Dear former residents of Harbin and the descendants, My name is Jing Xu, a PhD from York University, Canada, who work on the cultural memories of Harbin (my second hometown), and is an assistant professor of English Department at Guangdong Ocean University, China.
To store and develop the multiple cultural memories of Harbin, I would like to write and try to publish two papers that respectively examine 1). Harbin people’s memories of, or nostalgia for, St. Nicholas Cathedral in relation to the place making and identity making of Harbin, and 2). the changed architectural styles of Harbin Railway Stations and changed/disappeared monuments on the station square in relation to the power contest amongst Russia, Japan, and China in Harbin then (please see the attached picture of the current Harbin Railway Station and Holy Iveron Icon Orthodox Church nearby). I hope to know former Russian residents’ emotions towards St. Nicholas Cathedral and their memories of the Old Harbin Railway Station and the Old Harbin at large. Therefore, I create this questionnaire, which is composed of 7 questions.
First of all, thank you very much for your kind support and help! I keenly look forward to your answers to the first 2 questions, if it is not convenient for you to answer all the 7. Before we start, I would like to explain why I ask the first two questions about St. Nicholas Cathedral. Through collecting answers from various former Harbiners, I aim to figure out: “Who has nostalgia for St. Nicholas Cathedral and why?”, “What can emotions (in this case, longing or nostalgia) do in making the place and identity of Harbin?”, “In what way can memories of the past influence the city’s trajectory of development at present and in the future?”
Your answers to the following questions are really important and appreciated!
1. Do you or your family have nostalgia for St. Nicholas Cathedral in Harbin? What did this architecture mean to you? Or do you have nostalgia for a particular part of the Old Harbin?
2. In recent years, some local Harbin people wish that St. Nicholas Cathedral can be reconstructed on its original site. Do you support or oppose the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Cathedral on its original site in Harbin nowadays? Why? Or do you have any other suggestions of representing/preserving memories of St. Nicholas Cathedral?
3. Do you happen to know the reasons for demolishing the old Harbin Station in 1959? Or do you know any sources in which I might find the reason why it was demolished then? Whether it has to do with the political relationship between China and the Soviet Union then?
4. On the square of Harbin railway station, in the 1930s the Japanese built the Manchukuo Monument there. And it was replaced by the Soviet Red Amy Martyr Monument after 1945. This monument disappeared by the end of the 1980s. Do you happen to know more about these two monuments or any sources in which there might be more introductions about the two monuments?
5. I consider the replacement of one monument over another as a result of the power contest among China, Russia, Japan and others then. Do you have any sources to recommend that might introduce the power contest among China, Russia, and Japan in Harbin in the past? Especially the power contest that involves Harbin Station and the two monuments mentioned above.
6. The current Harbin has changed a lot from the old one. Do you have any wish for the development of current Harbin? Especially what cultural features you hope it is characterized by?
7. Finally, I hope to bear in mind the influence of age, family and education background, and career experience of the interviewee on the different answers to the questions above. Therefore, do you mind telling me your age, family and education background? How many years did you or your family live in Harbin, and since when? And where did you move to after leaving Harbin?
Also, if you could circulate this questionnaire to other former Russian Harbin residents and their descendants, or inform me any of their contact, I really appreciate it. Thank you very much!
Thank you very much for your precious answers and great help!
Dr. Jing Xu
Assistant Professor in English Department, Guangdong Ocean University, China
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Cell Phone: 86-13945151143