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General News


(1)  First International Zheng He Conference in Melaka – An Update

Our organizing committee met twice in November, the latest was on 20th November (see photo below). We are pleased to announce that good progress has been made organising the conference. Our team would travel to Melaka to meet with our joint organizers, PERZIM, to work out some details arrangements of the conference. We have received some 40 abstracts, most of them from scholars in China.  There is a wide range of very interesting papers and authors have been notified acceptance of their papers. We look forward to receiving their full papers by April 2010.


Seated (from left): Ong Chu Meng, Tan Ta Sen, CC Chin

Standing (from left): Lim How Seng, Chia Lin Sien

(2)  Big Admirer of Admiral Zheng He – Dr Tan Ta Sen

Our President, Dr Tan Ta Sen, was featured in the Sunday Times (Singapore), 11 Oct 2009.  The article revealed that Dr Tan, a businessman, who so admired Admiral Cheng He that he built a museum in Malacca in his honour.  Dr Tan also wrote his doctoral thesis that he turned into a book entitled Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia published in Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia and English this year. Dr Tan is the founder of the Utraco group of companies which began as a drilling and piling contractor.  Utraco now specializes in civil and marine engineering works with major projects in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Middle East. 

His academic career began in 1959 in Nanyang University or Nantah (南大) where he read history and geography.  He won a scholarship to undertake graduate studies in Indonesian and Malay studies in the University of Indonesia (1960-1965).  On his return,  he was appointed head of the Southeast Asian Studies Programme in Nanyang University.  He left his academic career in 1978 to go into business. 

His interest in history was renewed after he started in early 1990s to collect antiques – mainly Ming and Qing ceramic and pottery wares.  In 1997, Dr Tan established the Peranakan boutique Puri Hotel in Malacca which has 85 rooms (see Soon after that he set up the Melaka Cheng Ho Cultural Museum along Jalan Hang Jebat (see which cost him more than S$5 million. It is now being upgraded with new and more exciting exhibits.

He was the founding president of our Society in 2003 with aims to undertake research and to promote world peace and harmony. Dr Tan wishes to promote the “Zheng He’s spirit of adventure, enterprise, friendship and harmony with the rest of the world.” And that he was a “…peace-loving, East-West trading network builder and cultural disseminator, and not a military aggressor or colonialist as some Western scholars have made him out to be.”

Dr Tan is married with two sons, one a medical doctor and the other a financial studies graduate who assists him in his business.

(3)  Change of our Society’s Address

It was decided at our last Committee Meeting held on 16 October 2009 that our Society’s address should be changed to:

8 Commonwealth Lane, Singapore 149555

Tel: (65) 6474 2112            Fax: (65) 6474 0990

The office is in the Utraco-Greentech Building which is located just a few minutes walking distance from Commonwealth MRT (subway) station in Queenstown.

(4)   Books

Liu Gang (to be published), The Ancient Map Code - Mystery of Chinese Global Exploration before Columbus.

Mr Frank Lee who is now working closely with Gavin Menzies wrote about the above book:

“The owner of the 1418 Zheng He Map of the World, Mr. Liu Gang, a law firm partner in Beijing has started a lonely journey in China to find out why there are denials of the early Chinese had made it to foreign land, even to the Western Hemisphere.
You may google search "1418 map, Liu Gang" to read the map he bought in a Shanghai antique shop for 4,000 RMB in 2001, before he came to know Gavin Menzies book, "1421, the Year China Discovered the World".
The influence of Confucius teaching made educated and common folks stay closer to home, but the Taoists, since Han Dynasty, roamed and travelled about, and many inventions came about in astronomy, alchemy, metallurgy, weaponry, navigation and survival.  Liu Gang stumbled onto a discovery of an 11th century of living quarters by some high-ranking officials in the Hebei Province, at that time when Song had become Southern Song, ruling the South of Yangtse River, and the North were by the minorities such as Nuzeng, Liao and Jin.
A cave painting was shown and publicized in China, people were amazed with the delicate details and the art form, but Liu Gang found what he was looking for.  The Song people, possibly the people earlier than Song had been to the rest of the world.
Liu Gang has put down all his research onto a new book called Ancient Chinese Map Code, to be published at the end of November 2009.  But here, I like you to read a few chapters and tell me your opinions.”

You may contact Mr Frank Lee through his e-mail:

(5)    Xinjiang Song and Dance Ensemble

Our Society co-sponsored and organised with the Singapore-China Friendship Association and the Federation for Asian Cultural Promotion the above event held on 16 November at the Singapore Conference Hall. About one thousand persons attend the performance including some gate-crashers. The troupe comprising about 30 performers from Xinjiang was invited by the Association and the cost of the entire project was donated by committee members of the Friendship Association. Proceeds of the event from sale of tickets would be donated to the Xinjiang Ethnic Minorities Fund for awarding bursaries.

The Song and Dance Ensemble of the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region is an authentic performing arts company.  Members of the troupe are drawn from a dozen different ethnic groups including Uighur, Han, Kazak, Hui-Mongolia, Kirgiz, Uzbek, Xibe, Manchu and Russian. Their performances have been highly acclaimed and given many international awards.



ZhengHe Epic

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2018. International Zheng He Society

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