Saturday, 21 January 2012

Dear Mr Campbell & Ms Kenny

Letters to the Agents

Dear Mr Campbell and Ms Kenny

Happy 2012, the Year of Dragon! It is my pleasure to work with the Sound Agents in Liverpool to promote Chinese culture to the British public via different channels. In the past few years, Ming-Ai (London) Institute has worked towards the preservation of Chinese culture in the U.K. and with the support of Heritage Lottery Fund and Transformation Fund, we were able to contribute our efforts to the local communities.
In April 2009, Ming-Ai launched a 2-year project, ‘East-West Festive Cultures’ to compare the similarities and differences between four festivals; namely: Chinese
Lantern Festival v.s. St Valentine’s Day; and Chinese Ghost Month v.s. Halloween. This is to show how the Chinese festive traditions have become modified
when it met Western culture, but more importantly to keep them going and to cherish them with the next and succeeding generations. In the same year, September 2009, we started a 9-month project named ‘The Evolution and History of British Chinese Workforce’, as a pilot research to show the workforce pattern of the Chinese immigrants to the U.K. In May 2011, a new 1-year project was launched ‘British Chinese Food Culture’ to track the changes of Chinese food in the U.K., from how the original recipes were adapted by environment changes and use of different ingredients, to how it got back to original ingredients and recipes, with the import of more oriental foods. These projects produced oral history interview records, education materials, research information and photo galleries.
Our volunteers come from different nationalities, ages, and professional backgrounds.
For further information, please contact the project team on 020 8361 7161 or email

chungwen li, dean, Ming-Ai (london) Institute

Dear Mr Campbell and Ms Kenny

Thank you for your kind invitation to interview me for Radio Chinatown discussing my fond memories, eating in Chinese restaurants and socialising in The Nook Pub. I have many fond memories and look forward to telling you about the happy times I have had in Chinatown and the Queen of Chinatown, the proprietor of the Nook Public House who wore the most extravagant hats as she called time in Chinese.

I am very happy to hear that you have also interviewed Dr Eldon Worrell. I was a dear friend of his mother Dorothy Worrell.  I look forward to hearing his conversation.

Yours sincerely, June Furlong, Alumni liverpool Art School
Dear Mr Campbell & Ms Kenny

Although I was not in, or connected with, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, for about two months in summer 1966 I knew and met Gladys Aylward, whom the film was all about. In the 1960’s I was a member of a large C. of E. church in London's West End, with a thriving community centre, where I was a Sunday School teacher. Gladys Aylward stayed here that summer. She was such a humble person and exuded peace and love for all. Since then I have always had a very
great love for China and the Chinese, and all things Chinese, (especially the art and the food!)... As a young person, one of my heroes was Hudson Taylor, who, as a young person in the mid 1800’s, left his family's pharmacy business in Barnsley and spent his whole life serving the Chinese as a missionary. You probably know, that as a young person Gladys worked as a maid in London, in the 1920’s, until she had saved up enough for a single rail ticket from London to China! There, she helped run "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness", which was an overnight stopping place for muleteers. Soon after Gladys had arrived, the much older English woman who had set it up died suddenly, leaving Gladys in charge... She also took charge (almost) of the local prison and cajoled the prison governor for the appalling conditions, which were immediately improved! Also, for hundreds of years in China, all women and girls had their feet bandaged up! Gladys remonstrated with the Governor of her province about this. He immediately had the practice abolished! Soon all China followed! Also, Gladys started orphanages for abandoned children. Then, in the 1930’s when Japan invaded her part of China, Gladys led hundreds of Chinese children over the mountains to safety (eventually). They came to a very wide river where they were trapped. Some of the older children prayed to God as she had taught them. Suddenly some boats appeared from the other side and all were saved. A few of them are still alive today, in Taiwan. Later that year (1966), before she returned to Taiwan (Formosa), one of the staff at that church in London, who had connections with several boys' public schools in England, e.g. Eton, Winchester etc., arranged for her to speak at 4 or 5 of these schools... the result was amazing!... At each one a large number of boys were so moved they came to faith in Jesus Christ and committed their lives to God. Some people think the Christian gospel s a western thing and foreign to China. But I and many others are so impressed by the Chinese church, which is a conservative estimate puts at 50 million, although many reports from China suggest it may well be over 100 million. It is certainly not against the Chinese people or government, or any other government, but a wonderful source of supernatural joy, and peace and love.
Sorry! I've gone on too long! But do get in touch if you want to know more.

Best wishes
Edwin Self Member of M.b.A, Sheffield.

Dear Mr Campbell & Ms Kenny

Liverpool actually had a Chinatown not long after San Francisco. I lived in the area quite close to sort of Chinatown and I went to St Vincent’s church which is close to Chinatown and I always remember they were making a film of the Clouded Yellow with Jean Simmons and Trevor Howard and they went to the Far East Restaurant in the Square where Chinatown was and all the kids, we were all pressing our faces against the glass window to look at them having their Chinese meals. Then when I started Merseybeat I was told there was a Chinese rock group and I searched and searched and could never find them. I thought it would have been great to write about a Chinese rock group but I could never discover where they were and we used to go to Nelson Street and go to the Yung Wah restaurant all of the time and that was a favourite with our lot of people. I also remember The Treat where the Church and the school went out on a trip. We always had a trip to Southport and I always remember that Fr. O Donoghue was the chief priest when I was there when I was at St Vincent’s school and I always remember him walking around the playground clouting kids across the head for no reason at all just randomly.

