Greetings to Everyone:
After the hottest July since 1964, the weather around the country will return to normal this month, according to some climate experts on the news. This is because of the El Nino effect. Last time we had such a big El Nino effect was 1998. I am not sure what you remember about that year’s climate, but my memory is very fresh. That July, the water of the Yangzi River was higher than street level in my hometown and the dam could not prevent the water going into the city. One afternoon my father and grandpa, after work, brought me to the street to learn to swim and put me into an old inflated car tube!
Many soldiers and police were sacrificed in the battle against that flood. But this year’s precipitation in the Yangzi River actually has been bigger. According to my Mom, two weeks ago, it was the Three Gorge Dam that helped prevent the whole middle and lower reaches of the Yangzi River becoming a big pond. Although my home town still had a few lower streets water logged.
Beijing also had over 600 mm of rain from 29th June to 3rd July! Five years ago, on 21st July 2012, there was another terrible storm which struck Beijing, and 79 people died because of that storm! Mainly because of poor storm drainage system design or road design, and quite a few were drowned in a car in an underground tunnel or from falling into a storm well which didn’t have a cap. They were buried under muddy water.
OK, back to our own society which has no worries about being washed out by floods. Daniel and Jenny gave us a really vivid presentation about their 5 years living in Hangzhou. I was grinning many times when they mentioned about things that I am familiar with as well, for example the air pollution, people traveling, broken bridge, lotus, and cycling around the lake. I can picture all of this in my mind because I live right next to a lake in my home town as well and doing exactly the same things that this young couple did every week for over 5 years.
When it comes to this month’s meeting, we had a quick discussion last time regarding whether we should still have it because Brenda and Norma will both be away. However, thanks to myself Tony, Patricia and Karyn McCready as well as Jenny Carruthers we can still organise this meeting and will have a report on what happened during our national conference. We will still have shared lunch as usual. ____________________________________________________________________________________
This month’s meeting time will be:
DATE: SUNDAY 27 August
TIME: 12:30 P.M.
VENUE: ROTORUA ARTS VILLAGE, 1240 Hinemaru Street _____________________________________________________________________________________
September’s meeting will be Prof. Yang from Victory University’s Confucius Institute. She will come and give us a talk. There will be no shared lunch. More about this in next months newsletter.
This month I am going to discuss the second chapter of “Chinese Characteristics: Economy”.
In this chapter, Smith discusses three aspects of Chinese economy during the Qing Dynasty; limiting the number of wants, preventing waste and the adjustment of forces in such a manner as to make a little represent a great deal. Because of its complex nature, I will talk about the first aspect this time and the rest in next two newsletters. In this chapter, Smith described the Chinese people’s daily food costs could be as low as two cents per day at that time. Their available food was only: rice, beans in various preparations, millet, garden vegetables and fish. Without inflation adjustment, it is hard to compare the value of that ‘two cents’ at current stage. If you have been to a street market in China in the last few years, you can still be amazed by the different vegetable available. For many of them, you might think that “these are just some random weeds from the field” but I grew up eating them with different types of seasoning every year.
In 1970s and early 1980s, China was still under a ration economy. At that time everything was not sold using money, but with tokens. I remember my Mother mentioning that each adult was only allocated with 500g soy oil, 10kg rice, 4-5kg pork and some seasoning ingredients each month. The most luxurious thing was eating the pig raised by your family during the year at the Spring Festival. That’s the time when you can see oil floating on top of each dish and you can taste the pure pork fat.
Tony Li, Editor