Notes on Intercultural Communication

Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Genetics, Cultures and Body Odor

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Body Odor / ABCC11


There are two kinds of sweat glands: eccrine sweat glands, which are found throughout the skin, and apocrine sweat glands, which are found in the armpits and groin. Eccrine sweat glands produce sweat that is mostly water and salt, and it does not contribute very much to body odor. Apocrine sweat contains proteins and lipids; when bacteria on the skin metabolize apocrine sweat, they produce body odor. The earwax glands (ceruminous glands) are a form of apocrine gland. (…) Some people have earwax that is wet, sticky and yellow or brown; other people’s earwax is dry, crumbly and grayish. Variation at a single gene determines which kind of earwax you have; the allele for wet earwax is dominant over the allele for dry earwax. The allele for dry earwax appears to have originated by mutation in northeastern Asia about 2,000 generations ago, then spread outwards because it was favored by natural selection. It is very common in eastern Asia, becomes much less common towards Europe, and is rare in Africa. Earwax type is not used very often to illustrate basic genetics, but unlike most human characters that are used (tongue rolling, attached earlobes, etc.), it really is controlled by a single gene with two alleles. . (…)


Read full text online here or download pdf there

(retrieved 20.01.2013 at


Apocrine Gland Secretion and Body Odor

(…) Martin et al. (2010) performed chemical analysis of axillary sweat samples from 25 individuals with different ABCC11 538G-A genotypes, including 18 Asian participants (11 AA homozygotes, 5 AG heterozygotes, and 2 GG homozygotes) and 7 Caucasian participants (2 AG heterozygotes and 5 GG homozygotes). Levels of 3 glutamine conjugates that are precursors for key body odorants were below detection limits in all participants with the AA genotype but were present in all AG and GG individuals, indicating that ABCC11 is essential for secretion of amino-acid conjugates of relevant axillary odors.


Mapping of Apocrine Gland Secretion

By a functional assay, Yoshiura et al. (2006) determined that cells with allele A showed a lower excretory activity for cGMP than those with allele G. The allele A frequency showed a north-south and east-west downward geographic gradient; worldwide, it was highest in Chinese and Koreans, and a common dry-type haplotype was retained among various ethnic populations. These results suggested that the allele A arose in northeast Asia and thereafter spread through the world. The 538G-A SNP was the first example of DNA polymorphism determining a visible genetic trait.(…)

Read the full text online here or download pdf there.

(both retrieved 21.02.2015 at


World Overview ABCC11

site an frequency of allels A27 of ABCC11 among different ethnic populations

Read the document online here or download full pdf there.

(retrieved 20.01.2013 at–tL)


Additional Material

Human Olfactory Communication


Nonhuman animals communicate their emotional states through changes in body odor. The study reported here suggests that this may be the same for humans. (…) The finding suggests that there is information in human body odors indicative of emotional state. This finding introduces new complexity in how humans perceive and interact. (…)

Human Olfactory Communication of Emotion by Chen D. and Haviland-Jones J.

(retrieved 21.05.2015 at


Read the full research as pdf online here or here.

(retrieved 21.05.2015 at,d.bGg)


(Posted 21.05.2015)

Trade, Geography, and the Unifying Force of Islam / The Silk Road

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Trade, Geography, and the Unifying Force of Islam


Inequality in regional suitability for agriculture across the Old World

Inequality in regional suitability for agriculture across the Old World


Percentage of Muslim population in AD 1900 in the Old World

Percentage of Muslim population in AD 1900 in the Old World


Major trade routes in the Old World AD 600-AD 1800

Major trade routes in the Old World AD 600-AD 1800


(…) We start with the observation that, on the one hand, Islam surfaced in the Arabian Peninsula under conditions featuring an extremely unequal land quality distribution across regions. And, on the other hand, Islam surfaced in areas close to lucrative trade routes. As a result, when dwellers from the oases were attempting to cross the surrounding vast arid lands in pursuit of trade profits, they were facing threats to their livelihoods from nomadic groups. These encounters had the potential to bring trade flows to a halt, setting the stage for the emergence of a centralising force that featured redistributive rules. We argue that Islam was such a centralising force and that, accordingly, its economic tenets had to address inherent economic inequities across clans. This resulted in an economic doctrine that promoted poverty alleviation and redistribution, equitable inheritance rules and anti-usury laws.


Fortunately, among the pre-colonial traits recorded by Murdock (1967) there is an entry describing whether a group believes or not in gods that are supportive.. of human morality. Anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have argued that the belief in moralising gods – gods who tell people what they should or should not do – was necessary to keep societies together by condemning infringements on other group members. Similarly, we  argue that the presence of an unequal geography and proximity to trade opportunities intensified the need for cooperation among heterogeneous clans. Such cooperation could be achieved by adopting a religion which, besides the appropriate economic rules, would provide a coordination mechanism that penalised those who deviate from prescribed norms. With this in mind, it is not surprising to find that a 50% increase in Muslim adherence within a group increases the likelihood that a group believes in gods that dictate what should or should not be done by 40%. If anything, Christian and ethnoreligious groups are less likely to have harboured beliefs in a moralising god in the pre-colonial period.



Our findings show that Islam flourished in very challenging geographical terrains. These terrains harboured inherently unequal economic opportunities and bred conflict. Any political platform that attempted to bring clashing populations together had to address these primordial inequities. Islam was certainly such a movement, and its spread is a prime example of how geography shapes a society’s institutional and societal arrangements. (…)

8 December 2012

Stelios Michalopoulos
Assistant Professor of Economics, Brown University

Alireza Naghavi
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Bologna

Giovanni Prarolo
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Bologna


Read the full post online at VOX, download  pdf at Brown University here, or as pdf here.

(retrieved 19.04.2014 at


Ann. of the Editor: I personally do not agree to the conclusions. Trade is based on trust. The Quran (similar to the Bible) has the character of a constitution. Moral norms as “Not Lie, Not Steal” are crucial until today’s  international trade. “Being balanced against a feather” is a keyword in Muslim morals. International institutionalised morals can appear as international law (see INCO-Terms).


The Silk Road and Related Trade Routes

Map of  the Silk Road and Related Trade Routes

(retrieved 20.04.2014 at


The Islamic World

Map of the Islamic World

(retrieved 20.04.2014 at


Trade Routes Africa  15th century

Map of Trade Routes in  Africa  around 1500

“History of Africa”  27 February 2008. <>  20 April 2014. (retireved 20.04.2014 at

See the whole article about Africa around 1500 online here or download as pdf here.


