EAST Summer 2015
One chilD POlicY DISCOVERING CULTURE with the cOnfUciUS inSititUte
Language features: 象山 日英両国人の留学生活に関して
BeinG lGBT in ThailanD
The Editorial Team
Designer & Marketing Co-ordinator
Dear readers, Welcome to the summer issue of EAST Magazine. We’ve compiled a host of riveting reads for you, including an interview with Bangkok’s up-and-coming event promoters KOLOUR, a debate on the human rights issues surrounding China’s one child policy, praises for Korea’s surviving Comfort Women, and a round-up of some of the events from across campus this semester. We’d like to once again thank all of our contributors, who made publication of this issue possible. To all the students of Leeds who are graduating this summer, EAST Magazine wishes you the best in any and all endeavours you undertake post-graduation, but hopes you have a long and relaxing summer before launching into your new life. You’ve earned it! Sincerely, The EAST Magazine Team The EAST Magazine team lueastmagazine
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4 LETTER FROM AN ASYLUM SEEKER
COVER PHOTO BY M AT T H E W B U R Y
How corruption costs lives.
6 A CHINESE MEAL WITH A DIFFERENCE Discovering and understanding Chinese culture with the Leeds Business Confucius Institute.
8 THINK THAILAND IS A GAY PARADISE? THINK AGAIN. What is it really like to be a member of the LGBT community in Thailand?
10 DEBATE China’s one child policy.
13 EYE ON ASIA The annual photography competition at Leeds University.
14 THAI NIGHTLIFE Bangkok’s underground music life.
16 CHINESE CHILDREN AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE From a teacher’s perspective.
18 ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ The resolve of Japan’s former sex slaves.
20 LANGUAGE FEATURES In Chinese and Japanese.
22 CHINESE POEM By Long Yang.
23 TALE OF ONE CITY Reflections on the urbanisation of rural China.
PHOTO SUNANDEETA GHOSH
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leTTeR FROm an asYlUm seeKeR WORDS YASSIR ADAM
How corruption in Thailand has left Yassir Adam trapped in limbo.
Dear Sir/Madam: I am a Sudanese National, born 29 Dec 1991, aged 23 as of this writing. I am from the Darfur section of Sudan. I have 6 older brothers aged between 34 and 26 and a younger sister and brother. I am the seventh son. My family, mother, father and siblings have been living in the UN displacement camp that goes by the name of Kassab Refugee Camp and which holds about 70,000 people. I last saw my family in 2011 when I left home to seek employment and further education. In 2011, I began travelling in ASEAN countries with my Sudanese Passport #2818, issued to me, Yassir Adam Mahamed, on 10 Sept 2011, by the Khartoum Passport Oﬃce, due to expire on 1 Jan 2016. Until my arrest in Thailand on the Thai/Laos border, 16 August 2012, I was travelling, working and studying on my Sudanese passport which allowed me a 30 days (renewable) travel visa in each of the 11 ASEAN countries (Thailand, Laos, Khmer Rep, Myanmar, Brunei, Singapore, East Timor, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia). The first country I traveled to was Indonesia, where I spent 6 months as a furniture maker and upholstery stitcher for furniture and car seats. After that, I saw an opportunity to complete my Bachelor’s degree at the free Islamic University, UKM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had already completed 3 years towards my old exploration engineering degree in Sudan. I only had two more years to complete in order to obtain my degree. I spent nine months in university in K.L. Malaysia. At the end of these nine months, I received a letter from my family back in Sudan that I was needed to help out with the finances for the rest of my family (still living in the Kassab Refugee Camp – Southwest of Khartoum). So suddenly it became necessary for me to discontinue my education and seek employment elsewhere. At this time I still had savings from work, in both the Sudan camp and in Indonesia, of over 6000 US dollars as a furniture maker and stitcher. I decided to head north from Malaysia through Thailand into Laos where I planned to get a visa for travel (and work) in Australia. Upon entering Thailand without trouble at the Thai/Malay border on my Sudanese passport, I hurriedly made my way to the Thai/Laos border in the Northeast of Thailand. At the Thai/Laos border, however, the border immigration police falsely charged me with travelling on a fake passport. They confiscated my money and my passport and threw me in jail. Later I was brought before the judge and accused of entering Thailand on a false passport. Of course, the police destroyed the passport, kept my money, and offered me “only” 1 year and 3 months if I accepted the charges. Because I refused to accept, this sen-
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tence was doubled to 2 years and 6 months. During these court proceedings, I had no interpreter and no lawyer. I became easy prey for the greedy Thai police and corrupt prosecutor and the Thai judge who accepted the false accusation of the police without evidence. So I’ve been in prison since my arrest 12 August 2012. I was released from Remand prison in January 2015. But that did not mean freedom. Presently I am imprisoned in the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) indefinitely or until someone or group can come to my aid to be repatriated back to my home country. However, my troubles will be far from over once I am returned to Khartoum, Sudan for the following reasons: 1. I am fated to be imprisoned in Khartoum because of my inability to pay the Sudanese tax required of all returning Sudanese workers returning from seeking employment abroad. 2. The Sudanese Passport Oﬃce will look very unfavorably upon my lost passport. I have reported to them the theft of my passport by the Thai police but so far I have not heard back from them. Furthermore, the Passport oﬃce will refuse to issue me a new passport unless I pay an exorbitant fine. 3. So finally – after a prison sentence in my home country, I will be forever condemned to live in one of the crowded UN displaced persons Camps – and probably not the one where the rest of my family resides. So, I write this letter about my plight as an asylum seeker to Australia or any other country which would be willing to take me. Neither I nor my family have any money to pay for my air ticket repatriation to Sudan. Even if I did have the money for an air ticket home, there is no good news waiting for me there. I can only expect a fine, a jail sentence and returning to be a hopeless charity case in one of the UN camps of Darfur. Someone please help me. Thank you. Yassir Adam Yassir Adam is a Sudanese National presently detained in the IDC in Bangkok.
