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Jan 26

Welcome Year of the Ox – and Happy New Year!

Written by Allen on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 2:16 am
Filed under:Announcements, culture, General | Tags:
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1-oxchinese-zodiac-oxIt should be Chinese New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day throughout most of the world by now …  so I just want to wish everyone here a very Happy and Prosperous Year of the OX (牛)!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox symbolizes prosperity and is associated with fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox are natural leaders, are dependable, and possess innate abilities to achieve great things.

President Obama – the 44th U.S. President – not surprisingly was born on a year of the Ox.

While Ox’s are generally considered auspicious animals, for people who were born in the year of the Ox – you need be a little cautious in approaching life this year – since this for you represents a year of 太岁 (tai sui).

Don’t be too worried though: given the economic situation throughout the world, being a little cautious this year is probably good advice for everyone – not just people born in the year of the Ox!

Anyways – before concluding this brief post and going off to celebrate with my relatives and friends, I want to ask people whether you think the Ox is a good translation for 牛.

What got several of us here at Foolsmountain thinking is because the ox is defined in several dictionaries as an adult castrated bull of the genus Bos, especially Bos taurus (cattle).00000000000001

That doesn’t sound right though. Try as we might, none of us can remember a Chinese mythology ever mentioning 牛 as a castrated being! Perhaps the word “bull” or “water buffalo” would be a better translation?

I personally think the “water buffalo” is the proper translation. It is clear from Chinese astrological mythologies that 牛 as used in the zodiacs is not just a hardworking beast that help human beings plow lands but is also a very strong and skilled swimmer.

To me, the Chinese water buffalo fits that bill perfectly.

So what do people think? Ox – Bull – Water Buffalo – or something else?

For some artwork of the “Ox” – check out this collection or this other collection.

Happy New Year Everyone!


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63 Responses to “Welcome Year of the Ox – and Happy New Year!”

  1. Old Tales Retold Says:

    I think “bull” works well, though “water buffalo” is better—more interesting and includes two words. The criticisms of “ox” seem well-founded.

    Wikipedia, incidentally, has this year in the Tibetan lunar calendar as the year of the “Female Earth Ox,” which is confusing to me, given the definition of ox as an “adult castrated bull”–maybe this was a mistranslation (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Losar). And does anyone know what year the Vietnamese are celebrating at Tet? My guess is that everyone is on board with some sort of ox / buffalo / bull, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Anyway, whatever we call it—Happy New Year! Thanks for running a great site!

  2. Old Tales Retold Says:

    And good to know Obama is a bull. That bodes well.

  3. vmoore55 Says:

    Yes, BO is bull, and lots of BS.

  4. Ted Says:

    Happy New Year! Shanghai was a great place to be last night!

  5. Lobsang Says:

    Tibetan nation and the followers of its lunar calender that are indeginious people in Tibet, China, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Mongolia, Russia celebrate ‘losar’ or lunar New Year on February 6, 2009 which is different from the Chinese nation’s new year or spring festival. Here is a message to the Chinese people by the leader of the Tibetn nation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    Lobsang

    Dalai Lama’s New Year message to Chinese people
    TibetNet[Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:08]
    His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s message to the Chinese people
    on the occasion of the Chinese New Year

    On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, I extend my affectionate greetings to all our Chinese brothers and sisters across the globe, including those living in Mainland China.

    The past year witnessed many developments throughout the world and particularly in China, at times worrying us while at other times filling our hearts with happiness. Besides having to bear the brunt of natural disasters and other problems that hit the country, China also had the proud moments like hosting the world’s greatest sporting event, the Olympic Games. The year that ended is, therefore, marked with great changes taking place everywhere.

    These days, due to the global economic meltdown, the people of the world in general, and of the developing countries in particular, are plunged into an abyss of anxiety and suffering. To pray for the end of all sufferings of humanity, as well as for their happiness and well-being, is a responsibility that rests on all believers.

    Besides having a long history of over 5000 years and a splendidly rich cultural heritage, China is also the most populous nation in the world. Moreover, it is emerging as a super power in terms of political, economic and military might. However, China cannot perform the responsibility of a super power in this modern and progressive world if there is no freedom, rule of law and transparency in the country.

    President Hu Jintao’s policy of creating a harmonious society is indeed laudable. Such a policy is indispensable for China as well, if it were to make a mark globally. Harmonious society should, however, come about through mutual trust, friendship and justice. It cannot be brought about by brute force and autocracy.

    Not only should the Chinese citizens have economic facilities, but they should also enjoy the freedom of conscience, education and to know what is actually happening around the world. These freedoms are indispensable for human societies. If – in this fast-changing modern world – one does not keep abreast of the daily happenings

    around the globe, then it goes without saying that one will be naturally left behind. In China today, popular news outlets such as television, radio and Internet – including the international news services like the BBC and CNN are blocked – thus preventing its people from knowing the true information about the world’s events. I am immensely disappointed by such negative actions of the Chinese government, which greatly hamper the fundamental rights as well as the short and long-term benefits of the Chinese people.

    The 21st century is regarded as a century of information revolution. And yet some countries of the world, which includes China, impose restrictions on the free flow of information. Such actions are anachronistic and hence there is no way that these can be sustained in the long run. Therefore, I believe that China too will soon become more liberal in terms of disseminating and sharing information.

    Last year, many Chinese intellectuals came out with a number of articles and other campaign activities, calling for freedom, democracy, justice, equality and human rights in China. Particularly in a recent development, we saw an increasing number of people from all walks of life signing up to an important document called the Charter ‘08. This is indicative of the fact that the Chinese people, including the intellectuals, are beginning to demonstrate their deep yearnings for more openness and freedom in their country. It is, therefore, a matter for all of us to take pride in.

    While once again extending my warm greetings to the Chinese people, I hope and pray that in the coming year the People’s Republic of China will be able to create a meaningful harmonious society by ensuring equality, justice and friendship among all its nationalities.

    The Dalai Lama
    25 January 2009

  6. Jed Yoong Says:

    Killjoy message from the DL, the X reincarnation of Buddha.
    Since the West likes to abolish the myth of Emperors, Sons of Heaven/God himself/etc, in Japan and China, why dun they do the same with the Dalai Lama and make him renounce his claim that he is the reincarnation of Buddha like they did to the Jap Emperor after WWII….
    I think “freedom, human rights, etc” are just euphemisms to legitimise rebellion, not that rebellion per se is undesirable, just that it should be done in the most appropriate manner under the circumstances, etc
    Re OX. Thanks for the post. I really wonder why it was translated as OX. Some sick joke by the Brits/etc on the eunuchs?
    Happy New Year to all.

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jed:
    what to you would constitute the proper manner and acceptable circumstances for a legitimate rebellion? Under what guise, and with the confluence of what circumstances, should freedom and human rights be sought?

    I can, however, agree with your last sentiment.

  8. Steve Says:

    To All~

    恭喜發財!

    I think I’d go with water buffalo as the best image, especially after seeing Allen’s included photo. I looked it up on the China Daily and both Taiwan online newspapers, and they all used Ox so that seems to be the accepted English term in the Chinese media, but I can see the point of its not being very accurate.

    Allen, this is a very nice write up. Adding the symbols and photo really made it come alive.

    @ Jed Yoong #6: When I was a kid, Eric Clapton was “god” and the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. 😛

  9. BMY Says:

    Chinese Lunar Calendar and Chinese Zodiac were originated in central China yellow river region thousands of years ago where water buffalo did not live. It was bull in the farm in central-northern China. “Bull ” might be the right translation.

  10. Jed Yoong Says:

    @SK Cheung

    “what to you would constitute the proper manner and acceptable circumstances for a legitimate rebellion? Under what guise, and with the confluence of what circumstances, should freedom and human rights be sought?”

