ICCS Newsletter Autumn 2009



1. Programme
2. Tao Kiang 1929 -- 2009
3. The Origins of Greed by Tao Kiang
4. "Joseph Needham and China"
5. "The Jesuits in China"
6. "Emergent China"
7. "Chengde and the Imperial Mountain Resort"
8. Summer(!) Outing
9. From the Annual Report
10. Chinese New Year 2010 and St Valentine.
11. Did you know...?
12. Evening Courses
13. Chinese Snuff Boxes at the Chester Beatty Library

1. Programme

For information on our programme, click HERE.   

Remember our meeting venue,

United Arts Club,
3 Fitzwilliam Street,

(just off Baggot Street,)
Dublin 2.

2. Tao Kiang 1929 -- 2009

Professor Tao Kiang, Founder Member and past President, died suddenly on March 26th, 2009. At the Remembrance Service held on April 9th 2009 in the Unitarian Church, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, the following biographical note was included by the family with the order of service.

The last photo of Tao, 25th March 2009,
taken during his ICCS talk.

Tao Kiang (Jiang Tao) was born in 1929 in Yangzhou, China. He and his four siblings grew up in turbulent times; the country was at war with Japan, and divided internally between old imperialist values and new communist ideals. Tao, as the eldest son, was sent to Europe to escape these dangers, at the age of 15. He would not be able to return to China for 20 years.

After a brief stint in newly-liberated Paris, Tao moved to London to study engineering, English, music and (eventually) maths. There he met and married his first wife, Chen Xiao Ying. Despite the arrival of a baby girl, Rosalind, the marriage was short-lived, and Tao and Xiao Ying went their separate ways.

Tao's whole life was characterised by a lively curiosity in intellectual, philosophical and spiritual matters. This led him to a theosophy conference in 1957, where he met Trudi Kaczmarek. They would be married a year later.

They lived in London for the next eight years, and had a son, Ingmar, and two daughters, Sophie and Tanya. While Tao's scientific career took flight, he also managed to pursue an ever-widening circle of interests: taking up the recorder and the piano, Polish and Scottish dancing, as well as completing studies in English literature. In 1964 Tao was finally able to go back to his beloved China, a trip which brought great joy to him and the family to which he returned. Two years later, having attained his PhD in astronomy, he became Chief Astronomer at Dunsink Observatory, Dublin. In 1975, his youngest daughter, Jessica, was born.

Tao became one of the lynchpins of the Chinese community in Dublin, and he came to visit and revisit China with increasing frequency as the years went by. In 1975 he co-founded the Irish-Chinese Cultural Society, which is dedicated to strengthening the ties of understanding between the two countries. It was to this society that Tao gave a very well-received talk about his life, just the night before he died.

Following his retirement, Tao had maintained a busy schedule, continuing his work as translator of Chinese Astronomy and Astrophysics, the publication he had helped establish, editing papers and mentoring young students. Always a lover of fine food, Tao also had a great interest in wine, and was a long-standing member of wine club Preamble. He was a member of the Probus discussion group, and also sang as a tenor with the Bray Choral Society. Philosophically, in his last years Tao came to identify himself as a humanist, and had become an active member of the Humanist Association of Ireland.

Tao died suddenly in Milan on the 26th March 2009, on the first leg of what was to be a short holiday with Trudi in Locarno, Switzerland. He was lively, full of plans, thoughts and really terrible puns, to the very last. We will miss him in ways we cannot yet imagine, and as a great friend, a darling husband and a beloved father, we are proud to have known and loved him.

As can be seen, Tao was a person of exceptionally diverse interests, a fact reflected by the wide variety of people among the huge attendance at that Memorial Service. Here it is appropriate to say more about his involvement with our Society, and about Tao as we knew him.

Founder Members Dell Lundy and Tao Kiang
Tao was a Founder Member of the ICCS, and was elected Vice-President at the inaugural meeting in May 1975. He was President from 1979 to 1982, and was on the Committee almost continuously until 2000, serving as Treasurer for two separate terms. During that time, and since, he contributed many talks to the society.