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a chinese meal
with a difference WORDS AND PHOTOS THE LEEDS BUSINESS CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE
t is a Tuesday night, and you are sitting around a table at a Chinese restaurant in Leeds, along with some family and friends. The atmosphere is friendly and animated - not just at your table, but throughout the whole restaurant. Gradually the hubbub fades again, and everyone’s attention is focussed on the drama unfolding around them… You have been learning more and more about these characters throughout the evening. But this isn’t some private drama playing out before an unsuspecting public. That would certainly be an interesting anecdote to tell your friends, but the events of this evening are even more remarkable. As well as enjoying a delicious meal, you are watching a play produced by Freedom Studios. This is the culmination of a project that was conceived way back in 2010 at a course for Chinese writers. Like many people living in Leeds, course tutor Mary Cooper often came across Chinese people. However it was only after hearing the stories produced by the Chinese writers on her course that Mary realised she really knew very little about this population, despite the fact they had been a part of British life for so long. In fact, it was only after seeing how engaged other people were with their stories that the writers themselves realised how remarkable their experiences were. A few years later, Mary and one of the participants on that course, Mimi Webster Lam, have secured funding from the Arts Council for these stories to be told. Mary and Mimi have embarked on a journey to understand Chinese culture in West Yorkshire that has brought them into contact with various members of the Chinese community in Leeds, whose stories they find endlessly fascinating.
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“It’s like we are carriers, to get these stories out in the open. I see myself as a channel for enabling stories to be heard”, Mary says. And she is the ideal person to play this role, having written extensively for theatre, radio and screen. Mimi is the perfect partner, having been a part of different Chinese populations in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and the UK, where she worked in radio broadcasting. There was no doubt that The Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds would get behind this project. Promoting understanding of Chinese culture is a key goal of the Institute, and Piao Yang Guo Hai offers an exciting opportunity to do this in a new and innovative way. Furthermore, the team can relate to the project on a personal level. Ellen Wang, Operations Director at the Confucius Institute, came to the UK in her teens and has lived here ever since. A bilingual writing workshop was held at the University on 18th April, and curator Antonia Lovelace brought Chinese artefacts from Leeds museums to stimulate discussion and writing. You can read “I come from”, a poem by workshop participant Long Yang, in English and Chinese on page 24. Mary Cooper’s goal is to weave stories collected at workshops like this into a narrative that reflects the common themes uncovered during the process – all while keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. “We want it to be a good piece of theatre above all”, Mary explains. Freedom Studios, an intercultural theatre company based in Bradford, were the obvious choice to produce this performance. Through working in unusual public spaces, they aim to attract and inspire people
who donâ€™t usually watch live theatre. Their work uncovers the forces and feelings that shape our lives, exploring new ways of communicating and helping to eradicate racism and prejudice. This is why, in October 2015, you may well find yourself watching a piece of theatre in a Chinese restaurant. A piece of theatre created by an expert in translating observations on the human experience into engaging and universal stories. If you are Chinese, you may leave the performance feeling that your voice is finally being heard and understood. Non-Chinese audience members may find that the performance marks a shift in the way they see the Chinese people around them. Behind the superficial differences in hair and skin colour, our hopes and dreams are more similar than we may think. Everyone is searching for their place in the world. Some people have just travelled further than others to do so. E Piao Yang Guo Hai (From Shore to Shore) will tell the stories of the Chinese community in Leeds and West Yorkshire in performance, in print and online. A multilingual piece of theatre written by Mary Cooper with Mimi Webster Lam will be produced by Freedom Studios Theatre Company at Oriental City Restaurant on October 13th, 2015.
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Think Thailand is a gay paradise? Think again. WORDS LINDA ALLISON PHOTOS DAMIR SAGOLJ
es indeed, non-heterosexual practices are a selling point of the notorious nightlife to be found in Bangkok, Pattaya and other tourist destinations throughout the country. From ping pong shows to Lady Boy cabaret, and the recent rise in female sex tourism (yes, women do go on holiday for that too), we have all heard about Thai society’s seemingly liberal attitude to sex and how ‘One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble’. The Tourist Authorities of Thailand (TAT) have been the main contributors to Thailand’s reputation as an exotic “Gay Paradise”, cashing in on tourists from all over, especially the international gay community. To be fair, tourists usually do have a gay-friendly experience. In fact, even without going to downtown areas where sexuality is thrown in your face, any visitor to Thailand is likely to encounter a noticeable and widespread LGBT* community in Thailand, especially transgender. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that Thailand as a whole is not gay-friendly, particularly regarding the treatment of its own LGBT citizens who live in a contradictory society, which tolerates but does not accept them. LGBT citizens face daily discrimination by the state, the media, health practitioners, and not to mention their own families. Sex is not the only factor of sexuality, and LGBT is not just about who you want to sleep with, it’s an identity, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a human right. Although the same can be argued for heterosexuality, in contrast, LGBT citizens often have to battle for the right to the lifestyle they lead, a fight that has certainly peaked in Thailand, and the world at large, since
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the turn of the 21st century. Here is a brief insight into sexuality in Thailand that you won’t find by flicking through the holiday brochures Same-sex relationships are legal In Thailand, and you won’t be punished officially, unlike in places such as Uganda. However, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder as recently as 2002 by the Thai Department of Mental Health. A mass of academic literature in Thailand portraying homosexuals as deviant or mentally ill is still yet to be updated, including school text books. It has also been reported that health practitioners who were trained before 2002 do not practice the revised law, and many staff members neither understand nor advocate LGBT culture. Diagnoses of LGBT people having “mental health problems” doesn’t stop there. Before 2011, transsexuals were dismissed from the military for having a ‘permanent mental disorder.’ Although it might sound like a “get-out-of-compulsory-military-servicefree-card”, apart from obviously being discriminatory, this label was also officially stated on military documents, which are needed for job applications, greatly hindering the chances for transsexuals to find work. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether any documents issued prior to 2011 will be changed. Generally, any LGBT person who finds employment and then “comes out” about their sexuality faces discrimination, such as being denied the chance for promotion. Violence is another concern. Cases of hate crimes and discrimination against LGBT people are rarely reported officially but can be found in the media, particularly online. Between 2006 and 2012 there were a string of murders committed against lesbians, or women categorised as ying-rak-ying, which is literally translated as “girls who love girls”. Thai police have been
pressured into reinvestigating the cases after being criticised for making a poor effort to explore the matters properly, often calling them crimes of passion rather than hate crimes.
