|visit us at www.chengho.org | 2009-Oct-01|
(1) First International Zheng He Conference in Melaka – An Update
The Organizing Committee of the Melaka Conference met for the 6th time on 4 September 2009 and there was an almost full turnout of committee members. President Tan Ta Sen reported that on August 18, he and Irene Huang, Director of the Melaka Cheng Ho Cultural Museum earlier met with Tuan Hj Khamis b. Hj Abas, Director-General of PERZIM and other officials at PERZIM’s office in Melaka.
We are very pleased that the conference will be opened by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Najib b Abdul Razak and several other high ranking Malaysian leaders will also be in attendance. A small book fair would also be organized as part of the Conference to be held during 5-7 July 2010 at the newly opened Equatorial Hotel. A good part of the meeting was devoted to discussing how to ensure that Zheng He researchers and established scholars representing different parts of the Africa-Asian region be contacted and attracted to participate in this important Conference.
Photo: Dr Tan (3rd from right) hosted dinner after the committee meeting.
On 14 September, a meeting with the PERZIM main organizing committee was held in PERZIM’s meeting room in Melaka. The following members travelled from Singapore to attend the meeting: Tan Ta Sen, CCChin, Kua Bak Lim, Ong Chu Meng, Chia Lin Sien, Jaffar Kassim and Lim How Seng. Ms Irene Huang as the conference organizing secretary and Mr Lim Guan Swee, a prominent Melaka resident, were also present at the meeting. The meeting deliberated on various matters including the conference programme as well as financial arrangements. The Singapore group who stayed over the previous night returned home at the conclusion of the meeting.
As on end September, some 30 papers had been submitted, the bulk of which are in Chinese. Attempts will continue to be made to attract more papers particularly those in English.
(2) Zheng He Temple in Batu Maung, Penang Island
Penang Island boasts of numerous Chinese temples including one built by the Chinese community on a rocky promontory on the southeastern corner of Penang Island. It is situated next to and overlooks the Batu Maung Fishing Port. The small serene temple is beautifully appointed and the grounds are very well kept. On a cliffside, a large painting of Zheng He and a nine-sail baochuan (treasure ship)(top left photo) can be seen just before the entrance to the temple. An imprint of Zheng He’s foot on the temple floor (bottom photo) is a special feature not to be missed. Photo shows coins thrown onto the footprint by visitors.
(3) Zheng He’s Voyages to the Western Ocean – A Historical Serialized Movie
This highly interesting and well-produced serialized movie was produced for the Chinese CCTV Channel for viewing for the public in 2009. The brief abstract of the documentary has this to say:
“The young Ma He was captured in Yunnan and brought to the palace of the Emperor. He was assigned to serve in the house of Yen Lord. The Prince of Yen, Zhu Di, harboured great ambitions for himself. The Lord of Yen was nurtured in the years he served at the northern border with the Xiong Nu when he suffered great hardship. He developed a strong relationship with the senior monk, Yao Guang. He increasingly disagreed with his father, the Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang’s policy of prohibition to go to sea. In the days that Ma He spent accompanying the Yen Lord – also known as Zhu Di - helping to guard the northern borders, he grew in stature and confidence. He also achieved great successes in his expeditions.
After Zhu Di ascended the throne, he wanted to expunge the negative nature in the way he usurped the throne. Accordingly, he decided to follow the example of the first Han Emperor, Han Wu Di, to create an era of great prosperity. He changed Zhu Yuan Zhang’s sea prohibition policy and ordered the thirty-five-year-old Zheng He to command a mighty Ming fleet to sail to the Western Ocean as his Viceroy. In 1405 (third year of Yung Le) Zheng He led a crew of 26,700 and sailed from the port of Taiping in Chang Le, province of Fujian. Thus began a 28-year long expedition to establish the power of the Ming Empire and to seek long-distance trade….”
The dialogue is in Chinese with Chinese subtitles. The serial is produced by Liaoning Cultural and Artistic Digital Company and comprised 12 DVD disks. The serial number is ISRC CN-D05-09-326-00/VJ9. Contact tel: 020-86543730 or 86543725 Fax: 020-86391734. The dialogue is in Hanyu with Chinese subtitles. It is available in Chinese bookstores at the retail price of S$29.90.
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