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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 65, Friday, October 27, 2006

In this issue

Academic/Cultural Events

 ABMP/CMTP conduct institutional/public management training for Chinese delegation
  Conference Workshops  YCAR & Knox College to co-sponsor conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia

Asia Job Postings

 York invites applications for YCAR Director effective July 2007

Award Competitions

 YCAR launches language award for Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies

Asia News Analysis

 Do not leave language to the whims of big pawns

ABMP/CMTP conduct institutional and public management training for Chinese delegation

The Asian Business and Management Program (ABMP)/China Management Training Project (CMTP) received two groups from China this October to undergo institutional/public management training at York and other educational institutions in Toronto. They are the Henan Post-Secondary Institutional Management Training Group (30 participants) and Chengdu Public Management Training Delegation (19 participants). Photo: Dean Bob Drummond of the York Faculty of Arts delivers a lecture to the Henan group on the role of the dean in the academic setting.

The Henan Group will be in Toronto till November to undergo training related to legal issues/professional development in higher education, best practices in curriculum development, academic employee relations, university-based research centres, graduate studies as well as tenure and freedom of expression in Canadian universities, among a host of other academic and cultural activities. The Chengdu Delegation will undergo training related to the structure and operation of Canadian public service, performance/ management/appraisal, effective leadership and public management. For more information on the program, please visit their website at

YCAR Brownbag: 'We have to keep up with technology': Changes in small-scale fisheries and effect on management of marine resources in South Asia
Monday, October 30, 12-1:30pm York Lanes 270B

Dr. Janet Rubinoff, York Humanities professor will present her paper analyzing dramatic changes in the nature of small-scale fishing in South Asia and compares data from several coastal districts in India -- Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Gujarat – and Hambantota district in southern Sri Lanka. Abstract: Younger artisanal fishers or members of traditional fishing castes in South Asia have adopted changes in gear, boats and fishing techniques that have allowed them to compete more successfully with the mechanized sector (trawling, purse seining and long lining) through more cost efficient technologies, which often increase the catch for artisanal fishers. These include the increasing use of fiberglass canoes, powerful outboard motors, kerosene rather than diesel fuel, winches and mini-purse seine nets. Some local fishers even use migrant labor as crews, similar to the mechanized sector. In part, an intermediary or semi-mechanized sector has emerged between the strictly artisanal (e.g., beach seining) and the mechanized sectors. Such changes have not only challenged older leadership patterns and control within traditional fishing communities, but have also exacerbated resource depletion (over-fishing) and affected local management schemes, like the monsoon ban on mechanized fishing imposed by India’s west coast states. Thus, there has been an environmental impact as well as social and political repercussions, both of which underscore the need for stronger government controls. This event is co-sponsored with the York South Asian Studies Program. (Photo credit: AFP/BBC News).

Japan Foundation presents Found in Translation: Interpreting Elements of Japanese Design

Featuring: Nieves Carrasco, Marta Dal Farra, Judith Fielder and Lorraine Pritchard curated by Arlene Gehring
October 13, 2006 – January 19, 2007 (Closed Dec. 18 – Jan. 3)
The Japan Foundation, Toronto, 131 Bloor St. W., 2nd Floor of the Colonnade building

Artists' Talk and Panel Discussion: Friday, November 3, 6:30 - 8:30 PM.
RSVP required: or 416-966-1600, x 600

Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri, 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Thurs. until 7:00 PM

Image detail from "Grail: While living in Japan, Marta Dal Farra found objects such as pieces of old kimonos, manga comic books and hand-made stationery which inspired these works. Working without preliminary sketches, much like sumi-e, the process was most important. The results are tribute to the objects, the skills of their makers and the culture they represent.

Saturday Openings: Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 2 & Jan. 6, 12:00 – 5:00 PM Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, Dec. 18, 2006 – Jan. 3, 2007. For more info, visit the foundation website at

OMNI TV presents The Black Bearded Barbarian of Taiwan - a post modern productions documentary film about the life and legacy of George Leslie Mackay

Mandarin, Saturday, November 4 at 8 pm
English, Saturday, November 25 at 7 pm

The documentary film presents a unique and uplifting saga of Canadian missionary George Leslie Mackay on the island of Taiwan, an uninvited intruder who overcame isolation and prejudice to become a beloved native son of an utterly foreign land. Filmed on location in the spectacular mountain scenery of Taiwan, the 60-minute film features dramatic re-enactments of Mackay’s life and career, rare archival images, interviews with leading experts on Mackay’s role in church, Chinese and Canadian history, and visits to the educational and medical institutions founded by Mackay in the 19th century that still play a pivotal role in Taiwanese society today. Produced and directed by Susan Papp and written by Allen Abel, “The Black-Bearded Barbarian” is a sensitive and compelling portrait of a man, an era, and the birth of what it means to be Canadian in a vast and challenging world (OMNI TV-II, Rogers Cable Channel 14).