Solution in Revolution?
In 2007 there was a re-writing of the constitution, following yet another military coup which took over Thaksin’s Thai-Rak-Thai party, (no LGBT pun intended). One justification of the coup was to promote human rights, which they accused Thaksin of violating. Activists organised a collaboration between several LGBT civil society groups such as Rainbow Lobby and Anarjee, to create the ‘Sexual Diversity Network’ which would ensure the human rights of LGBT people were included in the new constitution. However, success in achieving this addition to the new constitution was not immediate because, unfortunately, that day of reckoning clashed with a protest organised by monks who were angry that Buddhism was once again refused classification as the official religion of Thailand. Frankly, the committee could not say no to Buddhism and yes to gays on the same day or there would have been outrage in the media and public space, so they did not grant the request of the Sexual Diversity network to include LGBT people in the constitution itself. However, the documents which advise the interpretation of the constitution instruct that the word ‘gender’ in anti-discrimination articles refers to all people of sexual diversity, and a commendable amount of activism has followed since then. One milestone moment was the change to laws on rape in 2007 so that they now include provisions against same-sex
rape. Another was the military making the aforementioned changes to the status of transsexuals, although they are still diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. There is also far more activism around other topics such as same-sex marriage, which is still illegal, and demanding justice for hate crimes towards LGBT people. To conclude, no matter where you are on the spectrum, sexuality can be as difficult as it can be enjoyable, and this complexity is intertwined with many factors of our lives. I love Thai culture, from the rice fields and temples to its infamous bucket-drinks (a tourist trap you can’t help but indulge), but nonacceptance of LGBT individuals needs to go. We have a responsibility to challenge institutionalised anti-LGBT sentiments worldwide, because sexual rights are human rights. E Linda is a finalist student of Thai & South East Asian Studies. For more information, check out #BeingLGBTInAsia. *LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and is often used as a shortened version of LGBTIQ which includes Intersex and Queer/Questioning. Please note that ‘Queer’ has been re-owned by LGBT communities.
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One Child Policy
hen Deng Xiaoping came out of the Third Plenary meeting of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC in 1978 and announced the beginning of a seismic shift in policy and direction for the People’s Republic of China, he did more than herald a change in the socio-political make-up of modern China: he started a tradition. Since that date, the Third Plenary meetings of every Central Commission are awaited with bated breath, in anticipation that some dramatic shift in the fundamental structure of China’s society is going to occur. In November of 2013, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee convened and, in keeping with tradition, some fairly big changes were announced. Reforms were revealed to be implemented on two separate pieces of decades old legislature. The first, was the plan to abolish the system of forced labour camps as a means of “re-education” and punishment. The labour camp programme – laojiao – dates back to the 1950s, and was initially used to contain and control communist opponents, although it has increasingly since been used for petty, non-political crimes. The laojiao system has formed the basis for many criticisms against China regarding the abuse of human rights. Under the system “criminals” can be locked away for years without trial, where they are kept in cramped cells with little food, forced to complete exhaustive labour and on occasion even endure torture. The second reform of note was on a law similarly denounced by many as an abuse of human rights: the One-Child Policy. Enforcement of the One-Child Policy has led to forced abortions as well as forced sterilisation, and the desire to avoid having a second child coupled with the common preference for male children has led to gender-selective abortions, infanticide and a skewed gender demographic. However, here we come to the crux of the article itself: whilst much abhorrent behaviour has accompanied the en-
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forcement of the One-Child Policy, is a policy which dictates family planning to a population en masse in itself a violation of human rights? This article argues no. One method of approaching human rights argues that they can be divided into three categories, or “generations”: broadly, first generation rights are rights which are innate to individual existence, such as the right to life and the right to free thought; second generation rights require a second party to facilitate their realisation, such as the right to education or the right to employment; and third generation rights pertain more to the rights of groups, such as the right to a healthy environment and the right to development. How does reproduction then fit into this stratification of human rights? In terms of first generation rights, reproduction cannot feature within that category, as the nature of reproduction requires a first and second party, and is therefore not innate to individual existence. Then what about second generation rights? The complication of second generation rights is that they imply a responsibility on a second party, which is often the government, for their fulfilment, i.e. if there are not adequate employment opportunities or shelters, the government should provide them. Therefore if a man or a woman cannot find a willing second party to aid them in reproducing life, are those who refused them guilty of breaching their human rights? No. Does the first party then have the right to demand that their government provides them with a means to have children? No. Finally, there are third generation rights. Third generation rights require the collective contributions of individuals, states and other miscellaneous groups in order to be achieved. This is perhaps where the matter of reproduction is the most pertinent. Anyone the least bit familiar with China will be aware of its staggering population. Such a large population puts an equally substantial strain on the capacity of the state to provide for people’s second and third generation
T S N I AGA RAMONA TUDOSĂ
rights. Whilst the right to conceive, give birth to and raise children is not mentioned in the original declaration of human rights, a subset of the UN’s consensus on human rights was added in the 1960’s, entitled “Reproductive Rights”. Reproductive Rights assert that it is the right of couples and individuals to “freely and responsibly” determine the number and spacing of their children. I would argue that it would be irresponsible for a couple to have a number of children beyond their means of care, because the responsibility to provide for children a number of their second generation rights falls upon their parents. To then expand this to third generation rights, would it be responsible for parents to have a number of children beyond the state’s means of care? It is natural for the common person to not conceive of the society-wide implications of their actions, because the scale is so vast it is difficult to see. If a country was imagined as a dining table, with all of the country’s resources represented by food, and the population of the country denoted by five people sitting around the table; if there was just enough food on the table to satisfy the five people sat there, what would happen if another joined the table? Who would lose out? And how many more people could join the table before there wasn’t enough to go around? It is the state’s responsibility to maintain a broad perspective on the implications of its people’s actions. Therefore, it is the state’s responsibility to determine laws and regulations which help ensure the protection of people’s human rights at a national level. If the Chinese government foresaw that an unchecked population would place an irrevocable burden on their ability to provide for their citizens’ second and third generation rights, it is correct for them to take measures to avoid that eventuality. E Eamon is a finalist student of Chinese & International Relations. He is also Co-editor of EAST.
