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Lunar New Year prayers with the masses for 2012 January 19, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, Chinese New Year, faith, human quality, Singapore.
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Went to ‘The Jade Buddha Exhibition’ at Ngee Ann city and praying with others for universal harmony despite I knew very little of formal Buddhism as far as mantras were concerned. But I learn from visuals and see how things around me operate in a highly orderally manner that often always teach me precious lessons, which words cannot portray fully. The event was a very meaningful one for the forthcoming year.

I know very little about chants and by no means a Buddhist. But I thought I would just happily join in with the thousands who were there to sponsor the jade Buddhas and offerings. I followed the crowd, and the written chants pasted near the deities, passing from one ritual to another. Actually I didn’t quite know if I did it correctly but I enjoyed the process of getting my palms together, and made a few wishes. I even wondered if the deities understood me.— It wasn’t sanskrit, it was certainly not tamil, it was in mandarin with bits of English because there wasn’t a perfect translation for that few words. Couldn’t do them in German or even with a smattering of French, but it was more of an instinctive communicative and intuitive way of getting around language barrier to just use pure common sense in my modest prayers. I thought it should come from the heart. So I just did what I understood.

As I was offering my humble pack of rice, I prayed with the thousands for a peaceful and prosperous year of the dragon. The packs of rice will then be given to needy homes in the country. Then I started to ponder why so many people needed the staple when there are many who waste their food. Surely the terribly rich and the very poor are more than miles apart and that itself could set another separate topic about equality in wealth.

The thousands of bags of rice came in within hours and all the Jade statues were fully sponsored into the tens of thousands of dollars meant to go the construction of The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Melbourne, Australia.

The whole ceremony was about giving, sharing and remembering what others have sacrificed for us. The late Teresa Hsu was a live example of courage whenever Buddism came to place.

Teresa Hsu DTC

An Idol who forgot how much she had given.

She left the human world without her ashes collected was an act itself that showed her faith and definite courage. In Buddhist rites, bones are to be collected and kept properly. But she didn’t allow even that last rite to be done.

She feared nothing but I still am not fully recovered from the fact she left her ashes uncollected. It was a very unusual thing to do though it was a very courageous act on its own. It could be deem to be almost petrifying to think the remains were ‘unwanted’ especially when she was a pure real 1100% Buddhist. I wouldn’t hesitate to say she was willing to give her all at death to save people. Since she couldn’t, her last words were to tell people not to spend a minute of peoples’ lives to collect her remains. A drastic contrast to what many would have fought for their rights of every minute kind.

The remains of the day would be a life lesson learnt that she sacrificed for sentimental beings all big and small, both great and ungreat. That could even include the despicable. She didn’t mind what she was going to have or not going to have, she simply gave all. I thought she should have given some bit to her own when I saw how some people could eat up others alive for their own merit. In a material world where fame and fortune is power, such people like her are rare gems.

A leader of this might could instantly solve all problems but realistically speaking, few will do it in the kind of world we are now living in. On the positive front, those who did anything less than sincerity and honesty always pay in due course, either via the revenge of similar beings who were being mistreated or via nature through health woes. They will pay. And the price will be hefty. The crazy thing is that these people don’t even know they are paying for it though they know they are suffering from it.

On a grey scale of 10, we must aim to purify the partial hues and in the same time improving ourselves. 2012 will spell a year of transition when more people will realize why and how we have the economic woes of inflation, unemployment, physical pollution and metaphysical pollution all snowballed into a gigantic mix of chaos.Health problems that were used to be for the aged now exist in young people. The levels of mental psychological disorder increases due to rampant bullying and being bullied. Diseases arise from animals that we shouldn’t eat. Plants get contaminated because of the selfish desire to expand urban areas , and worse still, to use name of sustainability to promote their goods when they do not really mean anything healthy in the real sense. The power then will be laid in the masses of the common people to control what they want to change.

Thankfully there are three things that gives us hope with the freedom to voice. Consumer sovereignty, democracy of the people and the sheer natural law of sustainability do not allow the ills to propagate.

For the many who think the bad still get their reward, observe carefully that they live with worry, anger and fear behind the ill gained status. You hardly see them smile. Nor do you see them simple minded, which gives the absolute clarity of thought for peaceful living.

So in the real sense the new year is a year for the commoners. Those who fail to listen to these voices will flop miserably. And it is high tide that 2012 will belong to all who are kind and industrious.

Happy Lunar New Year from the equator. 🙂

Karen Fu

Quick bedtime post on History – Mao & Sun – how history has judged them? April 6, 2010

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, Chinese New Year.
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Recently during the Chinese New Year Celebrations, I asked a promotor at the Mao Zedong exhibition at Vivo city why Mao’s photo was placed at Tian An Men Square instead of Dr Sun’s. I asked out of curiosity as I have been always wondering why Mao was worshiped in Tian An Men Square for decades in place of Dr Sun. Both were great men doing the same aim albeit different styles.  Till now, I am still remained puzzled by the replies to my ardent questioning. Mao was a staunch defendent of China. One could effectively claim that during his reign, no foreign dignitaries could walk over his China’s interest. It would be also perfectly correct to say he used his life to defend every Chinese in China. What  was a dire mistake was his Cultural revolution in the 60s which had caused a lot of suffering. Perhaps history has viewed him as largely as a hero since he liberated the lives of peasants and ostracized the wealthy who exploited the former. No class of politics is perfect in alleviating the poverty and the pain of certain groups of people. Neither can we look forward to perfect men/women either.  Everyone has mistakes, even historically great leaders. The only difference would be the extent of the mistake. Circumstances change peoples’ character and their deeds and actions. What may be forgivable  is that one’s character should be measured during different times and circumstances. Mao, in essence formed the People’s Republic of China.