Additional Material


Southeast_Asia_trade_route_map_XII century

(retrieved 20.04.2014 at


(…) Perhaps no one has described in more ringing language than Tome Pires the advantages of a port commanding the straits :

Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice. As far as from Malacca, and from Malacca to China, and from China to the Moluccas, and from Moluccas to Java, and from Java to Malacca and Sumatra, all is in your power. (…)

Read the full article about Ancient Asian Trade online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 20.04.2014 at


Can a Chinese ‘maritime silk route’ cool tensions in Asia?

Many, both in China and in the region, view China’s mooted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with the ASEAN+6 countries as a Chinese effort to push the regional agenda towards softer objectives. For Beijing, RCEP also has the benefit of countering the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership.

Yet the benefit for China of achieving either of these objectives would pale in comparison to the potential benefit of President Xi Jinping’s realising his dream of reviving the ‘maritime silk route’, which he unveiled during his October 2013 visit to Malaysia and Indonesia. The route would build on the East Asia region’s proven strengths in sharing production. It could also enable a greater role for overseas Chinese communities in forging relationships to reduce regional tensions.

The movement of goods along the maritime silk route has a history of over two millennia, which reached its peak in the 15th century when legendary explorer Zheng He led an armada from China through Southeast and South Asia to the Persian Gulf. Today some of these same corridors support East Asia’s unique production sharing network which brings components produced throughout the region to China for assemblage and shipment to Europe and North America.

The production network allows all countries, regardless of their size and technological sophistication, to benefit from deep specialisation and economies of scale by producing parts and components, and adding value to production along the production chain. With labour costs in China now rising, many ASEAN economies stand to gain from any future outsourcing of production. This, combined with the trade deficits that China runs with most of its Asian neighbours (in contrast to its persistent surpluses with the West), makes it easier for ASEAN countries to see China as an opportunity rather than a threat. (…)

Yukon Huang is Senior Associate at the Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a former country director at the World Bank in China.

East Asia Forum at is always worth a visit!

(retrieved 06.05.2014 at


Restore the Silk Road

Last September (Ann. of the Editor: meaning September 2013) when he delivered a speech at a university in Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the suggestion that China and Central Asian countries should work together to build the Silk Road Economic Belt. The proposal was met with immediate resonance among neighboring countries and received a warm reception. Some provinces in the western region of China have even begun preparing to participate in the new round of cross-border economic cooperation.

Undoubtedly, the Silk Road Economic Belt will benefit all parties including China and her Central Asian partners. The mutual-benefit economic zone will help accelerate the development of China’s remote northwest regions and also facilitate China’s international cooperation with Central Asian countries.

For both China and Central Asia, the Silk Road played an important role in creating marvelous civilizations and economic prosperity in ancient times. Around 2,000 years ago, a Chinese emperor of the Han Dynasty sent his envoy, Zhang Qian, to the unknown west in search of allies to resist the threat of northern nomads. Unexpectedly, Zhang’s journey pioneered a significant bond between China and Central Asia. Since then, a trade road linking China and Central Asia—even stretching as far as Europe—formed and countries along the road thrived. The historic Silk Road was the world’s longest trade route on land.

Although the ancient Silk Road was eventually replaced by shipping routes via sea, China and Central Asian countries have great incentive to revive the historic link under the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit. Today, China is the largest trade partner of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as well as the largest investor in Uzbekistan. (…)

Read the full article online here or download full pdf here.

(retrieved 07.05.2014 at


Silk Road to Prosperity

Drug production in Afghanistan has increased 40 times since NATO moved in there 13 years ago. The profit from that drug production has become the financial support of terrorism. I think there must be international cooperation among all neighboring countries of Afghanistan, i.e. China, Russia, India, Iran and hopefully others, to wipe out the drug traffic. The drug traffic problem has become a major security problem for Russia—hundreds of thousands of people die every year as a result of drug smuggling from Afghanistan. It has become a big security problem for China, because one of the drug routes goes through Xinjiang. It is also feeding terrorists in Tajikistan, Russia’s Chechnya, Pakistan and the whole region from Afghanistan all the way to Syria, North Africa and even Central Africa. This has become a major source of threat to the stability of the region.

There must be international efforts to stabilize this region. That is why we have been proposing a very concrete extension of the Eurasian Land Bridge to the whole region, and even to Afghanistan, Syria and North Africa. You have to give incentive to the population and let them see the economic cooperation that gives them the chance to have a better future. There is better incentive than to go to drug production, or to support terrorism, which many people do because it’s being paid. Many people are just poor. You have to change the entire region with an economic development prospect which can only come from the New Silk Road Economic Belt.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and President of the Schiller Institute, an economic and political think tank headquartered in the United States and Germany


Read the full article online here or download full pdf here.

(retrieved 07.05.2014 at


Read more in the Islam category


(reviewed 07.05.2014)


Personal Space in China

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Personal Space – China doesn’t have it

(…) The total lack of personal space in China gets under an American’s skin in a matter of seconds. Riding a bus designed for 40 people, with close to 100 crammed in it is a daily test of my cultural sensitivity. I could tell you stories, but until you have spent 45 minutes practically living in someone’s armpit, in the middle of summer in one of China’s hottest cities, you simply can’t even imagine it.


The living situation as explained by my Chinese friends, the “emic” view, is that Chinese families are much closer than American families. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true in some ways, sharing a few hundred square feet with 6 people would cause close relationships (or insanity). My Chinese co-worker sleeps in the same bed as her 5-year-old daughter, because it is hard to get good apartments near the good schools.


I think this lack of personal space at home carries over into public spaces. The “need” for personal space doesn’t seem to have developed here. Which is why when you climb on to a Chinese bus, you are about to make friends with 100 strangers, and nobody but you is going to mind. (…)

T in Seeing Red in China online here or download full pdf here.

(retrieved 31.01.2014 at


Subway in Beijing (?)

no personal space

(retrieved 01.02.2014 at


When different Concepts of Personal Space collide in Singapore


Personal Space in China
(retrieved 31.01.2014 at


More about Personal Space from E.T. Hall on his website or at a previous post E. T. Hall – Proxemics (Understanding Personal Space)


(reviewed 01.02.2014)

E. T. Hall – Proxemics (Understanding Personal Space)

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E. T. Hall – Proxemics /Personal Space in Different Cultures

Edward T. Hall (*16.04.1914) was the most popular founder of Intercultural Communication. He put up three theories: High / Low Context, Monochrone / Polychrone Conception of Time and Proxemics. Personal Space varies depending on the culture.



  • Intimate distance – 6 to 18 inches (15-45cm)
    This level of physical distance often indicates a closer relationship or greater comfort between individuals. It often occurs during intimate contact such as hugging, whispering, or touching.
  • Personal distance – 1.5 to 4 feet (45-120cm)
    Physical distance at this level usually occurs between people who are family members or close friends. The closer the people can comfortably stand while interacting can be an indicator of the intimacy of the relationship.
  • Social distance – 4 to 12 feet (1,20m-3,50m)
    This level of physical distance is often used with individuals who are acquaintances. With someone you know fairly well, such as a co-worker you see several times a week, you might feel more comfortable interacting at a closer distance. In cases where you do not know the other person well, such as a postal delivery driver you only see once a month, a distance of 10 to 12 feet may feel more comfortable.
  • Public distance – 12 to 25 feet (3,50-7,50m)
    Physical distance at this level is often used in public speaking situations. Talking in front of a class full of students or giving a presentation at work are good examples of such situations.