n 2012, fifteen Chinese scholars, including eight professors of law, wrote a petition in which they urged the end of the infamous One-Child Policy. The letter was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress arguing that the policy violates the citizens’ basic human rights. While their claim might be questioned by some, the backstory of the petition should cast light on the matter. Their request was an immediate reaction to the story of 22-year-old Feng Jianmei, from China’s Shaanxi Province, who in June of the same year drew both domestic and international attention. After failing to pay the 40,000 RMB fine for violating the OneChild Policy, the young woman was forced to abort although she was 7 months pregnant at the time. Photos of the unconscious mother and her dead baby went viral online, shining the spotlight once again on the dramatic consequences of the already controversial One-Child Policy. On December 10th 1948, China and47 other countries worldwide voted in favour of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).Many of the ideals within the UDHR were further incorporated in the national constitutions of those states, including the Chinese constitution, adopted in 1982. While it may seem that the One-Child Policy limits only the right to procreate, the ways in which the policy is imposed over the Chinese population go beyond that, affecting the integrity of the UDHR itself, which protects the rights of women, children and the family. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, Chapter II: The Fundamental Rights And Duties Of Citizens, in particular Articles 48 and 49, emphasizes the protection given by the state to women and children, yet through the implementation and coercive enforcement of the One-Child Policy, it does the exact opposite. However, the same 1982 constitution’s Article 35 also proclaims that “citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession,
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T S N I AGA and of demonstration”, rights that have systematically been supressed by the Chinese Communist Party; therefore, the abuse of other rights should not come as a surprise. Currently, China boasts about having prevented approximately 400 million births in the 34 years since the implementation of the Policy in 1979. What the government does not specify is how many of these births were “prevented”. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 14 million forced abortions occur in China every year, which account for ¼ of the number of abortions worldwide, with 35,000 abortions performed each day. There have also been several claims that forced abortions have been conducted on women beyond the legal abortion limit of 24 weeks, as it was in Feng Jianmei’s case. The chance of infertility in patients with a history of induced abortion is 88.2%, and undergoing more than four abortions increases the incidence of infertility to 92%. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” At the same time, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, Article 49 stresses that “Marriage, the family, and mother and child are protected by the state. […] Maltreatment of old people,
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women and children is prohibited.” Forcing women to abort, no matter the stage of their pregnancy, and taking control of their body against their will, is a despicable act that undoubtedly violates women’s right to be treated in a humane and dignifying way. The Chinese government has taken this violation even further through performing forced sterilizations on both men and women in order to ensure that the One-Child Policy is respected and that the quotas are met. The procedure is carried without the person’s consent and most of the time, particularly in the countryside, the medical personnel and the hygiene conditions are not among the highest standards, which leads to various health complications. This year, Xia Runying, a Chinese woman from rural Jiangxi Province, sued the Chinese government due to a forced sterilization performed in 2012 which damaged her abdominal veins and left her with other health problems. It was one of the rare cases in which a citizen has sought legal damages against the government as a consequence of the coercive implementation of the One-Child Policy. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese court refused to hear the case and refused to acknowledge the damages caused by the sterilization. It therefore violated another right; in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 8 clearly states that “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.” How are Chinese citizens supposed to fight against maltreatment when the maltreatment is being applied by the same institution expected to protect them? Article 25, Paragraph 2 in the UDHR assures that “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same
EYE ON ASIA 2015 WORDS NIALL TELFORD
PHOTO ISABEL CURNOCK
social protection.” Obviously, it is not the same case in China where single mothers are either forced to abort or driven to abandonment and infanticide in order to avoid the heavy fines and persecution. A 2013 incident in Wuhan Province sparked outrage across China as it saw a new-born being rescued after his young, single mother chose to dispose of him in the sewers as a means to evade the financial penalties she could not afford. The fines can sometimes reach astronomical proportions, accounting for as much as three times a woman’s annual salary. Overall, China collects approximately 28 billion RMB per year in fines from the abusive enforcement of the One-Child Policy. With such an ongoing history of cruelty against them, no wonder China has the highest female suicide rate in the world, with more than 500 women taking their lives every day. Ironically, the Constitution of the People’s Republic Of China guarantees the protection of the state’s female citizens, as specified in Article 48 of the aforementioned document: “The state protects the rights and interests of women.” Ultimately, the One-Child Policy limits and abuses many rights to which the Chinese people are entitled both as “members of the human family” (UDHR) as well as “citizens of the People’s Republic of China” (Chinese Constitution), especially those of women. One may argue that the Policy is meant for the socalled “greater good”; yet if the “greater good” implies the torturing of women and mass infanticide, is it still justified? E Ramona is a third year student of Chinese and Portuguese.
