毋忘在莒(Pinyin: Wu Wang Zai Ju) is a famous Chinese idiom (成語, Pinyin: Cheng Yu). It is sort of like the Latin idiom left in the European language. Most are derived from some ancient classic literature and most have a vivid story that usually is followed by an implication that could be generalized for a broader extrapolated definition. This particular one is derived from the good old Spring and Autumn period (772BC to 403BC) and the Warring States period right after (403BC to 221BC). Unlike most Chinese idioms, 毋忘在莒 strangely has actually two stories of origin, which gave this idiom two different meanings, though somewhat related to each other.
The first story of origin came from the early Spring and Autumn period. The story goes when The Duke Huan of Qi, the first super power emerged since the demise of Zhou King’s power over vast amount of feudal lords in China in the Eastern state of Qi, took shelter in the state of Ju when he was persecuted in a bloody coup by his uncle. Later on another coup took place over Qi’s court and he got to become the Duke of Qi and started building up the state with reform and dedication. Years passed on since his days as a helpless young heir in the state of Ju, he started to really enjoy the good old Duke’s life. One day he was holding a banquet and asked everybody to drink together with him. Everybody did so except one guy. The guy is named Bao Shuya, who was the one saved his ass and took him to Ju as a political asylum seeker and later on helped him regain his lordship. Duke’s displeased and asked why he’s not drinking. Loyal as he was, he went straight, “My lord, haven’t you forgotten the old humble days in Ju when you are enjoying drinks all the time?” There came the idiom, which literally means “do not forget what happened in the State of Ju”. This story was consolidated into this 4-character idiom and has the original meaning of not forgetting the humble past and in a place like China where the history is considered the backbone of its civilization (all through Chinese history except Yuan, Qing and post-Qing era emperors or powerful warlords would use the claim of history as his casus-belli for wars and the right to govern), it later gets the meaning to remind people never forget about history when you want to do or claim something.
The second story of origin came almost 400 years later, when the Duke of Qi title was usurped by the local aristocratic family of Tian. In 284BC State of Qi was fucked big time by the awesome general Yue Yi from the State of Yan. Qi was on the verge of complete obliteration by Yan and its allies, only leaving two cities Jimo and Ju (the original State of Ju was annexed by Qi and later became part of Qi) intact from the enemy’s aggression. But history didn’t let Qi just disappear like this, a brilliant general Tian Dan managed the mission impossible and started gaining momentum from these two remaining cities and spent the next 5 years to recover virtually all the lost land. Hence comes this idiom and be bestowed the meaning of irredentism, the drive for irredentism. Chiang Kai-shek was a big fan of this meaning and carved this idiom everywhere and named lots of places in Taiwan after the state of Ju, hoping one day he might be the magical Tian Dan to recover the mainland China, which of course never happen.
Those two meanings are very much related to each other. Often time you claim for irredentism based on historical rights: this piece of land was farmed by my people and still the people there are my people and I shall grab it back! or my people used to govern over this piece of land and now I share resume the legacy of my ancestor and take over the land! The former case might be more familiar in European history whereas the later are more seen in Chinese history and the Jews. Those concepts exist way before the introduction of modern nationalism, but the problem surface when the historic claim don’t match with the “lost land” you deem to recover. Like Ruthenian’s claim over Crimea, or Argentinian’s claim over Falklands Island.
But that is of course from the bigoted point of view from us third party observers. Imagine you are from a fucked up country or belonging to a fucked up ethnicity that has very shitty history of glory or power both in the past and present being, what you gotta do to justify your fucked up irredentism? Only one way, re-define your idea of the State of Ju. The Republic of Macedonia believe firmly that their historic claim is directly inherent from Alexander the Great from the Kingdom of Macedon. Hence they built up the world’s biggest Alexsander the Great’s statue in their glorious capital Skopje. You think Greece was the one who got pissed the most? Think about the Bulgarians. The Serbs got lucky to exert governance over the land briefly, but it was the Bulgarian who actually live off this ancient semi-barbarian land of Macedon long since the Bulgars fucked the Thracian and the Byzantine Greeks. Of course such things are blurred out together with the notion of Bulgaria in their universal textbook since 20 years ago. And nowadays young peeps in Skopje only thinks everything comes from Macedonia, period.
