19 April 2008

Looking at the next generation's moral education through Wang Qianyan

This article was referenced on danwei.org first. I have decided to do a translation.

Please note that there's a notice on the bottom of the original article warning against cross-posts. As I don't really know how to contact them to notify them that I have done a translation, I have decided to go ahead and post it for the edification of those people who cannot read Chinese.

As always, I am not making any money off of this blog. My opinions are not those of the original authors'.

Other slight disclaimer, which I should have brought up in my last post: I have a slight acquaintance with the girl in question.


This article (op-ed) was taken from Sohu.com at http://baobao.sohu.com/20080417/n256324780.shtml

Wang Qianyuan – Qingdao No. 2 High School graduate, publicly supports Tibetan separatists in American (inserted photo not included)

At the same time that the Olympic torch relay was successfully completed in San Francisco, Chinese students studying in America also gave the Beijing Olympics their warmest support. However, during an anti-Tibetan separatist demonstration of Chinese students at Duke University today, W, a graduate of the Qingdao No 2 High School, disregarded reality and sided with the Tibetans. She raised the matters of human rights in Tibetans and took up the slogan of ‘free tibet’, and the few hundred international students at the scene witnessed her shameless, terrible behavior. She lost a lot of face for the Chinese people! W – if we can forgive the Americans for not knowing any better, what about you? The Chinese people are forever ashamed of the things out of your treacherous mouth!

In this economically developing society, many people both in the east tand west habitually use economics to judge something, or someone.

Many parents have tried very hard to educate the next generation, but they have neglected to train the moral character of their children due to their overemphasis on their children’s academic abilities. From this matter with W, we can see that a child’s moral education is an indispensable part of growing up.

Remember when we were young, the first grade of elementary school had a class called: Moral and Character Education*. We had to pass the class in order to go on to the next grade, or else we were retained. The first lesson in Language Arts class is about Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The first two characters we learn are Zhong Guo, China. But now that the Moral and Character Education class has been set aside, current events have proven that this is unacceptable.

A’useful’** person must first be a moral, virtuous person. What good is all the knowledge in the world if he isn’t moral? Wouldn’t he act as a traitor to the Han, exactly like W. Our motherland raised her up, developed her talents, and now she stabs it in the back! A ‘genius’ like her is one that did not succeed to learn moral behavior or have any integrity. She grew up overdosing on the emphasis to succeed on academics alone. She is like a robot who can’t tell right from wrong. Whomever can control her, command her to think whatever. Her lack of autonomy is why she has acted against us.

There is an old Chinese saying, “One must be a good person before he can accomplish great things” ***. How can someone think of doing before he has learned how to be a good person. The next generation represents the future of China, our children have the responsibility of further building up and protecting our country. This next generation doesn’t just need cultural knowledge, more importantly we must cultivate in them the correct worldview. This sort of education must begin when children are young and no time cannot be lost in their teaching. It will be near to impossible to change their views if we leave off this education until after their thinking has set.

Parents and educators in today’s education put too much importance on the knowledge, neglecting to cultivate our children’s morals. This is incorrect. Knowledge adds to our intelligence, but only moral and character education can make an intelligent person become truly educated****. W is not an idiot, we can count her as an intelligent person. However, she has chosen the wrong path because her intelligence has had received the right guidance in shaping her thinking. This is a classic case of when moral and character education has failed.

From this case, we can see that we cannot neglect a child’s moral and character education. We must teach them to be morally-upright, to have a compassionate heart, to be able to tell right from wrong. We cannot continue to rely on an education that only pours knowledge into a person and neglect the thought maturity of the child. W’s betrayal has sounded a warning for the education of the Chinese people; she has reminded us that we must continue to teach a child to be moral even as they learn facts. Only a child who has both kinds of training can become a truly great and useful person.


‘de’ is untranslatable in a literal form. It has no true word to word correspondence. For more debate on ‘de’, read Confucius and other Chinese classics in some order.

Sixiang daode pinzhi – literally, the quality of thought, character, and morality. I’ve translated it as Moral and Character education. Again, one of those untranslatable references.

