Archive: April 2012 - Howard Dyck

A Maio Messiah!

  • April 30, 2012

The experiences of yesterday are indelibly etched in my memory. Our journey into the mountains north of Kunming to visit a Miao village was an excursion we had anticipated for a long time, and so I must tell you all about it. For this account, permit me to give you some background. Of China's 1.3 billion people, roughly 92% belong to the Han ethnic group. The remaining 8% consist of 55 much smaller minorities, many of whom live in southern China, especially Yunnan province. The Miao, who can trace their history back to approximately 1600 BC, number about 9.6 million (that's considered small in China)....

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Western Pacifist Meets Eastern Warriors!

  • April 18, 2012

There are two reasons for the deafening silence from this quarter of late. First, my shiny new MacBook Pro developed a temperamental streak about a week ago, and second, I've just been so busy there's been no time to write. Let me begin with how my techno-savvy grandson Justin solved the computer woes. Not wanting to  burden you with too many details, let me just say that Justin needed to see my screen. So, first he called my cell phone to give me a short primer on how to work the Skype on Maggie's iPad. Then I was able to train the iPad camera onto the MacBook screen, and Justin was able quite...

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Airport coffee shop hostage, university meeting, Buddhist Temple!

  • April 11, 2012

I keep thinking that maybe once a week would be often enough for these reports, but it seems every few days there's more to talk about, so today I just have to pester you again. First, being a Canadian, I have to tell you about the weather. This is truly the "city of eternal spring". We had a couple of days of rain Friday and Saturday...very welcome in this part of the world which has been particularly dry for a couple of years. Since Monday we've had brilliant sunshine again, with highs in the mid 20s, cool nights...absolutely perfect weather. On Friday I received an email from Olivia, my trusty...

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An Eastern Easter!

  • April 8, 2012

It's Easter Sunday evening in Kunming. I look back over the past 7 days and conclude that Holy Week, always an important time for me, was especially meaningful this year. Indeed, my dear friends Marcus and the late lamented Glenn, were always of the opinion that Advent and Lent are really so much more compelling than Christmas and Easter. Of course, it's true that the culmination of Advent and Lent in Christmas and Easter is essential for those two beautiful seasons of waiting and meditation to have their desired effect. Here in Kunming there is absolutely no awareness of Lent and Easter. And there's...

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Sino-stats, geological excursion, more music: The Kunming grid begins to fill in!

  • April 4, 2012

First of all, a brief insincere apology to the grammarians among my readers who resent my ending today's title with a preposition. (I think it was Winston Churchill who, having being criticized for the same offence, replied, "This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!") There, now that we've settled that, we can proceed. Let me begin with a couple of statistics. These are Chinese statistics, so you can expect a lot of zeros. For example, I had heard some time ago that the number of Chinese piano students is roughly equivalent to the population of Canada (33m). When I proffered...

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