Understanding Body Language by Kendra Cherry at Read the full post online here or download pdf here.

(received 03.01.2014 at


(…)  According to Hall, perception of the levels of intimacy of space is culturally determined. People from different cultures perceive space (and place) differently. Hall stressed that differing cultural frameworks for defining and organizing space, which are internalized in all people at an unconscious level, can lead to serious failures of communication and understanding in cross-cultural settings. For instance, ‘Germans sense their own space as an extension of the ego. One sees a clue to this feeling in the term “Lebensraum,” which is impossible to translate because it summarizes so much’ (Hall p.134). Or when the English use the telephone, Hall observes ‘since it is impossible to tell how preoccupied the other party will be they hesitate to use the phone; instead, they write notes. To phone is to be “pushy” and rude. A letter or telegram may be slower, but it is much less disrupting. Phones are for actual business and emergencies’ (…).

Proximity as a Prerequisite of Being Human from Future Case. Read the full article online here or download pdf here.

(received 03.01.2014 at


Proxemics is the understanding of space in the holistic sense, as well as the cultural association we place upon space.  It is the study of how an environment, at the interactive and interpretive level, is bestowed with meaning by people in daily life.  The term “Proxemics” was coined in the 1950s by Edward Hall to address the study of our conceptualization and use of space, as well as how various differences impact our experiences within a given area.  In other words, Proxemics is the study of place and space from the cultural vantage point.

Understanding Space from anthrostrategist. Read the full post online here or download pdf here.

(received 03.01.2014 at


edwardthall_1933(Picture retrieved 03.01.2014 at

Read more about E.T.Hall at his website or at E.T.Hall – High Context Communication vs. Low Context Communication


Illustrations of the Theory of Proxemics / Understanding the Personal Space


The Concept of the Personal Bubble

Personal Bubble

(retrieved 03.01.2013 at


The “Close Talker”

Entering the Intimate Space is only allowed to closest related persons. Entering the Intimate Space by others is percieved as an intimidating agressive act.

the close talker

(retrieved 03.01.2013 at


(retrieved 03.01.2014 at!)


Different Personal Space in Different Cultures (European in South America)

A video about a European in Mexico. Europeans usually have a larger personal space than South Americans.

Proxemics Personal Space European vs Mexican HSBC

(retrieved 30.09.2013 at


More about Personal Space at Personal Space in China

(reviewed 12.01.2014)

Culture and Colours

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Culture and Colours


colours in different cultures(retrieved 14.06.2013 at


colour emotion guide


Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference in conversion rates. They started out by trying to guess the outcome of a simple choice between two colors (green and red) and trying to guess what would happen.“Green connotes ideas like “natural” and “environment,” and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of “go” or forward movement. The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.” So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color. At least that was their guess. Here is what their experiment looked like:

colour performance test

So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was surprising: The red button outperformed the green button by 21%. What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all: 21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference.

(retrieved 15.06.2013 at


Red in Western and Chinese Meaning

(…) Because of distinctively different cultural backgrounds, the core meaning of red leads to different abstract meanings in each language. Chinese people used to think they were descendants of the Sun God and red is the color of the Sun God, so the original worship endows festival meanings of red in Chinese culture. Red in English is mostly related to negative connotations, such as anger, guilt and sin, and the main reason may be the correlation with blood. However, apart from different core denotations and connotations of red in both Chinese and English, both languages have similar connotations for positive, negative and warning. (…)

Comparison of Red in Chinese and English – Yanping Bai

Read the whole article online here or download pdf here (11MB).

 (retrieved 13.08.2013 at


Target Markets

Using Color Psychology to Attract Your Target Markets

Your target market is the people or businesses you are aiming to sell your products or services to; it is therefore important that you understand the colors that will attract your specific market.

With many businesses now being global, color has also become global. Know your the market you are trying to attract and speak the color language that they will best respond to. Then test your color choices on a small sample of your market before implementing a large and expensive promotion. Compare several color options, get feedback and then choose the colors which give you the best response.

Color psychology is not an exact science and there are no right or wrong colors, only colors which may get a better response than others from your target market. Understand that there is a physiological and a psychological component to each color as well as the subjective meanings attached by each individual.

Our color preferences are ‘colored’ by our gender, our age, our education, the culture we grew up in, preconceived color beliefs of the societies we live in, our childhood associations with certain colors, and our life experiences, whether those associations are negative or positive.

The following are typical generalizations to help you understand your target market, but remember, there are always exceptions to the rules!

Gender Based Color Preferences

Blue is a color which is generally favored by most people, independent of which culture, country, age, socio-economic bracket, or gender they are from, so it is the safest color to use in all your target markets, although not always the best color to use. Universally, pink tends to be favored by females.


  • Prefer the color blue to red, and orange to yellow.

  • Baby boys traditionally tend to be dressed in blue, except in Belgium where pink is used for baby boys.

  • In the western world many men are color blind so you need to be aware of the red/green visual problems if this is your target market and choose other colors that are not as affected.


  • Prefer the color red to blue, and yellow to orange.

  • Baby girls traditionally tend to be dressed in pink except in Belgium where blue is used for baby girls.

  • Tend to have a broader range of color preferences to men and are more open to trying new colors.

Both Genders:

  • Blue, turquoise, green, red, yellow, black, white, gray and silver are colors that are the most suitable for use in a business marketing to both males and females.

  • Pinks and purples are now becoming more acceptable to males, with pale pink business shirts and purple casual shirts commonly seen on men.

Age Based Color Preferences


  • Cry more in a yellow room.

  • Respond best to high contrast visuals.

Pre-adolescent Children:

  • Prefer brighter primary and secondary colors – red, yellow, blue, orange, green and purple.

  • Also prefer solid blocks of colors rather than patterns.


  • More open to experimenting with more sophisticated and complex colors due to their exposure to computer graphics programs such as Photoshop.

  • More influenced by cultural influences due to multiculturalism and greater access to world markets through the Internet.

  • Many younger teenager girls love varying shades of purple and pink.

  • As they reach their late teens they often show a preference for black – this relates to a psychological need for black during the transition stage from the innocence of childhood to the sophistication of adulthood – it signifies the ending of one part of their life and the beginning of another, allowing them to hide from the world while they discover their own unique identity.

Young Adults:

  • Similar to teenagers.

