January 28

Asian Studies graduate Hangzhou adventure!

Monique Costello graduated with a double major in History and Asian Studies. She has been teaching at a high school in Hangzhou that has a very impressive front gate and a pretty campus. Her brief report is here:

I have been working at Tianmu High School for 5 months now – I can’t believe how the time has flown by. I teach over 800 students, most of whom could care less about English but want to know all about the typical lives of Americans. Because I am in a sub-city of Hangzhou (although the sub-city itself has a higher population than Boston), I am the only American girl within an hour of where I live. I am treated like a celebrity everywhere from the hallways of my school, to restaurants, to taxi rides. People are constantly staring. It was disconcerting at first, but I’ve learned to accept it.

I have seen so many beautiful places and tried so many new things since I arrived; this is an experience I would not give up for anything. The people here have been incredibly friendly and I have made some great friends. Spring Festival is upon us and I am meeting my mother in Beijing tomorrow before heading to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I have many more adventures planned for the next five months; I can’t wait to explore even more.

More on Suffolk frontpage.


January 24

Pat Moriarty – a fan of Japanese music!

Pat Moriarty is a double major in History and Asian Studies. He spent last year at Sophia University in Tokyo and made good progress in the Japanese language. Now back at Suffolk, he has an internship with the on-line magazine JaME which specializes in Japanese contemporary music of all genres. Pat works maintaining the web-site, and also contributes to the magazine.


Follow the link below to see a copy of his recent review of the Japanese metal band Dir en grey from Osaka.

November 5

Open House 2013

Asian Studies Program had its Fall 2013 Open House on October 27.  Students who studied abroad in China, Japan, and Korea in 2012-2013 shared their experiences with the audience. Their Powerpoint presentations were delightful and very informative.


Carl Anderson talking about China

In addition, Professors Chris Dakin and Ron Suleski as well as Levina Huang from TECO in Boston spoke about various study abroad programs in Asia.

October 9

Korea Summer 2013

This past summer of 2013 Suffolk University had four students who spent the summer in Seoul Korea. They each received a scholarship and participated in an internship, while studying the Korean language at Yonsei University.

Korea Summer 2013

(L to R) Sanghyun Lee (President and CEO of KCC Corporation which provided the scholarships through their Chongha Scholarship Foundation); Shinhye Lee (Mr. Lee’s daughter who was a student at Suffolk in 2012); Suffolk student Christopher Maynard; Suffolk student Kathy Liu; C.Y. Lee (Chairman and Founder of KCC Corporation, who presented the checks); Suffolk student Elisa Lim; Suffolk student Kaila Millett; Sunshik Min (President and CEO of YBM Corporation, which provided some of the internship placements.)

February 8

What I am about to eat – from our Fullbright student

Carl Anderson and Audrea White, two Suffolk students, are studying in Xi’an, China on a Fulbright scholarship. Audrea is Monty Link’s (Philosophy) advisee, and both students took Chinese language classes with Chris Dakin. Carl has created his blog site, which was forwarded to me by Chris. You will enjoy reading his report and reflections: http://whatamiabouttoeat.wordpress.com/

More details about their experience of the trip can be found here.

January 31

Ron’s panel on the Chinese Eastern Railway

Last week I attended a seminar sponsored by the Elliott School for International Studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The topic of the seminar was the Chinese Eastern Railway 中東鐵路 (CER).

When Russia was building the Trans-Siberian Railway in the late 1800s to link St. Petersburg to the port of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, they looked at a map and saw that if they could build a rail line through northern Manchuria, Chinese territory, they could cut both time and costs off of the project. Russia approached China, but the Qing government said “no” to the idea of Russia building a railroad.

So the Russians organized the Russo-Asiatic Bank to fund the project as a “commercial” enterprise.  When shares went on sale in St. Petersburg, Russia bought almost all the shares to have a controlling interest in the line.  The French bought many bonds in the line, and the Chinese government invested some funds also. But Russia ran the project as if it were all their own.  They built the city of Harbin 哈爾濱in North Manchuria, ran lines not only eastward to connect to Vladivostok, but also south to the ice-free port of Dalian. They stationed Russian military units along the tracks to protect the route, they hired and paid thousands of Chinese workers, and many Russian investors, bureaucrats and ordinary adventurers moved into Harbin. The CER began operation in 1902.

The history of the line is one of contestation, and finally in 1935 Russia sold it to the occupying Japanese. Russia re-inherited the line in 1950 when the People’s Republic of China was founded, and they then returned it to China as a gift.

