CHINA IN THOSE DAYS
Presented by Mr Thomas Brandt
ERA organised a dinner talk by Mr Thomas Brandt, the General Manager of the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday 20th September 2013 presenting a glimpse of China’s History captured on postcards.
Thomas has been living in Asia for close to 20 years starting from 1994 when he was posted to Indonesia as a Delegate by the German Chambers of Commerce & Industry at the German-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jakarta. Thomas who studied Macroeconomics at the University of Hamburg has been involved in Market Research; Business Consultancy for German companies especially SMEs planning on market entry into Asia, as well as Public Relations coordination.
The talk centered on historical events that occurred in China during the periods of the late 1890s and into the early 20th century captured in a huge accumulation of postcards collected as a passionate hobby by Thomas over his many years in Asia as well as on his trips back to Europe, in various specialty stores selling old articles and other collectors’ items.
Full Turn out
The event was a huge success with a full attendance for seven tables sitting a total of 72 participants turning up at the Chef Low Organic Kitchen, located at The Boulevard near Ara Damansara in Petaling Jaya. The attendees made up of Members and Board Members of ERA including the President, Datin Peduka Yong, Members and Board Members of the Technological Association Malaysia (TAM) and the President, Dato’ Fong as well as other distinguished guest invited by Thomas Brandt.
ERA President Datin Peduka Yong with TAM participants led by Ir Dato’ Fong
The talk was particularly interesting especially for many of us Malaysian Chinese who although already had some basic knowledge about China history and perhaps also some information about the migration of Overseas Chinese, particularly to Singapore and Malaysia. I believe many were astonished by the revelation of such very interesting information captured in the postcards during the talk and maybe even marveled by the deep insights presented by “Mat Salleh” Thomas, who had done much research into China and its people depicted in his wide postcard collection.
Postcards – A status symbol communication tool of the day
In those days during the late 19th and early 20th Century, sending of postcards was a means of communicating for family and friends who visited faraway places. It was very much the “Tweeter” type communication of short messages with pictorials for this period and in those early days, it was looked upon as a huge privilege to send as well receive postcards from abroad.
During that early period, Europeans considered the Far East, especially China being an exotic distant place and the collection of postcards depicting the unique culture, architecture and the customs of the Chinese, all very much part of the history captured in this pictorial Coffee Table book published by Thomas Brandt.
The other aspect of Thomas’s presentation touched on the different waves of migration of Chinese overseas including to the Americas to seek their fortune in the “Golden Mountain” of California and others with similar ambition of prospecting for gold in Australia. Also there were periods of catastrophes especially in the Southern China with the Yangtze flooding that caused huge sufferings and famine as well as the various major civil upheavals and wars including the Japanese occupation that fanned the migrations for survival or looking for greener pastures all over the world and in particular to Nanyang, where the many South East Asian Chinese forefathers took root.
Promoting New Membership and ERA Fellowship
The organising of the event led by our Honorary Secretary Mr K.K Ng was a complete success, leading to the full turnout of all guests that had confirm their participation to attend on a Friday, knowing well that it was a day with huge traffic congestions. We had the opportunity to further interact with the TAM group led by Dato’ Fong to exchange information and topics of common interest.
This was also a great opportunity to interact again with our ERA members who came for the show. It has been the primary aims of our association to not only promote ERA by increasing awareness with different stakeholders externally but also to increase participation as well as further enhance fellowship among our ERA members. We are happy to announce that Ir. Yong Kee Chiang, Past President of TAM signed up to join ERA after the event.
More activities are being planned for the near future, including collaboration with other Associations and Agencies for training and development projects, networking as well as other possible business opportunities for those members who have the expertise or knowledge to consider participating in the coming events.
We had a round of “thumbs up” for the choice of the venue and the food selection at Chef Low Organic Kitchen. Most, if not all participants including a guest from China as well and our “Ang Moh” friends were fully satisfied with the array of food served at this Vegetarian Restaurant with some commenting that they could not find any difference between the “real” thing when comparing with the vegetarian item…
Datin Peduka Yong extends her sincere thanks to Mr Thomas Brandt and his supporting team for the insightful presentation and all the participating guests who took time to attend the talk. Our President also extends her appreciation especially to Mr K. K. Ng, Mr Lim Kim Leong and the rest of the ERA organising committee for the excellent organisation of this event.
Article contributed by Roger Lye
Photographs contributed by Datin Peduka Yong & Mr LK Wong
Postcards contributed by Mr Thomas Brandt