|visit us at www.chengho.org | 2009-Jul-01|
(1) Society’s First Committee Meeting, 2009-2010 Term
Our AGM was held on 24 April 2009 and it was already time for our first meeting for the Committee which was held on 5 June 2009. Our President, Dr Tan Ta Sen, warmly welcomed to the meeting our newest addition, Ms Chia Wen Syn, who filled the position of Assistant Treasurer.
The meeting once again focused on the progress made by the organising committee for the 605th Anniversary Conference to be held in Melaka (see below) before turning our attention to the appointment of two internal auditors as required under our Constitution. We are pleased to have the agreement of Mr Tan Peng Yee and our former committee member, Mr Ng Siong Tee who kindly agreed to assist the Society in undertaking this important task.
Our website was reported to be in the process of being updated and enriched through the efforts of our Secretary, Dr Chia Lin Sien. In order to expedite the work of our website, our website manager, Mr Freddie Tay, has identified a local person/company willing to maintain our website for a very modest sum of money. Visitors to our website are encouraged to write in using our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org to send us information and their views.
(2) 605th Anniversary Conference – Zheng He and the Afro-Asian World: An update
The Executive Chairman of the organising committee of the Conference, Mr C.C. Chin gave a report on the trip by himself, Dr Tan, Dr Chia and Mr Lim How Seng to Melaka to discuss the joint organisation with the Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee of the Melaka State Government with the Director of PERZIM (Perbadanan Muzium Melaka), Hj Khamis bin Hj Abas.
Mr Chin suggested at the Committee Meeting (see above) that the dates of the Conference should be changed to some time in July 2010 in order to take advantage of the celebrations to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the award to Melaka as a World Heritage City. The final decision on the dates would be decided upon by the Melaka State Government.
A working committee meeting involving Chairman of organising committee, Mr Chin, Mr Lim How Seng (Secretary), and Mr Kua Bak Lim (Deputy Chairman) and Dr Chia Lin Sien met at the Copthorne Orchid Hotel Coffee House to go through and select names of invitees to the conference. The list of names together with a draft programme for and a Conference Announcement of the Conference were put together and later submitted to Hj Khamis, Director of PERZIM.
Conference Working Committee from left– Lim How Soon (Conference Secretary), Kua Bak Lim, CC Chin (chairman) and Chia Lin Sien meeting at the Copthorne Orchid Hotel.
The conference organising committee, chaired by Mr CC Chin, met again on Friday, 26 June 2009, at the Confucius Institute and once more at the home of Dr Tan on 29 June to discuss details of the conference announcement and call for papers as well as to revise the timeline for the arrangements and tasks to be undertaken for the conference.
We are pleased to make available to our readers and visitors to our website two papers from the book edited by Prof. Leo Suryadinata on Admiral Zheng He and Southeast Asia (2005 ), published by Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and International Zheng He Society (Singapore). The Chinese version 郑和与东南亚published in the same year by our Society differs in that several articles have been included and excluded in the two publications. They are available now in our website.
(a) The first article is by our President, Dr Tan Ta Sen (陈达生) “Did Zheng He set out to colonize Southeast Asia?” “郑和是殖民主义？是侵略者?”, who responded to and took issue with the paper by Dr Geoffrey Wade on “ Ming China and Southeast Asia in the 15th Century: a reappraisal” presented at a seminar organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and reported in the Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao on 11 and 12 November 2004, respectively. His paper was originally published as a Working Paper (No. 28) by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 28 July 2004. Dr Tan listed the arguments by Dr Wade accusing Zheng He’s expeditions as being expansionist and colonialist. He proceeded to systematically refute them point by point. The Chinese version of this paper published separately in the Chinese version, pp. 22-23. Both the English and Chinese versions are reproduced in our website under the section “Reports & Publication (http://www.chengho.org/events/reports.php) .
(b) The second paper posted in our website is by Mr Chung Chee Kit, President of The Friends of Admiral Zheng He. The paper is title “Longyamen is Singapore. The Final Proof?” and appears as Chapter 9 in the book edited by Prof. Suryadinata on Admiral Zheng He and Southeast Asia (2005 ) originally published in Asian Culture, No. 27 (June 2003), pp. 17-23. The author first explains why it is important for Singaporeans to ascertain that the name Longyamen (龙牙门 or Dragon Tooth Gate) indeed refers to Singapore, formerly called Tumasik or Temasek. He proceeded to give an account of claims that the name Longyamen was identified by other writers as other locations in the vicinity of Singapore before concurring with two other previous authors, Xu Yun Qiao 许云樵 and Roland Braddell, that the name refers to present-day Keppel Harbour.
Mr Chung then went on to show that the confusion over the location of Longyamen arose because of insufficient knowledge of the ancient pilots’ directories. He began by giving a brief summary of the achievements of Chinese maritime technology at the time of Zheng He. The following account of the various aspects of Chinese navigation methods and the ancient pilots’ directories must be of special interest to seafarers. The author then gave a summary of the book by Lin Wo Ling 林我铃on ‘Longyamen reidentified” published in 1999 based on historical records, modern charts and modern pilot books giving precise information that refutes arguments that Longyamen refer to several other locations. At this point, Chung disagrees with Lin asserting that Longyamen is not Keppel Harbour. He then goes on to demonstrate cogently that the two are one and the same.
A reconstruction of Longyamen (Dragon’s Tooth Gate) in Labrador Park with Keppel Harbour and Sentosa Island in the background (photo taken by Chia Lin Sien).
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