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Comment 2 on “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom”: Not Respecting Daughter and In Turn Allowing Daughter to Disrespect Mom
二评“虎妈妈的战歌”:对女儿不尊敬,也反过来纵容女儿对母亲的不尊敬

April 23rd, 2011

(First, I must say to Amy Chua and her family members: I apologize for passing judgment and making comments on your family’s private affairs in public – outsiders should not pass judgment and comment on how others raise and teach their children in a manner that those children can hear or read about it. I feel bad, but it can’t be helped in your case, because the Mom in your family has published this book about your family’s private affairs, a book that has shaken the world and is affecting the whole of humanity. Therefore, many people in this world now have an obligation to take a position on many things in this book and that means publicly passing judgment and commenting on how the Mom in your family raises and teaches her children.)

首先,我要先对蔡美儿及她的家人说,很抱歉,要公开对你们的家事说三道四,指手画脚。本来外人不应该在别人子女可能听到或看到的情况下评论别人怎样教养子女的,我也觉得很难过,但没办法,你们家的妈妈出版了这本震动全球的、关于你们家事的书,对全人类都有影响,所以世界上很多人现在都有责任和义务对这本书里的很多东西表明立场,亦即是公开评论你们家的妈妈怎样教养子女了。

In the book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” written by Amy Chua, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, supposedly represents “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, Amy Chua does not respect her daughter’s basic personal dignity, and in turn also allows the daughter to disrespect mother. This is completely opposite to what traditional Chinese thought advocates for bringing up children.

被华尔街时报吹捧为代表“为什么中华母亲比较优越”的蔡美儿著的“虎妈妈的战歌”一书里,蔡美儿既不尊敬女儿的基本人身尊严,也反过来纵容女儿对妈妈的不尊敬。这完全跟中华教养孩子的传统思想背道而驰。

In Chapter 11 of the book, Amy Chua describes how, when her second daughter Lulu is seven and has been unable, despite practicing on the piano many hours a day for many days, to play a certain difficult tune well, Amy Chua condemns her daughter severely. Ms. Chua accuses her daughter of “purposely working herself into a frenzy”, and of being “lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent, and pathetic”, and threatens her with no meals, no Christmas presents or birthday parties for 3, 4 years, etc. This kind of insulting condemnation and threat with punishment shows complete disrespect for the daughter’s basic personal dignify: she is only a seven-year-old who temporarily cannot attain a certain level of skill in piano; she actually has practiced for hours every day; she has not committed any serious trespasses, nor has she committed any crimes against humanity!

书中第11章蔡美儿描述二女Lulu七岁时弹钢琴尽管练习了好多天,每天弹了好多小时,但是还不能把一首难弹的歌曲弹得够好,便破口把女儿辱骂和威胁,说她“故意刺激自己以致进入狂乱状态”、说她“懒惰、懦弱、自我放纵、是个完全没用的人”,更威胁女儿,要罚她没饭吃、三四年都不许拿圣诞礼物或开生日派对等。这种辱骂和威胁,完全不尊重女儿基本的人身尊严,她毕竟只是个能力暂时不能达到琴艺某水平的七岁小孩,她毕竟天天都做了长达数小时的练习,她并没有做过大逆不道的事,更没有做过任何伤天害理的事情啊!

In turn, having received treatment that disrespects her personal dignity over and over, the daughter gradually begins to hit back. It starts with contradicting mother, and then evolves into returning the insulting rebukes, into shows of complete disrespect for mother. Perversely, this kind of behavior, which is considered a severe trespass in Chinese culture, Amy Chua does not stop at all, but instead tolerates and allows to go on, and even seems to take pride in her daughter displaying such behavior.

女儿多次承受了这种不尊敬人身尊严的对待后,很自然地渐渐开始反抗了,最先是对妈妈反驳,然后演变为反骂。变为对妈妈完全不尊敬时,蔡美儿反而对这种中华文化认为是大逆不道的行为完全不禁止,反而长期纵容,甚至好像是引以为荣。

In page 48 of the book, while describing how the second daughter resists the severe music practice schedule, Amy Chua says that she and her daughter form a pair who are “simultaneously incompatible and inextricably bound”. Then Ms. Chua rather proudly recounts how, in talking with her seven-year-old daughter, they conclude that they are “good buddies” in a “weird, terrible way”, and then daughter hugs mother. This lets us understand the real picture: Amy Chua, like so many parents who lack knowledge of the Chinese intellectual heritage, thinks that no matter how disrespectful of the offspring a parent is, as long as the parent lets the offspring also in turn show disrespect for the parent, then the parent has not mistreated the offspring!

书中第48页讲述二女小时怎样反抗严厉的练琴日程时蔡美儿就说,她母女俩是同时水火不容但又不能分离的一对,然后很自豪地描绘一次跟七岁的二女谈话时所得出的结论:她们俩是一对“很怪异、很坏很可怕”的“好朋友”,而女儿说完就拥抱了妈妈。这就让我们明白真相了:蔡美儿原来好像很多对中华思维传统缺乏认识的父母一样,以为无论父母对子女怎样不尊敬,只要让子女反过来也对父母不尊敬,便没有亏待子女了!

Sigh! Respect for one’s parents is actually the most basic form of respect for others, and for Amy Chua to not infuse that most basic form of respect for others into her offspring is actually considered by Chinese culture to be one of the greatest mistreatments by parents of their offspring! It is “to raise but not teach”.

唉,对父母的尊敬其实就是最基本的对他人的尊敬,而蔡美儿这样不把最基本的对他人的尊敬灌输给子女,其实就是中华文化里父母最亏待子女的行为之一啊!这叫做“养而不教”。

Of course, according to traditional Chinese culture, offspring may express differing opinions to their parents, since offspring should be able to discuss anything and everything with their parents, and also, after all, offspring have the duty to dissuade and dispute parents when they are morally wrong, but the opinions must be expressed in a respectful manner, with politeness and courtesy.

当然,根据中华传统文化,子女可以对父母提出不同意见(凡事有商量嘛,而且,子女对父母有“谏争”的义务和责任啊),但是,提出时要对父母尊敬、有礼貌。

In the name of some kind of “achievement”, and in this case it is the playing of musical instruments, to both disrespect the children and then also allow the children in turn to disrespect their parents, even to the point of loud argument and throwing things in public, can such farces represent the fine Chinese tradition of bringing up children? Absolutely not. And not only for the Chinese tradition – such farces cannot represent the tradition of any civilization for bringing up children.

