Nimen hao (‘hi all’ in Chinese),
I just returned from China a couple of days ago, and would like to report on my meetings
with the CUA (Chinese Unicycle Association). I often go to China on unicycle business
and dictionary business (see www.cjk.org) – this time I gave a couple of lectures at Chinese
First Meeting, May 5
My wife Michal and son Barak joined me on this trip. The CUA people came to get
us from the airport. After checking into the guest house in Peking University,
we were taken to the company to their “famous conference room” that John Foss,
Andy Cotter, Alberto Ruiz and others know quite well. The room was full of major
club representatives and they greeted us with formality and welcomed us.
This meeting was mostly ceremony with little substance. They requested that I
help them organize their team, and I kept explaining that it is Thomas Daniels,
not I, who is in charge of logistics. Since they have known me for some 10 years
and I helped organize all their teams to Unicons and international Chinese events
(Unicon IV, Unicon IX, Unicon X and Great Wall), they got used to the idea that they
would get support from me and IUF Japan, esp. since I speak and read Chinese.
It was hard for them to accept that this time we are not in charge and, other than
occasional translations, letters of recommendation and the like, they would have to
deal with the US directly. Even if I wanted to do part of Tom’s job, I really cannot do
so as I know little about Unicon XI beyond what is published on the web. One thing was
very clear – for them, language is a MAJOR problem indeed.
Second Meeting + Wining and Dining, May 5
After that meeting, we were whisked off to a fancy restaurant with an endless amount
of nameless delicacies and high quality Peking duck whirling around on the rotating table.
There was no way to avoid constant calls for ‘ganbei’ where you are forced to down the
very powerful ‘baijiu’ (white rice liquor) in one gulp. They found endless excuses to do
another ‘ganbei’ – for Unicon XI, for our friendship etc., the most innovative of which
was “because Andy Cotter did it – how can you lose to him?”
The party included an inevitable unicycle show by me and I also performed El Condor
Pasa on my quena (quena is my new passion). We finally got around to talking Unicon
XI details but they were too drunk to absorb it. I strongly recommended that they do
at least the following:
- Appoint someone with email and a strong knowledge of English who can
be in contact with Tom Daniels. They said they would do that and it seems that
that persons will CUA vice president’s Zhang Shu Xiao’s son.
- That they study the rules, especially the differences and the standard skills.
- That they bring an interpreter as there probably will be no interpreters available.
And other miscellaneous matters concerning times, dates and places. Someone was scribbling
notes but it was clear that ‘baijiu’ was foremost on their mind. The party was no place for
a serious conference
Third Meeting, May 11
Zhang Shuxiao and his son Zhang Chuan (Chuan is the first name) came to my room at Peking University.
We ere all sober and sitting by a table in a quite coffee shop so can finally do some serious talking. Here
are some highlights.
I emphasized the need for an English speaker to be in charge. Zhang Chuan will probably turn out
to be that person. He is majoring in English I think, and is active with email. By mistake they didn’t
give me his email address but I will have it soon. I asked him to be in direct contact with Tom.
They want to participate in standard skills. They reason they didn’t do so in Unicon X was
language. Though they had a translation of most of the rules, they couldn’t understand even
the Chinese. They asked for help in getting a video showing the standard skills. Is there one
available? Can someone help them?
I encouraged them to bring an interpreter with their team as language is their number one
problem. Let’s hope they do.
They had many questions on the registration forms as they have translated them into
Chinese but various points were not clear. I helped them as best I can, but there is no
question that Tom Daniels needs to quickly establish a dialog with them.
The Chinese Team will probably consist of some 40 people.
The travel company where the CUA is located has an office in San Francisco. I suggested that
hotel arrangements could be made more efficiently by having their S.F. office be in direct
contact with Unicon hosts and they said they would do that.
A major problem for the Chinese team is cost. This is also true for Japan this year, and we can
expect a much smaller Japanese delegation because of the chronic recession. The Chinese
asked me to do all in my power to ease the financial burden, but I really don’t know what do
exceptt appeal those in a position to do so to help them. Because of the enormous diffrenece
in income between the US and China, what seems cheap to us is very expensive for
them. I hope someone has some ideas. The idea of them all sleeping in a gym did not go
We discussed Korea. They have been selling unicycles to Korea. I have know this before and
tried to get info on who the buyers were so as to try to get a Korean Team, but to no avail.
I will try again.
Monocycles. Some people have inquired on how to get the beautiful monocycle many people had
a chance to ride at Unicon X. It turns out that the CUA commissions a company somewhere in
Shanghai and can make as many units as necessary. These are disassembled and put in
boxes. They could bring a few to UXI, if necessary. I will soon make an announcement with
That is all for today. I will have more to say on the Peking University Unicycle Club, which I am
helping to establish, in another message.
Stay on top, Jack Halpern
Executive Director for International Development
International Unicycling Federation, Inc.