Can a water dragon breathe fire when it’s wet? And other conundra

By Patrick Murphy – January 2012 The Chinese have an amazingly complicated calendar, but for all its sophistication and complexities you would think they could, at least, get the placement of Spring correct, right? Apparently not, as this is Chinese Spring. What we call “Chinese New Year” is called by the Chinese “Spring Festival.” Hello?Continue reading “Can a water dragon breathe fire when it’s wet? And other conundra”

Why I Love China, Reason #297

By Patrick Murphy – April 2009 The internet in China, as everywhere, can be somewhat user unfriendly. Factor in technoglop in a foreign language (like “Make sure the subnet mask is disengaged”) and it becomes simply impossible to achieve connectivity unaided. Not only was I faced with that challenge, but my old computer had becomeContinue reading “Why I Love China, Reason #297”

Review: Chinese Measure Word Dictionary

Chinese Measure Word Dictionary: A Chinese-English English-Chinese Usage Guide by Jiqing Fang and Michael Connelly (Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2008) Review by Craig Dietrich CAFAM’s own Mike Connelly is co-author of a unique and just-published learning tool and reference guide for Chinese language learners. It has to do with “measure words.” Measure words are foundContinue reading “Review: Chinese Measure Word Dictionary”

The China Trade at the Penobscot Marine Museum

The beautiful Penobscot Bay town of Searsport boasts many old homes dating from the great seafaring era. Here one can find the Penobscot Marine Museum. Its principal exhibits illuminate the industry of Penobscot Bay in the 19th century and illustrate life on one of the great square-rigged ships, and what it was like to visitContinue reading “The China Trade at the Penobscot Marine Museum”

The Empire Dine and Dance

By Craig Dietrich CAFAM members will recall that, among the materials collected by Gary Libby about Chinese in Maine, is the story of the Empire Dine and Dance restaurant on the corner of Congress and Forest. An effort has been underway to install markers on certain Portland buildings such as this one, to commemorate theseContinue reading “The Empire Dine and Dance”

In China, you are “old”

By Craig Dietrich In modern times as Chinese came into increasing contact with the outside world, they used several terms to refer to foreigners. These words reflect core cultural ideas, political climate, and degrees of familiarity. One cardinal Chinese cultural distinction is nei-wai (inner-outer) or zhong-wai (central-peripheral). Nei-wai, for example, is used to talk aboutContinue reading “In China, you are “old””

Review: Journey to Xiamacun

By Mason Philip Smith (Provincial Press 2008) Review by Craig Dietrich Early in 2008 I received an email from my friend Ma Tongchun inviting me for lunch at his ancestral farm northwest of Kunming, Yunnan. So in May I returned to China, accompanied by Brian Dorsk a friend from Cape Elizabeth. Before proceeding to Xiamacun,Continue reading “Review: Journey to Xiamacun”