父母为了某种“成绩”(在蔡美儿来说是为了琴艺)而既不尊敬子女,也纵容子女反过来对父母不敬,甚至在公众场所里大吵大闹和掷东西,这种丑剧,能够代表中华教养子女的优秀传统吗?绝对不能!而且,不光是中华传统,什么文明的教养子女传统都不能代表。

The Chinese tradition for bringing up children puts the greatest emphasis on respect, and first and foremost on respect for parents. Why is respect for parents so important? Long ago Confucius has answered this question: it is because those who respect their parents won’t disrespect others (see The Classic of Xiao, p. 5, Chapter 2, “The Son of Heaven”)! And in the Chinese intellectual tradition, respect for others is the guarantee of civil society. This is because traditional Chinese culture advocates using Li or courtesy and etiquette to bring harmony and order to society, and what is the essence of this Li or courtesy and etiquette? It is respect, nothing more. Confucius has said, “Li – it is nothing other than respect.” (See The Classic of Xiao, p. 25, Chapter 12, “A Broad and Crucial Doctrine”.) Therefore, in the Chinese intellectual heritage, respect for parents is the fundamental foundation of civil society.

中华教养子女的传统,最注重尊敬,而首要的就是尊敬父母。为什么尊敬父母这么重要呢?对此,孔子早就说出了答案,是因为尊敬父母的人不会不尊敬他人(“敬亲者不敢慢于人”《孝经》第5页第二章“天子”)。而中华思维传统里,尊敬他人就是文明社会的保障。这是因为中华思维传统主张使用礼,来为社会带来和谐和秩序,而这个礼的本质是什么呢?只不过是尊敬。孔子说,“礼者,敬而已矣”(《孝经》第25页第十二章“广要道”)。所以,对中华思维传统来说,尊敬父母是文明社会的根本基础。

Therefore, to raise children according to the Chinese intellectual heritage, the parents must set an example by showing respect for the personal dignity of the children, and at the same time, must firmly uphold the requirement that the children show respect for, and courtesy and politeness to, their parents. Parents must strictly prohibit all words and acts that show disrespect and must absolutely not tolerate them.

所以,要依照中华思维传统来抚育子女,父母一定要以身作则,尊敬子女的人身尊严,同时也一定要坚持规矩,严格要求子女对父母尊敬、有礼貌,严厉禁止一切不敬的言行,对之绝不能纵容。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Comment 1 on “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom”: Tiger Mom does not Represent Chinese Mothers
一评“虎妈妈的战歌”:虎妈妈不能代表中华母亲

April 17th, 2011

Just read Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” and watched the video of her interview with Charlie Rose: the Wall Street Journal has no right to brand her style of parenting as being representative of “Chinese mothers” (Wall Street Journal: “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”). While I agree with the general thrust that parents should one, make young children work hard at learning, two, demand and expect performance to the best of their ability from their kids, and three, make sure young children master basic intellectual skills, which can often only be achieved through repeated and tiresome “rote learning”, I find her parenting as recounted in the book overly obsessed with “achievement”, disrespectful of the child’s dignity, and yes, sometimes downright cruel and therefore absolutely wrong. Being proud of my heritage and considering myself to know a bit about that heritage, I object to that kind of excess being labeled “Chinese”.

刚刚看完蔡美儿“虎妈妈的战歌”一书和查理• 罗斯对她的访问,发觉了华尔街日报没权把她的子女教养方式说为是代表中华母亲的方式(见华尔街日报:“为什么中华母亲比较优越”)。的确,我同意,父母应该一、要求子女努力勤学,二、要求子女尽力做到能力所能做到的最好成绩,同时要把子女作出这种尽力看为是理所当然的,三、务必使子女掌握基本的知识技能,而很多时只有通过反复的、讨厌的“机械学习”才能掌握这些技能的。但是,书中所描绘的教养方式,一味痴迷于“成绩”、不尊重孩子的基本个人尊严、有时甚至残酷地(因而是绝对错误地)对待孩子。我身为华裔,把中华传统文化引以为荣,亦认为自己对中华文化传统略知一二,所以我反对把这种过分的做法标志为“中华的”。

Over-obsession with “achievement”, disrespect for the child’s dignity, and cruelty, can only be the parenting style of those modern Chinese parents who lack education in the traditional Chinese intellectual heritage.

一味痴迷于“成绩”、不尊重孩子的基本个人尊严、甚至有时残酷对待,只能是那一些缺乏对中华思维传统认识的现代华人父母的教养方式。

Far from any obsession with “achievement”, what has been stressed in my experience of “Chinese parenting” (from my own parents) and in my research into what ideals the Chinese intellectual heritage has traditionally prescribed for Chinese parenting, is the supremacy of Chinese values, the Chinese values of relationship-defined obligations, wherein xiao or being good to parents and ancestors, and loyalty to country, have come first and foremost, the Chinese values of respect for all persons whether superior, equal, or inferior in station, the values of courage to stand by what is right even if the entire world is against you and you are threatened with dire consequences, the Chinese values of the obligation to dissuade and dispute authority when they are morally wrong, and the Chinese values of the importance of morals and principles over book learning and riches. These values had been drummed into me repeatedly by my parents, by school, and by the popular culture that I experienced as a child in Hong Kong during the early 1960s. My own research since I’ve grown up into traditional Chinese parenting and upbringing of children has confirmed what I had experienced as a child.

我自己亲身的经验(我对我父母体验)和我自己对中华文化传统究竟提倡怎样教养子女的研究,证明了放在至上的完全不是什么“成绩”,而是中华价值,是中华的人伦价值,首举孝即对父母及祖先好和忠即忠于国家这两个价值,还有要不论地位高低都尊重所有的人、要有勇气于全世界都反对和面对严重负面后果时都仍然坚持正义、要当父母或君主等权威人物不义时必须诤谏、要把道德和原则看为比念书或钱财更为重要等的这些价值。六十年代早期,当我在香港还是个小孩子的时候,父母、学校和流行文化不断地把这些价值灌输入我的脑海里。我长大之后,我对传统的中华子女教养方法的研究完全确认了我儿童年代的经验。

Charlie Rose hit it right on the head when he repeated pressed Amy Chua on the importance of values in bringing up children.

查理• 罗斯访问里曾多次追问蔡美儿教养子女价值是否重要,这的确是一针见血。

Yes, hard work and striving always to achieve to your potential is good and important, but that is only a part of the overall dedication to relationship-defined obligations, to morals and to principles. Those Chinese values are what real Chinese parenting should be all about.

是的,勤劳和力图达到自己的潜力所能达到的成绩是好的、重要的,但那只是我们忠于人伦的义务和责任、忠于道德和原则的一部分。中华价值才是中华子女教养的核心。

As for Amy Chua’s repeated pleas in the interview with Charlie Rose about “unconditional love” being most important, I think that reveals that she is just another Westerner after all - see my essay The Traditional Chinese Supremacy of Relationship-Defined Obligations vs. the Western Supremacy of Love.

至于蔡美儿在查理• 罗斯的访问中所屡次诉求的“无条件的爱才是最重要的”,证明了她不过只是个西方人罢了:请看我的文章“中华传统的人伦至上对西方的爱至上”

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Raising children to be successful 培养孩子成材

May 29th, 2010

How can we raise our children to be successful when they grow up?

怎样才能培养孩子成材呢?

Parents nowadays know only to ask that their children be diligent at school work and extracurricular arts and skills, thinking that if they learn well they will be successful in life. Parents don’t make any other demands on children at all, thinking that time that children could otherwise have spent on “learning” will be “wasted”. Of course, to be a responsible child, he must be diligent at school work and the extracurricular activities his parents enroll him in. The responsibility that he shoulders there, however, is only responsibility to be good to himself. That is not enough. To raise a child into a successful person, the most important thing is to let him learn how to shoulder responsibility for serving others and being good to others. If a person doesn’t know how to serve others and be good to others, no matter how outstanding he has been at his school work and extracurricular arts and skills when young, he will not be successful either in career or in family life. Of course, shouldering responsibility for serving others and being good to others should begin at home. Therefore, for a child to become a successful person, he must be required to help the family.

现在的父母们,只知道要求孩子学业和课余文艺用功,以为学习得好,便会成材了。完全不对孩子作出任何其他要求,认为那样做会“浪费了”孩子应该用来“学习”的时间。当然,孩子一定要用功于学业和父母安排的课余文艺,才能算得为一个负责的孩子,但是,他那里负起的责任,只不过是对自己好的责任,是不够的。让孩子成材,最重要就是让他学到负起为他人服务、对他人好的责任。一个人如果不懂得怎样为他人服务、对他人好,少时学业和课余文艺再好,也不能在事业上或家庭生活中成功的。孩子学习负起为他人服务、对他人好的责任,当然是从家里做起。所以,要孩子成材,一定要让他帮助家庭。

From the earliest age on a child must help with home chores and help keep the house clean. Even if there are servants in the house, he must not carelessly throw things around or set things down just anywhere. He must carefully put away his clothes and his things, and pick up after himself. If a child has younger siblings then he has lots of opportunity to shoulder responsibility for being good to others: a child must help parents look after his younger siblings. Even when there are servants looking after the physical needs of the younger siblings, he must help parents look after the mental and learning needs of the siblings. When a child grows older he must help with the family livelihood - how? Whether his parents are employees or business owners, he must help make his parents’ job and going to work easier, more convenient, even if it’s with small details, such as Huang Xiang of old who warmed his father’s bed in winter and cooled the bed in summer. Also, parents must let the child know the situation at work or in the business, so that he may think of ways, even if they concern only small details, to make the family’s livelihood even better. Therefore, whether rich or poor, parents can always make a child shoulder responsibility for being good to others.

从小孩子就要帮助家务、要帮助保持屋子清洁,尽管家里有佣人,也不能随便乱抛东西、放东西,也要小心地放置衣服和物件,收拾起自己的东西。有弟弟或妹妹的话就最容易有机会从小负起对他人好的责任,孩子一定要帮助父母照顾弟妹。尽管有佣人照顾弟妹们的起居生活,也要帮助父母照顾弟妹们精神上和学习上的需要。孩子长大了一点,就要帮助家计,怎样呢?父母是打工或做生意都好,孩子都需要帮助父母,让他们工作、上班方便,尽管是帮助细节,好像历史上的黄香为父亲冬天暖被、夏天凉席一样。同时父母也需要使孩子知道父母在外工作或生意的情况,让他尽管是在细节上可以为父母想主意,出办法,使家计更好、更完善。所以,无论家庭是富有还是贫穷,都可以让孩子负起帮助家庭的责任。

Raising a child to be a responsible and useful person by having him help the family is worth having the grades go down a point or two. Actually, I think that by shouldering responsibility to help the family, a child will inevitably learn self-discipline and the ability to independently manage time, and so school work and extracurricular arts and skills will be learnt even better, not worse. Time spent on helping the family will have no negative impact, only a positive one.

培养孩子做个负责任、有用的人,就算帮助家庭会使学业分数低一两分,也是完全值得的。何况,我认为孩子负起帮助家庭的责任,必然会学到自我纪律和独立掌握时间的能力,学业和课余文艺只会更优秀了,用于帮助家庭的时间完全不会有负面影响,只会有正面影响。

Of course, when the child helps the family, the parents must give recognition and praise. Also, when there are younger siblings, the parents must strictly demand that the younger siblings respect and obey the older siblings.

当然,孩子帮助家庭,父母应该给于认可和赞赏。同时,有弟妹时,父母就一定要严格要求弟妹们尊敬和服从哥哥、姐姐。

This way, the child will have self-respect - after all, he is a very useful person! Knowing how to shoulder responsibility, serving others and being good to others, he will possess what in traditional China is known as “xiao” or being good to parents, and what in the West is very important whether in admission to elite colleges or promotion at work and is known as “leadership skills”. In traditional China, character and conduct has always been considered more important than academics, as in the saying “after achieving right conduct, then if there’s energy left over one may use it to study books”. Nowadays in the West “emotional quotient” or “E.Q.” is considered more important than intelligence quotient or I.Q. It’s quite clear to me that to raise children to grow up to be successful people, one must not only look at school work and extracurricular arts and skills but also must require children to help the family.

这样,孩子便有自尊心,他毕竟是个很有用的人啊!他懂得怎样负起责任,他懂得怎样为他人服务,对他人好,他便拥有传统中国所谓的“孝”和西方无论高校录取或企业升职都重视的所谓“领导技能”(leardership skills)。传统中国一向都是认为品行比读书重要,所谓“行有余力则以学文”,而现在西方则认为“情商”(E.Q.)比智商(I.Q.)重要;培养孩子成材不能只看到学业和课余才艺,也要要求孩子帮助家庭这个道理,对我来说,是很明显的。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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The number “8” and What Chinese People Have Lost “八”和华人所失去的东西

May 24th, 2009

Why are Chinese people nowadays, even highly educated ones, so superstitious about getting lucky to get rich?  8, 8, 8, everywhere, on phone numbers, car license numbers, etc., you see people sporting at least one number 8. And that’s all because in Chinese 8 sounds a bit like the first sound in “getting rich”. Also, nowadays the Chinese New Year’s greeting is “gong hay faht tsoy” (Cantonese pronunciation), which translates into “Happy Wishes for Getting Rich”. Why is getting rich apparently the only thing on Chinese minds?

