By Pat Welsh, contributor
This language corner is a new series designed for people who are interested in learning Mandarin. In China it is called “Putonghua” (The “common language”) of China. Before the 1950s, the terms “Kuoyü” and “Guanhua” were used to identify this national language.
Since the early 19th century Chinese has been classified as one of the many Sino-Tibetan languages. My own experience tells me that that this is really a catch-all grouping. Tibetan, Burmese and related minority languages are nothing at all like any Chinese dialect. Not only are there vast vocabulary differences, there are also significant differences in sentence structure and grammar.
Before I delve further into the language itself, perhaps a little introduction to China’s overall language situation is in order. In 1970 I began to earn a Master’s degree in Oriental Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. My first class was Readings in Chinese Political Writings. I arrived early to the classroom and greeted my professor Chichou Huang, who was unknown to me. I greeted him with the word “Zao” thinking that it meant “Good Morning.” He winced and invited me to take a seat. I was a little perplexed. What I did not realize was that in Beijing Mandarin, my version of the word “zao” sounded much like the Beijing version of the F-word. The tones between the Beijing and Chngqing subdialects were very different.
Those who attended Paul Kwok’s exhibit “In and Out of Tradition” on opening night got a bonus: a reception that was not lacking for food and beverages. Kwok’s approach to his landscape watercolors combine the eastern aesthetic with that of the west. As noted by Robert Jacobsen, chair, Asian Art, curator of Chinese Art, emeritus, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Paul Kwok produces extraordinary abstract landscapes that encompass not only quest for artistic identity but also display a synthesis of eastern and western pictorial values, namely traditional Chinese ink painting and authentic self-expression." Over forty paintings are on display. In addition to enjoying the great company of all in attendance, great refreshments and food, the group included members of the Chinese Heritage Foundation Friends who also celebrated a milestone birthday for Kwok’s partner, Pat Hui. The exhibit continues until Sept. 28 at his gallery, Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts, Studio 120, 250 Third Avenue North, Minneapolis, and is free and open to the public.Add a comment
While the seeds for a Chinese garden were planted back in the year 2000 by the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association -MN Chapter, resulting in the formation of The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society (MCFGS), much cultivating has taken place over the years. The actual groundbreaking ceremony took place during the annual Dragon Festival at Saint Paul’s Lake Phalen Park in July. For a more complete chronology of the garden’s evolution, visit www.mnchinagarden.org.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, the official name of the Garden, The St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden of Whispering Willows and Flowing Waters, was announced. Built on a 1.2-acre site at Phalen Park, this sister-city collaboration was initiated by MCFGS with the City of St. Paul and its Parks & Rec Department, St. Paul’s District 5 Planning Council, the City of Changsha, Hunan Province, the Changsha People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the Changsha Yanghu Wetland Park (Phalen Park’s sister park) in China. Changsha has been the sister-city to the City of St. Paul since 1988.Add a comment
June 2018 was definitely not a good month. Three titans of their respective fields passed away: Kate Spade (fashion designer), Anthony Bourdain (chef and food travelogue host), and Charles Krauthammer (political analyst).
Bourdain’s unexpected death was a complete shock to his many fans. TV channels attempted to numb the pain by running marathons of Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” and “No Reservations.” What these Bourdain reruns confirmed was that the New York chef was an intrepid consumer and unabashed champion of street foods. There is nothing more vital to a city and a city’s health than good street food and more of it,” he said. “Street food makes traveling interesting.”
In fact, he had spent the past two-plus years working on Bourdain Market, a major food market on the Hudson River. The market was based on Asian night markets where he had spent many occasions eating and drinking amidst the locals. His ambitious food project was to include approximately 100 retail and wholesale local and overseas food vendors, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, fishmongers and food stalls. He was hoping to bring the experiences from his shows to the market’s visitors, connecting them with authentic delicious foods and rich culture. Sadly, the project was canceled in December 2017 because of the many challenges, including obtaining visas for international food artisans and vendors.
One of Bourdain’s “must-try” street food in China is bao luo fen (抱羅粉).