Tao, with great help from Trudi, for many years edited a beautifully produced and bound magazine called "Chinese Culture". This had substantial articles of high quality by various contributors, including Tao himself. This has lapsed for some years, but just a week before his death Tao was talking about his wish to see it revived. (He also recalled that a special issue had been produced in December 1985 for the visit to Dublin of the Terracotta Warriors. This was put on sale at the exhibition in Kilmainham, and in fact was the only item of literature available there. The demand was huge. Tao rushed off and got a second edition printed, something like a thousand copies, and it was a complete sell-out; a great financial boost for the Society.)

There is a Government organisation in China called "the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries", or Youxie for short. A major feature of the ICCS is that, though completely non-political, it is in communion with Youxie: we host delegations from Youxie to Ireland, and they host delegations from the ICCS to China. Many wonderful trips have taken place, and many warm friendships have formed, through this arrangement.

The initial contact was entirely Tao's initiative. When he was in Beijing in July 1978, he called on the CPAFFC, and told them about our Society. Two years later the first exchange visits took place.

Jin Di and Tao Kiang
Tao looked up with admiration to a great practitioner and theorist of literary translation, Jin Di, who translated "Ulysses" into Chinese. Through Tao's contact, and through Trudi's and Tao's kindness in accommodating him in the house in Bray, Jin came to Dublin in the Bloomsday Centenary year, 2004, and gave a talk to the ICCS which was a memorable highlight for the Society.

It is right to mention that Tao worked tirelessly, and in many ways, to further astronomy in China. As well as his prodigious translating work, and his encouragement of young Chinese astronomers (there was even "the Tao Kiang astronomical paper writing award"), he was an advocate at international gatherings. Former colleague Dr Ian Elliot described him as an "astronomical bridge between China and the West", whose hard work finally bore fruit in 1982 with the admission of China to membership of the International Astronomical Union. Fellow astronomer Zhou YouYuan paid tribute to Tao's "important role in leading Chinese astronomy on to the world academic stage". Small wonder, then, that he was an honoured guest at the 1984 National Day parade which he mentioned in the last talk which he gave to the Society. (A reconstruction of this talk will be given in our next Newsletter.)

Tao had a total understanding of Western modes of thought. There was never the slightest comprehension gap when talking with him. (And it is remarkable that when, around 1980, he was giving extra-mural lectures on Chinese in UCD, he could explain various linguistic points about Chinese by alluding to comparable constructions in a number of different European languages.) In short, he was fully at home in two civilisations, Chinese and Western.
This was a direct advantage in some of his astronomical research: for example, his work on Halley's comet. In collaboration with a co-worker, using NASA computers, he combined ancient Chinese observations with Western data to calculate accurately details of past and future appearances of the comet.

But Tao was not only a two civilisations man; he was a complete two cultures man, in the C.P.Snow Arts/Science sense. His knowledge of, and involvement with, Chinese literature and philosophy was amazing, and the wideness of his reading in Western literature, philosophy and history was also amazing.
In his later years he thought very deeply on the basic problems facing humanity, not in an abstract way only, but in the hope of contributing to a solution.

Tao was a wonderful man, and his death is a huge blow. To his devoted wife Trudi, to his children Ingmar, Sophie, Tanya, Jessica, and Rosalind, and to all his family, goes the deepest sympathy of the Society.


This is an article which Tao was preparing for publication before his sudden death. Essentially complete, it is reproduced here by permission of Trudi Kiang.

The excellent article by Serwer and Sloan (Time Magazine Sept 29, 2008) has pinpointed the cause of the latest crisis in world finance: people have been too greedy in the last two years, recklessly borrowing and lending money inside a collective bubble of an illusion.

Greed, of course, is not a new thing. Pressing as the present crisis is, a larger perspective is undertaken here, based on my own observations in diverse fields, and ending on the prospect of a future fit for humans.