The Modern Evolution of Shanghai, Friday, November 17, Room 204, YorkU Scott Library, 9:30-3:30 pm

10:00  Meng Yue, University of Toronto, "Shanghai and Edges of Empires: The Repositioning of Chinese Cosmopolitanism, 1800-1927"

Joshua A. Fogel. York University, "The Voyage of the Senzaimaru to Shanghai (1862) and the Revival of Sino-Japanese Relations"

2:00 Christian Henriot, Universite de Lyon, "Virtual Shanghai: Exploring New Ways in Urban History"

Everyone welcome to attend and participate! Please contact Canada Research Chair (CRC)/Professor Joshua Fogel at (Photo credit: Shanghai-ed/SinoMedia Ltd, Shanghai).

YCAR & Knox College to co-sponsor conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia

YCAR and the Centre for Asian-Canadian Theology and Ministry, Knox College invite you to a one day conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia: Memory and Meaning in Asian-Canadian Churches.

Thursday December 14, 2006, 10 Am – 4 Pm at Knox College, 59 St. George St. Toronto, Canada

In the 19th and 20th centuries Canadian missionaries went to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Many Asian-Canadian churches have historic origins in those former missions. What historical and cultural legacies link those British Canadian missionaries and these Asian Canadian Christians? Do the personalities and theology of those Canadians reappear in the practices and faith of these churches? How are the early missionaries present (or not) in their collective memories? What does that mission history mean in the memory of Asian Canadian Christians?

Attendance is free but pre-registration is required. To register or for inquiries contact: Nam-soon Song at, tel 416-978-1884 or Michael Stainton,, tel 416-736-2100 x 33068. 

York invites applications for YCAR Director effective July 2007

Applications and nominations are invited for the position of Director of the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), for a term of three to five years, to begin July 1, 2007. YCAR was created in 2002 to enhance understanding of Asia and Asian diasporas. Its goal is to raise the profile of research and education about Asia and Asian diasporas through research, lectures, workshops, and other public events. It also supports scholars, community groups, and other organizations working to improve social justice and welfare in Asia and among Asian communities. YCAR serves as a centre of information about Asia and Asian Canadians, both within York University and beyond.

YCAR is an interdisciplinary Organized Research Unit (ORU) within York University. Interdisciplinary ORUs, that bring together researchers from across the university, including social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and the professional schools, are organized under the Office of the Vice-President Research Innovation. Research centres and institutes provide collaborative support to researchers and are a vibrant and important part of the research culture at York.

Applicants are expected to be members of the full-time faculty at York University, and to have a distinguished record of scholarship and interdisciplinary research interests in Asia or Asian diasporas. The Director is expected to administer the financial, organizational and academic activities of the Centre, to develop external funding sources, and to maintain an active individual and collaborative research program. The successful applicant will receive an administrative stipend and the appropriate course load reduction as stipulated by the YUFA Collective Agreement. The Director of the Centre reports to the Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities). Applications and nominations (including curriculum vitae and the names of three referees who may be contacted) should be sent to Phyllis Lepore Babcock, Executive Officer, Research, Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, 200 York Lanes. Applicants are also asked to submit a statement about their vision for the Centre including goals, objectives, strategy of action and leadership style. Applications and nominations must be received by Monday November 20, 2006.

The University of Hong Kong is at the international forefront of higher learning and research, with more than 100 teaching departments and sub-divisions of studies, and more than 60 research institutes and centres. It has over 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from 48 countries. English is the medium of instruction. The University is committed to international standards for excellence in scholarship and research.