Then you got another new kid on the block, the so-called Ukrainian but in fact Ruthenian. Being a member of eastern Slav means your history is deeply mingled with the Russians, Orthodox and such. And that is a dead sin for a new country like Ukraine since 1991. As part of thoughtpolice campaign, the textbook has been deliberately altered since the ealry 90s so that the notion of Ukrainian people suddenly stand out as the poor victims of the evil Poles, Lithuanians, Tartars, and most recently the Muscovites. Then you got the notion that Russians are Finno-Uralic Rus-wannabe with absolutely no rights for the claim of the very historical and cultural center of the glorious Kievan Rus. And then, it becomes the common sense for the young generation in Kiev and specially in Lviv. So you got a revolution based solely on the generation of this whacked idea and bang, what’s not good for Russian must be good for the American! Just like how NATO fucked Serbians in Krajina and Kosovo, Ukraine is a noble notion, hence the notion of out-of-blue “Ukrainian nationalism”.
There are so many examples that history got interpreted in a fucked up way by small newly-born counties dying to create their nationalism myth. You got Korea, Slovakia and those wannabes like Galicia, Islas Malvinas, and the most irriating to me personally, Taiwan and so on. Actually those little kids could flirt with nationalism as much as they want, just please don’t tweak the history and go straightforward like “I hate Muscovite accent and I want only Ruthenian!”, or “I hate Mandarin speaking and hail the Cantonese!”. I would have been much more sympathetic to that casus belli. After all, history claim is a sham. Since nowadays you can’t perform the scorch earth of thorough forcible migration like the Post WWII Eastern Europe, local authority becomes the king. If they are taught to speak Ruthenian, then they are Ukrainians. If you little Chechen rat wants Emir of Chechnya, I’ve got machine guns so make a wise choice! If you speak Mandarin and want Chinese pigs out of Taiwan, well, I won’t go there for sure.
There are two major riots going on at the moment in the world, one in Bangkok, the other in Kiev. Both are vicious and violent. But one is omitted by the left, the other is given 1000% sympathy all over the Cathedral. All of sudden Ukraine, a name you would only associate with quasi idea of prostitute and Russia, becomes the headline. Riot erupted, shooting and Molotov spree, and all western government claims is to put sanctions on the government officials who endorsed the repression of the obviously-violent protest. Needless to say who’s the purported boogeyman in the picture, but what is really happening in Ukraine at the moment?
Ukraine, like all its neighbors, has been a poor kid in the block ever since the downfall of the iron curtain. The high culture was long gone along with the arrival of Bolsheviks, just like Russia, or any of the former Eastern Block states. People in general only gives a shit about one thing there: money. This country in 2014 is impoverished in general, massive amount of poor working class selling their own meat for penny and a handful of oligarchs hijacking the country’s economy. Ukraine in 2014 still exports shit loads of hookers and attracts shit loads of sex tourists if not in Kiev at the moment, and it is as firm as the Law of Gravity that every young Ukrainian who managed to get out of the country, either girls turning to be a whore in Amsterdam or boys turning to be a plumber in London, would die to stay the fuck out of their miserable homeland as much as possible. It is almost like their basic survival instinct. Being a Chinese I very much understand that and in some way could feel the way they feel. Given such gloomy societal climate, Ukraine is also heavily divided by the Russian speaking east and Crimea and Ukrainian speaking west. Miners in Donetsk and hipsters in Kiev are both Ukrainian by blood, but speaking two not-much different languages. I once met a Ukrainian girl from the East who speaks Russian and a guy from Kiev who speaks Ukrainian, and a couple of Russians at the same time. The girl only hangs out with the Russians and the guy seldom talks to them. The west hates Russia so much that they would rather keep sending their best blondes to the West so as to get their help to repel the pesky Russians, whereas the east would see Russia as the ultimate protector and ally. After all, it was the Russians who freed them from the evil Muslim nomads and the corrupted Polish Catholic terror. But sadly Ukraine’s too big and too centered to be neutral.
