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2 Articles on Royalty : Debuttante Ball in China, Prince Charles’ Tracked Adventure – reposted by @AgreeToDisagree – 25th Febryary 2012

In 1% tricks and traps, Bajan, England, sovereignty, unwanted gentrification on February 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

ARTICLE 1

Debutante ball bounces back – by Xu Junqian (China Daily) – 08:12, January 10, 2012

Larissa Scotting, 17, from the UK, leads a group of young women in the “coming out” formalities during the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball on Saturday. (China Daily/Gao Erqiang)

Glamour event steeped in tradition makes a glittering return to life, Xu Junqian reports from Shanghai.

Sparkling tiaras and wine, young men sharply dressed and women wearing gowns, a Puccini aria as background music, and presentations to society: the trappings of another era – and of the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball.

Guests on Saturday night might have been taken back in time, but the organizer hopes such events are the future. If, that is, she can find any young Chinese women who are up to snuff.

“For all these years, people have been talking about our nation’s zeal for luxury. But I don’t think people really get the point of what luxury is,” Zhou Caici said.

“All they have been chasing after is material stuff. Now I am showing them the real lifestyle.”

Zhou, founder and executive director of the ball, has been an active socialite in Hong Kong, London and her native Shanghai. Two socialite friends from London helped her organize the party, and it followed a Victorian script with some 2012 tweaks.

‘Impeccable’

The setting was the gilded grand ballroom of the Shanghai Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which occupies a historic building on the Bund overlooking the Huangpu River. Of course, attendance was by invitation only.

The 160 guests, with the men in tuxedos, began to arrive around 9, mingling under huge chandeliers and sipping Champagne from flutes. The music, although recorded, was operatic.

At 10 sharp, two uniformed attendants opened the heavy doors through which 13 smiling young women made their debuts. Each handed her white-gloved hand to her escort, and they began their first dance – to the title song from Flashdance.

“Everything is impeccable,” Jennie Hallam-Peel said. She and Patricia Woodall had organized the Queen Charlotte’s Ball in London and had flown to Shanghai to help with this one.

“Shanghai is a city very similar to London,” Hallam-Peel said. “It can’t be more appropriate to have a debutante ball in as modern as well as historical place as here.”

Hallam-Peel had her own “coming out” in the mid-1970s, and she described the tradition as a “unique English identity” that should not be lost.

The tradition – mainly to declare the availability of young women, especially bluebloods, for the marriage market – hasn’t fared so well since 1958, when Prince Philip said that presenting the debs to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace was “bloody daft”. The focus has shifted to charity work in a debutante’s pedigree and includes middle-class families, not just the upper crust.

[[[ *** There can be a few different balls – one for lower (to foster stable marriages good values etc), one for middle (to foster less materialistic value as middle classers who become wealthy regress to lower class crassness and materialism WHILE becoming extremely wealthy), one for upper crust (to foster families seeking altruism, philantrophy and perhaps even revival of the Chinese Imperium) *** ]]]

Larissa Scotting, 17, from the UK dances with her escort on Saturday night at the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball. She was named Debutante of the Year. (China Daily/Gao Erqiang)

‘The perfect city’

Zhou, 66, is the youngest daughter of Zhou Xinfang, a Peking Opera master, and Qiu Lilin who, Zhou said, certainly would have qualified as a deb if there had been such a thing in 1920s Shanghai. Zhou is known in Hong Kong and the UK as Vivian Chow Wong (adding her husband’s family name).

She moved back to Shanghai in 2003 and said she had been thinking since then about reviving the ball tradition, not in its place of origin but on more receptive distant soil.

“Shanghai is the perfect city, if not the only one in China, to have a ball like this,” she said. “Shanghai people love dancing, from ballroom dancing to morning dancing in the park, which serves a solid base for our ball.”

Young Chinese women on the mainland have yet to warm to the idea of the ball as a matchmaking event. She said they are more used to one-on-one meetings arranged by their parents in restaurants or teahouses.

But Zhou thinks the Shanghai Debutante Ball could provide a connection for English aristocrats and well-off young Chinese women. After all, she said, in the United States in the 1930s, down-and-out English gentlemen traveled overseas to marry the daughters of American magnates.

Zithers and dumplings

But there is a problem: Although she interviewed scores of young women in opulent Yangtze River areas over the past year, she found not one on the mainland who met the conditions for an invitation: Age 17 to 25, competence in English and, preferably, from a family that has contributed to society in a certain way.