Dr Sun has its own criticisms as well. Some people feel that he was merely portrayed as a larger than life figure. It depends on how you see him. He was a doctor, an activist and someone who doesn’t appear to believe in a lot in power. He surrendered his presidency to Yuan Shikai whom he later overthrew for corruption and revival of the previous feudal era.I’ve gone to Singapore’s Wanqingyuan twice: once before it was closed for renovation and the 2nd time recently. Not happy with the quality of the exhibits on the 2nd visit. Plenty were moved out of the villa. What I see is the Dr Sun also sacrificed lives to achieve revolutionary aims. It could also be seen as inevitable. However, at the base level, he does move crowds to overcome the Qing dynasty. If it were not for him, the Chinese would still be either wearing pigtails & females be having warped feet…

Both men marked great changes. Who is to decide who is the great leader forward? If I leave you the reader to decide. Whom would you pick?

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Late post on Chinese New Year Of The Tiger Thoughts / Learning our mother tongues. April 6, 2010

Posted by @Karen_Fu in China, Chinese New Year, Language.
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The year of the tiger roared in on valentines day, 14 Feb 2010.

China’s progress during the past year or so has been swift. I have been following the highlights. One of the most recent achievements was the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where the Chinese are not well known to be strong holders of sports like figure skating, apart from Chinese American Michelle Kwan who had won the figure skating competition before. It does appear that the mainland Chinese wants to be the best of the best and they are well on their way to it. As for overseas Chinese like us, we have been repeatedly impressed by the motivation. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore had recently voiced that China may well be ahead of our expectations and urged Singaporeans to ride the train with China’s progress by mastering the Chinese language. A few months ago, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew voiced the same message. China’s demand on top Singaporean students are also a surprise to me. Noticeably on their demands for Students for entry to China’s top 3 universities are almost daunting, sending a distinct message : ‘I want your best of the best who are able to lead and learn in the very top 2%, nothing less’

Many local ministers raised the awareness and many local parents, students and the like responded. Special Assistant Plan (SAP) schools in Singapore has been started since 1978 which focuses in both English and Mandarin Chinese as first languages. They were only available to the top 10% students in Singapore. Today the percentage has risen to more than 30% of the yearly student cohorts. Personally I feel that it has responded a little late. Also I think as born ethnic Chinese, though overseas Chinese, the Mandarin language should have been paid first language level attention because we are ethnically Chinese regardless of any other reasons. It’s part of our roots and culture that we cannot afford to neglect regardless if the Chinese language was economically vibrant or economically in disarray. We should master it because it is our mother tongue. Nothing else. No one would have respected any of us if we do not even utter properly of our mother tongues. It’s given.

The demoralisation of learning Chinese during colonial years made parents forced their children to master the English language was the sole pragmatic solution to alleviating poverty. There was little choice for a struggling tiny country then especially after the British had left us in 1963. Today learning Mandarin Chinese is also about the economy but this time its about staying ahead and keeping up with the global competition.While this is adaptive change, it could have been better if it was for transformational change in the way we view a language. It really should be about keeping our roots. No one would look up to anyone who forsake one’s mother tongue. Wouldn’t it ?

Am writing and listening to Youtube videos on China and found this song, which translate into English means ‘March of the Volunteers’. It has a strong determined stance. It starts off with ‘Arise! All who refuse to be slaves’ signifies their first sole objective of rising up from what they left in History as low class citizens. That is a strong motivational force behind their rise.  Will stick this right below this sentence:

歌詞 (Lyrics)

reference: 义勇军进行曲

(簡体字) (Simplified Chinese)
起来! 不愿做奴隶的人们!
起来! 起来! 起来!
前进! 前进! 进!

(繁体字) (traditional Chinese)

Commentary on CCTV chinese new year.

Noticed a vast change in the comperes’ dress up from last year’s. It was only a year’s difference and there was already an obvious evidence that they’ve learnt fast from possibly critics on their fashion last year. Their apt adaptation was both impressive and ‘frightening’. 1 year’s difference shows exactly why. For a country that is not entirely westernized like Hong Kong and Singapore, the rate at which they are catching up is rapid. Check my post last year to make the comparison. China – an afterthought (Chinese New Year 2009)

I’ve also watched CCTV and I cannot help but to think our local Mandarin stations have already lost their place. CCTV is effectively billingual. It’s English Version of the programme http://www.cctv.com/english/special/10springfestgala/homepage/index.shtml and its Chinese version is undoubtedly the best.

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