  • Tastes begin to change around age 25 as they become more sure of themselves and find their direction in life.


  • Prefer more subdued colors.

  • Are less open to experimenting with color, tending to stick with their favorites.

Mature 65+ Years Old:

  • Yellow is the least favored color of this target market, unless it is a pale butter yellow.

  • Preference for clear colors such as fresh blues, pinks, greens.

  • Preference for cleaner colors such as blue-greens rather than olive greens.

  • Are generally more comfortable with the calming colors of blue, green, pink and purple, than the bright, stimulating colors of red, orange and yellow, although some will choose muted blue based reds and pale yellow.

  • Many females often choose colors in the purple range, varying from deep purple and violet, to mauve and lavender, and plum colors, as they grow older.

Corporate Color Preferences

  • The more serious the business, the darker the colors – dark blue, dark green, dark red, indigo, black, gray.

  • The more casual and light-hearted the business, the brighter and lighter the colors – red, orange, yellow, bright green, bright blue, pink and purple.

Class Differences

  • Working class and blue collar workers tend to prefer the bright and warm primary and secondary colors of the rainbow.

  • Wealthier people tend to prefer the more complex and sophisticated colors – tertiary colors, and shades and tints of primary and secondary colors.

Education Based Color Preferences

  • Research has shown that the more educated people are, the more sophisticated their color choices seem to be.

  • Well educated people respond well to tertiary colors and those given unusual names.

  • Less educated people tend to prefer the simpler basic primary and secondary colors.

  • Broader education through the use of the Internet has resulted in greater access to worldwide influences and effects on color choices.

Climate Based Color Preferences

  • People tend to prefer colors that duplicate the colors relating to their climate.

  • People from warm tropical climates respond best to bright, warm colors, while people from colder climates tend to prefer cooler and more subdued colors.

  • In the Scandinavian countries, fresh and bright blues, yellows and whites are popular.

  • In Switzerland, more sophisticated colors such as dark reds and burgundies, gray and dark blue are common.

  • In South America the warm reds, oranges, yellows and bright pinks are popular.

  • Australian Aborigines respond well to the earthy reds, oranges, blues and greens that are seen in the outback regions of Australia.

(retreived 14.06.2013 at


(reviewed 14.04.2014)

China’s GDP in 2013

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Only 30% of the world now has a higher GDP per capita than China (2013)


In many ways, what we are witnessing is not the ‘emergence of Asia’, but the ‘re-emergence of Asia’

(…) In 1820, Asia accounted for just under 60 per cent of total global output, with China and India together accounting for nearly half of global GDP. This was followed by nearly two centuries of economic decline in Asia, ignited by the European industrial revolution—a trend that has now been reversed. (…)

Jayant Menon, ADB

Read the full article online here of here.

/retrieved 09.06.2013 at



(retrieved 09.06.2013 at


China’s economic achievement is so enormous, indeed literally without parallel in human history, that it is sometimes difficult for people to take in its scale. A country which in 1978, when “reform and opening up” was launched, was one of the poorest in the world, has now reached a point where it has a higher GDP per capita than the countries containing the majority of the world’s population. Only 30 per cent of the world’s population now lives in countries with higher per capita GDP than China.

China and the World's GDP

To give absolutely precise numbers, drawing on the newly published data for the world economy in 2012 released by the IMF, the chart shows that by 2012, only 30.2 per cent of the world’s population lived in countries with a higher GDP per capita than China, while 50.2 per cent lived in countries with a lower one. China itself constituted 19.6 per cent of the world’s population at this time.

China is, therefore, now in the top half of the world as far as economic development is concerned, and to avoid any suggestions of exaggeration, it should be made clear that these comparisons are at the current market exchange rate measures usually used in China – although calculations in parity purchasing powers (PPPs), which are the measure preferred by the majority of Western economists, makes no significant difference to the result.

The chart also illustrates China’s extraordinary progress. In 1978, when “reform and opening up” began, only 0.5 per cent of the global population lived in countries with a lower GDP per capita than China, while 73.5 per cent lived in countries with a higher GDP per capita. The transition to a situation where China has overtaken the majority of the world’s population in per capita GDP is the greatest economic transformation in human history, both in terms of the short time frame required and number of people affected.

Given that the data clearly shows China has progressed into the top half of the world economy in terms of economic development, why do some persist with misrepresenting China as being “in the middle” or even more misleadingly dubbing it a “poor” country by international standards?

Such misrepresentations make elementary statistical errors which are familiar to those who analyse income distribution data. For example the following argument is sometimes presented: The IMF World Economic Outlook database gives GDP per capita statistics for 188 countries with China ranking 94th – therefore China is “in the middle”. Another sometimes-cited statistic compares China to the world average – in 2012 China’s GDP per capita was 59 per cent of this average figure – making China appear a “poor” country.

The problem with this “list” method is that it does not take population into account. For example, the Caribbean state St Kitts and Nevis, population 57,000, has a higher GDP per capita than China while India, population 1.223 billion, has a lower one. To say China is “between the two”, as though St Kitts and Nevis and India represent equivalent weights in the world economy, is playing games with words rather than carrying out serious analysis. This elementary statistical rule is particularly relevant given that the number of developed economies with small populations is disproportionately large. The population of countries must therefore be taken into account when calculating China’s real relative position in the world economy.

The second mistake, comparing China to the “average”, makes an error so well known in income distribution statistics that it is somewhat surprising anyone gives it any credence, let alone continues to propose it.

Statisticians know that averages, technically speaking the “mean”, can be disproportionately affected by small numbers of extreme values. It is well known that this applies to incomes within countries as small numbers of billionaires artificially raise average incomes in a way that misrepresents the real situation.

This statistical distortion is clear from international data. Average world GDP per capita, that is world GDP divided by the number of people, is slightly more than $10,000 per year. But only 29.9 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with GDP per capita above that level while 70.1 per cent live in countries below it. Something with only 29.9 per cent above and 70.1 per cent below is not most people’s idea of an average!

What most people understand by an average, the mid-point, is, in proper statistical terms, not the average but the median. Reputable studies on income distribution, therefore, almost invariably use the median, not averages, to avoid this distorting effect of small numbers of extreme values. Using the statistically misleading average, instead of the mid-point, bizarrely transforms the real situation – that China now has a GDP per capita above that of the majority of the world’s population – into giving the impression that China is a poor country!

There are three main reasons why it is important to accurately present China’s level of development.

First, policy must be based on accurate analysis – in serious matters there is no virtue in either optimism or pessimism, only in realism. As the famous Chinese phrase tells us, it is better to seek truth from facts.

Second, accurate presentation is necessary to clearly understand the real economic challenges China faces. For example China’s GDP per capita is now higher than all developing South and South East Asian countries except Malaysia – clarifying why any competitive strategy for China based on low wages is unviable.