he 20th of March marked the end of the Eye on Asia 2015 Charity Photography Exhibition. Photographs from all around Asia taken by students were displayed in the Parkinson Court to showcase the beauty and diversity of the continent. This year’s 150 entries included photographs from China, Japan and India, as well as SouthEast Asian countries such as Thailand and Nepal. As with each year, the Eye on Asia committee invited a panel of judges to decide which photos (among the top 40) would win the competition of best three photos, with the photographers taking home a special prize. This year’s panel of judges were Bo Wang, deputy director of the University of Leeds Business Confucius Institute, Dr. Alison Hardie, a professor in the department of East Asian Studies and Niamh O’Donnell, a student of photography at The University of Leeds. The winners of the competition were announced on the 20th of March 2015: Andy Ly, a student of Japanese and Linguistics, took home the grand prize of a travel voucher worth £100, courtesy of STA for his entry, Clash, taken in South Korea. Other winners were Aime Hunter with An Arm and a Leg, taken in Mumbai, Francesca Martin with Man Mo Temple, taken in Hong Kong and, as requested by the panel of judges, a fourth prize was presented to Amy Sharp with Having Fun, taken in Yunnan. The closing ceremony of the Eye on Asia Exhibition included speeches from the panel of judges, a musical performance by a group of student musicians, which was conducted by Matthew O’Dowd, and further to this, a solo performance
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on the Chinese gourd flute by Li Xicheng. A bouquet of flowers was also presented to Dr. Ruru Li, creator and behind-the-scenes manager of Eye on Asia throughout its history of over 20 years. In total, the committee managed to raise over £250 from the exhibition, which was donated to International China Concern. International China Concern’s mission is to provide care and support for children in Chinese orphanages, particularly those with disabilities. E The top 40 photographs of Eye on Asia 2015 can be found on Flickr: www.ﬂickr.com/photos/130024023@N05/ Niall is a third year student of Chinese & Japanese. He was also one of the organisers of Eye on Asia 2015.
BANGKOK’S UNDERGROUND MUSIC LIFE WORDS EMILY WILK-MULLIS
angkok is not so well associated with good underground music, which is quickly found in such places as Ibiza, Chicago, or London. When we think of Bangkok’s underground nightlife, unfortunately for the way it has been commercialised since Bangkok’s tourism boom in the 80’s, a mirage of go-go bars and the infamous Kao San road are the standard attractions one will think of. However, alongside the infrastructural, social, and not so political developments, comes a significant cultural development, found in many different mediums. Music is a massive part of Thailand’s culture, from rock bands that have been compared to the Rolling Stones, such as Carabao, to international pop stars, such as Tata Young. The underground music world is also taking a turn. Even though it is small in scale, the quality of true underground music, which does not include EDM, is felt in the new communities that are continuously forming in Bangkok. One night that has really kickstarted this development is KOLOUR. The brand blossomed from its intimate Sunday events at some of the coolest places in Bangkok, like Tel Aviv Restaurant and Bar, into huge night time events that exceed a 1000 guests. Recently they held a ‘party in the park’ style event with Sven Vath as their main guest, who is an acclaimed international techno DJ. And, even though he may have a persona that is a little rough around the edges, his status shows just how much the underground music scene in Bangkok is on the up and up. I sat down with co-founder Coran Maloney to get a bit of background knowledge on KOLOUR SUNDAYS and its sister brand AFTR PRTY, another intimate underground party for the house and techno heads in Bangkok.
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Hey Coran. So tell us about KOLOUR SUNDAYS, known as the biggest sunset party in Bangkok, what’s it about?
Ok so, Vina Charay and I are partners on this event. It was around the time we came back from Ibiza, and we were talking about the European summer. I had done this barbecue at my house earlier on last year where lots of people came. We had this concept of good food, good music and a good atmosphere. And basically, we focused on those three elements and created the concept Kolour and Kolour Sundays. We had a really good response, Kolour was one of the first day events here and Bangkok really welcomed it. So you also started AFTR PRTY, what inspired you to go ahead with that event? Well I come from this really happening scene, and when I came to Bangkok, there just wasn’t that much to do here. And people here, you know, they go out for different reasons and music isn’t one of the main reasons really, it’s sort of a niche thing at the moment, but growing still. At the same time I had been here for a while, and I hadn’t been DJ-ing as much. In Melbourne I was DJ-ing for 3 years before I eventually came to Thailand. I really wanted to DJ here plus hear good music, so AFTR PRTY was sort of created out of the frustration of not really having much to do in the scene. I’m not sure how long it will last, as we have different projects in the pipeline for Bangkok! Can we teach Bangkok to be less commercial? Yeah you know, this again goes back to how the things started developing in Melbourne, how these niche’s just started to grow and next thing you know there is this big underground music festival! It comes after time. You got to look at what people are used to hearing. Here in BK they are used to the stuff that’s
on the radio. They have really impressive clubs over here, there are decked out with awesome lighting and everything’s great. But they do play a lot of stuff that’s on the radio, you can’t just expect for everyone to shift over straight away, I think it will happen with time. Like the more sort of people that are starting to be in our niche, the more people are going to be trying to get bigger and better. We are foreigners here, we are not like the locals. So when more and more of the locals start coming and like how we party, eventually even the locals will start putting on their House/ Techno nights. That’s when you will start seeing the scene be ‘taught’ to be less commercial. So, I guess Bangkok’s underground music scene is slowly on the rise. Other areas of Thailand such as Koh Pagnan are also getting credit for their club backdrops, yet unfortunately events such as the overpopulated FULL MOON parties aren’t what true clubbers are after. So let’s see what the future for Thailand’s party scene holds. Tourism won’t back down, thus it will be a good opportunity for the true purveyors of good times to start something new. Like the travellers that went and first experienced Ibiza in the 80’s, who after returning from their travels, started a new underground music culture in the UK, whilst promoting the magical party scene of the Ibiza island. E Emily is a finalist student of Thai & South East Asia Studies. She is also Co-Editor of EAST.