The Faculty of Arts, founded in 1912, is one of the oldest and largest faculties in the University. The Faculty is seeking to fill at least 15 academic positions. These posts have been created with two fundamental aims in mind: to prepare for the launch of the reformed four-year curriculum in 2012 and the expansion in student numbers that this will entail, and to bring new impetus and vigour to the Faculty's research development. The Faculty has set itself the goal of excelling in interdisciplinary studies, in particular in cultural comparisons and cross cultural discourse in relation to China and the West. The Faculty will be appointing top scholars in all major Humanities programmes to achieve this aim. Information about the Faculty of Arts can be obtained at  Applications are invited for the following appointments as Professor/Associate Professor/Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts, tenable from as soon as possible, on a three-year fixed-term basis, with the possibility of renewal and consideration for tenure, or on a tenured basis for exceptionally outstanding candidates above Assistant Professor level.

School of Chinese
1. Classical Chinese Literature (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
2. China-West Historical Studies (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
3. Translation (English-Chinese/Chinese-English) (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-201)

School of English
1. Cross-Cultural, Postcolonial, or Travel Writing Studies (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
2. Arts coordinator for the BA/BEd double degree, with a specialization in English morphology and lexis, pedagogical grammar, second language acquisition or educational linguistics (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)

School of Geography
1. Population and Migration Studies (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-202)
2. Tourism and Leisure (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-203)

School of Humanities (Art History, Comparative Literature/Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy)
1. Head of School (with specialization in one or more of the above disciplines) (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
2. China-West Literary and Cultural Studies (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
3. Musicology (including Western Classical Music and/or East-West studies) (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
4. Modern Chinese History (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-204)

School of Modern Languages (American, European, Japanese, Modern China Studies, and 9 languages)
1. Head of School (with specialization in one or more of the above disciplines) (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
2. Modern Japanese Studies (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
3. Modern China Studies (China Studies programme coordinator) (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-200)
4. Director of the Language Centre (Ref.: RF-2006/2007-205)

Applicants must have a Ph.D. degree in related fields, a strong tertiary teaching experience, a distinguished record of research and scholarship and international standing for appointment at professor level. Preference will be given to applicants who work in more than one discipline. Applicants should indicate clearly on the application form which post, discipline(s) and level, preferably with reference number, they wish to be considered for.

A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered. The appointments will attract a contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totalling up to 15% of basic salary, as well as leave, and medical/dental benefits. Housing benefits will be provided as applicable. Before preparing an application, prospective applicants are invited to contact the Head of the School or department chairperson concerned in the first instance to ascertain disciplinary areas they wish to apply for. Applicants should then submit a completed University application form, a curriculum vitae, a statement of professional interests and accomplishments, and arrange to have three confidential reference reports sent directly by the referees to the Assistant Registrar (Appointments), Human Resource Section, Registry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.

Further particulars and application forms can be obtained at; or from the Appointments Unit (Senior), Human Resource Section, Registry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Fax (852) 2540 6735 or 2559 2058; E-mail:  The University reserves the right not to fill some of the posts listed. Review of applications will begin from December 1, 2006 until sufficient appointments are made. The University is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a No-Smoking Policy.

YCAR launches language award for Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies

The YCAR language award will be given to graduate students enrolled at York and registered for the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) administered by YCAR. It will provide up to 2 awards annually in the amount of $1,500 each, in support of fulfilling the language requirement for the diploma. The award is open to local and international students who are enrolled in GDAS at York, have a grade point average of at least 6.0, and with demonstrated need to learn a specific Asian language to appreciate and better understand the context and perspectives relating to their area of research study.﷡

Graduate students registered for GDAS can obtain the application form from YCAR Graduate Diploma website at Applications should include (1) a cv, (2) a two-page research proposal describing the objectives of Asian study and how the language acquisition will contribute further to the understanding of the proposed research, (3) a one-page outline of language program in relation to their area of research study justifying how it will provide reasonable opportunity to learn some language skills they need, and (4) a short statement of how the student intends to use the funds, including supporting documentation. In addition, the application should be endorsed by the student's diploma committee members and the diploma coordinator.

The selection for the award/s will be done by the YCAR Language Scholarship Committee. The criteria for selection will include demonstrated need for language acquisition for graduate research, and academic merit of the research proposal. Academic merit will include clarity of the proposal, potential contribution of proposed research to Asian Studies and to Asian communities, and feasibility of the research. Students are encouraged to use the funds for formal language instruction programs oriented to graduate research. Preference will be given to applications from students who have applied to such programs or who have made other arrangements for appropriate language instruction.