为什么现在华人们,连受过高等教育的华人们,这么迷信发财运气呢?八、八、八、现在到处都是八字,电话号码、车牌都最少有一个八字,而这只是因为八字读起来有点像发财的发字。另外,现在农历新年流行的贺词是“恭喜发财”。为什么好像发财是华人头脑里唯一的东西呢?

It hasn’t always been so.

并非一向都是这样的。

The number 8 hasn’t always been so popular. When I was a kid in Hong Kong during the early sixties, 8 was not always a good word. In Cantonese colloquialism back then, 8 was often used to mean “being gossipy” or invading other people’s privacy, as in “why are you so baht (8), that you want to know even such and such?” In fact, it came from a negative attitude towards the baht guah (八卦), the hexagram from the I Jing (or I-Ching), which was used for divination. During days past Cantonese, or at least educated Cantonese, had looked down upon fortune-telling using the hexagram and upon the occult in general.  It had only been a recent phenomenon in Chinese superstition of the last twenty or thirty years, a phenomenon which started in Hong Kong, to make 8 equal to getting rich and for 8 to be so fervently sought after.

以前八字并非这么流行。六十年代初我在香港做小孩子时,“八”并非一定是个好字。那个时候广州话俗语里的八,是指说别人闲话或多管闲事,好像“为什么你这样八,连这些东西你也要知道?”其实,这样对待“八”,源于对八卦占卜的负态度,因为广东人,最少有教育的广东人,以前鄙视占卜和鬼神之事。把八当为发财的发,同时对八字狂热地追求,只是近二三十年来在香港开始的华人迷信现象。

As for the Chinese New Year’s greeting, when I was a kid in Hong Kong during the early sixties, the standard greeting was “gong hay teem ding faht tsoy”, which meant “Happy Wishes for Getting Another Boy and Getting Rich”, and “gong hoh sun hay”, which meant “Best Wishes for the New Year”. I don’t remember hearing just “gong hay faht tsoy” or “Happy Wishes for Getting Rich” – so bourgeois! Please note that, true to Confucian tradition, “Getting Another Boy” came before “Getting Rich” – the traditional family came before getting rich, and getting rich was for the family, not a selfish hedonistic pursuit for the individual himself or herself. Having moved away during the sixties from a society dominated by Chinese culture, after all these years it was at first and still is jarring for me to hear “gong hay faht tsoy” without the “teem ding (getting another boy)” in front of “faht tsoy (getting rich)”.

至于用“恭喜发财”作为农历新年的祝贺词,我六十年代初在香港做小孩子时,通常的新年祝贺词是“恭喜添丁发财”,多了“添丁”这两个字。也说“恭贺新禧”,但是我记忆中就没有听过“恭喜发财”-太市侩了!请注意,添丁发财是符合孔教传统的,把添丁放在发财前面,显示了传统的家庭为先,钱财为后,而要追求钱财,只不过是为了家庭,不是为了自私的个人享乐。我在六十年代就离开了以华人文化为主流的社会,这么多年后,听到没有把添丁放在发财前面的“恭喜发财”,第一次就觉得有点刺耳,现在仍然不惯。

I believe it is wrong to think that Chinese have always been as superstitious and as anxious about good luck and getting rich as Chinese people seem to be nowadays.  Back during the old days we had the intellectual and moral compass and framework of Confucianism.  Thanks to that framework, we knew how to act and what to do in life; we knew what things to pursue, what things to reject, and how to pursue and reject them. So we were secure, smart and brave; we weren’t so obsessed with good luck and getting rich. Even as recently as during the early 1960’s we didn’t use to be obsessed with all this stuff; we used to be brave and secure back then thanks to Confucianism.

我认为,华人并不是向来就好像今日的华人那样,对发财和运气这么迷信,这么紧张。旧时我们拥有孔教这个思维上和道德上的指南和框架。有了这个框架,我们就知道人要怎样做、人生要怎样过,我们就知道什么要追求、什么要拒绝和怎样追求、怎样拒绝,我们就有了安全感,我们就聪明、勇敢。我们那时不对运气和发财这么痴迷。六十年代初这么近期,也没有对这些东西痴迷,因为我们那时还有孔教,还有安全感和勇气。

But now we Chinese have turned our backs on Confucianism and so we don’t have anything.  Intellectually and morally we have no compass or framework and so we are insecure. A lot of the time we don’t know what we do that will bring us good things and what we do that will bring us bad things. Often we are so ignorant that we don’t even know what is good and what is bad; we can’t tell good from bad.  That’s why we grasp at straws; we grasp at superstitions for somehow avoiding the bad and getting the good.  That’s why 8 is now a “lucky number” seen everywhere and why 4, which sounds like “death”, is now an “unlucky number” and not seen anywhere.

但是,现在华人背弃了孔教,所以我们什么都没有,我们没有了思维上和道德上的指南和框架,我们便没有了安全感。我们很多时不知道怎样做才得到好的东西,怎样做就会得到坏的东西,我们常常愚昧到甚至不知道什么是好、什么是坏,我们好坏不分。所以我们急不暇择,我们“依靠抓住草杆”(依靠胡乱随手抓到的、尽管是靠不住的东西),我们求助于迷信,希望不知怎样地会侥幸得到好东西,避免坏东西。所以现在八是个“吉祥”的数字,到处都看到,而四(跟死声音相近)是个“不吉”的数字,到处都看不见。

I think that what we Chinese need to do is to rediscover and regain the good stuff we used to all possess, integrate it with the modern stuff that is good, i.e. science and the free market, and create a new intellectual and moral framework, where we can be secure, smart and brave again.

