Options:

Tangra basks in Beijing Olympic glow

Tangra basks in Beijing Olympic glow - Dragon dance, community dinner to celebrate triumph of land of ancestors

 
kolkata-chinese-olympics 

Over 1,200 of the city’s Chinese population gathered in a school in Tangra to dance and dine in red T-shirts in celebration of the Beijing Olympics opening on Friday evening.

About an hour before the spectacular inauguration of the Games erupted at the stunning Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, the dragon dance had started at Pie May Chinese High School where three projector screens were set up to show the ceremony.

The kids joined in. So did some of the grown-ups, all sporting the T-shirt that came free with the Rs 200 ticket which bought entry and dinner. But this wasn’t the red of the Red, as one knows in CPM-weaned Calcutta, but the colour of peace and prosperity.

“We had planned this event about two months back. We had advertised in a local Chinese paper and sold around 1,200 tickets for the event,”said Liu Kew Chow, the president of the Tangra Chinese Welfare Association, as people started trooping into the school campus.

Away from their homeland for decades, the Chinese eagerly asserted their roots — some of the kids, who came escorted by their mothers, waved Chinese flags, T-shirts were emblazoned with the words “Beijing Olympics 2008”.

“It’s like a dream come true. China is only the third Asian country to host such an event. It is about pride not only for China but for Asia as a whole,”said Liu Kuo Chu, who owns a tannery.

As if to underline the point, India’s presence was ubiquitous. After the dragon dance and the speeches, the Indian national anthem was sung, with many voices pitching in. The Chinese anthem followed.

Qilai!/Buyuanzuo nulide renmen!/Bawomende xierou…/ Qilai!/Qilai!/Qilai!

It means: Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves! With our very flesh and blood,/Let us build our new Great Wall!/The peoples of China are in the most critical time,/Everybody must roar his defiance./Arise!/Arise!/Arise!

When the 1,200 Chinese rose for dinner, it was not pan-fried noodles they piled on their plates but luchi, mutton korma and rosogolla.

One of the organisers, Lin Kuo Chu, said: “We have Chinese dishes all the time. We just wanted a different taste, and it’s all about unity.”

The Chinese consul-general, Mao Siwei, was the chief guest at the event, which also had a lucky draw on the menu. Mao said: “It’s (the Olympics) a matter of great pride to us and the entire Chinese community scattered all over the world.”

For most it was just the fun of getting together. “We danced, sang, watched the inauguration and then dined together. We don’t meet that often, especially at this time of the year. It feels great,” said Barbara Liao, a resident of Entally.

Many crave to go back to China. “I wish I could visit Beijing and be a part of the celebration. But it means shedding a lot of money which I cannot afford,”

said Paul Lin, 58, a leather businessman. Paul’s family has been in this city for three generations and he regrets not having visited China even once.

Consulate officials said a few members of the community had travelled to China for the Olympics. “Most of the Chinese here belong to the lower middle class and we can’t expect a large number of them to fly to China,” said an official.

The Citizens’ Welfare Committee held a similar event at Bowbazar with around 50 members of the Chinese community who watched the Beijing opening on a giant screen. The dinner here was Chinese, with cocktails for company.

-TAMAGHNA BANERJEE 

Source: The Telegraph