visit us at www.chengho.org   |   2009-May-01
General News

MAY 2009 E-NEWSLETTER

(1)     7th Annual General Meeting

Our AGM was held on 24 April 2009 and we invite you to read our President, Dr Tan Ta Sen’s Annual Report for the past year (see below).  We welcome your comments and queries and suggest that you write to us using our address:  infoexchange@chengho.org

A photo of those who attended the AGM is shown below:

 

 From left: Jaffar Kassim,  Ong Chu Meng, Tan Ta Sen (President), Chia Lin Sien (Secretary), Cindy Chia Wen Syn (Asst Treasurer), Lim How Seng, Freddie Tay (Treasurer), Kitson Ng, Leo Suryadinata (Vice President), Chua Soo Pong (Committee Member), Ng Siong Tee. Several others not in photo.

 

(2)    Our Society is now BIGGER

Our records show that we have increased our membership from 55 in 2005 to the current 72, an increase of about 30 per cent over a period of about four years.  We welcome new members and membership remains free of charge.

 

Ordinary Members

Associate Members

Total

2009

55

17

72

2008

53

15

68

2007

48

14

62

2006

45

16

61

2005

44

11

55

 

 

(3)   An Interesting Book

If you like reading interesting books, here is one on Secret Maps of the Ancient World by Charlotte Harris Rees published in June 2008.  Just click on the following URL:  http://www.harrismaps.com/ to see a sample chapter and reviews of the book.  You will have to make your own conclusions and have your own opinion on the contents of the book. 

 

(4)   Replica Ming Ship Tai Ping sunk off the Taiwan Coast

In Gavin Menzies’ January 2009 Net.Newsletter (www.gavinmenzies.net), he reported that Princess Tai Ping, one of several replica Ming dynasty junk projects, safely reached San Diego in November 2008.
"... Roughly the size of a San Diego city bus, or about one-fourth of the length of the neighboring ship Star of India, the 15th century style Chinese junk Princess Tai Ping has just sailed across thousands of miles of northern Pacific Ocean and transcended six centuries of history to prove a point.
Like Thor Heyerdahl's celebrated 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, this voyage has attempted to show that the ancient mariners did have the knowledge and skills to cross the Pacific Ocean..."

Unfortunately, the 54 ft- (16.5m) long replica ship collided with a large freighter on 27 April near Suao (Taiwan) after an 17,000 nautical mile journey from Keelung to northern California, down to San Diego, stopped over in Hawaii and back, just one day before reaching its home base.  The owner of the Tai Ping, captain Nelson Liu Ning Sheng (劉寧生), age 62, was convinced that large junks are capable of sailing from China to North America. He had the Princess Taiping built to the specifications of a Ming Dynasty war vessel and it was launched in January 2008 after six years of research and development.  It involved 30 traditional Chinese shipwrights in Fujian, China using hand tools of axes and chisels and based on models of the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). It was a small warship, probably used for navigation on coastal waters, and capable of carrying 30 soldiers and a crew.

For more information please visit the following link: 
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20081122-1310-tai_ping.html

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/28/BADF17AHVT.DTL http://in.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idINIndia-39291220090428 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/5230449/Chinese-sailing-boat-sinks-before-completing-17000-mile-voyage.html                                                              

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8020206.stm

 

 

 

President Dr Tan Ta Sen’s Annual Report 2008/2009

 

Delivered on 24 April 2009 at the 7th AGM of the International Zheng He Society held at the premises of the Confucius Institute, 11 Slim Barracks Rise, Singapore.

 

1.1   Opening Remarks

 

Our Society has had a particularly busy year in the course of its sixth term.  This has been helped by our very strong team of committee members with the addition of several seasoned and very able individuals.  We have been operating out of the premises of 6 Pioneer Place Utraco Building over the past year which houses an excellent collection of books related to Zheng He. 

1.2  Changes in Our Society

Our membership has increased over the past term from 53 members and 15 Associate Members totally 68 members as at end March 2008 to 55 Members and 17 Associate Members making a total of 72 as of today. Many of our Associate Members reside outside of Singapore.  We have been able to communicate with them by e-mail. We continued to maintain free membership to all who wish to join our Society preferring to depend entirely on contributions made by generous members of our Society.

1.3  Committee Meetings

We held four committee meetings in the course of the past term on 30 April, 18 July, 19 November 2008 and 27 March 2009. Most members were able to attend the four meetings.  We wish to record our thanks to Prof. Koh Hock Kiat, Director of the Confucius Institute, for allowing us to hold our meetings in their premises.

