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The Fantastic Experience of Fine Dining at Casual Dining Prices – Roots Kitchen Bar @ Dickson Road

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Last week, I was invited to review a newly opened restaurant called, “Roots Kitchen Bar.” I was very intrigued by the idea behind their eatery and thought that it would be worthwhile to check it out. What attracted me was the concept behind their restaurant, which was so noble yet simple: To provide the experience of fine dining (i.e. professionally …

The Concept of Harmony in the Medical Context of the Zhou Dynasty

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[This is a draft section of a paper that I am in the midst of writing] Medicine in the Zhou Dynasty is particularly interesting in the history of Chinese medicine as it was the period where the first attempts were made to describe the phenomena of illness and disease in naturalistic terms, primarily, in terms of the flow of qi (氣 vapour). At …

Name tag for the conference. It's such an honour and privilege for an undergraduate/fresh graduate like me to be present wearing this name tag amidst a crowd of about a hundred professors and PhD students all over the world, and to present a paper just like them!

The Consummation and End of My Undergraduate Life (and What is to Come)

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I’ve finally graduated! After four exhausting years of toil, of literally blood (having gone to the hospital thrice and getting needles injected all over my body), sweat, and coffee, I’ve survived university and graduated! Well, as some of you know, I’ve been pretty busy  finishing my Honours Thesis in my last and final semester. My thesis was entitled, “Notions of …

Harmony in the Zhongyong

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Here’s another part of my informal discussion on harmony. Harmony appears in the Zhongyong in 3 passages. What’s unique about the Zhongyong is the close relation between harmony (和 he) and zhong (中, some translate as equilibrium). I will attempt to study the concept of harmony and its relation with zhong. (A) 天命之謂性,率性之謂道,修道之謂教。道也者,不可須臾離也,可離非道也。是故君子戒慎乎其所不睹,恐懼乎其所不聞。莫見乎隱,莫顯乎微。故君子慎其獨 也。喜怒哀樂之未發,謂之中;發而皆中節,謂之和;中也者,天下之大本也;和也者,天下之達道也。致中和,天地位焉,萬物育焉。 What Heaven has conferred is called The …

Harmony in the Mencius (孟子)

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As a continuation of my informal discussion on harmony in the various pre-Qin thinkers, I will touch on the Mencius today. The Mencius stands out as an anomaly amongst all the other pre-Qin texts because harmony, 和 he, appears only twice! Unfortunately, the first passage (Mencius 2B1) doesn’t tell us very much. So we’re only left with one passage that’s useful: 孟子曰:「伯夷,目不視惡色,耳不聽惡聲。非其君不事,非其民不使。治則進,亂則退。橫政之所出,橫民之所止,不忍居也。思與鄉人處,如以朝衣朝冠坐於塗炭也。當紂之時,居北海之濱,以待天下之清也。故聞伯夷之風者,頑夫廉,懦夫有立志。 …

Harmony in the Early Mohist Chapters of the Mozi (墨子)

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Mozi is a rather unknown Chinese philosopher in the ancient Zhou dynasty period. But he was considered one of the first philosophers who challenged Confucius. The Early Mohist Chapters of the Mozi were probably written by him or by his disciples. The primary word for articulating harmony, 和 he, appears in 18 passages within the Early Mohist Chapters. As there …

Harmony in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi (莊子)

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The Zhuangzi is divided into 3 sections – the Inner Chapters, the Outer Chapters, and the Miscellaneous Chapters. Scholars say that the Inner Chapter was written either by the original author – Zhuangzi aka Zhuang Zhou – or by his textual community (his original group of disciples who wrote out his words). The Outer and Miscellaneous Chapters were written much …

Harmony in the Analects

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The word, 和 he, which is the primary word used to articulate harmony appears in the Analects five times. No other similar word for harmony is used in the text. The five passages are: (A) 有子曰:「禮之用,和為貴。先王之道斯為美,小大由之。有所不行,知和而和,不以禮節 之,亦不可行也。」 Yu Tzu said, “Of the things brought about by the rites, harmony is the most valuable. Of the ways of the Former Kings, …

Culinary Harmony and Musical Harmony – Two Different Models of Harmony?

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In my earlier posts (See Culinary Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China and Musical Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China), I discussed what constitutes harmony in the context of culinary and in the context of music. However, there is disagreement among scholars as to whether or not these two models of harmony have evolved into a single unified …

Musical Harmony and its Historical Context in Ancient China

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Music in ancient pre-Qin China is radically different from the music that we are familiar with today. Music, in ancient China, held both a moral and political dimension. The ancient Chinese believed that the type of music a person produces is a reflection of his own morality (and psychology). A chaotic person produces chaotic music, while a person of order …

The Pre-Beginnings of the Philosophical Concept of Harmony (和 he)

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The concept of harmony is primarily articulated through the Chinese word, 和 he. (Other words for harmony include mu 睦, xie 協, and xie 諧.) According to scholars, the word he is derived from two different sources: culinary and music. In the culinary context, 和 he was derived from the word, 盉 he, that referred to a wine mixing utensil used to adjust the thickness/concentration of wine by mixing it with water, whereas in a …

Honours Thesis on Notions of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought

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I’ve decided I’ll start a new category on my blog to talk about my Honours thesis. Ever since I’ve been hospitalised, I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate and write philosophical essays. However, I don’t seem to have this problem when it comes to blogging. I’m guessing blogging about my thesis might help me out a bit. As an …

A Salute to Nurses

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I really think nurses deserve more recognition (and maybe, a higher salary too) for what they do in the hospitals. It’s bad enough that they have to do a lot of unpleasant things which we wouldn’t usually do, e.g. clean up patients who can’t clean themselves, dispose of their excretions, clean up their vomit and blood, etc. It’s worse that …

Chinese Calligraphy Apron!

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A few days ago, I bought a blank apron from Ikea. Yesterday, I got a bottle of white fabric paint. Today, I decided to combine my love for cooking with my love for everything Chinese. How? By doing calligraphy on the apron itself! Here’s how it looks! Side View I originally intended to write out a passage from the Doctrine …

Being Human

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The Chinese character for man (male and female) is 人 (ren) In Chinese culture, ren (人) does not refer to the biological understanding of man. Rather, it refers to what a man ought to be – what makes a man a fully human person. One big difference between Western and Chinese philosophy is that in Western philosophy, the major question …