Third, China’s position in the top half of the world in terms of GDP per capita makes clear its technological level – China’s economy is now dominated by medium, not low, technology.

Does an accurate presentation of China’s real level of development endanger its international legal status as a developing economy? The World Bank has not yet published new criteria for the GDP per capita necessary to qualify as an “advanced” economy, but the 2011 criteria and statistical data is available and it tells us that the answer to the question is “no”. To classify as “high income”, an economy must have an annual GDP per capita of slightly more than $12,000. Only 16 per cent of the world’s population lives in such economies. It will take 10-15 years for China to achieve “high income” status – although when it does this will more than double the number of people living in such economies.

Achieving the “Chinese dream” requires that the present reality is accurately understood. China has entered the top half of the world’s level of economic development. Only 30 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with a higher GDP per capita than China. That is the accurate analysis of China’s relative position in the world economy. To achieve the “Chinese dream” requires eliminating not only any exaggerated bombast but also any systematic underestimation

This article originally appeared in Chinese at Sina Finance and in English at


 John Ross

John Ross

Is Visiting Professor at Antai College of Economics and Management, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai


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(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


Read more about China and it’s economy from John Ross

Key Trends in Globalisation

Seek truth from facts – 实事求是 (Chinese saying originally from the Han dynasty)


World Economic Outlook (WEO) – International Monetary Fund – Survey 2013

World Economic Outlook 2013

(above retrieved 25.05.2013 at,,


What that dramatic economic shift means to people, describes Onionjuggler in her Force Feeding Duck Style:

A student told me this story as part of a midterm last year, and I thought it was so cute I would share it with you.

For her fifth birthday, Helen’s* mother wanted to make her a special dinner. She lived in the country, and at that time everyone was very poor, so meat was hard to come by. Her mother had to take the day off to travel to a different town to buy some pork, and in the end was only able to afford enough meat for Helen– the rest of the family would have to make due with the usual vegetables and noodles.

That night, Helen was so excited to eat her fancy dinner. But when her mother handed her the bowl, her older brother pointed at it and said, “Look out! There is a spider on the bottom of the bowl!”

Helen tipped the bowl over to look for the spider, and poured her whole dinner onto the dirty floor. Her mother scolded her brother, but she couldn’t salvage the dinner. Poor Helen cried and cried, and she never forgot that birthday.

*Her real name isn’t Helen– that’s just the name she chose for class.

(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


China in 2050

China in 2050Photo by Benoit Cezard

(retrieved 13.07.2013 at


(reviewed 13.07.2013)

Perceptions of China

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Perceptions of China


How the world percepts China

Survey of 25 countries and EU sees rise in ‘mostly negative’ rating and decline in ‘mostly positive’ rating, with analysts divided on reasons (China Daily 2013)

Global views of China’s influence have deteriorated sharply, according to a poll conducted for the BBC’s World Service, reaching their lowest level in years.

Analysts said the change reflected China’s increasing positive and negative involvement in international affairs.

The 2013 Country Ratings Poll asked 26,299 people in 25 nations between December and April to rate 16 countries and the European Union on whether their influence in the world was “mostly positive” or “mostly negative”.

Views on China’s influence dropped to the lowest level since the poll began in 2005, with positive views falling eight points to 42 per cent and negative views rising eight points to 39 per cent.

China ranked ninth, behind the US. Of the 25 countries surveyed, 12 held positive views of China, 13 negative views. China ranked fifth in the 2011-2012 poll.

Perceptions of China have deteriorated markedly within the EU, with the percentage of negative views highest in France and second-highest in Spain. In both countries the negative response rose by 19 points in the latest survey, to 68 per cent in France and 67 per cent in Spain.

Views from regions closer to China were not much better, with Australian views on China’s influence plunging dramatically. In the previous survey they were 61 per cent positive and 29 per cent negative but that swung around to 36 per cent positive and 55 per cent negative in the latest survey.

The Japanese response was the most negative among the countries surveyed, with only 5 per cent holding positive views against 64 per cent holding negative views.

In return, the country with the highest negative rating in China was Japan, with just 17 per cent of Chinese holding positive views and 74 per cent viewing Japan negatively, up nine points.

China had one of the most negative attitudes towards the US, with only one in five Chinese respondents holding a positive view, down nine points, and 57 per cent holding negative views.

Dr Lin Limin, from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, said China’s image may have been affected by escalating disputes with neighbours and some negative images of rude Chinese tourists and investors, but it was more a reflection of China’s rising power.

“Like (the US) the No1 man, (China) being the No2 man will unavoidably be criticised, which means we are more active in the international arena,” Lin said.

Professor Qiao Mu , of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the rating had put China in an “embarrassing” position, compared to the nation’s rising economic power and the national image it sought to project.

“It seems China is getting rich fast but its influence ranking is dropping dramatically,” Qiao said. “China is drawing more attention globally, for its increasing foreign aid and participation in international affairs, but now it turns out that the values and the political system China holds are not accepted by the world.”

The poll is conducted by GlobeScan, an international polling firm, and the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Friday, 24 May, 2013, 8:57am / Laura Zhou

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on May 24, 2013 as China’s global image takes battering in poll of nations.

(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


Views of China and India Slide While UK’s Ratings Climb: Global Poll (2013)

On average positive views of China across 21 tracking countries have dropped eight points to 42 per cent while negative views have risen by the same amount to reach 39 per cent. After improving for several years, views of China have sunk to their lowest level since polling began in 2005.


Views of Differnet Countries' Influence

Read the whole survey online at the BBC website or download .pdf here.

(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


Global Views of United States Improve While Other Countries Decline (BBC / PIPA 2010)

Last year’s poll found that views of both Russia and China had deteriorated. Looking at the views of the countries polled in both 2009 and 2010, they appear to have stabilized somewhat this year. Views of Russia in particular are more muted, with a decline both in the proportion of those rating it positively (from 31 to 29%) and those rating it negatively (42 to 37%). China’s positive ratings remain at 40 per cent, while its negative ratings have fallen a little to 38 per cent.



Read the whole survey online at the BBC website or download .pdf here.

(retrieved at and


How Chinese percept China

Trust among Chinese „drops to record low“ (China Daily)

„Trust among people in China dipped to a record low with less than half of respondents to a recent survey feeling that “most people can be trusted” while only about 30 percent trusted strangers.

The Blue Book of Social Mentality, the latest annual report on the social mentality of China, analyzed respondents’ trust toward different people and organizations and drew a conclusion that trust in society is poor. The trust level was 59.7 points out of a full mark of 100 points.

In 2010, the trust level was 62.9 points.

The study, conducted by the Institute of Sociology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was based on a survey that asked more than 1,900 randomly selected residents in seven cities including Beijing and Shanghai about their opinions on trust.