Oilrig.gif Two decades ago the Cold War ended. The world had barely recovered from its shadows, on came a succession of local hot wars each with its own quota of misery of the more tangible kind. Why ? Greed, I say, is again the root cause; greed, this time, not on the part of individual persons or financial corporations, but on the part of whole countries. And not for money, but essentially for oil.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, some of the states in the Middle East were among the poorest in the world. Then oil was found, and overnight they became among the richest. But greed within meant the new wealth was not shared amongst the citizenry, and greed without prompted foreign fingers in the pie.

TaoA2.jpg Greed is when we want more than we need. Greed is pure foolishness when we want more than we can enjoy. We all laugh at the old man who says, "I still chase girls, but I've forgotten why". Substitute "money" and "oil" for "girls", we should all be laughing at ourselves.

The homely wisdom wrapped inside this chuckle is welcome now more than ever, as mankind is about to enter its next Aladdin's cave. As surely as coal was replaced by oil in our time, so will oil be replaced by the vastly more powerful source of energy that is locked up in every little bit of mass, as stated in Einstein's formula, E equals m c-squared. (According to this formula, the energy of piling up the largest pyramid of Egypt is equivalent to the mass of no more than a grain of sand:-- if you don't believe the sums, ask a high-school member of your family to show you.)

At this point, I hear some experts interject, "but we have been working on this holy grail for years now and have not succeeded. Maybe it is not a practical proposition, or at least not for a good while yet". Now, more or less the same pessimistic note was voiced by Einstein himself 20 or so years after he announced his formula, in regard to getting energy out of the atom, for he then shared with the experts of the time the notion that it would take more energy to fire a projectile into an atom than can ever be got out of it. But we know what happened: the neutron was discovered by some outsiders not particularly connected with the business, and the idea dawned that if we just use the neutron as the projectile then the whole energy balance sheet will be reversed. Major discoveries in technology have a habit of turning up serendipitously.

The implications can be tremendously bad or tremendously good. Bad, if we continue to allow ourselves to be greed-driven; good, if we realize that this virtually unlimited source of energy in fact promises to remove the very origin of greed. Let me explain.

It is widely held that greed is human nature, hence we can't do much about it. I do not agree. This widely held opinion is just intellectual laziness. I maintain that greed is not human nature; rather, it originated in the circumstance of limited resources prior to written history.

I was led to this insight by a heart-warming event well worth retelling. In 2005, while physicists were celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Einstein's formula, the British TV Channel 4 asked Londoners to vote for a First New Commandment. And the overwhelming choice was "Treat others in the same way as you would like them to treat you". To me it seemed that humanity had at last come of age. This proclamation by Londoners of today immediately recalls Confucius' summing-up of morality of 2500 years ago, "What you do not like, do not do to others". But inevitably, also the natural follow-up question, "Why stop at this negative formulation, why not an out and out doing good to others?" Apparently, a direct answer to this question only appeared some 1500 years later, when a Sung scholar commented on a famous, more spelt-out verbatim message by Confucius' spiritual heir, Mencius. Mencius.jpg The passage runs, "if each household with an acre of land grows a mulberry tree, and tends domestic animals with care, then the over-50s can wear silk, and the over-70s can eat meat", and the Sung commentary is that there was just not enough silk or meat for everybody, so the older people are given preference. Thus, the limited form of the Confucian commandment can be traced back to the circumstance of limited resources. This led me to think that greed may have a similar origin.

The written histories of mankind are indeed full of examples of the working of greed, from the Bible down to the latest economic theories. Of course, in the texts, greed often goes under the name of respect for private property or capitalism. Thus we find in the Old Testament, alongside the loftiest mystical musings, domestic inventories of sheep and cattle. And this is no wonder, when we remember the Old Testament was written by people who were children of slaves in Egypt, when Egypt was already a place where human dignity was equated with material possession. And what is true of Egypt is true of all human civilizations. So to examine whether or not greed is innate human nature we must go further back in time.
Before the time of written history, man was essentially a hunter, and his chief concern was to wrest a livelihood by killing other animals. To him the whole land was his hunting ground, every other man was someone who can help kill the animal and then share the spoils if for no other reason than that refrigerators weren't around then. In short, at that stage, the idea of private possession just wasn't there.

