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Chinese Cultural Group Merton Chinese Cultural Group

Spring 2012

It’s springtime once again! A waking up season that brings new life, glory and poetry to the earth. May we discover some new hope and bring colour into our lives. Enjoy a blessed 2012! Lee

Inside this issue: Chinese New Year Celebrations


Notice to members




Paul Hider—Life in China #3


Drought in SW China


Chinese Food #1


Poem of Li Po


Forthcoming programme


WORD FROM THE CHAIRMAN – Eugene Byrne Those who came to our Chinese New Year celebrations found them well worthwhile, thanks to the efforts of Maggie Woo, Ivy Salvage, I-Chen Tsai and several others: it must have taken a great deal of work to organise and co-ordinate for the event to be such a great success. We have a well-organised programme for the year and an important event will be the opera demonstration, talk and performance jointly organised by rd Helen Marti with the Guild on Thursday 3 May at 2.00 p.m. in Drake House at the back of the Guild House. Opera fans like myself will agree that our enjoyment of this beautiful art is greatly enhanced if we understand the messages conveyed by the costumes, makeup, movements and gestures of the singers. Kathy Hall, herself trained on the mainland, is the leading exponent of all this in the UK and her fascinating exposition is not to be missed. So do come, and visit Maggie and I paid a welcoming visit to Mrs Wendy Pridmore who has now taken over as Chief Executive Officer of the Guild. One outcome of this is that the Guild will take a look at whether Drake House could be made available to us on Saturdays should the committee decide to try that.

London Jing Kun Opera


The committee has been working on a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of our present situation so that we can carry our work forward. Have you any ideas on this subject? Please send them to Helen Marti at Guild House or myself at, 8947 1346.

Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

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Chinese New Year Celebrations 2012 “Welcoming the Year of the Dragon” The Chinese Cultural Group Merton organised



to welcome the Year of the Dragon. th th These took place on 7 February, the 15 and last day when the year is still considered ‘new’. It was a glorious day, sandwiched between two extremely icy cold spells. That morning, 14 members and friends went to a specially organised guided tour at the Victoria and Albert Museum to view and learn about antique Chinese ceramics, pottery and porcelain. The privileged group was taken to the top floor where the most treasured collections are housed, and shown artefacts normally kept out of sight of the general public. In the afternoon, 50 members, friends and guests converged at the restaurant in China Town in central London. The Committee started the proceedings with greetings, in Mandarin, to all present, wishing them good luck, wealth and prosperity throughout the year. We enjoyed an 8-course scrumptious banquet in the best tradition of Chinese cuisine. When everyone had had their fill, each person was given a red packet containing money (symbolising wealth and good luck), and a tangerine (symbolising riches because of its golden


colour), and chocolate candies (symbolising a pleasant and easy life). Some people were obviously blessed with more new-year luck than others; they scooped up more than their share of raffle prizes. The day was a resounding success. On leaving, many people said they were already looking forward to next year’s celebrations. Of course, none of these would have been possible had it not been for the support, hard work, and the generosity (in donating raffle prizes) of all our Committee members. They truly have done us proud. Maggie Woo

Membership renewal reminder We would like to remind you our annual membership fee is st due on the 1 of April. Aiming to improve our services and recruit more members, we are taking this opportunity to conduct a survey and your support is very much appreciated. Please complete and return the attached renewal application form and the short questionnaire together with the fee to Ivy, our treasurer. Any queries, please call Ivy on 0208 542 9154.

A collection of signs lost in translation which is all the funnier if you can read the chinese too. Yes, you know what they mean in this public convenience.

