A normal school day would be that Barbara and I would meet each other in the morning at tea time in 'the Batman', a smoky coffee bar at the CCAT. It was crowded and there was always someone we knew.

Sometimes on Tuesday I would find Barbara sleeping there, with her head on her arms, hanging on a table . She had been playing mahjong previous evening, this often went on till early in the morning. During the tea break we decided what we were going to do that day. Normally we go to the lessons after the tea-break and meet again in the canteen at lunch time.

During lunchtime we did something with sport. We played al lot of table tennis. Barbara taught me the Chinese grip. This grip I use still when I want to impress my opponent nowadays. We also played a lot of badminton. After the afternoon lessons we meet as a group again. Just hanging around or playing more sports. When it was time to go home for Barbara I escorted her to the bus station. I guess we had a healthy way of living. A lot of sport, we didn't smoke or drink alcohol and ate normal food.

At the CCAT a lot of different nationalities followed studies. I can't remember that there was ever any problems between them. In my class there were a few Arabs and we socialized with them. They had more money than the other students. They were always friendly, well mannered and neatly dressed, Barbara liked them. One time the lent us their traditional customs for a fancy dress party we went to. Barbara looked really lovely as an Arabian girl.

The Cantonese speaking students thought that it would be a good idea to start an Asian society. This society was very active. They organized parties always with fantastic food. They had cultural exchanges and organized sport events. Barbara was very active in this society. She designed a logo for the posters of this society. She had drawn a white dove. Only her design was turned down because the white dove was too much a symbol for the United States. Barbara found this a ridiculous reason.

Barbara's mother didn't object if Barbara went to the parties organized by the Asian society. Her mother assumed that al members were Chinese or Malaysian. I wasn't a member but I was invited for all the events they organized. Once the society organized an cultural exchange between the Asian CCAT students and the Asian Cambridge university students. The CCAT group made a traditional Chinese show. They all had much fun in preparing this show. Barbara and another Chinese girl sang a love song duet. I think Barbara sang the male part. That was the first time I heard Barbara sing.

My problem with Asian society was that everybody spoke Cantonese. I never mastered that language. I still have the book Cantonese for beginners, but I didn't get very far in it. In the beginning Barbara wrote down in note book the words I had to learn. But I didn't have the discipline. What also didn't help was that the Chinese guys had great fun in trying to learn me words which probably were not very nice. One word I still remember "soipow", I still don't know what it means, Barbara refused to tell me. But I was told never to use it.

cantonese for beginners

 The book from which Barbara tried to teach me Cantonese.

After we broke up I used the Cantonese I learned twice. Once to win a bet from a Chinese girl who thought I couldn't speak ten words of Cantonese. The second time was when the volleyball team I played in, wanted to annoy the referee. We played with Chinese numbers on our shirts. The regulations said that we had to play with numbers but it didn't say in which language.

 

这是翁美玲叫我学习广东话的书

我和翁美玲分手后,我用了两次翁美玲教我的广东话。一次是赢了个打赌,有个中国女孩赌我不能说10个广东话单词,结果我赢了,她输了。还有次,当我和队友打排球时,我们用广东话来标志球衣编号来达到干扰裁判的目的。规则上说我们球衣上必须有编号,但却没说用哪种语言。

剑桥设计与科技学院如今已被重新命名,并且成为安格利亚鲁斯金大学的一部分。但它依然位于当年所在的剑桥大学里的位置。

 

1976c ccat courtyard

Barbara waiting in the court yard of the CCAT

1978 at CCAT party

Barbara and I enjoying the food of one of the Asian society parties (1978)

翁美玲和我在享受亚裔学生派对上的食物。

CCAT的生

 通常翁美玲和我早上都在"蝙蝠侠"咖啡厅见面。这家无烟咖啡厅在伦敦艺术科学学院里面,咖啡馆总是挤满了人群,人群中总是有我们都认识的。周二的很多时候我都能看见翁美玲在那里睡觉。她习惯周一晚上打通宵麻将,打到第二天的早上才结束。在这段休息时间,我们决定当天干些什么事情。通常,我们在休息时段后会去上课,然后午餐又在学校的自助餐厅见面。在午餐期间,我们喜欢做些运动。我们打了许多乒乓球。翁美玲叫我中国人的握球拍方法。直到现在,我仍然用她教我的这种握拍方法给我的乒乓球对手留下深刻印象。我们同时也玩许多羽毛球。下午课结束后,我们又待在了一起。不是单纯的待在一起就是做更多的运动。当翁美玲该回家时,我送她到学校车站。我想我们过着一种很健康的生活方式。许多运动,我们从不抽烟或喝酒,并且我们饮食都很正常。

