Archive for December, 2013

Good bye 2013, hello vibrant 2014!

Prosperous new year_188

Thanks to all my dearest friends, readers and supporters,without you, I cannot make it happened.

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Dear Frances

Here is a refreshing article for opening up your new year in KL.
It is about the world first, Chinese religious coin with HM the Queen in one coin minted by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra and a legal tender of the Solomon Islands, a member of the British Commonwealth.

from IpohBornKid

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Scanned images of the Ji Gong coin (above) and the insert giving a description of the coin in Chinese & English (below).
A legal tender ($1.00) of the Solomon Islands.



The Ji Gong Story
At 16, his parents passed away and after 3 years mourning, he travelled around the country. As his money ran out, he decided to become a monk at the Lingyin temple (靈隱寺)in Hangzhou. The Abbot accepted him as a disciple/monk and named him Daoji.
As the story goes, Daoji often disguised himself as an insane monk of boundless virtue and performed many miracles to help the unfortunate and punished the wicked and the unscrupulous as well as using his power to destroy evil spirits and monsters. There are many stories about Ji Gong and these stories reflect the social life and Zen doctrines of that time. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (AD 1368-1911), his stories became widely known.
Today, more than 800 years passed, the Ji Gong’s story has become an endless literary resource and was also was also made into novels, paintings, sculptures movies and TV plays. The stories can play a role in enhancing individual/national morals and ethics.
The Ji Gong Coin
In Australia during mid-October 2013, the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) in Canberra became the first in the history of the British Commonwealth, to strike a coin depicting the image of Master Ji Gong on one side and the HM Queen II on the other side.
How the coin projected came about:
Early in 2013, Mr Edward Terence Mason, Director of the Australian Gold Coin Pty Ltd and Ms Dongyu Xing showed a coin from an Asian country with the Goddess of Mercy (Quanyin) to Dr Tony Pun. As the RAM was minting the Chinese zodiac coins (the 12 animals) with HM the Queen on one side, the question was asked whether it would be possible for the RAM to make a coin with 1 oz silver but with Master Ji Gong on the other side. At that moment, the Ji Gong coin was conceptualized and Mr Mason was given the task to investigate whether the RAM would mint such a coin. The rational of making this coin was also discussed and the idea to use the proceeds of the sale of the Ji Gong coin to assist fund raising for Ji Gong temples was agreed. A positive response was received from the RAM. Permission was also obtained to use the Queen’s image on the coin. At that point, the trio, Mr Mason, Ms Xing and Dr Pun decided to give the first preference to the Ji Gong temple in Sydney to raise funds for their development. The Ji Gong temple in Sydney accepted the idea and raised sufficient funds to sponsor the first 1,000 coins. The net proceeds to the sale of the first 1,000 coins would go to the Ji Gong temple in Sydney. By October 2013, the coins were produced and 1,000 of these coins were in the possession of the office bearers of the Chee Seng Khor Moral Uplifting Society Inc. in Sydney The coins were then taken to be exhibited and sold during the Ji Gong Conference(October 2013) in Macao to international delegates.


Production of this coin was also assisted by the Hon Consul for Solomon Islands, Sir Trevor Garland, former colleague of Dr Pun at St Vincent’s Hospital. This coin is the first of its kind with HM the Queen and a religious icon Master Ji Gong. It is of historical significance in the recognition of Chinese culture and religion by Westerners and including Solomon Islands and Australia.
Photo: from left to right – standing, Dr Tony Pun, Edward Mason, sitting Ms Dongyu Xing and Sir Trevor Garland.

The copyright of the coin belongs to the Australian Gold Coins Pty Ltd and the image of Master Ji Gong was designed by Mr Mason. The total mintage of this coin is 10,000 and hence, it will be a valuable collector’s item. The coin is also available in pure gold (99.99%).
The Original Purpose of the Ji Gong Coin
The concept, as from the beginning, is to use the coin for fund raising purpose for Ji Gong temples. It is expected that those involved in selling the coins would donate parts of the net proceeds to the Ji Gong temple. As charity comes from the heart, there is no coercion in how much people will donate and such donations should be natural, generous and purposeful, each according to his/her conscience and ability.
Note: Dr Pun and Sir Trevor do not receive any financial benefits from the Australian Gold Coin Pty Ltd nor did they take any commissions for the sale of the coins. Their efforts are completely charitable as they both donate their time and effort for the Ji Gong Coin Project.

