The glorious beauty of Dali

Please take a look through the set of photos my friend Ben took on his recent trip to Dali, one of my favorite cities in all China. What is it about Yunnan that makes life so peaceful?

This is an open thread.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 100 Comments

Oh goodness. Now you’ve gone and made me homesick :)

January 28, 2012 @ 7:23 am | Comment

And let’s face it, Yunnan is home.

January 28, 2012 @ 7:29 am | Comment

I visited Yunnan in 2002/2003, but didn’t go to Dali. Seems like a big mistake!

January 28, 2012 @ 9:41 am | Comment

Yunnan literally means “beyond the clouds” for a reason ;) (ok it more literally is south of the clouds but the more artistic explaination is legit too)

January 28, 2012 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

Dali is really nice!

January 28, 2012 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

went there 11 years ago, am sure it is different….

I like Yunnan because of these guys

Song of the Article

Shanren
-30 Years

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nh4fM4_xns

keep it real
keep it red
wumaodang

8:50ish pm in china

January 28, 2012 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

I like the pictures very much, maybe I will visit this place too.

January 29, 2012 @ 1:58 am | Comment

sorry to be off topic…but now mainlanders are urinating onboard MTR trains, caught red-handed! (photo on the story is checkered out, for the weenie.)

http://the-sun.on.cc/cnt/news/20120129/00407_039.html

what’s next, defecating on MTR trains???

January 29, 2012 @ 10:26 am | Comment

This is appalling. Even the Mongols drew the line at this sort of stuff.

Hong Kong comes of age.

January 29, 2012 @ 1:09 pm | Comment

IMHO, the incidents themself are overblown… though the reaction of certain mainlanders to the outrage is the bigger problem…

January 29, 2012 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

@nulle

lol, when u gotta go u gotta go

January 29, 2012 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

once at macao i saw this dude taking a leak on the street in front of a cop and the cop just kindda shook his head and walked away. in response to the increasing tourists, both hk and macao can hire more cleaning crews, at the same time, boost employment.

January 29, 2012 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

That guy looks more drunk than anything.

January 30, 2012 @ 4:29 am | Comment

@rollingwave,
overblown? maybe. However these rounds of p–sing match started with not allowing people photographing some rich corrupt mainland CCP official caught shopping at a D&G.

what do you think if some mainlander defecate indoors in public at a mall near(or in front of) you? This has happened in malls in TST where mainlanders known to venture.

@Leonides
sad but true…even with bad bladder but still there are other ways around it especially this day and age (like into a bottle, plastic bag, etc.)

———
I would like fines for (MTR) violations like urinating/defecating/smoking(/eating) being fined on the spot for 10000 HKD dollars or subjected to 2 days in jail. all violations require clear photographic evidence and MTR should seriously step up monitoring in its stations/trains. no appeals.

The money goes to hiring more cleaners/workers. as an alternative, you can make cleaners/workers work at min wage AND they get to keep 50% of the fines generated (% can be lower, but make it enough to motivate them.)

January 30, 2012 @ 6:15 am | Comment

Sorry to sound like MT here, but basically this HK backlash isn’t too diferent to Taiwan comment circa 1945.

January 30, 2012 @ 6:43 am | Comment

@FOARP,
I would love PRC to invade Taiwan, then PRC can be legally ‘microwaved’ back to the stone age.

@all,
Guess what, I spoke too soon…mainland chinese defecating red-handed on MTR trains at 8 in the weekday morning (and on public streets!)

Posted on TST, “Hong Kong Dogs, without us mainlanders, HK would not be so famous…Going against us, hope you 7 million HKers all die ASAP.”

http://the-sun.on.cc/cnt/news/20120130/00407_056.html
http://the-sun.on.cc/cnt/news/20120130/00407_057.html

Mainland chinese deliberately eating lunchboxes on MTR
http://the-sun.on.cc/cnt/news/20120130/00407_058.html

January 30, 2012 @ 7:09 am | Comment

I want to make it clear to readers that the majority of mainland Chinese do not defecate in the subway. We can point to a lot of disgusting things that others do, like urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban soldiers. Yes, many Chinese have a learning curve when it come to etiquette, but that’s to be expected, and I don’t want us to stereotype the Chinese.

January 30, 2012 @ 7:33 am | Comment

@nulle

look at the bright side, at least they had the decency to do it into a container and on newspaper. just for your amusement, a few years back when i was in GZ i was eating at this food court in a mall in Tianhe and the family sharing table with me had their 3 yr old defecating onto the food tray they were done with. and there went my appetite. but hey, i was the tourist. can’t complain.

January 30, 2012 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

once at 3am me and my friend were done at a strip club in san francisco and as we were walking across chinatown towards the parking lot, we had to go. then we saw this portable restroom unit sitting at the end of this dark alley. i decided to urinate onto the side of the unit as my friend urinated at its front door. as we walked away, a mid-age chinese guy walked out of the unit. oops.

January 30, 2012 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

@17 Richard

Not all American soldiers piss on dead bodies of Taliban. Though I have no problem with it. After all, they (Taliban) were trying to kill the guys emptying their bladders on them. Because, perhaps, there is nothing to bring home as a souvenir but a pocket filled with sand. By the way, let’s not stereotype all American military personnel.

If you (not Richard) are too ignorant to understand why these events occur in China, and they offend you, than you really are a dumb laowai. Sanitation, personal improvements inside and outside the home are slowing creeping across the land – I see less and less of this activity each year.

