Archive for August, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

David Hawkes, 1923 – 2009

Once an intelligence instructor, teaching intelligence operatives and code-breakers how to interpret Japanese battle reports, David Hawkes spent his later life with translating The Dream of the Red Chamber (红楼梦) into a less academic English version than the existing one, thus making it “enjoyable for the English reader”. From Wales, he continued translating Chinese literature. He died on July 31, and The Guardian published an obituary on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Systematic Thinking: Concerning Traitors

Concerning Traitors

armchair politician's patriotic lecture

armchair politician's patriotic lecture

As for traitors, everybody associates [the concept with] those famous traitors, such as Wu Sangui etc.. It’s also not difficult to see from history that those who did the greatest harm to the Han nationality are traitors. I think that once people do harm to the Han nationality’s traditional culture, to the Han nationality’s overall interests, let the Han nationality forget the subjugation and doom of the nation, they are traitors. A traitor doesn’t have to belong to a certain organization, he only needs to match the definition. No matter which organization, how high their position, which sex, they are all traitors. Now there are a lot of traitors in China. Traitors frequently harm the Han nationality’s survival and development, therefore we must revive Han culture, educate the Great Han’s subjects, let the traitors awake so that there are less and less traitors, expose the traitors in broad daylight, let the Han people all awaken, build the cultural renaissance and the education of the entire Han nationality, [so that] the Han nationality can rise from doom and subjugation, and become the world’s number one nation.




even more daring armchair politician

even more daring armchair politician

Today’s evil comprador forces are traitors.


Monday, August 24, 2009

China-made Electric Car heads for U.S. Market

A five-seat all-electric car, the BYD, will be on offer in the U.S. from 2010, writes the environmental section of Wall Street Journal Blog. If battery-driven cars are indeed the future, it should mean that China will have leapfrogged a century of traditional automotive development. The author of the blog entry, Keith Johnson, sounds quite convinced. A few words about BYD’s supposed approaches and the challenges the company is likely to meet can be found over there.


Related: China’s Car Exports Falling, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Xu Zhiyong released on bail

Legal scholar and member of the currently defunct Open Constitution legal service (公盟) Xu Zhiyong (许志永) has been released on bail after more than three weeks in custody, reports the BBC Chinese service.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chinese Characters Revision Draft

After eight years of efforts, the Education Ministry unveiled a list of 8,300 standardized Chinese characters in common usage to solicit public opinion 10 days ago in hopes to regulate the way of characters writing, writes Xinhuanet. The ministry hopes that the measure will help to regulate the way of writing characters, and targets the way certain characters are printed.

It is planned to adjust the shape a total of 44 Chinese characters. According to Singapore’s Morning News (联合早报), the  ministry claims that 70% of comments it receives support the changes. Morning News writes that on the internet, many people apparently feel that the issue is a useless pain in the neck (瞎折腾, xia zheteng), and some complain that one billion people will have to learn Chinese characters anew. The paper quotes Xinhua reporting that the Common Standard Chinese Characters List (通用规范汉字表) is open for public consultation from August 12 to August 31.

Among the 44 characters in question are 琴 (qin, zither),  征 (zheng), 魅 (mei), 籴 (di), 褰 (qian), 巽 (xun, trigram), 亲 (qin), 杀 (sha, kill), 条 (tiao), 茶 (cha, tea), 新 (xin, new), 杂 (za), 恿 (怂恿, (songyong, instigate), 瞥 (pie, glimpse), 蓐 (ru, mattress), 溽 (ru, muggy), 缛 (ru, elaborate), 褥 (ru, mattress again), 耨 (nou, old weeding tool), 薅 (hao, to weed), 唇 (chun, lip), 蜃 (shen), 毂 (gu, hub).

Another 55 characters are considered allogeneic (异体), and to be recovered or unified in some way, among them 淼 (miao, flood), 喆 (zhe, same meaning as 哲), and 堃 (kun, same meaning as 坤, female).

Xinhua‘s English website quotes a Chinese primary school teacher saying that many of the 44 characters designated for revision are in frequent use, and as the revisions will mainly apply to the use of the 44 characters in publications, such publications could confuse learners.

The ministry of education is traditionally in charge of defining the use of Chinese characters. In August 1935, partly drawing on a dictionary (简体字谱) compiled by Qian Xuantong (錢玄同) earlier the same year, the Republic of China’s ministry of education published its First Simplified Hanzi List (第一批简体字表), according to a historical account by Hefei Educational Channel. In 1952, it was the Chinese Language Reform Committee (中国文字改革委员会) which collected schloars’ suggestions for simplifying the characters. After some more administrational reforms and the publication of two simplification lists in 1964, much of “simplification” was in the hands of the Cultural Revolution’s Red Guards from 1967 to 1969. They didn’t become frequently used, and in 1986, the second 1964 list was also scrapped, and the Chinese Language Reform Committee was restructured State Language Work Committee (国家语言文字工作委员会).

The Committee belongs to the Ministry of Education and takes Putonghua tests which are also mandatory for teachers who use Mandarin in teaching Chinese Language Subject in Hong Kong (reading and writing abilities, listening and speaking, correct writing of characters, imagination and systematic thinking, and moral values).

