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Showing posts from June, 2007

Evolution of the Structure of the Bible: Part I

About 1700 years ago, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great made two decisions that would forever changed the course of human history.

The first decision was made in 313 when he signed the Edict of Milan, which granted civil rights and freedom to adopt any religions including Christianity. With this, hundreds of years of oppression of Christianity in the Roman Empire was effectively brought to an end.

The second decision was that, shortly before his death in 337, Constantine was baptized and thus, formally adopted Christianity.

In some ways, these decisions have profound effects in accelerating the growth of Christianity, and therefore making the Bible the most important literature ever produced.

However, pious Christians often see the Bible as a source of spiritual inspiration and lack the knowledge of the evolution of its content. To understand the present structure of the Bible, it is necessary to go back to the Jews living in ancient Judea.

The ancient Jews, like many other early …

On the Kingdom of Malacca: Part I

We learned quite a great deal about Malacca in secondary school. We were taught, for examples, that Malacca was a great seaport during the 15th century which has attracted a lot of people to do business there, that the founder of this kingdom is an Indonesian prince called Parameswara, that Tun Perak is a wise prime minister, and so on. However, the standard history textbook pays extremely little attention on the connection between Malacca and China, despite the fact that Malacca is intricately related to Ming China.

In 1403, Zhu Di (朱棣) became the third emperor of Ming Dynasty. One of the important decisions he made almost immediately after he ascended to the throne was to order a series of marine expeditions to the Indian Ocean. This famous series of expedition is, as you might already know, led by a muslim eunuch named Zheng He (郑和).

In October 1403, Zhu Di sent friendship emissaries to a lot of foreign countries. A eunuch named Yin Qing (尹庆) was sent to Malacca (满剌加), bringing with …

关于我阿嬷的一些故事(一)

我是在两年前过年的时候认识周味这个女人的,他是我老婆的阿嬷,那时是在老人院里边认识他的。本来是没有想过会去的,是那一天老婆突然向我提起,然后我们几个就开了车过去。到了老人屋,一推开门就见到了阿嬷,他就呆坐在一架十四吋的小电视机前面。

其实我听老婆讲他阿嬷的故事讲了许多,只是一直没有亲眼见过他本人,这一次是我第一次见到了他。阿嬷看见有这么多孙子来看他,心里一定很爽,虽然当时我好像没有看到他笑。阿嬷的人很和蔼,很可爱,也很叽喳,就像小孩子一样。我们没有血缘关系,但我从见到他的那一刻就打从心里把他当成自己的阿嬷来看待。

一开始我就问阿嬷他的生日,老人家不懂。我再问阿嬷的生肖,老人家说他知道,但他忘了。后来我们讲着讲着,阿嬷突然间想起,想起了原来他是属兔的,他是一只快要八十岁的老母兔。

之后我知道了阿嬷农历的生日,他农历的生日是在丁卯年十一月二十九号,换算成现在的格里历就是二七年十二月二十二号。为什么我会算呢,因为我会背子丑寅卯辰巳午未申酉戌亥。华人的历法就有这个好处,只要你会这十二个地支,你就能够根据一个人的生肖算出他的年龄。

阿嬷的出生地是在印尼,当时是荷兰鬼佬统治的。在他十几岁的时候,苏卡诺想当老大,发起民族独立主义,说要他不爽荷兰人,并要赶走他们。可能当时印尼政局不稳定,周保罗举家迁了过来马来亚。这是二战前的事情,迁过来后,阿嬷就住在柔佛州麻坡县六马路,就是我以前住了十多年的地方。按阿嬷第一个儿子的出生年份来算,他应该是在迁过来之后几年就嫁了给年长他七岁的邱瑞荳。

On Sex-related Taboo-words such as "Fuck": Part II

The attitude of Chinese towards sex or sex-related issues is, most of the time, aversive. As a result, not many people know how to write the proper Chinese characters for external genitalia, even though we may sometimes use them as profanities.

Usually, external genitalia are directly associated with the word 阴 (pronounced yin, literally, dark or invisible). We can form words to describe parts of the reproductive organs by adding the prefix 阴 to a more descriptive noun.

For instance, when we add 阴 to 道 (tract or conduit), we form the term 阴道, which is the vaginal tract. Other examples include 阴茎 (yin + stick = penis), 阴囊 (yin + bag = scrotum), 阴毛 (yin + hair = pubic hair), 阴唇 (yin + lips = labium), 阴蒂 (yin + stalk = clitoris), and so on. And collectively, the male and female external genitalia are called 男阴 and 女阴, respectively.

There is also another set of Chinese characters which can be used to denote the external genitalia. However, these characters are less well known in their writte…