Thursday, April 24, 2014

China should care about its "cultural property rights" like it cares about its lands and seas

Comment on "China to promote cultural soft power" (China Daily, Jan 1)
"The main challenge to the Chinese nation, as I see it, is not just to compete with the Western countries. The true challenge is to write China in "world history", and the only way to do it is by promoting Chinese terminology.
Western words for Chinese concepts have distorted the reality of things. China is not the first nation to rise in modern times, but the only one who doesn't have an alphabet. Although some Chinese concepts like yin and yang or kungfu have been adopted by Western writers; yet there seems to be no language policy on behalf of the Chinese that actively promotes the usage of Chinese terms abroad, certainly not in the sciences, nor in the humanities for that matter.
China should care about her "cultural property rights" like it cares about its lands and seas. Being the inventor of an idea, and the owner of its name, has great advantages. Let us make no mistake: The West today knows China only on Western terms; not on Chinese terms.
The Islamic world with its ayatollahs and imams, its bazaars and kebabs; and the Hindu world with its dharma and karma, its yoga and avatars and so on, are far ahead when it comes enriching English, which is still the international language. But the future global language, of course, is not today's English; it will have to adopt tens of thousands of non-American and non-European concepts.
We cannot make all Americans and Europeans learn the Chinese language; but what the Chinese can do is to inform the general public in the West about Chinese key concepts. To put "culture" in a more economic perspective: Nations should compete for their terminologies like they compete for everything else."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

PKU Campus Magazine CIJIAN features Pattberg

What's in a Chinese word? What to do with un-European ideas? When do we translate (Chinese words) and when not? How to influence the world on Chinese terms? Read this feature piece by PKU journalist ZHAO TingHERE.

The March of the Confucius Institutes in the West (BRICS Business Magazine)

"That’s a great strategy. I have seen with my own eyes how Western specialists compete for those prestigious posts of ‘Director of the Confucius Institute for X-land at the University of Y.’ It’s inevitably followed by a promotion at the University of Y from unknown professor to the rank of dean. It is because, when dealing with China, no one takes half measures. The perks are obvious: an affiliation with China’s Ministry of Education, easy access to visas, flights, conferences, and wining and dining. Naturally, the newly appointed deans will introduce their students to their CIs. It’s an authoritarian-style top-down approach."

Ten years ago a network of Confucius Institutes was founded as a soft power tool designed to promote Chinese culture and foster the country’s positive image on a global scale. However, it appears that the institution has not managed to fulfil its primary objective, and to an extent has become ‘westernized.’ BRICS Business Magazine interviewed academics closely familiar with the Confucius Institute system to explore the reasons behind this... (by Olga Sorokina)
DOWNLOAD PDF-VERSION.

Monday, March 31, 2014

¿Apoyar la creación de un lenguaje universal para un mundo globalizado?

El lenguaje global del futuro podría consistir en una combinación de palabras clave de varios idiomas y culturas. El experto cree que hay que elaborar un método científico que permita convertir esto en una realidad.
Pattberg considera que el "conocimiento es políglota" y que conocer un único idioma, el del propio país de origen, es ahora una enorme carencia. Ni siquiera las lenguas de los pueblos más influyentes de la Tierra son suficientes en un mundo globalizado.

El lingüista no es partidario de continuar la guerra terminológica por ver qué idioma se impone sobre el resto. Para Pattberg la solución es crear un lenguaje global que unifique los vocabularios de muchas lenguas en una sola. Este idioma universal estaría formado por los términos clave de múltiples culturas. Antes, dice Pattberg, hay que inventar un método científico que lo permita.

Mediante las traducciones se pierde la originalidad y la capacidad de inventiva de culturas que existen de siempre. Pattberg ve esto como una especie de desprecio por parte de la cultura imperante.

“El mundo está preparado y los hombres de hoy receptivos a adoptar terminología que no sea europea u Occidental. Es el momento.”

De algún modo este proceso sería algo así como ‘liberar’ algunas palabras nuevamente a su idioma original, adoptarlas y así evitar la traducción. Ciertos términos clave, algunos conceptos técnicos tendrían que pasar por este proceso.

Este experto en cultura china reconoce, a su vez, que las traducciones no pueden desaparecer del todo: son necesarias en la comunicación entre personas de distinto origen. Sin embargo, la posibilidad de mantener términos en su ‘versión original’ es para Pattberg el camino más “bello, auténtico, genuino, sofisticado y preciso.”

