cultural characteristic. So feichang ganxie, heartfelt thanks, to each of them. By EUGENE BYRNE

The Beijing Opera Costumes Exhibition On 11th July, five of us visited the Museum of Asian Music at Acton to see the exhibition. The journey from Wimbledon included one easy train change and walking through beautiful Acton Park. It was a glorious, warm day. We found the museum after getting lost twice. The museum is little known but modern and well equipped. There are no guides, but the displays are well illustrated. They feature all of the six components of the Chinese opera wardrobe: long garments, separates, armour, head-dress, footwear and accessories. The garments are brought (continued page 3)


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Antiques Road Show (Tuesday, 1st November 2011) We have dubbed this session after the popular BBC TV programme of the same title, putting a slant on what you might expect to find. Many of our members are owners of Chinese curios, artefacts, and even antiques which they have collected along the way, and would be very proud to share their aesthetics with fellow members.

Christmas Party Tuesday, 20th December 2011 Believe it or not, we are already planning for Christmas! Those of you who came to the Christmas party for the last two years participated in singing carols and other songs in Mandarin Chinese. This year, you will be accompanied by 4 recorders, a guitar, and a mandolin. The recorder players have enlisted the help of two virtuoso string players who will make their guest appearance for the first time at Wimbledon Guild House.

Chinese snacks and China tea will be served during the afternoon. It promises to be an enjoyable experience. By Maggie Woo

We aim to give you a good selection of carols, and tra ditional a nd modern international pieces for your delight. With Christmas cakes, mince pies and much more being the order of the day, do not forget to keep the date in your diary to come and take part in the festivities. Friends are very welcome, but please let us known numbers for catering and seating purposes. By Maggie Woo

The 18 Tai Chi Qigong Sequence

How about a Spring Rolls demonstration?

Please come and join in the fun by bringing along your own pieces of pride and joy. There will not be anyone qualified to evaluate them, but we could learn from each other.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Opening v Raising the arms Opening the Chest Dancing with Rainbow Gathering Qi & Separating the Clouds Changing Palms & Rolling Arms Rowing The Boat Lifting the Ball Carrying the Moon Pushing Palms Playing with Clouds Scooping the Sea & Searching the Sky Pushing the Waves Spreading your Wings Punching Flying like a Goose Turning the Wheel / Spinning Wheels Bouncing a Ball Balancing the Qi + Final Closing

The members who weren't able to attend the meeting on 5th July missed a real treat when Rosetta Chak gave us a demonstration of making Spring Rolls. We all "had a go" at carefully peeling apart the square pastry cases and doing our best to copy Rosetta's example of filling just the right amount of her previously prepared mixture, then folding and sealing with the "glue" made with flour and water. A plentiful supply of somewhat mixed shapes were then fried and enjoyed by all. Itâ€&#x;s delicious! Many thanks Rosetta. By Ivy Salvage

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The Mid-Autumn Festival The Mid-Autumn Festival (Zongqiujie), determined under the lunar calendar, will fall on 12 September this year but we will be celebrating it early, at our 6 September meeting, when Lee Monczakowski and Rosetta Chak have kindly agreed to organise it. It is sometimes called the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival (in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines). Families and friends gather to admire the harvest moon, drink tea with moon cakes and pomelos. Classical poetry is strong on poems often about wives gazing at the same moon that is shining on their loved ones far from home. The mandarin class who ran the country locally and wrote much of the poetry were always posted away from their

home district. A woman academic once cynically pointed out to me that it was a woman missing her husband because these poems were written by men. Perhaps on 6 September, weather permitting we could gather outside and recite in Mandarin and English almost the most famous classical poem, by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bo (701 – 762). By EUGENE BYRNE

Li Bai: Night Thoughts 李白: 夜思 The bright moon shone before my bed, I wondered – was it frost upon the ground? I raised my head to gaze at the clear moon, Bowed my head, remembering my old home.

床前明月光 疑是地上霜 擧頭望明月 低頭思故鄕.