    😉 well whatever that’s most suitable to the circumstances and goals. sometimes bloody revolution is necessary, other times gentle, oblique prodding.

    what i find particularly time-wasting, unproductive are endless demonstrations that don’t even make good tv news anymore. also, some of these people, in malaysia at least, treat political activism as some sort of hobby/profession where there are perpetual street protests, unnecessarily antagonising the police, the public over issues that hardly strike a chord, usually some abstract idea like democracy, human rights, etc or repealing some allegedly draconian law that is usually used on less than 1 percent of the population, usually political dissidents.

    the other thing to consider is will the approach taken by the more “western” opposition in china actually make the CCP receptive? or will the opposition just alienate themselves from the CCP and the chinese?

    =)

    @ steve. ROTFL. ha ha ha.

  11. admin Says:

    Happy New Year again, everyone!

    I also like to make two brief announcements.
    1)Thanks to bt’s suggestion, we are sharing the site statistics with our readers. You may see last year’s traffic report in our FAQ section (direct link: http://blog.foolsmountain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/awstat_2008.png ). We also enabled a clustermap (bottom of the sidebar) so you can view where our visitors are coming from.

    We have also established an email list to better coordinate translations of top quality Chinese articles. We welcome all to join the effort, irregardless of your ideological inclinations. Please send me an email if you want more information.

    @BMY#9, What about dragon? 😉

  12. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Jed Yoong,

    To summarize, you believe that all manner of rebellions are acceptable—from bloody to “prodding”—but not if they only concern a small portion of the population or are about abstract ideas, right?

    The “1 percent” bit rules out the gay rights movement, obviously, or movements in support of especially small ethnic minorities, such as Native Americans in the U.S. or indigenous people in Taiwan. Or, as you say, political dissidents. But small groups, because of their size, naturally have less access to the levers of power (unless they are what Chua calls “market dominant minorities”—or whatever her phrase is), so I would think it would make sense for them, more than anyone else, to take to the streets to even out the imbalance.

    As to abstract ideas, if a person marches, they usually have something very specific in mind, even if the heading of the march is broad. That specific thing could be someone they know or have met or a speech they attended or some part of a policy that particularly bugs them. But that all stuff is on an individual level. Practically speaking, agreeing on specifics in a protest (which might include thousands of people) is next to impossible, so the banners say stuff like “bread not bombs,” with no practical advice on how exactly bread is to be delivered—that’s why it’s expected that where protests stop, the policy-making process of specifics is expected to take over.

    More generally, I think you object to the chaotic, open-ended nature of street politics—and wonder whether it is effective. I myself wonder about that sometimes. The so-called “anti-globalization” movement of the late 1990s / early 2000s did have a big impact on the World Bank and IMF’s policies. And the care that anti-Iraq War protesters took to include ex-soldiers and to direct their anger away from the military itself (and toward Bush instead) had the result of roping in a wide swath of Americans as the war began to falter. But not every movement is that effective.

    Is the “western” (I take it you mean liberal) opposition in China taking the wrong approach? They are certainly not protesting, just signing manifestos and writing essays. If you take that away, too, the only thing left for them is finding some buddy high up in the Party and trying to convince him in private—or just keeping quiet and mumbling to themselves. Neither seems particularly productive.

    I wonder: setting aside whether you agree or not with a particular change in China, how would you go about making it?

  13. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Admin,

    I’m cool with the movement to describe the Chinese “dragon” as a “long” (or “loong,” as some have said) abroad. But maybe dragon is a little clearer, even if not entirely accurate… though how, of course, you can be accurate about a mythical creature is puzzling. I guess the main divider between the two is that dragons are basically bad in the west, whereas that’s not the case in China.

  14. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ Old Tales Retold

    Hey well said. 😉

    “To summarize, you believe that all manner of rebellions are acceptable—from bloody to “prodding”—

    1. Yes. But the most appropriate manner is preferred.

    but not if they only concern a small portion of the population or are about abstract ideas, right?”

    2. No. It’s ok if it’s from a small portion of the population but it’s as you said it’s the street politics employed by certain groups that champion abstract ideas and causes that affect only a small portion of the population. Specifically in Malaysia, there is a political party, Parti KeADILan Rakyat, that has made a name for itself with dramatics on the street.

    “As to abstract ideas, if a person marches, they usually have something very specific in mind, even if the heading of the march is broad. That specific thing could be someone they know or have met or a speech they attended or some part of a policy that particularly bugs them. But that all stuff is on an individual level.”

    In Malaysia, sometimes I get a feeling no. They are either hoping all these abstract ideas of democracy, etc will solve their present problems, doing it “professionally” as foreign aid is quite lucrative and NGOs are allowed to be funded by foreigners here, or using all these abstract ideas, which does not really gel with most ppl here, to overthrow the present power.

    “Is the “western” (I take it you mean liberal) opposition in China taking the wrong approach? They are certainly not protesting, just signing manifestos and writing essays. If you take that away, too, the only thing left for them is finding some buddy high up in the Party and trying to convince him in private—or just keeping quiet and mumbling to themselves. Neither seems particularly productive.”

    Not at all. I can’t really comment on China as I’ve not been there for years. To me, signing manifestos are ok but erm, asking for the abolishment of the Constitution is another thing. I am still studying how opinions are shared, change implemented, etc in China. For instance, how did Deng manage to push his “capitalist” reforms after Mao?

    I am not against “western” for the sake of it. And “western” is merely a descriptive term to me. Like Coca Cola is a Western product. Opium addiction was introduced by the West. Etc.

    “I wonder: setting aside whether you agree or not with a particular change in China, how would you go about making it?”

    I dunno yet and it depends on the Chinese in China anyway.
    It doesn’t really matter how I or anyone will go about making it.
    Change, in my view, is usually caused by social, economic, political forces coalescing at a certain point in time.
    In Malaysia, we are blessed to have some freedom of speech on the Internet but democracy is arguably accepted here as we are a former British colony.
    Here, we change via democratic elections but I think it’s a flawed system as the people are easily swayed by emotional, transient issues.

    Hope to hear more from you. How do you think change should be affected anywhere.

    Tks.

    😉

  15. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Jed Yoong,

    I don’t know enough about Malaysian, so I’ll avoid commenting on things there—for fear of coming across as an idiot! Obviously, there’s a near-professional protest contingent in any society (and, of course, in most countries—including China in many instances—foreigners can fund domestic NGOs). I’m not sure that that is good or bad per se. It’s just part of how things work.

    I think we’re talking about extra-institutional change, right? I’m not sure that Deng Xiaoping’s reforms are a great example, because they didn’t really involve contested politics at all, other than when he first came to power and used the Tiananmen Incident (surrounding Premier Zhou Enlai’s death) and, to a degree, the Democracy Wall movement to pressure opponents. Otherwise, Deng relied on laws—tons were created afresh—and extremely competent officials like Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, as well as essentially apolitical actors like TVE entrepreneurs.

    How should change come about? I think it can come about a thousand ways.

    The main thing is that it draw in a wide slice of people. As you and I seem to agree, that does not preclude minority rights or ideas held at first by only a few. It just means that those minorities or those few have to get out and talk to the masses. In contrast, activism in many countries, like the U.S., has too often devolved into court battles. Sure, a court case can affirm gay marriage, say, but there’s no popular awareness to support that ruling. When another judge or another legislator takes charge, the case can go out the window with barely a whimper.

    The same goes, I think, for some foreign activism in relation to China. I have no problem with someone in country X pressuring country Y to take action on something. But the person in country X has to mix with, argue with, convince a significant number of Y’s citizens or the whole thing is for nothing. Otherwise, country Y might change its mind to satisfy world opinion, but it won’t stick. Besides, it seems disrespectful to talk over the heads of China’s citizens or the citizens of any place.

    Anyway, those are my initial thoughts…

  16. dan Says:

    Of all the 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac, the RAT is the one I can’t understand why it makes the list. What is so good about this vermin? – NO offense to any one who were born… a rat…, my own brother was one and I love and respect him dearly.