January 30, 2012 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Not all American soldiers piss on dead bodies of Taliban.

Of course not. And not all Chinese do things we commented on above. I don’t like stereotyping.

Though I have no problem with it. After all, they (Taliban) were trying to kill the guys emptying their bladders on them.

If you have no problem with it, then you are tolerant of US Marines sinking to the level of the enemy. It was a disaster for our relationship with the Afghan government. It was stupid and destructive. We are there to win hearts and minds. It goes against the code of being a Marine.

January 31, 2012 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Richard, in war there there is only one code. Stay alive.

Further, “we are there to win hearts and minds.” Are you serious? The Afghan government (Hamid Karzai)is administering to a bunch of thieves. More politics than war.

When a soldier is on patrol, surprised and attacked by the enemy, does he stop to think that something he does might be found out and reported to the press. Remember guys, attack and kill sanitarily?

The only thing “stupid” about their act was they filmed it and showed it. One must realize that the military is comprised mostly of teenagers and young adults (volunteers all) They don’t have the sophistication to realize the consequences and inappropriateness of their acts.

Old men talk and young men die.

January 31, 2012 @ 2:11 am | Comment

Yeah, the only way they could stay alive was urinating on dead bodies. Whatever.

January 31, 2012 @ 2:21 am | Comment

Richard, surely you can come up with something better than that? How does Israel treat dead and/or captured Palestinians? You really have a thorough grasp of men and war. You’re sitting at home on your ass watching TV and you have the audacity and immodesty to judge men in combat!

January 31, 2012 @ 4:22 am | Comment

@Leonides,
I expect a certain level of grit when it comes to China in terms of people urinating and defecating in the sides of alleys. But it is now rare for people to do their business in public view in the middle of busy street, indoor mall, or subways. I expect these acts the more I head to rural areas, but not in GZ.

There are restrooms in every restaurant these days in GZ and people doesn’t need to defecate on the food or on the street. Even that goes against the grain of people in GZ (curious if what you stated are rural people?)

But in HK, having a mother telling their children to defecate on subways and in public takes it to a different level (again the restrooms are in every restaurant, shop, etc.) how would you like it when someone left you a ‘present’ in front of your doorstep or in your local supermarket/grocery store?

I will gave people some slack when they are drunk or high on drugs (exception: criminal acts).

@richard,
I expect a learning curve from the mainland also…but it is now a decade and change and I guess mainland society are learning impaired since these things are still happening (and in more frequency and now spreading to Africa) There are now websites and blogs tracking how the mainland society is ‘learning’

I am NOT painting the society based on actions of the few…but the occurance of bad behavior in Asia/Africa region plus what I see bad behavior everyday of mainland people is slowly makes me doubt whether mainland chinese society can even be civil, much less be a part of world society.

January 31, 2012 @ 4:40 am | Comment

@Nulle Just leave Africa out of it as you continue to reiterate your point.
Africa has given music to the world, unlike the Han descendency which has produced exactly zero, irrespective of location.

Why get exercised by a couple of Pashtun covered in urine. Given the truly despicable way they treat their women and children, they should all be sent to the hereafter covered in pigs blood or exposed to vultures. The Taliban et al are basically a human mal-virus, who really do disgrace the past greatness of Islamic culture.

Let skip all the PC nonsense.

January 31, 2012 @ 5:08 am | Comment

I like the likening of the Taliban to a virus. I recall another man who liked to use the virus-bacillus analogy.

Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst.

I think we all know who said that. Once you compare people to bacteria, to a virus, to vermin, it means you believe they should be wiped out, exterminated.

William, you’ve sunk to the same level as the Taliban, who are intent on wiping out non-Muslims, seeing them (us) as a virus, just as you see them. Same thing. Supposedly we are more educated and developed and humane than the enemy. I know the horror and the hell of war. I also know that we are ostensibly in Afghanistan now to restore peace and order. What these Marines did set us back, no doubt generating an invigorated wave of violence and hatred against our tropps. Stand up for them if you want; the Marines themselves are appalled at an action that can only create woe for those fighting there.

I don’t want to debate this anymore, so please move on. The joys of having your own blog is you can have the last word.

January 31, 2012 @ 8:29 am | Comment

Amazing. A nice post with great pix on Dali and Yunnan province yet after seven comments it goes completely off topic. That is very disrespectful to the blog author. Can’t you just save it for an open thread? Must everyone and everything always conform to a stereotype? If China is so disgusting, why do some of you live there? Seems like a strange choice to live in a city or country that you find revolting.

I rarely came across people urinating on the street and never in a subway. As Richard wrote, some people make it sound like they see this on a daily basis. And tell me, what’s the difference between a little kid’s poop in China or a dog’s poop in the western world? I’d be willing to bet there’s more of it from dogs over here than from little kids over there. Why is one worse than another?

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

What is it about Yunnan that makes life so peaceful? Could it be that the mountains are high and the emperor is far away? ;)

January 31, 2012 @ 9:24 am | Comment

Steve, while I agree with you, this IS an open thread. That doesn’t excuse dumb comments, of course.

January 31, 2012 @ 9:51 am | Comment

@ Nuelle, your just not old enough to remember when Hong Kong folks were not that much from the folks of China today, there was a time like that and it was not nearly as long ago as you would guess.

Having said that , the main difference is that in the days when folks in Taiwan and HK were like that, they didn’t have idiots that think they rule to world. (aka a certain Beijing U Professor and folks like him)

January 31, 2012 @ 10:34 am | Comment

I was amazed and shocked at how much dog poop was littered on the streets of Paris. At least I assumed it was dog poop. As Steve suggests, can’t really tell the difference unless you’re watching it live.

