qigong: "coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training. With roots in
Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi), translated as 'life energy'."
tai chi: Originally a martial art specializing in defensive moves, it is now more often practiced with hopes of health benefits and greater longevity. Some forms specially
emphasize practicing tai chi with slow movements. The five classic styles are named after the families that originated them: Chen (the oldest), Yang, Wu Hao, Wu, and Sun.
Joggers. What a change a decade and a half can make! Now that we are firmly and well and truly into the 21st century, the lake is surrounded day and night by joggers
doing their lap or laps around the lake (a little over a mile around).
Tengchong. More than a decade after the encounter with Jintao recounted here, I visited Tengchong and its new war museum. The museum makes vivid the battle and the total destruction of Tengchong and neighboring Longling. The illustrations and explanations in English are good. Several things struck me in particular. One
was a real-life Hua Mulan, named Li Yuemei -- sort of, at least she tried. The story is not quite clear, but I gather she was living in Burma, away from her homeland, China, when the war came. She dressed like a man, enlisted, and obtained a uniform. On her way back to China, however, "She got injured on an overturned truck at a sharp turn of the Burma Road in 1940."
She was then discovered to be female and served as a nurse for the rest of the war. Our daughter was only three when Disney's film came out, but we bought the DVD and when she was old enough to appreciate it, we watched it many times. (Mulan II is just as good; it came out in 2004 -- and a live-action adaptation appears in 2020.) The second
thing that struck a particular interest was the photo of Du Yuming. Du was close to CKS and was a successful field commander in the Burma theater of the Sino-Japanese War. In the civil war which followed, he won several important battles against Communist forces in NE China, including defeating Lin Biao twice. (CKS then replaced Du with a more favored general, who promptly
lost much of NE China). At this point, Du correctly guesses that Major General Guo Rugui, one of Chiang's most trusted staff officers, was a Communist agent. Du's main evidence, apparently, was that Guo was clean. CKS became enraged at the implication that all Nationalists were corrupt, only Communists were clean. Guo was in fact a spy! (Du's wife, incidentally, had once been a Communist herself.)
Du was later captured by the Red Army and held in prison until 1959, after which he was rewarded with a high-ranking position in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, possibly in hopes his son-in-law, Yang Zhenning, a Nobel laureate in physics, would return to China. Du and Guo Rugui actually became friends -- they had a lot in common.
This learning about foreigners continued when he was banished to the Ili-Kazakh region of remote Xinjiang province, largest and furthest west of China's provinces. He spent time observing Muslim culture. One observation was that these people were not idol worshipers but bowed and prayed to tombs decorated with poles that had hair from the tails of cows and horses attached to them (a tugh or tug). He was also interested in Kazakh stories, including one about a spirit of the lake in the form of a green goat whose appearance is a harbinger of hail or rain.
When he was rehabilitated, first as Governor-General of Shaanxi-Gansu, then as G-G of Yunnan-Guizhou, it was the beginning of a comeback which has carried on ever since, one which includes portrayal in his home country as a genuine national hero (including portrayal in three movies) and even, outside China, includes a statue in NYC's Chinatown. Even the British came to recognize his qualities. The sinologist Herbert Giles (1845-1935), second half of the famous Wade-Giles system for the Romanization of the Chinese language, said of him: "He was a fine scholar, a just and merciful official and a true patriot."
Arthur Waley: A book was published in 1972, Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation & Anthology of Arthur Waley, which all reviewers on Amazon rate as five stars. One review says: "You probably won't ever really understand how remarkable this book is unless it is raining right now and you are late to work and you take off your shoes and you start walking until you are ready to read it. There is nothing like it in all the world. But for most people, you're probably better off just going to work. With an umbrella."
And death -- for this was the exact spot where he was assassinated, at the entrance to his home which is where the primary school now is. About a dozen years after our discovery, the government transformed the walls of the other half of the walkway, the part that leads down to the lake, into a larger memorial to him, installing photographs of him and exerpts from his writings and poetry. But for some reason the original painting of him by the school was tiled over.
