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