ALONG VIETNAM’S BORDER
Wong How Man
Sign Post Number One. Here is the starting point of China’s long inland border which stretches for over 22,000 kilometers, as well as the beginning of its lengthy 14,000 kilometers coastline. The Post was first erected in the final years of the Qing Dynasty as a demarcation between China and the French colony of Tonkin in northern Vietnam. A kiosk was built over it to shade it from the weather, be it sun or rain, just unlike what the two countries have gone through in their relationship over the years.
William Bleisch, PhD
It had been a long day’s hike, some of it quite steep. We rested in the evening on a tree-top platform outside the thatched hut, watching the stars, listening for owls in the dense forest all around us, passing around an old soda bottle filled with local rice liquor. Our young guide, Mr. Tua, picked up a simple bamboo flute that was lying among the cross pieces of branches that made up the platform. The flute wheezed and blurted out a few sorry notes. I tried as well. The flute was in a style I had not seen before, not like Chinese flutes, held horizontally, but rather made like a recorder, with a whistle-style sound hole cleverly carved and topped with an adjustable bamboo ring. But the bamboo was old, and I could not get the adjustment right.
FROM THE TERAI TO THE HIMALAYAS
Paul Buzzard, PhD
There was little rest for the weary: After 2 and half weeks in Myanmar (Burma) and a night in Kunming I flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. The next morning I flew to Dhangadhi in the oppressively hot Terai lowlands that border India in SW Nepal. Shaking off the fatigue I quickly put on my game-face because I was excited to be joining Dr. Mukesh Chalise and his PhD student, Narayan Koju to the remote and newly established Api-Nampa conservation area in the Himalayas bordering India and China in NW Nepal.
THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN
From Hainan to World Stage
Wong How Man
Finally I look at history in the eyes, and hold history in my hands. Her hands are so fragile that I cannot help but hold them lightly. Wang Yunmei was born during the Qing Dynasty; to be exact, on May 23, 1910, a year before the Chinese Republic was established by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Today, she is 103. Sitting next to her, I feel the diminutive size of her body does not reflect the giant place that she holds in China.
Wang isn’t just any Centenarian; she is an icon who hailed from a tiny village with a dozen or so households in Hainan Island. Circumstances would catapult her and the group she belonged to into center stage in Beijing, China and even the world. Wang Yunmei is a member of the Red Detachment of Women, a guerrilla force of about a hundred amazons formed in 1931. It was an intelligence-gathering cum fighting brigade of the early Red Army on Hainan, this tropical island off Guangdong Province with almost the size of Taiwan.
HO CHI MINH’S CHINESE CONNECTIONS AND POEMS
Wong How Man
Exactly 80 years ago, right before Chinese New Year, Ho Chi Minh was released from Hong Kong’s prison. Dressed up as a wealthy Chinese merchant and taken out to sea by the Governor’s private launch, he boarded a ship, entered First Class cabin and set sail for Amoy, today’s Xiamen. Ho had just finished a twenty month prison term at Victoria Prison, acquitted through the effort of a dedicated English lawyer, and was on his way to freedom. He spent the lunar New Year of 1933 in Amoy. Why the special treatment?