有许多其它国家的学生在剑桥艺术与科技学院里学习。我不能回想他们之间是否有什么矛盾。在我的课堂里有几个阿拉伯的学生,我们同他们有些交际。他们比其他学生都有钱,并且很友好,举止礼貌,穿着整洁。翁美玲很喜欢他们。有一此,他们把他们的传统服饰借给了我们,我们穿着这些服饰去参加了一个精致的派对活动。翁美玲穿着传统的阿拉伯服饰真的很像一个漂亮的阿拉伯女孩。

讲广东话的学生想如果成立个亚裔学生组织将是个很好的主意。他们这个组织十分活跃。他们组织的派对上总是有很好的食物。他们也有很多文化交流,组织了许多运动活动。翁美玲在这个组织中十分活跃。她为这个组织设计了标志。她画了个白色的鸽子。她设计的鸽子标志是唯一被拒绝的,因为那白色的鸽子看起来太像美国的象征了。翁美玲认为这是个十分可笑的理由。

翁美玲的母亲没阻止她参加亚裔学生组织的派对。她母亲设想这些成员或许全是中国人或者马来西亚人。我不是这个组织的成员,但我总是被邀请。有一次他们组织了个剑桥艺术与科技学院亚裔学生与剑桥亚洲学院学生的文化交流活动。他们准备了许多传统中国节目表演。他们都很乐意准备节目。翁美玲和另外个中国女孩一起唱了首爱情歌。我想翁美玲唱的是男音部分。那也是我第一次听翁美玲唱歌。

我和亚裔组织的问题是,他们都说广东话。我不能掌握这种语言。我仍然有一本广东话入门书,但我并没有学习太多。最初,翁美玲在笔记本里写下了我必须学习的一些语句。但我没有固定的去学习。还有,一些华人学生总是喜欢模仿我的说话,我想这并不很友好。有个广东话发音"soipow"的单词,我至今都不知道那是什么意思,翁美玲拒绝告诉我。但我被告知我绝不能用那个词。

 

 

 

Comments   

# Great Story...Guest 2010-06-08 19:23
Great story Rob. Love your hair in the photo. Barbara looks so lovely as she always does. It sounds like she was happy there, active and social. I enjoyed reading this very much. Thank you again.
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 14:57
I think Soi Pow are two words. Soi means bad and the second word I do not know.
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 16:48
It might be Sore Por which means "silly girl"
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 18:59
or bad woman
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 19:10
:lol: lovely.
I wish barbara remember all these happy days.
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 22:04
Great story indeed. Thanks Rob. Can't wait to read more.

The map came in really handy and in time for me - I'm lucky enough to soon have a chance to take that same walk and bus as Barbara did 30 years ago! :lol:
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-10 14:20
Barbara looks so cute,Thanks a lot!
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-29 05:13
Thank you for what you did. Thank you for still remembering her after 25 years.
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# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-07-02 23:53
i should be happy she lived an amazing life but why am i so sad :sad:

as i am reading these lovely stories my hands( especially my palms and fingers) are feeling heavy drenched in sadness :sad:
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# RE: Live at the CCAT (1977)Alan 2011-09-09 02:40
I just figured out what "Soipow" means. So for those who are curious, it means basically a fool. "Soi"---dumb, "pow" bum.
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# RE: RE: Live at the CCAT (1977)Mei Ling Fan 2011-09-10 09:15
Alan, "Soi" is not dumb. It is bad.
"Pow" is not bum. It is a rude way of calling woman.

Rob, the reason why Barbara didn't want you to use this word nad never to use is because it is directly scolding woman. It sounds very rude.
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# RE: Live at the CCAT (1977)Guest 2012-03-10 06:05
By the story you told and the photos you showed us, you had been loving her so much. Bless you can live in peace. Forget the sorrow. And thanks for sharing her real story with us. We love her.
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# RE: Live at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Ben 2012-10-26 00:41
"soipow" seems to be "傻婆",that's mean "silly/foolish woman" in cantonese. so Barbara would never let you call her "soipow".

It's funny! i think Barbara's HK friends always call her "soipow" just making fun of it.

