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

Mussolini’s Grandson in Shanghai, 1933

Posted: January 28th, 2016 | No Comments »

In April 1930, when he was 27 years old, Galeazzo Ciano married Benito Mussolini’s daughter Edda. Soon after their marriage, Ciano left for Shanghai to serve as Italian consul where his partying, womanising and politics became notorious (and she was apparently no slouch either). The oldest of their three children, Fabrizio Benito Costanzo (“Ciccino”), was born in Shanghai on 1 October 1931 and is pictured here with Edda in the city a short while later….

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Heads Up – Royal Asiatic Society Beijing – “History of China in 50 Objects” – February 19th

Posted: January 28th, 2016 | No Comments »

Feb. 19, Friday “History of China in 50 Objects” by Newman Tours for RASBJ

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RASBJ has asked Newman Tours to lead us on an exploration of “The History of China in 50 Objects”, for a fresh perspective on the Middle Kingdom. Inspired by the wildly popular radio series, this tour was created by Newman Tours to explore the human history of China through 50 of the most celebrated art objects in Beijing’s National Museum of China. Our guide will take you on an informative and entertaining journey of 4,000 years, using the most venerated objects of the museum’s collection to illustrate the principal developments of China’s epic history. Hear about reknowned Royal Asiatic Society explorer Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943), the fabled Silk Road archaeologist!

Guests MUST BRING PASSPORTS in order to be able to get into the National Museum – them’s the rules in the People’s Republic!!

WHAT: “History of China in 50 Objects” at the National Museum, organized for RASBJ by Newman Tours

WHEN: Feb 19, Friday 10:00 AM -12 noon

WHERE: Meet at 10:00 AM at Tiananmen East Metro Station Exit D, 天安门东地铁站D出口外面 (on Dong Changan Jie, near Guangchang Dongce Lu: 在东长安街上,靠近广场东侧路)

HOW MUCH: RASBJ members RMB 130, non-members RMB 180

RSVP: email events@rasbj.org and write “50 Objects” in the subject header

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Instructions for Chinese Women and Girls

Posted: January 27th, 2016 | No Comments »

An interesting new re-issue from the equally interesting Taipei-based Camphor Press

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Little known today, Instructions for Chinese Girls and Women has a storied place in Chinese history as the first educational text for women and a standard reference for them from the first century AD all the way into the nineteenth. Polymath author Ban Zhao was perhaps China’s greatest female scholar. A writer, historian, mathematician, and astronomer, she was also a tutor to the ladies of the imperial court and a close confidant of Empress Deng. Although Ban Zhao completed a monumental historical tome on the Western Han dynasty, she would be best remembered for this slighter work – a short handbook of female etiquette in which she advises submissiveness in order to achieve household harmony. A kind of women’s Art of War, there is more yielding than winning in the guidebook, but at least Ban Zhao was a pioneer in asserting that girls should be educated.

Instructions for Chinese Girls and Women is an easy, enjoyable read. It contains passages preaching subservience that will make the modern reader cringe and/or laugh, but there is interesting nuance there for readers with an open mind.

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BOAC’s Great Hong Kong Artwork

Posted: January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

Over the years of its existence British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) consistently produced beautiful posters advertising its London-Hong Kong routes. Sadly BOAC ceased operations in 1974 – the final picture below is from shortly before that….I’ve tried to get them in chronological order…sorry but can’t attribute the artist on most of these…

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david-judd-the-orient-fly-there-by-boac-hong-kong-thailand-cambodia-asiaThis one I do know is from 1961 is by artist David Judd

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1970s-Hong-Kong-by-BOAClate 1960s by Arnold Fujita

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Raising the Colours at Possession Point 175 Years Ago

Posted: January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

Just for the record – January 26th marked the 175th anniversary of Great Britain formally occupying Hong Kong in 1841, which China later formally cedes.

The island was actually occupied on the 20th but Commodore Sir James John Gordon Bremmer raised the Union Jack and claimed Hong Kong as a colony on 26 January 1841. Bremmer rather liked claiming things – in 1824 he claimed the north coast of Australia from 129° to 135° longitude  as British territory. In 1841 Bremmer reported back, “proceeded to Hong Kong, and took formal possession of the island in Her Majesty’s name, and hoisted the colours on it, with the usual salutes and ceremonies.”

