“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Old Shanghai’s King Hwa Restaurant

Posted: May 28th, 2020 | No Comments »

Along with the Nanking Restaurant the King Hwa was probably one of od Shanghai’s best known Cantonese restaurants and one frequented by both Shanghainese and Shanghailanders. It operated for many years on Foochow Road (Fuzhou Lu)….

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Heads Up – July 24 – Singapore Book Council Online Workshop – Based on a True Story: Writing Compelling Literary Non-Fiction

Posted: May 27th, 2020 | No Comments »

Learn how to write compelling true stories, from family memoirs to true crime from the author of Midnight in Peking and City of Devils….organised by the Singapore Book Council – more details and booking here

How do writers bring the past alive? Is it all right to guess at a historical character’s motivations or put words into his / her mouth? When does creative non-fiction turn into historical fiction?

In this workshop, participants will learn how to investigate and tell true stories in entertaining ways under the guidance of Paul French, author of a number of acclaimed books including Midnight in Peking and City of Devils. French will also talk about researching family histories in China and using unexpected sources to get at the essence of an era.

Participants will be guided on what they would require; their ‘toolkit’, when planning for a work based on a true story – be it family history or true crime. The workshop will address considerations such as source materials, choosing an appropriate genre and writing style, plot, voice and tense for creative non-fiction.

The workshop will also touch on the creation of an exciting and compelling opening for the story that both grabs the reader and explains the core elements (period, genre, style, plot arc) of the true story.

This workshop will be conducted via the Zoom platform.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The Japanese Ambassador’s Christmas Poem to the Nazis, 1940

Posted: May 26th, 2020 | No Comments »

Talking the other day about Julia Boyd’s Travellers in the Third Reich i also learnt that in Christmas 1940 the Nazi newspapers published a poem by the Japanese ambassador:

Look the morning is approaching over the Holy Shrine

The Day of East Asia is coming.

Merrily the swastika and the red, white, and green banner are

Flying in the wind

It will be Spring in Europe’s countries

Make of that what you will?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

“The Pagoda Project” by Isaac Duffy, an RASBJ online talk followed by QA

Posted: May 24th, 2020 | No Comments »

“The Pagoda Project” by Isaac Duffy
an RASBJ online talk

WHAT: “The Pagoda Project” by Isaac Duffy, an RASBJ online talk followed by QA
WHEN: June 3, 2020 19:00-20:00 Beijing Standard Time
WHERE: Online via Zoom
HOW MUCH: Free exclusively for RASBJ members and invitees. If someone you know wants to join RASBJ, ask them to Wechat MembershipRASBJ or go to www.rasbj.org
HOW TO BECOME AN RASBJ MEMBER:
If you’d like to become an RASBJ member (or, for PRCpassport holders, to become an Associate) please Wechat MembershipRASBJ and send your name, nationality, mobile number and email address plus the annual subscription amount (or, for Associates, the suggestion donation) of RMB 300for those resident in China, RMB 200 for those resident overseas and RMB 100for students. If you join RASBJ by June 1, you’ll receive login details for this event.

MORE ABOUT THE EVENT: The pagoda forms an integral component of China’s incredibly rich architectural heritage. Scattered all across the country in many different forms, shapes, and sizes, these evocative structures have a history stretching back 2,500 years. But what actually is a pagoda? And how many of them are left? The answers might surprise you. Isaac Duffy will introduce Chinese pagodas with a brief history and explain his team’s ongoing efforts to create the world’s first online pagoda museum and archive. The team plans to visit, document, and photograph every historic pagoda in China — and is giving RASBJan exclusive sneak preview into “The Pagoda Project” before its upcoming public launch.
MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Isaac Duffy is an amateur art historian whose interest lies in heritage protection and conservation. He previously spent a year working in the Western Himalayas on the Matho Monastery Museum Project: helping restore and preserve a 600-year old Buddhist Monastery’s art collection and build an onsite museum. He has now lived in Beijing for two years, during which he has become particularly interested in traditional Chinese architecture.
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Being Chinese in Nazi Germany…

Posted: May 23rd, 2020 | 1 Comment »

I recently read Julia Boyd’s excellent study of those foreigners who spent time in Nazi Germany and what they wrote, thought and said – Travellers in the Third Reich. Boyd previously wrote a good book about the foreign colony of Peking – A Dance with the Dragon. But Travellers reminded me of Ji Xianlin’s memoir, from which Boyd quotes several times. Ji, a Sanskrit scholar studying for his Phd at Heidelberg University was trapped in Germany by the war and couldn’t get back to China until 1946. On a visit to Berlin sometime in 1942 he sought out a functioning restaurant run by some Chinese from Tianjin:

‘It was like entering a strange world. The room was full of my fellow countrymen, mostly businessmen with gold teeth. I felt that I had arrived in a region of demons, black marketeers and crooks. Chinese students were also there, behaving like their brothers, dealing in the black market and playing mah-jong. Very few were concentrating on their studies. I felt frozen with fear for China’s future.’

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Talking New Books on China and Writing on RTHK3’s Morning Brew

Posted: May 21st, 2020 | No Comments »

for anyone interested – I note Robert Bickers’s new book on Swire and Jonathan Kaufman’s forthcoming The Last Kings of Shanghai about the Kadoorie’s and Sassoons…click here

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Heads Up – Murders of Old China at the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong – June 5

Posted: May 18th, 2020 | No Comments »

This is an online Zoom lecture by Paul French, it will be linked to his book Murders of Old China.

One country rich in history, 12 unsolved murders. Reopening the archives on China’s long forgotten past.

Why did a remote police station, built to combat pirates, find itself at the centre of a murder-suicide after a constable went on the rampage? How did Chinese gangsters avoid conviction after serving a deadly dinner to Frenchtown’s elite? And why is the Foreign Office still withholding a key document to solving a murder that took place in the Gobi desert in 1935?

By delving deep into 12 of China’s most fascinating murder cases, Murders of Old China delivers a fast- paced journey through China’s early 20th-century history – including its criminal underbelly.

Uncovering previously unknown connections and exposing the lies, Paul French queries the verdict of some of China’s most controversial cases, interweaving true crime with China’s chaotic and complicated history of foreign occupation and Chinese rival factions.

Access to online lectures

The RASHK hosts online lectures over the Zoom application, downloadable on computer at https://zoom.us/ or smartphone on any app store.

Specific details to access the Zoom calls that we will be using will be circulated via correspondence emails prior to each online lecture.

Admission: free of charge

Booking: If you intend to attend an online lecture, please email membership@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk to let us know in advance.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Royal Asiatic Society China Journal 2020 – Receiving Submissions Now

Posted: May 11th, 2020 | No Comments »

The RAS Journal is now receiving submissions for the 2020 edition. Authors intending to submit an article must send an abstract or article outline to the editor before 31 May 2020, and completed articles will be due 3 July 2020.

Click here for submission guidelines.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter