Columbia’s new year celebration held at Lerner Hall on B’way @ 115 Street was pretty neat. They had a simple reception for the invitees, that included the Consul General of New York Peng Keyu who came right before the performance, greeted each table like a groom does in the wedding banquet, followed by his entourage. The reception was little waste, I thought the President of the CUCSSA would lead discuss of donation to the victims in China due to sever weather. But except he greeted guests at the entrance, he was largely unseen. The receiption was in a canteen, with limited socializing within the table.
Peng bought down the house by slipping .. “my wives”. I looked up his profile – he appeared younger and more sophisticated in person – with a master degree (engineering perhaps?), the speeaches (Columbia’s dean/provost, etc..) were all ordinary. Perhaps the lawyers for the sake of arguing cases in court, are far better orators than the MBAs (who could answers back to boss often?) or engineers. It turns out, students from China is the largest foreign body on Columbia campus. Wow ..
The program of the night were decent. I particular enjoyed the opera (Nessum Dorma fm Turandot), and couple of sketches by the students. To my surprise, the erhu played better than the piano/violin that played The Butterfly Lovers. I equal the sound of this two-string fiddle as killing a hen (okaaay ..). The erhu player was a middle aged man with very dexterous fingers, virtuoso. On the contrary, The Butterfly Lovers is one of my favor violin concerto. But it sounded flat, almost dead. I hear Sheng Zhongguo’s version too often, :).
The face of Chinese students are changing. In the 80s. Ruby mentioned that they were out cast on Cornell campus. Hong Kong students had its church or association, so did Taiwan, .. a.k.a. w/ money. Now, with more disposal income, at Columbia, they are mostly fashionable (there were at least three girls wearing the same white coat that Pumpkin’s wearing), clean cut, aside from smart. (America should seriously re-consider their political correctioness and affirmative action that type of policy to catch up with the rest of the world!!) It’s the Caucasians that learning Chinese haven’t change much, geeky, odd .. Chris Patten perhaps is the most normal whiteboy with a decent job who mutters a word or two of Mandarin.