Tag Archives: China

Xin QiJi 5.28.13 Thought of the Day

Precious hairpin, broken, halved
At the Peach-Leaf Ferry where
We parted; darkening mist and willow shroud the place.
I dread to climb the tower-top stair;
Nine days out of ten wind raves, rain torrents race:
It breaks my heart to see the scarlet petals scatter one by one.
All this with nobody to care
Above it – who is there
Will bid the oriole’s singing cease?
Xin QiJi

[Image courtesy: OnePlaceTravel.com]

[Image courtesy: OnePieceTravel.com]

Xin QiJi was born on this day in Licheng (now Jinan) in the Shandong Province  of China in  1140. Today is the 873rd anniversary of his birth.

He was born to an age of conflict. Northern China was occupied by a nomadic “horde” from north-east China called the Jin or Jurchen.

In his childhood his grandfather told him about the time when the Han Chinese ruled the north and told him to be an honorable man and seek revenge against the barbarian for the nation. It was then when he developed his patriotic feelings. [Cultural China.com]

At 22 he began his military career with a group of fifty men under his command. He fought along side Geng Jing with his 10,000 strong army. After some success in 1161 Xin QiJi convinced Geng Jing to …

 …Join forces with the Southern Song army in order to fight the Jurchen more effectively. … but just as Xin finished a meeting with the Southern Song Emperor… Xin learned that Geng Jing had been assassinated by their former friend-turned-traitor, Zhang Anguo (张安国). With merely fifty men, Xin fought his way through the Jurchen camp and captured Zhang Anguo. Xin then led his men safely back across the border and had Zhang Anguo decapitated by the emperor. [Ibid]

His bravery, military prowless, and loyality to Geng Jing, his men and the Emperor “gained him a place in the Southern Song court.” [Ibid]

He was frustrated by the courts appeasement policy toward the invaders, and kept from a position of influence by being given “a series of minor posts” [Ibid] in the court.

[Image courtesy: ibid]

[Image courtesy: Cultural China.com]

Although he was an effective ruler on the district level (where he improved the irrigation system, helped poverty-struck peasants and maintained  well trained troops) it is through the  poetry that he began to write when he moved to the South that is known for today.

Xin Qiji’s Song poems are “powerful and sonorous , embracing the world and history”. As a patriotic lyricist , he sang of the sorrows and joys of the time , and the indignation and hope of the nation , pushing the Song poems up a new peak . [Ibid]

When young, I knew not the taste of sorrow,
But loved to mount the high towers;
I loved to mount the hight towers
To compose a new song,urging myself to talk about sorrow.
Now that I have known all the taste of sorrow,
I would like to talk about it, but refrain;
I would like to talk about it, but refrain,

And say merely: “It is chilly; what a fine autumn!” [Ibid]

-Xin QiJi

[Image courtesy: Cultural China.com]

[Image courtesy: Cultural China.com]


Thought of the Day 10.10.12 Lin Yutang

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.”
-Lin Yutang

English: Lin Yutang 中文: 林语堂

English: Lin Yutang 中文: 林语堂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lin Yutang was born on this day in Banzai, Fujian province, China in 1895. today is the 117th anniversary of his birth.

China provinces fujian

China provinces fujian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He grew up in the mountains of Fujian province the son of a Chinese Presbyterian minister. He studied at Saint John’s University, Shanghai and at Harvard University in the US. At first he studied to be a minister, but he renounced Christianity and pursued a degree in English instead.

[Image courtesy: Amoymagic.com]

He bridged the cultural and linguistic divide writing and editing for both English and Chinese magazines and produced Lin Yutang’s Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage.

His successful satirical magazine Analects Fortnightly was the first of its kind in China. In 1933 Pearl Buck introduced him to her publisher who took Lin Yutang on as a client.

English: Lin Yutang (Lin Yü-t'ang) (1895 - 197...

English: Lin Yutang (Lin Yü-t’ang) (1895 – 1976) 日本語: 林語堂 (1895 – 1976) ‪中文(简体)‬: 林语堂 (1895 – 1976) ‪中文(繁體)‬: 林語堂 (1895 – 1976) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1935 he moved to the US.

Lin published the first of his many English-language books, My Country and My People. It was widely translated and for years was regarded as a standard text on China. [Britannica.com]

He moved to New York and published Moment in Peking in 1939. His 1941 novel  A Leaf in the Storm, presents China on the brink of war with Japan. Wisdom of China and India  followed in 1942.

[Image courtesy: Amoymagic.com]

Lin’s fiction includes Chinatown Family — a look at culture, race and religion faced by an immigrant Chinese American family; and his 1968 The Flight of the Innocents.

Ming Kwai Typewriter

Ming Kwai Typewriter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the WWII Lin developed a workable Chinese typewriter, the “Ming Kwai” typewriter.

His belief that literature should be a means of self-expression, not a tool for propaganda put him at odds with political movements in China when he returned to his homeland in 1943 and 1954.

Lin wrote more than three dozen books and is “arguably the most distinguished Chinese American writer of the twentieth century.” [Google Books] He died on March 26, 1976.

[Image courtesy: Amoymagic.com]

 “In his prolific literary career, Chinese author Lin Yutang wrote expertly about an unusual variety of subjects, creating fiction, plays, and translations as well as studies of history, religion, and philosophy. Working in English as well as in Chinese, he became the most popular of all Chinese writers to early 20th-century American readers.” [Britannica.com]

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