  17. Steve Says:

    @ dan: One story is that the rat was supposed to wake the cat on the day of the race to decide the zodiac and he did not. The rat replaced the cat, sat on the ox’s back and jumped off at the last instant to win the race. So that’s why cats hate rats. I’d advise you never to depend on your brother to wake you up. 🙂

    There was a very popular song called “The Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart back in the 70s. I was talking to him after a recent concert and asked him why he called it the Year of the Cat when there is no year of the cat in Chinese astrology. He said he was dating a girl back then who had an astrological book and it happened to be opened to the year of the cat, which he felt would be a good song title though he never read the book itself. He thought it was Vietnamese. Then my wife chimed in and said the Vietnamese year of the cat is the same as rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. So all those years of puzzlement could have been solved by my wife if I had asked her. 😛

  18. TonyP4 Says:

    #

    祝你
    一家瑞氣,
    二氣雍和,
    三星拱戶,
    四季平安,
    五星高照,
    六畜興旺,
    七星高照,
    八面春風;
    九運當頭,
    十全十美,
    總之新年快樂,萬事如意!

    正逢新春之際,
    祝您位高權重責任輕,
    錢多事少離家近,
    每天睡到自然醒,
    工資數到手抽筋,
    獎金多到車來運,
    別人加班您加薪!

    辦事處處順,
    生活步步高,
    彩票期期中,
    好運天天交,
    家中出黃金,
    牆上長鈔票!

    棒棒的BODY,
    滿滿的MONEY,
    多多的HAPPY,
    心情天天很SUNNY,
    無憂無慮象個BABY,
    總之,新年你最快樂。

    Happy 2009!
    ‘8′ is not a lucky no to me any more.
    Hope all the problems in 2008 will be gone!

  19. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – They always used to play that tune during the summers on my local, and otherwise totally lame, radio station – Wave FM. Brings back all those memories of working temp jobs to pay for tuition fees on long, hot August days.

    I hate the nasty, wet, cold, winters we have in the UK . . .

  20. admin Says:

    @OTR #13

    Will this also be a case to promote a two-words solution, such as oriental dragon?

    @dan #16
    I always think “mouse” is a better translation.

  21. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Admin,

    Yeah, I’d go for that. Two words generally seem better than one. But I’d choose “Asian Dragon,” as “oriental” has too many other associations.

  22. FOARP Says:

    @OTR – I had heard that in some parts of America ‘Oriental’ is considered a racist term, but I’ve never heard a good explanation as to why. In the UK, if you say that something is ‘Asian’, people will assume that you mean the Indian subcontinent, as the population of those descended either in part or in whole from the subcontinent in the UK is much larger than that of those with East Asian roots, so ‘Oriental’ is usually used to identify East Asian. As far as I am concerned, ‘oriental’ only ever meant ‘eastern’, but if you can show me otherwise I’d love to hear.

  23. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ FOARP,

    To be honest, I don’t know all the ins and outs of this one. But I’ve just been burned with it, so I’m cautious. “Oriental,” as I understand it, is used to describe the Middle East as much as East Asia in the States. In the Middle Eastern context it is, of course, mixed up with Edward Said’s critique of “Orientalism.” In general, it seems to have an exotic feeling to it that is lacking in the word “Asia” or “East Asia” (aside from the Euro-centric “East” in “East Asia). Maybe someone else could clarify this for us both?

  24. bt Says:

    A little bit late, but I wish to all the Chinese readers a happy buffalo/bull (well, 牛) year !!
    The niu is resilient and strong, we will all need that with the current situation 🙂

  25. Steve Says:

    @ FOARP #19: Al Stewart’s actually doing a UK Tour soon, accompanied by Lawrence Juber. His voice is unusual in that it hasn’t changed at all over the years. They are trying something new; they’ll play the entire Year of the Cat album in concert. It should bring back memories…

    The weather here has been nice lately. Later this week it’ll be back in the low 20s C and two weeks ago we had a strong Santa Ana where it was in the mid 20s for almost an entire week, which is very unusual for us this time of year. Eat your heart out… 🙂

    @ admin #20 & OTR #21: I like mouse better than rat and Chinese dragon better than Asian or Oriental dragon.

    @ FOARP #22 & OTR #23: The words “orient” and “occident” originated with the French and go back to the Crusades, simply meaning “east or sunrise” and “west or sunset”. The old dividing line was the Bosporus Strait. The original meaning dealt with the Middle East and not East Asia, but the definition over the centuries has moved further and further east until now it refers almost exclusively to the Far East. In his histories of mythology, Joseph Campbell has “Oriental Mythology” that refers to the Near East, Far East Egypt and India, and “Occidental Mythology” that refers strictly to Western Europe (including what we refer to as the former Eastern European states of the USSR). Remember, the Orient Express luxury train went from Paris to Istanbul, so even this use of the term “orient” is still pretty modern.

    I used to think “oriental” was a bit racist, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Chinese refer to themselves as oriental, so might it have a worse connotation among westerners than easterners? Does anyone know if that’s true? I don’t use either of them; I’ll typically just use the country of origin. In my mind, the differences between nationalities are great enough that to use such a broad term seems intellectually lazy.

  26. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – Me too, it’s not a term that I personally like to use, since it involves lumping together Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indonesians etc. when they are actually quite different, but all the same, if an otherwise ordinary word is just going to be labelled ‘racist’, I’d like to know why. It would be sad if the word disappeared simply because of something which it never meant.

    As for Edward Said, what little I’ve read of the guy shows him as being totally full of it, forming an opinion on just one or two reviews seems a bit harsh, still, the reviews were pretty convincing.

    @OTR – I am a bit of an old fogey, even if I’m not old yet, and I never liked much this talk of terms like ‘the east’ and ‘the west’ being Eurocentric. Sure, the meridian line runs through Greenwich* but people in the east readily use the term and don’t seem to see anything wrong with it. The term ‘the west’ certainly doesn’t refer much to geography, but more to those countries which inherited western European culture.

    * Thus meaning that the UK is the only country in the world which has the right to put itself in the centre of the map! (Although every large country seems to do this, even the French and the Germans . . . )

  27. Raj Says:

    Happy Chinese New Year to all.

  28. Jed Yoong Says:

    @OTR #15 😉 But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think Charter 08 is a bad idea instigated by foreign elements, or at least promoted by them, like Rebecca Mackinnon, former CNN China correspondent and now China blogger based in HK (well HK is China). It’s just that the modus operandi of such fellas are so similar and quite prevalent in South East Asia that one can recognise it almost instantly. Yet, it remains speculation.

    On China, based on my Malaysian experience, values that are packaged in the jargon of Western (not liberal ^-^) politics still face opposition in Malaysia. But we are sufficiently distracted with $$$, entertainment, etc to bother about cultural colonisation. Also, democracy is mostly superficial, vote-buying is rampant, voters (not as educated as the “developed” world or as aware of human rights, etc) are easily swayed by emotive issues like the vote swung to the Opp because of the high retail petrol price. So I think it’s a good idea if China would adapt “democracy” to its cultural, social and political paradigms, if it chooses “democracy” at all…

    To a large extend, I do feel that Western civilization, along with its merits, have many weaknesses. For instance, I feel it’s far too individualistic with far too much focus on individual human rights and not enough on family, and, lacks a degree of spirituality, although some may argue that materialism is on the rise worldwide with capitalism…. Western technology has killed even more in gruesome wars, wrecked more environmental damage compared to the allegations against China on these fronts, usually limited to Taiwan, Tibet and some industrial tragedy…..

    I totally agree with “But the person in country X has to mix with, argue with, convince a significant number of Y’s citizens or the whole thing is for nothing. Otherwise, country Y might change its mind to satisfy world opinion, but it won’t stick. Besides, it seems disrespectful to talk over the heads of China’s citizens or the citizens of any place.”

