Posts tagged ‘sex’

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Japan and South Korean Press: some Sex and Radiation

Conventional wisdom has it that there’s a lot of distrust between China and Japan. There’s also a lot of distrust between Japan and Korea (North and South). And there are Chinese-Korean relations (North and South) which aren’t that easy to characterize.

For ordinary people, there seem to be two worlds. There’s the real world, where you meet people – when travelling for work, and when travelling for fun.

And there’s the internet world.

The difference between these two worlds: the internet is highly politicized. That has been true for the printed press, too, but it never seemed to influence people as much as does the online world. Maybe the internet gives people the feeling that they play a role of their own in shaping it. This may actually be true. But the internet is shaping them in turn. When experienced, skilled propagandists and agenda sellers appear on the scene, frequently unrecognized and unrecognizable, chances are that they will manufacture consent or dissent, according to their goals, commercial or political.

Newspaper articles have always angered people, even in pre-digital times. Once in a while, someone would actually put pen or typewriter to paper and write a letter to the editor – in the evening, or whenever he or she found the time. But more frequently, the anger would evaporate within minutes or hours. There would be no visible reader’s reaction.

The internet is quite different. Once people have joined a discussion (which is easy to do), they will stay involved for quite a while, at least mentally.

A dumb headline is enough to create a shitstorm. Try How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation, published by the South Korean publication „Maxim“. According to this report by the Global Post, Korean readers were quick to point [that headline] out as inappropriate given the sensitive nature of Japan’s continuing recovery after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster. But obviously, once someone is offended, this isn’t good enough, and the offended themselves need to speak out, too.

In no uncertain terms

I thought I’d better depict a Caucasian.

But there were messages from the real world, too:

I’m amazed that the mass media is able to link any article to anti-Japanese sentiment, regardless of what the incident is.

What a spoilsport.

Some statistics: the Maxim editor-in-chief reportedly apologized twice. The first apology was – reportedly – widely read as another attack on Japanese dignity, rather than a real apology.

Therefore, a second apology from the editor-in-chief was needed. It still didn’t seem to read like a sincere apology. Hence, it caught more than 130 Japanese comments in one day.

Is that a lot, or is it marginal? The Japanese who wrote those over 130 comments didn’t need to speak or write Korean. Their debate was hosted by the electronic version and the Japanese-language version of the JoonAng Ilbo, one of South Korea’s top three influential newspapers, Japan Today reported on Wednesday.

Was this a worthwhile story? And how many of the Japanese who commented there were actually Japanese women?

Thanks for your time, dear reader.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Behind the Red Door – Sex in China

Red doors are about attracting luck, and when you do an online search about red doors in Chinese – hong men or 红门), you will get tons of fengshui and home-decorating commercial offers to that end. Family happiness is probably as universal a catchword in China as is the pursuit of happiness in America. But here lies the difference: in China, family happiness depends on each and every family member. Red doors may be helpful, but if you, a daughter or son, achieve in contributing to your family’s happiness, or if you inflict pain on your family – your parents especially, but on your grandparents and wider family, too -, will usually depend on the family you are going to build yourself, as a Chinese individual in his or her twenties. It will depend on the wife or husband you are going to marry, and the child you are expected to have.

Mr Wang's REAL life is quite different.

Mr Wang’s REAL life is quite different.

When I started reading Richard Burger‘s debut book, Behind the Red Door – Sex in China, I became aware that I actually knew very little about the topic. I was aware of the pressure on Chinese colleagues of my age to get married and to have children, and I also got impressions on how the terms were being negotiated between children and parents – even marrying a partner from a different province is considered a flaw by some elders. But what makes Burger’s book particularly insightful is a review of how the outer edges of sexual behavior and identity in China “deviate” from family and social norms, and the troubles in coming to terms with these differences – or in living with them without coming to terms with them.

Behind the Red Door begins with a chapter on sex in imperial China, continues with one on dating and marriage (including marriage between Chinese and foreigners), and a chapter on the sex trade. In many ways, the chapter after these, “The Family”, constitutes a hub to everything else. Neither chapter comes without references to the individuals’ families, anyway. Sex workers will rarely let family people know about their business. One may guess that if a family wanted to know, they would know, but that’s not how psychology works. Gays and Lesbians – they are the topic after the chapter on family – rarely come out to their family people. And few transgendered will even apply for a gender-changing operation (let alone get one), because this would leave them without any chance to keep their sexual identities hidden from their families – and those who are looking on, i. e. basically everyone in the wider family, colleagues, the neighborhood, village, or town.

There is one section where Burger interprets the impressions and trends described in the books actual seven chapters: that’s in his parting thoughts, on the last fifteen pages. It’s the weakest part of the book, in that it unintentionally seems to confirm Burger’s own intuition described as early as in the introduction: arriving at a neat conclusion is impossible. But that attempt is an – unintentional, maybe – practical demonstration of just that fact.

The strengths of Behind the Red Door lie in the way it makes China speak from old and contemporary sources. It builds a narration from imperial times, with instances of traditional societal liberalism towards sex that doesn’t only serve procreation but rather seeks pleasure, even among lower classes, to a strongly puritan (Republican, Maoist and Dengist) modernity, and once again to growing relaxation during the most recent decades – even as traditional family values, and party orthodoxy, continue to linger in sometimes unpredictable areas. Behind the Red Door – and this is much more “political” than what I expected to read, discusses links between sexual liberalization and political control, too.

Burger is highly aware of China’s many political and personal realities, and writes in an engaging style. It isn’t only the author himself who speaks to the reader; it’s Chinese individuals just as well – a few out of millions of “ordinary” Chinese men and women of all ages who – willingly or of painful necessity – test the limits of what is “permissible” in terms of sex and in their relationships – people who deal with varying numbers of disintegrating illusions before and after wedlock – and who, in unfortunate cases, arrive at the comprehension that family happiness, “classical” or not, may not come their way.

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Behind the Red Door, by Richard Burger, 2012, at Amazon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

German Blog Review: Is Religion above Democracy?

Asking about the costs a papal visit would cause has been a leitmotif during Pope Benedict XVI‘s visit to Spain in August, and has remained one during his visit to Germany now. What is true is that such a visit does cause costs. But then, every state visit does.

Benedict XVI spoke to the Bundestag on Thursday. There has been an argument about that, too. The Bundestag was being abused by the Vatican and those who had invited the Pope to speak there, writes Almabu, a German blogger, and

protestants, atheists, muslims, and others – who are Germany’s majority, will experience this with astonishment (Protestanten, Atheisten, Moslems und Andere – die zusammen die Mehrheit in Deutschland bilden – werden es mit Befremden erleben…).

I’m a protestant, and an unbelieving one at that – a christian only by denomination. The influence of both the catholic, and the protestant churches, goes to far in my view, given that Germany defines itself as a secular state. The state collects a church tax on the churches’ behalf. Professors of theology can’t teach at German universities without permission from either of the two official churches.  Hans Küng and Uta Ranke-Heinemann were banned from teaching catholic theology – not by their universities, or by a court decision, but by the Vatican.

But that doesn’t seem to be the current protesters’ main concern. Child abuse in religious – and especially catholic – organizations are a topic. Papal opposition to “gay marriage” is, too. So is the Pope’s conservative attitude towards “unity among christians”, or ecumenism. But then, catholicism and protestantism are two  different concepts after all.

Maybe I’d be opposed to the Pope’s visit if I were a believing christian, and especially if I were catholic. Maybe. I know catholics who are struggling to make their voices heard within their church, and who argue that the catholic church needed to become more democratic, or at least more presbyterian (if that’s the accurate nomenclature).

So, talk may be cheap. I’m not catholic. But I’m a citizen of this republic, and I see no problem with the Pope speaking to the Bundestag. He spoke to Parliament as a fellow German, but above all, he stated his concept of the foundations of a free state of law (die Grundlagen des freiheitlichen Rechtsstaats). He may be dead-wrong, but he has earned himself the position to speak, through a long life of ardent and productive research and thought. As long as he doesn’t exceed the constitutional limits, why should his speech to the Bundestag be a problem? He wasn’t legislating – he was presenting his views.