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CHINESE CHILDREN AND THE
ENGLISH LANGUAGE WORDS AND PHOTO RAMONA TUDOSĂ
ince the opening of China in the late 1970’s, Chinese society has received great influence from the West, especially from the United States of America. The West’s passive “invasion” has changed not only the “face” of China, but also its people’s priorities and aspirations. Due to the increased amount of foreign trade, an ever growing number of foreign companies established in China, as well as the improved popularity of American and British music, movies and TV shows, the English language has penetrated every social strata. As China is a major player on the international stage, both economically and politically, the Chinese government itself is supporting the learning of the English language by emphasizing its importance in the university entrance examination, giving the mark for English the same weight as those for Chinese and
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Maths. Subsequently, there has grown a high demand for native-English speakers to teach language. Public and private schools alike are in search of suitable teachers. During my year abroad in Beijing, as many other foreign students, I worked as a part-time English teacher in an English centre near the campus, which gave me the opportunity to have a greater insight into this matter. Throughout the year, I had nine students, aged between 5 and 12. I had to deal with different attitudes towards learning English and with different requests from the parents. I have encountered two special situations in which the whole family was preparing to move to the USA in the near future, making the study of the English language a necessity. The families in question have been to the US several times and already have relatives established in cities such as New York and Chicago. Three out of the nine parents I met admitted that their main goal was to improve their child’s school grades. Meanwhile, studying English for other purposes, such as traveling or international communication, was mostly a secondary target for four out of nine parents. Four of the parents confessed that they wished for their children to have a level of English good enough to study abroad in the future. When asked, their main destination was always America. They wish to have their children in the best American universities, such as Harvard or Yale, against all odds, hence they expect a lot from their children from a very young age. One of the most significant insights regarding this matter came to me during a conversation I had with the father of one of my students. His daughter, Jessie was very clever, hard-working and extremely passionate about English. Her English level was considered extremely high for her young age. During my last months in Beijing, Jessie was preparing for the final of an important national English competition. Her father confessed to me that he and his wife viewed this contest as a great chance for Jessie to stand out from the crowd. They hoped that by winning the competition, their girl would have an open door to a much better future in the Western world. He disclosed, visibly angry and frustrated, that China’s actual political situation is creating many problems for the population and that he desperately wants for his daughter to live in a free country. He felt the Chinese educational system puts a lot of pressure on children and it does not encourage free-expression. The little ones are overwhelmed by the great amount of homework and the strict rules they have to abide by at school.
With only-children, this pressure is doubled. Jessie’s father believes that this is the major consequence of the government’s one-child policy; as most Chinese couples have only one child in order to avoid further the fines and consequences incurred by breaching the one-child policy, they tend to focus all their attention on their only child’s education. Jessie now studies at an international school and is encouraged by her father to concentrate on English because ultimately, when she is old enough, she will be able to leave China and have a better life somewhere else. However, according to the results of a survey conducted in 2013 by the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, “more than 70 percent of Chinese parents want their children to learn English just for entering better schools”, while “90 percent of the parents believe that learning Chinese and traditional culture is more important than English”. The National Higher Education Entrance Examination, commonly known as the gaokao (高考), created in 1952, is the Chinese academic examination taken by final year high-school students in order to be admitted into higher education institutions and the so-called “better schools”. The structure of the exam varies from province to province, although three subjects are mandatory everywhere: Chinese, Mathematics and a foreign language. As English is the most widely taught foreign language in China and the gaokao is the only thing that counts when considering university, it is no surprise that children suffer so much pressure to take extra-classes. There have been repeated calls for less emphasis on English, or even its complete elimination from the academic programme, from both parents and scholars who think that the intensive study of English is unnecessary since many of the students will not use English in their careers. Moreover, the focus on English is considered “destructive” for overall Chinese education. As a teacher, I tried to do my best in order to ease the pressure from the children’s shoulders and make my lessons useful and fun at the same time. However, from a human perspective, I wish they were not forced to take extra English classes. All the children, with no exception, complained about a lack of free time and fun activities, as far as saying that they have not been to the park in years because of their busy schedule. E
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Comfort Women WORDS EAMON BARRETT PHOTO THE NANFANG