    And I think many others have expressed similar views to mine on this blog…so…..

    @ Steve #25

    “I used to think “oriental” was a bit racist, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Chinese refer to themselves as oriental, so might it have a worse connotation among westerners than easterners? Does anyone know if that’s true? I don’t use either of them; I’ll typically just use the country of origin. In my mind, the differences between nationalities are great enough that to use such a broad term seems intellectually lazy.”

    Hmmmmm….This may shock you if you are American but I do think this idea of “racism is wrong” is particularly applicable to countries like USA, where most people are immigrants.

    In other countries where people’s ancestors have lived for thousands of years, defending your homeland or country of origin from being taken over by stronger forces sounds like a reasonable argument. Why do these seafarers and obsessive traders insist on creaming people’s natural resources, stealing their historical artifacts, “modernising” “primitive” ideas that they don’t grasp and then push “equality” on natives? It’s not as if these “natives” will truly have equal opportunities in political and social life in the countries of these “seafarers and obsessive traders”.

    Just some thoughts.

    I think this is a really great blog. Informative with robust arguments. 😉

  29. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Jed Yoong,

    Whether you’re talking people living under a liberal democratic system, socialist democracy, Stalinism, whatever… the basic desires of humans are pretty much the same: to stay safe from violence, to have materially what they need to live a dignified life, to feel some sense of fairness / equality and to feel in control of their own destinies and like they have a voice in their community. I certainly hope that doesn’t mean the exact same thing everywhere. But it also doesn’t mean we have to sneak around, afraid to believe in some code, some theory that we think basically fits, for fear that someone will say we’re being insensitive.

    As to the capacity of the West for cruelty, I think Ghandhi said it best. When asked by a reporter what he thought of Western civilization, he replied, “I think it would be a good idea!” Haha. At any rate, I think people can be pretty horrible anywhere, along with pretty good, often surprisingly so.

    But I was trying to avoid big cultural things earlier, instead focusing on what does and doesn’t make sense in terms of effecting change—whatever that change might be. And I really don’t have any clue when it comes down to it….

    @ FOARP and Steve,

    Those were useful lessons on the origins of the “Orient.” Given the back and forth, I think I’ll go with “Chinese Dragon.” I’m sure others have similar dragons, but there’s nothing stopping them from calling theirs a “Vietnamese Dragon,” etc.

    As to Edward Said, I like the guy. He was pretty tough with the words (and he threw a symbolic rock once at the Israelis) but he was also thoughtful, well-rounded—a literature professor and piano player—and not out to grind anyone into the dust. I remember reading a speech he gave in South Africa (I believe) where he said that thinking shouldn’t be about seizing imaginary territories from opponents; that was gutsy, especially at a time when lots of people felt like that was *exactly* what thinking should be about in the post-colonial world.

    Anyway, I suppose some have trashed “Orientalism” recently and I haven’t really read their opinions, so I should withhold judgment….

    @ Allen and Admin,

    Perhaps we could just call the ox / buffalo / bull a “niu.” I kinda like that. It would force people to hit the books a bit, which is never bad.

  30. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ OTR #29

    “Whether you’re talking people living under a liberal democratic system, socialist democracy, Stalinism, whatever… the basic desires of humans are pretty much the same: to stay safe from violence, to have materially what they need to live a dignified life, to feel some sense of fairness / equality and to feel in control of their own destinies and like they have a voice in their community. I certainly hope that doesn’t mean the exact same thing everywhere. But it also doesn’t mean we have to sneak around, afraid to believe in some code, some theory that we think basically fits, for fear that someone will say we’re being insensitive.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. 😉 It’s just that “democracy” may not be the answer. I believe this has been argued in the Charter 08 thread. So….no need for me to repeat arguments presented by others and already debated…. 😉

    “At any rate, I think people can be pretty horrible anywhere, along with pretty good, often surprisingly so. ”

    Agree.
    Even the Chinese are quite brutal.
    The question is whether we believe we have the right to claim as our exclusive right the place where our ancestors have lived thousands of year, so nationalism (sometimes border on “racism”or “xenophobic” — just read that word being used in a biz article on china vs us on currency control) ) is acceptable or whether we should give up political power for “equality”.
    Anyway, happy new year.
    Maybe you guys can do a cultural post…Ha Ha Ha….

  31. Old Tales Retold Says:

    Well… ancestors are dead. As to equality and political power and democracy… I suppose it depends on what exactly we’re talking about.

    Happy New Year! It’s just snowed here at last…

  32. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ OTR Was that for me? I am quite distracted. !! 😉 And I am a bit lazy to elaborate! It’s true ancestors are dead! In terms of affecting change, I’ve already answered that. And I’ve said democracy may not be ideal for China in its present state, like many commenters said in the other thread. GTG! Sorry if I digressed!

  33. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Jed Yoong,

    Haha. And I think I was repeating myself, too—it happens late at night. I often think I have something urgent to add and it turns out to be less than urgent. 🙂 At any rate, it was a good discussion.

  34. TonyP4 Says:

    Jad Yoong, I was in a tour of SE Asia including Malaysia. Some questions.

    1. I know Muslims wipe their asses with one hand. If I go to a Chinese restaurant there, what is the chance my meal is prepared with that hand? 🙂

    2. Malaysia seems to be a city of no fun due to Muslim influence. No liquid, no massage… How true it is?

    3. Death penalty is enforced through out – like some one drop a small bag of illegal drug in my luggage. Myth or fact?

    I was in Cloud Top resort when the owner and one of the richest guy there died. How rich he was? Was he a Chinese? How local folks treat Chinese there?

    Just curious.

  35. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ OTR. Ha Ha. It happens. Too many forums. Ha Ha.

    @ Tony P4

    Hey, there

    1. I know Muslims wipe their asses with one hand. If I go to a Chinese restaurant there, what is the chance my meal is prepared with that hand? 🙂

    JY: Ha Ha. Chinese restaurants are usually non-halal and run by Chinese. As far as I know there are no restrictions to which hand we wipe our asses with or prepare food with…. 😉

    2. Malaysia seems to be a city of no fun due to Muslim influence. No liquid, no massage… How true it is?
    JY: Not at all. Malaysia is really Chinese in the peninsula/west. For instance in KL, it’s almost a totally Chinese town in the centre and one can get by just by speaking Canto in the main shopping districts. Also, due to the strong triads, there are plenty of “food massage” outlets in town, along with “spas”, etc — some legit, some with extra services. Plenty of liquid, I take it to mean alcoholic beverages. And Muslims are mostly secular in the cities and they party like there is no tomorrow. 😉 The icky thing is we have something called the morality police that snoops on ppl for “close proximity”, which includes “offences” like holding the hand of someone of the opposite sex. It’s a handy rule to “do in” your “competitors”. Dun like your colleague? No worry, expose his moral “crimes”. The ethnic Chinese are not only pretty free but controls 70 percent of the economy although we are about 25percent of the 25mil population.

    3. Death penalty is enforced through out – like some one drop a small bag of illegal drug in my luggage. Myth or fact?
    Well, recreational drugs, I hear, is quite easy to procure even in rural areas. But you do get the death penalty for possession beyond a certain amount, including cannabis.

    I was in Cloud Top resort when the owner and one of the richest guy there died. How rich he was? Was he a Chinese? How local folks treat Chinese there?
    Yes. He is a Chinese. Not sure how rich he is but he sure destroyed many Chinese lives with his business.

    Local folks are friendly and accommodating. The Chinese are mainly immigrants and we have been allowed to prosper, vote, shop, eat, practise our culture quite freely. Restrictions do exist to protect the locals. There are quotas for government contracts, equity ownership when floating your company, government scholarships. The policy, New Economic Policy which we call Never Ending Policy, has been the cause of minor friction over the years and sort of boiled over a bit prior to our general election in March last year. But generally, we get along. 😉 Well, for a “fake” nation state set up by the British after they granted “independence” though we adopted Westminster-style “democracy” and English law…. 😉

    Come visit. Kee Kee.

