Thursday, June 30, 2016

Relatives in Beijing

During my visit in Beijing, I did have a cousin whose family lived there. My father had two siblings, one older brother (Fu-Ming, 福民)  and a younger sister (unfortunately I have forgotten her name). Huang Fu-Ming had nine children. One died early in life. However, his third son, (道煊), was then living in Beijing. His wife was from Beijing and they had a son and a daughter living in the eastern part of town. I got in touch with them and visited them a couple of times. The University gave me a private car with a driver and he took me wherever I wanted to go. The driver also waited for me the whole time! I had a dumpling dinner with my cousin's family a couple of times, too. I had met him earlier, in Nanking, before I was ten, as he was attending a University there. When I saw him this time, I could still recognize his face. We took quite a number of pictures together! His daughter had one child. She and her husband did not live with her parents at the time. He was very thin when I was with him, as he apparently had beensent to the country and had a rough time there for ten years. He would never tell me where he was during that period!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Evening Programs

I was very busy during the daytime while the workshop was in progress. When I was not lecturing or reporting, I was talking with some participants about the US, all day long! During the evening hours, they usually made arrangements for me to go out for dinner and/or a show. Occasionally, they let me make my own arrangements to visit relatives or friends, if someone was available. I will talk later about this.
Some dinners were planned ahead, so that the menu could be specially prepared, either by using beautiful calligraphic writing, as shown below:

or by being printed for that unique meal as seen here:
I went out for several shows, as well. It was unexpected that they let me go to ALL the shows by myself without anyone to accompany me. I enjoyed all of them very much, as they were brand new to me and very interesting. The top two listed below were historical stories which were quite familiar to me, but had not been presented to me before in the way of a play with dialog and dancing music! The programs are listed below:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Beijing Scenic Spots

This was the first time I came to Beijing, of course, my hosts tried their best for me to visit the best and most famous spots. I went to Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Beihai Park all in one day, then I went to the Great Wall and Summer Palace in separate days. Of course, we had gone to eat at the famous Beijing duck place to have a meal there as well as walking in the Temple of Heaven. The schedule was full and I was definitely treated with their careful and very considerate planning. All those spots were visited with different people from the Department, sometimes even with their family members. I had seen pictures of great wall before, but when you got there personally for the first time, you still would be just amazed by its enormous dimension in these rugged terrains and were built by human hands two thousand years ago! Somehow you would feel absolutely necessary to take a picture there, to prove that you there for sure! Of course, I took a picture of my host, Prof. Hu,  too.

The pictures included in this Blog were taken at outdoor scenic spots in and around Beijing.  These spots really include many places which I mentioned earlier. This old city certainly has a lot to offer! You can not possibly learn all there is to know about it in just a few days of touring around. In the following pictures, I am giving you an idea of the places I visited but also an introduction to the people who were with me during this, my first trip to China as an adult!

Saturday, June 25, 2016


There was no question that the participants, who were from all over China, were very curious to find out what was going on in the USA. China had closed the gates to the outside world for close to thirty years and they were eager to find out what had been happening outside their doors. I found out that  they had had no access to Chemical Abstracts, which was and still is the only literature recording all that happens in the field of Chemistry. Without access to CA, a chemist is like a blind person! One would not be able to accomplish anything - either in research or in teaching! I was also very curious to find out what had been happening there, in the country where I was born and where I lived until the age of 10. So we met in a very large classroom, talking about the conditions which I experienced daily in the USA, but which were brand new for all of the people there! I am posting below two pictures, one colored and one black and white (which is better for identifying who was there). These pictures were taken in front of an old school building in Beijing. Beijing Normal University was the first public university in China and was established in 1902.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Workshop started on July 21, 1980

The two-week workshop started on July 21, 1980. I tried very hard to include subjects which would be of interest to the class. Clearly they were not sure what they wanted me to do and I was not sure what they wanted. We decided that I would talk first about teaching the Physical Chemistry Laboratory: what experiments were included, how the students succeeded in carrying them out, and what we expected of them. Then I was to talk about my research topics in chemical kinetics and mass spectrometry. An outline was distributed to all the participants using mimeographed copies. A photo copy is shown below:
There were a lot of participants, coming to this meeting from across the whole country, including every province of the whole country, including the remote areas, like Xinjiang and Qinghai!!The list of participants were also included in the momiographic copies as shown below:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Arriving Beijing at Night!