Would he like to legislate, instead of elected lawmakers? Who can tell? I can’t. What I can tell is that I’m sometimes listening when the Pope speaks – for my information, not for guidance. I do believe that he is a man of great knowledge, even if not necessarily a man of wisdom. He’s dogmatic. Dogmatism may limit, but doesn’t seem to bar thought – much of what theologians write is actually very carefully thought.

The Pope, in his speech to the Bundestag, was aware that he wasn’t talking to a merely christian parliament. “How do we recognize what is right?”, he asked (rhetorically), and answered his own question:

In history, systems of law have almost always been based on religion: decisions regarding what was to be lawful among men were taken with reference to the divinity. Unlike other great religions, Christianity has never proposed a revealed body of law to the State and to society, that is to say a juridical order derived from revelation. Instead, it has pointed to nature and reason as the true sources of law – and to the harmony of objective and subjective reason, which naturally presupposes that both spheres are rooted in the creative reason of God.

[…]

For the development of law and for the development of humanity, it was highly significant that Christian theologians aligned themselves against the religious law associated with polytheism and on the side of philosophy, and that they acknowledged reason and nature in their interrelation as the universally valid source of law. This step had already been taken by Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans, when he said: “When Gentiles who have not the Law [the Torah of Israel] do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves … they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness …” (Rom 2:14f.).

But while most of the matters that need to be regulated by law, the support of the majority can serve as a sufficient criterion, it was evident that for the fundamental issues of law, in which the dignity of man and of humanity is at stake, the majority principle is not enough: everyone in a position of responsibility must personally seek out the criteria to be followed when framing laws.

Natural law, which helped to understand what is right or wrong, is no specifically catholic concept, according to the Pope.

But probably, there had been attempts to incorporate natural law into Christianity. It would be surprising if the Pope didn’t think of natural law as something within catholic teachings – the latter of which would supersede all other teachings, in his view.

Maybe it’s that suspicion (it’s certainly a suspicion I do feel myself) which drives oppostion against the papal visit to Germany in general, and his opportunity to speak to our elected representatives in particular.

But it makes no difference, as long as the law prevails. Besides, there would only be few people in this country, given our history, who would doubt that under certain circumstances, the state and its law must be opposed, not supported.

If or when such a situation would arise will be judged differently by different people. The Pope‘s criteria may not be my criteria. But when reading what he said as a cardinal, in 1996, about relativism, it seems to strike a chord here:

A system of freedom ought to be essentially a system of positions that are connected with one another because they are relative as well as being dependent on historical situations open to new developments. Therefore, a liberal society would be a relativist society: Only with that condition could it continue to be free and open to the future.

In the area of politics, this concept is considerably right. There is no one correct political opinion. What is relative—the building up of liberally ordained coexistence between people—cannot be something absolute. Thinking in this way was precisely the error of Marxism and the political theologies.

However, with total relativism, everything in the political area cannot be achieved either. There are injustices that will never turn into just things (such as, for example, killing an innocent person, denying an individual or groups the right to their dignity or to life corresponding to that dignity) while, on the other hand, there are just things that can never be unjust.

Indeed, writes Alan Posener, a British-German blogger,

democracy is, if you like, the “dictatorship of relativism”. Those who stand up for democracy advocates that every opinion may be voiced, and that all kinds of [political] parties strive for state power. No hate speech is allowed, no calls for violence, but basically, everything else is permitted. What is not permitted is to put an end to this relativism, the abolition of the rules of democratic practice. A party with the declared goal to bar other parties’ access to power or to ban free expression of opinion must not stand for election, not even if – and especially not if – they have a majority behind them. What democrats do not want is a dictatorship of truth – no matter if that is a minority’s or a majority’s truth.

But that’s what Benedict wants.*)

Is it? Posener quotes several very unpleasant – if quoted correctly – lines from the Pope, spoken in 2004, when the Pope was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I’m not sure, however, if Ratzinger, in 2004, really said that the West needed to ask itself if “European secularization wasn’t an exception which needed correction” (“ob die „europäische Säkularisierung ein Sonderweg sei, der einer Korrektur bedürfe” – that’s how Posener quotes him). According to Massimo Rosati, in Ritual and the Sacred, 2009, it was actually Jürgen Habermas, in a debate with the Pope, who

reminded us how, seen from Tehran, secularization in Europe, if compared with other socio-cultural contexts, appears an exception in need of correction.