GDAS Information Session on November 16, 3-4pm at 270 York Lanes

An information session on the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) will be held on Thursday, November 16 from 3-4 pm at 270 York Lanes. Those interested in knowing more about the program and the details of the core course are welcome to attend. Enrolment forms are now available online on the website.

Albert Chan Award for East Asian Studies due on January 10, 2007

This Fellowship was established by the Albert Chan Foundation in order to encourage and assist York University graduate students to conduct field research in East and/or Southeast Asia. This fellowship is administered by YCAR and awarded once each year. Value (2007): $2,000 CDN.

Eligibility: Applicants must be Canadian citizens/permanent residents, Ontario residents, registered York University graduate students and current or would be YCAR graduate associates. They should also demonstrate financial need.

Reporting Criteria: A two-page report will be required from the successful student within two weeks upon return to Canada. This report will summarize the learning gained and describe how the newly acquired knowledge will help the individual in the future.

Application & Selection: Application deadline is January 10, 2007. For more information and to download the form, please go to:

Do not leave language to the whims of big pawns, by Liu Shinan, China Daily, 10-25-2006

If somebody calls you an "Ashes Class" maestro, don't be angry. This person is not cursing you to death; actually, he is expressing his admiration of your seniority in your profession. The term comes from modern video games, referring to a top-class warrior under the understanding that ashes represent the highest stage in one's life from birth to death. It is widely used by netizens, mostly teenagers and people in their 20s, who have coined hundreds of such words.

Most of the new words were born by twisting homophones or transliterating foreign words. For example, a three-character word - YiMeiEr - is used to mean e-mail. But the literal meaning of the Chinese characters is "she (the) sister." Some new words were simply coined by a lazy hand. Take "banzhu," meaning "web-page host."

When writing Chinese characters with a computer, young netizens like to type pinyin - Chinese alphabetic spelling. The input system in the computer will transform the spelling into Chinese characters on the screen. But the software does not include "web-page host" in its dictionary; instead it presents "mottled bamboo," which is also pronounced as "banzhu." The lazy writer doesn't bother to search for the right words and uses "mottled bamboo" for "web-page host" anyway. Many people did this, and now everybody uses "mottled bamboo" instead of the two real characters for "web-page host." (Photo credit: China Daily).

Probably the most absurd example is the coining of "fen si." The word - literally meaning vermicelli made from rice or bean starch - is now used to mean fans. The term was invented last year when the Super Girl TV contest - the Chinese version of American Idol - was at its height. Supporters of the women contestants called themselves "fen si."

The event, an annual occurrence since the year before last, was so popular that "chao nu" (Super Girl) has become a household phrase. Last week, there was an Internet debate on whether the new edition of "Cihai" (word encyclopedia) should include chao nu as an entry. Defenders of such jargon argued that it should be recognized since it is now widely used by a considerably large portion of society. They also said that dictionaries should reflect the changes of language.

It is right that language should absorb new words born during the development of society and technologies. But two conditions should be met before these words are accepted into formal, authoritative dictionaries such as Cihai. First, they should have stood the test of time over a fairly long period; second, they should make sense literally and must not cause confusion. Chao nu has existed for only two or three years; and fen si doesn't make sense at all.

Lots of new words appeared in the information technology industry over the past two decades and made their way into Chinese vocabulary, such as "shan cun" (flash memory) and "hei ke" (hacker). Shan cun literally means "flash storage" and hei ke "black guest." They both make much sense. Some other new words, such as "modem" in English and "ke long" (clone) in Chinese, may not carry much literal sense but do not confuse with any currently existing words. Banzhu and fen si, however, produce a lot confusion.

Other examples of such confusing words: "da xia" (literally big pawn), a homophone of "great chivalrous swordsman," referring to a sophisticated computer user who is ready to help greenhands; "xi fan" (literally rice gruel), a twist of "xihuan" (like); and "ji" (chicken) used for whore (which is also pronounced as ji). These words definitely should not be accepted into formal use no matter how many people use them in Internet chat rooms. Otherwise, our language would be seriously garbled.

Just imagine a teenager saying to her mother: "Today mottled bamboo sent me a sister saying an ashes class big pawn will visit me. I'm so glad because I rice gruel him so much. I'm his vermicelli." I bet the mother would faint away upon hearing these words.

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact
Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3. Web: