Posted: December 2nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Just a quick plug – I’ve got a piece on the creation and persistence of Asia post-WW2 dynasties in The Diplomat – the piece is anchoring and introducing a series of country-specific pieces…..
click here…you get a bit and then need The Diplomat’s FREE app….
Posted: December 1st, 2015 | No Comments »
An interesting new book on Qing era artistic encounters between China and the West – Qing Encounters….
Qing Encounters: Artistic Exchanges between China and the West examines how the encounters between China and Europe in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries transformed the arts on both sides of the East-West divide. The essays in the volume reveal the extent to which images, artifacts, and natural specimens were traded and copied, and how these materials inflected both cultures’ visions of novelty and pleasure, battle and power, and ways of seeing and representing. Artists and craftspeople on both continents borrowed and adapted forms, techniques, and modes of representation, producing deliberate, meaningful, and complex hybrid creations. By considering this reciprocity from both Eastern and Western perspectives, Qing Encounters offers a new and nuanced understanding of this critical period.
Posted: November 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
Welcome news that the Cultural Heritage Council of Macau (CPC) has begun the process to classify two buildings in the central part of the old town as heritage structures. The two buildings (below) are located at the intersection of Rua Central with Calçada de Santo Agostinho and Calçada do Teatro. they are both approximately 130 years old. As well asbeing the oldest on the street they are the only ones to largely retain their original features, though termite damage has been quite severe and a lot of restoration, particularly to the wooden portions and the brick wall beams of the buildings will be required. Good to see that the CPC voted to start and fund the conservation work.
Built in 1848, Rua Central has St. Augustine’s Church located in the middle of the street and has the Chinese name “Long Song”. It was an early site of Portuguese settlement, hence the early European-style buildings, including churches. From the mid-17th century to the late 18th century, prosperous foreign firms and enterprises relocated from Rua dos Mercadores to Nam Van district and Rua Central. Before Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro was built, Rua Central was the transport hub for local residents coming and going between the Inner Harbour and Colina da Penha. the street has changed somewhat over the decades as seen below:
Rua Central c.1920s
Posted: November 29th, 2015 | No Comments »
I’ll be on a panel this Tuesday (1/12/15) talking about China, World War One and the Chinese Labour Corps…all welcome – click on the below for more details….
Posted: November 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
Tuesday 1 December 2015
7:00 PM for 7:15 PM start
Radisson Blu Plaza Xingguo Hotel, Tavern Bar
78 XingGuo Road, Shanghai
The Remarkable Story of One of the World’s Most Fascinating Cities
John Darwin van Fleet
John van Fleet presents a breathtaking romp through the city’s Tokyo’s history from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century, with, using lots of images, writings and clippings to bring back to life those far-off days.
“A unique, kaleidoscopic and immensely reader-friendly approach to the history of one of the world’s great cities. This book belongs on every Japanophile’s shelf alongside Seidensticker’s High City, Low City.” Mark Schreiber, columnist, Japan Times
“Fire, earthquake, aerial bombardment, fevered construction, fevered reconstruction and re-re-reconstruction have erased and replaced Tokyo many times over. Van Fleet’s Tales retrieves the city from its traces, jolting the reader with Tokyo as it is in the mind’s eye: an explosion of newspaper clippings, police blotters, big character posters, scandal photos, mementos, flags, propaganda, advertisement and scribbled, personal observations – the invisible feast that feeds the spirits of those who have made the city their own.” Michael Thomas Cucek, Adjunct Professor, Sophia University; Temple University Japan Editor-in-Chief, Shisaku
John Van Fleet was raised in Southern California and completed an undergraduate in English and American Literature at the University of Southern California (USC). He moved to Japan in 1991, spending ten years there before relocating to greater China, where he has lived since, first in Taipei and now in Shanghai. While he’s primarily employed as Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the Global Executive MBA in Shanghai (GEMBA), a collaboration between USC and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, he spends his spare time considering the east Asian historical and sociopolitical environment.
An op-ed contributor for the China Economic Review, a reviewer/contributor for the Journal of International Business Education, and a regular reviewer for the Asian Review of Books, Van Fleet is currently working on two new projects – one the story of a tragic couple in Japan in the last decade, the other a collection of essays looking at the interactions of Japan and China, past and present.
Talk Cost: RMB 70.00 (RAS members) and RMB 100.00 (non-members). Includes glass of wine or soft drink. Those unable to make the donation but wishing to attend may contact us for exemption.
Membership applications and membership renewals will be available at this event.
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Posted: November 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
. After fourteen years service the final detachment of US 4th Marines were pulled out of Shanghai on November 28th, 1941….looks like it was a rainy day…..those Leathernecks got a good soaking waiting to embark.
Posted: November 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
The old railway station in Zhangjiakou (formerly Kalgan) closed last July. It’s future at that point became a little unclear. However, Zhangjiakou’s city government has apparently applied to become a world heritage site. This may seem a bit excessive for a fairly small railway station building but a) getting the UNESCO involved might be a better way to preserve the site than a locally-ordained heritage listing (anyone in Beijing or Shanghai will know how worthless these have proved and b) Zhangjiakou’s cadres, like cadres all over China, are keen to have UNESCO sites in their bailiwicks and to be honest, there ain’t much else from the period to preserve in the town.
The station was built in 1909 as the end point of the Peking-Kalgan railway, a Chinese built, funded and operated railway line (while many were financed by overseas bonds and operated by various foreign entities) that was constructed between 1905-1909. Kalgan (and the word Kalgan is still on the old station) is the route up to Russia and the Tea Road. It once attracted all manner of people on the run, gun running and smuggling as well as expeditions (I’ve blogged previously about Kalgan’s Mongol Gate and Pioneer Inn).
The old station (as above) had become known as the north station with a new (at least new in 1957 and quite sort of Mongol-Modernist!) is now used called the south station.
I’m not sure what is included in the listing application to UNESCO – obviously the ticket office building but also, hopefully, the passenger platforms with wrought iron coverings along the platform (if they are indeed still there – they were in 2010 as below, but now?). Below you can see the platform adjacent to a new and typically white lavatory tile Chinese structure. The second picture below shows the rear of the station building proper and its relation to the platforms.
Posted: November 27th, 2015 | No Comments »
In the years immediately after the liberation of Shanghai in 1945 the issue of refugee and displaced person (DPs) relocation was a pressing one. Initially America did take in a large number of Jewish refugees stranded in Shanghai – though not all by any means. Others went out to Australia, Canada, Brazil and others places (India, Hong Kong etc etc). But the quota system used by America after World War Two created a problem for the large number of Polish-Jewish refugees, who numbered about 2,000. Most it seems wanted to go to the USA, obviously already with a sizeable Polish-American population but many Poles in Poland also wanted to emigrate to the US.
“It is expected to take many years before the Shanghai Jewish refugees will be admitted” says the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle in December 1947. Actually the communist victory in 1949 would speed up this process but it was still a time of great uncertainty, poverty and unemployment for many refugees stuck in Shanghai having escaped fascism in Europe and presumably not much fancying heading back to a Soviet controlled country now in the Eastern Bloc.