Ratzinger however

had emphasized, on the one hand, how secularized Europe cannot reasonably think of herself as a model for other countries, how her particularistic self-representation cannot aspire to being an exemplary value, and, on the other hand, how this self-representation is not truly authentic even with reference to European history and culture [footnotes omitted].

Thomas Assheuer, a correspondent of German weekly Die Zeit, who listened to Habermas’ and Ratzinger’s debate in 2004, couldn’t tell if Ratzinger had claimed, for religion, the role of an usher which would supersede democracy, or one as a corrective. The Pope is trying to influence the public – the German public, the Italian public, the global public. But so is every Confucius Institute. The issue is if either of them wants to impose dictatorship upon Germany. (If either the Confucius Institutes, or the religious organizations, should play a role in our educational system, would be a different question.)

If the Pope is indeed as dangerous as he is portrayed to be by many of his opponents, blogposts like Posener’s (and many other critics) won’t cut. For sure, this is a country where the Pope’s views can be read, quoted from, and be challenged.

But before he can be challenged (or even quoted, for that matter), he must be read. Closely.

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Note

*) Tatsächlich ist die Demokratie, wenn man so will, die Diktatur des Relativismus. Wer für die Demokratie eintritt, setzt sich dafür ein, dass jede Meinung geäußert werden darf und dass sich alle möglichen Parteien um die Macht im Staat streiten. Man darf keine Hassreden schwingen und nicht zu Gewalt aufrufen, aber sonst ist so ziemlich alles erlaubt. Was nicht erlaubt ist, das ist die Beendigung dieses Relativismus, die Aufhebung der Spielregeln der Demokratie. Eine Partei, die das erklärte Ziel hat, den anderen Parteien den Zugang zur Macht zu verbieten oder die freie Meinungsäußerung zu unterbinden, darf nicht kandidieren, selbst wenn – ja gerade wenn – die Mehrheit hinter ihr steht. Was Demokraten nicht wollen, ist die Diktatur der Wahrheit. Egal ob das die Wahrheit einer Minderheit oder die einer Mehrheit ist.

Die will aber Benedikt.

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Related

» The Art of Happiness, December 9, 2008

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Religious Affairs: Kung Fu, not Sex

Xinhua — A State Bureau of Religious Affairs official has condemned rumors that Shaolin Temple abbot Shi Yongxin (释永信) were embroiled in a sex scandal and a corresponding legal case. Suggestions made on the internet that the abbot had been arrested for using the service of prostitutes were rumors which adversely affected to the image of Buddhism and Shaolin Temple, which was very sad. Such rumors should not be believed, not be spread, and religious personalities should be respected, state newsagency Xinhua quoted the Bureau on Saturday.

Being the abbot of Shaolin Temple, Shi also belongs to China’s political establishment. He was a member of the Ninth National People’s Congress, and is or was chairman of the Henan Province Buddhists Association, and vice Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China.

Shaolin Temple had denied prostitution allegations in a post on its website on May 8, reacting to posts on Weibo (微博, or other microblogging platforms).

Shi’s name can frequently be found on the internet, connected with sonorous car brands. He has been criticized for commercializing the Temple.

There will be Traditionalists and earthly-minded people alike who feel inclined to believe in the recent rumors, as a popular picture about a Buddhist monk is about lazy fat people in robes and living on the alms of working people, who still wouldn’t deny themselves the joys this side of the cupboard has to offer.

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Related
» China’s Golden Vase of National Unity, Dec 26, 2010

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Net Nanny: Every Joke they Make

Only hours ago, I overheard a very strange remark by a comrade who is an online listener to a British radio station: “The theme tune of The Archers reminds me of  Monty Python.”

Now, Monty Python is a British dancing troupe with a decadent kind of “humor”. Of course it doesn’t matter, because The Archers is nothing serious, but  just a decadent soap opera without inspiring heros. Soap operas should have remained banned in our country, but unfortunately, they are no longer banned because Comrade Mingzhao is a wussy.