January 31, 2012 @ 10:57 am | Comment

Oops, this IS an open thread, missed that part. Apology offered to all!

January 31, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

to all, I need to **amend** my previous comment. I apologize if my any offence of the original comment.

@richard,
I expect a learning curve from the mainland also…but it is now a decade and change and I guess mainland society are learning impaired since these things are still happening (and in more frequency and now ***mainland chinese*** spreading to Africa) There are now websites and blogs tracking how the mainland society is ‘learning’

I am NOT painting the society based on actions of the few…but the occurance of bad behavior ***of mainland chinese*** in Asia/Africa region plus what I see bad behavior everyday of mainland people is slowly makes me doubt whether mainland chinese society can even be civil, much less be a part of world society.

@Rollingwave,
I wasn’t there then…but I heard my share of stories in HK when China in the Cultural Revolution where everyone in China run for Hong Kong for survival. I know aobut the brutality of the CCP rivals today’s brutality (albeit secret) compared to Ching/Jing dynasty.

what concerns me is not the single idiot professor…but this idiot is the tip of the huge iceberg and represents a significant part of mainland society. CCP is the cancer of China and Chinese everywhere.

@King Tubby
I disagree about the Han descendents contributing nil because there are lot of Han descendents contributed to Science and quite a few Nobel prize winners are of Han descendent. without the Han, I doubt the American railroads can be built that quickly.

That’s why I use mainland chinese instead of the Han. The crappy corrupt government is the cause and behavior of mainland chinese is one of many (side) effect.

January 31, 2012 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

@ nulle. I was referring to Africa and its most bountiful gift of music to the world.

Who gives a rats about past Sino-science, since hydraulic engineering (ie big dams) and firecrackers just don’t cut it in the 21st century.

Lets go around the world.

Russia – poetry and choral singing.
Great Britain – football and clothing style.
Japan – digital thingies and awesome cinema.
US – plodding democracy and a green card.
France – Sarkozy and things you eat and drink.
Mongolia – People who actually care for their environment.
Australia – Most of the above plus big wave beaches
South Korea – Unquestionably the most attractive culture in East-Asia
Africa – music, music and the next generation of football stars.

Han culture?

January 31, 2012 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

All I can say is that I couldn’t convince my granduncle to use a public toilet, rather than the grass verge, when we arrived in town. That was in Germany.
“You want me to walk the staircase? Bastard!”

January 31, 2012 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Is this some sort of joke? France has “Sarkozy and the things you eat and drink,” but China has no eat? No drink? No absolutely beautiful poetry and one of the largest literature canons of the world?

One thing that’s obvious though is that China elicits a lot of dislike. Reminds me of this classic:

http://pacificrimshots.com/book-review-why-china-will-never-rule-the-world-by-troy-parfitt/

February 1, 2012 @ 7:10 am | Comment

@Wukailong, I like traditional Chinese music too, as far as that goes…

But yes, I think the remarks are intended as somewhat tongue in cheek.

February 1, 2012 @ 8:28 am | Comment

@SKC
“I was amazed and shocked at how much dog poop was littered on the streets of Paris”

When Khomeini was exiled in Paris, he said he never looked up in case he was corrupted by the sin around him. Parisian, of course, knew the truth – no one ever looks up when walking in Paris due to the turds on the ground :-)

February 1, 2012 @ 9:07 am | Comment

I think the comments must’ve been very tongue in cheek (auto French kissing?). I mean, UK…clothing style? Hoodies are a style to aspire to? As for chavs – if only the Chinese Burberry owners knew what that brand meant in England…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav

February 1, 2012 @ 9:11 am | Comment

nulle
I expect these acts the more I head to rural areas, but not in GZ.

Considering there are millions of transplants from “rural areas”, I don’t see why.

February 1, 2012 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

King Tubby
I was referring to Africa and its most bountiful gift of music to the world.

Africa has given nothing to the world. Well, there is AIDS, but aside from that, nada. Political correctness benefits popular conception of “African music” (the vast majority of which is utter garbage). The fact that few non-Chinese speak and understand Chinese hurts them.

The fact that you can’t tell what is actually art and disparage science and technology won’t change that. China is really the only civilization in history that was capable of breaking free from feudalism on sheer tenacity and wit alone, without anyone else’s help. Gunpowder alone changed human history in a way only irrigation, grain agriculture, writing, computers and the internet have. Africa (excluding the parts taken by Arabs), even with its mountain of diamonds and gold and oceans of oil, has never been amounted to anything but a festering cesspool. The fact that a few guilt-ridden Westerners may pluck one or two out to sing and dance for them doesn’t say much.

February 1, 2012 @ 2:14 pm | Comment

Jesus christ, I shouldn’t be typing anything so late

February 1, 2012 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

I hardly comment here, but I just would like to respond to one tiny line made by Nulle at #16:

“@FOARP,
I would love PRC to invade Taiwan, then PRC can be legally ‘microwaved’ back to the stone age.”

Now, Nulle, I do not know where you are from, your age, or what your background is, but I do know this… when the time comes that the PRC is “legally microwaved”, we’ll also be seeing each other in heaven or hell or whatever form of afterlife you believe in, because the PRC sure as hell won’t be the only ones “microwaved”… legally or otherwise. Be careful what you wish for.

P.S.

