Chinese New Year – A civilisation in celebration

1840 marked the beginning of the decline of a civilisation. Dynastic China was defeated by a token mobile naval force that travelled all the way from Europe. China was made to pay compensation for a war to repulse the illegal trade of opium in China. Can you believe it? A nation forcibly selling drugs to an ancient empire, defeated the empire by a small fleet of naval ships and rewarded with riches and concessions, including the island of Hongkong. That defeat opened the floodgate and let to the occupation of China by western powers, including Japan. China was broken up, cut into pieces to be shared by the foreigners. The Qing Dynasty, already lagging in industry and technology and an empty treasury, was made bankrupt in all fronts of the economy. Life for the Chinese people descended into the abyss. China was a country no longer a country, with foreigners calling the shot.

The next 100 years saw the dispersal of a large number of Chinese risking lives or being sold into slavery to eke a living abroad. Many travelled with only a singlet and a pair of cotton pants on them, without shoes, to find their rainbows. This early phase of the Chinese diaspora was mainly from the poorer and uneducated segment of the Chinese population, which was likely to be the whole population. They were poor and hapless and subjected to oppression and suppression by their countries of adoption. They were treated as outcasts, cheated, bullied, exploited, beaten, imprisoned or murdered like animals, no better than the slaves of Africa. There was no China to speak out for them or to defend their rights as citizens of a country.

While the diaspora continued to expand across the world, the motherland was in ruins and rightfully branded as the Sick Man of Asia by the Japanese. The latter despised the peasant Chinese and harboured the desire to conquer and colonise the Chinese mainland. With a weak and practically non existence China, the diaspora were easy prey and convenient victims everywhere they resided. They were regularly robbed, raped and murdered by the residents of the land. Plenty of crude and racist jokes were created at their expense.

With the passage of time, some became more successful but many could not bear to call themselves Chinese and were apologetic for being Chinese. It was so embarrassing to be Chinese. In some countries the Chinese language and culture were suppressed and made illegal. In the West, there were laws to institutionalise and legalise discrimination against the Chinese diaspora from better economic opportunities. They were simply despised and treated as sub humans.

More than 150 years have passed. 2014, the Chinese and the Chinese diaspora have risen as a civilisation of equals among the best western civilisations. Economically many are quite affluent in all corners of the world. The Greater China of PRC, Taiwan, Hongkong and Macau are as rich as the western nations. There are more rich people and millionaires and billionaires in communist China than anywhere else. The unthinkable truth that communist can be rich is a startling irony. The communist dollar, the renminbi, is more sought after and desired than the greenbacks. Can you believe that?

Greater China is giving the advanced western nations a run for their money in engineering, science and technology and in monetary wealth. Today, Chinese New Year is celebrated not only in Greater China and Southeast Asia but also in Europe and America. The colour of red and yellow lighted up the Eye in London and the Empire State Building in New York, America and in many western countries. This is totally unheard of and inconceiveable even 10 years ago.

The Chinese New Year Celebration of 2014 marks the revival of an ancient civilisation from the fringe of irrelevance. No longer will the Chinese civilisation be ridiculed by anyone, including 3rd World impoverished countries. China and the Chinese diaspora is everywhere engaging in productive economic activities. For the Chinese civilisation to be respectable, both China and the Chinese diaspora must be doing well in all fields of endeavour, from economics, finance, to science and technology and the arts. The recognition of the Chinese diaspora would not attain the level it is today without the rise of a strong and respectable modern China. They would risk having their wealth and lives taken away by the natives of the land for no reason whatsoever, but mainly for having work too hard to acquire their wealth and success.

The Chinese in Greater China and the Chinese diaspora no longer need to apologise to the world for being Chinese. They have been accepted, at times reluctantly, by the people of the world as an equal among all the great civilisations. And they are living very well.

This is nothing about Chinese chauvinism or about China, but about a people that was dumped into the sewers of world civilisation, to be damned and forgotten, but picked themselves out from the slime to live again, minus the stench of poverty and ignorance. An old civilisation has renewed its lifespan to march into the future with greater confidence and certainty.

More important, China has proven that there is an alternative developmental model for developing states to emulate. Many populous countries could see themselves like an earlier China and could adopt/adapt the same formula for economic growth. China has also shown that a communist utopia is not really unachieveable but with some adaptation and the flexibility to accept capitalist principles in economic policies, a communist state can be rich and successful too.

