Happy Women’s Day & MBL founder Xinran’s new Book, The Promise, a story of love and loss in modern China, is out now!

Happy Women’s Day!

We’re excited to announce that MBL’s founder Xinran’s new book, The Promise, has recently been released. Since her 2002 international best-seller, The Good Women of China, Xinran has established herself as a dedicated chronicler of the political and social changes that have impacted the Chinese people, especially women, in modern China. The Promise (I.B. Tauris), translated from the Chinese by William Spence, is yet another persuasive and absorbing exploration of her homeland.

In The Promise, Xinran, through a series of interviews, tells the story of the Hans over four generations. At the start of the twentieth century in China, the Hans were married in an elaborate ceremony before they were even born. While their future was arranged by their families, this couple had much to be grateful for. Not only did they come from similar backgrounds – and as such were recognized as a good match – they also had a shared passion in their deep love of ancient Chinese poetry. They went on to have nine children and chose colours portrayed in some of their favourite poems as nicknames for them – Red, Cyan, Orange, Yellow, Green, Ginger, Violet, Blue and Rainbow. Fate, and the sweep of twentieth century history would later divide these children into three groups: three went to America or Hong Kong to protect the family line from the communists; three were married to revolutionaries having come of age as China turned red; while three suffered tragic early deaths.

With her trademark wisdom and warmth, Xinran describes the lives and loves of this extraordinary family over four generations. What emerges is not only a moving, beautifully-written and engaging story of four people and their lives, but a crucial portrait of social change in China. Xinran begins with the magic and tragedy of one young couples wedding night in 1950, and goes on to tell personal experiences of loss, grief and hardship through China’s extraordinary century. In doing so she tells a bigger story – how traditional Chinese values have been slowly eroded by the tide of modernity and how their outlooks on love, and the choices they’ve made in life, have been all been affected by the great upheavals of Chinese history.

A spell-binding and magical narrative, this is the story of modern China through the people who lived through it, and the story of their love and loss.

Select Reviews

“A brilliant storyteller” – Hilary Spurling

“Much has been written about political, social, and economic changes in China since before the 1949, but few authors apart from Lynn Pan—who explored the common notion that love originated in the West before it arrived in China—have taken an intimate look the Chinese women’s private lives spanning four generations.” – Asian Review of Books

“Filled with poignancy, insights, and revelations, this is an ideal book for anyone curious about life in China—and surely, in this day and age, that means all of us.” – Randallwrites.wordpress.com Book Review

Kirkus Reviews

Asian Review of Books 

The Spectator 

Randallwrites

 

Upcoming Events 

Esses Book Festival 

Daunt Books ( Xinran talks to Paul French) 

BBC Radio 3 

The List (Xinran discusses the taboo topics of birth, marriage and death.)

MBL collaborated with V&A Museum of Childhood to celebrate the Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year of the Pig! On 9th Feb, 2019, MBL collaborated with V&A Museum of Childhood to host the Chinese New Year celebration at V&A Museum in London. More than five thousand visitors showed up to join the fun, and to participate in various activities. 

At our handcraft workshop, Mr. Fan taught traditional Chinese calligraph. His students were excited to learn how to write their names in Chinese. The Beijing Opera facial mask making workshop attracted quite a crowd, where participants painted their masks with fascination. Our MBL volunteer Jiayan Fan was so skilled at making paper lanterns and her workshop was very popular among children. 

Suifeng and Jingyi, also MBL volunteers, were busy at the dress-up room, where children tried on different Chinese ethnic costumes, and learned about Chinese ethnic minorities. A special abacus class was presented by Mrs. Tan and her assistant Xin Mo. Their curious and diligent students explored a new way to do calculation. Math was not a boring subject, but a fun adventure for both adults and children! 

As always, the performance stage was surrounded by enthusiastic audience. Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy and Ping Lin’s Aubretia Dance Studio did a stellar performance of Tai Chi, Chinese traditional fan dance and the “long-sleeves” dance. Even the audience participated, following the dancers and waving the fans in their hands with much joy and laughter. 

