Posts tagged ‘修养’

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bill Clinton: Don’t Stop Thinking of Tomorrow

Campaign speeches that ought to be watched and read are rare, but here is one. Bill Clinton is proud of his country’s “liberal”, “conservative”, and bi-partisan achievements alike, and he has a message for Republicans who purge Republican politicians who might be prepared to cooperate on crucial issues:

Democracy doesn’t have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest.

The central message was his endorsement for president Obama. But to me as an outsider, Clinton’s remarks about democracy are important.

His speech also seemed to explain why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan couldn’t really take off in the opinion polls after Republican convention in Tampa. It probably wasn’t because people “didn’t get to know Romney personally” – it was because they didn’t get to know from Tampa what Romney/Ryan actually intend to do.

Can’t judge if Clinton fills the gaps – left open by the Republicans – accurately. But he seems to make sense of them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Message from Chen Guangcheng …

… to Wen Jiabao, after escaping from “house arrest” at his home in Dongshigu, Shandong Province.

Hat tip to FOARP.



» Chen’s family under attack, BBC, April 27, 2012
» What is Power, January 9, 2012


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Public Diplomacy: Teaching without Saying Anything

We really have to pay tribute to Willis Conover, because later, I found out that he had to really fight for the integrity of his program, for the pureness of it. And also later I found out that there were many, many occasions when someone tried to push into his programs what he didn’t consider jazz, what’s not up to the standard. And only then I realized, Jesus, if not for Willis Conover, we would probably have been listening to some nonsense …

Valery Ponomarev, a jazz messenger from Russia, quoted in a Lincoln Center documentary – podcast here (published 3/6/12); a directory of all podcasts here.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.



» Deutsche Welle Link Collection, Febr 3, 2012
» Noise doesn’t spell Strength, April 7, 2010
» Inherited records, Sign & Sight, Aug 15, 2007

Saturday, January 14, 2012

There’s Power in Opposition, too: Tsai Ing-wen’s Concession Speech

Tsai Ing-wen's concession speech, January 14, 2012

You may be sad, but don’t give up. (Click picture for video)

In today’s 2012 presidential elections, we concede, and we want to accept the decision the people of Taiwan have made in these elections, and we offer our deepest apologies. We congratulate president Ma Ying-jeou. We hope that in the coming four years, he will listen to the voice of the people, that he will govern with all his attention, will take care of each of the people, and that he will not disappoint the people’s expectations.


I know how everyone feels now. Today, I believe, many people believed in a victory, but the reality is not as we would have wished. But we need to remain strong. We are the Democratic Progressive Party, and when facing setbacks in the past, we never gave up. We haven’t done that in the past, and we won’t do that today.


Four years ago, we were disappointed, too. We clamped our teeth together, the party stood united, and we moved forward, step by step.


This result is saddening, but there was nothing to our name: we relied on small funding, and we established a new political model. The political position we put forward will play a key role in Taiwan’s future development.


Although there is no way that we will govern, that we would turn our ideals into reality, this doesn’t mean that there is no power in opposition. Taiwan must not be without oppositional voices, and it must not be without checks and balances. I believe that as long as you stand behind us and support us, as long as you continue to give us support and inducement, there will be a future for us. Next time, we will make that final mile.


The DPP’s transformation and reform continues. We will continue to stand on the side of the vulnerable, we adhere to reasonable policies, and to rely on small fundraising, rather than on big business. That’s how we will continue, and one day, we will win the trust of the people’s majority. This road has become longer than we imagined, and we can still do better. The DPP will face today’s results, conscientiously review them, and use them to be watchful.


I bear responsibility for defeat. I resign as the DPP’s chairperson. I believe that the next party leader will keep continuing the DPP’s reform and transformation, and lead everyone further.


Finally, Tsai Ing-wen wants to thank everyone who went along with her. These four years were a really good journey, we fought side by side, and I feel that you haven’t only voted for me, but that you have been my best companions.


Tonight, I believe, we are all very sad. You may cry, but don’t lose heart. You may be sad, but don’t give up. Let’s remain the way we have been for the past four years: brave, and full of hope. Because we must assume our responsibilities bravely, we must continue to work hard for this land of Taiwan. No matter where we stand, this country needs our continued love and care.