  36. TonyP4 Says:

    @JY, thanks!

    – that means I need to be careful not to eat outside Chinatown?

    – I forgot whether it was in Malaysia or Thailand – that we visited a big hill for Chinese cemetary, a temple for Zhang Ho and his big junk.

    – Do Malaysians like to break world records – some are quite silly like making the longest sandwich…?

    – I enjoyed the Thai massage in Thailand. It is traditional, but I know body-type has more fun. Most Thais are darker in skin complexion, but some are very light colored. What is the explanation?

    It has been a great tour but it was a little more humid in the summer than Hong Kong.

    The satay is delicious (I lost count how many I had) unless you do not care about which hand they prepare it. 🙂

    Holding hands between same sex is OK. If so, it could be a gay heaven. 🙂

    In another tour, I met a Chinese doctor who also is some kind of congress member. Chinese need to participate in politics in SE Asia – not just in economics. Look what happen to the Chinese in Indonesia.

  37. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ Tony p4

    Sure!

    “- that means I need to be careful not to eat outside Chinatown?”

    Ha Ha! Chinese eateries are everywhere and the suburbs are pretty Chinese too. If you are visiting Malaysia, the local and Indian food are recommended. Generally, visitors who are not used to the water may have problems if they eat food from street stalls but hey, live on the edge! 😉 And you will be missing out if you just stick to the “official” Chinatown as erm, most of town is Chinese. 😉

    “- I forgot whether it was in Malaysia or Thailand – that we visited a big hill for Chinese cemetery, a temple for Zhang Ho and his big junk.”
    Yes, that would be Malaysia. http://www.chengho.org/museum/web/history.html But I’ve not seen his junk though. 😉
    The sultan of brunei, interestingly, uses the headdress of han chinese emperors, you know the one with the dangly beads…..http://www.chinapage.com/emperor.html
    One of the heroes in local history is also chinese, hang tuah, who came with Princess Hang LiPo.

    “- Do Malaysians like to break world records – some are quite silly like making the longest sandwich…?”
    Ha ha ha. Just for fun. Ha ha ha. Make us feel better since the nobel prize is elusive. Ha ha ha. It’s part of the government’s plan to build self-confidence and introduce a culture of competition among the locals.

    “- I enjoyed the Thai massage in Thailand. It is traditional, but I know body-type has more fun. Most Thais are darker in skin complexion, but some are very light colored. What is the explanation?”
    In general, the lighter skinned are ethnic Chinese like former prime minister Thaksin. But they are much more assimilated than us in Malaysia. Even then, some say, Thaksin’s ouster was due to racial envy among the ethnic Thais in the power structure.

    Massage is good. I like traditional “acupoints” massage. There are so many types these days. Depends on your budget. Ha Ha. Sadly, lots of Chinese women are coming over as masseurs too. They are good though. My masseur is a Chinese national.

    “Holding hands between same sex is OK. If so, it could be a gay heaven. :)”
    Ha Ha. Only applies to Muslims. Tricky if you are dating one. But generally the religious police leaves most ppl in Kuala Lumpur (KL) alone.
    If you hold hands with a guy, erm, I think it’s ok. But if you have sex, you can be charged under our penal code. Fellatio is also a crime…..Victorian laws, you know.

    “In another tour, I met a Chinese doctor who also is some kind of congress member. Chinese need to participate in politics in SE Asia – not just in economics. Look what happen to the Chinese in Indonesia.”

    Oh, you have met Chua Soi Lek ( http://drchua9.blogspot.com/ ) , he was our Health Minister. It’s quite sad what happened to him. His foes did him in by spreading a DVD (a pair, 2 hours long) of him having sex with his mistress throughout his constituency….

    Yes, we are fairly political here and have proportionate representation.

    As cultural differences among racial groups can be quite stark, navigating the political terrain requires sensitivity and wisdom. I just wish that more can be done to give ppl a greater sense of national identity. The situation is very different from the US where the Whites are the dominant political, economic power. In Malaysia, the Chinese are much more economically dominant than the locals. To me, we can’t have everything and we try to be “fair” by letting locals keep political power, so they can also control economic power. If the Chinese takes over in politics, it may be better for the country but I am not sure if it will be accepted or whether people will feel that they’ve been colonised. Right now, many avenues exist for the Chinese to have a say or influence events. Basically we all need each other in Malaysia.

    What do mean by ” Look what happen to the Chinese in Indonesia”?

    😉

  38. dan Says:

    Steve#17,
    No, I never relied on my brother to wake me, but I have a Mickey mouse alarm clock bought in a Disney store, it never worked properly.

  39. FOARP Says:

    @Whaha – I’m out of this debate, but if you want to read an Irish newspaper on Northern Ireland, which I myself read every so often, as it is available from my local shop and helps me get an idea of how things are over in the Emerald Isle, here you go:

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/another-lurch-into-the-grotesque-peaceprocess-surrealism-weve-got-used-to-over-the-years-1615519.html

  40. Steve Says:

    @ dan: Ha ha, my wife calls it the year of the mouse, not rat… so your Mickey Mouse clock is the culprit! 😛

  41. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi JY, thanks for the info.

    I do not think he is the same guy – but all Chinese in Malaysia look the same to me. 🙂

    The Chinese in Indonesia control the economy but not the politics. The local are jealous of the Chinese’s wealth and have a lot of resentment. At least two times the local revolted against the Chinese resulting many lives and property damaged. My friend’s father escaped from Indonesia with gold bars to Hong Kong.

    It sure is great for racial harmony in Malay – why they changed name to Malaysia?

  42. Jed Yoong Says:

    Hey Tony,

    Ha ha ha. How can all Msian Chinese look the same. Ha Ha.

    I did have problems recognising White ppl when I went to the UK for studies. Ha Ha.

    Re Chinese in Indon. Yes. It’s quite sad. Here we redistribute wealth via an affirmative action program, NEP, which also allocates quotas in govt procurement, civil service, education, etc. And besides a major massacre in KL in 1969, things have been relatively calm.

    Why they changed the name? OK, this will get a bit technical. The peninsula below Thailand was known as Malaya under Britain. In 1957, after suffering heavy losses in the World Wars and losing India, granted “independence” to Malaya. In 1963, Malaya merged with Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo to form Malaysia. Basically this whole state is set up to allow the British to continue to control their resources. Have to say though, they are pretty nice imperial masters. Lots of ppl got educated, the country modernized, and the standard of living generally improved.

    😉 Are you in the States?

  43. Tu Quoque Says:

    “Have to say though, they are pretty nice imperial masters. Lots of ppl got educated, the country modernized, and the standard of living generally improved.”

    Hi Jed Yoong,

    Thanks for all your interesting posts. I have heard many people in Malaysia said the same about the Brits in Malaysia. Some of them consider themselves very lucky not to have been colonies of the French, Dutch and Portuguese. “Say what you may of their ethics, their plunderings, nepotism, monopoly and whatnot” I’ve heard some say, “the Brits at least left us with a good and efficient governing system.”

    I am sure you have heard of the field slave and the house slave analogy.

    How about the sentiments of the Chinese educated folks and the natives?

    Please correct me if I am wrong. Aren’t the two states on the Borneo Island with Sabah and Sarawak—the latter being the richest of all other Malaysian States, autonomous states, independent of the federal government, Mr. Yoong?

  44. Steve Says:

    @ Jed Yoong: I’m with Tu Quogue; I really enjoy your posts. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to visit your country but it’s definitely on my list. I’ve learned something new from just about everything you’ve written, plus you turned me on to Estrella, whom I really enjoy.