Of course everybody sides with the hipsters in the west except for the usual suspects like Russia and China. Enemy of Enemy makes an even better relationship than friendship. Unless Ukraine disintegrate into West Ukraine, Crimea and East Ukraine, the tension would keep going on and on over and over again, just like the tribal federation of Libya and Syrian turmoil. Even if the hipsters did take over the government, it is not gonna pull Ukraine as a whole out of its Pontic Steppe and put the middle finger into the rectum of Mr. Vladmir Putin. Their trade is deadlocked, and Russians would in no way be inspired by the freedom and democratic spirit of Kievan idle hipsters. Ukraine’s pathetic economy will not get better, no one does actually since the side-switch happened over 20 years ago. There’s only one thing to be sure, that is there would be more desperate young Ukrainians desperately wanting to flee the country in despair. So in case Putin sets up a ban on young blonde exports, there will always be ample supply from Ukraine.
So who gives a fuck about Ukraine? Nationalist would ask: Is there a chance those young people could get what they want in the end – a better tomorrow for their own country? Nah, not with the big brother. There’s no better tomorrow for every one of us.
Those who think one child policy is evil, feel free to visit China. Apparently this Adam Minter dude from Bloomberg has never visited China. The highlight is not the good old thought police drill that Chinese government is evil by regulating people’s reproductive rights and make 400 million abortions over the years. This piece has unsurprisingly exactly the same tongue as millions of other reports on China’s family planning policy. Bored as usual, I mechanically scrolled the page to check out the comments. Not that I expect something spectacular, I was really just tired of the same old pussy talks over and over again. Then I found out the comment of this Chinese dude Weimin Ma and the rebuttal of Adam Minter. Oh holy celestial heaven, let’s drift a bit away from the actual context of the comments, am I the only one who finds it extremely similar to an argument between a man and a woman?
Let’s put further analysis on their dialogue:
” Why would the author say that China’s one child policy is”notorious”? As a journalist, he should know what is opinion and what is facts. The policy is a country with the worlds 25% population being responsible. Without the policy, China would still have a rapidly expending population which started alomsot half acentury ago and that would be disastrous to China and the entire human being.” –Ma
The dude’s been talking only about facts to challenge the author’s view. Well, all is pretty solid and sensical, but in a way that seems quite impersonal and objective. It is as if a man’s voice: ” woman you are wrong, and here are reasons why you are wrong, brap brap brap.” But the woman of course wouldn’t listen to facts.
“Thank you for the advice on what a journalist should know. Now allow me to give you some advice on what someone commenting here should know: Bloomberg View is an opinion site – not a news site – and the stories here openly reflect the opinions of their authors. In this case, my opinion is that the one-child policy is notorious – that is, it has an oft-poor reputation both inside and outside of China. Feel free to disagree.” –Adam
It’s not a normal woman, it’s a feminist! Cut the crap of those pretentious and specious of “agree to disagree” claptrap. What it all matters is MY OPINION and my opinion only! No facts, no evidence, in fact, screw those facts of yours! I think it has an oft-poor reputation both inside and outside of China, and that’s final! And I am having a period so or like it or not it is what I say it is! Now cut your dick off!
Suffice to say the drill has retarded lots of men’s mind into the stage of pussythink. Thanks to the leftism. But seriously, for all the rage you could possibly accumulate from reading this post, what exactly do you want to do to shake things up? By bringing this Adamina in disguise to China would only change her opinion on this particular issue, whereas there are 99999999 other Adamina out there typing the same excrements everyday. Maybe we should tune the Western society into the correct direction and force insurmountable resistance from the behemoth Left, which is futile, or we should let the world rot to hell with the Goliath together so that the awakened could lead the world again out of the ultimate misery? Alas, perhaps we could find a biological solution to genetically engineer men for the immunity of pussythink. But then again I hate science fictions. If the system is too rotten to be repaired, might as well just let it rot all the way.
Here is another guest posting from our great friend John.
Material deprivation, early responsibility and self direction
The other day my son wanted a pair of Nike air max shoes. It seems these are all the rage these days. We checked the price, $130 and up to as high as $180, for a pair of sneakers. We took the opportunity to teach him about the value of money. I told him that we would pay $50 to buy the shoes, the remainder will come out of his allowance. At the end, we bought a pair of older more basic model of Nike air max for $40. We gave him some sole gel inserts which added to the comfort of the shoes.
All the tiger mom talk we see, I felt that what is missing in the equation are three things.