He did all that by the way at Possession Point which is now quite a way inland, due to reclamation.

220px-Sir_James_Bremer

 

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Calvin Pearl Titus – America’s last Standard Bearer & the First American over the wall during the Boxer Rebellion

Posted: January 25th, 2016 | No Comments »

Came across this article the other day on the retirement from the US Army of Lieutenant-Colonel Calvin Pearl Titus, bugler, the last American Standard Bearer and the first American over the wall during the Boxer Rebellion. This article from the American press shows he retired in 1930.

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So, here’s the story….born in Clinton, Louisiana in 1879 and raised mostly in Wichita, Kansas, Titus is a veteran of the Spanish-American War (he saw service in the Philippines with Company K of the First Vermont Volunteers) and now a musician with the 14th Infantry’s E Company, the chaplain’s assistant and their Standard Bearer (the guy who holds the flag up front, often was a musician, and invariably the first to get killed!). the 14th were deployed to China as part of the Allied Army to put down the Boxer Rebellion and relieve the Siege of the Legations. When the Americans reached the Tung Pien Gate in Peking (now the Dong Bian Gate, or previously known as the Fox Tower – which readers of my Midnight in Peking will be familiar with) they came under heavy fire. There was an urgent need for volunteers to scale the wall close by the Fox Tower, gain a better vantage point on the other side and then lay down supressive fire while the rest of the 14th advanced. 20-year-ld Titus volunteers. He slings a rope over his shoulder, is hoisted over to the wall, climbs all 30 feet of it, and starts firing off so the rest of the Company can follow his lead. Told what his job was legend has it he replied “I’ll try Sir.” the US Army immortalised in a commissioned painting….

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Titus himself obviously knew the value of a good quote, or at least a newspaper editor back home did – “The trouble in bad in China, so we may have a good time but this regiment knows only one way to go – that is forward.” The rest of the regiment apparently followed him up the wall hoisting up their rifles and ammunition behind them.

1453120363_tmp_Daily_Capital_Journal_Wed__Aug_22__1900_Meanwhile Titus, as the Standard Bearer, stuck the Stars and Stripes in the wall and sounded the bugle for the attack – (the Fox Tower and the portion of the wall Titus climbed are still there…

1 - 096Titus got a medal, the Medal of Honor, from President Teddy Roosevelt himself when he docked back home in 1901 at San Francisco. He also got an appointment to West Point from President McKinley. He retired from the army in 1930 after 30 years service (he’d been a volunteer in the Spanish-American War) and died in 1966, being buried with full military honours in Hollywood, California.

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Shanghai’s January 1932 Refugee Crisis

Posted: January 24th, 2016 | No Comments »

By 24th January 1932 flooding refugees were pouring into Shanghai with many thousands completely destitute. Weather stations along the Yangtze River between Nanking and Shanghai reported rain totaling over 2 feet (24 in) a month in the autumn of 1931 prompting the exodus. Many obviously made their desperate way to Shanghai…

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RAS SHANGHAI LIBRARY WINTER BOOK SALE

Posted: January 23rd, 2016 | No Comments »
RAS LIBRARY WINTER BOOK SALE
Sunday 24 January  2:00 – 5:00 PM
RAS Library at the Sino-British College
1195 Fuxing Zhong Lu
上海市复兴中路1195号
上海理工大学中英国际学院
Need to update your book collection? Come to the
RAS Library’s Winter Book Sale.
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We are in the process of reorganising the library and have identified many duplicate copies that we want to sell so that we can free up space for new acquisitions. The books include hard back copies, paper backs and coffee table style books, both fiction and non fiction. We even have a few children’s books and books in languages other than English or Chinese! We also have duplicate copies of old magazines and periodicals from Shanghai going back many years.
All proceeds will go into the RAS fund to boost our collection and make the Library an even better place to read, meet and relax with a good book.
The Library is located on the second floor of the SBC Learning and Resource Centre Building (with the white balcony). As you enter the main gate to the compound it is the first building on your right.
Hope to see you there!
If you know other book lovers, please feel free to forward this note and invite them to come too!
Questions? “Reply” to this email or write enquiry@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn.
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