And maybe a side note on the Chinese being learning impaired after having a decade or so to change and not changing comment… my guess is that you are either very young or very history deficient. Perhaps you should research how long it took for many Western beacons of civility and refinement to reach the levels they are at right now. And even then…. I’d rather have regular urinators and defacators on the MRT than having to hear gunshots almost every night nearby where I live… which was my experience when I lived in the US.

February 1, 2012 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

Mike. Thanks for the link. Ghastly style statement way beyond my point. LOL
Cameron would do well to think about reintroducing a council estate eugenics program.

One of the largest literature canons of the world? Are you really serious???

Imagine being dumped on a desert island with nothing but formulaic/Confuciunistic literary verbiage to read. The real culprit here is a mix of hard wired cultural baggage (totally out of whack with the late 20th and 21st centuries) and the limiting possibilities inherent in written Mandarin. We touched upon the latter some months ago. Recall the pay scale discussion and the need for a comparative linguist on site.

February 1, 2012 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

To be sure, Parfitt sounds like a pain in the bum, but he does nail one major literary/cultural transmission point pretty well.

‘Traditional Chinese culture is a shackle, and Chinese history is a dungeon from which it is impossible to escape”.

Certainly not an original observation, but correct nonetheless. Culturally vegetating in the teeth of time.

.

February 1, 2012 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

@ T E Low
you need to move to a better neighborhood. or get a hotel at a better neighboorhood (and stop being so cheap.) At least I don’t have to worry about being kidnapped on the street and wake up in a black jail converted from a hotel.

Let’s put it this way, PRC only enough range to reach their Asian neighbors (and US bases in Asia). However, China can be reached within 5 minute notice.

it is not a matter of history….it doesn’t take more than a couple generations to change behavior and CCP have 60 years (3 generations) to change. Plus other places where the Han settled are refined today (ie SG, Taiwan.)

@ King Tubby, I again disagree with you.
(Tongue and Cheek) Africa – voodoo, sickle-cell, malaria, sleeping sickness

(non-mainland) Chinese – seriously and more recently
fiber optics(still using modem technology and no VOIP),
solid state physics (no integrated circuits/computers/satelites),
thin films technology(no solar cells on a roll, only fridge size panels)
lasers (need I say more about their use)

February 1, 2012 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

And Nulle, please don’t say you want the PRC to be microwaved. Thanks.

February 2, 2012 @ 12:31 am | Comment

@ Wukailong. How about returning to #36 and your claim that China has one of the largest literature canons of the world?

Okay, here is pen, paper and your activity.

Name me 100 literary figures in this canon which you mention.

And remember, you have 5,000 years of civilisation to choose from.

As I thought. You could barely dredge up about 10 names before the head scratching began.

I’m quite sure other commenters from their respective countries (England, US, France, Russia, etc) wouldn’t have trouble compiling their top 100, and in pretty quick time. Also keep in mind that these folk don’t have a timespan of 5,000 years to choose from. US for example about 450 years.

Okay, here is something around your pay grade since you write about movies. List 10 globally recognised Mainland movies. Pls note: Aftershock is not one of them.

February 2, 2012 @ 4:28 am | Comment

Cookie Monster. Quite obviously you are no musicologist, so any extra text on my part is a waste of energy.

You are also out of tune with your masters, since they appear to be spending large sums to attract African soccer players. http://kingtubby1.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/the-silly-season/

China is African soccer players big super scheme, and they will probably also do well with the Sino-sisters while cleaning up financially. Enjoy.

February 2, 2012 @ 4:43 am | Comment

Wow, KT.

Name me 100 literary figures in this canon which you mention.

And remember, you have 5,000 years of civilisation to choose from.

As I thought. You could barely dredge up about 10 names before the head scratching began.

It’s “literature” not “literacy”, but I can hardly fault you on that based on your quotient. Just printed the post and comments out for future use. Whenever a friend is down, I will show him/her your comment to pick him/her up: there are plenty of obtuse people out there.

One’s knowledge can be described as a circle — inside of the circle is what he knows, and outside of it is what he doesn’t know. The less a person knows, the smaller the circle is, ironically the less he interfaces with the unknown and the more he thinks he knows.

Get back to the topic in hand. Many people can easily name 100 great poets living between Tang and Song alone. My personal favorite poetry is of a different style called 骈体 that thrived between late Han and early Tang. There are 21 chapters in the poetry collection book of Jin alone (the skinniest part of the all).

@Nulle

Let’s put it this way, PRC only enough range to reach their Asian neighbors (and US bases in Asia). However, China can be reached within 5 minute notice.

False since the 70s (hint: DF-4).

@Richard,

You have complained quite a bit on the quality of HH. Look at the replies here. Now let’s get real, shall we? :-)

February 2, 2012 @ 7:35 am | Comment

I’ve almost never complained about HH — I think I’ve mentioned them two or three times. I did one post on their “media bias” rants, and I think I’ve mentioned them in a few (very few) comments, and that’s all.

That said, I agree that some of these comments here are offensive or at least annoying. I cannot police every one of them every day.

KT, I really don’t like the “Name me 100…” Most Americans can’t name 100 great literary figures, and your comment sound quite disparaging of China, which has some of the greatest writers and artists of all time.

I just finished volume one of Hong Lou Meng last night. There is nothing better in English.

February 2, 2012 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Pls read and note. *Literary* figures ie writers of significance in the modern world, not some obscure rhyming fossils of questionable provenance. As I say to friends, if you want to read the English greats, go to China. You can pick up a copy of Charles Dickens/Charlotte Bronte anywhere.

