Chinese tradition, ceremony,culture

Discussion in 'Members' Club Room' started by Hendrik_2000, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Senior Member

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    What you guy think of this colorful wedding tradition that doesn't even exist in China any longer



    Proof of virginity? Gee these old Chinese are very demanding



    Equation where are you Here is your prospective beautiful

     
    #1 Hendrik_2000, Aug 9, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
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  2. Blackstone
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    Blackstone Senior Member

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    I have mixed feelings. There's something to be said about colorful traditions and their importance to culture and civilization, but China is traditionally un-traditional in its willingness and ability to adapt/absorb foreign cultures, ideas, believes, and products as its own. So, while it may be lamentable to lose some traditions, it nevertheless clears the way to incorporate new or foreign ideas "with Chinese characteristics."
     
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  3. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    Culture is always fluid and evolving. While I think it's important and laudable to keep (good) ancient traditions alive, I do not believe in holding on to tradition for the sake of tradition.

    Everyone has their own preferences and aspirations, nobody should be trying to force their own beliefs on others. For example, while I generally like traditional chinese culture and am an atheist, I still prefer a western-style wedding to a traditional Chinese style. I prefer seeing my wife in a white wedding gown than seeing her head covered in a red cloth.

    On that note, the costumes in the video you posted seems to be sourced from Qing fashion, so obviously it was itself evolved from an earlier tradition which would have used Ming-style clothes and accessories. I prefer the Hanfu to the Qipao, although unlike some young people, I acknowledge both to be part of Chinese culture and history.
     
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  4. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Senior Member

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    I think this is the problem with China today lost of culture. The communist did a good job of eliminating bad cultural aspect of Chinese tradition But because they did it in scorched earth way, they also junk out the good part of Chinese culture.

    All those food scandal, Guo Mei Mei fiasco, unbridled materialism can be attributed to this lost of cultural tradition and value

    Tradition, ritual remind you everyday your position in complex matrix of society and remind you the duty and obligation to that society.

    We Nanyang Chinese never lost of that sight that is why we last so long and lead a prosperous and in harmony with the society at large even though we don't live in China anymore.

    Tradition does not exclude modernization, The Japanese are living proof of this.

    I am a bit disappointed when I live in Beijing shortly way back in 90's I stay at university.Seem like every body think that all the road in the west is paved with gold. Or the attitude of Chinese girl in Vancouver.

    Bedazzled by the razzmatazz of Hollywood, they feel so overwhelmed and feel so small that they lost sight.

    Only if you respect yourself will others respect you that is the adage that will live forever

    Singapore is an open port and you cannot prevent western influence from influencing young people. But the government and the people realized that the best thing now is to inoculate the people by reminding them where they come from and what value they hold.
    With media, TV serial, museum, books etc

    Only when you can deal as equal can you deal with the western influence and avoid the bad aspect of it.
    In 2008 Media corp release hugely popular TV serial the "little nyonya" that result in renew interest of old culture where most prominent Singapore came from.



     
  5. taxiya
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    taxiya Senior Member
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    All points that you guys have made are right in their contexts. For that I have no special opinion. What I see is probably from another angle, that is "do not to focus too much on preserving or changing one's culture", in other words, whatever customs stay with Chinese are Chinese culture, regardless where they are from. That is also true to all cultures in general.

    A few examples,
    Shang Dynasty was from north-eastern China, morden day northern Hebei, southern Inner-Mongolia and western Manchuria. They at that time (3000 years ago) are pretty foreign to the central plain which is 1000 km south. But Shang's ritual rites, court customs and institutions were followed by the succeeding dynasties. The mandate of heaven is the creation by Shang.

    The Zhou Dynasty replacing Shang were people from very west at the fringe of Central plain, morden day western Shaanxi province, boarding to the "barbarians". They are pretty foreign to the then "Chinese" Shang dynasty. But Zhou built every fundamental concepts followed by following dynasties for 2000 years. The ZhouLi (周礼), the Zhou Rites.

    The Qin who followed Zhou was another "semi-barbarian" who raised among the "barbarians" further west of Zhou's rising land, in morden day eastern Gansu. Qin people were known by the then "Chinese" Zhou and its vessels in the east as practicing some barbarian customs including Qin's ferocious war-fighting spirit which enabled it to eventually make China to be China as we know today. Its institutions were followed by the succeeding dynasties. And every Chinese today believe Qin is the funder of China.

    Qin's contemporary counterpart, Zhao deliberately introduced barbarian's dress for its practicality of war fighting and Labour working. In the same way as today's Chinese dropped the traditional dress for daily life.

