Categories
China Hong Kong

The 36 stratagems

The 36 Stratagems is an ancient Chinese text. Like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, it is a guide on military tactics. The 36 Strategems teaches us that deception is how to win a war. Supposedly, anyone in China (or raised in a Chinese household) would know this. Chinese children learn the 36 Stratagems the […]

Categories
China Craft The Shanghai Quartet

Oh god

The god I grew up with was the Catholic God: all-knowing, all-powerful, fierce in his retribution and tender in his forgiveness. The gods I spend my time with these days are a whole other ball of wax. Petty, self-indulgent, more interested in a game of mahjong than the plight of mere mortals. Meet the Chinese […]

Categories
China Chinese prisons Hong Kong

Knock Knock

Surveillance is an ancient Chinese art. To monitor the enemy, Sun Tzu (544-496 B.C.) advocated the use of spies: local, inward, converted, doomed and surviving. The emperor should deploy all five kinds in times of war and in peace. Last week, Hong Kong arrested 53 activists for allegedly subverting state power. The police needed no […]

Categories
China Family ghosts Shanghai War

School days

Today is Dad’s 97th birthday. He’s not around anymore to tell us his stories but I find new ones every day. About his school days in China, for example. China in the late 19th century didn’t have an established higher education system, but rather scattered private academies that helped train scholars to pass the imperial […]

Categories
Books China

Double or Nothing

I write about two Chinas. You could say I’m seeing double. Sometimes I write about the real China for this blog. That is to say, I express my opinion about current affairs as I see them from a distance through the lens of media reports. It’s very possible that the China I write of does […]

Categories
Censorship China Taiwan Tibet

A Style Manual

When I think of a style manual, I think about punctuation. To use or not to use the Oxford comma. To write a number in letters or in Roman numerals. The purpose of a style manual is to create consistency in the writing, formatting, and design of a publication. So, every now and again, I […]

Categories
China Food Hong Kong Los Angeles Politics

Moon Cake

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Asia celebrates the Harvest Moon Festival. Lions dance in China, Taiwan and Singapore. Japanese and Korean children make paper lanterns while in Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the older generation gazes ardently at the full moon. In all these countries, in one form or another, people […]

Categories
China Family ghosts Los Angeles Taiwan

Ivory

My brothers and I are busy getting rid of stuff. I suppose that this, too, is a part of death. I can remember doing this for my mother-in-law. Now, I’m doing it for Dad. Clothes, medical supplies, lots of paper. There are treasures, too, among the detritus. In his desk drawer, under the paper clips […]

Categories
Censorship China Hong Kong

Payback Time

Hongkongers are in the news again. New security legislation, protests, and the inevitable arrests. Shock and dismay expressed around the world. Many claim that Beijing has violated the 1997 treaty pursuant to which the United Kingdom relinquished control over Hong Kong. But the writing has been on the wall for a while. The Chinese are […]

Categories
China

All for One

My father is 96 years old, my mother is 81. My siblings and I are spread across the world. The closest one lives a 3 hour drive away. We worry about what to do and how we can help our parents in this phase of their lives. Lockdowns and closed borders only add to the […]