我认为,现在我们华人所需要做的,就是重新发现和取回我们曾经拥有过的好东西,结合现代的好东西即科学和自由市场,创造一个新的思维和道德的框架,让我们可以再重新拥有安全感,重新聪明、勇敢。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Confucianism and Graft 孔教和贿赂

April 3rd, 2009

Sigh! The ignorance and arrogance of Westerners for things Chinese! This is what I found posted on Jan. 26, 2009 on Chem-PM Chinese Business Magazine, written by “admin”:

唉!西方人对中华事物真是又无知又傲慢!我找到这篇文章,刊登在2009年一月26日的 Chem-PM Chinese Business Magazine 网页上,笔者是“管理”:

Whilst the fallout from the Mattel recall still reverberates it is worth reminding ourselves about the endemic culture of corruption that pervades Chinese business… in many senses this is cultural and one should not expect Western values to be so quickly absorbed into mainstream business. With Confucianism putting loyalty to friends first t is no surprise to see an element of “capture” taking place within firms. It is fascinating to read how businesses are being advised to hire geographically dispersed workers to prevent such behavior…

美泰儿玩具的收回仍然在耳边回响时,我们应该提醒自己,中国商界充满了贪污文化在很多方面来说这是文化性的;不能以为西方价值可以这么快就被主流商界吸收。孔教是把忠于朋友放在首位的,所以见到企业里发生一种“擒获”,不应该觉得出乎意料之外。 很有趣,阅读到人们对各企业建议,要防止这种行为,就得聘请来自散布于各地区的工人

…Ιt іs еven harder to dеal wіth lowеr-lеvel shadiness, ѕuch аs a secretary booking a flight for hеr boѕs аnd thеn getting a payment from thе travel аgent, or a receptionist getting pаid to rеfer nеw enquiries to a rіval fіrm.

处理底层的不轨行为,例如秘书为上司订了飞机票,旅行社就送钱给她,或接待员受赂,把询问者介绍去竞争对手公司等,就更加困难。

I wrote the following comment:

I strongly disagree with your assertion that Confucianism means loyalty to family and friends first, and obeying the law is optional. Of the five traditional Confucian Cardinal Relations (wu lun), that between the government and the citizen comes first, before any other. So treating compliance with the law as optional is not an example of how China operates according to Confucianism, but is instead an example of how far modern China has strayed from Confucianism. As for the secretary taking a kickback from the travel agency she books with, graft is graft and embezzlement is embezzlement, Chinese or not. Again, Confucianism is quite clear on this: honesty and trustworthiness ranks extremely high on Confucian tenets, and again the prevalence of graft is just another example of how far modern China has strayed from Confucianism.

我写下这个评语:

我强烈反对你的断言,说孔教就是首先忠于家庭和朋友,而遵守法律是可以任意选择的。传统孔教的五个基本关系(五伦)中的第一个,就是政府与公民(君臣)的关系,比其他关系都排先。把遵守法律看作是可以任意选择的,不是中国沿着孔教运行的例子,而是现代中国脱离了孔教多么遥远的例子。至于秘书从订飞机票的旅行社拿到回扣,贿赂就是贿赂,盗窃就是盗窃,中国与否都一样。孔教对此很清楚,诚实和守信在孔教信条中地位非常崇高,而贿赂的风行只不过证明了现代的中国是多么严重地脱离了孔教。

Go here for more exposition of the true Confucian position on honesty and trustworthiness.

请到这里观看孔教对诚实和守信的立场。

- Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Confucianism & Religions 孔教和各宗教

March 27th, 2009

Ha, it has finally happened: a Christian told me the other day that just because Christianity values love above all doesn’t mean that love doesn’t come with obligations, and she quoted me First Corinthians Chapter 13:

哈,事情终于发生了,前几天一位基督徒告诉我,虽然基督教把爱视为至上,但是这个爱并不是没有义务和责任的。接着她就引述圣经的哥林多前书第十三章:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

愛是恆久忍耐,又有恩慈;愛是不嫉妒;愛是不自誇,不張狂,不作害羞的事,不求自己的益處,不輕易發怒,不計算人的惡,不喜歡不義,只喜歡真理;凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐。

Well, that’s great: in orthodox Christianity, unlike what we often see nowadays in Western society, love also implies obligations. That’s really good. So, as I’ve said before, the precepts in Di Zi Gui and Confucius’s teachings are not tied to any one religion and are compatible with any religion.

真好,正统基督教跟现代西方社会的普遍情况不同,正统基督教里爱跟义务是连在一起的。很好呵。所以,正如我已经说过一样,《弟子规》和孔子的教导不是附属某一个宗教的,可以跟任何宗教相容。

Of course, Confucius spends a lot more time and present in much greater detail the mutual obligations for the different parties than the Christian Bible does. For example, the Christian Bible doesn’t have a formal analysis on the Five Cardinal Relations of government-subject, parents-offspring, husband-wife, among siblings, and between friends. A short paragraph in First Corinthians is nothing compared to the volumes about obligations in the ancient Confucian texts. That’s why not just Chinese but everyone the world over, even Christians, need to study these precepts from the Chinese tradition.

当然,孔子比基督教的圣经花多了很多时间,把关系里的双方所互相欠下的义务解说得详细得多。例如,圣经没有正式分析政府和公民、父母和子女、丈夫和妻子、兄弟之间和朋友之间的五种“五伦”关系。哥林多前书几句话不能比得上古代孔教的许多本关于义务和责任的经典书。所以,不仅是华人而是全世界的所有人,包括了基督徒,都需要学习这些中国传统的教导。

Of course, in the modern world, the Confucian tradition cannot stand alone by itself, unchanged; it needs some adaptation and supplementation. For example, I think the Five Cardinal Relations should become the Six Cardinal Relations: we need to add that between the buyer and the seller.

当然,在现代世界里,孔教的传统不能够一成不变,孤独地站立,因为它需要一些适应和补充。例如,我认为五伦就应该变为六伦:需要加上买者和卖者的关系。

And the Confucian tradition has never pretended to address the hereafter, and so societies that practiced the Confucian tradition have long supplemented the tradition with religions like Buddhism. Though I am not knowledgeable about the practices of Chinese Muslims, I do know that they’ve been well integrated into mainstream society for centuries in Imperial China. Likewise the Chinese Jews like the Kaifeng Jews. So I don’t see why there should be any problem with compatibility and mutual supplementation with Christianity or any other major religion.

而且,孔教传统从来没有装作过可以解说来世,所以奉行孔教的社会都用例如佛教等宗教来补充孔教。我不知道中国回民风俗的详细情况,但是我知道他们在中国帝王时代好几个世纪都融入了主流社会。中国优太族好像开封犹太人等,情况也是一样。所以我认为,孔教跟基督教或其他大宗教相容和互相补充,应该没有问题。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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The Land of Courtesy and Integrity
礼义之邦

October 5th, 2008

Who says Chinese people are not capable of returning to being The Land of Courtesy and Integrity? Hong Kong is proof that Chinese people can.

谁说华人不可以再构成礼义之邦?香港就证明华人可以。

Twenty-four years ago, in 1984, when I went back to Hong Kong for the first time in twenty years, it was truly shocking. The place was completely unlike what I remember as a child.

