Posts tagged ‘childhood’

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nanjing Massacre MemorialDay: an Enorth account of a War Veteran’s Memories

The following is a translation of an article published by Enorth, an official online news portal for Tianjin municipality. Explanatory notes put into [square brackets]. Links within blockquotes inserted during translation. Mistakes during translation likely.

Main Link: National Memorial Day: Tianjin’s only Chinese Expeditionary Force Veteran tells Story of Japanese War

Enorth — He was fifteen at the time of the Nanjing massacre, and witnessed the panic and helplessness of the refugees who had escaped from there, and the bloody images of Japanese soldiers hunting the common people of Nanjing. He gave up the pen for the sword, and as a member of the Whampoa / Huangpu Branch Seventeen, joined the Chinese Expeditionary Force and fought in the battle of Taungoo, the fiercest in the defense war of Myanmar, he’s the only Tianjiner still living and in good health who was part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force – the War of resistance against Japan veteran Yang Cenfeng. On December 13, 2014, the first day of commemoration [of the Nanjing massacre] held in China, 93-year-old Yang Cenfeng told us this dark period in history 77 years ago, which no Chinese people can ever forget.

天津北方网讯:南京大屠杀发生之时,他15岁,目睹了南京城逃出难民的惊恐无助,目睹了日本军人追杀南京百姓的血腥画面。他投笔从戎,以黄埔十七期的身份,加入了中国远征军,参加了缅甸防御战最惨烈的同古战役,他就是天津现今唯一健在的中国远征军军官、抗日老兵杨岑峰。在2014年12月13日,中国首个国家公祭日之时,93岁的杨岑峰向我们讲述了77年前,那段黑暗、但每个中国人绝不能忘却的历史。

Nanjing falls, Blood colors the Yangtze River

南京失守 血染长江

Seventy-seven years ago, Yang Cenfeng was in senior high school and living in a family of seven, in Wuhu, next to the Yangtze River. This was a gateway to Nanjing, with only some ninety kilometers between there and Nanjing. After the Japanese had occupied Nanjing, the burning, killing and looting started, and some lucky Nanjingers fled in panic to Wuhu, which, although peaceful, saw the Japanese soldiers coming nearer with each passing day.

77年前,杨岑峰正在读高三,一家7口住在长江边的芜湖,那里是南京的门户,距离南京仅有90多公里,日本人占领南京后,烧杀抢掠,有些幸存的南京人惊恐地向芜湖逃难,而芜湖也非太平之所,日渐被日本兵逼近。

At the time, everyone had heard about the disaster of Nanjing, and hated and feared the Japanese. And in fear, the people of Wuhu spent the Spring Festival days of 1938.

那个时候,人们都听说了南京城的惨剧,对日本人又恨又怕。而在恐惧中,芜湖迎来了1938年的春节。

“I remember the day of Spring Festival, we were just having a somewhat gloomy family reunion dinner. Just when the meal came onto the table, the air-raid sirens went off, and Japanese airplanes passed through, dropping bombs. At the time, the planes flew at particularly low heights, and I could clearly see the Japanese flag underneath the wings. They bombed unscrupulously, strafing here and there, and whereever they went, they left ruins, and seas of fire”, Yang Cenfeng said.

“我记得春节那天,马马虎虎地吃着团圆饭。刚把饭端上桌的时间,放空警报响了,日本的飞机过来轰炸了。当时飞机飞得特别低,我可以清楚地看见机翼之下的日本国旗。他们素无忌惮地投炸弹、扫射,所到之处一片废墟、一片火海。”杨岑峰说。

When the Japanese army approached Wuhu, many common people of Wuhu also fled into all directions, placing their hopes on the New Fourth Army on the northern side of the Yangtze River.

随着日军逼近芜湖,大批的芜湖百姓也是四散逃窜,在他们的心里,江北的新四军是希望所在。因此,大批的百姓都聚集在长江边,等着轮渡,过江逃命。

Yang Cenfeng’s recollections continue with a description of how people fleeing Wuhu and waiting for the ferry to the northern banks of the Yangtze – the place densely crowded – were bombed by Japanese warplanes, with countless numbers of people dying on the riverside, or dying in the river. How many people actually died, Yang Cenfeng doesn’t know, but he remembers how the water of the river turned red from the blood, from people who had come there to seek survival.

Yang Cenfeng’s family leapt from death back into life, finding survival in a small village in Jiangbei [here, geographically and literally: north of the Yangze River] under the protection of the New Fourth Army. At the time, a political instructor named Huang left an unforgettable impression on Yang Cenfeng.

死里逃生的杨岑峰一家来到了江北新四军保护下的一个小村子避难。当时,一位姓黄的指导员,给杨岑峰留下了难忘的印象。

“He put us into groups of, say, forty to fifty students, he told us that ‘young students should protect and defend China’, put us into a few groups so that we would stand guard, and taught us many songs to boost our morale.

“他把我们青年学生召集在一起,大约四五十人吧,告诉我们‘青年学生应该保家卫国’,把我们分成几组,站岗放哨,还教了我们很多歌,鼓舞我们的士气。”

Instructor Huang’s lessons turned Yang Cenfeng to the idea of giving up the pen for the sword, and after a stay of four or five months in the village, he enrolled at the Huangpu Military Academy’s Southern Anhui [皖南 stands for Anhui-south]. Together with fourteen classmates, all eye witnesses of the Japanese invaders’ atrocities, walked more than 150 kilometers in four days, and reached the administrative office in Tunxi in southern Anhui, and joined the army to join the resistance against Japan.

黄指导的教诲,让杨岑峰萌生了投笔从戎的念头,在小村子呆了四五个月之后,黄埔军校在皖南招生。目睹了日本侵略者暴行的杨岑峰和14个同学步行4天150多公里路,来到了当时皖南行署所在屯溪市,投笔从戎,参加抗日。

“My family wouldn’t let me go, so I secretly took three silver dollars from home and went to Tunxi with my classmates.”

“当时家里人也担心不让去,我就偷偷地拿了家里的3块大洋,和同学们走到了屯溪。”

But an application for [entrance] exams required graduation from senior high school. Lacking qualification, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates, with their own determination and willpower to resist Japan, impressed the school and were finally admitted to the exams. Going through layers of selection with subjects of literature, math, English, politics etc., Yang Cenfeng and ten of the classmates who had traveled with him entered Huangpu Military Academy.

但是,按照报考要求高中毕业,杨岑峰和同学们不够资格,他们就用自己抗日的决心和毅力打动着校方,最后终于感动了校方参加了考试。在经历了文学、数学、英语、政治等五六门功课的层层选拔,杨岑峰和其他同来的10位同学,加入了黄埔军校。

Having become a student of the Huangpu Branch Seventeen, and because of the Japanese closing in, southern Anhui became into imminent danger, and to protect the young seed of resistance against Japan and national salvation, the Branch Seventeen had to be transferred to Chengdu in Sichuan. After a four-months walk, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates arrived in Chengdu, and began their life of learning there.

成为了黄埔17期学员之后,由于日本人的步步紧逼,皖南岌岌可危,为了保住这些抗日救国的种子,黄埔17期学员需要转移到四川成都,杨岑峰和同学们步行4个多月,来到了成都,在那里开始了黄埔军校的学习生活。

The article / its rendition of Yang Cenfeng’s memories describes the year of 1941 as the peak of the Japanese war, with Academy students becoming replaces for soldiers who lost their lives or their fitness to fight. After two years at the academy, Huang joined the 96th Division of the Fifth Army of the Chinese Expeditionary Force as a platoon leader and a second lieutenant (少尉排长).
The Chinese Expeditionary Force is described as a model of China cooperating directly with military allies, and also claims that this had been the first time ever that Chinese troops had left the country to fight in a war (这是中国与盟国直接进行军事合作的典范,也是甲午战争以来中国军队首次出国作战 …). In the three years and three months of Chinese involvement in the China Burma India Theater, China deployed some 400,000 soldiers, 200,000 of who became casualties, the article says, and describes the battles in which Yang Cenfeng took part as the fiercest in the defense of Burma / Myanmar. The battle of Taungoo is described as Yang Cenfeng’s most agonizing and most deeply-felt experience of Japanese troops’ brutality (他一生中最惨痛的经历,也是最深刻感受到日本军队残忍的一幕).

Withdrawal to Savage Mountain, Supporting the Flying Tigers

撤退野人山 支援飞虎队

But because of a Japanese breakthrough at the British flank, the 200th and 96th divisions of the Chinese Expeditionary Force were surrounded, and after defending to the last for eight days and eight nights, Tonggu could still not be held. In the end, after breaking through the encirclement into the endless virgin forests of Savage Mountain, the 96th Division went through Putao in northernmost Myanmar and entered Yunnan province, returning home.

然而,由于英军侧翼被突破,中国远征军200师和96师被包围,在死守了8天8夜之后,同古最终还是没有守住。最终,96师从茫茫的原始森林野人山突围后,从缅甸北端的葡萄进入云南福贡回国。

Looking back at the breakthrough at Savage Mountain, Yang Cenfeng says that rather than a way out, it was another dead end. Behind them, the enemy forces pursuing them, in front of them, the virgin forests as a no man’s land with all kinds of venomous serpents, wild animals, and disease awaiting them.

回忆起野人山突围,杨岑峰说,那与其说是生路,其实也是另一条死路。后面有敌军追,前面原始森林无人区又有各种毒蛇猛兽、瘟疫疾病等着他们。

“You won’t believe it, but there were ants as long as your fingers,” Yang Cenfeng says. “Diseases claimed many lives, and it was even worse for the few women soldiers. They became unable to walk and had to lie on the naked ground to wait for death to come.”

“说起来你们不信,蚂蚁都有手指那么长。”杨岑峰说,“瘟疫疾病夺走了很多人的生命,那些女兵们更惨,走不动了,最后只能在原地等死。”

There are people who have recorded this kind of miserable story: 1,500 wounded and ill soldiers were unable to go with the troops’ withdrawal, but didn’t want to be captured and humiliated. They set themselves on fire and became martyrs …..

曾经有人记录过这样一个极为悲惨的故事:1500名伤病员无法跟随部队徒步撤退,又不愿意被俘受辱,最后点火自焚,壮烈殉国……

In the end, with astonishing willpower, the 96th Division completed its roundabout route in 35 days, through the northern Myanmar Savage Mountain, across more than 300 kilometers, with less than half of them making their way home.

最终96师以惊人的毅力,用了35天,跨越了整个缅北野人山,绕道300多公里,人员损失大半终于撤回了国内。

After returning to Kunming, Yang Cenfeng’s troops were deployed to protect Kunming airport, working with the famous “Flying Tigers”. Finally, after completing the northern Burma counter attack, thus reopening the international traffic line, safeguarding a stream of international support into China and driving the Japanese army out of southwestern China, after clamping down on and inflicting heavy losses on the Japanese troops in northern Myanmar and Yunnan province, creating favorable conditions for the allied forces, to open the battleground for the counter-attack on Japan.

撤回昆明之后,杨岑峰所在的部队被安排守卫昆明机场,配合大名鼎鼎的“飞虎队”作战。最终,完成了缅北反攻,重新打通了国际交通线,保障了国际援华物资源源不断地运入中国,并把日军赶出了中国西南大门,钳制和重创了缅北、滇西日军,为盟军收复全缅甸创造了有利条件,揭开了正面战场对日反攻的序幕。

In remarks at the end of the article, the Enorth reporter describes Yang Cenfeng as looking younger than his age (92 or 93), as saying that the party and the state were showing great concern and care for him, and that he was very satisfied. His hobbies are also mentioned, as shown in the pictures within the article. But he would never forget his painful war experiences, the brothers in arms he lost, and he would always utterly detest the atrocities committed by the Japanese invaders.

He says that his survival was luck. He therefore cherishes the era of peace, and he can’t forgive people who distort history.

他说,自己能侥幸活下来,是幸运的,因此,他也更珍惜和平年代的生活,对于歪曲历史的人绝对不能原谅。

As a veteran of the war of resistance against Japan, he feels encouraged by the establishment of a national day of commemoration and warns coming generations that history must not be forgotten, to be vigilant about the stirring between the dry bones of Japanese militarism, to use history as a guide, to strengthen our motherland, and to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

作为抗日老兵,他很欣慰国家从今年开始设立了公祭日,他告诫后人们,绝对不能忘记历史,警惕日本军国主义死灰复燃,以史为鉴、强大我们的祖国,实现中华民族的伟大复兴。

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Related

» Wartime childhood, Sept 7, 2009

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

“China is Alright”: a Summer Camp for Overseas Chinese students from Laos

China Radio International‘s Mandarin service renders a newslet by China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest state-owned newsagency after Xinhua, on the field of public diplomacy.

Original title: Ethnic Chinese Laotians go to Yunnan to experience Chinese culture

CRI Online news: according to China News Service, the “2013 China is alright – the perfect Yunnan summer camp” has started in Kunming, with fourty campers and group leaders from Chinese schools in Laos. It is scheduled to go on for ten days. Apart from developing [an awareness or knowledge of, apparently] Yunnan ethnic culture, knowledge of China, and exchange, the overseas Chinese students will also experience Yunnan province’s local conditions and customs.

国际在线消息:据中新社电,“2013中国文化行—完美云南营”4日在昆明开营,来自老挝华文学校的40名营员和领队将开启为期10天的“中国文化之旅”。除了开展云南民族文化、中华知识学习和交流外,海外华裔学生还将体验云南的风土人情。

With Chinese-Laotian cooperation growing closer and the surging “Chinese language fever” in Laos, more and more ethnic Chinese and Laotians want to understand the Chinese way of life and traditional culture. Luo Bailan, a teacher and group leader with the camp, says that the Chinese schools in Laos are continuously adjusting their educational methods, to allow the students to learn by experience.

随着中老两国合作日益密切,老挝掀起了“汉语热”,越来越多的华裔和老挝人希望了解中国的生活方式与传统文化。老挝领队老师罗白兰表示,老挝的华文学校在不断调整教学方式,让学生们进行体验式教学。

Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China deputy secretary general Li Xianguo says that “China is alright” is an important part of the foundation’s “Young Ethnic Chinese Chinese Culture Heritage Project”.

中国华文教育基金会副秘书长李献国表示,“中国文化行”是中国华文教育基金会“华裔青少年中华文化传承工程”的重要组成部分。

Chinese fever, Kunming

Chinese fever – click pictdure for China News Service coverage

The State Council Information Office (SCIO) is more elaborate, adding that most of the students haven’t been to Yunnan before. Even though it has been rainy for days, and temperatures in the spring city [i. e. Kunming] are a bit low, this hasn’t affected the campers’ high spirits in the least. They are reading the course schedules of the camp reader, excitedly discuss the coming lessons and the tourist attractions. A student tells the SCIO reporter that he is most interested in poetry recital and calligraphy, and in touring the Stone Forest, the birthplace of Ashima:

“We also want to experience the culture of national minorities in the Yunnan Nationalities Village I don’t know a lot about national minorities and hope to experience a lot of interesting things”, Lin Yingcai says in fluent Chinese.

“我最期待看石林的奇山怪石,听说那里是阿诗玛的故乡,我们还要去体验云南民族村的少数民族文化,我对少数民族了解不多,希望能体验很有意思的东西。”林英才用流利的中文说。

Many Laotians and Burmese and Cambodians and North Koreans see China as a promised land, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in his 2007 book Charm Offensive (p. 137). And America, he warned, had earned itself a bad image in the past, and was still doing so:

For decades, the United States still did not grant Laos normal trading relations, though Laos’s human rights record was no worse than the record of China, with whom America traded vigorously. American sanctions on Laos infuriated Lao officials, who didn’t understand why such a big country like the United Stateswould punish a minnow – especially since during the Vietnam War, America had dropped more bombs on Laos than it dropped on Germany and Japan together during World War II, leaving Laos riddled with unexploded ordnance.

(Kurlantzick, p. 59)

Jiang Zemin visited Laos in November 2000, reportedly the first visit by a Chinese head of state. In November 2006, Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao followed up, and moved China Radio International (CRI) one step ahead of the BBC and the VoA, by pushing a button for a rebroadcasting FM station – the inauguration ceremony was reportedly broadcast live, as the rebroadcaster’s first program ever:

So, Vientiane listeners, for the first time, clearly and vividly heard the the warm voice of state chairman Hu Jintao, a visitor from a friendly neighbor.