Always get an uplift when I get a dose of HH wisdom.

I would take you a lot more seriously if you addressed the question I posed about the inherent linguistic constraints (limits on meaning and imagination) built into classical Chinese writing. Living languages evolve, shed words and develop new ones which reflect new circumstances and human aspirations, English being a good example.

Aspects of Chinese culture do not exist in calendrical time.

February 2, 2012 @ 8:17 am | Comment

I’ll not probe too deeply into this Culture Top Trumps ;-)
However, the Chinese do have quite a bit – though it’ll be akin to describing European culture, don’t you think? This’ll put the argument into what landmass has done the most – and then we can all indulge into pushing back the boundaries by cherry picking. I dare say we can go from Skara Brae architecture to Greek philosophy to Cretan culture to Catal Huyuk in one breath as Europeans, only to be countered by someone doing the same for China, SE Asia, India and even the African continent.

End result is….who cares. Hoi polloi tend to not know anything outside television or cheap newspapers or government propaganda (this from east and west, north and south). Most people in Europe might know Homer (in the US he’s the fat yellow guy, mind….though cultured people might remember some movie starring Brad Pitt…though that was by some bloke called Troy, wasn’t it? ;-P)

China and Europe have great architecture, most of it roughly contemporary. Oddly, South America did too – and not only Mayans, Olmecs, Aztecs et al. Seems the Amazon was teeming with civilisations before in pre-Colombia times. India has some of the oldest civilisations in history that are still extant – but in the grand scheme of things, who gives a toss? Everything is decided now, not then. History is history – it merely colours and influences today but it isn’t the be all and end all. Mao thought so – technically, mainland Chinese history is only about 60 years old. Technically, Saudi Arabian history is only about 1400 years old – the rest, the stuff before, was whitewashed and altered to fit today.

Besides, all history is influenced by the people on the fringes. China had it’s “barbarians” who made China what it is today, as did Europe. Since the barbarians were not of the civilisations we boast about directly, then we can’t use our histories as examples of how good “our” civilisations were compared to one another. They’re all just hybrids.

Hope that makes sense ;-)

February 2, 2012 @ 9:24 am | Comment

I would agree with Jxie insofar as we needn’t really mention a certain blog at all. Why give the zealots in the asylum any more air play than is necessary, eh? On some level, the same could be said regarding certain writers at Forbes…

I too would move away from the “name 100 of this” or “name 100 of that” tendency. Besides, I think it’s better to focus on quality rather than sheer quantity anyway.

And on the one hand, the CM’s of the world would diminish the culture of African nations for no apparent reason than to reaffirm his own narrow-minded notion that Chinese culture is best. Then on the other hand, KT is on assault mode over Chinese culture, which may not be his cup of tea but certainly has substantial appeal to a substantial number of people. To each his own, as I always say. But I think remaining open-minded, whether it be about your own culture or someone else’s, is best.

February 2, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Check out this CNN article about an ad in a HK newspaper:

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/01/world/asia/locust-mainlander-ad/index.html?hpt=hp_c3&is_LR=1

Can’t blame the HK authorities for trying to keep out pregnant mainlanders.

February 2, 2012 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

@SKC. Two points.

1) Absolutely no one has addressed the linguistic point I raised.

And I know you view yourself as an intelligent commenter.

2) I’m sick and tired of the scumbag anti-African drivel eminating from the HH set on this site and elsewhere.

I don’t mind if Richard moderates off his site/lounge room, as long as it is done publicly and reasons are provided.

Democracy is a good thing, since it is supposed to be transparent and upfront.

After accepting CMs comments, that is a hard gig.

February 2, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

To KT,
absolutely agree with point #2. But the way to counter that sort of drivel is to mock them for what it is, rather than to sink to their level and engage in the same thing by merely exchanging “China” for “Africa”. You’re better than that. Tit for tat is not an intellectually stimulating pursuit, nor a very worthy one.

This is RIchard’s house. He can police it as he pleases. I don’t think “democracy” applies here. Rather, he can be as dictatorial as he likes…and if we don’t like it, the onus is on us to take it elsewhere. Sounds to me like he’s weighed in, in disapproval of the tone of some of those racist remarks. He has a high threshold for deletion, and usually reserves it for the likes of the Wayner. That’s his call, and we can like it or lump it.

As for number 1, I can no sooner name 100 Canadian authors as I can Chinese ones. But I’m hardly a literary expert. The fact that I can’t name 100 Canadian authors hardly diminishes the quality of Canadian literature, just as an inability to name 100 Chinese ones does not diminish the quality of Chinese literature. I don’t think your point confronts, addresses, or disproves WKL’s suggestion that China has “one of the largest literature canons of the world”.

February 2, 2012 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

SKC. Nobody can name 100 Canadian writers. 100 US writers is easy peasy, however.

My linguistic point was about the constrained nature of classical Mandarin, and not about the hot 100.

Somebody, pls pick up on my point even if you think it is garbage.

That means KT, you are scribbling linguistic rubbish.

February 2, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

To KT,
I don’t speak Mandarin (classical or otherwise), so I’m definitely not the guy to wax poetic about the constraints thereof.

February 2, 2012 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

Africa has given nothing to the world.

You forgot Homo sapiens. Apparently they’ve caused something of a stir on the world stage.

February 2, 2012 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

As someone who has struggled to write the Great American Novel in classical Chinese, I get where King Tubby is coming from. ;-) But I do think the Chinese modernizers of 100120 years ago did consider many aspects of Chinese antiquity to be a dead hand holding China back, and probably the writers of that period are on record with views similar to KT’s.

