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Addressed to the Chuan Lyu Foundation

Friday, May 14, 1998
Wilberforce Room, St. Johns College, Cambridge

Subject : Address to the Chuan Lyu Foundation at the Dinner Held in The Wilberforce Room, St.John's College, Cambridge, after The Chuan Lyu Lecture Given by Dr. Landsborough

By: Professor David L. McMullen
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Oriental Studies


     At the dinner is room on Wednesday 11 September 1991, we thanked Dr. Hwalin Lee and Mrs. Sue Liu for their most imaginative act of generosity in endowing The Chuan Lyu Lectures here and the University of Cambridge. I remember saying that the Chuan Lyu Foundation does not court publicity and that speeches for that occasion should not be long. I guess is that the name Chuan Lyu was very evocative, and dwelt upon the rivers of China and on their significance as metaphors of Chinese culture, flowing without interruption.

     Rivers affect men's lives. They are the source of fertility and irrigation. They can be channeled and led forth. Chinese were guardians of a great tradition of hydraulic engineering and irrigation. The rumors are also suggestive of the passing of time. There is a line of ancient Chinese burrs that states that they "flow-through ten thousand eons and never ceasing."

     I remember saying that the men whose initiative channels and diverts a stream or who irrigate new land are, in cultural terms, originators and pioneers of new and creative development. The members of the Chuan Lyu Foundation are one such body.

     There is, however, a tradition, again expressed early on in Chinese poetry, that all rivers flowed from west to east, "the hundred rivers day on day flow east." If I may dare questioned traditional Chinese lore, though, I would suggest that this is not always the case, that not all rivers flow in the same direction.



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