Singapore and Malaysia usually use the characters as defined by Beijing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

JR’s Weekender: Deliberations on a More Comprehensive Questionnaire

Xin Min Poll: This Picture is Incomplete

Xin Min Poll: This Picture is Incomplete

The 13th Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress Standing Committee has opened the first round of deliberations on the Shanghai Regulations on Smoking in Public Places (上海市公共场所控制吸烟条例) draft, and the city’s Xinmin Website (新民网) publishes the draft for discussion. An online poll asks:

Shanghai’s legislation wants to establish designated smoking areas, what do you think of it? (沪立法公共场所分类禁烟,你怎么看?)

Answers available:

a) Commendable! A good regulation which I actively support. (赞!好规定,积极支持)
b) I’m disappointed. The areas where smoking will be prohibited are too small. (失望,禁烟范围仍不大)
c) I can’t live without smoking. (不能抽烟,简直没法活)
d) Enforcement can’t keep up with the regulation. (监管跟不上等于空法规)

JR was looking for e), but there are no further voting options available. So the results will either  suggest that the voters want such regulations (be it in accordance with the current draft, be it in a more tightened form), or that they are sorry, unhealthy addicts.

Anyway, JR is sure we all agree that these four answers won’t allow for a complete picture of Xin Min readers’ opinions. So here is JR’s suggested amendment to the online poll. Suggested additional answers:

e) If there is something which makes our city a beautiful garden, it is that it leaves people alone at least on this issue.

f) Even the worst enemies of the Chinese people appreciate our relaxed attitude towards tobacco and alcoholic drinks. Let’s convince them that we are a more friendly and relaxed society than they expected.

g) Some of the worst enemies of the Chinese people praise our “relaxed attitude towards tobacco and alcoholic drinks”. To ban smoking is patriotic.

h) I like the lack of enforcement referred to under (d). It enables police to arrest unpatriotic elements without the need to make up other accusations than smoking in the wrong place.

i) Smoking kills feelings. It’s easier to fuck people in the ass so long as they are allowed to smoke. This shit wouldn’t have happened if people had smoked more.

j) Chairman Mao smoked, too, and never asked for permission. A ban on smoking is unpatriotic.

k) Ban Western brands (they only want to kill us), but don’t ban Golden China Brands [entering this website if you are younger than 21 is unpatriotic, and uncivilized]

l) Smoking doesn’t kill instantly. Just take it easy.

Additional suggestions are welcome, as these deliberations are going on.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Judgment and Civil Society

Israel is “bothered” that the Swedish government has not publicly condemned in Stockholm an article that appeared in the mass-circulation Aftonbladet tabloid on Monday claiming IDF soldiers snatched body organs from dead Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post quotes Rafi Barak, Israel’s foreign ministry senior deputy-director. Sweden’s embassy in Jerusalem had published a statement condemning the article, but Carl Bildt, the country’s foreign minister, said that basic values in society were best protected by free discussion.

When looking for information as to how Donald Boström, the author, backs up his allegations against the Israeli military, I can’t find anything this morning. All I can see is a big controversy between Israel’s government and the Swedish government about the need for or the unconstitutionality of a condemnation of a news article. Plus an editor-in-chief who apparently wants a condemnation of Sweden’s ambassador in Israel, for condemning his paper’s article.

I tend to believe that Bildt is right in not condemning the  article. But Aftonbladet should lay out their evidence for their story – in English, for everyone to judge, not just for people in Sweden. Without that, the paper’s allegations lack substance.

And what if Aftonbladet makes no such detailed case? There’s the problem. In a telephone interview with the Jerusalem Post, Mr Boström, the author, said that he was not trying to take a stand or express an opinion but rather to convey the feelings of the Palestinians with whom he spoke in research for a book in 1992. Research? Which research?

Lena Posner-Kerosi, the president of the official council of Jewish communities in Sweden, wondered why the newspaper, which has an estimated circulation of over 1 million readers daily, would publish Boströms article.

Why? I’m not sure either. But I’m pretty sure that the story sells.

It’s nice that our parliaments in Europe are passing resolutions against anti-semitism. And it’s perfectly alright to defend freedom of speech – it’s actually mandatory for any democrat to do that. But we should also understand that hatred against people for their religion or nationality endangers civil society, no less than attempts to limit freedom of expression.

We don’t need to be judgmental to please Avigdor Lieberman. But we need to be judgmental in our own interest.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Net Nanny: Yes You Can (Stop Farting)

Can't stop farting

Fen Qing: can't stop farting

No unhealthy stuff

Net Nanny: No unhealthy stuff

Dear Nanny,

whenever I get into the society of civilized people, even if only online, I start farting uncontrolledly. What can I do?

Submissively devoted to the way of becoming a civilized patriot:

— Fen Qing


Fen Qing,

getting rid of your bad habits is actually not complicated. It only takes some routine, and a few decisions.

Step One:
Go to – but only ONE MORE TIME -, print his Book of Helpful Help, and start implementing six out of those ten rules in your life (with the exceptions of no’s six, eight, nine, and ten, which are utterly unhealthy bullshit). Then, if you are patient, you will meet and get that girl. She won’t be great, but she’ll be good enough for you.

Step Two:
Never read foreign blogs again afterwards. You will never stop farting in civilized peoples’ company anyway. Not even online. Install Green Dam on your computer and don’t try to cheat. If you are abroad, return to your motherland a.s.a.p.. You’ll never stop farting abroad.

Step Three:
Limit your time online to ninety minutes a day. Otherwise, you will receive re-education on your return to the motherland.

— Net Nanny

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