But when man became farmer, things changed. Here, he finds a patch of land with flowing water, this he works throughout the warm season, just to get a limited amount of grain at the end, barely enough to last him and his family through the coming lean times. Of course, he wants to keep the grain for himself and claim the piece of land as his. So the idea of private property was born. This is just prudence, and when resources are scarce, prudence means survival.

Meanwhile the remaining hunters would gradually transform themselves into herdsmen. Although not so strongly tied to land, they still needed land for their animals to move about, and they would certainly have developed a sense of private property in regard to their herd. And some of them may have even hit on the idea that now it may be easier for them to make a living by raiding the farmers than dealing with the animals. Conflict between the farmer and the herdsman was inevitable. The story of the First Fratricide is popular in world folklores. It is interesting to note in passing that in the Jewish version, it is the farmer who killed the herdsman; in the more mythologized, Egyptian version, it is the other way round.

In response to this and possibly other pressures, the farmers organized themselves into ever larger groups: homesteads merged into villages, towns came into being, then grew into cities. And civilization began. At each stage of this development, man would devise laws, customs and institutions to safeguard their possessions so planting in their children’s minds ever greater reverence for private property. Until, at the present time, in some Arab countries, thieves will have their hands cut off; and not so long ago in the British Isles, stealing a sheep incurred the death penalty. Although we now speak of these practices rather disapprovingly, and are even beginning to talk about the rights of burglars, showing that public opinion on this issue is softening, the softening attitude has yet to filter through to national policies, which are still based on out and out self-interest.

Philosopher.jpg Greed was identified by the Buddha as one of the three root causes of the unsatisfactory nature of human existence, which the sage told us to purge from our hearts. By identifying the materialistic origin, I have taken moral and spiritual considerations out of the equation. On the other hand, it will be naive to expect that once the world becomes one of material plenty, as for example, through the realization of E-equals-m-c-squared, that greed will disappear. No, greed has gone too deep into our psyche for this to happen. To rid ourselves of this deep-seated source of evil, the key step is to recognize that while greed had a natural origin, its deep-seatedness is due to centuries of brain-washing through man-made customs and institutions. We must, as the Chinese Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu advised, distinguish what is of nature and what is of man.

The founder of the Taoist philosophy, Lao Tzu, seeing that all evils (including greed) seem to accompany civilization, advised people to forsake civilization altogether, to stop all research, to go back to nature and so on. This programme of Lao Tzu's will never work, because it ignores the evolving nature of human society, and the fact that man is naturally curious. As long as man is curious, he will mess about, continue to research, including finding a way to realize e-equals-m-c-squared.

But "curiosity kills the cat", I can hear the wise shout. Well, I think man will eventually be saved by one thing that the cat does not have: humour and reflection. As long as he can laugh at the old man mentioned earlier and then reflect that he is no less laughable himself, he will be able to pull himself away from the brink of self-destruct. Nay, more, he will then take full advantage of a world of plenty that he has realized, and say goodbye to a life largely spent in material acquisition and start.to lead a life of creativity and contemplation, toward realizing all his potentialities.

4. January Talk -"Joseph Needham and China",
by Justin Keating

In January we were treated to a most stimulating and entertaining talk by a speaker distinguished in several spheres. Needham.jpg Justin Keating has had distinguished careers as an academic. a broadcaster, a TD a Minister for Industry and Commerce, a Senator and an MEP. He is President of the Irish Humanist Association, a Master Farmer and an accomplished chef who nearly won the title of Best Amateur Chef in the UK!

