The Branch AGM will be held at 7.30pm sharp and is expected to take approximately 30 minutes, followed by a DVD, Yangshuo, the Global Village of China.
Where: Hastings District Council Chambers in Lyndon Road.
Yangshuo is south-east of Guilin and world famous for it’s scenery of spectacular mountains, the Li River, strange peaks and fascinating caves. The light show Impressions of Sanjie Liu utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, with twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop. Yangshuo also has the largest ‘English corner’ in China and has become a truly international village.
Note: There will be no meeting in April
May 10 – John Chen will teach us the basics of the board game Go
June 7 – Come to our Chinese ‘steamboat’ mid-Winter dinner and see how it is done.
Last Meeting: Acclaimed Chinese Artist Zhang Song Tao
Over 50 people had the privilege of seeing Master Artist Zhang Song Tao demonstrate his work. Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers welcomed Zhang to Hastings and commented on his display of paintings hanging below the pictorial history of Hastings.
International Cultures’ Day
Thank you everyone who helped make this year’s International Cultures’ Day such a success. Early in the morning the park was busy with stalls being set up and flags being strung around Cornwall Park by Mike Earle, Tom Paramore and Dave Padfield. Regardless of what is happening around them, Tai Chi Master Chan is by this tree every Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 9am and he says, ‘Please join me and I’ll teach you’. Our NZCFS stall was very successful and the food delicious and performances superb.
Go to our Facebook page for more photos
China Book Review by Matthew Griffiths
My Path Leads to Tibet, Sabriye Tenberken
(Arcade Publishing 2000, Ulverscroft Large Print 2000)
A young blind German woman goes to Tibet to start a school for blind children, and introduces a Tibetan version of Braille as well. Too far fetched for a novel? Maybe, but this is not a novel, it’s the true story of Sabriye Tenberken.
As a girl she suffered from poor eyesight, which left her blind by the age of twelve. After struggling in her local school she went to a school for the blind and blossomed, completing her education, as well as learning to ride horses. After high school she enrolled at university and studied Asian history and geography, along with Chinese and Tibetan languages.
No blind student had ever attempted these studies and to assist her own study, she invented a system of Braille for the Tibetan language. During this time she heard about the situation of blind children in Tibet where due to the high altitude, bright sunlight and health problems, blindness is prevalent. Adding to this many Tibetans’ attitudes toward the blind were negative and children were often kept at home and were not able to attend school or contribute to their families.
With great determination and a refusal to accept anything less than success, she decided to travel to Tibet and investigate the conditions of blind people there with a view to starting a school for blind children to teach them skills, which would make them useful to their communities and allow them to participate in society.
The book describes the challenges in making this dream a reality. First the scepticism of friends and professors in Germany, then the impenetrable mysteries of Chinese and Tibetan bureaucracy. Equally challenging and frustrating in turn was the lukewarm support from and difficulties in working with a German development organisation and government departments that sponsored and contributed funding for the work. In Tibet she faced the problem of who to trust and who not to, as she doggedly pursued her plan.
Sabriye’s story also provides an insight into the experience of a blind person and the techniques they can use to move around and deal with the challenges of everyday life. The physical and emotional difficulties for a young woman in a demanding environment pursuing a dream make this a unique read. It’s a fascinating and inspiring story.
My Path Leads to Tibet is available from the Hastings and Napier Public Libraries[Matthew Griffiths is a long time member of the New Zealand China Friendship Society. He loves Chinese food, has visited China many times, studied Mandarin, and attempted to learn Tai chi. He and his Chinese-born wife Deborah have two bilingual children. They lived in China from 2008 to 2010 and he still can’t get enough.]