    I think the best part about visited Malaysia would be to feed my addiction to durian and mangosteen. 😛

  45. Tu Quoque Says:

    “Massage is good. I like traditional “acupoints” massage. There are so many types these days. Depends on your budget. Ha Ha. Sadly, lots of Chinese women are coming over as masseurs too. They are good though. My masseur is a Chinese national.”

    I think I understand what you are saying there, when you say “sadly, many Chinese women are…” But my good sir, sad for whom?
    I was in KL many moons ago. I stayed at the Regent Executive floor, it was great. In the evenings, I went to some 5 Star hotel which was a short walk away for massage and I had a great time. The place was rather crowded. They had older masseurs who were very skilled and in high demand. I had to wait in the lounge for a long time to get my turn. I was amused by how quickly the young and pretty “masseurs,” were in and out but not the older ones. Reminded me of one of Donna Summer’s hits, “She works hard for the money.” Everyone had to give something of value for the money, and there is nothing sad about being allowed to work for your money.
    Anyway, I noticed that many Chinese speak Cantonese in KL, and in other parts of Malaysia – can’t remember where now, speak mostly fujianese or teochew etc. It was like traveling in Mainland China except Mandarin wasn’t the lingua franca, and neither is English or Bahasa. Everyone seemed to be bilingual or multi-lingual. The food is just fantastic. The variety is incredible. I had a great time there.

  46. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi JY, thanks for the interesting info. Now, I know more about your country rather than from the tour guide and books.

    – I believe most migrants to SE Asia are from the coastal areas esp. from South China. They go there for economical reason mainly. Usually they left a life that was bad. Via their hard working and frugal living, they become rich. With emphasis on education for the next generation, the younger generation are getting educated and contribute a lot to the adopted country. Did I sum it up right? What do you and your generation think of the future and your older generation?

    – My theory: human nature is lazy. SE Asia is full of resources, rubber in your country, rice in Vietnam… Most natives are lazy due to easy to make a living. After centuries of easy living, their brains could deteriorate (another silly theory). The Chinese came here from a place without much resource per capita and it is a perfect match. SE owe a lot to the hard working migrants, but unfortunately…

    – Among the SE countries, the bad ones to migrate are x S. Vietnam and Indonesia. Further east is India.

    – Most massages are legal and offer good services. However, a lot offer sex for extra tips (not from my experience but rather common sense). Hence , ‘sadly’ is applicable.

    – I migrated to US for college long time ago from Hong Kong. I speak Cantonese. My tour did not take us to the Chinatown there.

    – I wrote the following joke that could offend a lot of folks. It was partly true as my deceased father could name names on the high officials in Hong Kong who may not even past high school education. Britons got a lot from Hong Kong. The last one they took was a lot of big projects before 1997. The projects would be paid by Hong Kong after the takeover and most firms that benefited from these projects were from Britain of course.

    British have done 2 good deeds to HK. 1. provide a stable government for prosperity. 2. eliminate corruption (at one time the ENTIRE police force was corrupt). The prosperity of HK is not built by British only. It is by the initial rich refugees from Shanghai from the communists and the refugees from China. With the expertise from the rich, cheap labor from the poor, a stable government and special location to China, Hong Kong has to be prosperous.

    ——
    Here is the joke. Do not get offended, but partly true. Just enjoy it.

    Hi, my name is Boris

    I’m the mayor of London. If I look familiar to you, it is because I was in the closing ceremony in the Beijing Olympic. I have a confession.

    I had two dozens of the great Chinese beer and our famous opium before the ceremony (luckily they did not test me for drug). That’s why I looked like a happy child and the flag was so heavy to wave when it was passed to me.

    I did not button my jacket, as it was too hot for my big belly. By the way, I picked up the jacket from the flea market. It is a little big, but the price is right.

    If you found any grammatical mistake in this confession, it is because I just barely passed high school.

    If you asked me why I am the mayor of London, you have to ask why my brother-in-law, a janitor in London, was the governor of Hong Kong.

    How many Briton can make all Britons ugly and stupid in 8 minutes? I’m the only one and for that I should get a gold medal.

  47. Tu Quoque Says:

    Ha ha ha TonyP4, I remember that joke right after the BJO closing ceremony! I also remember reading FOARP’s rebuttal. It was just a joke, that was all. Whether Boris is a good PM or not I haven’t a clue, but I did think he looked out of place among the dignitaries at the event, but then one can’t judge accurately a book by its cover.

    Yes, indeed, both Singapore and Hong Kong prospered because of Mainland’s mass migration of Chinese professionals, artists, wealthy merchants, intellectuals, and working class. The Brits had it easy dressed in their cotton suits, knee high socks, and those ridiculous looking hats (What are they called now?) the men wore. They had all sorts of exclusive clubs, box seats at the race courses, posh homes in prime real estates. Most never bothered to integrate with the local culture let alone learn to speak the local language. With heir children enrolled in expensive private and parochial schools, most of whom were destined to attend universities back in Her Majesty, the Queen’s territory.

    This sort of class divide things are being repeated all over China nowadays. International schools in China are doing super well, and most of the students are in fact children of well to do locals. Why some Chinese parents insist on speaking English only at home with their kids is beyond me.

    I have a Singaporean buddy who really hate this. Some of his siblings’ children could only speak English or pretend not to know the chinese language. I hope this shit will die off along with China becoming a world super power. Smart people all over the world are learning Chinese nowadays.

    I know Malaysia once tried to replace English with Bahasa, but found that to be impractical. I guess the legacy of the British Empire will take more than a few more generations to disintegrate. Learn as many laguages as possible, I’d say. If for nothing else they are imperative for the profound joy in truly appreciating humanity’s diverse arts and cultures. Even these are finite.

  48. Jed Yoong Says:

    Hello all, happy weekend. 😉

    @ Tu Quoque

    Sure! You are welcome! I like to read the debates on FM too.

    “I am sure you have heard of the field slave and the house slave analogy.

    How about the sentiments of the Chinese educated folks and the natives?

    Please correct me if I am wrong. Aren’t the two states on the Borneo Island with Sabah and Sarawak—the latter being the richest of all other Malaysian States, autonomous states, independent of the federal government, Mr. Yoong?”

    The Chinese-ed here are having a slight “adjustment” problem with the natives and even the English-ed Chinese because they usually don’t speak English or Malay (the local language) fluently. Hence, the Chinese-ed usually live in their own cocoons, fearing great embarrassment in speaking English. Usually the Canto-speaking Chinese ed are a bit better off as English-ed Chinese usually speaks Canto.

    Many Chinese, including me in the past, perceive the NEP as unfair. Many capable Chinese students and academics are denied places in our top universities, such that their rankings have plummeted in the past few decades. This resentment among the youth is especially acute. But the policy is necessary as if it was completely meritocratic, one may argue that the Malays would have been completely left to “rot” on the fringes of society without higher education. Yet, due to the unmeritocratic system, now the country faces the problem of “unemployable” local graduates. It’s all karmic if you ask me.

    Generally, everyone is happy but racial and religious issues are commonly bandied about to flame communal sentiments, and even hatred.

    Also, the natives are more educated now. But still, in my opinion, not as competitive as the Chinese.

    Sabah and Sarawak, since the formation of Malaysia, have tried to break away from federal rule many times. After close to half-a-century, it’s looking almost impossible as they do not control the the funds or the means to extract their states’ natural resources. Anyway, Sabah + Sarawak are also controlled by rich Chinese timber tycoons….

    “I think I understand what you are saying there, when you say “sadly, many Chinese women are…” But my good sir, sad for whom?”

    Ha Ha. I am a woman, so it’s kinda sad to see Chinese women who may also be moonlighting as prostitutes.

    “Everyone had to give something of value for the money, and there is nothing sad about being allowed to work for your money.”