The latest poll also found that in China, family members are viewed as the most trustworthy, followed by close friends and acquaintances.

It showed that around 30 percent of the people polled trusted strangers on the street and about 24 percent trusted strangers online.

Ma Jinxin, 27, of Beijing, said he learned about the difficulty of building trust with a stranger at a railway station.

Ma said he had returned to Beijing after a business trip and needed to call a friend but his cell phone was dead. He asked a man at the station if he could borrow his phone, but “the guy refused and asked me to look for a public phone”, Ma said.

“I think we tend to become suspicious about any stranger who asks for help because we were taught to do so at school and at home.

“When we see people begging on the street, the first thought that occurs to us is that they are cheaters.”

Shi Aijun, director of the residential committee at Yulindongli community in Beijing’s Fengtai district, said mistrust among people leads to some challenges in her work.

“It’s difficult to persuade people to open their door for the census and answer surveys that require them to give personal information,” she said.

“However, I think this phenomenon is very normal in cities as people live in a so-called stranger society and when you explain yourself clearly, most people will trust you and cooperate.”

When respondents were asked to name institutions that they generally trust, about 69 percent said government, 64 percent public media, 57.5 percent non-governmental organizations, but only about 52 trusted commercial organizations.

The study also found that mistrust among different social groups, particularly between government officials and ordinary citizens as well as doctors and patients, has grown.

An official from Daqing, Heilongjiang province, who spoke to China Daily on condition of anonymity, said forced demolition in China’s urbanization is one of the social issues that has resulted in tension between governmental officials and ordinary people.

“In terms of demolition, some residents assumed that parts of their compensation have been embezzled by local officials, so they resort to petition to seek higher subsidies, while some local officials treat them as troublemakers and do everything possible to stop them,” he said. “Then mistrust grows stronger.”

Wang Junxiu, who co-edited the blue book from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the low level of trust in China has led to many problems such as the waste of resources.

To improve trust, Wang urged the government to work harder to ensure all powers are under close watch and punish people who operate scams.

By He Dan ( China Daily)

(retrieved 25.03.2013 at



Annual Report on Social Mentality of China (2012~2013)


By:Wang Junxiu, Yang Yiyin

Publisher:Social Sciences Academic Press


Publication Date:2013-01-07


(retrieved 25.05.2013 at Annual Report on Social Mentality of China (2012~2013)


By:Wang Junxiu, Yang Yiyin

Publisher:Social Sciences Academic Press


Publication Date:2013-01-07


(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


Poll about China’s global image (South China Morning Post)

Poll about China's Image in the World

Click on the pic to enter poll.

(retrieved 25.05.2013 at


(reviewed 25.05.2013)

Demographic Transition in Asia

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Demographic Transition in Asia – East Asia Forum Vol.5 No.1 January-March 2013

Demographic Transition in Asia


China Demographics 1970China Demographics 2010China Demographics 2050


“By 2050 Asia will add another billion to its already huge population of 4.3 billion. Somewhat perversely, demographers see this as a good result, not because the population will grow but because the outcome for 2050 is several billion lower than it would have been without the spread of control over human fertility that has occurred over the past four decades. Future population growth is confined almost entirely to South Asia and will be the result not of high birth rates but of large numbers of people in the childbearing ages, the product of past higher fertility.

The falls in birth rates across Asia mean that today there is a concentration of population in most Asian countries in the working ages. This highly desirable characteristic is known as the demographic dividend because it provides the opportunity for more productive investment of capital and for a stronger focus on developing the human capital of the next generation of workers, both essential features of economic development. This dividend has already proven to be effective in Japan and the Asian tiger economies, and is now evident in the development progress of countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China. Other countries need to ensure that they capitalise on this potential.

Demography never stands still and those countries that were at the head of demographic change in the second half of the 20th century now find themselves facing the new challenges of very low fertility and very rapid ageing of their populations. Rapid falls in mortality rates have also contributed to ageing and to a shift in the burden of disease to older-age chronic illnesses. The articles in this issue address the past, the present and the future of demography in Asian countries and assess the causes and consequences of this spectacular transition.”

Peter McDonald

(retrieved 28.04.2013 at

Read the full article online here or download as pdf here.

Annotation of the editor: Seems the coming century will look pretty purple in China. The historic overhang of female workers without formal education dramatically changed. In 2010 there is a significant high overhang of young male workers without education compared to their female colleagues, which tends to zero. The projection of 2050 underlines this trend.

(reviewed 30.04.2013)

Marriage in Asia

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Marriage in Asia

Gavin W. Jones, NUS is Professor of Sociology and Director of the J.Y Pillay Comparative Asia Research Centre at the Global Asia Institute, National University of Singapore

(…) Marriage patterns across Asia are diverse. Though many countries in East and Southeast Asia now show patterns of very delayed marriage, not all of them do. The people of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Myanmar marry late, while the people of Indonesia marry earlier. Almost all women in China are married by the time they reach age 30 — but this pattern is not repeated by ethnic Chinese populations elsewhere in the region (including Hong Kong), which have extreme patterns of delayed marriage. Interestingly, it is not that women marry very young in China, but rather that marriages are concentrated in the 20s to a much greater extent than in other East and Southeast Asian countries. (…)

Read the full article online here  or download full pdf “Marriage in Asia“.

For more background info please visit the East Asia Forum Quarterly.

(retrieved 28.04.2013 at

(reviewed 28.04.2013)

Written by NoToes

28/04/2013 at 14:51

Introduction to Chinese Culture by Li Yunfang

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中国文化 Chinese Culture

China – 中国 – Zhōngguó



Thanks to Ms. Li Yunfang for her her contribution!


一 地理概况 Geographical Situation of China (yī dìlǐ ɡàikuànɡ)

1.面积: 960万平方公里 area: 9.6 million square km

miàn jī: 960 wàn pínɡ fānɡ ɡōnɡ lǐ


2. 形状: 雄鸡 shape: Rooster

xínɡ zhuànɡ : xiónɡ jī

3. 行政划分: 34个省级行政单位 34 provincial administrative units



Including 23 provinces, 4 municipalities directly under the central government (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing), 5 autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang), 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong, Macao)

xínɡ zhènɡ huà fēn : 34 ɡè shěnɡ jí xínɡ zhènɡ dān wèi。

bāo kuò 23 ɡè shěnɡ 、4 ɡè zhí xiá shì(běi jīnɡ 、tiān jīn 、shànɡ hǎi 、chónɡ

qìnɡ ) 、5 ɡè zì zhì qū(nèi měnɡ ɡǔ zì zhì qū 、ɡuǎnɡ xī zhuànɡ zú zì zhì

qū 、 xī zànɡ zì zhì qū 、nínɡ xià huí zú zì zhì qū hé xīn jiānɡ wéi wú ěr zì

zhì qū ) 、 2 ɡè tè bié xínɡ zhènɡ qū ( xiānɡ ɡǎnɡ 、ào mén )

map of provinces in china


4. 母亲河:华夏文明的发源地,长江和黄河

Mother Rivers: the birthplace of Chinese civilization, the Yangtze River and the Yellow River

mǔ qīn hé : huá xià wén mínɡ de fā yuán dì , chánɡ jiānɡ hé huánɡ hé

5. 五岳: 东岳泰山、西岳华山、南岳衡山、北岳恒山、中岳嵩山

The five mountains:

East Mountain Taishan in Shandong, West Mountain Huashan in Shanxi, South Mountain Hengshan in Hunan, North Mountain Hengshan in Shanxi and Central Mountain Songshan in Henan

wǔ yuè :dōnɡ yuè tài shān 、xī yuè huà shān 、nán yuè hénɡ shān 、běi yuè hénɡ

shān 、 zhōnɡ yuè sōnɡ shān


二 历史演变 Historical Evolution (èr lì shǐ yǎn biàn)


The three emperors: Fu Xi, Shen Nong, Huang Di (dates unknown may be legendary)

sān huánɡ : fú xī 、 shén nónɡ 、 huánɡ dì

炎黄子孙 Chinese descent

yán huánɡ zǐ sūn

华夏文明 Chinese civilization

huá xià wén mínɡ

2. 朝代的的更迭 the change of dynasties

cháo dài de ɡēnɡ dié

夏 Xia , xià (about 2070 – 1600 BC)

商 Shang ,shānɡ (about 1600 – 1046 BC)

周 Zhou (1000 – 200 BC)

西周 Western Zhou ,

东周:春秋、战国 Eastern Zhou: the Spring and Autumn period、the Warring States period


xī zhōu

dōnɡ zhōu : chūn qiū 、 zhàn ɡuó

秦(公元前 221年建立)Qin dynasty was founded in 221 BC

qín ( ɡōnɡ yuán qián 221 nián jiàn lì )

汉 Han

西汉(公元前206年- 公元8年)Western Han

东汉(25年建立)eastern Han


xī hàn ( ɡōnɡ yuán qián 206 nián – ɡōnɡ yuán 8 nián )

dōnɡ hàn ( 25 nián jiàn lì )

三国(魏、蜀、吴)the three kingdoms

sān ɡuó ( wèi 、 shǔ 、 wú )

魏晋南北朝the Wei-Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties periods

wèi jìn nán běi cháo


suí ( 581 nián -618 nián )


tánɡ ( 618 nián -907 nián )


北宋 Northern Song

南宋 Southern Song

sònɡ ( 960 nián -1127 nián )

běi sònɡ

nán sònɡ


yuán ( 1271 nián jiàn lì )


mínɡ ( 1368 nián -1644 nián )


qīnɡ ( 1636 nián -1911 nián )

3. 公元前841年,周平王东迁洛邑,中国有了准确纪年的开始

Accurate dating in China history began in 841BC, since the king Zhoupingwang moved the capital to Luoyi

ɡōnɡ yuán qián 841 nián ,zhōu pínɡ wánɡ dōnɡ qiān luò yì,zhōnɡ ɡuó yǒu le

zhǔn què jì nián de kāi shǐ

4. 秦朝是中国第一个封建统一的国家

The Qin Dynasty is the first Chinese feudal unified country

qín cháo shì zhōnɡ ɡuó dì yí ɡè fēnɡ jiàn tǒnɡ yī de ɡuó jiā

秦始皇统一中国Qin Shihuang unified China

qín shǐ huánɡ tǒnɡ yī zhōnɡ ɡuó

实行郡县制 Implementation of the system of prefectures and counties

shí xínɡ jùn xiàn zhì


unified the characters、currency、weights and measures

tǒnɡ yī wén zì 、 huò bì 、 dù liánɡ hénɡ

5. 唐朝出现了中国历史上唯一的女皇帝:武则天

In Tang dynasty, the only female emperor in China history came out

tánɡ cháo chū xiàn le zhōnɡ ɡuó lì shǐ shànɡ wéi yī de nǚ huánɡ dì :wǔ zé tiān

6. 成吉思汗远征Gen Gi Khan expedition

chénɡ jí sī hán yuǎn zhēnɡ

7. 1912年,中华民国政府成立,孙中山当选第一任总统

In 1912, the government of the Republic of China was founded; Sun Zhongshan was elected the first president (Sun Yat-sen)

1912 nián, zhōnɡhuá mínɡuó zhènɡfǔ chénɡlì,sūn zhōnɡ shān dānɡxuǎn dìyí rèn

zǒnɡ tǒnɡ

8. 1949年10月1日,中华人民共和国成立

The People’s Republic of China was founded in Oct. 1, 1949

1949 nián 10 yuè 1 rì,zhōnɡ huá rén mín ɡònɡ hé ɡuó chénɡ lì


三 姓氏文化 Surname Culture (sān xìnɡ shì wén huà)


Ever thought why the Chinese character for surname is formed by a feminine character?

“ nǚ ” zì pánɡ

母系氏族社会 matriarchal society

mǔ xì shì zú shè hu

父系氏族社会 patriarchal society

fù xì shì zú shè huì


The ancient Chinese name included 4 parts: family name, given name, zi and hao. For example, the famous poet in tang dynasty Libai, “li” is his family name, bai is his given name, and his zi is “taibai”, his “hao” is “qinglian jushi”.

(In ancient China, young man reaching the age of 20 and girls when they are going to marry, they will get a “biao zi4”. This is his or her formal name when they officially join the society. Literati and people who have a social position may have a “hao”.)

zhōnɡ ɡuó ɡǔ rén de xìnɡ mínɡ :xìnɡ、mínɡ 、zì 、hào ,rú tánɡ cháo shī rén Lǐbái ,xìnɡ lǐ ,mínɡ bái ,zì tài bái ,hào qīnɡ lián jū shì。

3.《百家姓》the book of family names.

