Old China Hands 7 January lunch

A special celebration

Our Old China Hands 7 January lunch in Morel’s again celebrated a special event, “King Cake”, see further the background.
Attendance was pretty good with 28 people, despite last minute cancellations.
And of course food was great as always.

As we had two big tables we decided to have a “Lucky King” at each table. See Curt searching in vain for the lucky statue, our Michel waiting patiently for more guests,
We had the same celebration last year: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/01/24/old-china-hands-8-january/
See some of the many dishes part of the special lunch menu!
In the evening I came back again for another extra King Cake (with ice cream, last pic). Delicious!

6 January: Epiphany

In Belgium, it is customary to eat a king cake (galette des rois in French or driekoningentaart in Dutch) on 6 January to celebrate the Epiphany. At its inception, the Epiphany was a Christian feast that celebrated the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Eastern kings. Nowadays, the celebration has included pagan traditions and is enjoyed by many, irrespective of their beliefs.The Epiphany’s origins can be traced back to the Gospel of Matthew, in which three kings from the East, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, are said to have followed a star until they reached Jesus who had just been born. With them, they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The custom to eat cake that day only came much later from the Roman empire. During the Romans’ Saturnalia, a feast in honor of their god Saturn, the role of the slaves and their masters would get switched around: the masters would make a cake in which they’d hide a bean. Whoever found the bean could then be king for a day, make demands on their masters and express freedom of speech.

Nowadays, Belgians often eat their king cake with their family. The cake is made with puff pastry and almond paste, and instead of a bean a small porcelain figurine, often representing Jesus, is hidden within. Whoever gets the figurine in their piece is crowned king for a day. To ensure fairness in the game, the youngest child has to sit under the table while the cake is cut, naming the recipient of each piece. The winner is then given a cardboard crown and can choose their king or queen!

Source: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/zmAqt8uS9VwYnLArUkL1-w

Another “Famous OCH” in the spotlight: Alan

As published by theBeijinger!
“There is something gentlemanly about Alan Babington-Smith, and given all that he has accomplished over his lifetime, as well as the astounding things he has done while here in Beijing, I feel honored to shed some light on the amazing life of this man, whose main occupation now is helping to run the Royal Asiatic Society, Beijing.”

Read the full story: 211211 AlanBabington.pdf

Previously his lovely wife was featured: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/11/14/old-china-hands-5-november-lunch/

Old China Hands 3 December lunch

Magic number

Our Old China Hands 3 December lunch again reached the “magical” number of 27 attendants who had a great time, eating and chatting. It was the last lunch of the year. We wish all our members are nice end of the year holiday period, wherever they are. I will remain in Beijing to spend the special days, including my birthday.
Next lunch planned for 7 January 2022.

See some of the dishes, such a nice lunch menu.
What few people know, the restaurant has two unique machines used in hospitals among other. The technician just came to change the special product used in the machine. ZYUNICON series air disinfectors integrate several functions, including personnel safety on medical-level, efficient virus elimination, formaldehyde & odor removal, and continuous antibacterial effect on object surfaces.

Matthew, our actor

We have many colorful members, Matthew for sure fits the bill. Among his many activities like creating ZEN moments and teaching, he also acts.

His latest:
Xiangshan Ye Zhenghong  –  香山叶正 is a Chinese TV series that is being broadcast on CCTV1. Matthew Cuerdon played the historical figure, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, circa 1948-1949.

On March 25, 1949, Mao Zedong and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China entered the Xiangshan Shuangqing Villa in Beijing and began preparations for the founding of the country. The Kuomintang Chiang Kai-shek offered to negotiate, but he had no sincerity. He intended to delay the negotiations and prepare for war. Mao Zedong negotiated in good faith while doing the same. Well prepared to cross the Yangtze River, and sure enough, the peace talks broke down. Mao Zedong commanded millions of heroes to cross the Yangtze River and liberated all of China.
The four beams and eight pillars of the new China were built in October 1949.

Kent, author

Our dear friend Kent left us for sunny USA and just published his book.

Are We A Bus? Paperback – November 15, 2021, by JEFF AGINS (Author), KENT NIEPERT (Author)
See the intro of the book:

World’s greatest guitarist The Doctor, Jurgen Weislangwolf’s latest tour was locked down and ready to kick off like any other tour. But an ex-stage manager had other plans, waiting for his chance to get back out on the road. Without any fanfare, the tour started with an unnoticed set of eyes watching every detail.