uring WWII, the Japanese army initiated a system of mass abduction which resulted in an estimated 200,000 women being trafficked into sexual slavery, to be used by the men of the Japanese military. These women were euphemistically dubbed “Comfort Women”, and the parlours they were confined to were known as “comfort stations”. The practice of coercing, forcing and selling women into sexual slavery to military troops was not and is not peculiar to Japan, but the bravery with which the survivors of the comfort stations have come to demand justice merits recognition. The Comfort Women came from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Some were Dutch, taken from their former colonies in modern-day Indonesia, others were Filipino, and some were Chinese; as the sphere of Japanese control expanded, so did the pool from which the military drew its “servicewomen”, to be taken away from their homes and trafficked into China, where Japan was waging some of its most ambitious military campaigns. However, it is widely believed that the majority of these women, or indeed young girls, were taken from Korea. At the war’s end, it is estimated that fewer than 10% of the Comfort Women survived. A smaller number still made it back home, but even then, many of them languished in obscurity, unable to reinstate themselves within a mainstream society whose patriarchal skew presented their subjugation as a shameful dishonour. The effects of the atrocities that the women endured within the cells of the comfort stations became only far more profound for many of them after they had been released. Many of the survivors felt unable to absolve themselves of a guilt that was enforced upon
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them, as their torture in the comfort stations was refused recognition, often falsely represented as prostitution. For some of the Korean women, this pejorative view created a self-fulfilling prophecy when the American “liberators” established their bases in the new South Korea, and former Comfort Women found themselves joining the prostitutes of the kijich’on camps which encircled the bases, to serve the needs of the military men. These kijich’on prostitutes were often referred to collectively by the Korean media as wianbu – the Korean for “Comfort Women” – compounding the notion that the survivors of the comfort stations were simply military prostitutes, to be shamed and segregated rather than pitied and reintegrated. The shame that some Korean survivors felt was married with a deep sense of han – a complex of negative emotions caused by subjective experiences of social injustice and the sense of unfulfilled aspirations. For many survivors, this han was caused by the infertility they suffered as a consequence of their abuse. In traditional Korean society, as has been common across many societies, achieving motherhood was seen as a vital condition for fulfilling the role of womanhood. Whilst some survivors were left physically incapable of bearing children, others forbade themselves from marrying; believing that the hardship they had endured made them unworthy of marriage. The identity of womanhood that was robbed from them within the comfort stations became a great source of han for those few survivors. However, in the early years of the 1990s, having suffered in silence for fifty years, the first steps of a long, proud march towards justice and absolution were taken outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. In 1992, during the state visit of the presiding Prime
Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, a group of surviving Comfort Women gathered outside the Japanese Embassy and demanded that the Japanese government accepted responsibility for the internment of the thousands of abducted women during WWII. The women sought justice for those who suffered, and recorded the facts of what happened in their annals of history. This marked the first of a successive string of protests known as the â€œWednesday Demonstrationsâ€? which have continued every week outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. In December 2011, the demonstrations reigned in their 1,000th event and were immortalised in the unveiling of a bronze statue which sits opposite the Japanese Embassy â€“ a Korean girl, dressed in a traditional hanbok, sat on a chair, maintaining a silent vigil. The Wednesday Demonstrations required a new surge of courage from the women who had already endured so much during their imprisonment and then more during the years of being ostracised. This brave step inspired other survivors of the comfort stations from around Asia to demand justice, and as their voices grew, so too did the general understanding of the weight of their burden. Although all of the law suits that have been brought against the Japanese military
on behalf of the Comfort Women have been rejected by the Tokyo courts, the research needed to compile the cases has helped spread awareness of this remarkable portion of world history. In places such as China, where Comfort Women were ostracised and shunned, because their rape was seen as collaboration with the invading enemy, the growing awareness of their plight is a first step towards redressing the wrongs the women suffered during the war and alleviating the hardship the survivors endured in silence and anonymity for many years after. Of the handful of Comfort Women who survived the war, only a few remain alive today, soon to be silenced by old age and death. Perhaps they will see some justice in their lifetime, but the echoes of the indignant anger and pride which imbued their voices when they first spoke out against the wrong they had endured and were enduring still must survive them, so that the world can learn from the bravery of ignored victims, and can re-evaluate the total cost of war. E
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日英両国人の留学生活に関して WORDS TAMAKI KOBAYASHI
Tamaki talks about the phenomenon of English people studying abroad in Japan.
これは飽くまでも日本人の友人があまり多くない私の勝手な憶測にすぎないのですが、英国に 留学してくる日本人の多くは恐らく日本にあってイギリスにないものの数の多さに嘆いていると 思います。個人的にも寿司、 ラーメンといった和食に始まり、 ウォシュレットの温かい便座、切れ 味のいいラップなど枚挙に暇がありません。 そこで今回考えるのが逆の立場の人のこと・・・日 本に留学しているイギリス人のことに関してです。 日本人の視点から考えると日本には和洋問わず美味しい食べ物が数多く存在していることに加 え、技術的にも発展しており日本人が考える 「西洋的」 な文化も浸透しているせいか、 日本に住む 西洋人が西洋に住む日本人より苦労しているだろうということは、 これまた憶測ながらあまり考 えられないことだと思います。確かに日本は便利なものが揃っている国ですが、 日本に流入して いる他国の文化は日本人向けにアレンジされているものも数多く存在していることは、 しばしば 見落とされてしまうことであるように感じます。例えば私のイギリス人の友人も、 日本のチーズが 口に合わなかったとか、 イギリスのチョコレートやヤギのチーズが恋しくてたまらなかったといっ たことを揃えて口にします。 これを機会に改めて留学先の国の文化を満喫することに焦点を当 てると、留学生活がより充実したものになるかもしれません。E Tamaki is a first year student of Sociology.
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象山 W O R D S C H I - C H E N C H U N G (鍾其蓁)
Here Chi-Chen describes ‘Elephant mountain’ in Taipei.
自從台北捷運信義線開通後，象山假日湧入大批朝聖的人潮，再也沒去過象山。 記 得小時候幾乎每個禮拜都和家人去爬象山，每個星期走一樣的路線，卻在每個次看 到不一樣的風景，小時候的視野是超大格的石頭階梯，酸酸的腿肚，額頭上躺著的 汗珠。爬到山頂後的風景是整片的台北市，那時還沒有台北101的影子。 記得那個 是個還沒長高的上午，天空顯得特別遠特別藍，自己帶的水果顯得特別甜。路上有 大塊落石墜落而形成的山洞，山壁間涓涓留下的清水，那些炎熱卻清涼的記憶。往 山下走的路上總會經過最喜歡的鞦韆，手抓著鞦韆的繩子踢著腿，盡全力想盪到最 高處，最接近天空的地方，幾年過去了，不知道鞦韆還在不在，但無法忘記的是那 期待盪鞦韆的心情。 象山，不知道是否仍和記憶中的一樣，或許多了幾樣設施，或許山路鋪得平坦了 些。但永遠是小時候和家人無法抹滅的回憶。E Chi-Chen is studying for an MA in International Marketing Management.