Meanwhile, since his doubles as an open thread, look at this Orwellian howler that slipped through at the Christian Science Monitor:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2012/0123/Rise-of-the-dragon-China-isn-t-censoring-the-Internet.-It-s-making-it-work/(page)/2

February 2, 2012 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

Guys, how am I being “dictatorial”? I didn’t delete anything. I simply said I wasn’t delighted with the tone of KT’s challenge. I don’t like the one of daring someone to prove China has culture. And yet I let it stand, unedited.

KT I don’t mind if Richard moderates off his site/lounge room, as long as it is done publicly and reasons are provided.

Wrong. As SKC says, this is not a democracy. It would be if you all payed me taxes, in which case you would have a right to representation, As it is, this is my site for me to write posts; comments are a courtesy and I can delete or ban someone or turn comments off or take down entire posts at any time, I practically never do this. If I did the site wouldn’t be much fun.

I almost always let people know if I’ve removed a comment, but I have no obligation to do this on terms dictated by anyone but myself. Some comments are too disgusting for me to allow an open discussion about them; I’ve been receiving personal threats but don’t feel they should stay on my site. This blog has had open comments with very little moderation from day one, so if you find it too oppressive there are many other delightful bogs to hang out at. It is bizarre, because I hardly moderate these comments at all, as all of you regular commenters know. In fact, I often take heat for not moderating enough. So I can’t really win.

February 3, 2012 @ 12:00 am | Comment

KT
they will probably also do well with the Sino-sisters while cleaning up financially. Enjoy.

I highly, highly doubt it. East Asian women generally find Africans to be repulsive, even more so than Europeans.

My linguistic point was about the constrained nature of classical Mandarin, and not about the hot 100.

Your linguistic point is pure shit, as per your typical faux philosopher posturing. I don’t even think “classical Mandarin” is a valid category of Chinese. Do you mean Middle Chinese? Or are you even aware that the widespread adoption of Mandarin is a relatively novel thing?

Quite obviously you are no musicologist

Any idiot can get a degree in musicology. Is this how you try to make it “pay”? I am trained as a musician but that’s not my major. I suppose you want us to believe you’re an economist, literary scholar, historian and anthropologist, too? I hate to break it to you, but you’re not nearly intelligent enough to qualify.

Mike Goldthorpe
Catal Huyuk in one breath as Europeans,

Catal Huyuk is probably not European. The European neolithic is remarkably pathetic, especially considering how good the land and climate is.

SK Cheung
And on the one hand, the CM’s of the world would diminish the culture of African nations for no apparent reason than to reaffirm his own narrow-minded notion that Chinese culture is best.

Wrong. I am merely stating the painful truth. I’m not even going to bother refuting KT’s points since he simply regurgitates them from other non-Chinese speaking imbeciles.

Atticus Dogsbody
You forgot Homo sapiens. Apparently they’ve caused something of a stir on the world stage.

Doesn’t count. All of the people who went on later to accomplish something left. So yes, you can say the modern day descendants of the people who stayed made it such an intolerable cesspool that everyone packed their bags for Eurasia.

February 3, 2012 @ 12:17 am | Comment

Modern day Africans are descendents of people who made it such an intolerable cesspool *

February 3, 2012 @ 12:19 am | Comment

First, apology for me being cross-eyed, and seeing a “r” as a “c” on the small screen of my ultrabook.

KT, at the risk of sounding condescending, it may be fruitful for you to reveal your Chinese language skill first, in a 0 to 10 scale — 0 being no skill at all, 2 being able to carry an accent-free basic conversation that if on the phone, the other side wouldn’t think you are not a native speaker. On a good day, I consider myself a solid 7; and on a bad day, a weak 5.

Unlike in English typically a word is added when there is a new concept, far more often than not a new phrase in Chinese is added. For example, pneumonia in Chinese literally means lung inflammation – no new word is needed. The major con of the Chinese language in terms of education is that it takes a longer time for a Chinese student to be basically literate. The major pro is it’s much easier to guess the meanings of new phrases hence easier to learn new concepts, after one reaches basic literacy. For example, a HS graduate English-speaker will be hopeless to read an advanced microelectronic research paper, but a Chinese-speaking peer should come away with some decent amount of knowledge after reading it.

I take it that it’s not what you meant, otherwise we’re both wasting our times. Your question is how you would be able to express the ideas of say a medical journal paper in classic Chinese writing (words/phrases and style)? With the latest words and phrases, you actually can write in classical Chinese style but that’s another story. It’s the same reason you can’t write a medical paper in Elizabethan. Language is an evolving thing. BTW, the “classical” Chinese writing style differs quite drastically from an era to another, but let’s not get into that now.