El caso de China es una clara muestra de cultura que tendrá que aportar vocabulario original al idioma global del futuro. Pattberg es consciente de que muchos considerarán esta idea una locura y que no se puede hacer algo así como: “poner en libertad” términos de otros idiomas.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fruit Aesthetics: Cherries for $6 a piece!


HOLY COW! Just a reminder that Tokyo ain't cheap! This unobtrusive box (l.) with exactly 48 cherries sells for ¥31,500 ($308) at your local metro station. And, yes, they have your bargain box (r.) with 54 cherries for just ¥18,900 ($194)! [Last year we bought honeydew -at 8,000 Yen ($78) a piece- as gift for a Buddhist temple]. In case you wonder: It’s about season, location, brand; but more so about the fruits’ colors and shapes. Call it FRUIT AESTHETICS.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Liz Wahl Quits Job Over State Propaganda at Russia's RT


Every state-run media is white-washing its government, such as the British BBC and the German ARD and ZDF, Japanese CNTV, and Chinese CCTV, and so on. There's this danger that she will never work in key media ever again. Imagine, she might backstab her next employer just as well. The world is cruel to dissidents, whistle-blowers, and traitors. She could go into investigative journalism, though. There we need more incorruptible, fearless people like her with a sense of fairness, justice, and righteousness. Good luck, Lady!

WATCH Russia Today responds to Liz Wahl quitting live on air (by NextNewsNetwork)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

德国小伙子批评中国人错误地翻译了“龙”

Thorsten Pattberg是一个年轻的德国人,生于1977年,在中国、日本和美国学习和研究东方文化多年,他有一个中文名字“裴德思”。[14] 他在2012年龙年年初写了一篇文章“Long into the West's dragon business[15],登在China Daily(中国日报)上。文章说: 
Had Siegfried or Beowulf not slain a European dragon but a Chinese long, those heroes would have committed an extraordinary crime. That's because the Chinese long is essentially a force of the good.(如果(欧洲古代英雄)齐格费里德或贝奥武甫杀死的不是欧洲的dragon,而是中国的龙,这些英雄们就犯下了滔天大罪。这是因为中国的龙代表了好的力量。)
The long of China has a history (and etymology) of several thousand years and there are, according to linguist Michael Carr, more than 100 classical ones. Linguistically, it's a tragedy that many Chinese people, I mean the well-educated, English-speaking ones, are so readily prepared to call the long "dragons" - that's like voluntarily abandoning one's culture.(中国的龙有几千年的历史。很多中国人——我指受过良好的教育、会说英语的中国人——欣然接受把龙称为“dragon”,这是一场灾难,这等于是自愿地放弃了自己的文化。)
A long is a long, maybe even a tianlong, but please, please do not use "dragon". That kind of linguistic imperialism happened to your unique Sichuan xiongmao once, remember? Now it's a Western "panda".(龙就是龙,甚至是天龙,但千万别使用“dragon”这个词。这种语言学中的帝国主义已经在你们的四川熊猫身上发生过一次了,还记得吗?中国的xiongmao(熊猫)现在已经成了西方人的“panda”。)
Western caricaturists love to depict China as the European-style dragon: huge and red (of course), clumsy and pear-bodied, fierce, with tiny wings and a small flame. That clueless beast virtually sits there on the cover of some magazine waiting to be slain by journalist Siegfried Weischenberg, the World Trade Organization or the Barack Obama administration.(西方的漫画家喜欢把中国描绘为欧洲式的dragon:庞大,红色,笨拙,梨形的肥硕身躯,凶狠,有着细小的翅膀,喷着小火苗。在一些杂志的封面上,这种傻头傻脑的怪兽坐在哪里,等待着被新闻界的齐格费里德[16]、世界贸易组织或奥巴马政府杀死。)  
The truth is, the Chinese long are majestic, divine creatures, snake-bodied (snake is often called a xiaolong (xiao means "little" or small") and embody happiness, wisdom and virtue. In the West, on the other hand, it's a virtue to slay the dragon for a happy ending.(但实际情况是,中国的龙是威严的,神圣的生物,有蛇一样的身体,象征幸福、智慧和美德。而在西方,杀死dragon才是美德,才会得到美满的结局。)
As long as Westerners call the Chinese long a "dragon", they will project their own cultural ideas on China. Yet, if they used the correct word, long, it would remind them that they are facing something culturally new.(只要西方人还称中国龙为“dragon”,他们就会把自己的文化观念移植到中国身上。然而,如果他们使用正确的词汇“long”,这将提醒他们:他们正面对一种文化上的新事物。)
You must protect your traditions. This is true for all people. English as a global language is fine but, ideally, only if it accommodates all concepts and all cultures ever produced.(你们一定要保护你们自己的传统。对所有人来说都是这样。只有在英语能够容纳所有文化的所有概念时,它作为一种全球性的语言才是好的。)
Embrace the differences and varieties of cultures and value those concepts that matter the most. Protect them. The long is precious.(我们应该容纳文化差异和文化多样性,应该珍惜那些最重要的观念,保护它们。龙是宝贵的。) 
linguistic imperialism”(语言学中的帝国主义)这个词组真是发聋振聩啊!很多坚持把龙译为dragon的中国人该醒醒了,不要自己已经被帝国主义蹂躏了还不知道,还找出种种稀奇古怪、匪夷所思、似是而非的理由为语言帝国主义者辩护“