Dear people of Taiwan: one day, we will come back. To have supported the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen on this day in 2012, I believe, has beeen a matter of pride. With our heads high, we continue our path with courage. Thank you all. My heart will always be with the people of Taiwan.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Obituary: Vaclav Havel, 1936 – 2011

Vaclav Havel,  the playwright, essayist, dissident and politician, died in the night on Sunday, reportedly in his sleep, and tended to by his wife Dagmar, reports Radio Prague.  In another article, Radio Prague describes Havel’s career as a playwright – despite having been barred from formal college humanities education by the Communist regime -, and as a dissident. In the 1990s, he served as Czechoslovakia’s last, and as the Czech Republic’s first president.

Chinese media are only slowly reacting, possibly given the time of day when news about Havel’s death broke, but IFeng (Phoenix, Hong Kong) provides a historical photo timeline, and republished IFeng’s piece, also today. (As is custom in Chinese, his age is stated as 76 there, counting his day of birth as his first birthday.) There was nothing to be found online on Xinhua Net in Chinese by 15:30 GMT , but Xinhua’s English outlet carries a short news article.

Another short note was available on CNTV, but has apparently since been removed or relocated.

China’s media didn’t seem to have a pre-prepared obituary in store for Havel – and to describe his life is probably a challenge in China. Not only was Havel a dissident – he kept practicing solidarity with dissidents elsewhere, after Czechoslovakia became a free society. In his last public appearance, early last week, he met with the Dalai Lama, who reportedly asked him to live at least another ten years.

Woeser learned about Havel’s death from Twitter, and wrote about her feelings on her blog. From her message to the Czech Republic’s embassy in Beijing [links within added during translation]:

I’m deeply saddened to learn about Mr. Havel’s passing.


I’m Tibetan, an independent author, and have always seen Mr. Havel as a spiritual guide, feeling uplifted from reading his works.


As a Tibetan, I’m deeply grateful for Mr. Havel’s attention for the Tibetan issue and Tibet’s predicament. I remember him saying that only after visiting Tibet and Taiwan, he would visit Beijing. This meaningful line is something we won’t forget.


Eight days ago, on “World Human Rights Day”, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, arrived in the Czech Republic, on Havel’s invitation. I saw several photos of His Holiness and Mr. Havel on the internet, and I felt deeply moved.


On one of the photos, I saw His Holiness express his deep respect for Mr. Havel,  on a second photo, I saw the deep friendship between the two great men, and seeing the walking stick on the third photo, I felt astonished – I had never thought of him as an old man, or even about his health…


Following Tibetan tradition, I have lighted a memorial candle for Mr. Havel, in front of my household’s Buddhist shrine, and I sincerely pray that he will be born again – this world needs him!


Thank you!

唯色(Tsering Woeser)

Beijing, December 18, 2011

I never read Havel’s works, but I did read some of his essays. In the 1980s, probably in a book published by Freimut Duve, I found this essay – in German, that is:

One legacy of that original “correct” understanding is a third peculiarity that makes our systems different from other modern dictatorships: it commands an incomparably more precise, logically structured, generally comprehensible and, in essence, extremely flexible ideology that, in its elaborateness and completeness, is almost a secularized religion. […]  To wandering humankind it offers an immediately available home: all one has to do is accept it, and suddenly everything becomes clear once more, life takes on new meaning, and all mysteries, unanswered questions, anxiety, and loneliness vanish. Of course, one pays dearly for this low-rent home: the price is abdication of one’ s own reason, conscience, and responsibility, for an essential aspect of this ideology is the consignment of reason and conscience to a higher authority.

I read this when I was a teenager, and it came to my mind right away when I heard of Vaclav Havel’s death, earlier today. I don’t feel in a position to juge if he was one of “Europe’s  great thinkers”, but it doesn’t matter to me anyway. Reading his essay had a profound impact on me. Havel discussed what we might call “abstract” issues in a way even an adolescent like me, lucky enough to live west of the iron curtain back then, would bear in mind, and gradually understand, almost without re-reading.



Dauernde Vergewaltigung der Gesellschaft, Vaclav Havel, January 1980


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Obituary: Yelena Bonner, 1923 – 2011

Yelena Bonner, née Lusik Georgievna Alikhanova, an Armenian-Jewish USSR citizen and then a Russian citizen, died in Boston on June 18, 2011, after a heart attack. Her father and one of her uncles were killed during Stalin’s “Great Purge“. Her mother served a term in a labor camp, and lived in internal exile afterwards.