Then why even learn classical Chinese? Because in it, it encapsulates the philosophy, human emotions, social norms and narratives, etc., everything collectively called a culture. Or, if you want to carry a conversation at a level higher than 2, you are expected to use and understand a lot of phrases and verses in classical Chinese. Moreover, let’s look at this 骈体 style 1300+ year old verse: 落霞与孤鹜齐飞,秋水共长天一色, it has so much expansive beauty in it, for me at least it actually gives me a sense of inner peace. That’s culture, pal. Paintings of Zhang Daqian now are sold at higher prices than Picasso’s in hundreds of millions. Sure you can argue Zhang’s or Picasso’s paintings are no more than a bunch of scribbling on canvas, that any decent art school students can do a better job. Since the judgment of the quality of art, culture and even language is so subjective, conceptually you are not wrong per se – just that methinks you have no idea of what you are talking about, and quite likely knowledge-wise far from at a level that you can make an informed judgment.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:23 am | Comment

Ha! “classical Mandarin”? Mandarin is a dialect initially being spoken by Hans living in Liaoning in late Ming from whom the Manchus learned Hanyu. It became the “official dialect” (官话) of Qing. In Ming the official dialect was close to what is spoken today in northern Anhui to middle Jiangsu. The migration and evolution pattern of various dialects is a fascinating topic. But please, don’t use “classical Mandarin”.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:37 am | Comment

To CM,
there you go again with your “truths”. What you’ve done is taken your narrow-minded notion, and simply said it out loud. Sometimes, some of your “truths” should be kept to the confines of your “inside” voice. And sometimes, some of your “truths” shouldn’t be kept at all. But you do what you gotta do.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:44 am | Comment

CM, please rephrase the last comment you submitted and make it a little more polite. Thanks.

February 3, 2012 @ 2:26 am | Comment

Is anyone surprised that SK Cheung, who excoriates the CCP for everything in China that doesn’t go according to his plans, is praising Africa and ignoring the fact that it’s the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster?

Its ok as long as they’re not Chinese!

February 3, 2012 @ 3:15 am | Comment

Africa’s Contribution To Civilization

I admit I laughed. Egypt was largely Semitic, not black African.

February 3, 2012 @ 3:37 am | Comment

Obviously, you failed to read the entire article. Selective reading augers well for one’s arguments… yes?

February 3, 2012 @ 4:40 am | Comment

Just for Cookie Monster
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl8ZGZ66VYs

;-)

February 3, 2012 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Dear CM:
“is praising Africa and ignoring the fact that it’s the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster?”
—LOL. You’ve taken your penchant for selective and inaccurate reading to a new level today. Well done. Way to aim high. Though the ongoing racist remarks are admittedly merely par for the course for types like you.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:10 am | Comment

Oh, and I guess Egypt isn’t Africa. It’s the World of Geography According to Chinese Racists. Nice.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:13 am | Comment

It’s pretty clear we’re not talking about North Africa.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:15 am | Comment

#41 “(excluding the parts taken by Arabs)”

Reading comprehension, Cheungsie.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:16 am | Comment

“For example, pneumonia in Chinese literally means lung inflammation – no new word is needed”

Funnily enough, that’s what it means in European (Greek, in this case)

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pneumonia

Technically, not a new word, just the usage of one European “dialect” in another, sorta kinda :-)
Like all languages, if one word can be used instead of more, it’ll get imcorporated – especially if it sounds more important and “educated” – Latin and Greek (classical) being the languages of education in Europe at the time.
I also rather like the changes in languages through the passages of time – in Europe we can see everything happening through our writings are we got the phonetic system. Chinese would be harder due to the pictographic (is that the right word?) nature of writing – makes it more a puzzle to solve to “hear” how they spoke then (and which, I guess, is most of the fun for those researching it :-) )

Also
“Paintings of Zhang Daqian now are sold at higher prices than Picasso’s in hundreds of millions”
This might also have something to do with the wealth of the top echelons in China. Those with money spend more on that which they like and understand. It’s not a question of which is more culturally expensive, more a symptom of global economics. Put it this way, I’d spend more on a Cooper’s Sparkling Ale than I would for the finest Chinese spirit even though the latter might be “worth” more. It’s not a reflection on the quality of the liquids, just how culture has conditioned my taste buds and how I’d use my money.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:22 am | Comment

My My. What a ….storm.

@jxie. Read with interest and thanks

@CM Nicholas Amelka the soccer player joined Shanghai Shenhua for a walloping 175,000 Engish pounds per week, and Dalian Aerbin are wining and dining Didier Drogba with 200,000 English pounds per week on offer. Given the power of this sort of money, I don’t thinks these dudes will be short of conpanionship, irrespective of your prejudices.

@ William Box. Good stuff also noted by the historian Basil Davidson, but I was thinking more about Africa’s musical contribution to the world in the form of jazz, funk, gospel, motown, blues and other genres, but definitely not rap. And I won’t complicate matters by noting the great stuff coming out of Mali, Senegal, Niegeria etc today for a global audience.

@ Richard. Peace. I should have made the reasons for my listing exercise explicit. It was about soft power exercised thru literary output. And soft power of this fictional kind is not necessarily the prerogative of democratic nations. Russian literature is a case in point, being massively regarded across all cultures and languages, and this has been the case for well over 100 years.

February 3, 2012 @ 5:30 am | Comment

@SKC
I wouldn’t get too bothered with Cookie’s postings – given his reading comprehension and grasp of history, it’s not worth it. What he knows appears to be minimal enough to write on the back of a postage stamp….and that after it has been stuck on the envelope :-) Sad thing is he’s not shy to advertise the fact :-D

February 3, 2012 @ 5:45 am | Comment

King Tubby
I don’t thinks these dudes will be short of conpanionship, irrespective of your prejudices.

Neither is a two-toothed, one shoe’d man with a $20 dollar bill in his pocket, but that’s clearly not what your racial chesthumping and obnoxious boasting was about.

You know you’ve lost when you start talking boosting the accomplishments of others in your race, and we know you’re a headcase when you start speaking in terms of their potential future “conquests”.

The mentality of your kind is put on display.

