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|That's an unusually perceptive posting, Pattberg. As you noted, the ancients knew the importance of names: the "language crisis" (Hsun Zi's writings especially) covered some of the points you made here. The Bible too, emphasized the importance of names, as God allowed Adam to name every tree, animal, etc - in short, everything in the universe. To name a thing is to imply some connection, some possession, and ultimately some power over that thing. When English names are found all over the world, the implication is that England was a worldwide, influential power. Thus the tallest mountain was called "Mt Everest" by the British, even though it had been known as Qomolangma even before there was a "Great Britain". Some British elements even attempted to get the Chinese authorities, through local Chinese compradors, to call Guangzhou as "Canton" as it was known when British power was established in China - one way to claim some kind of possession over that ancient Chinese city.
Pattberg date. 2014-1-1 09:47
The main challenge to the Chinese nation, as I see it, is not just
to compete with the Western count ...
Some nations use their own names even for things foreign. Japan tried to make Chan Buddhism their own by calling it Zen and all the religion's patriarchs in Japanese. They call the Chinese chess game, weiqi, as "Go" and the same treatment for myriads of other things Chinese. The CIA knew the importance of names, and used the Western media to change the popular Chinese gooseberry (yangtao in Chinese) into "kiwi fruit." Today, some local Chinese even thought that the fruit originated in New Zealand.
About the only people who didn't know the importance of names were the post-1978 Chinese who were thoroughly brainwashed into accepting foreign names over their own indigenous names. Kungfu was an English transliteration from Cantonese, which seems all right as it's a Chinese dialect. But technically speaking, kungfu does not cover all the nuances of the art like wushu, which has been officially used since the birth of New China, and which remains the word used in all the martial arts associations in Southeast Asia. Before 1978, China was proud to call weiqi as weiqi, and Chan Buddhism as Chan Buddhism. Today, a culturally dead "elite" are preferring Japanese versions over their own authentic Chinese names.
It's a sign of a country gone wrong, and there are many others as well. Such as the spending of millions of public money to build western-style government buildings all over China, not to mention an entire European village in Guangdong. Their Western masters would smile approvingly, of course. True Chinese, however, can only feel betrayed. Now, we are told that China is going to "promote cultural soft power." Such use of taxpayers' money is inappropriate when hundreds of millions of Chinese are still living in poverty. Not to mention the fact that if the ruling party had not instigated the two "whateverisms" - whatever is pre-1978 is bad and should not be followed and whatever is foreign is finger-licking good and must be aped - China would not have been so despised today.
It gives me, an old Chinese who've weathered Chinese politics for more than half a century, no pleasure in saying all this. My heart breaks, as I know the forces of reaction still predominate in China.