At the Lo-wu Chinese entrance check, I remember that the officer checked my luggage carefully and that he was very interested in the two copies of the ETSU students' catalog. I do not know how much he could read English, but the pictures in the book were what he was concentrated on. It took a while for him to check but I was released without any problem. Then I got back on the train to go to Canton, where I was picked up by an official from the Ministry of Education who took me to the airport. When I finally  arrived in Beijing, it was already 8PM at night and no one was there to meet me. I called Prof. Hu and he came with two faculty  members in the Department to help me to get to the Friendship Hotel which was located near all the Universities. Clearly they were very tired by the time we arrived in the room. But it was day-time for me! I took their picture in my room and thanked them for their trouble before they left to go home. This was the starting point of my China visit!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Just a Small Hole opened up in 1980

A "hole in the curtain" was opened up between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, by the People's Republic sometime before 1980. I went through that "hole", from Hong Kong, in July. Of course, Janice did not go with me, as I was not sure whether I was making a big mistake by accepting the invitation from China to make the trip. That was the first time I visited Hong Kong. It was not a very clear day, but it was a big, impressive city as I took a picture below!
I stayed there only one night without taking any side trips. The next day I took a train to Lo-Wu, a border town with China, which had the only "hole" opened to the People's Republic. And for more than a decade, it was the only "hole" for all visitors of China to go through. The town changed quickly from a very small place to a very large city in just a few years. The pictures below can give you some idea of the change:
Seen from the British side in 1980. (The red flag represents the PRC.) 

the same location after 1985 

Not only did I pass through this "hole" several times, but in later years my family also passed through it more than once and we certainly saw the changes in this whole area.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Finalize my Historical China Trip

By the end of May, 1980, with my father's strong objection on my mind, I made the final decision to go ahead and make the trip to China in August. There was the attraction of the tear in the iron curtain after Nixon's trip opened up the possibility of such visits. Added to that was the fact that I was one of the few invited to visit the country in those early days. Clearly the chance to visit the the country where I was born had more attraction to me than the dangerous possibilities envisioned by my father's experience with the communists. Here I am posting the final two letters from the Chair of Beijing Normal University which provided the details necessary for the trip. They included a description of the materials for the workshop, as well as the background of all anticipated personnel, and, of course, the dates of the workshop (from July 22 to August 3rd). It is clear from the fact that the letters I received were all in Chinese that one of the reasons for my selection was my ability to speak and read Chinese.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

After Camp Report Party

You might not know that, after the sixth grade camping trip, there was a party at the University School where the students were asked to make a report on their experiences. All family members were invited to participate. I no longer remember who was there and what was reported at the dinner. However, I have a few pictures to prove that it was a serious matter for all sixth graders, including Margaret, who can be seen below reporting on her experiences at the camp before the dinner. Pictured are her teacher, Polly Taylor, and Margaret's best friend, Wendy Whitmore, and her mother Kay.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Steven's Camp Out

I do not remember how many camp outs our family participated in while both Margaret and Steven grew up in East Tennessee. It was a very homogeneous university community with many academic people. Not only were the value systems similar, other things, like income, family tradition, family size and outlook, as well as future expectations for our children, were very similar. This was one of the camp outs in which Steven and his friends/classmates participated. They certainly had a great time in the wilderness. His best friend at the time, David Crockett, was his bunk mate. They were close friend for all the twelve years they were in school together. Steven and David both liked playing basketball. They played for their high school team together and, of course, they did a lot of trout fishing together both at Watauga Lake and in the rivers nearby. Yes, his name is David Crockett! I did not make it up for your attention!