30 years ago, our shops in Orchard Road and the night life districts were hoping for an European or American ship, or a Japanese one to land for more tourist dollars. Today they are hoping for more communists from China to land. These nouveau riche Chinese would not go to Chinatown to look at the slum or the night life of Bugis Street and cheap food, but would head to the most posh and upmarket joints in Orchard Road to grab the branded stuff available, the Cartiers, LVs, Pradas, and whatever that is expensive to the locals.

So too are the shops in London, Paris and New York and other big European cities, laying out the red carpets and eagerly waiting for the rich communist Chinese to spend their renminbi furiously like no tomorrow.

The Chinese New Year is quite different today and going forward. What changes would the Chinese civilisation bring about after being so successful in reverse engineering and copying whatever that they can copy from the developed West? They have closed the engineering and scientific gap with the Americans and are set to take off on their own to find their new frontiers in science and technology.

The little inscrutable Chinaman is a thing of the past.

Kopi level - Yellow


Anonymous said...

"These nouveau riche Chinese would not go to Chinatown to look at the slum or the night life of Bugis Street and cheap food, but would head to the most posh and upmarket joints in Orchard Road to grab the branded stuff available, the Cartiers, LVs, Pradas, and whatever that is expensive to the locals."

Tiok. So now u know why PAP govt want a Jewel at Changi to make it even more convenient for these nouveau riche Chinese.

And only if you know how many of these nouveau riche Chinese out there, there will never be enough Jewels.

That's why for this Jewel@CHangi alone, Sinkies should know that PAP govt is much more competent than Sinkies think. And Teo Chiu Ah Hia knows, and even said so publicly, despite being the leader of the strongest opposition party Sinkies had chosen.

Anonymous said...

There are also a lot of nouveau riche Sinkies, a lot more than what critics of PAP think.

If not, it is very difficult, even impossible, for PAP to get majority votes every election in high cost Sinkieland.

Anonymous said...

Nouveau riche Sinkies are likely to be new citizens though some are true blue Sinkies. Actually true blue Sinkies are not really nouveau riche but the old rich that were made richer by the properties they owned or inherited.

Anonymous said...

I have to respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the facts.

fact #1
"1840 marked the beginning of the decline of a civilisation. Dynastic China was defeated by a token mobile naval force that travelled all the way from Europe."

Alternative interpretation of Chinese history
Long before the ang moh navy arrive in 1840.
The Chinese people were already defeated by a dynasty of incompetent self-serving Chinese Emperors.

Because the Chinese people failed to overthrow a useless self-serving system of Chinese government.

You think the Chinese people were living in luxury under the rule of Chinese Emperors meh?

1840 merely saw the replacement of self-serving Chinese rulers with self-serving ang moh rulers.

The salvation of the Chinese people cannot be trusted on Chinese rulers.
We have 5,000 years of history of self serving Chinese Emperors taking advantage of naive, trusting Chinese people.
Using Chinese culture and race to "unite" and exploit Chinese people.

The salvation and future of Chinese people lies in loyalty to universal human principles of democracy and universal suffrage.
Ideas where our human rights come from God and not a king or emperor.

Anonymous said...


[Why Mahatma Gandhi is becoming popular in China]

"For the first time,
Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi's own story of his life is to be available in China.

The Story of My Experiments With Truth,
which has sold more than 200,000 copies in India alone and has been translated in to some 35 languages,
will now be translated in Mandarin to cater to what Chinese scholars say is the 'growing interest' in the leader in their country.

What is driving the surge of interest in the works of the independence hero in China?

'Gandhi's non-co-operation movement [against British rule] in 1920
and his ability to mobilise people
had caught the attention of Chinese rulers,'
says Prof Shang Quanyu, who teaches at the foreign studies department of South China Normal University in Guangzhou and has been researching Gandhi.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Anon 10:34, you have your points there. 1840 is just a convenient milestone in Chinese history. It could be 1644 when China fell to the Manchus. Or it could go back to the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongols and Manchus were absorbed as part of the Chinese civilisation to form modern China.

History has never failed to prove that all leaders are corrupt and self serving in their own ways. It is a matter of definition. This is another story.

My story of the Chinese civilisation is about a people going through ups and downs. They went to the very bottom for 150 years, survived the worst and emerged again as a thriving civilisation.

Where would they go from here?

BTW, China was never under foreign rule. The Japanese tried but failed to conquer China. The Europeans were just carving out areas of influence for their economic interests while the govt was still Chinese/Manchus.

Anonymous said...

Hi redbean
Thanks for your response.

Yes. That's exactly the point.
"Where would they (Chinese)go from here?"