*sixiang pinde – literally translated, the Moral Character and Integrity of Thought
**youyong – literally useful, possibly talented??
***zuo shi xian zuo ren, literally one must first be a person before he can do things
****gao shang – can be translated as high class or…possibly elegant?

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17 April 2008

Respectfully Warning the Parents of Wang Qianyuan

(edited slightly ten minutes later to fix some tense issues, also inserted a clarification to statement re: remorse)

(edited at 6 PM to retranslate a metaphor that was completely wrong - see second paragraph for revised version)

My apologies for any serious errors contained herein. I did this translation in a very short time and is only meant to give an idea of some of the discussion that's been going on in the Chinese-language sphere. I will post more as time permits.

As always, none of the opinions posted are my own. I selected this article as it was one of the top ten Google results in Mandarin Chinese.


Retrieved from http://cache.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/free/1/1190287.shtml
Accessed 16 April 2008

Wang claims on television that "many Chinese have the same opinion as she does"; from this, we can see that at least her parents and her treasonous philosophy have something: they on some level approved of her treasonous behavior!

Using your behavior to teach others doesn't require any special educational background. China is a society that has always advocated the tradition of honoring and loving one's country. It is very rare to see this sort of shameless, faceless behavior! Was she sent from the heavens, meant to sell out her country as soon as she set foot on this earth? Of course not, she is the result of the educational efforts of her family over this many years.

"Democracy" is not a reason to betray your country; in her youth, she has taken this as an excuse for her rebellion. She is a young and naïve girl who has turned against country after imbibing the "democratic philosophy" endorsed at Duke University. For such a girl, who wants to leave the ranks of her Asian brethren for Europe, this is the result of her familial upbringing!

We do not endorse linking her actions with that of her family, nor do we endorse using any sort of violent methods to attack her or her parents. But we do support finding ways to communicate with the parents of this girl***. We hope that they can convince their treasure to stop using such separatist language as justification, to rejoin the ranks of her compatriots against an insignificant group of clowns, and to stop interfering with the righteous behavior of the Chinese people. Do not assume that a majority of the Chinese people side with her because of such ridiculous excuses!
She is at the precipice, but there is still time. I hope that her parents can convince her to see reason and rejoin us. Do not let your precious treasure languish in exile, by then, showing remorse will not be enough to bring forgiveness.

We ask that she account for her actions sincerely and truthfully with our patriotic youth as well as with the rest of the Chinese people.

*** Wang ni Qianyuan, a pun on her name, which means "Wang who goes against her thousand roots"

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13 March 2008

common knowledge, of course:

A Pure American
also known as, not one of you lousy people who dared to abandon your own tribes for the lures of materialism.

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12 November 2007

Desert Bathers, in Their Native Environment (Part 1)

A professional translation job and my MA has eaten up whatever free time I had. Well, okay, there's a significant part also devoted to the manufacturing of carrot cakes. So, unfortunately, I haven't quite finished the second essay in her collection yet (still!). I think I'll post the completed parts and hope that it'll shame me into finishing it.

"Desert Bathers, in Their Native Environment" // 沙漠观浴记
Part 1 // (一)

Original found at: http://www.ccview.net/htm/xiandai/wen/chenmaoping007.htm

At dusk one day, Jose suddenly decided to tame his head of bedlam. Upon hearing that piece of news, I hurried into the kitchen to grab the big fish-cleaning scissors, thinking that a washcloth would do to protect his neck.

"Make yourself comfortable," I said.

"What the hell are you doing?" He jumped.

"Cutting your hair," I grabbed a handful.

"Don't you have enough of your own hair to cut?" He took another step away from me.

"The barber in town isn't going to be any better than I am. You might as well save the money. Well, come here! Come back here!" I tried to trap him again.

Jose grabbed the keys and ran out. I dropped the scissors to chase after him. Five minutes later, we're sitting in the stiflingly hot and none-too-clean barbershop. The barber, Jose, and I were busy debating haircuts. None of us budged. The barber wasn't happy at all, glaring at me ferociously.

"San Mao, why don't you go for a walk?" Jose said impatiently.

"I'll leave if you give me some money." I grabbed a blue bill from Jose's pocket, then stomped out of the barbershop.

There's a trail behind the barbershop that leads out of town. Both sides were filled with trash. Mosquitoes patrolled in swarms. A flock of scrawny goats were foraging for snacks. I've never been this way before.

I passed by a windowless hovel. A pile of dried scrub blocked the door. Curious, I stopped to take a closer look. There was a placard to the side with the word "fountain" on it.

Why would a dump like this have a fountain of any kind? So of course, I walked closer, intending to peek inside.

With the sun at my back, I didn't see anything, though I heard someone cry out, astonished, "Ah…ah…!!" at the same time others started shouting in Arabic.

I turned and ran a few steps, still unenlightened. What were those people doing inside? Why were they afraid of me?

A middle-aged man wearing Sarahan-style robes chased after me. He saw that I hadn't run away yet, and charged up like he wanted to arrest me.

"What were you thinking, peeking at bathers?" He angrily accused me in Spanish.

"Bathing?" That didn't make sense at all.

"Shameless woman, go away. Shoo…shoo." That man waved his hands at me, as if herding chickens.

"What are you shooing at, wait a minute," I yelled at him. "What are they doing inside?" I asked him as I tried to enter.

"Bathing. Having a bath, don't look!" He started shooing me again.

"You can bathe here?" My curiosity roused at his words.

"Yes!" That man answered impatiently.

"Bathe, how do you people bathe?" I asked excitedly. This is the first time I heard that Sahrawi** bathed, I was going to find out if it killed me.

"Find out for yourself," he said.

"I can have a bath too?" I asked, dazed with happiness.

"Women bathe in the morning, from 8 to noon. Forty pesos."

"Thank you, thank you, I'll come tomorrow!" I ran off, back toward the barbershop to tell Jose about this new attraction.

(to be continued...)

**San Mao's 沙哈拉威人 doesn't seem to be in common usage. A little bit of research seems to indicate that she was talking about the Sahrawi, but it's still questionable.


15 May 2007

So I lied, there was no update - but I'm going back to China for a while - maybe that'll give me some actual motivation to update this log.


06 June 2006


Not that this was a steady blog to begin with, but I am going out of the country in June and will not be posting my next translation until sometime in July. My 三毛 kick continues with 沙漠观浴记.


23 May 2006

The Restaurant in the Desert//沙漠中的饭店

A copy of the original can be found online at http://www.jasii.com/sanmao/skld/03.htm.

All rights reserved for this translation, I'd quote a license, but that might be too much work.

[in translation]

The Restaurant in the Desert//沙漠中的饭店
San Mao//三毛

My husband is, unfortunately, a foreigner. Talking about one's own husband like this sounds a bit wrong, but our married life has about as many conflicts as our two cultures have differences.

When I first decided to marry José, I clearly warned him that our personalities were very different, more so than one would expect from even our different origins. We might end up fighting with fists as well as with our words.

He answered, "I know that your temper is bad, but you mean well. Fighting might be inevitable, but we're still getting married." And so, seven years after we met, we finally got married.

I don't actively support women's liberation, but I also liked my independence and didn't want to lose it to become merely half of a marriage. So, I insisted, I wanted to continue to do as I pleased after we marry, or else it wasn't going to happen. At the time, José said to me, "That's what I want. Would I marry you otherwise?"

I was vastly comforted to hear him say that.

Being José's wife, I make do with speaking Spanish everyday. Poor foreigner, he still can't tell the difference between "人" (human) and "入" (enter) even after correcting him repeatedly. So, as a point of concession, I speak his language. (Our children, however, are going to learn Chinese even if it kills them. José supports this wholeheartedly.)

Back to our topic, the first duty of a wife is in the kitchen. I regard housework with pained loathing but do, however, enjoy cooking. Add onions and meat, apply heat, and it's transformed into fine cuisine. I have a lot of appreciation for this sort of art.

My mother, who lives in Taiwan, was very concerned, knowing that I had to follow José into the Sahara. But, as José earned the money, I had no choice but to follow my meal ticket.

We had an all-western diet when we first married. My family later mailed me a large relief bundle filled with vermicelli, seaweed, mushrooms, ramen, pork jerky, and other precious food items. I couldn't let them out of my hands for joy. And when the canister of soy sauce that one of my girlfriends from Europe sent arrived, my home-style Chinese restaurant was open for business - too bad the only customer ate for free. (Of course, later, friends lined up, clarmoring to eat my cooking.)

In reality, the stuff my mother mailed me wasn't enough for any kind of restaurant. Fortunately, José had never been to Taiwan. He only saw me puffed up with the confidence of a master chef after receiving the bundle, and put his trust in me.

My first creation was "vermicelli in chicken broth." José after work is always shouting "Is it ready yet, I'm starving!" He gave me his love freely for so many years, and now all he does is call for his dinner with nary a thought for the wife. Fortunately this "yellow faced madame" was secure in his affections. Anyway, he drank some of this "vermicelli in chicken broth", then he asked, "Hey, what's this stuff? Ramen noodles?"

"Would your mother-in-law waste postage on ramen? That's not it."

"Well, what is it? Give me some more, it's good."

I used my chopsticks to pick up a strand, "Oh, this? This is 'rain'."

He froze. As I said, I did what I pleased in this marriage, and talking made me happy. "This is the first rainfall in the springtime. Droplets fall on the mountains back home and freeze into strands. The aborigines who live up there carry bundles of it down into town. They sell it to buy rice wine to drink. It's a rare commodity, you know."

José was still silent, carefully examining the wife, then at the 'rain', then he said, "Do you take me for an idiot?"

I could neither confirm nor deny, and instead asked, "Would you like anymore?"

"Show-off. More please."

After that, he had spring rain quite frequently, but he still doesn't know what it is.

Sometimes, when I think about it, I conclude that José is very stupid. The thought makes me hurt a little inside.

The second time we had vermicelli was when I made "Ants on a Log". I fried the vermicelli in a flat-bottomed pan, then sprinkled ground meat and soy sauce on them. José is always hungry after work, and so took a huge bite of the stuff. "What's this? It's like white yarn, maybe plastic?"

"None of the above. It's nylon fishing thread. We Chinese process it to make it so soft and white," I answered.

He had another bite, flashed a shy sexy smile, then said, "So many strange names. If we really opened a restaurant, we can get a great price for this, clever woman!" He ate a lot of processed nylon thread that day.

The third time he had vermicelli, it was mixed with minced spinach and ground meat and stuffed into a flour wrapper. The concoction resembled a large potsticker. He said, "You put shark fin inside this, didn't you? I hear that it's quite expensive. No wonder you only put a little it." I nearly fell down laughing.

"Please tell your mother not to buy such expensive things for us. I'll send a letter to thank her."

I was greatly amused, and said, "Go write it now. I'll translate it for you. Ha!"

One day, before José came home from work, I took out my hidden stash of pork jerky and quickly cut it into tiny squares. Then I stuffed them inside a jar and hid it inside our blanket. Coincidentally, he had a stuffy nose that day and wanted the blanket when he went to sleep. I'd quickly forgotten about my treasure and was off on the side, perusing my dog-eared copy of The Water Margin. He lay on the bed, holding the jar and examining it from all angles. I looked up. Ack! Not good, Solomon's Treasure has been discovered! I rushed forth to take it from him, calling, "That isn't food, it's medicine, Chinese medicine!"

"My nose is stuffed, perfect time for some Chinese medicine." He had already stuffed a large handful into his mouth. I was furious, but I couldn't tell him to spit it out, and so could only remain indignantly silent.

"Kind of sweet, isn't it? What is it?"

"Cough drops," I answered huffily, "it's to soothe sore throats."

"Cough drops made of meat? I'm not that stupid."

When I woke up the next morning, I discovered that he had already snuck out with half the bottle to let his colleagues have a taste. From that day forth, those colleagues on seeing me would launch into fake coughs, hoping to con more "cough drops" out of me.

The time that a married couple spends together is mostly spent on eating; the rest of the time is spent on earning money for these meals and isn't all that interesting. I made sushi one day, wrapping seaweed around some dehydrated meat filling. José refused to touch it. "What, you're feeding me blue copy paper now?"

I slowly asked, "You're really not going to eat this?"

"Definitely not."

Fine. I grinned, and immediately took a big bite.

"Let me see your mouth," he demanded.

