Old China Hands 1 September

Good numbers

Yes, we are back to good attendance with the lunch of Old China Hands 1 September. We were 30! I wonder when we could have again around 40…
I was happy to welcome old friends from Australia visiting China, William from Xian, and of course the usual regular members.
Greg organized a surprise cake with a speech and a song for his Chinese friend who is leaving for London to study. She was really impressed and emotional. And we all had two deserts this time!

For once I am in the pictures! Food was great as usual, thanks Renaat Morel and his team.
Next lunch planned for Friday 6 October.

Our “famous OCH of the month”

Dr. David Feng or as we known him “Mr. Railways”.
David is Chinese by birth, Swiss by passport, and has spent many years in London, as well as in many other cities, notably those with developed public transport.
With over 530,000 kilometers by rail, metro, tram, monorail, and other forms rail transport across Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, he is, we can say, “well-travelled”. He is particularly knowledgeable about the rail systems in China, Switzerland, and the UK.
He has been to over 2,500 rail, metro, and tram stations, including every single station on the world’s busiest and (by route) longest metro network (the Beijing Subway), and the oldest such network, the London Underground.
He acts like the journalist-on-the train, taking notes, pictures, shooting video clips and talking on his podcasts and other media.
His travels made him a detail-oriented specialist in concepts of railway station design, operations, and usability. He is a famous rail media personality, through many years of social media postings about the railways of China.
He helped the rail network in the UK translate signs from English to Chinese. He firmly remains in this field, as through his published book, the “Everyday Rail English” series by the China Railway Publishing House. Many signs were improved with his active participation. He has also trained thousands of Beijing Subway staff with similar bilingual publications and talks.

He is regularly featured on Chinese and worldwide media. I collected some of the latest articles, see here:


Old China Hands 4 August

Good turnout

Our previous lunch had only 15 people, so I feared our Old China Hands 4 August lunch would be similar. Well. happy to say we were 24, a great turnout as many are still travelling.
Food of Morel’s Restaurant was great as you can see in the pictures, Renaat was still in Belgium but he does keep a VERY close eye on what’s going on! He sent me two pics he took from the restaurant CCTV cameras, he can watch it in his mobile.

So this time I am in two pics for once.

Next lunch

Next lunch planned for Friday 1 September. Let’s cross fingers for a bigger crowd!
For our lunch Susan was already back from her Europe trip. Renaat is back on 6 August.

Old China Hands 7 July

After the COVID years…

Many of members were traveling in China and the world so our lunch Old China Hands 7 July had only 15 people. Many left for the first time since a few years due to COVID. We expect the next lunch lunch on 4 August to be the same, most are away for July and August.

But we still had a great lunch and chat. The food by Renaat Morel’s team, delicious as always.

Home is Where the Heart is

A book is coming out very soon, telling the China stories of several of our members: Mark Levine, Raja Magasweran, Terry Crossman and yes myself. I also know well most of the other contributors.

The book is the work of New Star Press with Chen Shuo the talented reporter who skillfully wrote my story. The book is to be published in USA by Waymont International Publishing House with the title “Home is Where the Heart is”.
See another book it published “I Grew up in China” :230210 growingup and the announcement of our book: 230210 Wheretheheartis,

A bit weird but The U.S. publishing company cannot be found on the Internet…
I already have the full PDF of the book and I made a PDF of only my part, 33 pages with many of my pictures.
Except for one single sentence (no details!) the text is absolutely correct.
Now waiting for the hard copy!

Old China Hands 2 June

All away?

The RSVP I received for the lunch of Old China Hands 2 June 2023 revealed so many of our friends were traveling or simply busy. Well, we made it with a total of 24 OCH happily chatting and enjoying the food in Morel’s Restaurant.

See the menu and some of the dishes!

Poor Greg pushing the wrong buttons

Our friend Greg had the disappointing news his video of the Anniversary failed. Well, at least we had the pictures!

Our famous OCH – Renaat Morel

Renaat is always somewhere in the news.

This time he was honored for his restaurant by BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV) in an event on 23 April. You can see the frame in the restaurant.

Other famous OCH

Oops yes this is Raja and myself.
All details you can find in a previous post.

Raja had found an old picture of the two of us, somewhere in the late eighties we guess. Location and exact time unknown…

Old China Hands lunch 10th Anniversary

Ten years of great lunches

On 5 May 2023 we celebrated the Old China Hands lunch 10th Anniversary.
Great to see many familiar faces, we even had friends flying over from Xian and Chongqing to join our event. We were 32, with many being away on a trip or meeting.
We look back at ten years of great lunches, not only because of the food but even more because of the community of friends.
Thanks to Claudia from Cheers who brought me a BIG bottle of champagne!

Thanks to Renaat for a great special menu and the birthday cake.
The menu:
Starter: A Combination of white asparagus and smoked salmon
Main dish: Medallions of beef tenderloin with truffle sauce, served with daily vegetables and pan fried potatoes – or – Red Snapper Provençale Style, served with ratatouille and steamed rice
Desert: Happy Birthday Cake

Later I will post a video of the event.

Our famous OCH of the month

Peter came over from Chongqing where he is now a local star. See the article about Peter in China Daily, dated 28 February 2023:  “Love for China highlighted by Belgian pianist”.
I quote:

Peter Ritzen conducts his new symphony, Love for China, on February 22, 2023.
A concert featuring Love for China — composed and conducted by Belgian pianist Peter Ritzen and performed by the Chongqing Symphony Orchestra — was held at Chongqing Guotai Art Center. The concert was conducted by the municipal cultural and tourism commission and co-hosted by the orchestra and Chongqing Opera House.
“The aim of this work is to imagine the impressions of me, a Western artist, in a symphonic work where Western harmony and the ultimate Chinese element go musically hand-in-hand, without mixing them,” Ritzen said.
He has played throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, but he has an especially profound connection with China. So he used some of his former inspirations in China — Chongqing in particular — in his creation.
See the PDF of the article: 230228 PeterRitzen

Here other article in Chinese dated 21 May 2021.

The Belgian ambassador Jan Hoogmartens led a small delegation to enjoy the concert!
Watch here on VIMEO part of his concert!