万象听众第一次如此清晰真切地听到了来自友好邻邦——中国国家主席亲切的声音:

[…]

A CRI official said that the friendly relations between China and Laos created good conditions for CRI’s operations in Laos. According to the official, the Laotian government’s approval of CRI’s Vientiane frequency was one of only few. Before, the BBC and the VoA had applied for frequencies to the Laotian government, but had received no approval.

中国国际广播电台一位负责人说,中老两国的友好关系为国际电台节目在老挝落地创造了良好的条件。据这位负责人透露,国际电台在老挝调频落地是老挝政府已批准的为数不多的落地项目之一。之前,英国广播公司、美国之音等广播电台,均向老方提出过调频落地申请,但老挝政府未予批准。

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Related

Branding China, May 18, 2008
Meeting the Volunteers, CRI, Nov 21, 2006

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Seasons: Gaokaos and Translator Tests

Saturday was gaokao day in China again, the nation-wide national higher education entrance examinations. More than nine million Chinese teenagers sat down and took a test that would determine much of their future lives.

But there’s an alternative, according to the GuardianBritish qualification tests can be taken at Chinese schools, too. (Not sure if that’s true for all Chinese schools.)

It would seem however that this is mainly providing kids with rather wealthy backgrounds with an alternative to the usual procedure.

About two weeks earlier, exams on a smaller scale took place: the China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters [全国翻译专业资格(水平)考试]. The accreditation test website also contains some information in English.

dictionaries

Not so xiandai anymore: JR’s dictionaries

That one was also conducted on a weekend, of course, on May 25 and 26. On all other days of the week, people have to study. In Beijing, the tests included spoken translation on Saturday, and written translation on Sunday Saturdays.

The test material is published by the Foreign Languages Press.H/t to this post by Huolong (who is somewhat critical of the material).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Animated Movies from Shijiazhuang: Soft-Power Tools?

Main Link:
Activeley develop Domestic and Foreign High-End Cartoon Industry, “Going out” in Great Strides (积极开拓国内外高端市场动漫产业大步“走出去”)
Links within quotes and blockquotes added during translation.

China needed to build a sound, modern culture market system, the “Culture Document” (or “cultural decision”), approved by the 6th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee, stipulated in October 2011.

The focus must be on the development of books and other publications, digital audio and video products, performing arts and entertainment, television series, cartoons, animation, and [computer] games, and similar markets, for the further perfection of a comprehensive international Chinese platform on fairs and exhibitions, etc.

According to Shijiazhuang News Net (石家庄新闻网), the local cartoon industry is doing just that:

Since 2006 , under the close attention of the CCP municipal committee and the municipal government, our city’s cartoon industry has developed rapidly, and achieved notable results in satisfying the city’s needs of spiritual civilizsation, in spreading advanced culture, in enriching the masses’ lives, promoting the healthy adolescence of the young, and fostering the growth of a new economy. During the past seven years, no matter if established by locals or by companies who came to Shijiazhuang from elsewhere, they have enjoyed all the benefits of Shijiazhuang’s cartoon-industry policies, environment, and prospects. On this foundation, “cartoons made in Shijiazhuang” have gained the courage to display themselves, to develop markets, and with the advantages in branding, high-end orientation and originality, they have drawn widespread attention from industries at home and abroad.

2006年以来, 在市委、市政府的高度重视下,我市动漫产业迅速发展,在满足市民精神文化需求、传播先进文化、丰富群众生活、促进青少年健康成长、培育新的经济增长点方 面,取得了显著成效。7年来,无论是本土动漫企业还是来石创业的动漫公司,都享受到了石家庄动漫产业政策、环境、前景的利与好。 在此基础上,“石家庄原创动漫”勇于展示自我、敢于开拓市场,以品牌化、高端化、原创化的优势,引起了国内外业界的广泛关注。

By Shijiazhuang Newsnet reporter Wang Xin
本报记者王欣

As the saying goes, good wine needs no bush*). However, this doesn’t apply in today’s increasingly competitive markets. After several years of development and carefully ripening the wine, its sweet smell attracts many investors and company founders. At the same time, cartoonists from Shijiazhuang also seize the opportunities of actively exploring domestic and foreign markets, to take Shijiazhuang cartoons to bigger arenas.

俗话说,酒香不怕巷子深。然而,在市场竞争日趋激烈的今天,好酒也怕巷子深。经过几年的发展,我市动漫产业如同一坛精心酝酿的老酒,持续散发出馨香的气 息,吸引了众多投资者、创业者前来。与此同时,石家庄动漫人也抓住机遇,积极开拓国内国外市场,把石家庄动漫推向更广阔的舞台。

The Shijiazhuang Animation Institute‘s (石家庄动漫协会), that of the beneficial support of the city government and the conducive industrial environment had all become the envy of companies elsewhere, according to Shijiazhuang Newsnet. “Publicity” (宣传) and promotion had made Shijiazhuang’s cartoon industry better known in China and abroad, making people coming to Shijiazhuang to seek cooperation. A Western Australian Film Office (西澳大利亚州政府电影融资发展局 – I’m not familiar with Australia’s film industry or the industry’s official promotional institutes) was currently seeking a cooperation partner with the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute’s assistance, according to the report. The Australians had been impressed with the originality and production levels of Shijiazhuang’s industry and had since visited four times, Shijiazhuang Newsnet quotes a member of the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute, Zhang Maolan (张茂兰).

DeepCG Animation Science and Technology gets a particular mention in the report. The general manager, Wu Yifeng (武义峰), doesn’t seem to be too specific about his company’s current prospects in Europe, but is quoted as saying that South-East Asia was the most promising market for one of his company’s works, a cartoon movie about late Han dynasty general Zhao Yun, given its richness with Chinese culture.