 

Lion Dance was the highlight of the day, performed by the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets. For this year, children got to feed the lions with their handwritten messages for blessings — all the wishes would come true in the new year!

The souvenir booth, where items like dance fans and abacuses were sold, attracted a steady crowd of customers. It was a fantastic way to raise money for our charity, and to raise awareness for the Chinese culture. 

A big shout-out to all our volunteers: Ruiyun, Sun Hong, Yanan, Kun Li, Rui, Jack, Tingting, Frank, Jiayan, Bin Tan, Xin Mo, Suifeng, Jingyi, Ping Lin, Chris, and our event leader Yifeng Shi. 

Special thanks to our photographer Rui for the lovely photos, and our souvenir provider Yuyang Zhang. 

And our big thank-you to V&A Museum of Childhood and all the participants and supporters! 

Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快乐!

 

A call for Volunteers and Sponsors at the 2019 Chinese New Year Festival at V&A Museum

Happy new year! We are collaborating with V&A Museum of Childhood to launch the 2019 Chinese New Year Festival, which will be held from 11am to 4pm on 9th, Feb., 2019. Want to volunteer or become a sponsor at this exciting event? It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the Chinese culture, to meet friends, to support a good cause, and, most importantly, to have a lot of fun. 

Volunteers will be responsible for:

Stall reception ( 3 volunteers )

Performance stage and wall art ( 3 volunteers )

Dressing up ( 3 volunteers )

Craft session ( 5 volunteers )

A volunteer training will be held on the 26th Jan, and the location is 19 Queens court, Queensway, London, W2 4QN, UK. We hope you’ll join us.

We will also be very grateful if you can help us find sponsorship, or business to set up stalls at our venue. Please contact Yifeng Shi (WeChat: SYF1127YK Phone: 07734697037) to get a copy of our invitation letter to potential sponsors. Thank you! 

If you would like to volunteer at this festival or become a sponsor, please contact our team leaders:

Yifeng Shi, WeChat: SYF1127YK Phone: 07734697037.

Ping Lin, WeChat: pinglin2018 Phone: 07436009413 .

Xinran Xue, WeChat: xxxr0719 Phone: 07740151726.

Happy New Year!

Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快乐,万事如意!

Join MBL and V & A Museum to celebrate the Year of the Pig!

On Feb. 9, 2019, MBL and V& A Museum of Childhood will work together to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig.  The Pig is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. MBL has been collaborating with the V&A Museum for many years, holding regular events to celebrate festivals like Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn festival at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

Activities include, but not limited to

  • facial mask painting
  • lion dance
  • Chinese Folk dance
  • Chinese traditional costume dressing-up
  • performance of Chinese abacus

It’s a free event and please join us for tons of fun!

Click here to read about Chinese New Year

Click here to read about Chinese zodiac

Click here to make a donation to MBL

A big thank you to our volunteers and to all the people who have been supporting us all these years!

Happy New Year!

Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快乐,万事如意!

Launch The Secret Message Boats to the Mothers Around the World!

Hello, MBL volunteers and supporters,

MBL and the Essex Festival in the UK have teamed up and will launch an exciting event: The Secret Message Boats to the Mothers Around the World. It would be wonderful if your children, their friends, or classmates be part of it!

The Essex Festival will be held in March 2019. During the festival, 1,000 paper boats will be displayed. At the closing ceremony, these boats will be set sail in the sea. These paper boats are hand-folded by children from China and Britain, each carrying a  “whisper” or a secret message the child has written to his or her mother. (The message will be written on the back of the paper before the paper is folded into a boat.) MBL Volunteers in London will add MBL logo stickers to the boats.

How to fold a paper boat?

Please use a Chinese map to make a boat. Here is the instruction.

  • Paper boat size: Length between 10 – 30cm
  • Before folding, please write a message on the back of the map (either in Chinese or English).

Where to send the boats?