    The second and probably the highest zenit of Chinese civilization was Tang dynasty. And Tang is well known in adopting "Hu" customs and practices, mostly from central and western Asia, Turks and Persians. Tang is also the height of Buddhism introduction in China. One may call Buddhism as part of Chinese culture, but it was totally foreign 1500 years ago.

    One small but telling thing is that original Chinese dress do not use buttons. The usage of buttons was introduced from the step people. Who argues it is foreign today?

    The list of examples are just too long to make.

    My point is that, what ever practice that works for the need at the specific time in the specific environment will be part of the culture and tradition to last, where it was from, who made it first mean nothing.

    I also believe that China is very willing to adopt foreign tradition that she see fit. Like it or not aside, the most significant adoption is Communism (to be mixed with traditions) and morden legal and social institutions all from the west.

    All that I mentioned above are proofs that, Chinese is a great mix over 5000 years, the very core bearer of Chinese culture, the Han Chinese is itself a great mix within the bigger mix. There is nothing called "pure" in China, whatever stay with the people living on that land is no less Chinese than others. If one begin to examine "foreignness" inside Chinese culture, one will find almost everything is foreign at some point of time in the past along the historical path of China.
     
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  6. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Senior Member

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    What is it about Western culture that China needs to adapt? Yes, Western culture, because no one is saying people should adapt to any other. All the things they say other cultures should adopt from Western culture isn't immune to controversy in the West. Treatment of women? Hillary Clinton likes to point the finger at certain countries, not all countries, for their treatment of women yet complains how she’s a victim of sexism to the point that someone in her position can't escape it. If women in the US haven't figured it out themselves, they're in no position judge anyone else. There was recently a string of articles that popped-up from some mainstream media sources portraying China and Russia as having a war-mongering nature and are threats to world stability. Coming from the side that has been engaged in military actions on one country or another for the last several decades? Look at the alarm when it was revealed that China was just considering from multiple of options to use a drone to kill a menacing murdering drug warlord in Southeast Asia. They didn't do it yet still alarm how a country would dare use a drone to kill someone in another country.


    Look at how President Duarte of the Philippines and Manny Pacquiao before him are being criticized for homophobic remarks. What religion that was imposed on the Philippines do you think they got that from? Instead the critics want to make it out to be a foreign backward culture at work. The world is supposed to embrace Western culture and values yet Westerners are the biggest polluters on the planet per capita while they lead the calls to reduce pollution around the world. Adopting their ways will again become something foreign when pollution gets worse doing it their way. What's more important to them? Saving the environment or doing it their way which isn’t the best way?


    Asians are always used to counter any criticism of racist institutions that keep minorities down in society. "It's not us, it's you!" The irony is it's Asians having their own cultures that makes the difference not race. The minorities that complain about socio-economic injustice have one thing in common. They had their cultures ripped-away from them and the new values of their conquerors instilled onto them. The need to have others adopt your values isn't because those values are better for all. It's because those dictating what is valuable control what is valued. So if you want what is valued, you have to do what they say in order to get it. So what's being valued in society? Today it's fame and the instant fortune that comes with it.


    Throughout history anyone who were entertainers were looked down upon. It was a lowly job because it essentially was on the level of being a beggar for money. It was an unstable life that success depended solely on the acceptance of the masses not by skill or trade. You know what changed it? It was modern electronic mass media. No more travelling from town to town. No more hecklers egging on the audience that had the power to ruin your day now silenced by the divide technology created. Instead now an image can be created without interference from the outside to counter. Just as an audience can be egged on against you, now it can work in your favor because electronic media allows control of the message. One performance and you can be richer than the average person’s yearly salary. Britney Spears has the looks but she ain't that great of a singer. She doesn't even play an instrument and yet the masses are told she's the greatest performer out there and they believe it.


    Now how are minorities taught to value fame and fortune and celebrity? You see the greatest success stories for minorities from entertainment. That’s why you see so many young people think they're going to be the next greatest singer or sports star because it's the only avenue, especially for minorities, they see open to them. The thing is about fame and celebrity, only the fewest people possible can ever obtain it. The more there are, the more it gets diluted and all the rewards get less and less. So what happens to all those people who wasted their time and resources that never make it? They end up with the low-paying and unskilled jobs because they were taught not to value an education. Entertainment was seen as the easiest route.


    Then you have the Asian side of things. Asian culture teaches to value academics…. not at all a romanticized arena where the beautiful people hang out like in entertainment. But which is more important to a society? When an Asian becomes an engineer or scientist, you don’t need the acceptance of the masses in order to succeed in putting together something like a nuclear bomb? Did entertainers create electronic media for them to enjoy the rewards from it? Did Western culture teach Asians to value science and engineering? When I was in high school I was told by another student that Asians were an inferior race because they didn’t have any popular musicians or professional athletes. Like they want Asians to pursue fame and celebrity and be successful in competition to theirs? They want Asians to fall into the trap. If they had it their way, Asians would be relegated to being only on the outside looking in.
     