The cartoon’s title seems to translate Zhao Yun and the Clicking Sound of the Box (赵云与咔哒盒子).

It seems to be based on a theme previously used in a Zhao Yun movie (but not a cartoon) made in Hong Kong, in 2010.

Shijiazhuang News Net is the online platform of Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), an official CCP paper.

In a review of the 17th Central cultural decision in October 2011, David Bandurski of the China Media Project (Hong Kong) appeared to be skeptical of the impact Chinese media and culture could have under political and ideological controls.

It may be time for a first assessment of how things are going for the “cultural industry” in China – especially when it comes to its record abroad. Personally, I have no clue about cartoons, and not even a taste for them. Stuff like Zhao Yun and the Box (a sample video here) should be judged by bloggers or critics who really are into the genre.

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Note

*) This isn’t an exact translation. The actual Chinese quote or proverb would be 酒香不怕巷子深 – something like the smell of wine isn’t afraid of a deep lane (or alley), meaning that good things will sell even without advertising them.

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Related

» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012
» A Low-Carbon Industry, Dec 2, 2011
» Shijiazhuang Cartoon School, CRI, Aug 20, 2009
» Go-Out Policy, Wikipedia, acc. 20130412
» Private investors, PD English, Aug 20, 2004

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review (2): Nothing Trivial

« original post there

There was nothing trivial in 2012, and it was still OK, except for the driver license test.
On August 20, Baobao got started elementary school, the first step into the learning career.

In early September, we bought a car and spent more than 120,000 on it, which is a big household item.

In mid-November, my husband had an accident on the expressway, but fortunately nothing serious. We spent 12,000 Yuan on the repair costs, and the insurance company refunded the full amount.

The end of the world didn’t come in December, and we continue to live on this planet.

Wimpy Kid’s Space (小屁孩的大空间)
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Related

» 2012 in Review (1): The Imperfect Photograph, Dec 29, 2012
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Heimatgefühl, and the Venture into the Public Realm

My following translation will very probably contain errors.

A: […] If you want me to be frank, I have to say that I’m not interested in the effects when I’m working. (Wenn ich ganz ehrlich sprechen soll, dann muß ich sagen: Wenn ich arbeite, bin ich an Wirkung nicht interessiert.)

Q: And once the work has been completed? (Und wenn die Arbeit fertig ist?)

A: Well, then I have finished with it. You see, what matters to me is this: I need to understand. Writing is part of understanding. Writing belongs in this process of understanding things. (Ja, dann bin ich damit fertig. Wissen Sie, wesentlich ist für mich: Ich muß verstehen. Zu diesem Verstehen gehört bei mir auch das Schreiben. Das Schreiben ist Teil in dem Verstehensprozeß.)

Q: Writing serves your own, further cognition? (Wenn Sie schreiben, so dient es Ihrem eigenen, weiteren Erkennen?)

A: Yes, because now, certain things have been determined. If we had great memory, so that we really kept all our reasoning in mind: I doubt that, because I’m aware of my own laziness, I’d have jotted down everything. What matters to me is the thinking process itself. When I’ve got that, I’m, personally, quite satisfied. When I succeed in expressing this adequately in writing, I’m once again satisfied. – Now, you asked about effects. That’s – if I may be tongue-in-cheek – a male question. Men badly want to be effective, but I’m kind of looking at it from outside. To be effective myself? No, I want to understand. And when other people understand, in the same sense as I did, that gives me satisfaction, like a sense of home. (Ja, weil jetzt bestimmte Dinge festgelegt sind. Nehmen wir an, man hätte ein sehr gutes Gedächtnis, so daß man wirklich alles behält, was man denkt: Ich zweifle sehr daran, da ich meine Faulheit kenne, daß ich irgend etwas notiert hätte. Worauf es mir ankommt, ist der Denkprozeß selber. Wenn ich das habe, bin ich persönlich ganz zufrieden. Wenn es mir dann gelingt, es im Schreiben adäquat auszudrücken, bin ich auch wieder zufrieden. – Jetzt fragen Sie nach der Wirkung. Es ist das – wenn ich ironisch werden darf – eine männliche Frage. Männer wollen immer furchtbar gern wirken; aber ich sehe das gewissermaßen von außen. Ich selber wirken? Nein, ich will verstehen. Und wenn andere Menschen verstehen, im selben Sinne, wie ich verstanden habe – dann gibt mir das eine Befriedigung, wie ein Heimatgefühl.)

[…]

A: My father died early. It all sounds very funny. My grandfather was the liberal congregation’s president and city councillor in Königsberg. I’m from an old Königsberger family. Still – the word “jew” was never mentioned at home, when I was a small child. I was confronted with it by antisemitic remarks – no use in mentioning them – from children in the street. That’s how I became informed, so to speak. (Mein Vater war früh gestorben. Es klingt alles sehr komisch. Mein Großvater war Präsident der liberalen Gemeinde und Stadtverordneter von Königsberg. Ich komme aus einer alten Königsberger Familie. Trotzdem – das Wort “Jude” ist bei uns nie gefallen, als ich ein kleines Kind war. Es wurde mir zum erstenmal entgegengebracht durch antisemitische Bemerkungen – es lohnt sich nicht zu erzählen – von Kindern auf der Straße. Daraufhin wurde ich also sozusagen “aufgeklärt”.)

Q: Was that a shock? (War das für Sie ein Schock?)

A: No. (Nein.)