二十四年前,1984年我离开香港二十年后第一次回港,令我非常惊讶:跟我童年记忆中的香港完全不同了。

Back then, in the late fifties and early sixties, the Hong Kong of my childhood was a place of at least courtesy, if not integrity. My mother would take me to market with her and would teach me that one must address the vendors on the street politely as Lao Ban (“boss”) and the workers in the shops as Shi Fu (“master”). In turn they would always address her politely as Shi Nai (“respected madam”) or Xiao Jie (“miss”). In the shops people were always polite and friendly. In school we were taught li rang: to be courteous, considerate, and to let others go first. When the teacher entered the classroom we stood up as a class, bowed and said in unison, “Good afternoon, teacher.” When we met a teacher on the street we bowed and said the same thing. It was considered shameful beyond imagination for siblings to argue, let alone fight, in front of anyone other than the immediate family. We were taught by our elders and by the popular culture surrounding us to be polite and respectful, to be kind to others, and to never speak ill of others. The movies we saw extolled courtesy, integrity, loyalty to country, and of course, being good to parents (xiao).

那时,五十年代尾、六十年代头,我童年时代的香港就算不是礼义之邦也是礼貌之邦。妈妈带我去市场时就教我,街上的小贩们就要有礼貌地称呼做“老板”,商店里面的工人们就称呼做“师傅”。他们也有礼貌地称呼妈妈做“师奶”或“小姐”。商店里的人们都有礼貌和友善。学校教我们要“礼让”:对人礼貌,为他人着想,让人家先行。老师进入课室时我们整斑起立、鞠躬,然后同声说,“老师午安”。街上遇到老师时我们也鞠躬问好。如果兄弟们在人家面前有一点争执,那是再羞耻不过的了,在公众场所兄弟们互相打骂就没人敢想像了。长辈们和周围的大众文化教育我们要尊敬有礼,对人善良,不要说人家坏话。看的电影都歌颂礼、义、忠、孝。

In 1984, however, when I walked into a store the staff just stared at me and didn’t say a word when I said good morning. When I couldn’t find what I wanted the staff yelled at me as I walked out the door, “If you are not going to buy why did you come in?” When I tried to flag down a taxicab I had to flag down five cabs before I could get in: all the four others I flagged down someone appeared out of nowhere and jumped into the very cab in front of me! The only way I could get a cab was to jump in as soon as the cab stopped, before the previous passenger had gotten out, and to sit right next to him as he paid his fare. By the way, I had been warned about this before my trip, that Hong Kong people were so bad they barged into cabs flagged down by returning overseas Chinese, but I had dismissed it as anti-Hong Kong fabrication – no people in the world, I had reasoned, could be that barbaric, let alone Chinese people! And the children, why, the children! The ones I had contact with were very cute and energetic, but when they opened their mouths filth came out! Little five year olds were spouting words of contempt, cynicism and outright insult to strangers, and then looking to their parents for applause! And the parents proudly smiled and said, “So smart, this cunning little kid!” The children fought with their siblings loudly in public, with the parents approvingly looking on! When I turned on the TV, I could see where it all came from. The people on TV lightly and constantly yelled at, insulted, and lashed out at each other; what was in fashion was cynicism and contempt. Quite the opposite of the Land of Courtesy and Integrity. I left Hong Kong saddened and angry.

但是1984年我走进商店,说一声“早晨”时,售货员们只睁大眼睛盯着我,一声也不出。当我找不到要买的东西转身出门的时候,售货员高声骂,“不是买东西的,进来干什么?”当我在街上招计程车的时候,我招停了五架车才上到车,因为头四架都突然有人跑出来,抢在我面前跳进了我招的车子。最后我唯有学他们那样,车子里面的客人还没出来就跳进车子,他还在付钱我就坐在他身旁。其实,去香港前已经有人警告我,说香港人风气很坏,回去的海外华人招计程车会被他们抢坐,但当时我就不信,认为这是歧视香港的谣言,因为这世界没人会这样野蛮的,何况是华人!另外,香港的孩子们,唉!我所接触的孩子都外形活泼可爱,但是张开口时出来的竟然是污垢!小小的五岁小孩子,对陌生人说出藐视、讥诮和侮辱的说话来,就回头望望父母,等待赏励。父母们竟然骄傲地笑着说,“很聪明的,这个蛊惑崽”!孩子们跟兄弟姐妹们在公众场所大声吵骂,父母们却赞同地观看。我打开电视,便知道这些行为从那里来的。电视中的人们轻易地、经常地骂人、侮辱他人、突然攻击他人,流行的是讥诮和鄙視。跟礼义之邦完全相反。我带着悲愤的心情离开了香港。

In 2007, however, when I returned to Hong Kong after twenty-three years, the place had again changed completely. When I walked into a store, the staff were friendly and actually smiled and nodded. When I asked for directions the store people actually spent time to tell me two different ways to get there. When a taxicab stopped and my wife mistakenly thought that it had stopped for her, the person for whom it had actually stopped said that it was all right and waved us to go ahead and get into the cab when we started to apologize and defer the cab to him. The children I saw were actually polite and friendly! And on TV, the people spoke politely and were decent to each other. People told me that the famous Korean series “Da Chang Jin”, which I saw in America and which portrayed a very kind, polite, and idealistic Korean woman doctor, had been all the rage in Hong Kong. Good gracious! The wheel has turned; Hong Kong is back in the folds of civilization! Who says there’s no hope for Chinese people? I left Hong Kong elated.

但是,2007年,二十三年后重回香港时,又再完全变了。我走进商店时,售货员态度友善,又微笑又点头。问路时,店里人员化时间来教我两个不同的路线。至于招计程车,我太太误以为计程车是为她而停的要进去,而发现了车子是为前头一个人停的我们开始退出道歉的时候,他却摇手把车子让给我们。见到的孩子们居然又友善又有礼貌的。电视中的人们说话有礼貌,互相对待也相当好。人们告诉我,描写一位很善良、有礼貌、追求崇高理想的女医生的著名韩剧“大长今”(我在美国也看过),风行香港。天啊!轮子转了,香港重新回到文明了!谁说华人没有希望?我带着欢乐的心情离开了香港。

Was it because I was better dressed last year, compared to 1984? No, not at all, I was still in my usual North American overseas Chinese plain garb. Was it because I was older now and so more respectable? No, because my children report the same thing: people, they say, are nice in Hong Kong.

