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Chinese Language Forums - Chinese Etymology Institute • View topic - About Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality

About Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality

About Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality

Postby Tienzen » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:46 pm

A good friend sent me a link of an article “Dead in Translation – The Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php? ... leId=30747 “. From Qingming Jie (清 明 節), the author described the “attack” on Chinese culture by the Westerners.


He wrote, “Accordingly, German translations of Chinese key concepts are, and undoubtedly always will be, utterly misleading, if not outright diminishing East Asia's socio-cultural originality. Same is true in English. ...
Many Westerners cling to the superstition that the Chinese are superstitious. Some long noses may even believe that the Han still use oracle bones to communicate with their ancestors or ask them for signs of approval for marriage or immigration to the U.S.A. They also believe that the Chinese eat dogs and reuse tea bags. Ok, they do reuse tea bags. But the rest, bear with me, is grossly exaggerated. …

Allow me to close with an anecdote. The scholar Albert Grünwedel spent his productive life translating the entire Sinitic tradition into the Germanic-biblical one, then went crazy and committed suicide. End of anecdote.”



I read his article twice but still unable to know his true point.
1. Is he trying to warn Westerners? He wrote, “Loyalty for family isn't particular keen in the West either. Chinese society is based on a family-value system, but Western societies are based on interest-groups. We prefer to lock away our helpless and unproductive elderly in nursery homes. As to the afterlife, the prospect of forever reuniting with one's ghastly family folks sounds horrible to the Western self-indulgent individualist.”

2. Is he trying to warn Chinese? He wrote, “Let us think carefully for a moment about who do we want to be remembered. Not what, but who. No matter what China is going to become, a semi-capitalist society, the world's next superpower, the inventor of great technologies, you will never be truly original if you always try to please or imitate the West.”

3. By linking Albert Grünwedel’s suicide to his study of Chinese culture, is he ... ?


Anyway, one thing is very clear from his writing; his understanding of Chinese culture is very minimal, very superficial. He wrote, “In fact, had I not come to China, I would have never learned that China is a wenming [文 明]; that is has shengren [聖 人] and junzi [君 子], that is aspires datong [大 同], and that Confucianism isn't a religion but is rujiao [儒 家].



Today, less than 1 per million of Chinese knows about the ways of Chinese calendar although they still live in it. The Chinese calendar uses 30 days per month and 12 months per year. Thus, every 4 to 6 years, there is a leap month (not a leap day). This year, there are two (2) April. Thus, Chinese year (360 days) is divided by 12 Jie 節 (day) and 12 chi 氣 (day).


節 is composed of three radicals, 竹 (bamboo) over 即 (getting into a place or a seat). So, 節 is the node in the bamboo, a dividing point, ready getting into a place (the hollow part). In between the divides, it is permeated with chi (氣). Every Chinese (lunar) month begins with a 節 (15 days) and passing through a 氣 (15 days). That is, the Chinese year is marked with 24 節 氣 (12 節 and 12 氣). The following is the Chinese calendar.

Month one --- begin with 立 春 (節), passing 雨 水 (氣).
Month two --- begin with 驚 蟄(節), passing 春 分(氣).
Month three --- begin with 清 明 節, passing 穀 雨(氣).



On the every 節 氣 point, the chi of Heaven changes from one to the next, and thus man needs to follow it by doing a right act. The Qingming Jie (清 明 節) is only a calendar marker which marks the beginning of the Spring. After this 節, it is the time to get farming work going. Yet, before getting all busy, the ancestor’s tombs should be cleaned first. Thus, the “Tomb Sweeping” was selected on this calendar day, and the term 清 明 has nothing to do with tomb sweeping. Not knowing about this simple fact, Dr. Pattberg has concluded that “All translation is rather morbid.”


In fact, there should not be any translation problem if the translator knows the subject which he is translating well enough. The Attack on Chinese Socio-Cultural Originality by the ignorance will hurt only the ignorant one himself.
Tienzen
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Re: About Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality

Postby Ling » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:53 pm

If that stumbling, mumbling grab-bag of doctoral ruminations is an "Attack" Tienzen, then Asia shouldn't lose any sleep over it. Your third question hits the mark precisely. The good Dr. Pattberg sounds suspiciously like a man about to join his friend Albert, and I for one can't say that he'd be sorely missed.
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Re: About Attack On Asia's Socio-Cultural Originality

Postby Tienzen » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:40 am

Ling wrote:... Your third question hits the mark precisely. The good Dr. Pattberg sounds suspiciously like a man about to join his friend Albert, and I for one can't say that he'd be sorely missed.



I received a comment in private, "While Pattberg's understanding of Chinese culture might be superficial, he is yet trying to do something positive."

It is very important to get different perspectives. I read three of his article thus far, more than twice on each article. I cannot truly figure out his intention. For me, his articles can go both ways, trying to right the wrong about the Western bias or trying to attack Chinese culture covertly. I will think about this more. In the mean time, looking forward to more comments.
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