    Yes. I agree here. 😉 Maybe it’s just my perception that prostitution is considered undesirable. And when we talk about the sex trade in SEA, we usually refer to Thailand… 😉 To see so many Chinese prostitutes, it’s a fairly new phenomenon. 😉 But then we have Russian, East European varieties too…

    “Anyway, I noticed that many Chinese speak Cantonese in KL, and in other parts of Malaysia – can’t remember where now, speak mostly fujianese or teochew etc. It was like traveling in Mainland China except Mandarin wasn’t the lingua franca, and neither is English or Bahasa. Everyone seemed to be bilingual or multi-lingual. The food is just fantastic. The variety is incredible. I had a great time there.”

    Yeah in KL and Perak, the state to the north, it’s pretty Canto. Most people, except perhaps the younger Chinese-ed generation, can speak Canto.

    Glad you had a fab time! Come again! And do visit our beautiful beaches!

    @ Steve. Tks. Kee Kee. Like I do from FM. Glad you like Estrella. I am really into China indie now after reading your post. 😉

    @ Tony

    Ha Ha. 😉 Ha Ha. What a great joke. Ha Ha. “If you asked me why I am the mayor of London, you have to ask why my brother-in-law, a janitor in London, was the governor of Hong Kong.” Ha Ha Ha. ROTFL.

    “- I believe most migrants to SE Asia are from the coastal areas esp. from South China. They go there for economical reason mainly. Usually they left a life that was bad. Via their hard working and frugal living, they become rich. With emphasis on education for the next generation, the younger generation are getting educated and contribute a lot to the adopted country. Did I sum it up right? What do you and your generation think of the future and your older generation?”

    You are pretty knowledgeable about SEA. Yes many have become very rich.
    Well the younger Chinese, even in my generation, usually opt for migration and even return to China/HK.
    As much as the Chinese wants to contribute, there are not sufficient avenues for them too or the culture is such that it’s best for the Chinese to leave. I dare say many are not happy with the affirmative action policy but there is really nothing much we can do if we want to maintain social stability until the locals become sufficiently competitive. But many opportunities exist if you play the game.

    “- My theory: human nature is lazy. SE Asia is full of resources, rubber in your country, rice in Vietnam… Most natives are lazy due to easy to make a living. After centuries of easy living, their brains could deteriorate (another silly theory). The Chinese came here from a place without much resource per capita and it is a perfect match. SE owe a lot to the hard working migrants, but unfortunately…”

    Yeah, I think we should just appreciate each other. 😉 Sometimes I feel Chinese kiasu-ness (kiasu – Hokkien for afraid to lose) or kiasi-ness (afraid to die) and materialism is over the top as it is not balanced with erm Confucianism, Taoism, or some sort of moral ethical guideline as most of the immigrants came over when they were young and didn’t finish their education. Well China was having civil war, etc anyway at that time.

    “. SE owe a lot to the hard working migrants, but unfortunately…”

    But I doubt if “development”/”modernisation” is what they want, they have quite a carefree life, why force them to “modernise” or get educated only to be some drone in a factory earning about USD200 per mth…..

    “- Among the SE countries, the bad ones to migrate are x S. Vietnam and Indonesia. Further east is India.”

    These days many Chinese bizmen are investing in Vietnam. India? Who migrates to India? Ha Ha Sorry! Ha Ha. That’s funny. Ha Ha.

    “- Most massages are legal and offer good services. However, a lot offer sex for extra tips (not from my experience but rather common sense). Hence , ’sadly’ is applicable.”

    Agree.

    “- I migrated to US for college long time ago from Hong Kong. I speak Cantonese. My tour did not take us to the Chinatown there.”

    Oh strange you missed Chinatown. Anyway, plenty of opps to visit but I suggest our lovely beaches in Sabah and the East Coast and our national parks. 😉 I think Chinatown, nothing beats HK. Ha Ha.

    I would have migrated to HK too and actually lived/studied in a suburb in San Fran in the late 80s/early 90s. 😉 Kee Kee. But I thought I’ll see Europe since I’ve been to the US and opted for UK for studies. Kee Kee.

    “- I wrote the following joke that could offend a lot of folks. It was partly true as my deceased father could name names on the high officials in Hong Kong who may not even past high school education. Britons got a lot from Hong Kong. The last one they took was a lot of big projects before 1997. The projects would be paid by Hong Kong after the takeover and most firms that benefited from these projects were from Britain of course.

    British have done 2 good deeds to HK. 1. provide a stable government for prosperity. 2. eliminate corruption (at one time the ENTIRE police force was corrupt). The prosperity of HK is not built by British only. It is by the initial rich refugees from Shanghai from the communists and the refugees from China. With the expertise from the rich, cheap labor from the poor, a stable government and special location to China, Hong Kong has to be prosperous.”

    This is interesting. I never knew this. Same story in Malaysia. “..initial rich refugees from Shanghai from the communists and the refugees from China…” You know the joke about Shanghainese bizmen, after they eat you and spit out your bones, you won’t even know….. Ha Ha Ha.

    @ Tu Quo Que #47

    ” I have a Singaporean buddy who really hate this. Some of his siblings’ children could only speak English or pretend not to know the chinese language. I hope this shit will die off along with China becoming a world super power. Smart people all over the world are learning Chinese nowadays.”

    It’s very sad. But at least during my time, when I grew up, I watched quite a lot of documentaries, etc on Communist China. And was not particularly motivated to work hard on my Chinese. But I speak Canto fluently tks to HK entertainment. Ha Ha. And I never really bothered to perfect my Mandarin due to the previous negative connotations of China……I don’t know if it was the same in the US but speaking Mandarin was not really “in”….. Ha Ha….

    My family has a strange language metamorphosis recently. We used to speak Hakka, Canto, English at home. But my youngest sis, who is Mandarin-ed, can’t speak Canto as she is not exposed to the more Canto side of the family. Now the trend if for the younger siblings to communicate with dad in Mandarin, which I am also learning. So sis was lost when our relatives from Guangzhou spoke Canto over dinner a few days ago. I was similarly so when they switched to Mandarin…..Ha Ha.

    “I know Malaysia once tried to replace English with Bahasa, but found that to be impractical. I guess the legacy of the British Empire will take more than a few more generations to disintegrate. Learn as many laguages as possible, I’d say. If not for nothing else they are imperative for the profound joy in truly appreciating humanity’s diverse arts and cultures. Even these are finite.”

    Oh big debate now. It’s mainly ‘cos the natives say it’s hard for them to learn in a foreign language or non-native language.
    Now the Opp is promoting all languages so we have silly campaigns like “multi-lingual” road signs etc.
    I believe we should stick to Malay as that’s the language of the natives and will preserve the identity of Malaysia.
    At the same time, they should try to master other languages. But as it is, they have problems mastering the subjects taught in school so step by step. Some natives, have prob seen the light, and sent their kids to Chinese schools.

    Some people also proposed abolishing govt-funded Chinese schools to promote national integration. I am among the proponents as many Chinese-ed are poor in English and Malay. They are also quite insular, in my view, and don’t try to mix with natives. I believe Chinese culture + heritage can be taught outside government schools. I also proposed the medium of instruction be changed from Malay to English, but this has been heavily criticised as some say it’s hard for children to learn in non-native languages……But there should be option to take other languages including Chinese in our national schools. Privately, the Chinese can have their own Chinese schools. Whoa, such a “sacrilegious” suggestion got me into “trouble” with some Chinese-ed activists. And refusing to give my Chinese name to the Chinese press also really cheesed some people off. Ha Ha. 😉 I was conducting an experiment to speak only Malay esp among Chinese and see how this will be accepted…. Ha Ha…. Pissed lots of ppl off….Ha Ha Ha…. Good fun! Ha Ha Ha…..

  49. Jed Yoong Says:

    sorry correction: “I would have migrated to HK too” — US, not HK….most ppl wanted to migrate to US at that time….