是不是因为去年我比1984年衣着穿得好点?不,完全不是,我还是穿着北美洲华人的朴素装束。是不是因为我现在老一点了,所以被人尊重多一点?不是,因为我的孩子们也说同样的东西:香港的人们很好。

Of course, these are all things on the surface that I see; deeper down there must be a lot of things not to one’s liking. It is undeniable, however, that customs in Hong Kong have improved.

当然,这都是表面看到的东西,深一层的必然还有很多不如意的事情,但是,无可否认,香港风气确实是进步了。

Yes, Chinese people can improve; it’s entirely possible for Chinese people to return to being The Land of Courtesy and Integrity…

是的,华人可以进步,华人完全能够再构成礼义之邦 …

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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To Succeed in America One Must Be Honest
要在美国成功就要诚实

August 18th, 2008

Here’s some advice I gave to a young man who’s just moving to the USA from another country: “You can succeed in America if you are hard working, capable, and honest.” He said, “I can understand the hard working and capable, but why honest?” I said, “People here in the USA really hate dishonesty, at least people who are of a higher class. Some lower class people in America, like some lower class people everywhere, may not place much importance on honesty, but most higher-class people in America for sure place great importance on it. If they find out you’ve been dishonest to them, they just won’t deal with you any more. You know, people wonder why they get passed over for promotions, when they’ve been hard-working and capable, but that may be why – they may not have been 100% honest when dealing with other people…”

我对一位即将由另一个国家迁移到美国的青年人说:“如果你勤力、能干、诚实,则可以在美国成功。”他说,“我可以理解勤力和能干,但是为什么诚实呢?”我说,“美国这里,人们很憎恨不诚实,最少高上阶层的人们是这样。有些低下阶层的人们,好像其他地方的有些低下阶层一样,可能不很重视诚实,但美国多数高上阶层的人则非常重视。如果他们发现你曾对他们不诚实,他们会不再跟你交易。有些人不明白为什么勤力能干,仍然得不到升职,这就可能是原因:他们待人接物可能没有百分之百诚实。”

So, to succeed in America, be honest. Don’t exaggerate, don’t misrepresent, don’t bend things. If someone asks you something you don’t want to tell him, just say so, “Sorry, I can’t tell you that” or “Ah, that’s confidential.” People in America will respect you for being a “straight-shooting”, reliable person. Whatever you do, don’t make up something for an answer; don’t lie.

所以,要在美国成功就要诚实。不要夸张,不要误导,不要歪曲。如果人家问你的东西是你不想告诉他的,就坦直地说,“对不起,不能告诉你”或说,“唉,那是秘密啊”。在美国,这样做人家会尊重你的,认为你是个正直可靠的好汉。千万不要伪造些东西回答他,千万不要撒谎。

Why is America like that? That’s because American society has the most free market type of ideology, and free market ideology despises dishonesty. For a free market to be successful, the exchange of goods and services has to be reliable. Fraud, along with stealing and robbery, destroys the reliability of exchange and therefore destroys free exchange and the free market itself. Thus Americans hate dishonesty.

为什么美国这样呢?因为美国社会的意识形态是最崇敬自由市场的,而自由市场思想最厌恶不诚实。自由市场要成功,物品和服务的交换则一定要可靠。欺骗,跟偷和抢劫一样,摧毁交换的可靠性,因而摧毁自由交换和自由市场本身。所以美国人憎恨不诚实。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Modernization Needs Culture 现代化需要文化

July 29th, 2008

I visited Paris and Madrid recently, and after a few museums and historical buildings it looks to me like medieval European culture by the 1100’s was every bit as advanced as Chinese culture of the time if not more advanced! We’ve all been misled by those mistaken comparisons of the primitive castles of the Medieval kings with the grandiose imperial palaces of China of the same era, and come to the erroneous conclusion that culturally the Europeans have been far behind China until the 1700’s. Not so: the grandeur of Medieval Europe is not to be found in the kings’ abodes, but in the cathedrals and religious monuments. The proper comparison should be made between say, the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, which was at the time “the parish church of Europe’s kings”, and the contemporaneous Song Dynasty imperial palace of the 1100’s. The Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral wins in terms of technology: it’s far taller, and it’s got all those huge, gorgeous stained glass windows!

最近去了巴黎和马德里,看了好几处博物馆和文物建筑,发现到了1100年左右,中世纪的欧洲文化已经跟当时的中国看齐,还可能有过之无不及!不适当的比较误导了我们,把中世纪欧洲国王们原始的城堡跟同时代中国皇帝们的威煌宫殿比较,得到了错误的结论,以为欧洲文化比中国落后很多,一直到了1700年代才追上。其实,中世纪欧洲的辉煌并不在国王的住所,而是在大教堂和宗教建筑物。适当的是,以当时是“欧洲各国国王的御用教堂”即巴黎圣母大教堂,跟同时代即1160年代的宋朝皇宫比较。巴黎圣母大教堂则胜于科技:教堂高度高很多,又有那么多巨大华丽的彩色玻璃窗!

Sigh! So many “China scholars” tell us that Europeans had no culture; they just somehow came into possession of some better ships and some guns some time starting around the 1500’s, and then they conquered the world on that! Not true at all! No, they had a lot more, they had a deep, high culture based on Christianity, just like China used to have a deep, high culture based on Confucianism. The West hasn’t just been advanced for a couple of hundred years; they have been advanced for 1,000 years! The West’s modernity is deeply based on advanced cultural traditions that stretch back 1,000 years.

唉!很多“中国学专家”告诉我们,欧洲人是没有文化的,不过是1500年代开始,不知怎样的,拿到了比人家好的船只和几枝火枪,就征服世界了!但完全不是这样啊!他们还有很多其他的东西,他们有深厚的、高级的、基于基督教的文化,正如中国以前曾经有深厚的、高级的、基于孔教的文化一样。西方不是先进了仅仅那两百多年,他们先进了一千年了!西方的现代化,是深深地基于一套长达一千年的先进文化传统的。

So this proves to me that the thinking that China can disregard and even throw away all that high culture we’ve had for a couple of thousand years back and just somehow modernize, is wrong. The West has built its modernization upon a foundation of a thousand years of Western high culture; can China build its modernization without the foundation of past Chinese high culture? No, for China to modernize, China needs to come to terms with and embrace its past high culture, then add to it where it’s deficient and build on it where it’s advanced or even superior.

