Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A crude correlation between Hari Raya and Chinese Lunisolar Month

Today is the first day of Ramadhan in Malaysia and about 30 days later, our Muslim friends will celebrate their New Year or Hari Raya Puasa.

In Malaysia, the date of Hari Raya will normally be announced by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal (Y. M. Engku Tan Sri Dato Sri Ibrahim bin Engku Ngah is the present Keeper) on Hari Raya Eve, who will read the following script in the TV.


It is well known that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the sighting of new moon will determine the first day of the month. Not too long ago, I tried to tabulate the astronomical new moons (computed using a program by Legrand and Chevalley), and the dates of Hari Raya Puasa celebrated in Malaysia, and the corresponding Chinese dates. The result is the following table.


The following points can be inferenced from the table above:
1. If the astronomical new moon occurs ante meridian, then the Hari Raya Puasa will coincide with the second day in the corresponding Chinese month.

2. If the astronomical new moon occurs post meridian, then the Hari Raya Puasa will coincide with the third day in the corresponding Chinese month.
The two observations hold true for the last 20 years (1991 - 2009), but it is not known whether or not they can be applied to other years.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

关于“司空见惯”这一成语的出处(二)

《天南地北谈华语》是AIFM高级主播黄华敏制作的电台节目,两天前这个节目的主题是“司空见惯”这一句成语。这就碰巧跟我之前的一篇贴文的主题一样。

在这里我想针对黄华敏对“司空见惯”这一成语的出处和历史背景的理解做出一些点评。

节目里头说李绅请了一个漂亮的歌妓来给陪刘禹锡唱歌劝酒。这里用了“请”字,想必黄华敏是认为李绅是从外面请来了一名歌妓来娱宾。其实该名歌妓不是从外头请回来的,她是住在李绅的家里的家妓。所以李绅才能“以妓赠之”。

节目里头只给出了刘禹锡当时作的七言律诗的后面两句,并解释说这是刘禹锡作来送给主人家的。其实那一首诗的前面两句“鬟髯梳头宫样妆,春风一曲杜韦娘”是用来称赞该名妓女的美丽及歌艺。后面两句“司空见惯浑闲事,断尽江南刺史肠”是刘禹锡因为羡慕李绅家里有那么多的家妓的一时感触。就这样,刘禹锡只用了二十八的字就得到了他心仪的女人。

假设黄华敏见过《本事诗》的原文,那我只能整理出以下的结论:
(一)她不了解唐人的性道德观。之前我说过,中国在唐代以前,对性和男女关系所持的态度是高度开放及不受礼教约束的。
(二)她不想讨论故事中“以妓赠之”的这一部分。但是如果不讨论的话,我认为我们没有办法真正的理解刘禹锡的“司空见惯浑闲事”到底指是什么。

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