A Hainanese specialty, this rice noodle dish is both sweet and savory. Soft and translucent, the rice noodles are tossed in a fragrant beef broth and corn gravy, and topped with sliced, lean pork, beef jerky, and roasted peanuts. The dish is named after Baoluo, a town in northeast Hainan Province.
Other popular Chinese street foods include:
By Elaine Dunn
Sherry Chen, the award-winning hydrologist who was falsely accused of espionage in 2014, and whose charges were all dropped prior to trial in 2015, has the solid support of the Committee of 100 (C100), the United Chinese Americans (UCA), the Ohio Chinese American Association (OCAA) and nine additional community groups in her quest to get her job at the National Weather Service back.
The April 2018 Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruled that the Department of Commerce (DOC), which oversees the National Weather Service, did not have cause to fire Chen back in 2016. Chen, it said, was “a victim of gross injustice.” Chen’s attorney noted, “In their appeal brief, the Department of Commerce has re- cycled arguments that Judge Schroeder rejected and, worse yet, ignored once again exculpatory evidence presented at the hearing that the agency buried during the criminal and disciplinary investigations preceding Sherry’s ar- rest and termination.”
Community groups feel that the DOC’s decision to appeal rather than comply with the MSPB’s further de- lays justice for Chen,.
“The Commerce Department is clearly embarrassed by the publicity of its scandalous activities,” noted
Jeremy Wu, trustee of the Sherry Chen Legal Defense Fund. “By appealing the MSPB decision, the Department further shows its blindness to the truth and innocence of Sherry Chen and risks additional scrutiny of its prohibited practices and loss of pub- lic trust.” Wu added, “Supporters for Sherry Chen, including her colleagues in the National Weather Service, will redouble their commitment and have faith that justice and fairness for Sherry Chen shall prevail and those who abuse and misuse authority shall eventually be held accountable.”
On May 23, 2018, C100, UCA and the OCAA along with members of the
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), including Chair Rep. Judy Chu, Ted Lieu, Grace Meng and Raja Krishnamoorthi organized a press conference on Capitol Hill a to draw attention to Chen’s wrongful termination case and to issue a letter signed by 31 members of Congress requesting the Commerce Inspector General conduct an independent inves- tigation into the mishandling of Chen’s case. More than 130 Asian American community organizations supported the press conference.
(For details about Sheery Chen’s case, see p. 5 of June 2018 issue of China Insight, www.chinainsight.info.) ♦
CAAM Chinese Dance Theater will be performing at the first ever Family Fringe in early August. Different than the Fringe, which is chosen by lottery, the Family Fringe is a curated festival for families with acts selected by a jury based on artistic vision, production feasibility, style and aesthetic, and inclusion. from around the country.
CAAM will be performing five times throughout the event. Family Fringe offers children and families interested in new and adventurous acts t production feasibility, style and aesthetic, and inclusion.
Family Fringe itakes place over two weekends (Aug. 2-5 and Aug. 9-12) at Celtic Junction Arts Center in Saint Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone, concurrent with the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Attendance to Family Fringe is through single ticket purchases; adults are $10; kids 12 and under are $5. There is no Day Pass option.
Additional info, visit www.minnesotafringe.org/family-fringe.
Join in the celebration of the construction of the St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden at Phalen Park. Three structures fabricated in Changsha, the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, the Hmong Heritage Wall, and the West Entrance Arch, will arrive around June 30. On July 10, twelve artisans will arrive from Changsha to supervise the installation of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, the sister-city gift from Changsha. Come and celebrate the official Ceremonial Groundbreaking and Sister-city 30-year Anniversary on July 14, immediately following the opening ceremony of the Dragon Festival at 10:30. Join the lion dancers parade at the Dragon Boat area along Phalen Lake to the construction site to see the progress and take photos of Mayor Melvin Carter and other dignitaries breaking ground. This will be followed by a celebration at the Amphitheater next to Changsha Master Lei Yixin’s "Meditation" sculpture of cultural performances and making new friends. Follow: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofthePhalenParkChinaFriendshipGarden/
Website: http://mnchinagarden.org/Add a comment