来源:网络来源|360毕业论文网:关于“龙”的翻译等问题的新发现和新观点 (黄佶,著

Michelle Obama Visited China's Mother Lode of Higher Education

BEIJING - Michelle Obama, the wife of the US president, loves to do things in a big way. What better place to talk about the future of education and academic exchange between the two superpowers during her trip to Beijing than visiting China's mother lode of Higher Education -Peking University.
This event will long been used by the sages of PKU to boost their prestige in the world, as Wang Enge, the current president of PKU (also known as 'Beida' in China) and other leaders have invested greatest efforts in attracting some of the most visible and renowned speakers (from world leaders to economists, professors, and celebrities) of all walks of life to hold lecturers here. The speaker's fee of Ms Obama was not disclosed (if there was any) -but it isn't uncommon that (instead of cash) valuable gifts or favors are presented. President Wang Enge allegedly offered admission of Ms Obama's two daughters to Peking University should they decide to study in China in the future.
Peking University recently crashed down on democrats and dissident voices, fulminating into the dismissal of Xia Yeliang -an outspoken critic against corruption in China's academia.
Note: The Stanford Center is pretty posh; usually underused. It's two levels underground. You can see the daylight falling in through the ceiling. Great picture!
Image credit: FLOTUSSinChina via +Veooz 
You can follow me on BIG THINK, my Website, or on Twitter.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Il Dott. Pattberg è autore di diverse pubblicazioni sul linguaggio globale e sull’imperialismo linguistico.

Come sono entrato ad Harvard
– Thorsten Pattberg
Puoi darci alcune indicazioni su come accedere ad Harvard?
Posted by  on M j, Y in Corsi di laureaInterviste

Pattberg: E’ praticamente impossibile per gli stranieri riuscire ad entrare ad Harvard direttamente dopo le scuole superiori, ma se hai il potenziale, dovresti sempre tentare la fortuna. Ad ogni modo, io ritengo che sia molto meglio scegliere Harvard a metà o alla fine della propria carriera accademica. Meglio andare per un LLM, MBA o PhD, oppure come “Visiting Fellow”: è molto più gratificante.
Ecco come puoi fare : se non provieni dall’élite del tuo Paese e non sei figlio del presidente della Cina, meglio cominciare a piccoli passi, prendersi una laurea nel proprio paese d’origine, stabilire un forte network di conoscenze, costruirsi una carriera, viaggiare per il mondo, farsi notare in qualche modo, poi rivolgersi ad Harvard, partecipare a conferenze ad Harvard e farsi amici di Harvard, leggere libri su come entrare ad Harvard, contattare professori di Harvard, incontrare membri della facoltà. Cerca di capire che cosa stanno cercando. Fai sogni su Harvard. Frequenta scuole che hanno scambi con Harvard. La cosa più importante è non arrendersi mai. Ricorda che Harvard è fatta di un’élite molto esclusiva. Perseveranza, ma forse ancora più conoscenze e raccomandazioni saranno la chiave per raggiungere il tuo sogno. Lasciando da parte la sua fama, Harvard viene gestita come una grande azienda, quindi le tasse per gli studenti internazionali sono molto elevate. Molto meglio trovare uno sponsor. Ciò detto, Harvard rimane comunque l’esperienza ricca e fantastica di cui tutti parlano... [GO TO YOURACADEMICINSIGHT.COM]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Will China protect Russia from the West's Wrath?