The subject of his fascinating talk was Joseph Needham, an English polymath who fell in love with China and compiled a seven-volume encyclopedic series of books, "Science and Civilization in China", which grew to over twenty volumes and is recognised as the most comprehensive study of many aspects of China, its people and their accomplishments over the ages.

Needham grew up in a manse near Cambridge and, although a fervent Communist, remained strong in his Anglican faith giving many sermons in his native parish.

Justin had met him in London at Marxist soirées where he had gone to hear the philosopher-scientist JD Bernal, whom he admired greatly. He also met there the famous historian, Eric Hobsbawm.

Justin’s talk brought Needham alive for the rapt audience and we marvelled at the breadth of knowledge and vision of this great friend of China and the Chinese.

He was a major influence in getting the Western world to recognise how far the Chinese had come in scientific discovery long before us. Justin listed just a few surprising examples of the several hundred inventions that we owe to Chinese innovation.

Needham died in 1995 at the age of 95. His life’s work, the great Science and Civilization in China, continues to be developed and to grow in size.

5. February Talk - "The Jesuits in China"
by Fr Tom Morrissey SJ

Fr Tom started by telling us about St Francis Xavier who was sent as a papal legate in the 16th century, first to Goa and then Japan. The Japanese told him that they would be more willing to go along with his teaching if he succeeded in convincing the Chinese first. Alessandro Valignano, a lawyer, succeeded him as superior of the Jesuit missions in India, Japan and China. When in Padua he had received Matteo Ricci, also a lawyer, into the Society of Jesus.

TomMorrisseyc.jpg Valignano also appointed Michele Ruggieri to head up the Chinese mission. Ruggieri established a policy of inculturation whereby all missionaries would become wellversed in Chinese language, philosophy and culture before being sent into the field – a policy which was adhered to by the Jesuit missioners for many years.

The most successful proponent of this was Matteo Ricci, who steeped himself in the study of Buddhism and was extremely proficient in Chinese, so much so that he was able to debate and discuss many aspects of mathematics, astronomy, philosophy and various scientific subjects, including horology (the science of clockmaking), with Chinese savants. So impressed were the scholars that many in the Imperial Court became converts, notably Xu Guangqi (Xsu Kuang -Chi), who was the Grand Secretary.

Chinese scholars had always considered their Empire as the centre of the earth (the Middle Kingdom) and were surprised to learn from Ricci of the extent of the rest of the world. They were very impressed when he was able to predict an eclipse when their scholars had failed to make an accurate prediction, and took on his method of calculation. Ricci (an accomplished cartographer) compiled an atlas of China and drew them a map of the world with China in the centre. They were relieved to learn that Europe was so far away and unlikely to invade!

Ricci (also a musician) made them a spinet which they played along with their own instruments. He went so far as adopting the hairstyle of the Buddhist monks as well as the silk robes of the scholars. He was called Li Madou by his Chinese friends. Working in Guangzhou, Zhaoqing, and Shaozhou (Shaoguan) in Guangdong before moving to Nanjing and later to Beijing, Ricci published many works, including a detailed treatise on Chinese culture and science, which came to be seen in Europe as the most comprehensive and accurate work of its kind. He died in 1610.

His successor, Adam Schall, another Jesuit missioner and astronomer, became President of the Academy of Science in Beijing. This heyday of the Jesuit mission came to an end when other religious orders persuaded the Pope to issue a decree forcing it to cease its approach to evangelism and retreat from its inculturation programme and the use of the Chinese rites. The emperor was unhappy about the new approach which ignored Chinese culture and the Chinese language and as a result Christian missionaries were banned from China for many years; until the 19th century, in fact.

This is just a short summary of a fascinating lecture which opened our eyes to the many facets of scientific and artistic achievement that marked this period of the Jesuit mission to China.

6. March Talk - "Emergent China"
by the late Tao Kiang.

This outstanding talk was Tao's last to the Society, given on the very night before his sudden death. A reconstruction of this talk will be given in our next Newsletter.

