Archive for February 21st, 2021

Tea with Erping (8th Episode)

Abandoning Deng Xiaoping’s longtime policy of “concealing the strength” in international diplomacy, today’s Chinese diplomats are assertive and confrontational. They embrace a new brand of “Wolf-Worrior diplomacy” on overseas social media platforms, which is adopted from the popular Rambo-styled Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II.” In China, this style of diplomacy echoes the souring nationalism.

But how are they received in the international community?

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My Sunday Morning 我的星期日早晨

This sunny morning, I am enjoying the freshly brewed Taiwan high mountain tea in my favorite Chopin coffee mug acquired from Chopin Museum in Warsaw, Poland, whilst listening to Horowitz playing Chopin’s Ballade in G minor. This is truly a heart-warming, perhaps even a little serene moment, especially given the quiet, sub-zero frozen weather outside.                                                                                     Before me on the desk are two books that I acquired at the once trendy Eslite Bookstore a few years ago in Taipei. The Eslite Bookstore had huge selections: books, magazines, and even fine coffee/tea along the side, with hundreds of readers visiting there daily. Sadly, it closed in 2020 due to financial difficulty like many other fine bookstores around the world. The bookstore might be gone, the fond memory remains, much in the same manner with other good things in life.                                                                                          I pity over the fact that many book readers are these days becoming readers of electronic devices — such transition may save a few trees if one wishes to spin it hard to be positive, but humans do lose much more, such as the smell of new and old pages, as well as a fancy bookmark, perhaps. It is simply a different experience. Cicero once said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” And I honor him utterly by having a folding magazine self in my bathroom–we are in full agreement, after all.                                                                                               I have, yet, another grave concern this morning over the white-cover book “A History of Western Philosophy” as shown in the picture above. Readers could be easily misled by its coverage of the ancient Greek classics should they not have the experience of reading those books themselves. The author is a well-respected Taiwanese scholar, Yale-trained, who has probably done a terrific job in discussing contemporary and modern philosophy due to marked influence from scholars of the Frankfurt School. His views on the Greek classics, however, fall miles short given his sophist perspective that is both atheist and agnostic. A good student of the Greek classics ought to be spiritually, if not divinely, on the journey of seeking wisdom, meaning, and insight of higher dimensions, so as to appreciate in depth the works of Plato and others. Here I don’t question the good intention of this Taiwanese scholar, but was a tad disappointed given his Chinese background with the potential to search deeper for “Priori” or in Taoist term for returning to “original truth.” Modern education is producing a new breed of sophistry with the decline of intellectual curiosity. In “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “The most striking difference between ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of the argument at the expense of truth, whereas the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality.”                                                                                                                                                                   There are, apparently, a handful of clever thinkers, perhaps such as Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020). Though we may not agree with souls like him on every matter, they make us think, if not think harder, especially when society’s “invisible hand” tends to be cultural Marxism these days. In “The Art of Rhetoric,” Plato’s student Aristotle alerted us, “What makes a man a ‘sophist’ is not his faculty, but his moral purpose.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee over Wagner 咖啡☕️+瓦格纳

Some years ago I had the opportunity to attend the prestigious Bayreuth Festival, an annual performance season for operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner. As reported by the NY Times, the tickets are extremely difficult to obtain, but I was lucky (through a German friend) to get tickets to two operas. Before my trip, my adopted German family sent me this book “Wagner Operas,” not at all an easy read to be frank. Yet I gave it a try with the help of a strong coffee in a camera-lens cup.

No photo description available.

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Sitting in the Grande Albergo le Fonti hotel in Chianciano, Italy (Feb 17, 2011)

On Feb 17, 2011, I was at the Grande Albergo le Fonti, Chianciano, Italy, attending a conference organized by the Hands Off Cain, a human rights organization based in Rome, Italy. I love the traditional furnace in the hotel lobby, hence this picture from a mobile device. This is a lovely region with terrific food, though infrequently visited by foreign tourists. #FondMemory

No photo description available.

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《永乐大典》现在哪里?

《永乐大典》编撰于明永乐年间,初名《文献大成》,是中国百科全书式的文献集,全书目录60卷,正文22877卷,装成11095册,约3.7亿字,这一古代文化宝库汇集了古今图书七八千种。哈佛大学图书馆藏:卷981(儿字)、卷8841至8843(油字等)、卷7756至7757(形字)。中国国家图书馆藏:卷2535.卷2536(斋字)。伦敦大学亚非学院和大英博物馆也有保存善本数册。《永乐大典》残本约400册散落在8个国家和地区的30个单位。#中华文化

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Tea with Erping (7th Episode)

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Tea with Erping (6th Episode)

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Tea with Erping (5th Episode)

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Tea with Erping (4th Episode)

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Tea with Erping (3rd Episode)

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