  50. Tu Quoque Says:

    Jed Yoong, “I am a woman, so it’s kinda sad to see Chinese women who may also be moonlighting as prostitutes.”

    Oh, I am so embarrassed. A thousand apologies, Ms. Yoong. You know what? About two months ago, I met a Hakka girl in China, and after chatting for no more than an hour , she asked me to introduce her to a man. Seeing that she seems like a decent person, I said sure, and asked her what her types were. She then went on to explain to me that she had a boyfriend before (it’s their way of telling someone that they are not a virgin – I guess it’s something that still matters in some parts of China) as long as the guy can take care of her she didn’t really care about looks or whatever. I then asked, “take care” how? Now, speaking of no BS and practicality. Her reply was RMB5,000 a month for living expenses. She said that was what her family told her. My HK buddy beside me started to get cheeky and said, “I’ll give you RMB4,000 a month, be my mistress.” It was hilarious watching them go back and forth over that for a few minutes.

    Later, I found out that the straw that broke the camel’s back in her last relationship was when her boyfriend refused to “loan” her 30,000RMB (US$3,500) to start some business.

    Now, I would have been tempted to date her myself, if the above conversation never took place. She has such a nice personality and not bad to look at either. It’s just that the whole thing went against my silly idea of romance. But then again, I keep reminding myself that marriage of convenience – as in arranged marriage, is still being practiced in many places here and elsewhere, and has been for thousands of years. The internet matchmaking business is huge business. Overseas and mail order brides and all. Who am I to judge? Anyway, I hope my rich business friend, who is on his way to China, will find her attractive, and be willing to take care of her.

    Jed Yoong you wrote: “Oh big debate now. It’s mainly ‘cos the natives say it’s hard for them to learn in a foreign language or non-native language.”

    I was watching on HK tele but not too long ago, and in this documentary they were debating over the same problem with using English as the language of instruction. I think HK also did something drastic after the handover , like Malaysia did when they gained independence from the Brits, and the English levels plummeted. I don’t know what to say. Meantime, Mainland China is promoting English in schools. The Europeans have it best. Everyone of them I’ve met all spoke English plus at least two other European langauges. Not so with most North Americans, though. I think it is getting better nowadays with more and more picking up Spanish as it becomes an important tool in certain States.

  51. Jed Yoong Says:

    @ Tu Quoque

    Dun be embarassed. Ha Ha.

    Anyway, I read China women are quite predatory. Ha Ha.We call them “Dragon Ladies” here and they made news for breaking families and conning 70-year-old men of their wealth. Internationally, we have Wendi Deng + Rupert Murdoch ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendi_Deng ) and the mistresses of CCP officials. Some of these new immigrants hang out at coffee shops and lure the bored old men.

    I also read in the papers today about China women arranging for “escorts” to bring home over Chinese New Year. http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/viewthread.php?tid=625885&gid=3

    Kee Kee. HKD4,500 per mth is not a lot. Kee Kee. I would advise your friend to be careful. Extreme poverty usually breeds extreme greed?

    This latest wave of immigration from China is also slowly turning Canto KL into Mandarin KL….AH! The waitress at the coffee shop where we had lunch today couldn’t speak CANTO. Can you believe it? Being made to feel like a foreigner in KL! What’s happening? Ha Ha. Oh well, the more the merrier. 😉

    Re Language + Education

    Yes, I read about the crazy change to Mandarin.
    The Europeans are really quite versatile.
    Here, we have to get Malaysians to make friends with everyone, not turn the country into a Chinese outpost, preserve the local identity, and oh yeah, master knowledge. 😉

  52. TonyP4 Says:

    JD & TQ,

    Money is the root of all evils. For that kind of money, she would ….Very shameful.

    Hi JD after several interesting posts (3 days is more than 2 hours) with TQ, TQ would marry you too! 🙂

    I hope the First Emperor of China united both the written and oral language.

    You remind me of the following joke.

    The US tourist taught the fisherman how to make more money by hiring people and fishing earlier. When he came back to the island, the fisherman was very rich by local standard. He asked him what to do with his extra wealth. The fisherman said, ‘I still do the same staffs, like singing with my friends, sleeping most afternoon, and feeling happy as before.”

  53. Tu Quoque Says:

    I am sorry, Tony, this time I am not getting the jokes: (1) 3 days is more than 2 hours?
    (2) The fisherman joke ?
    Kindly explain. Cheers 🙂

  54. TonyP4 Says:

    (1) Not a good joke. You mentioned about talking for 2 hours and then the lady asked someone to marry her. You communicated here with JD for 3 days, right?

    (2) Not a good joke neither. It referred to what JD said about ‘colonization/moderazation’ to the natives. Will it make them happy?

  55. Jed Yoong Says:

    Who is JD? Kee Kee. Over here, it’s Jack Daniel’s. JD Coke is a popular drink. Ha Ha.

  56. Tu Quoque Says:

    “You mentioned about talking for 2 hours and then the lady asked someone to marry her. ”

    Re: Joke # 1 : O I C….Actually, the subject of marriage didn’t come up, yunno what I mean?

    Re: Joke # 2 : Didn’t some French guy once said, “In order to live a simple life, one has to be rich.” ?
    Seems to make sense, but then at the same time , if I suddenly had tens of millions of RMB, I would be all concerned about how to keep up with inflation, which means I’ll be looking around all the time to re-invest the money. Actually, that’s a problem I don’t mind having to deal with. Perhaps I could buy a couple of apartments in some posh districts in KL, Singapore, and Hong Kong and rent them out, then go live in Yunan, run a Bed and breakfast perhaps in the land of eternal Spring. A bar and a second home in LIjiang . How does that sound?

  57. TonyP4 Says:

    JY and TQ,

    JY, sorry for typing too fast and not proof reading as usual. Is Jed a Malaysian name? It is uncommon but I saw Jed as the first name before.

    TQ, I must be losing my touch of making jokes. All mistakes could be due to old age. Yes, too little and too much of everything including money is no good. The Chinese saying ‘better in be in the middle’ is still applicable in today’s society. I’ve started with negative $500 (a loan) to OK – plentiful for my simple life style and I do not need money to buy stuffs or mistresses (like your good friend) to make me happy.

    There are many examples of lottery winners having a tough time in life. If I won one (waiting for my turn for a long while), all would go to charities. Not noble, but I really do not need extra money and the stresses that come with it. The expensive restaurant foods could kill me with the high fat contents, the mistresses could make me died of overexertion :), my worries about who are my real friends…

    Have a nice weekend to you both. JY, are you 8 hours or so ahead or behind US?

  58. Jed Yoong Says:

    Hey, 12 hours ahead of West Coast, if I’m not wrong. 😉 Spore time. Gong xi Gong xi everyone!

  59. TonyP4 Says:

    JY, if you can read traditional Chinese, see #18. It is dedicated to you. Tony

  60. Steve Says:

    Actually, Malaysia is either 15 or 16 hours ahead of the West Coast. I know Singapore is 16 hours but not sure if KL is on their time zone or one hour less. JY, are you the same as Singapore or Thailand?

  61. TonyP4 Says:

    JY, do they observe energy saving hour? US does.

  62. Steve Says:

    @TonyP4: I know that with Taiwan, China, Singapore and Japan, they don’t have the energy saving hour so I have to make that one hour adjustment twice a year. Right now, I add four hours to my present time and just switch to the opposite part of the day, so when it’s 4 PM in San Diego, I think “4 AM + four hours equals 8AM in China and 9 AM in Japan”. It switches to three and four hours during the summer, or 7 AM in China and 8 AM in Japan.

  63. Jed Yoong Says:

    Sorry about late reply. Am a bit caught up with some crisis in a state government. A group has defected over. Among other things.

    And yes, I do believe we have the same time as HK.

    I usually calculate West Coast time via the following formula =

    If it’s 8am here, it’s 8pm there but yesterday. 😉

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