[…]

A: I for one don’t think that I ever felt that I was German, in the sense of ethnicity, not in terms of statehood, if I may distinguish the two. I remember discussions around 1930 about that, with [Karl Jaspers], for example. He said, “of course you are German!” I said: “It’s plain that I’m not!” But to me, it didn’t matter. It didn’t spell inferiority to me. Precisely not. And if I may come back to what was special about my family: you see, all Jewish children were confronted with antisemitism. It poisoned the souls of many children. The difference was that my mother always maintained that you must not duck your head. You need to defend yourself. (Ich, zum Beispiel, glaube nicht, daß ich mich je als Deutsche – im Sinne der Volkszugehörigkeit, nicht der Staatsangehörigkeit, wenn ich mal den Unterschied machen darf – betrachtet habe. Ich besinne mich darauf, daß ich so um das Jahr ‘30 herum Diskussionen darüber zum Beispiel mit Jaspers hatte. Er sagte: “Natürlich sind Sie Deutsche!” Ich sagte: “Das sieht man doch, ich bin keine!” Das hat aber für mich keine Rolle gespielt. Ich habe das nicht etwa als Minderwertigkeit empfunden. Das gerade war nicht der Fall. Und wenn ich noch einmal auf das Besondere meines Elternhauses zurückkommen darf: Sehen Sie, der Antisemitismus ist allen jüdischen Kindern begegnet. Und er hat die Seelen vieler Kinder vergiftet. Der Unterschied bei uns war, daß meine Mutter immer auf dem Standpunkt stand: Man darf sich nicht ducken! Man muß sich wehren!)

[…]

Q [quoting Arendt]: “I have never, in all my life, loved a collective, neither the German, the French, nor the American, nor the working class, or whatever else may be there. Indeed, I only love my friends, and am completely uncapable of any other love. But above all, being Jewish myself, I would find this love dubious if it was love to the Jewish.” […] Aren’t you afraid that your attitude could be politically barren? (Darin heißt es: “Ich habe nie in meinem Leben irgendein Volk oder Kollektiv geliebt, weder das deutsche, noch das französische, noch das amerikanische, noch etwa die Arbeiterklasse oder was es sonst so noch gibt. Ich liebe in der Tat nur meine Freunde und bin zu aller anderen Liebe völlig unfähig. Vor allem aber wäre mir diese Liebe zu den Juden, da ich selbst jüdisch bin, suspekt.” […] Fürchten Sie nicht, daß Ihre Haltung politisch steril sein könnte?)

A: No, I think the other [attitude] is politically barren. To belong to a group is natural. You always belong to a group, by birth, always. But to belong to a group as you meant it in a second sense, that is to say, to organize – that’s completely different. This kind of organizing always happens by Weltbezug. That is, what those who organize have in common, which is usually called interests. The immediate personal relation, when you can talk about love, does exist, of course, in real love, in its greatest way, and in a certain sense, it exists in friendship. That’s when a person is reached in an immediate way, and independently from Weltbezug. That’s how people who belong to most different organizations may still be friends. But if you confuse these things, if you take them to the negotiation table – to put it in a very mean way -, I believe that’s fatal. (Nein. Ich würde sagen, die andere ist politisch steril. Zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, ist erst einmal eine natürliche Gegebenheit. Sie gehören zu irgendeiner Gruppe durch Geburt, immer. Aber zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, wie Sie es im zweiten Sinne meinen, nämlich sich zu organisieren, das ist etwas ganz anderes. Diese Organisation erfolgt immer unter Weltbezug. Das heißt: Das, was diejenigen miteinander gemeinsam haben, die sich so organisieren, ist, was man gewöhnlich Interessen nennt. Der direkte personale Bezug, in dem man von Liebe sprechen kann, der existiert natürlich in der wirklichen Liebe in der größten Weise, und er existiert in einem gewissen Sinne auch in der Freundschaft. Da wird die Person direkt und unabhängig von dem Weltbezug angesprochen. So können Leute verschiedenster Organisationen immer noch persönlich befreundet sein. Wenn man aber diese Dinge miteinander verwechselt, wenn man also die Liebe an den Verhandlungstisch bringt, um mich einmal ganz böse auszudrücken, so halte ich das für ein sehr großes Verhängnis.)

Q: […] In a speech on Karl Jaspers you said that “humanity is  never won in loneliness and never by handing ones work over to the public. Only if you take your life and person[ality] into the venture of the public realm, you will reach [humanity].” This “venture into the public realm”, a Jaspers quote again, in which way does it exist for Hannah Arendt? (In einer Festrede auf Jaspers haben Sie gesagt: “Gewonnen wird die Humanität nie in der Einsamkeit und nie dadurch, daß einer sein Werk der Öffentlichkeit übergibt. Nur wer sein Leben und seine Person mit in das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit nimmt, kann sie erreichen.” Dieses “Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit”, ein Zitat von Jaspers wiederum – worin besteht es für Hannah Arendt?)

A: The venture into the public realm appears to be clear to me. You expose yourself in the light of the public, as a person. While I believe that one must not appear publicly and act publicly in a self-conscious way, I still know that all action expresses the person like no other activity. And speaking, too, is a way of action. That’s one thing. The second venture: we commence something, we add our thread into a web of relationships. We never know how it will evolve. We all need to say, Lord, forgive them what they do, because they don’t know what they do. That’s true for all action. Quite practically, because you can’t know. That’s a venture. And I would say that this venture can only be taken as you rely on the human beings. That’s to say, in a – hard to grasp, but basic – trust in the humaneness in all human beings. You can’t do that in another way. (Das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit scheint mir klar zu sein. Man exponiert sich im Lichte der Öffentlichkeit, und zwar als Person. Wenn ich auch der Meinung bin, daß man nicht auf sich selbst reflektiert in der Öffentlichkeit erscheinen und handeln darf, so weiß ich doch, daß in jedem Handeln die Person in einer Weise zum Ausdruck kommt wie in keiner anderen Tätigkeit. Wobei das Sprechen auch eine Form des Handelns ist. Also das ist das eine. Das zweite Wagnis ist: Wir fangen etwas an; wir schlagen unseren Faden in ein Netz der Beziehungen. Was daraus wird, wissen wir nie. Wir sind alle darauf angewiesen zu sagen: Herr vergib ihnen, was sie tun, denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun. Das gilt für alles Handeln. Einfach ganz konkret, weil man es nicht wissen kann. Das ist ein Wagnis. Und nun würde ich sagen, daß dieses Wagnis nur möglich ist im Vertrauen auf die Menschen. Das heißt, in einem – schwer genau zu fassenden, aber grundsätzlichen – Vertrauen auf das Menschliche aller Menschen. Anders könnte man es nicht.)

Hannah Arendt in a television interview, in October 1964

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Related

» In an Unguarded Moment, Sep 29, 2010
» No Easy Solution, April 11, 2009

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beyond the Protocol: No Bygones, no Mercy

Bettina Wulff, the wife of former German president Christian Wulff, wrote a book which was published this month, with a title frequently translated into “Beyond the Protocol”. More literally, the wording seems to be “On the other side of the protocol” (Jenseits des Protokolls).  This is no review of Bettina Wulff’s book. I haven’t read it.

Wikipedia has an article in English about her.

I never “liked” Christian Wulff or his wife, or the way they designed the president’s time in office. I probably didn’t like it, because they seemed to be so eager to be an “authentic” first family. Their style was way too personal. I had hoped for a president who would explain politics, rather than one who’d try to set a personal example for harmony.

But the way a German mob is following the spectacle that surrounds her book looks scary to me.

That mob is quite probably a minority. But only 15 percent  of people surveyed by Emnid, an opinion pollster, “feel sorry” for her, and 67 percent don’t believe her statement that she didn’t actually want to be the first lady.  How can anyone judge that statement without knowing her personally?

Mrs Wulff is the mother of two children. I’m wondering how many of those who tried and keep trying to blacken her name are themselves parents – and I’m wondering what kind of parents they may be. I hope that either way, their children may grow to become good people all the same.

Wulff’s case isn’t the worst example of how public interaction works – not even close. It’s much worse when “small people” are pronged by tabloids or television stations, and presented to a slobbering public. But having read a few online “reviews” about her book, and a few dozens of comments about her underneath a German online paper’s article, a quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky comes to my mind: The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.

When it comes to Germany, you may also look at how a former first lady is publicly abused. People who indulge in that kind of activity can’t have much self-respect. If they respected themselves, they could ignore the book, and the former first lady alike.

On the other side of the protocol, there has probably never been a more telling German presidency.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everyday Propaganda: How Green was our Internet

Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.

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1) Nanchang (Jiangxi Province), September 2012

Nanchang News Net / Nanchang Evening Post (南昌新闻网-南昌晚报) —

From September 10 to 16, Nanchang holds its third minors protection propaganda week. Recently, this reporter has learned that to do a good job at the work for the propaganda week, the city minors’ protection committee office started the 2012 minors’ protection propaganda week activities to further increase attention within all society for a good environment centering on the protection of minors.

9月10日至16日,是南昌第三个未成年人保护宣传周。近日,记者获悉,为切实做好今年未成年人保护宣传工作,在全社会进一步营造关心、重视未成年人保护的良好氛围,市未成年人保护委员会办公室启动2012年未成年人保护宣传周系列活动。

Reportedly, the propaganda week activities’ theme is “care about minors, and build a wonderful tomorrow together”.

During the activities, Nanchang will focus on the launch of a minors protection law, and educational activities with Jiangxi Province’s minors protection regulations as the major theme, propaganda aimed particularly at minors’ parents and elementary and middle school teachers, to improve entire society’s awareness of responsibility and participation.

据悉,宣传活动周主题为“关注未成年人,共筑美好明天”。活动期间,南昌将集中开展未成年人保护法、江西省未成年人保护条例等主题宣传教育活动,面向社会公众,特别是未成年人父母和中小学教师,就未成年人保护问题,举办形式多样的法制宣传教育活动,提高全社会的责任意识和参与意识。

Reportedly, Nanchang will, during the propaganda week, make full use of newspapers, websites, and its official microblog channel[s] [this may also simply refer to the Sina Weibo microblog], explore the use of cartoons, videos, public-service advertising and oher new methods, carry out audio-visual theme propaganda through various channels concerning the concepts of minors’ protection, the safeguarding of their legal rights, case studies, related legal responsibilities etc., […], actively create a good environment, and promote the healthy adolescence of minors.

据悉,在宣传周期间,南昌将充分利用广播、电视、报刊、手机报,以及网站、官方微博等宣传阵地,探索运用动漫、视频、公益广告等新方式,多渠道对未成年人保护理念、合法权益保障方法、典型案例、相关法律责任等内容进行直观、实在的主题宣传,扩大未成年人保护宣传教育覆盖面,积极营造良好氛围,促进未成年人健康成长。

Also, using the Youth League’s Nanchang 12355 official Sina Weibo channel as an internet platform to announce all activities during the minors’ protection propaganda week, to concentrate the announcements and to broaden the range of coverage.