Latest RT interview. In a nutshell, Russia acts the way it does because it wants to stop US/NATO imperialism. The West is furious. China condemns the annexation of Crimea (and in particular the “free” election part) but otherwise opposes sanctions. Japan, too, is suspiciously cautious with sanctions.
Thorsten Pattberg, a writer and author of the book "The East-West Dichotomy."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

East-West Dichotomy: Do East-Asians think differently?


Re-discovered this old discussion thread:
"I just got a copy of The East-West Dichotomy http://www.east-west-dichotomy.com and its crazy stuff, like I know that East-Asians are pretty smart and diligent, and that individualism vs. collectivism and Western masculinity and Eastern feminist thing going on... But do you really believe that East-Asians think differently, like more holistic and intuitive (instead of linear and analytic)?"
Posted by: Thepsychologist
Date: September 16, 2009 01:40PM

READ DISCUSSION AT CHINESE-TOOLS.COM

Monday, March 10, 2014

PATTBERG: Dangers in China's Confucianism nostalgia

SCHOLARS in China say President Xi Jinping's crackdowns on corruption and his concept of "the Chinese dream" are nods to the Confucian values believed to underpin an ideal society. Critics say that the sage's teachings praise patriarchy, nepotism, abuse of officialdom and moral dictatorship. The Confucian ideal of a government run by supreme human beings - the junzi - is possibly the greatest corruption of all. READ FULL TEXT AT ASIA TIMES.

トーステン・パットバーグ: 中国の儒教独裁政治

現代の政治の思想基盤として古代思想を持ち出してはならない。イエスや仏陀や孔子は二千年前に生きていたのだ。 中国は売春産業取締りに儒教道徳を掲げている。 儒教とは、階級組織、家長制度、縁者びいき、役人によるイジメ、まったくの不平等、道徳による独裁、の思想である。 魯迅、毛沢東、それに儒教から自由であった日本人らは、中国の後進性の主な理由は儒教であった、と批判している。 現代中国の腐敗は、儒教の遺産が一因である。 論語は、カルト教団の指導者の手引書である。いかにして人民を脅して指揮下に置くか、だ。 そこには自由、個人主義、人権という概念が欠如している。かわりに責任はたっぷりある。親への孝行、服従、それに依存だ。 儒教道徳の遺産とは、一夫多妻、畜妾、見合い結婚、愛人文化に他ならない。(後略)」 SOURCE(JP). SOURCE (EN).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Looking for Confucianism in Language (Video)

Sometimes the study of cultures makes you wonder: What if there's more Confucianism (or any other tradition) in language than in the real world? In that case, translation is to words what assimilation is to individuals. The only way to keep cultural pluralism alive is to respect and protect the terms on which each of traditions was build. Your author explains that with the example of  'daxue' which is not just a simple translation of the Western concept of 'university' but also plays into the realms of Confucianism -the 'Daxue' or the "Great Learning." We have addressed many areas of oppression in the world such as slavery, gender inequality, racism, and human rights; however, one aspect of life has never been touched: translation. We do it all the time, and often recklessly: targeting the words of others by deliberately translating them into convenient and familiar vocabularies of our own, and, therein claiming what the Germans call 'deutungshoheit' -the sovereignty over the definition of thoughts of others. That said, it is my strong belief that in particular the Chinese world, which for historical reasons (and in a Hegelian sense) had been excluded from participating in 'world history', should start to actively pursuing its cultural core interest and expand human knowledge by adding the correct names and brands of its own inventions (of the past three thousand years) to the future global lexicon. READ AT BIG THINK/DRAGON AND PANDAS.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

David Christian: On Language, Information, And Why We Have A History

“We are blessed with language, a system of communication that is so powerful and so precise, that we can share what we've learned with such precision, that it can accumulate in the collective memory. And that means, it can outlast the individuals who learned that information, and it can accumulate from generation to generation, and that’s why as a species we are so creative and so powerful, and that’s why we have a history.” (12:45) --David Christian
Nicely put by Mr. Christian. That said, we, as species, would be even more creative and more powerful and we would have an even more complex history if we also shared the information accumulated by the world's other language speakers. READ MORE: The Coming of Post-Translational Society

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inside Peking University - Public Lecture on 'Shengren'

WESTERN 'China Studies', and by this I mean the army of scholars dedicated to the Westernization of Chinese history and thought, steals its victim’s ideas, buries its socio-cultural originality under sophisticated layers of biblical and philosophical European translations and interpretations. China is not alone. Foreign ideas and thoughts everywhere are quickly translated or re-named in order to claim ‘Deutungshoheit’ – a German words meaning "having the sovereignty over the definition of thought."