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2013 Xmas Card IpohBornKid


A Christmas greetings from IpohBornkid.


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Last night, I was invited by my artist friends, Ben Toh and Gary Lim to sell my book at their event, the Contemporary Art VI Group Exhibition. The event features 6 local artists – Alice Yee, Gary Lim, Ellie Ng, Ben Toh, Maxine Xie and also my friend from Magick River, Melissa Lin.

It was well attended by many art enthusiasts who came despite the traffic jam in Sentul. They were there to look at beautiful artistic pieces and many also took the opportunity to buy my book. All in, it was an awesome night.

Thank you once again, Ben and Gary!

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By IpohBornKid

In Ipoh ACS during the 1950s, all names were written in English in the student register.  Three types of names generally occur – Malay, Indian and Chinese.  Sometimes there were one or two European names.  There were also a number of alias (also known as or aka) in the register but the alias was not used.  Romanized Malay and Indian names were not a problem and most of them were spelt correctly, whilst the Chinese names have 50% spelt wrong.  Why you may ask?

In discussion here, the modern Romanization of Chinese surnames are used according to the Mandarin dialect.  Consider some of the “Anglicized” spelling of the surnames commonly encountered in Malaysia and their respective Romanized forms in different Chinese dialects.

 Pinyin            Hakka              Cantonese       Hokkien

Chen            Chin                Chan                Tan

Li                 Lee                  Li                     Lee

Zhang          Chong             Cheong            Teoh

Wang   /  Wong              Wong              Ong

Wu              Ng                   Ng                   Goh

Liu               Liew                Lau                  _____

Pan              Pun                  Poon                Phua

Hong           Hoong             Hoong             Ang

Liang           Leong              Leong              ______

Kao             Kau                 Go                   Koh

In the above list, can the reader identify the Chinese pinyin and guess what dialect will his family speaks.  Please note that the Hainan, Hock Chew and other Fujian dialects are very close in pronunciation.

I have left the Hokkien names for Liu and Liang blank and hope that a reader might fill it in.  By looking at the Romanization of the Chinese surname, one can guess what dialect his/her family speaks.  Little did I know about these until I started to learn the Chinese language a bit further bearing in mind that ACS Ipoh only has 1 period of Chinese language every week until Std 6. 

Here are some of the boys that I have known in ACS and their Romanized Chinese names are, Yee Voon Chee, (Hakka) Chan Siak Hoi (Cantonese), Chin Kim Chen (Hakka), Lim Jit Ting (Hannan), Leong Hoi Siew (Cantonese), Tan Kee Peng (Hokkien), Doong Ming Kwong (Shanghai or North China), Wong Kong Yoke (Cantonese), Lee Ah Kow (Cantonese), Chong Ah Fat (Hakka), Chew Gee Boo (Hokkien), Liew Loon Teik (Hokkien), Lau Kok Loong (Cantonese), Loke Kok Wan (Hakka) and a teacher the late Quah Kuan Teik (Hokkien).  My first guest about the dialect is in parenthesis.  Maybe some should correct me because I am not a Chinese scholar and these guesses are reflexive.  The Chinese dialect in school was predominantly Cantonese.

A person from China today, will not be able to decipher by looking at the surname and give it correct Chinese character, nor he will be able to tell whether the person is of Hakka, Hokkien or Cantonese origin.  On the other hand, a Malaysian or Singaporean of Chinese origin is more likely to get the right answer.

Sometimes a good meaning Chinese name may not sound too good in another dialect.  For example, the Cantonese name Lee Say Hoi (four seas, translated into a man well-known in all four seas, knowledgeable etc.) can mean dead and gone in Hakka. 

At other times, the dialectal interchange can be hilarious, mischievous and not auspicious.  Many boys were teased and became the butt of many jokes in the school for having names which can have a different connotation in another dialect. I encourage readers to give examples of such interchanges.

My association with Hong Kong friends in Australia soon taught me more innuendos in Cantonese names viz.  Lee Wan Bun, Lee Fan Shu, Chew Yin Sung.  Some of you may guess what it means!