1. material deprivation.
2. early responsibility.
3. Self direction
These tasks are made harder by rich relatives. We paid our kids five dollars a month for their allowance, for which they earn interest in the mommy daddy bank. On Thanksgiving, the kids received $500 each from their great aunt, it makes the allowance puny in comparison. We will now have to institute a rule that all such gifts be confiscated for their college expense.
I think that especially in today’s world, material deprivation is necessary for the development of a child. Kids today have so much, it is very easy to get lost in the ipads and the Nike shoes that they failed to learn the responsibility of having money. Material deprivation also instill a sense of drive. My friend was talking about teaching his kid to play guitar the other day and he lamented that kids today do not have the drive like when he was growing up. When he was growing up, there was not music lessons, so after having been bitten by the bug of guitar playing, he would go and buy himself a guitar, and learn to play songs he hear from the radio, all done on his own will. Because everything is handed to them, and also because of the busy schedule, even kids raised by tiger moms today do not have this desire from within to learn something on their own.
An example of the success of material deprivation was the raising of William Randolph Hearst, whose mother “took joy in depriving her son of material things”. I think without that, he would not rise to be the titan that he was. A life in which the wants are always sated is a life ruined because it rob them of their good senses and their drive.
Early responsibility is also important. My kids picked out their own clothes to wear each day from an early age. They took baths on their own since about five or six. My daughter, at nine, is not only helping out with household tasks, but also helping to cook. She really love to do the work and got recognition from our Thanksgiving guests for the outstanding dish she made. There is nothing like taking responsibility and the initiative to do something and getting feedback that you have done a good job. No amount of empty praise from adults can substitute the feedback of real success.
A big portion of the CEOs of the world had something happened in their childhood caused them to step up and take responsibility not only on their own lives, but also for their sibling’s.
I think early childhood responsibility is crucial in developing a strong adult.
Finally, I think that kids should be given the freedom to initiate their own projects and to pursue their own interest. This is the antithesis of the tiger mom way of raising kids, where every minute of their life is crammed and filled to the brim with work. This creates initiative and develop interests at an early age where they developed passion for somethings of their own choosing.
Unfortunately, both here and world wide, the trend is to give more things to the kids and shield them from any responsibilities to take care of themselves and others. Even in China, where life of the parents were difficult, it was always the norm to leave the kids with more material things and to shield them from hardship and responsibilities. And I think Chinese everywhere have a tendency to be the tiger mom when given the chance and not to allow their kids to pursue work on their own. I think more then the dysgenic trend, which would have an effect in a century or two, this trend of child spoiling will result in a lost generation in as little as a couple of decades. You can already see this in the current generation of Americans, or even people grow up after the war. A friend of mine was in his fifties. Worked until the dot com bust in 2002, when he lost his job. Instead of getting up and finding another, he has chosen to claim bogus disability and no longer works. His son finished college, and is now working at a local grocery store bagging groceries, with no direction in his life. With many examples like this which I personally witnessed, one can see the degradation of character across the generations. Getting worse as each generation comes to past.
Increasingly, our prosperity is getting in the way of raising good kids.
Watching the U.S. election and the Chinese transition of power, my friend John has come up with the second guest post to share with us on this blog.
Democracy, Meritocracy and corruption.
Watching the elections in the U.S. and the transition of power in China, it crystallized the thought I had for a while about the current government structure in China and how they compared to the Western democracies.
My understanding of the U.S. government is rudimentary. My understanding of the Chinese government even less. So my observations and analysis are based on information that could be readily obtained from the West. Nevertheless, many experts have done a lot worse over the years. One in particular, Gordon Chang, have been predicting the coming collapse of China since 2001! In fact, he thought China would go down by 2011! Yet, in spite of his records, he still is publishing in Major publications.
I believe that the China model of selecting leaders could have the potential to be far superior to the way the West selects them.
Let me first lay out my understanding of how the Chinese government works. The Chinese government is based on patronage. Officials enter the system of government either recruited from top colleges due to their outstanding performances, or, equally likely, they enter government services by their heritage. Their parents were also communist officials. Once they are in the system, their boss decide where they will go. If they perform well(or if they also have connections from higher up), they rapidly move up. While there are many considerations for a candidate to move up, competency is a major component for moving up. It is based on performance like in a corporation.