But this title only can be used to friends of good relations.never to call a stranger with "soipow".
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Nina 2015-06-15 04:47
Really enoying to read your story with Babara. She did enjoy the time with you as she also knew you loved her so much.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-19 19:09
A truly described story. I can feel all the episodes of you at CCAT. I joined the college one year after she left. Cambridge is a romantic place, I wonder whether you had been with her to the pubs of Anchor and Granter? Both of them are located in the river side next to the Cambridge graduation center. Eating at the pagoda or Peking restaurant might be expensive for students, but I think you two should tried the Wah Lee Restaurant at Mill Road. Btw, I guess punting should be a remarkable moment for you two in summer. You should be with her shopping at lion yard.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Rob 2015-11-19 21:59
Unfortunately our life wasn't as romantic as you picture it. Barbara didn't go to pubs (with my English friends I was a regular at the Pantom Arms in Panton street). When we went out for a meal it was in an small Indian restaurant at the end of Regentstreet. We never went punting together. The shopping we did was always in the area around the market (Market street and Sidney street). But true, Cambridge in summer is remarkable, especially because of the parks and greens in combination with the historic buildings.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-20 04:28
I am sure that your life in Cambridge was more romantic than me as I left there with lonely heart. I think the Indian restaurant that you referred was next to Parker Piece, not far away from YMCA. If you were keen to join the functions of the Chinese society of CCAT, perhaps you may remember names names of Frederick Ng (Hong Kong) and David Chooi (Malaysian). Both of them joined the college about the same time as you two, and both of them continued their master degree at UEA after their first degree at CCAT.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Rob 2015-11-20 10:24
The Indian restaurant was on the same side of Regent street as the Pagoda. I can't remember the persons you mention, I can remember people like Amy, Nancy, Chouson, Bobby, Edric, San. They were from HK and we used to hang around with them. There was another guy called Lam. I really like to get in contact with him. He was always taking pictures. I am sure he has a lot of pictures of Barbara.
The Chinese society had only a short life at the CCAT. It stopped to exist in 1981.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-20 11:10
Morning Rob, I think we are referring to the same Indian restaurant. If I am not wrong, it's outside was blue painted, and with the sign of Tandoori. It would be fantastic to retrieve the photos of Barbra from Lam. Do you remember the year that he left CCAT, and which university did he join? I am still in touch with ex-students of the college. The Chinese community in cambridge was not big at late 70s, my classmate's mother used to play mahjong with Barbra's mother. Her nickname was Shanghai Lady. As at that time all non Cantonese women came from northern provinces were common called with this nickname
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Rob 2015-11-20 12:51
You are right about the restaurant. Lam left the CCAT in the same year as we did (1978). Then he went to the same university as me (UEA). Barbara and I went to visit him there, the last time was in spring 1981 our final year, he only lived a few blocks away from me. I lost contact with him after that.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-20 13:17
Rob, did lam wear glass, slim, skin fare, has a Hong Kong girl friend, join imperial college for m.sc immediately after UEA, and he play tennis very good?
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Rob 2015-11-20 14:51
Lam did wear glasses, slim and had a fare skin. As far as I know he did not have a girlfriend and he was not very sporty. Certainly not a tennisplayer, I would have known as I played tennis a lot. I don't know where he went after UEA. A distinguishing feature were his slim eyes. His HK friends called him The Japanese because of this.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-20 15:45
Thanks. The world is very small, to the extent of amazing. Having the blessing of God, I think we will able to locate Japanese somewhere, sometime. I am happy that you met an angel at CCAT, who was unattainable to us. Btw, I am glad to know that we are alumni and share the old good dream of Cambridge. Actually, I visited there 10 years ago but couldn't spark my passion as that of 1979, as the people, the sound there were completely difference.

Many people remember her excellent casting at the television series of the legends of the condor heroes, but how many of them reckon she has fully complied the story's slogan of "what is love? Which is something that you live for it, and you die for it."
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)Rob 2015-11-21 11:01
At the moment I am working on a book about my life with Barbara. Life at the CCAT is an important part in this. Maybe we can keep in touch as you might have memories I could use. We could become Facebook friends, that makes communication easier.
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)wisbech 2015-11-21 16:38
Rob, my pleasure to do so. Please keep up the good effort. Will reach you through facebook. Take care!
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# RE: 06. Life at the CCAT 在CCAT的生活 (1977)龙行天下 2016-06-14 07:16
我怎么觉得是“山炮”的意思。 :oops: I guess
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# The meaning of "SoiPow" in CantoneseKen Chau 2020-06-15 23:41
I guess that Barbara's friends came up with this joke after they saw Rod's mushroom-shaped long hair. If people looked at Rod's hair from rear, they might mistake him as a woman. Also the word "SoiPow"(dom woman) appears in Cantonese students'daily lives and TV series frequently at that time. The word itself is never a Cantonese slang. Barbara did not tell Rod the meaning of "SoiPow"(dom woman) because her friends were cracking jokes about Rod's hair. (Just a guess)
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