此外,市未成年人保护委员会将以共青团南昌市12355官方微博为网络宣传平台,对未成年人保护宣传周期间各项活动,进行集中发布,扩大活动覆盖面。

This reporter learned that during the propaganda week, Nanchang will organize all industries’ grassroot “juvenile rights protection guards and 12355 juvenile service counters with volunteering experts, rights and interests messengers, etc., combine all responsibilities, to enter the streets, communities, schools, villages etc., launch special protection [issues’] service counters and activities, promote more grassroot party and government department, companies and all kinds of social service structures’ participation in the juvenile rights protection guards’ activities, to protect minors’ legal rights from a multitude of perspectives. [Following line inverse font, as my translation may be incorrect] In particular concerning idle juveniles and village liaison groups shall continuously strengthen legal-system propaganda and the protection of rights.

记者了解到,在宣传周期间,南昌将组织各行业系统基层优秀“青少年维权岗”及12355青少年服务台专家志愿者、权益使者等,结合各自职责,深入到街道、社区、学校、农村等地未成年人当中,开展专题维权服务活动,推动更多的基层党政部门、企事业单位、各类社会服务机构参与青少年维权岗创建活动,多角度维护未成年人合法权益。特别是针对闲散青少年和农村留守未成年人群体,将不断加强法制宣传、权益维护。

Besides, during the activities, Nanchang will also combine educational and other strengthening training aimed at [handling] injuries which typically occur to minors, how to react to all kinds of complicated situations, and launch natural-disaster and accident-situation avoidance/escapes, self- and mutual aid, and self-defense, so as to improve juveniles’ abilities to protect themselves.

此外,活动期间,南昌还将结合未成年人的年龄特点和容易出现的意外伤害,有针对性地组织和教育未成年人如何应对各种各样的复杂情况,开展面临自然灾害、意外情况时的避险逃生和自救互救,受侵害时的自我保护等方面比较系统的强化训练,切实提高青少年自我保护能力。

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Tianjin, 2007

From Tianjin Juvenile Service Online‘s “About Us” on Enorth:

To thoroughly implement the document “On Several Issues about Further Intensifying the Ideological and Ethical Improvement among Minors formulated and published by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council of China” [literally, the document refers to itself as “several ideas” or “opinions” (若干意见) concerning those “several issues”], to actively answer to the CCP Central Committee’s and the [Tianjin] Municipal Committee‘s calls for a “civilized creation of the web” and a “civilized use of the web”, to build a positive, uplifting, healthy and civilized internet environment, Tianjin Spiritual Civilized Building Committee’s office entrusts North Net [i. e. Enorth] to operate Tianjin Municipality’s minors’ service.

为深入贯彻落实 《中共中央、国务院关于进一步加强和改进未成年人思想道德建设的若干意见》,积极响应中央和市委提出的“ 文明办网、文明上网”的号召,构建面向未成年人的积极向上、健康文明的网络环境,天津市精神文明建设委员会办公室依托北方网,开办了天津市未成年人服务网。

The internet centers on the objective of educating, guiding, and serving minors. By the principle of serving every community, every school, every household and every child, with a function to provide an information channel and garden to grow up, for expert advice, to enable talents to give full play to their talents, exchange and interaction, maintaining publicly beneficial principles, in accordance with minors’ characteristics, needs, interests and hobbies, to provide them with an adequate “green”*) internet. A new platform shall be created, a new space through [this] internet implementation, to further mobilize societal forces’ participation, to promote social integration of resources, to shape all kinds of concerted efforts, to turn it into a new channel of minors’ ideological and ethical establishment.

网络围绕 教育、引导、服务未成年人这一宗旨,以服务每一个社区、服务每一个学校、服务每一个家庭、服务每一个孩子为服务理念,以信息提供渠道、专家咨询窗口、展示才华舞台、交流互动桥梁、健康成长乐园为功能定位,坚持公益性原则,根据未成年人的身心特点、成长需求和兴趣爱好,为他们量身打造适合于自己的“绿色”网络。通过网络的实施,进一步动员社会力量参与,促进社会资源整合,形成社会各方合力,使之成为我市加强未成年人思想道德建设的新途径,满足未成年人精神文化生活需求的新空间,实现 学校教育、家庭教育、社会教育三方互动的新平台。

Tianjin Juvenile Service Online has, by the Municipal Committee’s and the Civilization Committee’s Civilization Guidance Committee, been determined as the entire municipality’s minors’ ideological and ethical establishment’s major project.
The Municipal Committee, the municipal government, and all departments in charge attach great importance to it. The Municipal Committee’S sECRETARY zhang Gaoli, the Municipal Committee Deputy Secretary, City Mayor Dai Xianglong wrote congratulatory messages on the opening of the website. In the process of establishing the website, the Municipal Committee’s Education and Health Work Committee the municipal education committee, culture office, […], the municipal womens’ federation, work committees et al gave vigorous support, and persons from all walks of life actively joined the establishment of the website, creating a good atmosphere by a spirit of a shared homeland.

天津市未成年人服务网是市委和市文明委确定的2007年全市未成年人思想道德建设的一项重点工程。市委、市政府及各有关部门领导高度重视。市委书记张高 丽,市委副书记、市长戴相龙为网站开通题写贺辞。在网站的建设过程中,市委教卫工委、市教委、市文化局、团市委、市妇联、市关工委等有关单位给予了大力支 持,社会各界人士积极投身网站建设之中,营造了共建共享精神家园的良好氛围。

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Note

*) Green was, among others, the “color” of Green Dam, a censoring software that was once meant to come manditorily with every computer sold in China, “to protect children” surfing the internet. It met with a lot of public resistance, and seems to have been scrapped for good in 2010. “Green” Propaganda, of course, stays around.

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Related

» Patriotic Education in HK, July 30, 2012
» Open House, May 25, 2012
» Chinese Characteristics, CMP, Aug 8, 2007

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