Decades after, Bonner and her husband Andrei Sakharov would live in internal exile, too, in Gorky, from 1980 to 1986. Bonner was a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, together with Yury Orlov (who was the  first head of the group), Ludmila Alexeeva, Mikhail Bernshtam, Alexander Ginzburg, Pyotr Grigorenko, Alexander Korchak, Malva Landa, Anatoly Marchenko, Vitaly Rubin, and Anatoly Shcharansky. During world war 2, she volunteered as a nurse with the Red Army and was wounded, Russland Aktuell wrote on Monday. Her eyesight had been impaired ever since.

EU Parliament president Jerzy Buzek said that

Elena Bonner fought fiercely for the rights of the individual and family of every ethnic group and every state. She witnessed and influenced the 20th century. Along with her husband, scientist and human rights defender Andrei Sakharov, she gave hope to the people in desperate need for freedom and justice.

During Sakharov’s internal exile in Gorky, Bonner was his only contact to the outside world, Dutch evening paper NRC Handelsblad wrote last Sunday, quoting  memories of one of its former correspondents. She travelled to Moscow once every six weeks, smuggled his memoirs abroad (the script had twice been stolen by the KGB), gave press conferences, and kept calling on relatives.

Theirs was a joint cause, the Economist writes this week:

he radiating quiet composure, she nervy, passionate, sucking on cigarettes while she talked; he abstracted, lost in his writing, while she made jam, stewed chicken, washed floors and organised dissent, a “doer” always.

He went on hunger strike for her, at last persuading the authorities to let her go abroad for medical treatment. While there, in 1975, she collected his Nobel peace prize and delivered his speech for him.

Bonner wouldn’t compromise in the 1990s either. Gregor Ziolkowski, a Berliner Zeitung correspondent at the time, described his impressions in October 1995, after listening to a discussion between Bonner and former German television correspondent Gerd Ruge.

Nobody would manage to turn her into a hypocrite in her late years either, wrote Ziolkowski, and therefore,

she talks Turkey: about “democrats” only attracted to their booties, about intellectuals who try to be close to the powerful, and communists who strive for enrichment.

But then comes a surprising turning point. Somehow, the whole misery begins to look like the prerequisite for hope. The dilemma of disillusionment can be a healing thing. And therefore, she sees potential for the better right in those young people who reject the political circus, because they see through the lies. Only once, she gets vocal, and you sense the civil rights activist’s verve: “With the Chechen war, we have left a magic circle, and the West, by virtually tolerating it, has become complicit.”


» Vitaly A. Rubin (1976): Thoughts do not Die, Nov 29, 2008


Monday, May 9, 2011

Si je Puis m’exprimer Ainsi…

And now for something completely different – yesterday was the 108th birthday of Fernand Contandin, aka Fernandel. Yesterday would have been his 108th birthday.

Le visage ne va pas avec la voix, mais si seulement je pourrais m’exprimer ainsi. They don’t make such guys at American Hero.

One of his movies was Topazewritten and directed by Marcel Pagnol.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Obituary: Andrew Hao Jinli, 1916 – 2011

Bishop Andrew Hao Jinli (郝進禮) of Xiwanzi (西湾子), northern Hebei province, died at Gonghui village church at the age of 95, on March 9, 2011, UCAN (Union of Catholic Asian News) reported one day later. Bishop Hao was faithful to the Pope, Vatican Radio noted in its obituary, which means that he was an “underground” bishop, not recognized by the CCP, which established the  Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (中国天主教爱国会) in 1957, under the Religious Affairs Bureau’s supervision.

The UCAN article’s last four paragraphs give a short account of Bishop Hao’s life.

Hao was born on November 30, 1916. Radio Veritas‘ Taiwan edition wrote last Tuesday that he didn’t live in Xiwanzi, but used to celebrate mass with some 2,000 faithful in Zhangbei County‘s Gonghui town (公会镇, referred to as “village” by the UCAN article quoted above) parish church. Gonghui was reportedly the place where he was sent for “reform through labor”, and where he worked as a parish priest after his release in 1981.

His funeral was held on March 17, Radio Veritas reported. The radio station also cited some statistics, according to which there are currently 35,500 Roman Catholics in the diocese of  Xiwanzi / Chongli County (崇礼县), with 20 priests, and 28 nuns.

Little appears to be known about Bishop Hao’s death and funeral, except that there was a priest at his bedside when he died. According to unnamed sources qoted by Radio Veritas, Hao had been refused hospital treatment, and access to Gonghui Town had been barred for people who wanted to pay a visit.


How Secular is the Chinese State, February 25, 2011
Science in Action: China’s Golden Vase of National Unity, December 26, 2010
We-Can-Stop-the-Music, October 20, 2008

%d bloggers like this: