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.






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)












# 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.
# 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.
# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 16:48
It might be Sore Por which means "silly girl"
# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 18:59
or bad woman
# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-09 19:10
:lol: lovely.
I wish barbara remember all these happy days.
# 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:
# RE: Live at the CCATGuest 2010-06-10 14:20
Barbara looks so cute,Thanks a lot!
# 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.
# 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:
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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".
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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
# 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.
# 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?
# 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.
# 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."
# 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.
# 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!
# 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
# 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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