Hardened tour professionals Jeb and Neusy can easily navigate any tour loaded with con men and rip off artists in their path. When murder and mayhem started to become an obstacle, the success of the tour became dependent on them keeping the band safe.
Content and enjoying his new life on the road, the ex-stage manager always watching and waiting for his opportunity to create chaos, which increased once he realized the incompetence of the two FBI agents that were assigned to the tour.
Comedy and satire on an already humorous industry where vile and disreputable people have been known to ruin many careers.

A wild and zany rock tour filled with whimsical characters around every corner. From promoters always trying to gain an upper hand to having to share the stage with absurd opening bands and working for a guitarist with an ego the size of Florida, Jeb and Neusy the consummate tour professionals always seem to have their hands on the pulse of every situation even when their bass player goes missing.
Life on a crowded bus also has its challenges for tour manager Jeb Acorns and his stage manager Kurt Neustadt. With a band of Austrian musicians, just happy to be on tour and a crew consisting of the foul mouthed but steady stage hand Hocker Flemming and the homesick merchandise assistant Marlon Jiggs, constantly searching for the nearest marijuana dispensary to help ease him from being away from his family.

To read more and buy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/173740270X/

Old China Hands 5 November lunch

Numbers are steady

Our Old China Hands 5 November lunch saw a total of 26 familiar faces, recent numbers have been steady but below the past average of 30-35. Members still (stuck) abroad, or busy or even worried to go out with the recent massive COVID cases of less than ten in Beijing.
Anyway all enjoyed the chat and the food.

See a few of the dishes from the special lunch menu. I happened to choose different ones. In view of the ridiculously low price we enjoyed (thanks Renaat) the cost will go up a little in January, So, take advantage of the old price on 3 December, the last lunch of 2021.
I was pictured exactly when my camera went on strike, never happened before. Later back home I managed to get it back to work normally but good to have my iPhone as a backup.

One more famous OCH member

From time to time I introduce some of our illustrious members. This time the honor goes to Melinda!
“20 for 20: Newsweek Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu”
See her story here in TheBeijinger:

“Newsweek’s Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu once considered Beijing a stop on her way to living around the world. Over 20 years later, she’s in awe of how Beijing has changed, whether how the culinary scene has developed or the diversity of the population. Besides her work taking Liu to places both historical and new, during her time here, she turned her curiosity about the American aviators who spent time in China during WWII into a short documentary film. But it’s really been Liu’s chance to witness Beijing’s evolution while visiting ancient sites that have sustained her interest over the years.”

Read the rest of the story in theBeijinger!
Link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/4uAxBSlEyuqwBBIKqvPV8Q

Old China Hands 8 October lunch

One week later

Our Old China Hands 8 October lunch saw 29 attendants, one week later than normal because of the 1 October holiday.
A special event as a crew of five from BTV (Beijing TV) is making a documentary with me and wanted to shoot a bit during our lunch. Some of our OCH were interviewed.
The BTV people came to my home office around 9 am, went to the lunch, went back to my home office after the lunch. They left 6:30 pm and I was really exhausted. The joke I made, they shot about anything except me going to the toilet. Curious to see what they will make of it.
I don’t have good pictures of their shooting day as I was alone at home.

Other shooting planned soon, along with our Dutch architect John, see:
“John van de Water talked to Rotary”, https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/09/22/john-van-de-water-talked-to-rotary/
No idea when it will be finished and shown.

Great get together as usual and all happy with company and the food.

The documentary

The theme of the documentary is the “Beijing Central Axis”, also about myself and about John. The shooting plan was first discussed in my office on 19 September 2021.
Today many people even don’t know what it means. I was involved with the idea during the preparation of the 2008 Olympic Venues. See the pic from Beijing This Month magazine.

I also have the detailed study done in 2002 by the German architect Albert Speer Jr. for the Beijing Government

Albert Speer Jr. was a German architect and urban planner. He was the son of Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming the office of Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich during World War II. His grandfather, Albert Friedrich Speer, was also an architect. Wikipedia
I met him in Beijing in 2005 and he wrote a very kind thank you letter for the meeting. He passed away in 2017.

Next lunch

The next lunch is planned for Friday 5 November. Stay tuned!

Old China Hands 3 September lunch

Still holidays?

Our Old China Hands 3 September lunch saw again 27 attendants, below our usual of mid-30s. People on a trip, busy and even outside of China. The damned quarantine does not help attendance either. Of our member list, just above 100, we have 20 people outside of China, many unsure when they can be back. As I always warn, the list was again cleaned up a little, removing the silent members.

This time happy to see a VIP guest, our Belgian ambassador. Other special guests, Teddy and Eddy, were carried by Kevin, but they skipped the lunch.

Next lunch

As 1 October is the first Friday, rather inconvenient, we decided to have the lunch on Friday 8 October. Hopefully the virus stays away and we can plan without last minute hiccup…