An amusing mistranslation

One of Paul’s many collections

Can you make up the meaning if you know the translation for ⽶米 in chinese is ‘meter / rice’ and 线 is ‘line / string / boundary … ‘


Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

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Paul Hider 海 德 Life in China Article #3

For all Paul’s news see:


I was asked to choose the characteristic of

Chinese people which I admire the most, it would be their patience, their relaxed reaction to adversity, their ability to “roll with the punches”. I imagine this has developed over hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. China isn’t always the easiest country to live in. It is no stranger to natural disasters, war, harsh living conditions and extreme politics. But rather than confront difficulties, I’ve found the Chinese people tend to find ways round them or just cope, patiently. Despite rising numbers of public disturbances (up from 8,700 in 1993 to 84,000 in 2005) China remains a largely peaceful place to live. In Kunming, for example, I see regular bumps between electric motorcycles, cars and people, but most are resolved with a shrug or a muttered word of annoyance. In ten years I’ve only seen one case of fisticuffs in the street. But there is a flip-side. Kunming is experiencing quite a severe drought at the moment and city

leaders have warned that there may be water cuts in various areas quite soon. Try telling that to my neighbourhood - we have been without water for a month already. Every afternoon people queue at the bottom of the hill with buckets. Yet my work colleagues are all unaffected. Why just us? Nobody seemed to know. And nobody seemed bothered to find out. So, I eventually found a number for the Water Company and insisted my long-suffering wife call them. “It’s because we are up a steep hill” she reported. But why should that make a difference and when is it likely to end, I wanted to know. But the ingrained wish to avoid confrontation, plus the feeling that complaints would be pointless anyway, has left us guessing. When talking to neighbours, the general mood is that “these things happen” and “the water will come back when it comes back”. It’s an attitude which I find both admirable for its calmness, and frustrating for its passive acceptance. I need to work on my patience (and bucket washing technique). Meanwhile, my parents in the UK are talking of a drought there too which may - gasp - curtail their watering of the plants for a few weeks.



KUNMING - Nine lakes on southwest China's YunnanGuizhou Plateau have seen water levels drop with the loss of 292 million cubic meters from the same time last year, local authorities said Thursday.

The drought plaguing Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region and the mega-city of Chongqing has been called the worst in a century.

Drought and low rainfall in the past three consecutive years have dried up 273 rivers and 413 small reservoirs in Yunnan. The ongoing drought has affected people in 15 prefectures and municipalities, leaving 3.19 million people and 1.58 million heads of livestock short of drinking water in the province.


It has devastated crops, fuelled price rises and highlighted China's chronic water problems. Since last September, rainfall has been less than half the normal levels, turning much of normally temperate Yunnan into a bone-dry environmental disaster zone of evaporating reservoirs and shrivelled rivers. 60301/Drought-in-southern-China.html Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

Citizens in Yunnan suffer severe drought

Pupils queue up to get water & take turns to wash with little water. Luliang County of southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 21, 2012. Every pupil at the school can get 1.5 liter distributed water, which is carried from five kilometers away everyday. A severe drought has lingered in Yunnan for three consecutive years, disrupting the lives of 6.3 million people in the province this year. Lingering drought wracks Yunnan Province Photo taken on Feb. 24, 2012 shows cracked land in a pond at Fanglang Village in Malong County of southwest China's Yunnan Province. A brutal drought has wracked the province.

Two boys carry bottles of water during a severe drought in Kunming, in China's southwest Yunnan province.


A farmer looks for water in a dried-up river in Luliang county in southwest China's Yunnan province

Have these images and any of the articles made you wonder or have something to say? I would welcome any comment or feedback (up to 50 words) to be included in a special “YOUR SAYS” column in our next issue. thern-China-suffers-worst-drought-in-memory.html

Please email them to me at Thanks! Lee


Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

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By Sissi Wong I am a new committee member of the CCGM. I am very happy to have been offered the opportunity to share some of the Chinese recipes with you.

A brief introduction of Hong Kong Food Hong Kong cuisine is influenced by Cantonese cuisine and parts of nonCantonese-speaking China (especially Chaozhou, Dongjiang, Fujian and the Yangtze River Delta), the Western world, Japan, and Southeast Asia, due to Hong Kong's past as a British colony and long history of being an international city of commerce. From the roadside stalls to the most upscale restaurants, Hong Kong provides an unlimited variety of food in every class. Complex combinations and international gourmet expertise have given Hong Kong the reputable labels. For this issue, I’d like to introduce a popular and yet very simple chicken recipe.

Coming from Hong Kong, I would be introducing some of the common Hong Kong recipes. People in Hong Kong are busy, practical, efficient, impatient sometimes, so most of Hongkongers cook food quickly at home. We will leave the more elaborate dishes to the proper chef to do the hardwork.

Head of Government: Chief Executive Cabinet: Executive Council Legislature: Legislative Council, 60 seats Highest Court: Court of Final Appeal.


To cook You need a pan that is big enough to submerge all the drumsticks. Step 1 Heat a pan with lid add about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. Turn heat to low. Add the ginger, garlic and green onions. Stir-fry until aromatic. Step 2 Add all ingredients from the list for braising liquid, following the list order if you can and mix evenly. Bring the liquid to boil then turn the heat straight down to the simmering point. Check and add more seasoning. (put in more light soy sauce if you'd like it to taste saltier). Step 3 Place the chicken drumsticks into the liquid. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn the drumsticks to make sure they get cooked evenly. Cook for another 10-15 minutes. The chicken drumsticks should be fully cooked by now. You may leave the chicken in the liquid until you're ready to serve the food.

Since this is the first issue, I thought it would be helpful to give you a little more information about Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Following British rule from 1842 to 1997, China assumed sovereignty under the 'one country, two systems' principle. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's constitutional document, the Basic Law, ensures that the current political situation will remain in effect for 50 years. The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong are based on the impartial rule of law and an independent judiciary.

For braising liquid: 3/4 cup light soy sauce 1/4 cup dark soy sauce 3 tablespoons Chinese rose wine (or Shaoxing Wine / sherry / sweet white wine) 2 tablespoons (about 40g) brown sugar or caster sugar 3 cups water (750ml)

Soy sauce chicken drumsticks (豉油鸡) Serves 4-6 Ingredients needed: 3 tablespoons of cooking oil (prefer vegetable oil) 10 medium chicken drumsticks 2 cloves crashed garlic 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger 6 stalks green/salad onions 1 star anise (alternatively, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder) Prepare the chicken drumsticks Rinse and pat dry the chicken drumsticks, then marinate them with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon Chinese rose wine.

Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

Poem by Li Po

《⽉月下獨酌 》Drinking Alone by Moonlight (translated by Arthur Waley)

also known as Li Bai

(A.D. 701 - 762)

花間⼀一壺酒, A pot of wine, under the flowering trees; 獨酌無相親。 I drink alone, for no friend is near. 舉杯邀明⽉月, Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon, 對影成三⼈人。 For her, with my shadow, will make three people. ⽉月既不不解飲, The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine; 影徒隨我⾝身。 Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side. 暫伴⽉月將影, Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave ⾏行行樂樂樂樂須及春。 I must make merry before the Spring is spent. 我歌⽉月徘徊, To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams; 我舞影零零亂亂。 In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks. 醒時同交歡, While we were sober, three shared the fun; 醉後各分散。 Now we are drunk, each goes their way. 永結無情遊, May we long share our eternal friendship, 相期邈雲漢。 And meet at last on the paradise.

Chinese Cultural Group Merton Guild House 30/32 Worple Road Wimbledon SW19 4EF

Forthcoming CCGM programme 20/3/12

Accompaniment for carol singing by a small ensemble. (Thanks to Maggie & her team)

Well wishes to Russell Humphreys on his retirement.

Celebrating Christmas 2011 (Thanks to I-Chen & helpers)


Taiji Qigong Shibashi Talk: The Founding Father: Sun Yatsen

03/4/12 Easter break

Taiji Qigong Shibashi Chinese film: "Farewell my Concubine"


Taiji Qigong Shibashi Talk: Luan & Chiang: the Republic 19111949

Eugene Byrne

Maggie Woo

Eugene Byrne

Next Quarterly Newsletter Please email your experience with the Chinese people, culture, food or any interesting events you had been to that you would like to share in our newsletter. Please email to Thanks! Prepared by  Lee  Monczak       for  the  Chinese  Cultural  Group  Merton  2012  

2012 Spring Newsletter  

Chinese Culutral Group merton Spring newsletter, Chinglish, Drought in SW China, Paul Hider, Poem of Li Po, Chinese Food corner

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