7. The April talk - "Chengde and the Imperial Mountain Resort"

by John Ryan, Norman O'Galligan and David Judge.

The visit to Chengde in Hebei was made after the Youxie-sponsored visit to Sichuan and Henan had ended. On the recommendation of Denis Mullen, Norman and Anita, John and Mary, and David went to see the amazing Mountain Retreat, the "Mountain Villa to Escape the Heat", started by the Kangxi Emperor and built between 1703 and 1792 by successive Qing Emperors. Particularly under the Qianlong Emperor, it became an important place for meeting Mongol nobles, Uighur begs (Muslim notables) and Tibetan Buddhist prelates. Lord Macartney was received there.

Little Potala (Putuo Zongcheng Temple)

Chengde lies some 250Km north-east of Beijing, and was reached after a 4-hour train journey with many views of the Great Wall. Imagine the logistics of moving the entire court (sometimes as many as 3000 people) such a distance without trains! (Our friends even went in a ruanzuoche (soft seat carriage), rather than yingzuo (hard seat)!) Determined to continue the very serious business of administration, the Kangxi Emperor designed the formal reception area to resemble The Forbidden City, and in the surrounding hills to have sufficient accommodation and other amenities to keep his court and visitors well entertained. (He enjoyed hunting bear and deer inside the vast wall-protected estate, and this also kept the horsemanship and archery skills of his soldiers well-honed!).

Lying outside the Resort are the Eight Outer Temples. The architecture, as well as many of the texts and inscriptions inside them, reflects Mongol and Tibetan influences as well as Han; the Kangxi Emperor intended Chengde to symbolise the unity of China under the Qing.

Prayer wheels in the Puning Temple

Our speakers visited two of them. We were shown the very impressive Putuo Zongcheng Temple, built in the style of the Potala Palace in Tibet. Stretching up a hill, with walls of contrasting white and dark red, and roof made of copper-gold tiles, it dominates its surroundings. Also located to the north of Chengde is Puning ("pu" meaning universal, "ning" peace) Temple which is also known as "Big Buddha Temple", housing the tallest wooden Buddhist statue in the world. It is unusual, being of the Bodhisattva Guanyin (Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit) with a thousand arms and eyes, standing a massive 22m tall, and made of five kinds of wood - pine, cypress, elm, fir and lime.

(To the east of Putuo Zongcheng Temple lies Xumi Fushou Temple, which is said to have been built as a residence for the Panchen Lama , who travelled from Tibet to celebrate the 70th birthday of Qianlong. The Pule ("pu" meaning universal, "le" joy) Temple is to be found in the northeast of the complex. These we were tantalisingly shown on the map only!!)

peak.jpg Pavillion.jpg There are many pavilions within the Mountain Retreat. The most famous is the Yanyu Lou ("Mist and Rain Pavilion"), built on a lake island. (This was the backdrop for China's National TV gala performance to celebrate the 2007 Mid-Autumn Festival: our travellers saw the preparations.) The pavilions were built for contemplation of exquisite vistas, perhaps including the extraordinary Qingchui peak, an impossible-looking rock formation, likened to a sort of hammer with its handle sticking up. The surrounding park includes 7 other lakes (stocked with fish!), reflecting the high peaks and tumbling gardens brimming over with many species of highly scented wild flowers. Certainly an outstanding World Heritage Site, the visual treat we had was definitely an intoxicating glimpse of a place it would surely take weeks to explore fully. We are most truly grateful to our Committee members for this enticing talk.

8. Summer(!) Outing to Dublin Zoo 6th. June 2009

We chose the wettest day of the year (in the middle of an otherwise wonderful dry spell, a rarity this year) to visit the Zoo! As a result of the weather only 18 people came -- but I know they enjoyed it. We started with coffee and chat in the restaurant, and then with Orlaith, one of the Zoo Volunteers, we braved the elements and had a close encounter with the Elephants indoors.
After this, still in the pours of rain, we went back to the restaurant for lunch. Everyone agreed that the Zoo has come on by leaps and bounds and would be well worth another visit on a better day, but most people went home after an enjoyable lunch; except for an intrepid few who walked round the lake and admired Big Cats and Primates in the rain!

