What a Scholar!

by Jing Liu ~ May 15th, 2013

Second time meeting Patricia, after she donated her Grandfather’s books and family records to the Asian Library. It was meant to be an after- work quick catchup, but we ended up chating until the sun set. We were both cold leaving the outdoor cafe, and decided to continue our conversation at another time. Patricia’s Grandmother and her father’s side of stories made me want to see more of her family documents, and especially the film made by her.

T.S. Wei, from Wikimedia

Patricia’s Grandfather, T. S. Wei (1890-1977), graduated from Harvard in 1916 and returned to China in 1920 to join the Bureau of Economic Information in Peking led by William Henry Donald (1875-1946). Mr. Wei was in charge of the customs of the Guomindang government starting in 1927, and drafted laws in finance. He served in both China Bank and the Transportation Bank. His knowledge of international law made his English letters to Francis Arthur Aglen (1869-1932) very effective, and stopped Chinese customs savings from being deposited into British banks. Wei represented China at the Currency Stabilization Board meeting in the U.S. and gained China the veto power.

In order to avoid the election, he traveled to Guangxi, Guangdong and Hong Kong in 1947, and then to the Philippines and the United States, pursuing teaching, writings and academic research for the rest of his life. It is quite fascinating to browse through his Birth of Japan and Jo Fuku densetsu no nazo . Thanks to Patricia giving me the opportunity to learn about this true scholar, who was fluent in 6 languages and achieved so much in both Western and traditional oriental cultures. We already have dozens of his own works in the library, but very first time to receive his notebooks, family records, correspondance and classical rare books that were household made or custom hand-copied.

Playful Time: China in 1911

by Jing Liu ~ March 16th, 2013

The Grant proposal was the only thing on my mind for over a week. Finally, I could left it with UW colleagues. Replied all messages by 6:45 pm, and felt like I need something to refresh my mind this Friday. Chris‘ talk at RPL was perfect! Not too academic, and very refreshing!

He brought the audience back to 100 years ago on Chinese comic cultures. Unlike our common impression of that historical time, the print media was full of jokes and funny stories. I was especially impressed by the 1928 story of Female Toys, very funny. As Chris said, 80 years ago, the word humour made its way to China, but Chinese writers, like Han Yu, Wu Jianren talked about it in different ways before.

Glad to experience the wonderful program at my own community library, and found out a series of Chinese literature programs have been scheduled by Wendy. More UBC folks are coming to Richmond. I can’t make to another Chris‘ talk next week, but, Alison and our Chris will be back in April on Mo Yan. Rea (老雷) used mandarin through out the entire talk, and he made the audience wonder if he was half Chinese. He even made a couple of jokes afterwards with me and his students in Mandarin. Good sense of Humour!

Effort in Generations

by Jing Liu ~ March 7th, 2013

Meeting with RBSC folks reminded me Director Li (昭淳), who wrote several emails recently about how to collaborate on revealing Puban Collection. When did we start chatting on this topic? I think that was in 2005 when he was here. His new paper has countless hits and comments on the web, including the report by Xinhua news. I am deeply moved, and learnt more on his father’s rescue of Nanzhou Library. One attempting Western institution I left out but mentioned by his paper was British Museum. They failed to purchase Nanzhou even with 2 million before the books were shipped to HK from Guangzhou.

难怪李馆气度不凡!以前若干次会面他都没提起易安馆长, 但往事并不如烟。 可以告慰易安馆长的不仅有新馆,还有我们跨洋合作的项目。无论以何种形式,隐居在温哥华的南州珍本就要回家啦。

Show and Tell at RBSC

by Jing Liu ~ March 6th, 2013

I Enjoyed the morning meeting at RBSC. It took up an entire staff meeting time, even though I planed for it to be 15 minutes. Katherine was right, her staff does have strong interests in rare Chinese books. They have received requests from scholars, and learnt alot about the collection already. A series of meetings will follow right after I return from the CEAL trip. I feel really good being on this new start along with colleagues who share my joy, challenges and concerns.

Lunar New Year Celebration at Asian Centre

by Jing Liu ~ February 12th, 2013

The 10th year, and a couple of new changes: some mature students in 100 level Chinese language courses and they made the best performers. Preschool kids in the neighbourhood came and turned out to be the best audience. Yves, representing IAR, attended the event and gave speech in Chinese. Next year, the Asian Library should really work with the two departments from the very beginning. Some things never change at this annual event: our happy students and instructors. I am very proud of them making the largest program outside of China so strong and the lunar new year celebration so attractive.

Super Busy New Term

by Jing Liu ~ January 4th, 2013

Before I unlock the door, Wu Meng and some other students are already waiting. Prof. Rea quickly caught me by the entrance, and asked questions right after he greeted me with a few words of new year blessings. Emails are rushing in with all kinds of requests. Walked with Alison on the way to TS, She was questioning about Long Yingtai’s documentary. I can’t simply turn our users away by telling them we are running out of the book budget… All reminds me it’s going to be a super fast-paced term.

The International Symposium Nov. 2012

by Jing Liu ~ December 28th, 2012

I enjoyed learning from this Symposium held at the Sun Yat-sen U. Libraries. Just received the email on finalizing my paper to be included in the proceeding. Although

I understand the connection to Guangzhou, I was suprised by how many people approached me on collaboration proposals. I remember the complement of Mr. Yao Boyue from Peking U. and Prof. Lu Jintang from Taiwan U.

I made many new friends and feel lucky meeting those experts I only met in the virtual space before. Prof. Pan Jianguo, Mr. Wei Li, Ms. Li Yonghui, etc. I was happy to renew our friendship and learning from the mentors. Mr. Shen Jin, happily moved on from Harvard, he was very busy as the organizer. I was humbled by his closing remarks as my presentation “brought the attendees new knowledge”. Kept Soren waiting for the Li Erqiao’s manuscript and lots of interests in our collection, such as manuscripts and seals. Will try to email them this weekend.

Very impressed by the following presenters: Prof. Wang Guoliang from Taiwan U. on Qian Qianyi’s collection, Princeton’s Dr. Ma on Hong Yu Lou, Dr. Wang Lei from SYS U. on their Huizhou contract documents, NLC’s Li Jining, etc.


by Jing Liu ~ December 3rd, 2012



大师兄一见面就高喊,“比北京好多了吧?!” 我忍不住大笑,想起他几天前穿衬衫在北京大雪中奔跑的情形。他还是怀念春天在温哥华的聚会。遇到不少港台的同仁,都对敝校环境津津乐道,让我有了想家的感觉。

CASS Visit

by Jing Liu ~ December 2nd, 2012

Stayed behind in Beijing for UBC access privelage and new requirements for vendors.

Presenting at CASS , suprisingly with new discovery and project proposals. Xu Huan at PKU and Joe from Apabi also asked for meetings, but it didn’t work out due to time restraints. Students and young librarians started sending me follow-up questions from Japan and Beijing. They and ref questions from home kept me busy working from hotel rooms.

Conference at Peking University, Nov. 3 to 6

by Jing Liu ~ November 29th, 2012


We saw this winter’s first snow in Beijing and it didn’t stop people from attending the PKU conference. More people showed up at the Opening than expected despite the slushy road condition. Mary Lee Kennedy and Ingrid’s speeches were quite impressive.

Catherine Quinlan, our former UL, and now at USC, was presenting on her current library in a super fast pace. Zhijia was humble as usual. Her experience and tips of working with the National Central Library in Taiwan are quite useful for our projects, such as: to get the conservation money ready before they started their rare book digitization.

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