“The reason the first ball has no participants from the Chinese mainland is that we didn’t find a suitable one,” Zhou said. “We would rather go with nobody than someone shoddy, as we know how good people are at digging out others’ pasts nowadays.”

Zhou, who has a married son in his 30s, defined the perfect debutante as someone “every mother would like her son to marry, but not every son could get”.

“Ideally, I would want someone who can stand out as a Chinese zither player or a deft embroiderer, which I think are the most basic skills of Chinese fine ladies, besides a clean (upstanding) family and good upbringing. However, as it turned out, I cannot even find someone who can make dumplings.”

Lots of bachelors

Zhou did select two of the debutantes, one each from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Hallam-Peel and Woodall handpicked the rest, one Polish and 10 British women, most the daughters of engineers, doctors or graphic designers.

The Asian debs have backgrounds most closely resembling those of traditional debutantes. Vivien Lee, a bubbly 22-year-old from Hong Kong, attended a top private girls school, Benenden in Kent, England, and was the UK’s Undergraduate of 2010 when she graduated from Cambridge University.

Zhou described Jen Hau, 22-year-old daughter of the mayor of Taipei, as “the surprise” of the ball – a surprise because her father is a politician.

Hunting for escorts for the debs proved easy. The most recognizable name among the 13 was Tom Savernake, a viscount and the future heir to the Marquess of Ailesbury. The others were “talented gentlemen” from England, Germany, France and Hong Kong.

“It turned out there are more bachelors than I expected in the city,” Zhou said Saturday night. “And they are all showing a keen interest in the ball. One recommended another and, finally, they are all here.”

The young women had their own reasons to attend.

“How often does a girl get to dress up with a white gown and dance at such a fabulous ball, apart from her own wedding?” Hau said.

Lee, who works in equity derivatives marketing at J.P. Morgan, didn’t tell her colleagues what she was up to when she took annual leave for the ball. She said she wanted to keep a low profile.

Thirteen young women wore traditional white gowns for the formalities of coming out to society, then changed into party clothes for dancing. (China Daily Photo)

‘Princess’ hair

The cost of having “a once-in-a-lifetime-experience” as a debutante ranks up there with the expenses of a wedding. Although parents of these debs did not have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy a table, the bills for hairstyles and dresses were high.

For the night, French jewelry maker Chaumet – a company that once crowned Napoleon and a galaxy of European royalty – offered a collection of tiaras collectively worth 60 million yuan ($9.5 million), the most expensive one more than 6 million yuan. And Australian hairdresser Kim Robinson, who worked for supermodel Kate Moss and the late Princess Diana, was hired to style for 13 debs.

“Of course, doing the hair for debutantes differs from other areas,” he said. “It has to be classy, elegant and show the princess part of every girl.” Robinson said he had his best team brought in from Hong Kong for the ball, leaving his salon empty.

Zhou, who said she paid all the costs of putting on the ball, would not say how much money she invested in the “deluxe” night – which she defined as “graceful and spending every penny necessary” as distinguished from mere luxury.

“I am not running this ball as a charity, which I have already done in my May Day Ball,” Zhou said. That event, which Zhou launched in 2005, was dubbed the first upper-class ball in town. Zhou said it has helped raise around 8.5 million yuan since it began and saved more than 100 children who were “on the brink of death”.

“The debutante ball is more like a private party,” she said. “It’s all about looking like a princess or pretending to be a princess for a day, for some girls like a dream.

“Good times or bad times, people always need something dreamy to fantasize about. And I want my ball to be a fairy tale for every girl and the mothers of the girls to believe in.”

The future

“I feel very honored. It’s so wonderful to have been chosen,” 17-year-old Larissa Scotting said. The British organizers had selected her as Debutante of the Year. “I am thrilled to be given this award here in Shanghai.”

A freshman at King’s College in London, she confessed that she didn’t quite know how the title would help her in her future. She plans to start a company of her own.

Zhou, however, was quite confident about the future as the ball she founded wound down Saturday night.

“It will be an annual thing. And the most urgent thing is to find some qualified Chinese mainland ladies.”

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

‘Looking like’? ‘Pretend to be princess for a day’? Yea right you NLP lobber, and the only REAL princesses in the world are Caucasian and wear Caucasian styles? China and these supposed purveyors of culture need to wake up, those princesses need to be REAL and not PRETEND – to match and balance the princesses in ‘the West’. This is the middle of the Middle Kingdom, with all that wealth and political power, Imperium WITH Chinese characteristics is the only conclusion.

