Happenings – Archive

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2005 Year of rooster


  • Tuesday April 5th , 7:30pm
    The Sawdust House – A Book Talk by H. Ronken Lynton

  • Thursday April 7th , 7:30pm
    Book Talk by Author of “The Good Women of China” – Xinran

  • Tuesday April 12th 7:30pm
    Oracle Bones – A Talk by Peter Hessler

  • Wednesday April 20th 7:30pm
    Mongolia’s Magic with Ben Moyle

  • Tuesday April 26th 7:30pm
    Pandas, Politics and Poop, A Decade Tracking Wolong’s Elusive Giant Panda – An Illustrated talk by Matthew Durnin

    Tuesday April 5th , 7:30pm
    The Sawdust House – A Book Talk by H. Ronken Lynton

    H. Ronken Lynton was born and grew up in Minnesota, with links to the Scandinavian community there. She broke with the family tradition and went off to Radcliffe to study. After working in Washington during World War II, she became the third woman to be appointed to the Harvard Business School faculty. In 1953 Rolf Lynton came to her department on a fellowship, and in 1955 they were married and set out for Asia. Of the past 50 years, besides traveling in Asia they have spent more than 20 years in India, 5 in Indonesia, and one in Botswana. She has published a lot of management books, as well as three biographies of leading Indian figures. This is her first novel and first non-management writing to be based in America.Ronnie will talk about her life’s journey, and read excerpts from her novel The Sawdust House.

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    Thursday April 7th , 7:30pm
    Book Talk by Author of “The Good Women of China” – Xinran

    Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958. Her family was well-off and westernised: her grandfather worked for GEC. Her parents were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, and she was brought up by Red Guards as a child of the Revolution, not regarding her parents as her family. In the late 1980s, as part of the move to open up broadcasting, she was asked to run a late night radio programme Words on the Night Breeze.The phone calls and the letters she received at Words on the Night Breeze showed her much that she had not known about the lives of women in China: the emotional poverty of a society just emerging from the Cultural Revolution, when even the mildest sexual display was seen as delinquent, the material poverty of the majority of people, especially in the villages, the low value attached to women’s lives.

    In 1997 Xinran moved to London, and it was there that she began to put together all the stories she had been told by women who had struggled through the most appalling experiences, but who would be judged by these bizarre and arbitrary standards. The result was her first book, The Good Women of China. Now she has written another book, and again it is the true story of a woman’s life. Sky Burial is the story of how Xinran was introduced by a listener to her radio programme to Shu Wen, a Chinese woman who had spent 30 years in Tibet, searching for her lost husband: it sounds like a romance, and Xinran says her publishers urge her to try writing fiction but that she has no idea how to write fiction. The book is shaped by her dedication to telling the truth of the story as it was told to her, and as she has been able to piece it together since. There is yet another layer of strangeness here: strange as China seems to us, to Xinran it is Tibet which is the extraordinary place.

    She is particularly enthusiastic about Mother Bridge, a charitable organisation which she has founded to help to build bridges between China and the west, helping each to reach a better understanding of the other. While everyone can benefit from this, the people who need it most are Chinese children growing up with adoptive families in the west, knowing little or nothing of their background, and their adoptive parents. Hitherto she has written about the China of today and its roots in its recent past; now she is ready to start building from that past on into China’s future.

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    Tuesday April 12th 7:30pm
    Oracle Bones – A Talk by Peter Hessler

    Peter Hessler is from Columbia, Missouri, and came to China in 1996, with the Peace Corps. For two years he taught English at a teachers college in Fuling, a small city on the Yangtze River. Afterwards, he wrote a memoir about this experience, River Town, which was published in 2001 by HarperCollins in the US and John Murray in the UK.

    Since the spring 1999, Pete has lived in Beijing, where he is a freelance writer. In recent years he has written feature stories about a range of subjects (Shenzhen, archaeology, Uighurs, Yao Ming, the Three Gorges dam, to name a few) for the New Yorker and National Geographic. He is accredited as the New Yorker correspondent in Beijing.

    Peter is currently editing his new book, Oracle Bones, which will be published in 2006, also by HarperCollins and John Murray. He will read some passages from Oracle Bones and talk about writing narrative journalism in China.

    Wednesday April 20th 7:30pm
    Mongolia’s Magic with Ben Moyle

    At this month’s lecture, Ben Moyle will talk about his adventures living in Mongolia, China’s fascinating northern neighbor. Monglia still stirs up images of wild horses galloping across the steppes, camels wandering through the desert, and a fascinating nomadic culture. Ben Moyle, co-founder of 4th World Adventure, along with his father Simon, runs Natures Door eco-site at Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia with his Mongolian business partner Otga, a woman they met while cycling through Mongolia in 1999. As Ben said, " I knew her for three hours before we became business partners and even then I didn’t know her name! All I knew was that she was studying in Ulaanbaatar during term time so I had to get a friend who is a lawyer to go and search the universities asking for the English speaker from Lake Hovsgol! " Ben, an intrepid traveller himself was bored with his job in England and decided he wanted to live in Outer Mongolia and make a go of things even if it meant him living in a ger without electricity. Ben will not only regale us with his stories living in Mongolia, but will also give us a deeper look into the rich Monglian culture and its modern reality.

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    Tuesday April 26th 7:30pm
    Panda Man – An Illustrated talk by Matthew Durnin

    Matt Durnin has spent years studying pandas in Wolong Nature Reserve, living for months at a time in thin-walled wooden shacks without electricity or running water. Come and join us to hear some of his hilarious stories and also learn about the wild panda and its fantastic habitat.

    Matthew E. Durnin, earned his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of California Berkeley, in 2004 and has been studying wild giant pandas in the Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China for almost 10 years. He is an Associate Researcher with the California Academy of Science conducting mammal biodiversity surveys in Yunnan. He is also the Founder of the non-profit organization Collaborative Research for Endangered Wildlife, Inc.

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Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence –
a book talk by internationally acclaimed Doris Pilkington –

Sunday 11th Sep 7:30pm

Doris Pilkington was born on Balfour Downs Station in Australia. As a toddler she was removed by authorities from her home, along with her mother Molly Craig and baby sister, and committed to Moore River Native Settlement, the same institution Molly had escaped from ten years previously, the story of which is told in Pilkington’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence.

At eighteen, Doris left the mission system as the first of its members to qualify for the Royal Perth Hospital’s nursing aide training program. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was first published in 1996, and released internationally as a film by Phillip Noyce in 2002.

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