Continuation from page 1—Visit to the Beijiing Opera Costumes Exhibition alive by the stories they tell, and the characters they fit. A DVD presentation on face make- up for both male and female characters was most informative, and fascinating. The face make-up, colours and pattern together tell the audience the personality and status of the character. It is obviously a laborious task, over an average of two hours, making up a „dan‟ (a part as a young, beautiful and vivacious lady). We guess it takes just as long for her to disrobe after the performance. We had a good two and half hours at the exhibition, but it was most enjoyable, and time well spent. The exhibition runs from 22nd June to 31st July. It is a pity it has not been well publicised, and the venue is a little difficult to find. By Maggie Woo

Mona at the Exhibition

Worlds Longest Sea Bridge—The Jiaozhou Bay bridge China has opened the world's longest cross-sea bridge - which stretches five miles further than the distance between Dover and Calais. The Jiaozhou Bay bridge is 26.4 miles long and links China's eastern port city of Qingdao to the offshore island Huangdao.

cost nearly £1billion to build.

The road bridge, which is 110ft wide and is the longest of its kind,

Read more: -2009748/That-bridge-far-Worlds-longest-sea-bridge-opens-traffic-China--hold-titleyears.html#ixzz1QmHCMD32

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TWO GREAT CHINESE WRITERS It‟s a sad fact that Chinese literature, whether classical or modern, can boast no author of world renown, no Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky or Solzhenitsyn. The two leading modern writers are insufficiently known outside China, so we hope to feature both of them in our 2012 programme. LU XUN 鲁迅 (1881 – 1936) was born in Shaoxing (where a well-known wine comes from) south of Shanghai and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. The leading modern Chinese writer, he was a leading left-wing author and polemicist but produced only short stories, notably Ah Q (see below) and Diary of a Madman: as far as we know, none of them became films. Visit: Read: The Real Story of Ah Q and other Tales of China: Penguin Classics LAO SHE 老舍 (1899 – 1966) was a Beijingborn Manchu and best known as an author and playwright of the post-May Fourth generation, mainly but not wholly of comedy. He was a teacher, learnt English and taught Chinese at the School of Oriental & African Studies in London in the twenties. He was a victim of the Cultural Revolution, during which he committed suicide. He was influenced by the novels of Charles Dickens and his two best-known novels are Chaguan (The Teahouse) and Luotuo Xiangzi (Camel Shangzi), both of which were made into films: we hope to show one of them next year. By EUGENE BYRNE

Our social group programme: Meetings are at the Guild House, 30 – 32 Worple Road SW19, on Tuesdays and begin at 3.30 p.m. with 40 minutes of Tai Chi Qi Gong Shibashi exercises. The items shown below commence at 4.30 p.m. and end by 5.30 p.m. 19th Jul

Social (I-Chen Tsai)



6th Sep

Mid-Autumn Festival (Lee Monczakowski & Rosetta Chak)

20th Sep

4th Oct

18th Oct

Buddhism in Thailand (Russell Humphreys, Chief Executive Officer, Wimbledon Guild) Talk “Looking at classical Chinese calligraphy” (Eugene Byrne; preparation for BL visit) Visit to the British Library—meet there at 5.00 p.m. N.B. “BOOKINGS ONLY” (Eugene Byrne)

1st Nov

Chinese Antiques Road Show (Ivy Salvage and Maggie Woo)

15th Nov

Quiz (Alex Roney and Maggie Woo)

6th Dec

Talk “The Encounter with the West” (Eugene Byrne)

20th Dec

Christmas Party & Carols (Maggie Woo et al)

For further information, please contact Eugene Byrne on 020 8947 1346

A Poem by Bao Zhao 鲍照

Next Quarterly Newsletter

Northern Wei Dynasty Why mope, why sigh, why sit and grieve? Just pour some wine to bring you cheer Toast your health and sing some songs

Please email Lee if

The human heart is not of stone And yet my voice is quiet, alone

interesting article to

you have any be considered.

My sorrow will escape, I fear." Shared by Alex Roney Prepared for the Chinese Cultural Group Merton

2011Summer Newsletter  

Antiques Road Show, The Mid Autumn Festival, Great Chinese Writers, Spring Rolls dem- onstration, The 18 Tai Chi Shibashi, Christmas Party 2...