The will be ROYALS, including princesses, and they will be neither ‘pretend’ nor ‘look like Princesses’, they will be nothing like Vivian Chow (who looks rather mixed-blood IMHO), in fact there will be (by several promotors of Imperial culture active at  the moment) very Chinese and 100% pureblood ACTUAL PRINCESSES with state given powers and state given privileges and state protections – the Chinese section of the Debuttante’s Ball will be a celebration of the Han, Manchu, Tibetan and Mongol pedigree, not a vestige of Anglo centred colonialism with fifth columnists that innocuously go “asian princesses are ‘pretend’ or ‘lookalikes'”.

This Vivian woman looks quite Eurasian btw . . . *PUREBRED HAN ONLY* to count as necessarily 100% Far Eastern oriental pedigreed family organisers and debutanttes in the Chinese section of the Debuttante’s ball! If Vivian is not somehow indispensible, I suggest that a purebred Han replace Vivian as the face of Chinese ‘debutantry’. If Vivian is not indispensible, then I suggest Vivian take a advisory role and let purebred Hans lead the entire event anyway – in purely Chinese characteristic form.

ARTICLE 2

The Prince of Rails: Charles’s delight as he drives train while visiting British train factory – Last updated at 3:16 AM on 25th February 2012

Prince Charles showed he is all aboard British manufacturing when he visited Bombardier’s train building factory.

The Prince of Wales toured the country’s last remaining train builders in Derby, yesterday, and test drove a London Underground train to applause from workers.

His visit follows the Canadian-owned company’s announcement earlier this month that the Litchurch Lane plant will remain open, having secured a number of new contracts.

But its long term future is unclear – with 1,400 jobs being axed after last year’s controversial Government decision to award the £1.4bn Thameslink contract to German rivals Siemens, and Bombardier waiting to see if it will also lose out on the £1bn Crossrail deal.
Eyes on the track: Prince Charles turns tube driver on his visit to Bombadier in Derby yesterday

Eyes on the track: Prince Charles turns tube driver on his visit to Bombardier in Derby yesterday
Mind the gap: David Moss, left, and Laurence Rostron show Prince Charles a Tube carriage under construction at Bombardier in Derbyshire

Mind the gap: David Moss, left, and Laurence Rostron show Prince Charles a Tube carriage under construction at Bombardier in Derbyshire

Prince Charles was shown the industrial design studio, where he met designers working on the interiors and exteriors of Tube trains.

He then moved to the assembly line, where he spoke to Nick and Kane Jellyman, who are third and fourth generation workers employed by Bombardier.

Nick, 46, who has worked for the company for 30 years and whose dad and grandad worked at the plant, said the mood was upbeat and very positive now the threat of closure had lifted.

He said he was honoured to have met the Prince, adding: “He asked me about my work and said I must be very proud of my son, which I am.”

Kane, 19, an apprentice with Bombardier, said the visit was a massive boost for morale.

‘It was difficult last year when we lost the contract but it’s looking brighter now we’ve secured a few more,’ he said.

Prince Charles was also shown the inside of an s stock (sub surface) train, which are made at the plant under a long running contract to replace those on the Tube’s Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines.

The Prince was joined by Derby South Labour MP Margaret Beckett non-executive chairman Sir Neville Simms and president of rolling stock UK Dr Francis Paonessa.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Prince of Rails?!? How crass.

Glad to see the ‘prince who could be passed over for king’, enjoyed himself at the train’s controls (would Charles be the one to press the button/pulls the lever or crank that fires the first nuke England ever fires?). But isn’t public infrastructure quite beneath royalty (Royal appearances should be limited major local festivals, new years etc.. culture based things and highest level diplomacy – i.e. commemoration-renewal of quarter-centennial diplomatic relations – mostly?)? Have some lower ranked aristocrat or peer to do this sort of crown representation. Bowlderises the whole institution, much like even Mayors would prefer to send local Councillors to open new highways or new rail stations because they are too high ranked to do the opening themselves. Perhaps in senescence ( . . . going Joo-joo . . . ) or if a royal is particularly eccentric (i.e. cou-cou), or if there are luxury VIP cars on the train, but this amounts to mere media hogging. “Too Damn Toff!” or “Not Yob Enough!”

Blue Train in South Africa

 

(Incidentally Barbados belongs to the Bajans-Arawak Natives who should have a sovereign Bajan led government holding parliaament in Bajan language, and who should have a representative seat at the UN held by an ethnic Bajan if not Arawak . . . ) http://www.bajanreporter.com/

Heres the real thing looking at the sumbsumption intending . . . http://www.lastgangintownuk.net/pgigs1.html

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