The Pearl Awards ceremony was a marvellous occasion. Royal Festival Theatre looked fabulous. Yang Xuefei’s guitar performance with the English Chamber Orchestra, thoughtfully consist of one Chinese and one Rodrigo piece was mesmerising. Niu Niu, the 10 years old piano prodigy won the longest applause though. Even Prince Charles popped in to say congratulations. The appearance of Vanessa Mae on the stage as a special guest caused wild cheers from some sections of the audiences. It’s a great pleasure to see so many beautiful Chinese people at one time in the UK.

It is thus unfortunate that my knowledge of the three ‘unsung heroes’, who received the awards at the ceremony, does not enhance much. I know one of them, Florence Qiu, quite well. I worked for her to organise the Tyneside Cinema Chinese Season some years ago. Florence has worked tirelessly for the Northeast England Chinese community for many years, devouting time and energy to promoting cultural exchange. She is certainly a worthy winner of the award. However, the other two winners remain ‘unsung heroes’ to me. A little more introduction of their work and contribution is no more than they deserve.

Delaying, delayed, severely delayed

On my way back to Edinburgh today, I was sitting on the ‘delaying’ GNER train that stalled somewhere between King’s Cross and Peterborough because a train ahead of us had some problem with the overhead wire. When the train reached Doncaster one and half hour late we were told we were on a ‘delayed’ train. Upon departure from Newcastle, two hour late, the new driver started the announcement with a sign, ‘this is the severely delayed service to…’ making everyone on board smile. An award recognising the Chinese community’s contribution to the British society is certainly ‘delayed’ if not ‘severely delayed’. I hope there will be no further ‘delaying’.