Up with People: Net Nanny and the Sacred-Motherland Dragonfly Choir

Up with People: Net Nanny and the Sacred-Motherland Dragonfly Choir

We have seen the consequences. Our teenagers have become addicted to shallow stuff which doesn’t create the right political attitudes. Soap operas which promote decadent luxurious lives and worship money send a very wrong message to our underlings. Only good cadres can handle luxury and money, and good cadres, not their money, should be worshipped.  The lame excuses a Taiwanese producer made, at a time when the renegade province was led by even more renegade people than now, is still worse. That retard suggested that

the series sets out to encourage young people to search for ‘true love’ and to remind them that power and money will never buy happiness.

Happiness isn’t important, and love? Love for what? This stuff is lacking definition, but it seems to refer to love between individuals which involves sex! Same as The Archers. Romances! And

Kenton Archer gets some stick for attempting to control Jolene.

Caroline Sterling gets plenty of sympathy from listeners

Caroline Sterling gets plenty of sympathy from listeners

Obviously, as this is a decadent soap, it has to wrongly suggest that control would be wrong. This kind of stuff alone is designed to sow discord within society. Historic soaps can also be problematic, because they may stir mislead feelings, and romantic concepts of so-called “justice”, but they aren’t quite as bad as The Archers or Meteor Garden because at least, only the imperial court and its serfs – although the imperial court wasn’t only bad, and we must emphasize its positive aspects, too – are shown in their decadence, as a shocking example what happens without correct guidance.

I encourage all comrades to lead by example and to listen to songs which show love for the motherland, and vigilance against imperialist foreign forces, at least once a week. Those of you who cadres who confiscate the MP3 players of their daughters and then secretly listen to them yourselves must stop this degenerating habit.

We have seen the corrosive effect of so-called “humor” on Western societies. Western politicians already hate us because our people aren’t as self-indulgent as theirs, because at least we do plan our radio and television programs, and don’t simply leave it all to the sleazy desires of the small people. Even the British prime minister had a hunch of that recently. But of course, his judgment is clouded with liberalism, because his road isn’t that of socialism with characteristics. A “much more active, muscular liberalism” – hehe. Liberalism per se spells indifference for the motherland. And now they try to use Monty Python and Mr. Bean as Trojan horses in their cultural-hegemony schemes  to drag China down to their own level!

I encourage all comrades to go to the revolutionary opera more frequently again. The Me-and-my-Heavy-Machine-Gun dance is a recommendable production from a truly friendly brotherland which adheres to socialism, even if with some remaining feudal, rather than Chinese, characteristics. To listen to choirs singing patriotic songs is very inspiring, too.

让世界知道我们都是中国人

让世界知道我们都是中国人

And if you think you absolutely have to, just go and watch that German “Enlightenment” show at the National Museum. At least, it isn’t dangerous, because it isn’t meant to be fun. It’s mostly about old furniture, and “Enlightenment” can only corrode foreign societies. Science will strengthen ours.

Shikezhunbeizhe!
Net Nanny

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Related
Charlie Sheen is not Filial, Global Times, March 7, 2011

Update/Related
[added 2011-04-24] We can Stop the Music, October 20, 2008

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All You Can Eat

Urban Dictionary: "Going Forward"

Urban Dictionary: "Going Forward"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You are Quite Probably a Fenqing, …

rainy weekend

... if your weekend sucks, just "because the weather is so bad"

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Related
Yes you can (stop farting), August 20, 2009

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Phrasebook: zhū bā jiè dào dǎ yī pá

猪 八 戒 倒 打 一 耙。

Zhū Bājiè dào dǎ yī pá

猪: pig

八戒: eight buddhist precepts

倒打: to beat / strike back

耙: a rake (here: a Nine-Tooth Spike-Rake (九齒釘耙, Jiǔ chǐ dīngpá)

To shift the blame / ones own guilt or responsibility on to the accusant.
To make a baseless counter-allegation or recrimination.

While Sun Wukong (孫悟空), one of the three disciples to Xuanzang, is an amiable character in The Journey to the West (西遊記), Zhu Bajie (猪八戒), another disciple, is too driven by his basic instincts to be likable. When Zhu Bajie is waving his nine-toothed rake around for a fight (dào dǎ yī pá), his motives may not be as noble as pretended.

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Previous Phrasebook Entry: qián néng bǎipíng yīqiè, May 25, 2010

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