In contemporary ‘China studies’ 99% of its scholars are what I call 'language imperialists'. It is plainly their best career option, and there is no blaming them for that. To be true, most of the sinologists describe China in Western terms, using European categories and taxonomies. Good examples are “democracy,” “human rights,” “freedom,” religion,” “philosophy,” and infinite more.
As a result of language imperialism the China that you were told is essential Chinese-free. This is good for the West, so, naturally, Western scholars are rewarded with Western fellowships, academic chairs, publishing contracts, prizes, awards, and numerous other academic distinctions and accolades. In other words: they are celebrated in their cultural circle like conquerors.
"The East-Asian shengren have been misjudged by Western scholars for over 350 years and conveniently translated as “philosophers” or “saints”, which is wrong. The shengren are above philosophy and beyond religion. It is time to revive an old Asian tradition." (Shengren, 2011)
Foreign history is thus slowly digested into the ‘Story of the Victorious’. Foreign taxonomies are discontinued, foreign words are shunned, and foreign categories are erased and purposely omitted. It doesn't have to be this way forever. Seeing cultural originality as a form of copyright, and looking at vocabularies as a (natural) resource of this culture, China could easily promote its own names, titles, and brands.

Image credits: The Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University - The Future of Global Language and The Rise of Chinese Terminologies, Oct 2013

Scholarship Is A Battlefield...

..Scholars just like mercenaries or soldiers are constantly at war with competing groups, corporations, and guilds, opposition forces, cultural terrorists, and, yes, even foreign countries. There are personal agendas, of course, but mostly group interests, ideologies, and allegiances. The idea of the unbiased neutral scholar is a fiction. In fact, the very opposite is the case; the most biased, partial, and corrupt scholars often make it to their nation’s top (think of the works [all avidly studied in academia] of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Ayatollah Khomeini, Karl Marx, Martin Heidegger, Max Weber, and so on), because such thinkers produce precisely those ideologies and manifestos which every nation needs to justify nationalism, fascism, expansionism, imperialism, and colonialism –in that order. 
READ AT BIG THINK Scholars and Soldiers

Monday, February 24, 2014

China, eyeing Japan, seeks WW2 focus for Xi during Germany visit...

COMMENTED: That was not supposed to happen in world history. No one but the mighty USA was supposed to PATRONIZE Germany. But now China comes along and pads Germany on her shoulders for good behavior. Japan and Germany are traditionally very respectful to each other. But I guess the Germans will snub the Japanese this time. China is just too powerful and beneficial right now. Berlin may have to knuckle under Beijing's propaganda campaign this time. It's a historical moment. --TP
GO TO ARTICLE AT REUTERS

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chinese migrants are taking corruption abroad

ONCE you lived in China for a bit longer, you start seeing truth, honesty, and trust in a very uncomfortable light. In order to get by and rising in the ranks, many Chinese lie, cheat, embezzle, and bribe whenever they can, and I don't mean that as an offence because it's the only way, I believe, to survive in China. Naturally, many continue their crooked ways when applying for going abroad.

READ MORE Asylum Fraud in Chinatown: Industry of Lies -by Kirk Semple, Joseph Goldstein, and Jeffrey E. Singer

There once were lectures on corruption at Peking University, with several case studies. To our surprise, Chinese scholars mostly thought nothing wrong with rent seeking, forgery and bribery. Students were oblivious to fraud, with over half of them in one class I witnessed at Tsinghua University admitting that they employ 'agencies' that ghostwrite their applications and personal statements for studying abroad. Zero feelings of guilt. Everyone is doing it, they say. It is the herd instinct, or, shall we say, the will to succeed in such an ultra-competitive culture at all costs.

READ MORE Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption  -by Thorsten Pattberg

As may forms of corruption like the abuse of officialdom and the wining-dining-doing-favors culture are institutionalized, many young Chinese scholars think this is simply how the world works. Moreover, it confirms their daily experiences and they way they were brought up. At that was Peking University, mind you! In fact, many Chinese want to quit China for the West because they are tired of all the stress, cheating, callousness, exploitation and abuse in the Chinese society or, worse, they are afraid of getting caught in Xi Jinping's recent anti-corruption campaign.

READ MORE Author: In China, 'everyone is guilty of corruption' -by Zhang Lijia

We are going to witness hundreds of thousands of new corruption scandals in the coming years. [Here is today's latest]. It won't look pretty, but it needs to be done. This is a very rotten society, and the Chinese people deserve better!