Now to the reason why many names were Romanized incorrectly.  At the local Police Station where a birth is registered, the local constable may not be a good speller, and most Chinese immigrants then could not write their surname in English.  If all else fail, the local constabulary has the last say in your name.  For example, the correct surname “Pun” may end up as “Phun”.  A “Cheong” may end up as “Chong” and a “Wong” may end as Ng, Ong or Huang” depending on who won the argument, your father or the person who recorded your birth. Fortunately, you will not get that in China because they use Chinese characters and secondly there is a universal pinyin (based on the Mandarin dialect) for Chinese characters irrespective of dialect.

Very soon, most Malaysian of Chinese descent will use the pingyin for the Romanized names (I hope).

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By IpohBornKid

After viewing a short TV documentary on the late Nelson Mandela, it brought back some interesting memories.  In 1964 when they put Mandela in jail, I landed in Sydney to start my education.  I didn’t hear much of it until I was teaching at the University in the early 1970s.  I remembered attending and participating in the protests against Apartheid and the Rugby team from South Africa; and supporting the international economic boycott of S Africa.

The world had begun to turn against S Africa apartheid policy in the 1970s.  Our former PM Malcolm Fraser was involved with negotiations with S Africa government for Mandela’s release.  It took 2 decades for the final release of Mandela from jail (1990). In a short period of a few years, he successfully united S Africans, black and white to form a democratic nation.  We mourn his passing, but he will be remembered as first as the Father of the S African nation and globally, as one of our greatest leaders.  What makes him a great man was his ability to forgive (his oppressors) and work for the future of his country.

Racism still exists in this world but we must rise up to oppose it.  Racial bigotry can lead to racial discrimination, vilification and ultimately racial violence.  It is a good sign that most Western countries have legislation against discrimination on grounds of race, aged, religion, gender etc.  On occasions, someone will attempt to water down the regulations and we must be vigilant to prevent this occurring by reminding our politicians, in a democratic way that these changes are not in the interest of our nation.

All nations should follow Mandela’s vision to have a nation living in peace, harmony and prosperity, irrespective of race, religion or ethnic background.  I also like to share with readers what Albert Einstein wrote “The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because man are evil, but good people did not do anything”.

I shall also take the liberty of sharing a piece of media release in Sydney in opposing the proposed change in legislation that would “water down” the current legislation.




Do not repeal Section `18C & 18D of the Anti-Discrimination Act

1 December 2013

The Chinese Community Council of Australia is deeply concerned about the intention of the  Federal Attorney General to repeal provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act that make it unlawful to offend and insult people on the basis of their race.  We consider that as a retrograde step in enhancing community harmony and cohesion in a multicultural Australia.

The provisions provided by Section 18C and 18D were introduced after major inquiries such as the National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody These provisions are consistent with Australia’s international obligation to protect against racial hatred under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  The repeal of these provisions will leave individuals and minorities groups without protection from the law in regard to racial vilification. The repeal would send the wrong message to those in the community who condone racial vilification and would ultimately lead to racial hatred and violence.

Australia is a model multicultural society with adequate protection against racial hatred, vilification and violence for its minorities.  We have come a long way towards social cohesion and harmony in our communities and it would be a great pity to downgrade our global reputation and put us back 20 years in race relationship.  Hence, we urge the Attorney General not to repeal Section 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act.


Dr Anthony Pun, OAM

National President

Chinee Community Council of Australia


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Do you believe it, I’m holding  a precious and authentic ceramic from Ming dynasty?

Thanks to my cameraman, Marcus!


Today I was at D7 Sentul again to sell my book, “The Scissor Sharpener’s Daughter.” The event was a talk, “Wanli Shipwreck Treasure of the South China Sea” by Ben Rongen. Besides my book, my author friend, Dennis De Witt’s books were on sale too.

The talk was a very interesting one. Merchant ships from China during the Ming Dynasty were sunk off the Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast during the 17th century while on the way to Malacca. Cargo of Ming’s white and blue ceramic went down the sea and stayed there for more than 400 years before being discovered by a team of divers.

Today, some of these pieces were on displayed at D7 Sentul. I was so excited to hold these rare, precious and historical items in my hands! Thank you, Ben Toh, for organizing this memorable event.


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