Wen was born in 1899 in Hubei province, in central China. The Qing dynasty fell when he was twelve. He graduated from Tsinghua University, and then in 1922 traveled to Chicago to study fine arts and literature at the Art Institute. There he published his first poetry collection, described by one source as "a combination of anti-feudalism, patriotism and aestheticism."
He had married Gao Zhen before leaving for Chicago; his wife gave birth to a daughter, who died while he was abroad. He taught Chinese classical literature and poetry at several universities, ending up at Tsinghua, on his return, and with the rest of the faculty fled the Japanese invasion in 1937, first to Changsha, capital of Hunan province, then, largely on foot, to Kunming. "National Southwestern Associated University" was created in Kunming for scholars from Tsinghua, Peking University, and Nankai University.
His writings increasingly focused on social criticism, though a 1943 essay he wrote promoted new poetic forms. In 1944 he supported the China Democratic League, neither nationalist nor communist, but progressive and independent. He also wrote essays criticizing the corruption he saw among the Nationalists. One source says: "he didn't disagree with their politics, just their graft." But agents of the Nationalists assassinated him in July 1946, just after eulogizing his friend Li Gongpu, who had been assassinated.
The publisher's blurb for a recent volume of his poems (see below) is insightful on Wen as poet, so I take the liberty of quoting it in full: "Translated from the Chinese by Robert Hammond Dorsett, MD. Foreword by Christopher Merrill. Calligraphy by Huang Xiang. The temptation, when evaluating a poet gunned down by his government, is to start there, with the politics that led to his murder. But Wen Yiduo (1899-1946) was much too complex and heterodox to comfortably wear the martyr's robe, his works too nuanced and unsettled to be a paragon of any revolution. His poems explore religion and rickshaws, contain the chrysanthemums of Chinese folklore and the mud of contemporary times, and dare readers to challenge prevailing conceptions, even to render their own cynicism as hope. Mao blamed the Nationalists for Wen's death, thus elevating him to something like mythic status, yet the poet needed no such validation. He resisted easy classification. He was a writer whose ballast was in ideas and logic, while remaining fresh to the point of innovation. In Dorsett's interpretation, we revel in the details of Wen's work: lyric, ironic, passionate, and above all, politically aware but ideologically free. It represents a long overdue attempt to bring international attention to one of China's preeminent 20th- century writers."
Joseph Rock is the third of the explorers here. As a botanist, he was preceded in Yunnan by at least two eminent botanical collectors, George Forrest, sent by the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, and
Heinrich von Handel-Mazzetti, sent by the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Forrest brought back a famous specimen of rhododendron, a genus in which Yunnan is particularly rich.
Rock's own journey to Yunnan was preceded by his journey to SE Asia in pursuit of the chaulmoogra tree, a journey paid for by the US Dept of Agriculture's Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction, which wanted this tree as an early treatment for leprosy. Behind this lies a compelling story.
As Wikipedia puts it: "Alice Augusta Ball [born 1892] was an African American chemist who developed an injectable herbal extract (ethyl hydnocarpate) that was the most effective treatment for leprosy during the early 20th century. She was the first woman and first African American to receive a master's degree from the University of Hawaii, and she was also the university's first female chemistry professor."
Although chaulmoogra oil had been used for leprosy since the 1300s, results were poor: its viscosity made topical application impossible and negated injection because it just created lumps under the skin which were not absorbed. Ingesting it caused the patient to vomit.
"At the young age of 23, Ball developed a technique that would make the oil injectable and absorbable by the body. Her technique involved isolating ester compounds from the oil and chemically modifying them, resulting in a substance that retained the oil's therapeutic properties and was absorbed by the body when injected." It was because of Ball's research that Rock was sent into the jungle in
SE Asia. But the tragedy is that Ball died at age 24, possibly from some substance in her laboratory, even possibly from chlorine gas she used while demonstrating how to use a gas mask -- the US was preparing to enter WW1.
Hoopoe. The connections with Aristophanes and others are as follows: * Aristophanes (c. 446- c. 386 BC) -- his comedy, The Birds, features the king Tereus who has metamorphosed
into a hoopoe and is now king of the birds. * Napoleon -- the island in the south Atlantic to which he was exiled, Saint Helena, was once home to a now extinct species of hoopoe.