So one can think of this as performance based with heavy legacy considerations. Even for those with legacy, rising to the top requires competence. There are many people with fairly ordinary background which were elevated to the top due to their performance. For example, Shen Yueyue, one of the handful of the “sixth generation” leaders, has the following bio from one of the U.S. government reports
“Although she began her career as a shop assistant, she later earned a degree in mathematics and rose to prominence as Vice-Secretary of the Communist Youth League in her native Ningbo. She served as Deputy Secretary and Secretary of the Zhejiang Youth League from 1986 to 1993 and attended the Central Party School in 1996. When she was appointed Vice-Secretary of the Anhui Party Committee in 2001, she was 44 years of age. Long affiliated with the CCYL, she is thought to be aligned with Hu Jintao’s Tuanpai faction.”
She was a shop keeper when she started out! and she may rise to the very top of the Chinese power structure. But she was not someone who was just a community organizer or a junior senator with little achievement to show for. She took various posts in the government and gave an outstanding performance. That is how she moved up. That is how all others moved up.
So, we have a system where some of the people are recruited and promoted based strictly on merit, others are brought in through family background, but at the end, still promoted based on merit as they compete with other princelings for a spot towards the top. The higher they climb, the more competitive it gets, even if it were just all the princelings competing with each other. In fact, the princelings are not the only ones made it to the top. If you read the bios, there are many who rise to the top without a pedigree. The current leader, Hu Jintao is one of those. Most likely, he got to the top based on his performance. Near the top, the people are not only capable, they are also seasoned at what they do as they gained various experience.
In the West, we have a case where a man is elected and re-elected to be the president of the United States, yet, by the account of Bill Clinton, someone who had served as a president himself, this person is an “amateur”. Further, he was picked not because of the achievements that he has made, but because he can talk, and a large swath of the population identifies with him.
There are many arguments against the China meritocracy model. Some say that the endemic corruption represents a failure in their system. Some pointed to the incident with Bo Xilai and the discovery of billions belonging to the current leader Wen Jiaboa as proof that the very top is rotten. Others are says that the Chinese system is not inclusive, that they should promote more women and minorities( yes, there are minorities in China just as there are in the U.,S.). Still others say that the past represented the low hanging fruit and the performance of the past will never be repeated again.
To me, the saga of Bo Xilai shows that the system works. You see, after decades of explosive growth, there are huge dislocation amongst the Chinese today. Many are dissatisfied with their lives and long for a simpler life of the Mao era, especially for many who either have forgotten how bad those years were, or were too young to know first hand. So in a democracy, Bo would still be in power representing these people. It is his base of power. The corruption of the party members also create more people who are not happy. The fact that the system can purge him represent a triumph of the reform ideas over the group that wanted to go back to the past.
While it is true that it is easier to start off growth from a low base, it is never the less very tough to change a large system going in a different direction. The Chinese joined the WTO in 2001. While there are many ways to shield competition and favor the state sector, it still represented a major jolt to the system. Many of the decrepit state firms were going to be put out of business. Millions would lose their jobs. Imagine Detroit, in the seventies and eighties, with the Japanese invasion in full swing, sign a treaty to open the city to more competition from Japan instead of smashing Hondas in front of reporters. China joining WTO was a far-sighted decision that entails a great deal of pain. Something that the West would have a hard time executing. Many China hands pointed out the big problems that China is facing today. I would argue that the problems that China faced twenty years ago were much more severe compared to the ones they face today. The fact that they managed to navigate through so many crisis which might sink a lesser government says something about the quality of the people running the show there.
