New­com­ers bring Chi­nese New Year to Haskell

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

If you’d like to take part in a hol­i­day tra­di­tion that has been tak­ing place for cen­turies, then visit the Haskell Free Li­brary in Stanstead, this Sun­day be­tween 2:00 and 4:00 pm, for a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion of the Chi­nese New Year.

Poet and pub­lisher Steve Luxton, who very re­cently was awarded the pres­ti­gious Que­bec Writ­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion Com­mu­nity Award, and his wife, award-win­ning haiku and tanka poet, An­gela Leuck, have planned a spe­cial, free event to take place on the Chi­nese New Year, Fe­bru­ary 10th, in the Haskell’s Read­ing Room.

The cou­ple trav­elled sev­eral times to China re­cently, Ms. Leuck go­ing there to teach English while Mr. Luxton went for his work as a pub­lisher, and will present a talk en­ti­tled: “Mist and Smog, Myth and Re­al­ity”. Anec­dotes, care­fully cho­sen pho­to­graphs, Chi­nese tea and treats, as well as a spe­cial in­tro­duc­tion to The Year of The Snake will all fea­ture in this cel­e­bra­tion that, af­ter speak­ing with the en­thu­si­as­tic cou­ple my­self, I’m cer­tain will be both en­ter­tain­ing and en­light­en­ing.

“We’ve just moved here and don’t know that many peo­ple so we thought it would be a nice way to in­tro­duce our­selves. We held a Chi­nese New Year Party in Mon­treal, last year, so, we thought, why not do one here? The Haskell Li­brary, which is such an amaz­ing place, was open to the idea,” ex­plained Ms. Leuck about the rea­son the cou­ple, who have just bought a house in Hat­ley, wanted to put on the event.

“Of­ten what peo­ple know about China is what they read in news­pa­pers. But be­ing there was such an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; it is such a place of con­trasts. On some lev­els it is a very me­dieval so­ci­ety while in other ways very mod­ern. It is a sur­real com­bi­na­tion. An­gela will ap­proach the mytho­log­i­cal while I’ll talk about the in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ence on the streets,” com­mented Mr. Luxton.

When it comes to China, what the cou­ple seemed most im­pressed by was the gen­er­ally sunny dis­po­si­tion of the Chi­nese peo­ple, de­spite their many hard­ships, and the amount of devel­op­ment tak­ing place through­out the vast coun­try.

“The Chi­nese peo­ple are very warm. Although we were the only West­ern peo­ple in the area where I was teach­ing, no-one looked at us sus­pi­ciously. Steve was caught walking in the rain once and a woman stopped him and in­sisted that he take her um­brella,” said An­gela. “The Chi­nese peo­ple are al­ways cel­e­brat­ing and there are lots of hol­i­days. But the peo­ple there are not fo­cused on get­ting things on their hol­i­days; they fo­cus on vis­it­ing rel­a­tives. They have a big so­cial life; there’s danc­ing in the parks ev­ery night. You could never be lonely in China!” she added.

“One Chi­nese per­son told me that, ev­ery time he vis­its his grand­mother, the roads are dif­fer­ent each time be­cause ev­ery­thing is chang­ing so fast,” she con­tin­ued. “When you look at the hori­zon it’s not un­usual to see thirty or forty con­struc­tion cranes loom­ing on the hori­zon. Peo­ple joke that the con­struc­tion crane is the na­tional bird of China,” said Steve.

They also spoke about some of the prob­lems in China. “The ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion seems in a trance and the cor­rup­tion is out of hand,” com­mented Mr. Luxton. “When I taught class, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Chi­nese Party was al­ways there to write down ev­ery­thing that I said, then I had to sign it be­fore he gave it in to the Party,” men­tioned Ms. Leuck.

Asked why it is im­por­tant to ex­plore other cul­tures, the cou­ple had this to say: “There is an in­ter­est­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween Cana­di­ans and the Chi­nese. Lots of Cana­dian mis­sion­ar­ies have gone there – the Chi­nese peo­ple love Dr. Norman Bethune. Peo­ple don’t re­al­ize how far China has come. In the up­com­ing decades it will be one of the world pow­ers so it would be good to know them.”

“Putting on this event will be a chance for us to re-think our vis­its to China and a nice op­por­tu­nity for us to dis­cover the Haskell Li­brary.”

Photo Jour­nal

Photo courtesy

An­gela Leuck and Steve Luxton out­side the walls of Qufu, China, the birth­place of Con­fu­cious.

Pho­tos courtesy

An­gela Leuck and Steve Luxton have trav­elled ex­ten­sively, in China, in the last few years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.