* The Pharoahs -- considered sacred in Ancient Egypt and considered "as a symbolic code to indicate the child was the heir and successor of his father." * The Torah -- considered "detestable" and
not kosher. * The Quran, the Bible, and the multitudinous, complicated tales of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba -- the hoopoe is part messenger, part spy. Moses -- Islamic literature states that a hoopoe
enabled Moses and his followers to defeat Og in the battle that followed their crossing of the Red Sea. * Ovid -- his play, Metamorphoses provides the grisly circumstances under
which Tereus was transformed into a hoopoe. * Emperor Gaozong -- his mausoleum complex contains a painting of three women with a hoopoe.
Finally, * Zhao Mengfu -- he produced a famous painting of a hoopoe.
* Alberich -- The book mentioned below in the notes to Chapter 8, Brave Genius by Sean B. Carroll, about two men who fought in the French Resistance during WW2 and later became Nobel Laureates, alludes to Alberich. The occupation darkened even further when executing fifty or a hundred men in retaliation for each assassination of a German officer was not working to prevent further assassinations -- darkened when Hitler on December 7, 1941 issued his "Night-and-Fog Decree," whereby, in addition to summary executions, resisters would "disappear in the 'night and fog' of German concentration camps, without a trial, and without their families knowing their destinations or fate." The name of the decree was "an allusion to Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold", in which Alberich makes himself invisible so as to torment his subjects."
Chennault's "autobiography," Way of a Fighter (1949) was in fact written by Robert Hotz. Dan Ford writes "The book was ghost-written by Robert Hotz in New York and transcribed by Doreen Lonborg Reynolds in Taiwan; she told me (1986) that Chennault did not closely supervise the project." See Ford's remarks. Jack Samson, Chennault's biographer, writes that Hotz was "a former newspaperman and Air Force officer who had served in China. In 1943 he had also written With General Chennault: The Story of the Flying Tigers, with the help of ex-AVG pilots George Paxton, Parker Dupouy, and Robert Neale." It should be added that Hotz was a very good writer.
Back in America, Chennault divorced the wife he'd married in 1911 and with whom he'd had eight children and married Chen Xiangmei (Anna Chennault), a young reporter for the Central News Agency, with whom he had two more. Anna became famous after his death as one of the chief lobbyists for CKS. She became famous, at least in DC circles. (Her husband died in 1958). Your correspodent here remembers attending a performance one evening at the Kennedy Center, when, as the audience was assembling, he and his wife heard applause down on the main floor. Peering over the upper balcony railing, they saw two people taking their seats in the center section -- "That's Anna Chennault" a person standing and peering next to them said. Anna lived in the famous Watergate, right next door to the Kennedy Center. She lived to be 94, dying in 2018.
As mentioned, Way of a Fighter makes clear the inability of high command to adapt to advances in military technology. Chennault left the US Army's air force because
his superiors were obtuse when it came to evaluating the potential of fighter planes. A marvelous book, Brave Genius, by Sean B. Carroll describes the same fault at this same time in
the French high command, a fault which had in that case catastrophic consequences. Carroll is molecular biologist and geneticist of the first rank, but in this book he also shows himself to be a terrific war historian and biographer. The book focuses on the wartime experiences of two men who fought in the French Resistance, becoming close friends, each of whom later won the Nobel Prize: Jacques Monod, whose prize was for understanding how genes are switched on and off as cells grow, and Albert Camus, whose prize was for literature. The book begins by recounting in detail "The Fall" -- the events leading up to France's defeat. One of these events was rejecting the views of a young colonel who argued as early as 1935 that tanks changed the game and made France's reliance solely on its Maginot Line obsolete. Indeed, Germany routed the French army and allied divisions by massing tanks and penetrating the impenetrable Ardennes forests, overtopping the Maginot and undercutting its opponents arrayed on the Belgian plain. Charles de Gaulle, of course, did not resign, though after he fled to Britain the Vichy government stripped him of rank and initiated his court-martial at about the same time Chennault was forming the Flying Tigers.
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