Finally, we come to the issue of corruption. There is no doubt in my mind that every single one of the leadership is on the take. However, there is corruption, then there is corruption. In China, things get done even in face of corruption. The right decisions are made by the leadership to move the country forward. Contrast this with the corruption in India, where the Common Wealth Games, an event that is a small fraction of the Olympics, was badly mishandled. In fact, many of the foreign contractors, who were brought in to help save the day, were not paid when they sent the bill. That is right, the government stiffed these guys. Something unimaginable either in the U.S. or in China. You can think of corruption as integral to the functioning of the Chinese system. In the private sector, the motivating force for someone to climb the corporate ladder is to be rewarded financially. If you are a stock boy at Waltmart, you are making $10 an hour. If you become a CEO of WaltMart, you make tens of millions a year. If you are highly capable and have a good shot at becoming the CEO of a company, making millions, why would you want to join the government? In China, apparently, you join the government because you can make a lot of money through corruption. This brings in more capable people who would otherwise stay in the private sector. As long as there is work to keep the corruption in check and a system to promote based on one’s performance, corruption should not impact progress. Each of the top leaders making a couple of billion here and there over a decade does not damage an economy which produced 11 Trillion a year.
In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew instituted a system of salaries to the people running for public office based on their private sector pay. If you are a surgeon and wanted to run for an office, the office will pay you what an average surgeon would make. This way, you are not losing out financially if you wanted to serve the country. I think that corruption in China serves a similar goal.
In summary, I think that the Chinese way of selecting their leaders potentially are far superior to the way the U.S. select ours. They promote more competent people and give them the operational experience to succeed as they arrive at the top. Much like a corporation. Where as in a democracy, the leaders are as good as the constituents.
As I am pretty occupied with the new environment and new business in China, there’s little time for me to calm down and start collecting my miscellaneous thoughts into an orderly post or two. Luckily I am honored to have John, a friend who I began to get familiar with via this blog, who offered to give a piece of his mind as a guest post on my blog.
My journey to the HBD world.
I immigrated to a small town in the Pacific Northwest in late seventies from southern China. The population of my town was mainly white people. Though in retrospect, they were very nice and tried very hard to accept me, I felt a sense of alienation. This alienation went along with the identity politics and equality meme of the democratic party. though I was always a fiscal conservative coming from China where one does not spend money that one does not have.
It was not until I came out to California in the late nineties that opened my eye to a different world. What struck me as odd and puzzling was the division of labor along racial and ethnic lines. The Chinese and the Indians are the engineers. Whites were generally the managers. Vietnamese dominated the hair salon business. The Cambodians were big in doughnut shops. The Sikhs were taking over the hotel and taxi businesses. The other puzzle was the permanent inability of the black people to get out of the slums and the amount of coddling that was given to them by the society in large.
Being an engineer, I can’t help but observed that Asians made up a large share of the engineering staff, but few management were Asian. I initially blamed the glass ceiling for the lack of Asians in management, but then I saw other immigrant groups, such as the Persians which did much better at cracking the “glass ceiling”. The publication of the Bell Curve and the subsequent controversy opened my eye to a different dimension and a different perspective. Then I stumbled on to other HBD type blogs like isteve which opened my eyes further. For the first time, all the puzzles that I had could be explained in a coherent way. Though the HBD theory that I formed still had a lot of question marks.
After reading work by Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn and others, I was able to fill most of the gaps I had on my HBD theory. At the same time, I was saddened to see that the leading civilization in our time, the West, is on a slow road to oblivion. In the U.S., the demographic trend is such that the die has already been cast. Europe is not far behind and hobbled by fragmentation and the flawed concept of a European Union. The impulse to help the weak and disadvantaged, which started off with good intentions, has now veered off into the absurd. The brutal suppression of any HBD discussions (Larry Summers, James Watson) made me realize that even in a supposedly free and democratic society, the media is incredibly managed. The truth is often sacrificed at the altar of dogma. Our public discourse given to the fears and prejudices of the masses. Given the democratic system we have in place, a spoil system along racial and sexual lines is inevitable and indeed, it is being born even as we speak. I owned some homes in the San Jose area after the prices plummeted during the housing melt down. The other day, I was renting one out, a black lady came to apply. The government is paying most of her rent. She showed up in a black late Mercedes SUV! It was worth more than the car that I drove. We are seeing people with their government food vouchers at Wholefoods buying luxury items that many hard working middle class choose to forgo, often sporting expensive handbags and such. But these kinds of scenes will be child’s play compared to the injustices that my kids will see when they started contributing to society.
I went down this road originally burdened by the weakness of my fellow Asians in America. Ironically, as I learned that Asians are not as weak as I thought, I am seeing the beginning of the end for the West, and it brings me no pleasure to find the answer that I was looking for.
Should have taken the blue pill.