News: Chinese Tourists Arrested in Germany after Making Hitler Salutes in Front of Reichstag

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Photo Credit: Bloomberg

Breaking News from Haaretz: “German police on Saturday arrested two Chinese tourists for making illegal “Heil Hitler” salutes in front of the historic Reichstag building that houses the German parliament.” Read more.

There are times when I am truly ashamed of the ignorance of some of my own people. They idealize and even idolize everything that has ever happened in Europe/Germany. Don’t they have any ideas of the sordidness embedded in history and culture of this continent/country? Here they are obsequiously emulating whatever the West did and do. Yes, I agree these people deserve punishments and further education.

Feel free to read my 2015 tour into Berlin’s past: “Berlin, a City That Looks Back at the Past to Reinvent Itself in the Present”

Presentation: Unravel “Gog of Magog” in Seoul, South Korea

The Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting will take place in Seoul, South Korea during July 3-7, 2016. I am so excited that I will deliver a paper entitled “Gog of Magog within and beyond Ezekiel 38-39” in this conference on July 4, 2016!

 

 Photos taken from Allez Savoir! 39 (2007): 34-41, here 37, the website of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and Joseph Moo’s  “Gog & Magog War Coincide With the Coming 4 Blood Moon”

According to the French report “George W.Bush et le Code Ezéchiel” by Jocelyn Rochat in Allez Savoir! 39 (2007): 34-41, the former US president George W. Bush justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by saying that “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East.”

A Palestinian cartoonist Baha Boukhari painted a cartoon depicting the USA and UK as Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog). According to the website of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, the cartoon appeared in the Arab newspaper Al-Ayyam on April 4, 2003.

One Singaporean Joseph Moo, following the footstep of Ronald Reagan and many others, published a series of slides entitled “Gog and Magog War Coincide With the Coming 4 Blood Moon” in May 2014 and claimed that Gog is Russia.

Who then is Gog? Come and discuss with me on July 4, 2016! 😉

Here is the abstract of my paper, which is also available on the SBL website:

The most extensive descriptions of Gog and Magog in the Hebrew Bible appear in Ezek 38-39. At various stages of their political career, both Reagan and Bush have linked Gog and Magog to the diplomatic and military enemies of the USA, identifying them either as the “communistic and atheistic” Russia or the “evil” Iraq (Halsell 1986, 45; Eichenwald 2012, 459). Biblical scholars, however, seek to contextualize Gog of Magog in the historical literary setting of the ancient Israelites. Galambush identifies Gog in Ezekiel as a cipher for Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king, who acted as Judah’s oppressor in the sixth century BCE (Galambush 2006, 259-260). More generally, Klein concludes that Gog, along with its companions, is “eine Personifikation aller Feinde, die Israel im Buch Ezechiel gegenüberstehen” (Klein 2008, 131). Despite their differences in detail, these scholars, like Reagan and Bush, still work under a mindset of animosity, considering only the features of Judah’s enemies incorporated into the characteristics of Gog. This paper argues that Gog and his entourage display literary attributes previously assigned to not only Judah’s enemies, but also Judah’s political allies, especially Egypt. Internal evidence suggests that the Gog oracles are a much later insertion into the book of Ezekiel (Tooman 2011, 72-83). Therefore, Ezek 38-39 apparently draws from omnifarious biblical elements and themes, so that all foreign historical nations, whether friends or foes, are all combined and transformed into a metahistorical symbol of chaos or evil, standing in opposition to YHWH and the restored Israel in the eschatological era. Brief remarks will also be made as to how the literary process within Ezek 38-39 that relegates all foreign elements to one eschatological symbol of evil is mirrored in the Septuagint (Num 24:7; Deut 3:1, 13; 4:47; Esth 3:1; 9:24) and continues to evolve in early Jewish and Christian traditions.

The paper will be presented in the Prophets Section. Here are the details:

Prophets
7/04/2016
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: B104 – Theology Hall (Yonsei)Chwi-Woon Kim, Baylor University
The Negative Attitude toward Abraham and Israel (Isa 63:16) in light of the Literary Development of the Prayer in 63:7–64:11 (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Sehee Kim, Boston University
Parallels in Concept and Plot between Ezekiel 16 and Unfaithfulness (Sumerian Myth) (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Lydia Lee, North-West University (South Africa)
Gog of Magog within and beyond Ezekiel 38–39 (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Kristin Weingart, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
My Father, My Father! Chariot of Israel and Its Horsemen!? (2 Kgs 2:12; 13:14): Elisha’s or Elijah’s Title? (20 min)
I look foward to meeting you all there! 😀

 

Resource: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity

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English:

Christianity has evolved beyond Acts of the Apostles, not only taking root in the West, but also spreading to the East. When I was a child, I often heard the adults cite the following saying from Hudson Taylor, the nineteenth century British Christian missionary to China (1832-1905): “If I had a thousand pounds, China should have it – if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him?” Having watched the Chinese film “the Soong Sisters” (see below***), I come to take an interest in Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of the Republic of China (1866-1925). He was a Chinese, a Christian, and a supporter of the Zionist movement. Their lives show how multifaceted a Christian can be. Now, their stories are included in this informative “Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity” (in both English and Chinese: http://www.bdcconline.net/en/). Friends doing Church History might be interested in writing a contribution to this online dictionary? (See the “Contribute” section in the webpage.)

Of course, we must also not forget the other side of the coin. Some of the imperialist Christians could have been quite unreasonable that they had suggested military interventions in the Republic of China, which prompted one Chinese Christian intellect Hu Xue Cheng (胡学诚) to write the following admonition on 30.12.1923: “We Chinese have not asked you to come here and to evangelize. Your arrivals are due to your passion for your faith. You are here because you have been called by Jesus to become his messengers, and to share the gospel with many peoples. Prior to your arrival, you should have already known the political instability, the material and cultural deficiencies in mainland China. Therefore, if you have decided to come to China, it should not be for complacency, but for sacrificing and sharing the burden. Under this kind of situation, there are only two actions you should take: 1. If you are not willing to share the burden or to sacrifice, buy yourself a ticket and sail back to your home country. Why do you wish to stay here and be tormented daily? 2. If you have the burden to share the gospel with us, please consider the sufferings experienced by the apostles and followers of Jesus throughout most of the church history. Please suffer with the Chinese.”
Note: This is my own English translation, excerpt taken from胡学诚,〈对西国传教士们说几句不客气话〉,《真理周刊》,第1卷,第40期(1923年12月13日),第4版;cited in李宜涯《圣坛前的创作:20年代基督教文学研究》(台北,2010),pp. 26-27.

中文:

基督教在使徒行传以后继续发展开来,不仅在西方世界扎根,也在东方世界传开了。当我还是小孩,就常常听大人们引用19世纪来中国传教的英国宣教士戴德生的 一句话:“假设我有千万英镑,中国可以全数支取;假设我有千条生命,绝不留下一条不给中国。不,不是中国,是基督。我们为祂做的怎么能嫌多呢?” 后来我看了电影《宋家皇朝》 (如下所示***),就开始对孙中山感兴趣。他是中国人,是基督徒,也是支持以色列复国的一位政治家。他们的生命告诉我,基督徒的生命可以很多面 化。现在,他们的生平事迹也被记载在这个不错的网站《华人基督教史人物辞典》(http://www.bdcconline.net/zh-hans/)。对教会历史感兴趣的朋友,也许你们知道其他队华人福音事工有贡献的人物?你们也可以写下他们的故事,并投稿给这个网站的负责人(参见“投稿”页面)。

当 然,我们也不忘记人性的另一面。一些持有帝国主义的基督徒也曾经很不讲理的想要用军事行动来控制中华民国的局面。这让一位中国的基督徒知识分子胡学诚义愤 填膺地在1923年12月30日写下了以下几句话:“我们中国人并没有请你们来做佈道事业。你们的来,是因为你们对所信宗教的热忱,受耶稣的选召,作他的 使者,传福音给万民听的。你们未来以先,中国内地的不安宁,物质文明的不发达,是你们所已经知道的,所以你们来中国,并不是要得安逸;乃是要牺牲受苦。那 末,在这种情形之下,只有两种方法, 是你们所应采取的:一、你们若不原牺牲,不能受苦,最好买船票回国去享平安幸福,何必在此日夜担忧地受苦呢?二、你们既抱了宏愿,来传福音,这样请你看看教会的历史,福音的使者,是多半经历人间痛苦的。请你和中国人一同受苦。”
参见胡学诚,〈对西国传教士们说几句不客气话〉,《真理周刊》,第1卷,第40期(1923年12月13日),第4版;摘自李宜涯《圣坛前的创作:20年代基督教文学研究》(台北,2010), 第26至27页。

***The Hong Kong historical drama film “the Soong Sisters” (with English subtitles) was directed by Mabel Cheung and released in 1997. I am not saying that the film is historically accurate as a documentary, but it does provide another perspective to ponder upon early modern Chinese history.

***这部1997年出品的香港电影《宋家皇朝》(英文字幕)是由张婉婷执导。我并不是说这部电影像纪录片那样地精准地描绘历史,但是它给我们对中国近代史的另一个思考空间。

Recipe: 手撕鸡

周日在教会的厨房第一次当主厨,我老公当帮厨。大家都说我做的手撕鸡很不错哦~~~

想当年,初到德国,我可是连饭都能煮糊的人儿呀!还好陈师母教会了我做这道菜,大家都来学学怎么做手撕鸡吧!

材料: 鸡大腿肉、姜黄粉、青葱、姜、辣椒油、生抽、老抽、蒜头、盐、芝麻

  1. 冷水下锅,青葱切段,姜切片,加点料酒,煮鸡大腿肉。
  2. 鸡腿煮沸去泡沫后,加姜黄粉入锅内,再煮到鸡不出血水即可 (用筷子捅鸡肉,能顺利插下,通常就表示鸡肉熟了)。
  3. 捞出鸡腿肉,手撕鸡腿肉,放在一个碗待用。
  4. 放多一点的辣椒油在炒锅里。你也可以自己炸辣椒油,但是我比较懒,所以就直接用李锦记的辣椒油了。
  5. 爆蒜,加生抽,老抽,蒜青,盐(各一汤匙)入内。
  6. 浇在备好的鸡丝上调味。
  7. 另炒香芝麻,撒在混和好的鸡丝上。

这样,就可以吃啦!我下面这张没放芝麻,辣椒油放得有点多了,但是味道还是不错的哈!

手撕鸡

News: This Westerner Impresses Asians Like Me!

Speaking of an “entangled culture,” please allow me to cite one modern example.

Since July 2014, I have been an avid watcher of one South Korean talkshow called “Abnormal Summit.” In the show, 3 Korean MCs and 12 non-Koreans (G-12) gather together to discuss various serious (and not-so-serious) social issues from their own cultural perspectives. The non-Korean representatives come from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Nepal, and the USA. Amazingly, they can all speak Korean! I really like this show, because the MCs seem to possess very high EQ, such that they manage to create many funny jokes and situations to alleviate some of the tensions arising from the most serious discussions about various cultural similarities and differences! 😀

Apparently, the show has successfully caught the international attention. A few months ago, the interviews with the German representative – Daniel Lindemann were published by several newspapers in his home country. A few lines from Lindemann stand out:

Ich sagte am Ende einer Sendung: “Manche Koreaner denken, dass Hitler ein starker Führer gewesen ist. Ich fände es aber gut, wenn solche Kommentare nicht mehr fallen würden. Weil er aus deutscher perspektive der schrecklichste Mensch gewesen ist, den man sich vorstellen kann.”

According to the news report, the Koreans were really impressed by what he had said:

Die Koreaner waren total beeinduckt davon, dass ein Deutscher sagt, sein land hat was falsch gemacht. Da habe ich gemerkt: Unsere Sendung ist bedeutsam.

Wow! nothing enthuses me more than seeing people overcome their national bigotry and bravely confront their own flaws. This is the kind of people I wish to learn from and emulate ~~

References:

Zeit Online‘s interview with Lindemann can be found here. This is where the above quotes are taken from.

The more detailed FAZ‘s interview with Lindemann can be found here. From what I gathered, he has an Israeli father and a German mother, but then he has grown up only with his mother.

If you are interested in an English introduction to the talkshow, here is a helpful blog written by an American fan of the show. The picture below is taken from the cover page of this blog.

Nope, I don’t understand Korean. But I watch the episodes with Chinese subtitles 😉

abnormal-summit

The “G-12” in the “Abnormal Summit.” D. Lindemann is the second in the bottom row (counting from left to right)

Malaysia: The Dislocation

The Dislocation

When I knew that my family was going to move to Australia, I was the happiest in the world. I thought that I could finally get rid of a country that judged me by my ethnicity, or that valued me solely because of my school results. I thought that I could move forward and never look back, until one summer night in Australia…

On that warm night, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was in my father’s car, on the road toward my junior high school. In front of the road, the sea opposite the high school glittered under the sun. I turned down the car windows. The salty breeze blew across my hair. I closed my eyes and thought that I would see my friends and classmates very soon, very soon. When I opened my eyes again, I was sweating from head to toe in my bed in Australia.

Lying there, I suddenly remembered all the small wonderful moments in Malaysia:
• The moment when I took a bath under the cool waterfall, tickled by tiny little fish wriggling past through me
• The moment when my brother, my sister and I were embraced by rolling sea waves under the sunset
• The moment when my teammates from the youth camp and I rowed into a river of darkness lit suddenly by hundreds of thousands of fireflies glowing in the bushes along the river.
• The moment when I looked up at the starry night on a mountain, where the black velvet sky seemed to be so low that the innumerable twinkling stars appeared to be within reach.
• The moment when my church friends and I pretended to be the beautiful white little angels and sung the “Silent Night” from door to door on Christmas’ eve.
• The moment when I played the firecrackers and mahjong, and ate the sweets and the cakes with my cousins during the Chinese New Year.

But I was not in Malaysia anymore. A bitter sweet nostalgia rushed through my chest and I could hardly breathe. I bit my lips so hard that it subsided. Then I went back to sleep. Since then, I have become attracted to the exilic literature in the Hebrew Bible.

Well, enough of the melancholic reminiscences of my childhood! The next instalment of stories about my life in Australia will be happier, more cheerful and upbeat. But, we will have to wait for these stories until mid-semester. See you and stay tuned!

Malaysia: A Meritocratic Society

A meritocratic society

In comparison with the Malay high school students, a major disadvantage for the Chinese high school students is the non-recognition of their high school certificates by the Malaysian government. As a result, all of the students need to take additional government examinations –Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) – to be considered into a public university in Malaysia. Even then, as said, it is not a guarantee for them to get a position in the university. Moreover, the Chinese high schools in Malaysia are private institutions not funded by the government, so the parents have to pay a high amount of tuition fees for their children (I managed to get some subsidizations from the school during my second and third years of study, since my family met the low-income requirement).

Still, every year, tens of thousands of students swarm to get a place in different Chinese high schools in their regions. Foon Yew High School in Johor Bahru is one of these popular high schools. According to what I have heard, the teaching quality is so good in Foon Yew that some overseas universities in Australia, Singapore, China mainland and Taiwan are willing to recognize the graduation certificates of this high school. Due to the limited resources and the high demand, this private high school, as with all other Chinese high schools, requires the applicants to sit for an entrance examination, which is different from the public primary school examinations (UPSR). Out of the thousands of students who have registered for this entrance exam, only about a thousand are accepted each year.

In 2000, I took the entrance examination of Foon Yew High School and managed to squeeze myself into the top 100. In that year, we had twenty-five classes with about fifty students in each class. Six of these classes are the so-called “A-classes.” I was assigned to one of these “A-classes.” Soon, I realized that this was a deeply meritocratic society, where we, like the young and hot-headed warriors unleashed onto an academic battlefield, fought and strived to excel in every subject, in every extra-curriculum activity, and in every competition, just so we could earn enough credits to survive in a new community. We wanted not only to survive at the basement of the ivory tower, but also to climb up to the top of the tower so that we could perhaps get a clearer view of our then fuzzy future. At the end of that year, I came first in my class.

In 2001, on the basis of academic merits, fifty students were picked out by the school to form another A-1 class. I was assigned to this A-1 class. In this year, I began to taste the bitterness of failure. In the first semester, I received my first (and only) failed result in Mathematics. In one assignment of the Chinese lesson, I wrote a commentary on a news report that made a comparison between Sun Yat-sen (the first president and the founding father of the Republic of China) and a Chinese female pop-star. Right now, I remember neither her name nor the content of my commentary. Anyway, my commentary had a disastrous consequence. The Chinese teacher was infuriated that such a comparison could actually be made, and he was even more angry that one of his students cared to write a commentary on that article. He vented one of his most lethal criticisms on my assignment in front of the whole class for the whole lesson (45 minutes), but luckily he did not mention my name. While he was fulminating against the ignorance of my commentary, I just kept staring at my watch, praying that he would not mention my name all of a sudden, and hoping that there was a hole in the ground at that moment so I could just sneak in and hide. Anyway, at the end of the year, I learned from all these failures and mistakes, and managed to remain in the top ten of my class.

In 2002, we, as the third year high school students, had to enter not only one internal test but also two external examinations. The first external examination (UEC-JML) was organized by the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM). Except for the compulsory English and Malay subjects, all other subjects were tested in Chinese. The second external examination was the Malaysian public examination (PMR) organized by the Ministry of Education. Except for the compulsory English subject, all other subjects were tested in Malay. To prepare for two different sets of external examinations in two totally different languages meant a lot of pressure for me. To be honest with you, I was not familiar with the Malay language, and right now I forget almost all my knowledge of Malay. Also, in comparison with the other genius classmates who could be more argumentative, more passionate and more specialized in their favourite subjects, I was more like a “Jack of all trades”. Still, at the end of my third year, with a lot of luck, a lot of help, and a lot of persistence, I came first in the A-1 class, I received straight As in UEC-JML and to my surprise, I also got straight As in PMR.

This third year tested my resolve. In preparation for UEC-JML, we were required to memorize all our textbooks learned from Junior Year 1 to Junior Year 3. These include 6 Mathematics textbooks, 6 Biology textbooks, 6 Physics textbooks, 6 Chemistry textbooks, 6 History textbooks, 6 Geography textbooks, all of which added up to 30. Wait! There were also the compulsory language courses, including Chinese, English and Malay. For each language course, we had 6 textbooks and a set of classical literature. We had to memorize all these books word for word, since some examiners were sneaky enough to take a footnote from the textbooks into an exam paper and asked the students to fill in the blanks. Having barred myself completely from watching any TV programme for one whole year, having taken a shower within 10 minutes every day, having woken up at 5am and gone to bed at  around 12 or 1 am every day, having talked with my family for no more than 10 sentences every day, having timed the consumption of each meal so as to finish it in less than 15 minutes every day, I managed to memorize all the texts books. Word for word. Line for line.

This third year tested my patience. My junior high school concentrated very much on the science subjects. According to my suspicion, there was this unspoken assumption in my society that to excel in science or mathematics meant a guarantee of good results in external examinations, a higher chance of winning scholarships for overseas universities, a brighter future with a lucrative career as a lawyer or a doctor. The trouble was, I had zero interests in anything to do with sciences and mathematics. But I knew that I needed good results in them, if I still wanted to convince the authority that I could have a future. So I made a promise to myself: “If I ever get to go to a university, I will only study the subjects that I like.” Then I started pestering my science and maths teachers and those boys who were good in these subjects, until they taught me all the skills they had ever learned. Ok, maybe this year was a test not of my, but of their patience. 😉

This third year also shaped my future interests. At that time, my class happened to have a very passionate history teacher, who kept telling us many interesting stories from the contemporary world news that were not written in the textbooks (Honestly, I was so sick of memorizing all the textbooks at that time that I hatched a plan to burn all my books after the exams – but then I could not resist the temptation of money and so I ended up selling or giving them away afterwards). Then she would link all these stories back to what had been written in our history textbooks. At that time, I did not understand why we had to learn about the colonization and decolonization of Malaysia, the dynasties in China, the feudalism in Japan, the monarchy of Great Britain, the revolution in France, the renaissance in Italy, the independence of the United States of America, the First and Second World Wars. But, for the first time, I really enjoyed going to a class and was enchanted by a wider world outside my classroom painted by my teacher. She was really knowledgeable and could talk non-stop in high spirits about the history of all these countries. In hindsight, I have to admit that she did not hold very favourable views about the Western countries, but somehow I learned a lot from her lectures.

Anyway, because of my results, I finally won a scholarship, so that I would receive an exemption from tuition fees in the following year. Despite that, the exemption could be put to no use. In 2002, my father received a job offer in Australia. And at the end of that year, my whole family quickly followed him and moved there.

In November 2002, shortly after I had finished all my third year examinations, I went alone to the administration office to arrange for an exmatriculation. My junior high school had a very complete system of dismissal, where the applicants of the dismissal/exmatriculation were usually those who got into serious troubles, those suffered from poor academic performances, and probably those who just did not want to study anymore. “I am here for an exmatriculation,” I told the secretary quietly. I did not know that secretary, but from her annoyed look, I could guess what she was thinking. “Another kid’s in trouble. Why can’t they all behave properly? All these kids should really be dismissed and expelled from the school to save us the troubles!” She might have thought. At that age, little did I care about my physical appearances – my hair looked a bit messy, my face a bit too oily, my shoelaces were not tied properly, my clothes were a bit oversized, etc. She looked at me despicably and demanded coarsely: “Hand me your school report card!” Having looked at the results, she suddenly spoke to me in a wackily sweet and gentle tone. All of a sudden, she became so polite. I was slightly taken aback by her change of attitude, even though this was not the first time I had met people who could change their attitude in just an instant. It will not be the last either. I was confused. Then my mind became clearer. Indeed, this was an “epochal” event climaxed by “a let-there-be-light moment”, in which my young and naive mind began to grasp that our rather fragile human dignity seemed to depend on many little pieces of paper, whether they were certificates, credentials, credit cards, contracts or cash.

References:

IMG_1781

Partial view of my UEC-JML. I cannot show the whole of it, since it contains some sensitized information (e.g. my previous national id number), which I prefer not to disclose in a public space. I cherish this result card very much, as getting it has taught me a lot about gain and loss in life.

  •  http://www.foonyew.edu.my/ (This is the official website of Foon Yew High School, in Chinese Mandarin. The history of the school can be traced back to 1913).
  • The early history of other Chinese private high schools in Malaysia and Singapore can be glimpsed from the memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore’s founding father). Despite being an English educated man, he sent all his kids to the Chinese (high) schools. At the moment, I have access only to the Chinese versions (they are copies belonging to my dad). But you can also find the English versions of the memoirs, which are entitled: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (recording his history from 1923-1965, published in 1998) and From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 (published in 2000).
Vol.1

Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Vol.1 (1923-1965)

Vol.2 (1965-2000)

Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Vol.2 (1965-2000)