  • If you live in China, please send the paper boats (as many as possible, ideally more than 200 in each package) to the following address before January 3, 2019, so that our volunteer Pan Tong can bring them to London on January 6.

Attn: ZHU Li 

Sino-British Bridge & Mothers’ Bridge of Love Volunteer Center

Fourth Floor, Hexi Central Shopping Center

No. 235, Jiang Dong Zhong Road, Jianye District

Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 210000

Tel: 13905150047

  •  If you live abroad, please send your boats to the following address by the end of January 2019. They’ll be delivered to the staff at the Essex Festival in the UK in mid-February. 

Xinran / MBL

Flat19, Queens Court

Queensway

London W2 4QN

The UK

———

中文版

您家中的小朋友及孩子所在学校是否愿意参与2019母爱桥与英国联办的一个名为“1000只载着心语游向世界母亲的小船”的活动?

活动细节如下:
活动名称:1000只载着心语游向世界母亲的小船⛵

时间及地点:2019年三月开始在英国Essex Festival 埃塞克斯艺术节展示,艺术节结束庆典上小船隆重入海(英国东部)

制作:
– 用中国地图纸/如图“折叠”小船(淘宝上可买到大小不一的地图纸,可裁剪所需尺寸。)帆船⛵大小: 长度在10-30CM以内。折叠前,在叠纸背面写给母亲一句心里话/密语(中英文均可)

完成后,国内的朋友敬请于1月3号前将您组织折叠的小船⛵(>200只为盼)寄至

中国南京市建邺区

江东中路235号

(河西)中央商场四楼

中英桥/母爱桥志愿者中心

朱莉
邮编 210000
电话13905150047

若您在海外:敬请在1月底前将您所组织的“母爱桥心语小船⛵” (多多益善)寄/送至:
Xinran/MBL
Flat19, Queens Court
Queensway
London W2 4QN

时间表

在中国收到的小船由母爱桥志愿者潘桐于1月6日带回伦敦。

收到小船后,伦敦的MBL队伍负责帖加母爱桥标志,并于2月中旬交付英国埃塞克斯艺术节筹备组。

3月艺术节开幕之日,开始艺术展示“母爱桥心语纸船⛵
3月底,艺术节结束庆典上进行“母爱桥心语小船⛵入海”仪式。

感谢同愿同行,帮助孩子们传递挚爱母亲的心语,让世界分享中国孩子的大爱。

Thank you to MBL volunteer You Muqing (游牧晴) for her help with translation. 

 

MBL’s Toby Eady Library in Nanjing has a new look!

 

The Toby Eady Library now has a bigger collection of books, thanks to Larry and Carie Haimovitch Charitable Fund, and many of our MBL supporters and volunteers.

Toby Eady, the founding Chairman of Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL), passed away on December 24, 2017, but his literary legacy lives on. He was an internationally renowned literary, film, and TV agent. When he retired due to illness in 2015, he donated more than 800 books in over 30 languages to the MBL Volunteer Centre in Nanjing, all written by the celebrated authors he represented. Along with the books, he donated his beloved Victorian-era desk he had kept for many years in his office.

In September 2017, thanks to support from Sino-UK Bridge, an educational institute in China, the MBL Volunteer Centre formally opened the ‘MBL Toby Eady Library.’ It provides a space for young Chinese who love books and literature, and are interested in learning about the world. When Toby was alive, he was passionate about cultural exchange, and championed international writers. He believed that books are vital to understanding ourselves and the world. 

If you would like to support the MBL Toby Eady Library, please make a donation

You can also donate through Give as You Live.

If you plan to visit the MBL Toby Eady Library, please consider bringing a few English Children’s books to donate. Thank you very much for your kind support and generosity! Here is the address

MBL Toby Eady Library

MBL Volunteer Centre

Sino-UK Bridge

4th Floor, Zhongyang Shangchang (Hexi)

235 Jiangdongzhong Road

Jianye District

Nanjing

People’s Republic of China

  

MBL received a reward from Larry and Carie Haimovitch Charitable Fund to set up the Toby Eady Library in China

MBL just received a reward from Larry and Carie Haimovitch Charitable Fund in honor of the late Toby Eady, who, sadly, passed away last December. Mr Eady was MBL’s board chairman for more than a decade, and had been instrumental in setting up MBL’s 23 international libraries in rural China.