February 3, 2012 @ 6:19 am | Comment

To #76:
LOL. Give it a rest. Is “North Africa” not part of Africa? You disparage “Africa”, but when faced with an insurmountable rebuttal from William #70, then suddenly it’s the “non-Egyptian parts of Africa”. Not to mention that, as William noted, you apparently failed to read the entire link. That’s just lame. You give Chinese people a bad name…but then you’re American, I suppose…

To #77:
LOL again. You really need to grasp the concept of time. I wasn’t responding to #41, but merely to your usual racist rants starting with #63 and #64 written today. Didn’t read what you wrote yesterday. Besides, your racist rants sound the same after a while, with the occasional caveat here and there. So what you’re saying is that you have no racist gripes against Egyptians and Arab-Africans, and your racism is confined to “black Africans”, is that it? Wow, you are so evolved.

February 3, 2012 @ 6:48 am | Comment

82
Didn’t read

Enough yapping, then.

February 3, 2012 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Ferris Bueller sings in…Chinese? on a Super Bowl 2012 ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhkDdayA4iA (1:41-1:54)

February 3, 2012 @ 9:02 am | Comment

@CM: Doesn’t count.

Ooops! Sorry. I forgot that you set the rules.

February 3, 2012 @ 11:53 am | Comment

Atticus Dogsbody
Ooops! Sorry. I forgot that you set the rules.

That’s right, bitch.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Black Africa is a shit hole and the non-black parts hardly any better. Though this should hardly warrant mentioning. I feel guilty even having to state this fact because it’s akin insulting an actual retard.

King Tubby can have all the vibrant music and dancing to himself as long as I get to keep the low crime communities and functional schools.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

I’m glad that the glorious beauty of Dali has turned into another mud sling hole.

February 3, 2012 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

To 83:
“Enough yapping, then.”
—your inability to grasp anything beyond your usual racist rhetoric is pathetic. I didn’t read it, so I wasn’t referring to it. I draw the intestines for you, and yet you’re still too dense or pig-headed to realize it. Oh, and nicely selective as always with your quoting. SOmeone (like your mother perhaps) should have taught you to respond to something in its entirety, rather than just 2 words out of more than 100. Clearly, many people must have failed in their fiduciary duty to result in you being…well, for lack of a better descriptor…you. That’s cool. More laughs for me. At least we appear to have cleared up and clarified the exact breadth of your racism, eh?

To 86:
you make a 12 year old appear mature.

And Jing should lift up his dragging knuckles and retreat to the cave wherefore he came. What is it with you people?

February 3, 2012 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

@Jing. Your sister and I have had a bit of a pillow dictionary-type chat. Apparently you escaped from the outhouse, where you had been previously banished prior to the CNY fireworks display.

Give yourself up and return to the family fold. All is forgiven.

February 3, 2012 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

Jing! Lovely to see you back. So, comment 73…What say you? Only asking because I have never seen an African woman shit in the street….

February 3, 2012 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

Somebody get Cookie some lube, I can smell the smouldering flesh from Melbourne.

February 3, 2012 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

For a moment I thought you were talking of Salvador Dali

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/images/PhilMusArt-Dali-Figure.jpg

February 3, 2012 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

A fascinating comments stream. To ask a slightly different question than those above, what is it about a bog post on the beauty of Dali that inspires racist comments and reduces otherwise intelligent commenters to discourse normally associated with a soccer riot?

February 4, 2012 @ 12:10 am | Comment

I could put up a picture of Moses or the Virgin Mary and the comments would be just as nasty, I’m afraid.

February 4, 2012 @ 12:12 am | Comment

I reject the “otherwise intelligent commenters” label when applied to the race-baiters above. EVERY thread one of those guys joins goes gutter as soon as he shows up. (CF China Geeks right now.) I’m not talking about “Cheungsie”.

February 4, 2012 @ 12:44 am | Comment

Oh yes, it’s clearly my fault, when KT and other trolls are the ones that consistently race bait – oh, but it’s fine when non-Chinese do it.

Mike
Only asking because I have never seen an African woman shit in the street….

Probably because there aren’t streets in Africa that they actually built themselves – and their poorest therefore have no way into the cities.

February 4, 2012 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Let’s assume for a second that KT was “baiting”. I wonder who he would find dangling at the end of his line, having swallowed the sinker, the hook, and several feet of fishing wire? I’m surprised CM can still talk with all that hardware in his mouth.

What KT was saying doesn’t sit well with me. And I and others have said so. That’s the adult way. The juvenile way is to start disparaging black people and Africa (or non Egyptian Africa, apparently).

February 4, 2012 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Anyway, CM gave me a good hook for a serious piece on Black American music.

I simply won’t put up with any of this anti-African racist drivel in part because of life long views on music, fullstop.

“I should have made the reasons for my listing exercise explicit. It was about soft power exercised thru literary output. And soft power of this fictional kind is not necessarily the prerogative of democratic nations. Russian literature is a case in point, being massively regarded across all cultures and languages, and this has been the case for well over 100 years.”

I am not pleased that Richard and others took offence, but at least address my point at the level at which it was posed.

We all like to troll a bit when suitable targets present themselves, but am still waiting for a decent response to my point above.

Race baiting. Definitely not.

Culture baiting. Maybe.

Jxie @ Slim addressed one of my claims, so I will put that one back in the cupboard for the time being. (Read up on structuralist linguistics.)

February 4, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

If no one minds, I am closing this odious thread. I’m only sorry I haven’t had time to better police the comments.

February 4, 2012 @ 7:05 am | Comment

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