Among those fond of bravery in Qi, there was one man who lived in the eastern part of the city and another who lived in the western part. Eventually they met on the road and said, "Shall we have a drink together?" After several rounds, they said, "Shall we look for some meat?" One of them said, "You are meat and I am meat. Why should we go seek meat elsewhere?" They thereupon soaked each other in sauce, then pulled out their knives and ate one another, stopping only when they had fallen over dead. It would be better to lack bravery than to practice this sort of bravery.not much else to say, really.
It is within the karaoke bar that the bonding properties of music – so beloved of Confucians – become manifest. If the hostesses offer sex as well as harmonious conversation, that too is as the Sage Master might wish. “I never met anyone,” he told his 5th-century BC students approvingly, “who values virtue more than physical beauty.”Wow. Chinese Text Project translates it (9.18) differently 子曰：“吾未見好德如好色者也. The Master said, "I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty." Almost all the translators I have looked at either read this as Confucius criticizing people for liking sex over virtue, or as recomending you to pursue virtue with the same eagerness you pursue sex (Brooks). Where is Bell's reading coming from? I suppose if you totally ignored the Confucian dislike of sexual licentiousness you might be able to come up with this. You would also have to ignore all the Confucian stuff about how music is not -good- but -powerful- and that music can both inspire virute and inspire bad behavior. (Such as sex and excessive drinking). There are lots of ways of explaining the sex culture of China, but I would not think of Confucius as being one of them. Has anyone read this book? Is it really as bad as the review makes it look?
"I served two years in the Philippines in the army, mostly around Manila, and out of curiosity I visited a number of shops there. Now every solider knows the uncleanliness of the average Filippino, and if you ask him he will tell you that many a poor fellow came home in a box by too close association with them as they are poison to the white man. They are affected with a skin disease, and a large majority of them are covered with open sores or scars. Leprosy, beri-beri, cholera, beubonic plague and other infectious diseases, are, as everyone knows, prevalent there. They sit half naked and work and scratch, while the air is rank with the smell of decayed fish and rank cocoanut oil which the women use on their hair. Now, imagine one of these natives, whose teeth have rotted black by the constant chewing of the betel-nut, biting out heads, which I took particular notice to see if they did, and using their spittle to help past the heads on their work, and you can form some idea of what the American smoker will get when the trust dumps these far-famed Manila cigars on the market. The United States government spends thousands of dollars to quarantine against these Asiatic diseases and when one leaves the island for this country, himself and all his effects are thoroughtly disinfected, and in the face of all this our law makers propose to put their seal of approval on this bill which will put in the mouths of thousands of citizens, a most prolific contagion, and if as I fimrly believe, it will be the means of infecting those filthy Asiatic diseases into the blood of the American people the present administration can thank itself for that. "
An intellectual is not someone who has read lots of books. He must possess the spirit of independent thinking and originality. An intellectual is a critic of the society he lives in, and an opponent of the established value system. Like Socrates, he takes it as his mission to criticize his contemporary society and its values. It’s not rare that an intellectual goes against his era for the truth he believes in. He even dies for it sometimes.He sounds quite the modern liberal, and in fact he is and I hope all comes out well for him. On the other hand, the rest of his lecture seems to indicate that he has more in common with his students than he may think, and this makes it a nice window into modern Chinese liberalism. His students were apparently complaining about his Ancient Chinese literature class, and they seemed to be conflating criticism of traditional Chinese culture with criticism of the government. There is an Asian term for the idea that the culture, people and government form a unitary and timeless whole, but that word is koukutai and it is not something one would expect either Chinese liberals or Chinese nationalists to be big on. (Yes, there were various versions of National Essence thinking in China in the 30's, but given that the Thought Police are getting involved I think Kokutai is a better term) Professor Yang seems to share the idea that there is a timeless Chinese culture, and that Chinese students of today cannot be true intellectuals unless they understand it, which you learn from studying ancient Chinese literature. You can learn various lessons about the Chinese from this study, such as..
