China

Category archives for China

East Asian child rearing is notorious for the heavy pressure put on children, but also famous for the great feats of technical brilliance and hard work many people who grow up under these conditions perform. Kids are sent to evening classes, weekend lessons, hardly have any free time. And then many graduate at the top…

Post-Modernist Historiography

Historiography is meta-history, that is, the historical study of historical studies in the past. It is useful and valuable to historical research as ongoing quality control and provides a kind of user’s manuals for those who wish to use old literature in new studies of the past. Also, it can often help explain political ideas,…

In the early 15th century, Imperial Chinese mariners under the eunuch admiral Zheng He made great voyages of discovery in enormous ships. Then the Hongxi Emperor decided that what they had found on far shores was underwhelming, the whole fleet was scuppered and the Chinese paid no further attention to seafaring. In 2007 I discussed…

Pray and Get Rich

Being an atheist and a rationalist, I find most religious beliefs quite silly. But religious people vary hugely in their behaviour, and many do excellent deeds. Generally, I find it easier to respect the believer who lives by the core tenets of his faith, as all major religions have pretty reasonable ethical groundwork. Christian charity,…

Danes often have tripartite names, like famous Roman Iron Age scholar Ulla Lund Hansen or NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. And I’ve been wondering how these names are inherited. Specifically, which names get dropped and which ones get passed on to the kids. So I wrote my erudite buddy, osteologist Helene Agerskov Madsen, and…

One of my pastimes is writing on Wikipedia. It’s almost unavoidable since I use the encyclopedia daily and keep running into stuff to correct — facts, spelling, stylistic mishaps. In the past, though, I’ve been really discouraged when trying to improve the articles about Falun Gong (a.k.a. Chinese Scientology). They used to be a battleground…

Plastic Pork Phone Decoration

Courtesy of my niece-in-law in Hangzhou, here’s a piece of plastic hong shao rou, 紅燒肉, red braised pork, intended as a cell phone decoration. Yum!

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year, everybody! Today is the first day of the year of the Ox according to the farmers’ calendar. The Rundkvist family is heavily secularised, to the extent that I have let slip almost all Western observances and have very vague ideas about the Chinese ones. So, to learn what this day is…

Never Say Please To Mother

My lovely Chinese wife came to Sweden with her family at age seven and grew up here. This has given her an unusual level of bicultural competence. I like to quip, lewdly, that she’s a dual boot machine with two operating systems and the most awesome hardware, man. She’s like this typical bright Swedish middle-class…

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

I bought two wooden model kits in Beijing last October. The kids and I finished the Imperial Dragon in late August. Since then, my daughter and I have worked on the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) which forms part of the 15th century Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing. Now it’s completed, and…