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Welsh outlook

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Vol. 12, No. 8 Aug. 1925

The exile's corner : Welshmen in China.

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is probably not more than 25 or so. However,
we took our courage in both hands, and this was
justified in the result. We had as official guests
the leading men of the port, Consular, Legal and
commercial and also invited the Presidents of the
other national societies. Altogether some 100
persons sat at the festive board and a good deal
of Welsh was spoken. I wonder how many
Societies outside the confines of the old country
could produce real Welsh speakers. Some of the
reports I have recently read of the celebrations
last March would not indicate a profusion of the
national speech in the proceedings We are now
reaping the reward of our special effort, as several
who were but luke-warm previously are joining
our little society, and we are having a decided
accretion of new members.
You may have heard that our small Society is
presenting the bardic chair to the Swansea
National Eisteddfod next year, and we are now
busy preparing to collect designs, and have prac-
tically decided on one that will be a very fine
work of art indeed, worthy in every respect of the
National festival, the successful poet and our
little society. Each member is taking a keen
interest in the matter and all are wonderfully en-
thusiastic about it. I am not permitted to give
details of the chair, as we want the gift to be
rather in the nature of a surprise, but I assure
you it will be a very fine specimen of the best
Chinese craftsmanship, and in my opinion, far
superior to anything ever rreviously presented.
Our gift creates a precedent which may be happily
followed by other overseas societies from time to
time.
Our society has during the last few months re-
ceived additional impetus and strength through
the coming among us of several young Welshmen,
who are patriotic to the core. There has been
quite an influx of Welsh lawyers, altogether four,
and these are all very enthusiastically supporting
the society. One in particular has added enor-
mously to our strength by his keen interest and
hard work on behalf of the society. He is Major
J R. Jones, M.A., a barrister-at-law, whose
home I believe is Llanfyllin. There are several
Welshmen holding important positions out here
and these are increasing continually. The head
of the Public Works Department of the local
Municipal Council is a Welshman. We have a
Welsh Vice-Consul by the name of Hughes, while
our last year's president was a highly placed
police official, by the name of Vaughan, who is
now at his home in Dolgelly. So you see we
are becoming a more aggressive race than for-
merly. Frankly we Welsh people have a habit
of under estimating ourselves, and it is time that
we shewed a little more forcefulness in affairs.
In Shanghai we do not intend to hide our light
under a bushel anvway and our little society is
going to have an influence much greater than its
limited membership implies. Whatever we may
think of Llwyd Sior as a politician, we Welsh
must admit that he has brought our little nation
prominently before the world, and we have now
a perfect right to demand the respect of other
nationals that we deserve. Unfortunately, too
many Welshmen suffer from 'snobbery'; it is
almost pathetic to think that there are some who
wish to disclaim any connection with the land of
their birth. "Cas gwr na garo gwlad eu maco,"
but we have them even in China. So many that
we approach to join our Society consider it an
affront, and make all sorts of pretences as to their
qualifications for membership. Needless to say
we ignore them and are quite willing that they
should go over to either of the other Societies;
we are better without them. Would this not be
an appropriate subject for an article in your
magazine? There is nothing so contemptible as
a Welsh 'snob' and I would like to see every
young Welshman who comes abroad having a
broader conception of his nationality and a fine
natural pride in his race. You never meet a
Scotsman who is afraid to own his nationality.
No, he delights in accentuating his "brogue" or
accent, while so many Welshmen try to forget
theirs.
I have acquired a working knowledge of the
Chinese language in spare time and I am proud
to say that I have not forgotten my Welsh,
though I should probably find it difficult to de-
liver a set speech before an audience in my native
tongue. I have had very little opportunity of
using my native speech, but I was fortunate in
having a Welshwoman as my wife and so we
have been able to practice it more or less all the
years we have been out here. But what keeps it
in memory more than anything else is singing the
grand old hymns of Wales. I take my "Canied-
vdd Cynylleudfaol" with me everywhere, and we
have sung (the wife and I) those glorious hymns
in all parts of China. At Chungking we lived on
the brink of the great Yangtze river, while down
below us the junkmen would be singing their
chanties as they rowed down or up-strearn, and
the mingling of melodies was not so incongruous
as would seem from the bare statement of the
fact. We have sung in Pekin, Tientsin and away
in the interior of China, in Honan overlooking the
Yellow River-China's Sorrow-and I am not so
sure but what the tears did not flow down our
cheeks as we sang Aberystwyth, Crugybar, Rhei-
dol and other great tunes as we sat on our
verandah thinking of evening services in churches
great and small in the Hen Wlad. No, I do not
think anv Welshman has the slightest excuse for
forgetting his language while he has the wonder-
ful heritage of a Welsh Bible and Hymnal.
MIDLAND BANK LIMITED.
The Directors of the Midland Bank Limited
announce an interim dividend for the half-year
ended June 30th last at the rate of 18 per cent.
per annum less income tax, payable on July 15th.
The dividend for the corresponding period of
1924 was at the same rate.
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