1.4  Activities During the Year

1.4.1  Review of Earlier Objectives

We were unable to pursue our intended objectives of establishing the Zheng He Dialysis Centre due to lack of resources.  Our objective of organizing an essay competition also was not realized for reasons that included the lack of human resources at our disposal. We were also not able to make any progress in reaching out to the maritime community as much as we would like to. Instead we decided to channel our limited energies and resources to organizing a major conference scheduled for May 2010 (see item 1.5.2 below). 

1.4.2  Formation of Sub-committees

From the outset of the new term, we decided to set up several sub-committees as follows:

Membership & Publicity             -   Mr Freddie Tay Kit Poh

Education & Seminars                -   Dr Chua Soo Pong

Research & Publications             -   Mr C.C. Chin

 Finance                                     -   Mr Ong Chu Meng

 Social and welfare                     -   Mr Ng Foo Weng Kitson

Each sub-committee would formulate plans and undertake activities for the Society.

1.4.3   Our Society’s Website and e-Newsletter

We were able to make some changes and additions to our website although more could be done.  We kept to our intention to make our website a trilingual one with the basic information available in English, Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia, and for selected items in two languages.  A new feature and service to our members was our e-newsletter sent at the beginning of each month to members via e-mail starting from January 2009.  The newsletter is an extension of our website www.chengho.org and we encourage all members to view current and all previously sent newsletters to members and those who signed up to receive it.  The newsletter is the responsibility of our able Committee member, Mr Freddie Tay Kit Poh and assisted by Dr Chia, our honorary secretary.  The e-newsletter has been instrumental in attracting interested persons, a few of whom have become our members.  We encourage and welcome contributions that you can bring to the e-newsletter.

1.4.4  Research and Publications

Efforts to undertake research on the legacy and influence of Zheng He in Southeast Asia and around the Indian Ocean continued. I am happy to report that several visits to the birthplace of Zheng He in Yunnan as well as locations where Zheng He’s fleet made stops.

I am pleased to inform you that my book on Zheng He and Islamization of  Southeast Asia was accepted for publication by the Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) and is expected to be out before the end of this year.  The Chinese version has already been published by Haiyang Chubanshe in Beijing. A Bahasa Malaysia version will also be published in due course.

1.4.5  Joint Exhibition on the History of Chinese-Medium School

Our Society participated in the Joint Exhibition on the History of Chinese-Medium Schools held from 29 Nov-6 Dec 2008 at the Chinese High School. The event was organized by the alumni of 24 Chinese medium schools in Singapore and Malaysia. We put up a Zheng He exhibit in a separate room and it was well attended.  Several of our Committee members came to help set up and man the exhibition.

1.4.6  The Malaka Cheng Ho Cultural Museum

During the course of the year, work was carried out to upgrade further the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum in Malaka. New exhibits were added to the Museum in part to replace the less attractive exhibits to further enrich the Museum for the benefit of visitors.

1.4.7  Hundred-Metre Scroll Painting

Progress has been made to create such a brush painting depicting Zheng He’s life and voyages. I participated in a meeting in Kunming attended by many artists and interested parties.  Groups of artists will be making trips to various destinations visited byZheng He’s fleet in order to paint realistic images of events and places.  A number of copies of the scroll would be produced and a copy will be deposited and displayed in the Melaka Cheng Ho Cultural Museum.

 

1.5  Future Activities

1.5.1  Cheng Ho Treasure Ship in Melaka. 

We continue to work with the Malaka State Government to construct a Cheng Ho Treasure Ship by the side of the Malaka River as reported in our last AGM. In conjunction with the building of the Treasure Ship, it has been proposed that the site be named the Cheng Ho Square as one of three squares; the others being the Parameswara Square and the Dutch Square on the other side of the Melaka River.  These developments, if and when completed, will add much to the attraction to Malaka as a tourist destination.

1.5.2  605th Anniversary of Zheng He and the Afro-Asian World Conference

Under the able leadership of our Committee Member, Mr C.C. Chin, four meetings have been held thus far to organize this Conference targeted for 11&12 May 2010 to be held in Malaka.  It will be a joint effort with the Malaka Cheng Ho Cultural Museum and several other organizations. Good progress has already been made to set objectives, selection of advisors and committee members (some from Malaysia), adopting themes and subthemes, putting together a list of potential participants and speakers at the Conference as well as the framework of the conference which will be conducted in three languages – English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.  The budget of the conference is estimated to be around RM300,000/- although every effort will be made to economize and yet be able to achieve worthy targets.  The conference will also yield a volume of selected papers to commemorate Zheng He’s 605th Anniversary of the start of his voyages.

In all our endeavors, our still young Society will persevere to promote the spirit of Zheng He through our activities, research and publications for peace and mutual understanding and respect.

 

 

ZhengHe Epic

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2017. International Zheng He Society

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