    #6 AssassinsMace, Aug 10, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
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  7. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    Mainland China did not lose culture. On the contrary, the depth of culture in the mainland is incomparable.

    Chinese culture is not monolithic, it is a rich tapestry of differences and variations, from village to village, and province to province.

    What overseas Chinese communities have done is to take threads of that tapestry, which they inherited from their forebears, and grew it according to their own history. It may be quite rich on its own, but it is not representative of the entire Chinese culture. Far from it.

    Take for example the custom of wedding. Chinese wedding customs vary from region to region. What you showed in those videos is just one custom from a particular region. There are literally hundreds of different customs in China.

    The cultural strength of the mainland is breathtaking. When you are standing on the Great Wall, visiting the Forbidden City, strolling along the banks of the West Lake, or visiting one of the famous gardens of Suzhou, you can almost breath the millenia of culture pervading the place.

    One of the my favorite cities is Hangzhou. The West Lake is surrounded by history, myths, and legend. You can visit the temple where the great Song general Yue Fei is interred; you can walk on the dam that the great poet Su Shi built; you can stand on the bridge where legends say the White Snake, Bai Suzhen, met Xuxian; you can visit the Lin Ying and Jin Ci temples where Ji Gong is said to have dwelled; and when you take a boat onto the lake, you are reminded of the legend of Xishi and Fan Li retiring from the turmoils of the Warring States.

    Where else but in China can you experience such richness of Chinese culture?
     
    #7 solarz, Aug 10, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  8. Mr T
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    Mr T Junior Member

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    With all due respect, China has lost some of its culture. For example, an awful lot of Chinese temples tend to just be tourist sites these days, rather than working religious centres that people also visit out of tourism. Whereas in a country like Japan the majority of temples and shrines have active priests.

    Now you may say that you don't regard religion as having anything to do with Chinese culture, but for me if a purportedly religious site is an example of a nation's culture, it's somewhat hollow if it's just an empty building.

    Don't get me wrong, I've had some lovely times in China, but it does seem that the historic culture is something that a lot of Chinese don't care about or only for the purposes of feeling nationalist pride. I saw a bit of that regarding the building of the Three Gorges Dam and what seemed to be a public indifference to the flooding of over 1,000 archaeological sites.

    Err, is anyone suggesting that you can find a better example of Chinese culture outside China? Isn't the question about how far traditional Chinese culture has been lost, not least since the CCP came to power?
     
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  9. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    What do you envision when you say "religious centres"? What do you think Chinese religious centres should look like?

    Famous temples in China have always been busy tourist sites since imperial days. All temples have a religious staff tending to temple grounds, whether that's buddhist monks or taoist priests. Religion was suppressed during the early PRC decades, but has since made a complete comeback, for better or worse.

    So what makes Chinese temples "less cultural" than western cathedrals or Japanese shrines?

    Sure, a lot of Chinese don't care about history or culture, just like many Americans, Japanese, Koreans, etc. don't care about history or culture. People are people everywhere, and most of them care more about pop stars and fashion than history or culture.

    China has A LOT of archaeological sites. When I was young, my grandmother lived in an old, run-down house that was probably 100 years old. Right beside that house was a canal with a stone bridge that my dad said dated from the Song dynasty! This wasn't any special place, just a typical town on the outskirts of Shanghai. That canal was filled up in the 90's and the bridge torn down. In China, if you tried to perserve everything over 200 years old, you'd never be able to build anything new!

    China preserves historical artifacts where it can, and builds modern infrastructure over archaeological sites when it is necessary. That is the essence of Chinese culture: dynamic, constantly evolving, yet always Chinese.
     
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  10. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    I once took a 40-hour train ride from Shanghai to Hami, Xinjiang. It was one of the most memorable trips I've ever experienced, and it consisted entirely of me looking out the window.

    We went from the urban, modern buildings and apartments of Shanghai, to the flooded rice fields of Jiangsu, to the flat wheat fields of central China, passing by the great Hua mountain, into the desolate, yellow earth of the Loess Plateau, where small caves dotted the mountainside, each holding what appeared to be shrines and offerings, and finally into the even more desolate landscape of the Gobi desert, where Han and Uighur culture dwelt side by side.

    I visited a Uighur market in Hami, and it felt like I had stepped into the Middle East, except everyone could speak Chinese. I stood on the battlements of the reconstructed Jiayu Pass, the westernmost end of the Great Wall. At the horizon was the fabled Qilian mountains, historic border between the Xiongnu and the Han Empire. At my feet lay the remains of an earthen wall that was all that's left of the original Great Wall at Jiayuguan.
     
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