Here is part of the reward letter, addressed to Xinran Eady, MBL’s founder.

***

Dear Ms. Xue:

It’s my pleasure to inform you that on September 10, 2018 an electronic deposit of $4,326 was made into your organization’s checking account to set up the Toby Eady Library for the MBL China Volunteer Centre at Nanjing City in honor of Toby Eady.

This grant is from the Larry and Carie Haimovitch Charitable Fund of the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) and was recommended by Larry and Carie Haimovitch. Any public listing of this contribution should read: Larry and Carie Haimovitch.

On behalf of all of us at MCF, thank you for everything that you do to improve the world in which we live. 

***

Thank you for your generous support of MBL, Mr and Mrs Haimovitch! Nothing would have pleased Mr. Eady more than to know that a new library will be open for children in China.

Toby, we miss you!

 

Happy International Children’s Day!

Happy International Children's Day for MBL by Maya Cedergren

Happy International Children’s Day from MBL, Maya Cedergren, 9

 

International Children’s Day is a day to celebrate children, and a day to remind ourselves that many children in the world are still suffering from violence, abuse, injustice and lack of education. This holiday falls on varied dates in different countries. In the United Kingdom, it’s the second Sunday of May. In the U.S., it’s the second Sunday of June, while in China and many other countries, June 1st is the date of observance.

From the day MBL was founded, it has dedicated itself to children’s wellbeing and happiness. It collaborates with the UK’s V&A Museum of Childhood to hold annual celebration of the Chinese New Year. In its 2018 event, more than 4000 visitors showed up. It strives to help adoptive families and adopted children learn about China and the Chinese culture. It has also built 23 international libraries for children in rural China. By creating a bridge of understanding between China and the West and between adoptive culture and birth culture, MBL ultimately wants to help bridge the huge poverty gap, which still exists in many parts of China.

The children are our hope for the future.  Caring and education are important to every child. MBL’s proud volunteers from more than 20 countries are eager to work with you to help our children. Thank you very much for your support and encouragement.

Happy International Children’s Day! 六一儿童节快乐!

(A big thank you to Maya Cedergren, one of MBL’s youngest volunteers, for her beautiful artwork for the International Children’s Day. Maya is 9 years old and a fourth grader in California, the U.S. She loves gymnastics and horseback riding. She wanted to wish every child a happy holiday and a happy childhood — “Be a child forever!”)

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in the world. Without our loving and dedicated mothers, MBL wouldn’t be where we are today.

Since its birth, MBL has been reaching out to Chinese children in all corners of the world: those who have been adopted by Western families, those who have been raised abroad, and those living in China, often in destitute conditions. Today, MBL has built 23 international libraries for underprivileged children in rural China, and has helped many adoptive families and adopted children to understand and explore China. Among MBL’s volunteers and supporters, many are mothers. We’re forever grateful for their love and commitment.

A big shout-out to mothers. Mothers, you deserve the best. Happy Mother’s Day. 母亲节快乐!

(Thank you to our talented volunteer, Rainy, for designing such a lovely card.)

Mei and Xue’s journey of visiting birth parents in China

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Holiday in China – January 2018

MEI

It had been 2 years since we last went to China. We’d embarked on that first journey to find our birth family, with the support of Mothers’ Bridge of Love. This time it felt a lot different, we were going to see our birth family for the second time. We had met our birth mother, father, three sisters and brother before and we knew what to expect. But my feelings were more hesitant this time. What if it was going to be awkward? Two years ago, I wasn’t as nervous and hesitant as this time.

