Thursday, September 28, 2006

Confucius and the state | tempus fugit

Confucius he say, woman ok!

You learn something everyday. Confucius's family tree has been maintained all this while in his hometown of Qufu, eastern Shandong province. However, the construction of the family tree, and therefore, family history, has been influenced by Confucius's uncomplimentary views on women. As a result, the women were excluded from the family tree, and of the dubious prestige of being a descendant of Kong Tze.

Seems that they're rethinking things, and moving with the times.

However Mr Kong, speaking at a festival marking Confucius' 2,557th birthday in the philosopher's home town of Qufu in eastern Shandong province, said equality now had to be observed.

Mr Kong is planning to reveal the fifth family tree update in 2009 and believes there could now be more than three million descendants - about 2.5m of whom live in China.

He said: "Even if a woman has to leave the family when she gets married to live with her husband, that doesn't change the fact that she is descended from Confucius."

From the BBC

Confucius believed in a great many things, including a strict social hierarchy, with a specific emphasis on the maintenence of proper relations and respect, with service to the state being the utmost virtue. (I'm sure there's more to it than that, but I had to learn Chinese as a child so as to imbue a sense of rootedness to Chinese culture, so now I hate the damn thing.)

The emphasis on the stratification of society and the fossilisation of social development made Confucianism unacceptable during the Cultural Revolution. Of late, it's come into favour because China, like well, Singapore, is worried about the effects of globalisation and the erosion of the Chinese identity. Well, theoratically concerned - they're more concerned about what the erosion of the Chinese identity would do rather than the id itself. If they could find an implant that instilled "Asian deference" and "loyalty to the motherland", their concern about erosion wouldn't just erode, it would vanish faster than half price abalone on CNY eve.

Of course, this is when I take a moment to brag and point out that the touting of Asian/Confuscian values as a form of identity to foster nation-state cohesion - we beat them to it. LKY was doing it around 1997. Didn't work, but hey, maybe it will for the Chinese. Probably not.

These Chinese, always copying someone else.

[but yay, daughters of confucius! The times, they change.]


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