"Peace and stability are valued above all in Chinese culture" "The Chinese are a practical people" "We Chinese people don’t have profound spiritual pursuits" “The Chinese and the Jews are two tragic peoples. The former has a body without a soul. The latter has a soul without a body.” — Quoted from a Jewish writer.Yang wants students to "analyze in-depth the cultural genes of the Chinese society"(深入解剖中国文化基因) This actually -is- counter-revolutionary, in that he thinks there is a timeless essence of Chinese society that can't be changed, which is in direct opposition to what the Communist revolution was all about and, for that matter, the May 4th movement. ((Yes, to some extent he is calling on students to help challange this ancient and unchanging culture, and in that he does sound like a May 4ther, but what little I have seen of his thought makes him seem very National Essence for a modern liberal. ))He is I think, in a Western sense, anti-liberal, in that Liberalism is built around the idea that politics and culture are made by people and can be changed by them more or less at will. (When in the course of human events, etc.) He certainly does not see culture as constructed. I find it sort of odd that in his powerpoint he uses examples of Western intellectuals like Socrates and Sándor Petõfi rather than Chinese dissenters like Fang Xiaoru or somebody who would seem to fit better with his type of Confucian liberalism. UPDATE: He's no liberal, but here's something on Guo Quan, who is also in trouble with the authorities in Nanjing.
A somewhat humorous article from Hong Kong cites a recent restaurant review from Michelin Guide and a complaint against it by a prominent Macau chef. The chef challenges the fairness of the review because the reviewers were mostly foreigners and, by nature, foreigners can’t be accurate in their review of Chinese restaurants. The chef argued: “如外國人愛吃臭芝士，香港人未必喜歡；我們的腐乳，外國人不會喜歡！四川 的麻辣，他們更受不了” which roughly translates as “while foreigners love stinky cheeses, Hong Kong people do not particularly care for them; as for our fermented tofu, foreigners could not possibly like it! And as for Sichuan’s spices, they can’t handle it!” Their arguments also continued with claims that foreigners care more about environment and service, and that foreigners could not understand the Hong Kong concept of 搵食, which values small side street restaurants that may not necessarily have a famous name attached.
I was reading this with another Hong Kong friend, and we both agreed there they do have a point. If Chinese people attempted to review restaurants in France, I believe the French culinary community would make a similar argument. And when I read the part about preserved tofu, I made a face that gave away my disgust, and my friend argued “see! There isn’t a Hong Kong person who doesn’t love that stuff!” Similarly, part of a restaurant review, at least in America, has to consider service, and those of us who have spent a lot of time in China know that service means quick, impersonal, and as 热闹as possible.
In some ways this argument reminds me of the former Japanese argument that they can’t eat American beef because their bodies are fundamentally different from everyone else. Language points to this. While foreigners could not possibly like preserved tofu (不會喜歡) Hong Kong people just plain don’t particularly care for stinky cheeses (未必喜歡). Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I believe that the latter represents a measured dislike that still maintains the ability to be objective while the former sounds like a child being forced to eat broccoli. This stems from a larger sense of laowai (or in this case gweilo) inability to fully understand and appreciate Chinese culture (just like American beef can’t possibly work well with Japanese bodies). Apparently this stereotype has now made a pass at our tastebuds as well.
An American to Chinese: "I hear that in your country you eat dogs."
Chinese to an American: "I hear that in your country you blow your nose on a piece of cloth and put it in your pocket."Responsible authorities in China have long worried about losing "face" in front of the world community. In the 1930s the Nationalist government's New Life Movement aimed, among other goals, to eliminate public spitting. Evidently they didn't succeed in wiping out the habit as the following governments had a series of campaigns right down to the Olympics. Yet every meeting room that I went into in China had a large spittoon and people used them. Someone should have warned the Chinese 1970s factory that made decks of playing cards intended for Americans to use in playing "poker." They labeled the package with two pinyin syllables that most closely represented the Chinese pronunciation: "Puke." I wish that I had known about China Hope Live when I wrote my piece "The Truth About Lies," a review of Arthur Smith's Chinese Characteristics and Susan Blum's Lies That Bind: Chinese Truth, Other Truths which looked at "face" and "lies." Joel has a bunch of insightful pieces, for instance "Chinese People Like it When You Lie to Them." Another sharp piece talks about Chinese national face and the Olympics, which includes a genial definition of "face" from Lin Yutang's My Country and My People:
Face cannot be translated or defined. It is like honor and is not honor.... It is amenable, not to reason but to social convention. It protracts lawsuits, breaks up family fortunes, causes murders and suicides.... It is more powerful than fate or favor, and more respected than the constitution. It often decides a military victory or defeat, and can demolish a whole government ministry. It is that hollow thing which men in China live by. (195-196)Shakespeare's Falstaff asks "What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour? what is that honour? air." Who's right? I'm not too worried, but maybe I'm too phlegmatic,