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

(1)   Our past Advisor, Professor Wu Jin

An article posted by UCLA International Institute on Zheng He’s voyages of discovery <http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=10387> gives a report on a speech by Professor Wu Jin, who regrettably passed away a couple of years ago. The following are biographical details of Prof. Wu provided at the end of the report:

“Jin Wu (Ph.D. in Mechanics and Hydraulics, University of Iowa), an internationally renowned researcher in oceanic science, was the Minister of Education in the Republic of China in Taiwan from 1996 to 1998. He is a member of both the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Academia Sinica. He was Distinguished Professor of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering, National Cheng Kung University (in Tainan, Taiwan), and concurrently Director of the Water Resources Research Center, and Director of the Research Institute for Public Affairs, both at Cheng Kung University.  Dr. Wu was for many years a professor of marine studies at the University of Delaware, one of the world’s foremost centres for marine and oceanic studies. He was also H. Fletcher Brown Professor Emeritus of Marine Studies and Civil Engineering, University of Delaware.”

The speech was similar to an informal talk given at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) on 2 November 2004. His paper presented a detailed account of Zheng He’s voyages and explored the scientific and technological aspects of the voyages. He compared the size of the fleet and those of Columbus (1492 ), Da Gama (1498), and Megellan (1521) to show the vast difference in the scale of their undertakings.

The report also refers to the Nanjing shipyards and that it was Prof. Wu who lobbied for the ancient channels saved. The channels have since then become part of a naval museum. There may be still important artifacts that await discovery in the mud of the channels.  Had Prof. Wu survived, he would be undertaken research on shipbuilding technology, navigation technology, and management science in ancient China.

During his life time, Prof. Wu participated in many activities promoting the study of Zheng He and his voyages. These activities included delivering the keynote speech (on Zheng He) at the annual meeting of the Conference on Asian Seas, in March 2001; organizing the First International Conference on Zheng He, held in Taipei, in September 2001; the establishment of Zheng He study clubs in several cities in the United States; and he planned to build a replica of Zheng He's treasure ship.

Our Society is proud to have had Prof. Wu as our Advisor, albeit for all too short a period of time.

(2)   Websites

http://www.kenspy.com/Menzies/  This website has been set up as an anti-Menzies effort to debunk the assertions made in Gavin Menzies’ book 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America, calling the book a ‘historical novel’.  “This web page is designed as a starting point for those who would like evidence that supports the fact that Menzies is flat out wrong….  to make sure that Menzies is never taken seriously”.  Nevertheless, the website provides interesting information and links to articles on Zheng He that readers may find interesting.  It includes links to www.pbs.org that discusses Zheng He’s treasure ships and the size of Chinese junks. See also http://www.1421exposed.com/

 

(3)   Articles

Chinese-style mosque in Kelantan

An article in the Straits Times (Singapore) Press that appeared on 17 August 2009 reported  a Chinese-style mosque in Rantau Panjang along the Rantau Panjang-Kota Baru Road in Kelantan opened on 22 August at the start of the fasting month. Ramadan.  The mosque can seat a thousand people at a time. Construction began in September 2005.  The Sultan Ismail Petra Silver Jubilee Mosque cost RM8.8 million and is locally known as the Beijing Mosque.  The design combines Chinese and Islamic architectural styles.

 

 Above: Figure shows an artist’s drawing of the front of the Rantau Panjang Mosque.

The report says that Kelantan Deputy Meneri Besar Ahmad Yaakob regards the mosque as symbolic that Islam is for all.  He also mentions that while the mosque is predominated by Chinese features with a typical flying green-tiled roofs, there are also Indian and Uzbek features especially in the interior decor.

In Dr Tan Ta Sen’s book on Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia, he gives details of several mosques with Chinese-style tiered roofs and pagado-like minarets and shows photos taken in Melaka in Malaysia, Tuban, Batava (Jakarta), Demak as well as the oldest mosque in Kota Bahru, Kelantan in Malaysia.

 

 

ZhengHe Epic

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2017. International Zheng He Society

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