"You see? My mouth isn't blue. That's because I used the reverse side of the copy paper."

Fortunately I'm prone to exaggeration, often swerving off into complete nonsense.

"You're really the king of the braggarts, I can't even tell what's real and what isn't. I hate you. Tell the truth, what was it?"

"You don't know anything about China. I'm so disappointed in my husband," I answered, eating another one. He huffed, picking a roll up with chopsticks, expression mournful like that of a soldier being sent on a suicide mission. He chewed for an interminable amount of time, finally swallowed.

"Oh. It's seaweed."

I jumped up, shouting, "Correct, correct! My husband is so smart!" He thumped me on the head before I could jump again.

When my supplies ran low, the Chinese restaurant balked at producing meals. Western food made a reappearance. José came home from work, saw that the wife was unexpectedly preparing steak, and happily shouted, "I want mine medium rare. Have you fried the potatoes?"

After three days of steak, he unexpectedly lost his appetite. He had a tiny piece and refused to touch the rest.

"Too busy at work? Would you like to take a nap first?" Even the "yellow faced madame" has a gentle side, sometimes.

"I'm not sick. I'm just not eating well."

I jumped when I heard this, "Not eating well? Not eating well?! Do you know how much steak costs?"

"No, wife, I want to eat 'rain'. The stuff your mother sent tastes better."

"Fine. The Chinese restaurant is thereby open twice a week. How's that? How often would you like for it to 'rain'?"

José got off work one day and said to me, "Amazing, today my boss asked to see me."

"Is he giving you a raise?" My eyes positively sparkled at the thought.

"No -"

I grabbed him, nails digging into his flesh, "Oh no, we're done. You've been fired? Oh my god, we - "

"Don't grab me like that, crazy woman, and listen to me. The boss says, everyone's been invited to dinner here except for him and his wife. He's waiting for you to invite him to eat Chinese food."

"Oh, the boss wants me to cook for him? Well, I refuse to invite him. I'm happy to cook for your friends and colleagues, but I refuse to suck up to your superiors. I have some morals, you know, I - " I was about to begin expounding on the Moral Integrity of the Chinese people, but I couldn't explain it clearly. I also saw José's expression, and could only swallow my indignation.

The next day, José asked me, "Hey, do we have any bamboo?"

"We've got lots of chopsticks. Aren't they all bamboo?"

He glared at me, "My boss says he wants to eat bamboo shoots stir-fried with mushrooms."

We've run into a worldly fellow. Never underestimate foreigners. "Sure, invite them to dinner tomorrow night, no problem. The bamboo will grow especially for this occasion."

José looked at me with such ardor. It was the first time since our marriage that he'd looked at me with the eyes of a lover, and it made me feel adored to the point of bursting. Too bad my braids had unraveled that day, giving me the appearance of a wraith.

The next night, I prepared three dishes and left them warming on the stove. I found some candles for the table, and spread a white tablecloth. I even layered a piece of red cloth diagonally for contrast. Everyone enjoyed the meal thoroughly, and not just for the food. I cleaned up nicely, even deigned to wear a long skirt for the occasion. Before getting into the car, the boss's wife said to me, "If the public relations office has an opening, I hope you will come and join us." I beamed. This is all due to the 'bamboo shoots stir fried with mushrooms'.

By the time his boss left, it was already very late. I quickly exchanged my skirt for jeans, tied my hair back with rubber bands, and attacked the dirty dishes. Reverting into my Cinderella appearance made me feel free again. José was very satisfied, and asked to my back, "Hey, the 'bamboo shoots stir fried with mushrooms' was really good. Where'd you get the bamboo shoots?"

I laughed, "Oh, do you mean the cucumbers stir fried with mushrooms?"

"What? You can fool me all you want, but you tried to fool my boss?"

"I didn't fool anyone. This is the best 'bamboo shoots stir fried with mushrooms' that he's ever had, he said so himself."

José picked me up, splashing his beard with soapy water in the process, shouting, "Huzzah! Huzzah! You're that monkey, the one with the seventy-two transformations. What's he called...what's his name again?"

I patted his head, "The Sainted Monkey King of the Heavens, and don't you forget it this time."


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