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 …

A scanned page of the Book of Rites

The Lofty Vision of Ritual Propriety in The Book of Rites (禮記 Liji), “Summary of the Rules of Propriety (曲禮 Qu Li), Part 1”

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[This is an exploratory post as part of my research] In this exploratory post, I will focus on the lofty ideals of rituals and its claims of bringing about a harmonious society as expounded in the first chapter of The Book of Rites (禮記 Liji). In approaching the ancient texts, it is important to bear in mind that many of …

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Learn Singaporean Chinese Dialects!

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The other day, I visited the library and found these books: They are locally made by a group known as Sibey Nostalgic (http://www.facebook.com/sibeynostalgic). Each book will teach you 52 basic words in Singaporean Hokkien, Cantonese, or Teochew (apparently, there’s also a Hainanese edition, but the library didn’t have it). I specifically mentioned “Singaporean,” because many of these dialect words are …

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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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Curry Chee Cheong Fan!

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If you’re not from Malaysia, this dish probably sounds very strange. Sure, curry is tasty and chee cheong fan (it’s a kind of steamed noodle roll made from rice flour) is just as tasty. But curry and chee cheong fan? For many non-Malaysians, this seems really odd. When I first heard about it, I had a horrified look on my …

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Why do Chinese Immortals have such Huge Foreheads?

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Chinese New Year is coming. Chances are, one of the homes you visit will have a statue or picture of a Taoist Immortal. Well, here’s something that will be an interesting conversation starter (or, a conversation ender – depending on your relationship with your relatives). If you’ve never seen a Taoist immortal, here’s a sample picture: Source: https://mtdata.ru/u30/photo463C/20239156460-0/original.jpg Look at …

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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 …

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Tiong Bahru Bakery

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Several weeks ago, The Girlfriend and I were walking around Tiong Bahru looking for a place to eat. We chanced upon this cafe and it looked very interesting! It’s called the Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier. Don’t let the logo fool you. While it may seem like a Chinese cafe, it has absolutely nothing Chinese at all. In fact, …

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Ancient Chinese Music Score

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Today, if you were to look at a musical score for classical Chinese music, you’ll either see the Western 5-line notation, or numeric notation (1 is do, 2 is re, 3 is mi). I’ve always wondered how the Chinese wrote out their musical pieces before such Western influences came in. Well, today I opened up a book and found the answer! …

Chinese-Speaking Westerners

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One of the most amazing things about doing Chinese philosophy (or Chinese studies or China-related studies) here in the National University of Singapore (NUS) is that you get to interact with Western professors who are fluent in both modern-day Chinese and classical Chinese! Many of them are even able to converse fluently in Mandarin too! I’ve been privileged to have …

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 …