Our plan was to stay with our birth family for 5 nights. 5 nights! At first, I couldn’t really get my head around that, because last time we only stayed at their house for 1 night. Also our birth family live in rural China, high up in the mountains, and there isn’t much to do. So I was unsure of what we would end up doing those 5 days. It was winter, their house was really cold. And I don’t speak much Chinese, let alone the local dialect.

Now a few months later, I have to ask myself, ‘why did I waste my time thinking negative thoughts’. Because guess what…..

I so much enjoyed seeing everyone in our birth family once again and I had a lot of fun! After we had got home, I was sad to be back in New Zealand. I wanted to be back in China with our birth family. I had a great time at their house, especially playing with two of our younger cousins. We bonded really well with them and every day we would play with them. We would either go for a walk up the mountain, throw cotton balls at each other, sit on the couch and communicate to them through an online translator or we would play with a ball in the front courtyard and getting dirty. It was such a special time.

Seeing our birth mum and dad once again was lovely, and so was seeing our brother and three sisters. Our younger brother had grown up a lot, as in his height. He had a slightly deeper voice and, for sure, a more mature looking face. And all three sisters had definitely become more grown up, but were still very fun. Actually our eldest sister had become very motherly due to her baby daughter who we got to carry and play with, which was very sweet. So all our siblings had changed during the last two years.

Anyway, seeing our birth family this year was so worth it. I felt a lot more comfortable being around them, at least after the first night. This time I wasn’t sticking so close to mum and dad, and I wanted to be around our birth family. I felt safer and assured, and knew that I wasn’t going to be hurt or more so, come across anything odd. Overall, seeing our birth family reconnected me to them, and I think they also felt reconnected with Xue and I. Hopefully we can make it possible for them to visit us in New Zealand. I am very happythat we went and I look forward to seeing them again, in the future, soon.

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XUE

Reflecting back on our trip back to China (January 2018), I wonder why I had been so anxious. I guess it was because I wasn’t so sure how everything was going to turn out. We found our birth family in April 2016 and had briefly stayed with them. This time when we visited, so many questions were buzzing around in my head. Would our sisters embrace us like they did last time? Would we be expected to be able to have long conversations in Chinese? Would it be awkward? Knowing that we were going to stay 5 nights with our birth family freaked me out a little bit. I was scared. There were some doubts. I thought time was going to tick by slowly and that we’d be standing around with not much to do. Little did I know that I was going to have some of the best times ever. These are moments and times that make me smile and really wish we could go back in time.

During our visit, Mei and I grew very close to our two younger cousins. They reached out to us. Even though we couldn’t speak Sichuan dialect and they didn’t speak English, we had so fun together. We bonded over sport. We played ‘piggy in the middle’, soccer, dodgeball, netball and did plenty of walking and racing each other up the mountain. Sometimes we would communicate through `Google translate’ which was lovely because we were able to get to know each other. I settled in and felt ‘home’. I felt comfortable. I was so so happy and full of energy and excitement. It was so nice to see our three elder sisters and our brother. My gosh he has grown up, I barely recognised him!! Mei and I didn’t spend a lot of time with them, but it was just really lovely to be around them. I was able to learn a lot about our brother and sisters, just being around them. I found it very interesting to see how our siblings shared similar personality traits (fun and outgoing but still shy, reserved and quite quiet). This gave me reassurance of who I am. Even though our birth family have very little, they were so generous and caring. We had such delicious home cooked food each day and they made sure we were plenty warm enough in bed. One night, I walked into mum and dad’s bedroom and I found our birth parents piling blankets over dad, who was tucked up in bed!! It was very funny and I can remember that I felt a warm rush of happiness run throughout my body.

Time flew too fast. Suddenly it was time to say goodbye. Our birth parents had given us such warm hospitality, I didn’t want to leave our two cousins and we had had started to break the ice between us and our brother. We were in constant communication with him as soon as we left, through `We Chat’. Today, I’m looking back at all the pictures and videos we took. I do this quite often and it reminds me of how much happiness and joy we had together. I am so so glad that we went back to see our birth family this year.

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