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CHINESE POEM I come from an ancient capital, Declining royal atmosphere, Abandoned tombs of past dynasties; I come from a deserted city, Industrialization and urbanization, Brought haze and pollution; But, People still, Look up to the stars in the sky.
我来自一座旧时的帝都 没落的皇室气息， 废旧的王朝墓穴 我来自一座废都， 工业化和城市化， 带来了雾霾和污染， 但是， 人们依然， 仰望星空。
– Long Yang Yang participated in one of the Leeds Confucius Institute’s workshops (see page 6).
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A Tale of One City WORDS AND PHOTO EAMON BARRETT
n a recent move, which Chairman Mao himself would have been proud of, I used some time from my vacation to travel to a farm, in the south of China, and to learn from the peasants. This didn’t work out entirely as I had envisioned. The farm I stayed at was much more of a leisure farm, with an emphasis on leisure, and furthermore, despite the warm weather – a great relief from the “is it mist or is it smog?” cold of Beijing – it was in fact still winter, so there was little serious farming to be done. So I wasn’t going to be learning much about farming on this stint. Learning about the farmer’s lives was just as difficult to achieve, since not one of them really spoke mandarin. What I learnt, I learnt mainly from observation and occasionally asking the manager slightly invasive questions. Every day I was up by 8am at the latest, and the farmers had already started working. They were busily self-employed, never ever really being given a directive, seemingly instinctively knowing what needed to be done and simply going about doing it. They worked this way until about noon, when they disappeared for a few hours of lunch, and came back at about 2pm, to carry on work until six. They went like this every day, apparently without even a concept of a weekend. But they all seemed happy; chatting lightly and smiling broadly, one man’s face so creased and shrunken by smile lines that he looked a little like a mole poking his face out into the dazzling sun. There seemed to be a quiet contentment in the simplicity of their lives, which in one incident I came to greatly admire. I was out with the manager on bicycles in the nearby town – since this is Guangzhou, where rural turns to urban in a blink – when suddenly she took a fall and hurt her arm. She couldn’t ride the bike back home, so she phoned one of her employees to ask for help. After a brief exchange, she hung up
the phone and told me that the worker was bringing a chē (the mandarin word for vehicle) around to pick up the bike, so we waited. We waited a long time: the farm was only 10 minutes away by bike, it shouldn’t take this long in a car. We waited a while longer. Finally, the help arrived, and I realised why it might have taken so long. This wasn’t exactly the pick-up service I was expecting: an elderly, hunched woman, wearily peddling a solid metal-framed bike, with a small box attached to the back, on top of two nearly tyre-less wheels, one of which was precariously wobbling near the end of its axle. She seemed to struggle to drag the box alone, never mind adding the additional weight of our bike. But here was the chē, and use it we must, so we loaded up the bike and she peddled off, slowly and defiantly, down the middle of the street, assuming as much right to be there as any car, van or bus. The inconvenience this slow, lumbering spectacle might cause to herself or to the other (rather, actual) motorists didn’t even seem to occur to her; all she saw was a solution. I admired that. I have another incident to demonstrate the defiance of rural practices in the face of modern urbanisation, which you’ll thank me for not having pictures of. I was on the subway in Guangzhou, travelling with it as it dived from the city into the heart of the countryside. Standing near me was a country woman and her young child, who evidently needed to pee. I’m not sure whether the woman had first attempted to guide the toddler’s torrent of urine into a bag or not but regardless, a puddle of it soon appeared on the floor. This child had just pissed on the floor of a train. Now, obviously this behaviour is not befitting of a city, but it was the parent’s attempt at a solution which baffled me: she stuck her shoe in the puddle and briefly tried to wipe it into the metal floor. The metal floor, like it was soil. Obviously this didn’t work, but it was her
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belief that it even might which made it seem clear to me that she was not ready for this modern lifestyle. I admired her defiance less. After this, the above picture came to summarise my understanding of the relationship between rural and urban Guangzhou. It seems that Guangzhou is a city which has expanded too quickly, engulfing the neighbouring countryside and forcing the rural population to interact with a modern way of life they haven’t had any time to adapt to. I once asked the manager how much the workers get paid for their days on the farm; the answer came back with 50RMB a day. This works out at about £5 for the day, which is a third of what I get paid an hour for being a part-time teacher in Beijing. Then I asked about the hours they work, and was told that the mole-faced man had actually recently decided he’d rather only work half a day, since he had found he can make more money on his lunch break than he does in
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a day’s work. As it turns out, he spends the majority of his lunch-times with other locals, quietly gambling away – an illegal yet popular pastime in China. I’d say he’s taking a risk halving his already meagre income with the intention of multiplying it on cards, but he’s a gambler: I’m sure he already knows that. Before this I’d thought that, despite their low income and basic lifestyles, the farmers were all pretty contented. They were perhaps even defiantly proud of their basic means, in contrast to the expense of the modern city. But this one man’s willingness to half his hard-earned actual income for the thrill of easy, big money, despite the possibility of easy, big losses, made me think that maybe this is just a façade that can’t be maintained forever. Maybe if the richness of the city wasn’t forever encroaching on their doorstep, they wouldn’t need to be proud, but as they’re being slowly consumed by a world that they can’t adjust to, maybe they haven’t really a choice. E
PHOTO ANDREW JAMES (EYE ON ASIA PARTICIPANT - PAGE 13)
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PHOTO AMY SHARP EYE ON ASIA PARTICIPANT
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Published on Jul 12, 2015
Published on Jul 12, 2015
Features in this edition of EAST magazine include a debate on the controversial Chinese 'One Child Policy', an uncovering of LGBT life in Th...