Saturday, 1 January 2011


Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road (2006) contains the following baffling passage:

It has been said that the Chinese do not love. Observers of their family hierarchies have written that the only true tenderness exists between mother and son. Others have insisted that even the word for love in Chinese do not exist. And it is true that neither the blanket ai nor the benevolent ren translates into any unconditional passion. (p. 47)


  1. One should rather reprimand Colin Thurbond and his ilk in Western world for thinking that a lack of a word for such a meaningless concept is some sort of handicap.

  2. Sounds like something written in 1706, not 2006. You are quite kind to call it "baffling".

  3. We like this comment from Alvin: " it's like telling true trekkies that vulcans have no emotions..."

  4. For the uninitiated: Vulcans do indeed have emotions, but they are so strong that they've built their entire culture around suppressing them as a matter of survival. Alvin's parallel might be apt indeed.

    In one classic Star Trek episode, Spock did in fact pretend to be Chinese...


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