I visited Harbin in early January to look at the old buildings of the CER, many of which are well-preserved (strong brick and mortar construction).  I visited the Russo-Asiatic Bank building and saw an exhibition of old Czarist Russian ruble notes. I saw the crumbling facades of the old railway-connected warehouses in the Daowai 道外區section of the city where inscriptions in old Cyrillic still grace their fronts. The old Yamato Hotel built by the Japanese in the 1920s had a nice exhibition of old photos of the hotel in its heyday.  I realized that the city administration is trying to preserve the Russian façade by building modern office building and apartment blocks in with fronts that mimic the turn-of -the-century Russian style, with mansard roofs, cupolas at the corners, and fancy decorations along windows and cornices.

My job at the conference was as a commentator on the papers presented, and I was able to add a first-hand report on Harbin, the city that is inevitably linked with the CER.  Ron’s remarks can be found here.

July 16

Jonathan Haughton in Shanghai

Jonathan Haughton, Economics Department, taught for three weeks at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade. Suffolk has been receiving their students here at Suffolk for several years. Jonathan wrote:  they are “quite an impressive outfit, with their main campus in the Shanghai suburb of Songjiang.  I spent a couple of days in Beijing (which I had not visited for at least 25 years), climbed up Mt. Huangshan, walked quite a bit in Shanghai, and was very busy teaching 120 students.  Pleasant, productive, and tiring!”

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February 17

A Visit to the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai

In January 2012  I was privileged to attend the monthly meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai. This is the newly adopted name of the revived society which from 1858 to 1952 was known as the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.  Since the earliest westerners first congregated in China in the southern city of Canton, the port of Shanghai that developed in the mid-1800s seemed far to the north, though in fact it was on the central east coast of China. In 1857 westerners were not allowed to live in Beijing, still farther to the north.  The RAS’ current name has a modern sound to it and will allow RAS branches to be set up in many cities in China as circumstances allow.

I was kindly escorted to the meeting by Peter Hibbard, MBE, recent past-president who has played the key role in revitalizing the RAS in Shanghai in 2007. He has lived in Shanghai since the early 1990s  and has just turned the gavel over to the new president Katy Gow, who now lives in Shanghai with her distinguished husband, Professor Ian Gow PhD OBE. Peter and Katy thoughtfully gave me a copy of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai, Vol. 74, No.1 April 2010, with assurances that a new issue will appear shortly. The Journal had ceased publication in 1948.  I also met Lindsay Shen PhD, the journal’s editor, who has an informative article in the issue mentioned here.

The original NCBRAS was part of the British colonial establishment in Shanghai’s pre-war years. It had its own building, a tall brick structure with its name in Chinese, yazhou wenhui 亞州文會 above the entrance. It is behind the Peninsula Shanghai hotel on the Bund, on Huqiu Road 虎丘路 (just off East Beijing Road 北京東路) , and is currently being used as a museum of modern art. At one time the original NCBRAS had a museum collection and a library of around 40,000 volumes. The carefully preserved collection now forms part of the Xujiahui Bibliotheca, a branch of the Shanghai Library that was opened to the public in 2004 and many of the museum exhibits are on display at the Shanghai Natural History Museum. The RAS has been unsuccessful in its efforts to gain a presence in its old building. But the RAS is re-building its library collection, which now has 1,000 volumes including an almost complete run of its former journal from 1859 to 1948.

Our meeting was held in the Radisson Xing Guo Plaza Hotel. The hotel occupies the former estate of the Swire family (of the original Butterfield and Swire) that began business in Shanghai in 1866 and is located in the former International Settlement. At the January meeting an audience of over 80 persons gathered to hear an illustrated talk about western tourism to North Korea. By Chinese government regulations Chinese citizens are not allowed to become members of the RAS, though they can and do participate in all of its activities.

As is true for the Asiatic Society of Japan, the RAS in Shanghai persevered through many political and economic changes. It was and is being carried forward by its committed members who value the goals of Society and want to see it continue. In Shanghai it was a great pleasure to meet the intellectually stimulating officers of the RAS and a number of its members. One can find their newsletter online (069_20120201 RAS FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER), and in the February 2012 issue they kindly included a photo of me enjoying the lively lecture.

The Journal is accepting submissions and anyone interested can find guidelines on the RAS website

Ronald Suleski
January 2012, Boston

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