对我来说,这证明了现在以为中国可以不理会、甚至可以抛弃所有自己曾经拥有过几千年的高文化,也仍然能现代化起来的思想,是错误的。西方的现代化是在自己一千年文化的基础上建筑起来的,中国可以不在自己几千年的文化基础上建筑现代化吗?不可以的。中国要现代化,就一定要包容和接纳自己过去的文化,然后有缺陷的地方就填补,有先进或甚至优越的地方就加强。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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Professor Yu Dan’s Talk on Ideals 于丹教授谈理想

July 20th, 2008

Sigh! I also admire Professor Yu Dan, whose books are wildly popular in China, for promoting Confucius, but in her talk on ideals she really is teaching people the wrong thing; according to her it’s bad to have high ideals, but good to be a hedonist! If you want to reform the country, to bring happiness to the country or peace to the world, then you lack humility. You are not good enough to talk about such things. You are only good enough to have as your ideals “down to earth” things, like going to the countryside in spring, having a party there, singing some songs and relaxing a bit. If this is not keeping the people foolish and enslaved then what is it? This is also putting down those who worry about their country and their people, and praising those hedonists who only think about enjoying themselves! And she talks about it with such conviction and self-righteousness - tsk, tsk!

唉!我也赞赏著书风行中国的于丹教授宣扬孔子,但她关于理想的谈话真是教坏人;依她说,怀抱着高尚的理想是坏的,做享乐主义者是好的!如果你想要改良国家,要治国平天下,那么你就是没有谦虚。你没资格谈这些东西,你的理想就只配是什么脚低下的东西,春天里跟朋友去郊外旅行,开一下party,唱一下歌,轻松一下… 这不是愚民和奴民是什么?同时,这也贬低那些虑国忧民的人,赞扬那些只顾寻求开心的享乐主义者!她还说得这么振振有词,哎呀!

Is everything in the classic Lun Yu always reliable, always correct? To me, this passage in Lun Yu is probably not accurate. Here Confucius is portrayed as a teacher who sneers at but wouldn’t come out and enlighten his student; when a student has high ideals he’s arrogant, yet when a student is more modest then he has denigrated the importance of The Rites. Only when a student obviously of noble birth, haughtily waiting until he has finished playing a lute that only nobles can play so well, give an answer from a hedonistic viewpoint that only a noble can fully appreciate from personal experience, promoting the kind of romantic activity that only a noble accorded a life of leisure can regularly enjoy, only then does Confucius endorse the answer. How could the “Teacher For All Generations” look down upon students of commoner origin and pander to students of noble origin?

《论语》的一切都可靠,都没有错误吗?我看,《论语》里这段,就可能不准确,把孔子描叙为一个嘲笑学生又不明言指点教导学生的老师,学生抱负远大就说他骄傲,学生谦虚一点就说他贬低了礼仪的重要性,唯有那个明明是贵族出身的学生,傲慢地等自己弹完那具只有贵族才会弹得这么好的琴,然后作出只有贵族才体会贴切的享乐主义观点的答案,推崇只有习惯悠逸生活的贵族才会常常欣赏到的风流活动,唯有这个学生孔子才赞同。万世师表,怎会这样藐视平民出身的学生而谄媚贵族出身的学生呢?

He couldn’t. Therefore, Mr. Ma Qian Li, a modern Confucian scholar who has written a whole book to criticize Yu Dan, interprets this passage as the student wanting, not for himself to go play in the countryside during spring, but for everyone in the world to be able to go play in the countryside during spring, to be able to enjoy such leisurely lives, and that Confucius thinks that this is the highest ideal. I think that this interpretation is a bit contrived and does not match the original text, but at least Mr. Ma hasn’t participated in glorifying hedonism, the way that Yu Dan has. I personally think that Lun Yu does have some things that are wrong, some things that cannot be what Confucius would advocate, and this passage is an example. I think that toward things in the Confucian classics, it doesn’t hurt to take an objective attitude - of course we shouldn’t say that everything is wrong, but neither do we need to blindly take everything to be right.

不会的,所以,写了整整一本书来批评于丹的现代儒家学者马千里,就把这篇对话解释为,不是那个学生要自己在春天到郊外玩,而是他的理想是,要天下所有人都能够在春天到郊外玩,享受到这种舒逸生活,同时孔子则认为这个抱负才最高尚。我觉得,这个解释比较勉强,不符合原文,但是最少没有像于丹那样,参加了对享乐主义的歌颂。我本人呢,我就觉得《论语》里面有一些不对的、不应该是孔子所提倡的东西,这段就是例子。我觉得,孔教经典里的东西,我们不妨用客观的眼光来看待,当然不应该全盘否定,但同时也不需要盲目地全盘肯定。

By the way, I think that the kind of thinking that Professor Yu Dan promotes belongs to the school of Confucian philosophical idealism, and follows the same lines as people such as Zhu Xi, which I don’t completely agree with. Moreover, I think their method of thinking is dangerous, and can lead to absolutes, excesses, arbitrariness, cultism and other bad things, of which this extolling of hedonism is just an example. At the same time, however, she is still promoting Confucius, courtesy and integrity and she is making people interested in Confucius and the Chinese intellectual heritage, so all that should be affirmed. I don’t agree with “The Ten PhD’s” who rudely attack Yu Dan,saying that she has no right to interpret Confucius in her own way, and saying that in carrying Yu Dan’s talks the media lacks a conscience and is endangering Chinese culture. If Chinese culture is so weak that it collapses when a professor popularizes it a bit, when ordinary people get to know it a bit, and that it has to be kept hidden in the hot houses of some elite school PhD’s, why do we need this kind of culture? Perhaps The Ten PhD’s are a bit lacking in respect for the Chinese intellectual heritage?

再说,我觉得于丹教授提倡的思想,是儒家的唯心学派别,是步朱熹等人后尘的思想,我并不完全同意,而且还觉得这是一种危险的思想方式,可以导致绝对、过分、专横、过分崇拜等弊端,这里推崇享乐主义便是例子。但是,她总算是提倡孔子,提倡礼义,引发人们对孔子、对中华思维传统的兴趣,这个是必须肯定的。所以,我不同意“十博士”等人那样对于丹作出无礼的评击,说她没权对孔子作出自己的解释,说传媒没良心,刊载于丹就是危害中华文化。如果中华文化这么脆弱,一旦被一位教授普及一下,让普通群众们认识一下,就会崩溃,而只能永远躲在高校博士们的温室里,这种文化要它来做什么?十博士们不会是对中华思维传统缺乏了一点尊敬吧?

The Chinese Cultural Renaissance has begun; no doubt a hundred flowers will bloom and a hundred schools will contend.

中华文化复兴开始了,必将是百花齐放、百家争鸣的。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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