A Song Dynasty (medieval) clock that made use of water/mercury and wheels to track the time. More information about this clock can be found here: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/mechanicclock.php (image above taken from this website too)

Classical Chinese Conceptions of Time

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Time is a fundamental aspect of human life. The experience of time itself influences the way cultures understand time. This understanding of time, in turn, influences the way people distinguish and relate past, present, and future. (Yes that’s right, there are people of different cultures and societies that perceive the relationship of past, present and future differently from the understanding …

WWXD: What would Xunzi do?

What does Xunzi have to say about rituals and social justice?

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This post will be a follow up to my previous post (see Investigating the Relationship between Ritual Propriety and Social Justice in the Early Confucian Tradition), where I will explore the relationship between li (ritual/ritual propriety) and social justice as found in the works of Xunzi, another pre-Qin Confucian philosopher. WWXD: What would Xunzi do? Or rather, WWXS: What would …

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Chinese Islamic Calligraphy

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Every year, during Ramadan (the Islamic period of fasting), there will be a huge bazaar (Pasar Ramadan) set up around the Geylang Serai area, around Paya Lebar MRT station. I’m told that this year is the largest bazaar ever. In the huge tent just in front of the SingPost building (there are several huge tents all over the area), I …

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Hero Fountain Pen Ink

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I was recently introduced to the Hero fountain pen ink, and I must say, I was very impressed! Hero is a huge stationery brand in China. Don’t let the “Made in China” label fool you. Many of their pens are actually very nice to write with even though it’s just a few dollars! This is the one brand where a …

Waking Up After September Ended

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“Wake me up when September ends…” Well, ok, it’s October now. Gosh… I actually can’t believe I haven’t been blogging for slightly more than two months. It felt like eternity. I’ve been so ridiculously crazy over the past two months. Somehow, when the semester began, I found myself flooded with a never-ending stream of activity. It was exhausting and stressful, …

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The History and Idea behind Chinese Paper Offerings and the Variety of Paper Goodies!

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The Chinese festival of Qing Ming (清明節 Qingming Jie) just passed a few days ago. This is the time of the year where Chinese would pay respects to their dearly departed relatives and ancestors by visiting and cleaning up their tombs, and to offer both paper offerings and food. Historically, the ancient Chinese (around the time of Confucius and before) …

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Najib the Malay Deity in Chinese Religion

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Here’s something interesting about Chinese folk religion. I call it folk religion because it doesn’t fit into the popularly understood categories of Chinese Buddhism or Chinese Taoism. Now, Chinese shrines are often red in colour, since red is a very auspicious colour. However, if you are in Singapore or Malaysia, you might come across a shrine that’s yellow in colour! …

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A Trip Back to Medieval China: A Visit to Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (連山雙林寺)

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Several months ago, I went on a field trip to visit the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery. It’s a very important place in the history of Chinese Buddhism here in Singapore. Why? Because it was the very first Buddhist temple that was set up on this tiny little island. In our contemporary society, there’s been quite a huge split between religion …

The Shih-tzu Story

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Shih-tzus! Everybody loves them (I think)! They’re so cute and adorable, and the best part? Unlike Jack Russells, shih-tzus won’t try to hump you! (Well, ok… I’ve never seen a shih-tzu violate someone before, so… Probably, yeah?) Anyway, here’s a cute picture of The Girlfriend’s shih-tzu! Cute right? I love its smile! So, what’s this shih-tzu story about? Well, do you …

Instinctive Happiness

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Instinctive happiness, or joy of life, is one of the most important widespread popular goods that we have lost through industrialism and the high pressure at which most of us live; its commonness in China is a strong reason for thinking well of Chinese civilization. Bertrand Russell, The Problem of China (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1922), p.12

Bertrand Russell on China

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China has an ancient civilization which is now undergoing a very rapid process of change. The traditional civilization of China had developed in almost complete independence of Europe, and had merits and demerits quite different from those of the West. It would be futile to attempt to strike a balance; whether our present culture is better or worse, on the …