Bill Harry, Merseybeat

Dear Mr Campbell & Ms Kenny

The Chinatowns of both Liverpool and Manchester are fascinating examples of the impact – cultural, aesthetic and economic for example – that Chinese communities have had in North West England. In order to understand these Chinatowns better it is necessary to discuss a range of factors that have
influenced their development. Some of these factors will be local, and include the rise of Liverpool as a port, the city's decline in the post-war era, and the contrasting rise of Manchester as the dominant city in the region. But it is also important, I suggest, that global factors too are examined, because these two Chinatowns, while unique, share common developmental issues with the many Chinatowns elsewhere, including those in San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur for instance. To this end with Phil Cubbin, in a recent chapter for the book Merseyside Culture and Place edited by Mike Benbough  Jackson and Sam Davies, I have outlined some of these characteristics, and more details can be obtained from that source. What follows is a brief summary of key global factors that have impinged upon the rise of our local Chinatowns. Liverpool's Chinatown arose in the 19th Century, with Chinese sailors landing in the port. In the previous century, China had become a model of a civilized nation to many in the West, and chinoiserie had become a major fashion among the French and British aristocracy.
The country was seen as being well organised and well governed. This rosy view changed markedly, however, as the 19th Century unfolded; in 1793 the then Chinese Emperor refused to trade with the emerging Western nations, believing that his country had little need of the 'trinkets' that the West could provide, and this view was to lead some decades later to not one, but two 'Opium Wars' in which the British and French in particular used their growing military might to force China into trade
concessions, and the opening up of  treaty ports to Western control. To the Chinese this was the period of China's 'historic shame'; to Westerners this was a period in which China was increasingly seen as a weak and effete nation, and Chinese people themselves were often seen in a racial or racist way as degenerate opium-smokers that were up to no good. Chinese people overseas faced hostility and antagonism, and sometimes race riots and death – in what was then the Dutch East Indies and later Indonesia, in Thailand, in the Philippines, in the United States and other countries – and such dangers further encouraged the overseas Chinese communities to stick together within an enclave society that kept contact with the indigenous society to a minimum. They became the 'unknowable' in the host society. Until the rise of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the situation of the overseas Chinese was often difficult, and in Liverpool it was no different. Local legislation sought to control immigration of Chinese, and so for many decadesuntil the 1960’s there was a 'withering period' in Chinese immigration, into many countries including the UK. Chinese people had been regarded as being part of a dangerous 'Yellow Peril' but with the rise of a communist China theybecame viewed as a 'Red Peril' instead. Chinatown was to be avoided at all costs, as a centre of red subversion! Of course, such perspectives were often nonsense, and Chinese migrants were as likely to be non-communist as communist, and indeed may have been part of the refugees from the communist takeover of mainland China. In Liverpool, Chinese sailors had been encouraged to participate in the war effort, but afterwards they were repatriated in large numbers, leaving a legacy of resentment in the Chinese community. Such persecution and ill-treatment have fortunately changed in many countries in recent years. Manchester's Chinatown grew much later than Liverpool's, and emerged within a situation in which a Chinatown was viewed as a key part of urbanregeneration, to be supported by the local authority and others. In Liverpool, too, in recent years, the City has sought to encourage Chinatown developments in order to display a multicultural perspective to encourage investment and tourism. Liverpool's European Capital of Culture bid utilised the phrase 'The World in One City' a phrase that as far as I know was utilised first in Australia to highlight the role of Sydney's Chinatown in that city. China is now a strong country, with vast foreign exchange reserves, and around the globe business people, politicians and officials now seek to promote their own Chinatown in order to encourage links with the People's Republic of China itself. For the North West's Chinatowns, increasingly the global context of change will be aneconomic one in which such links become more important in the coming years.
Ian G. Cook, Emeritus Professor of Human Geography, LJMU.

The Eyes of an Architect...

As you read this you may be leaving the Black-E. Take some time to look around. Feel the streets...
My eyes are always drawn, not to the splendour of the Arch on Nelson St or the wonderful arts and crafts ‘eyebrow’window on the corner of Upper Duke Street, but to the decay of the former Hotel building beyond. More a political conundrum these days I believe, than the straightforward gateway regeneration project it should be. Imagine for a moment this wondrous building fully regenerated; People, movement, colour, vitality and the sounds of a multi-cultural City at its best. Perhaps a market place, a place to rest, a place to eat and of course a rooftop to sing from! Our re-birth as a destination of choice for many from all parts of the globe can only be enhanced by creating more vibrancy within, showing the world the places we inhabit for work, rest and play......and as I stood there looking around, the wonderful aroma of freshly cooked food hit me... ah! the pleasures of being in Chinatown!

Ali Bain, Architect.

Dear Mr Campbell & Ms Kenny

For years I have been trying to bring about a plaque at 20 Nelson Street to commemorate the opening of Gladys Aylwards Chinese Gospel Mission in 1958. I have recently had contact with one of the Chinese adopted by Gladys, he is a pastor of a Chinese church in Ambler, Pennsylvania.
I am keen to know of any English and Chinese individuals and organisations likely to be interested in this subject. Can you help?


Fred O'Brien, Liverpool

Dear Mr Campbell and Ms Kenny

Doctor Robert has been elected as a Merseycare NHS Councillor. He can report on The Chinese Mental Health Conference that took place in November. Guest speakers at the Merseyside Chinese Community Development Association's National Chinese Mental Health, Housing and Social Care Conference also included Mersey Care's director of corporate affairs and communications Christine Hughes. The theme of the conference was Breaking down barriers' and was designed to help service users and professionals to network and share information and experiences.

I hope the above will have provided some indications of our work and look forward to working with you.

More information on
With warmest regards
Doctor Robert Macdonald