Red Panda a native of China

9. From the Annual Report 2008-2009 of the Honorary Secretary Nora McDowell:

Our Summer Outing to Dalgan Park on 14th June 2008 was truly memorable. It was arranged through our distinguished life member Fr. Tom Murphy, now Superior of the Columban Missionaries. We were greeted by Fr. Pat Raleigh and the highlight of our visit was meeting and listening to Fr.Michael Healy and Fr.Dan Fitz- Gerald from Cork who had gone to China in 1946 and stayed there till expelled in 1952 . None of us who had the privilege of being there will ever forget it.

On Sunday 7th. September our Annual Barbecue was held in the grounds of the Centenary Methodist Church/ Wesley House,Leeson Park. Dr. Yanyi Blake one of our Committee members arranged this venue for us and it was a very enjoyable occasion . The weather was perfect and we were delighted to welcome the Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Liu Biwei and some of his staff, as well as members of the Chinese Professionals Association.

On the 24th. September we had the first of our Autumn Talks. It was given by Ruadhan MacCormaic who is the Irish Times Migration Correspondent. He told us about the problems of young Chinese who come here to study and need to work as well. There was a very interesting discussion afterwards. On Wednesday 22nd. October Dr. Yanyi Blake and her friend Shu Rong gave a very interesting demonstration of Chinese Cookery and and we enjoyed eating the results! Then as a follow on from this we met on Saturday 25th. at the Asia Market in Drury Street where Yanyi and the staff of the Asia Market advised us and helped us with our purchases. We then adjourned to the Good World Chinese Restaurant where under Yanyi's guidance we had a very interesting and entertaining lunch.

On 26th November Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant who was the chief Physiotherapist to the Irish Olympic Team gave a fascinating Talk about the five Olympic Games she has attended and told us about the preparation for the Games and her visits to China before and during the Games. She showed wonderful slides and we got an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and we could see how all the hard work by China really paid off.

Wednesday 10th. Saw the start of Christmas celebrations with our Annual Chinese Christmas Quiz with David Judge as our genial Quiz Master and at the end we all enjoyed tea and mince pies organized by Jenny Slevin Williams.

The Year of the Ox started on 26th January 2009 with our Annual Chinese New Year Dinner, held again in Wong's restaurant . About one hundred people attended and were very well fed and entertained. There was as usual a very successful Raffle and the Committee would like to thank all who gave prizes. We were delighted to have Dr Justin Keating as our speaker on 28th.January. His Talk was about Joseph Needham (Li Yuese) a remarkable man of amazing erudition and energy, who initiated a massive multivolume study of Chinese science and technology.

On Wednesday 25th February Fr. Tod Morrisey SJ who has just published a book about the Jesuit Missionaries world wide told us about the Jesuits in China in the 16th and 17th centuries and the methods they used to get recognition and convert the Chinese people.

We were so fortunate to have a very interesting Talk on “The Rise of China” by the late Professor Tao Kiang on 25th March . He singled out the influence of the intellectuals Lu Xun and Hu Shi and the economic policies of Deng Xiaoping in bringing about the current renaissance in China, in spirit as well as material power. He gave many fascinating insights into Chinese attitudes based on his own experience. It was almost impossible to believe the news that the very next day this wonderful man, a founder of the Society, who had given so much to it over the years, died suddenly in Milan.

The last talk of the season was given on 22nd April by John Ryan, Norman O'Galligan, and David Judge, describing the trip that they made to Chengde “under their own steam” after the end of the official Youxiesponsored visit to China in September 2007.