My humble wish is for Chinese people to embrace the universal ideas of democracy, universal suffrage and inalienable human rights.
To become the defenders of such universal ideas.

The Chinese race has never colonized any territory in our 5,000 year history.
The Japanese ... yes.
The Mongols ... yes.
But it's the Chinese who have always taken the blame for the atrocities of the Mongols and Japanese.

I therefore postulate that the Chinese people are the natural defenders of such universal ideas and ideals.

If the Chinese can embrace such universal ideas and ideals.
We would find natural allies with fellow believers everywhere in the world.
This is the power of serving & defending universal ideas & ideals instead of a self serving Chinese ruler.

Serve and defend a self serving Chinese ruler.
And the whole world is our enemy.

Anonymous said...

Y u din mentioned about the familee that produced a bastard who becum a japenis running dog... in his words, a translator..... puki mak

Knnccb... fucking papigs return your cpf@55

b said...

it does not matter whether the rulers are whites or whatever so long as ordinary people have what they need to live a normal respectable life.the independence fightings in asia is a scam for some to gain more wealth and do very little for the well being of their people. asia for asians is all along a propaganda promoted by japs during ww2 with the aim to control asia. most asians will be better off still being colonised by the west.

btw, strictly speaking, manchurians are not chinese. but does skin, color matter so long as the chinese has a good emperor?

b said...

50 years of independence of sing made many realised that sinkies are better off holding on to their british passports.

patriot said...

One Malaysian Politician lamented that he lives better under the British.
Me likes to say, I missed the Same Thing since the Village I was born in was resettled in the 70s. And the Feeling now is getting worse by the day due to more compact living as a result of policies.


Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

AT least singaporeans have taken CNY re-invented one of its aspects in the food area:

Lo Hei/ Yu Sheng. Nevermind being able to associate "sliced fish" with CNY food, Our Valiant Singaporeans have taken it to a NEW LEVEL and now use SALMON !!

YuSheng a Singaporean invention and has spread around the world. 2 Days ago I celebrated CNY at a Perth restaurant will fellow Singaporeans who've "escaped" CNY in Singapore choosing to holiday in Perth instead. Wise move: take advantage of the long weekend.

Anyway the point is this: we do not live in the past -- although some people choose to. The choose to cling to their outdated "cultural identity", whereas in reality culture and identity are constantly evolving.

Also the Chinese diaspora has adopted unique identities of their own. Native English-speaking Chinese Canadians in Vancouver are different from natives of Shanghai.

P said...

I beg to differ on your interpretation of Chinese history too.

The decline of Chinese civilization started from the rule of Shi Huangdi, 221 BC (pinyin: Qin Shi Huang). He was the tyrant that killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese by massacres and forced labor. The prevailing philosophy of the ancient Chinese for over 2,000 years prior then, was that the ruler must be virtuous and benevolent to the people and had the mandate from heaven (the ancient Chinese term for their monotheistic God) to rule. This Shi ruled by the sword. He was not the first to unite the Chinese nation. There were 3 dynasties (Xia, Shang and Zhou) spanning over 2,000 years before him, among them with many benevolent rulers. Shi was the first ruler to usurp the title of Huangdi (which was prior then only given posthumous to rulers). Many well-learned academics resisted his rule. In his anger, he had them buried alive and ordered all books be burned (213 BC). As a result all records for the early 2,000 years of Chinese civilization, wisdom and history went up in smoke. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_books_and_burying_of_scholars

He died in 210 BC, just a few years after this sacrilegious act. Was this a coincidence or an act of God? All the dynasties after him followed his example, ruled by military might for suppression and oppression. History was rewritten to honour this tyrant in order for the ruler of the day to look good. The Chinese history we are familiar with now are mainly centered on the later 2,000 years filled with upheavals, corruptions, wars and foreign invasions. Could it be that this was punishment from the ancient God of the Chinese for forsaking the path of virtue, by the rulers and by the people, that once characterised the unique Chinese culture?

Few ancient civilizations can lay claim to long uninterrupted history like the Chinese. The other being the Jewish people. The Chinese owe it to their early ancestors who lived virtuous lives that pleased their God for the first 2,000 years. Virtues are rare among the present generation of Chinese except for the few with conservative upbringing. Wealth and economic progress cannot save them if they choose to kill themselves in the pursue of money.

Some rare ancient texts were discovered in recent years. Interesting read: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/world/asia/Rare-Record-of-Chinese-Classics-Discovered.html?_r=3&