Our thanks are due to our Honorary Programmes Secretary Jane Almqvist for arranging these very enjoyable Talks and outings and to all who helped to find speakers and of course to our members for their support throughout the year. The Arts Club is a very good venue and our thanks go to our Committee member Jenny Slevin Williams for arranging the dates of our Talks for us. Before I finish I would like to remind members that items of interest arising between issues of our Newsletter can be found on this website. We look forward to another successful year in 2009/2010.

10. Chinese New Year 2010 and St Valentine.

2010 Chinese new year has competition with St Valentine

Next year Chinese New Year falls on the 14th February which as we all know is St Valentines Day. So how does the Metal Tiger measure up to St Valentine? The Metal element gives the Tiger its sharpness in action StValentine and speed of thought. Tigers born in the Metal year like to stand out in a crowd. With an inspiring assertiveness and competitive demeanor, they determine their goals and then do anything necessary to achieve them. This good-looking character sometimes suffers from mood swings and temper tantrums. The Tiger can be known to jump to conclusions or to act too quickly without weighing the options or understanding the consequences. This is a flaw Tigers must learn to curb.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. He may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

11. Did you know...?

Shanghai.jpg Did you know that Cork City is Twinned with Shanghai? Twinning became fashionable after the second World War as a way of reuniting bitterly divided communities in Europe, with the most famous partnership involving a link between the two most-bombed cities: Coventry in the English Midlands and the German city of Dresden.
Cork, for example, is twinned with no less than six cities: Coventry, Rennes, San Francisco, Cologne, Swansea and Shanghai

12. Evening Courses

Night time courses in Chinese Language this Autumn

40 Fitzwilliam Street Upper,
(Corner of Baggot St Lower),
Dublin 2.
T: 01 668 5808
F: 01 658 7805
The Sandford Language Institute
Milltown Park,
Sandford Road,
Dublin 6
26 Merrion Square North,
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 - 260 1296
Fax: 01 - 686 5570
UCD Confucius Institute
UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4
Tel: +353 1 716 4747
Fax: +353 1 716 4844
E-Mail: china@ucd.ie

Night time courses in Chinese Studies this Autumn

Colaiste Dhulaigh (CDVEC)
Barryscourt Road,
Dublin 17.
T: 01 8481400
F: 01 8481544
E: info@cdcfe.cdvec.ie

Chinese Cookery
The Sanctuary
Stanhope Street,
Off Grangegorman Road,
Dublin 7.
T: 01 6705419
E: lindafitzsimons@sanctuary.ie

Qi Gong
Adult Education Centre
Newtownpark Ave.,
Co. Dublin.
T: 01 2884376
F: 01 2782478
E: office@newparknightschool.ie

Chinese Language & Civilisation

13. Chinese Snuff Boxes at the Chester Beatty Library

In the latter half of September and through October 2009, snuff.jpg the ‘Arts of the Book’ gallery was reorganized to feature an exhibition of Chinese snuff bottles from the Library’s collection. Dating mainly from the Manchu Qing dynasty (1644-1911), snuff bottles were among Chester Beatty’s earliest acquisitions. The exhibition included some 600 bottles of jade, porcelain, crystal, lacquer, glass and many other materials, and 275 of these are also published in a new catalogue. The exhibition was mounted and the catalogue released to coincide with the annual convention of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society.

The Chester Beatty Library

is situated in the gardens of Dublin Castle in the heart of the city centre. The library is a two-minute walk from Dame Street (via the Palace Street Gate of the Castle) and close to Christchurch Cathedral (enter via the Ship Street Gate of the Castle).
Nearest LUAS stops: Jervis & St Stephen's Green
Nearest DART station: Tara Street.
Bus routes: 13, 16, 19, 123 (from O'Connell St)

Opening times:

1 May to 30 September: Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 5.00pm
1 October to 30 April: Tuesday to Friday, 10.00am to 5.00pm
(All year) Saturday, 11.00am to 5.00pm
(All year) Sunday, 1.00pm to 5.00pm
Closed 1 January; Good Friday; 24, 25 and 26 December; and Monday public holidays.


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