李姓为最大姓 the surname “ li ” is the biggest surname in China now

《 bǎi jiā xìnɡ 》

lǐ xìnɡ wéi zuì dà xìnɡ


四 文字 Chinese Characters

sì wén zì

1. 传说 legend

chuán shuō

(1)伏羲发明说 Fuxi invented Chinese characters

(2)神农创造说(教民稼穑,teaching people to sow and reap; 结绳记事 knotting note)

Shennong created Chinese characters


Huang Di’s histographer Cangjie created the characters

( 1 ) fú xī fā mínɡ shuō

( 2 ) shén nónɡ chuànɡ zào shuō ( jiāo mín jià sè , jié shénɡ jì shì )

( 3 ) huánɡ dì shǐ ɡuān cānɡ jié zào zì shuō

2.汉字演变The evolution of Chinese characters

hàn zì yǎn biàn

evolution of chinese characters

(1)甲骨文inscriptions of oracle bones

jiǎ ɡǔ wén

chinese oracle bone turtle

(2)金文inscriptions on ancient bronze objects

jīn wén

chinese oracle bone bronze

(3)篆书seal character

大篆Big seal characters

小篆a style of calligraphy, adopted in the Qin Dynasty for the purpose of standardizing the script

zhuàn shū

dà zhuàn

xiǎo zhuàn

seal character 1        seal character 2

(4)隶书official script, an ancient style of calligraphy current in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D.220)

lì shū

li shu

(5)楷书 standard script of handwriting

kǎi shū

standard script writing

(6)草书characters executed swiftly and with strokes flowing together

cǎo shū

cao shu   cao shu 2

(7)行书semi cursive script

xínɡ shū

semi cursive script


汉字结构 Construction of Characters (hàn zì jié ɡòu)

六书:the six categories of Chinese characters:

Self-explanatory characters, pictographs, pictophonetic characters, associative compounds, mutually explanatory characters and phonetic loan characters

liù shū

(1)象形 Pictographic characters or pictographs, e.g. 日 (sun) and 月 (moon)

xiànɡ xínɡ

liu shu 2

(2)会意 Associative compounds

huì yì

(3) 指事 The indicative characters

zhǐ shì

zhi shi

(4)形声A pictographic element and a phonetic element combine to form a pictophonetic character

xínɡ shēnɡ

(5)转注Synonymous words

zhuǎn zhù

(6)假借Phonetic loan characters

jiǎ jiè

4. 繁体字和简体字

Traditional style and simplified style

fán tǐ zì hé jiǎn tǐ zì

五 诸子百家 The Hundred Schools of Thought

wǔ zhū zǐ bǎi jiā

先秦时代思想家 philosophers of the Pre-Qin Era

xiān qín shí dài sī xiǎnɡ jiā

1.儒家 Confucian

rú jiā

诗书礼乐 poetry and music

shī shū lǐ yuè


Benevolence\ Righteousness \manners, the practice of art\ wisdom\ credit

rén yì lǐ zhì xìn


self-cultivating;family-regulating;state-ordering;The land great governed

xiū shēn \qí jiā \zhì ɡuó \pínɡ tiān xià

中庸 golden mean

zhōnɡ yōnɡ

积极入世 join the political affairs

jī jí rù shì

(1)孔子(公元前551年-前479年) 思想家、教育家

Confucius (ca.551 BC – 479 BC) philosopher, educator

kǒnɡ zǐ( ɡōnɡ yuán qián 551 nián – qián 479 nián )sī xiǎnɡ jiā 、jiào yù jiā

有教无类provide education for all people without discrimination

yǒu jiào wú lèi

弟子三千,贤者七十二人The three thousand disciples, sage seventy-two

dì zǐ sān qiān , xián zhě qī shí èr rén

仁:一切美德 “Ren”: Of all the virtues

rén : yì qiè měi dé


Mencius (ca. 385 BC – 304 BC), the student of Confucius’ grandson Zisi

mènɡ zǐ( yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 385 nián – qián 304 nián ) ,shì kǒnɡ zǐ de sūn zi zǐ sī de xué shenɡ

性善论theory of original goodness of human nature

xìnɡ shàn lùn

仁政 benevolent governance

rén zhènɡ

(3)荀子(约公元前313年-前238年)Xunzi (ca. 313 BC – 238 BC)

xún zǐ ( yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 313 nián – qián 238 nián )

性恶论 theory of original evil of human nature

xìnɡ è lùn


强调后天教育的作用Stress the role of Education after birth

《 quàn xué piān 》 , qiánɡ diào hòu tiān jiào yù de zuò yònɡ

2.道家 Taoist

dào jiā

消极避世Negative masquerade

无为而治govern by doing nothing that goes against nature

顺乎天然 fallow the nature

xiāo jí bì shì

wú wéi ér zhì

shùn hū tiān rán

(1)老子(约公元前571年-前472年),Laozi (ca. 571 BC – 472 BC)

lǎo zi(yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 571 nián – qián 472 nián ),Laozi (ca. 571 BC – 472 BC)

无为而治govern by doing nothing that goes against nature

《道德经》[Dao De Jing] of Laozi

“道” Tao, the Way of Nature which cannot be given a name

wú wéi ér zhì

《 dào dé jīnɡ 》

“ dào ”

(2)庄子(约公元前369年-前286年)Zhuangzi (ca. 369 BC – 286 BC)

zhuānɡ zi ( yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 369 nián – qián 286 nián )

自然无为 calm and content himself of nature

无用之用 the great use of uselessness

zì rán wú wéi

wú yònɡ zhī yònɡ


It should be better to forget each other than helping each other when both are in humble circumstances

xiānɡ rú yǐ mò , bù rú xiānɡ wànɡ yú jiānɡ hú



–You are not the fish, how could you know its happiness?

–You are not me, how could you know that I don’t know the fish’s happiness?

“ zǐ fēi yú , ān zhī yú zhī lè ?

zǐ fēi wǒ , ān zhī wǒ bù zhī yú zhī lè ? ”

庄周梦蝴蝶 Zhuangzi dreamed the butterfly

zhuānɡ zhōu mènɡ hú dié

坐忘、修身养性 Period, self-cultivation

zuò wànɡ 、 xiū shēn yǎnɡ xìnɡ

3.墨家 moist

mò jiā

兼爱、非攻、非命 love\ no attack\no destiny

jiān ài 、 fēi ɡōnɡ 、 fēi mìnɡ

墨子(约公元前468年-前376年)Mozi (ca. 468 BC – 376 BC)

mò zǐ ( yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 468 nián – qián 376 nián )

4. 法家 Legalist school

fǎ jiā

法 law

术 tactics

势 power



韩非子(约公元前280年-前233年)Han Feizi (ca. 280 BC – 233 BC)

hán fēi zǐ ( yuē ɡōnɡ yuán qián 280 nián – qián 233 nián )

5. 汉代经学Study of Confucian classics in Han Dynasty

hàn dài jīnɡ xué

魏晋玄学Metaphysics in the Wei and Jin Dynasties

wèi jìn xuán xué

宋明理学Song Ming Neo-Confucianism

sònɡ mínɡ lǐ xué

清代朴学The textology of the Qing Dynasty

qīnɡ dài pǔ xué

六 宗教信仰 Religious Belief

liù zōnɡ jiào xìn yǎnɡ

The main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.

1. 多神信仰 Polytheism

duō shén xìn yǎnɡ

2. 三大崇拜 Three worships

sān dà chónɡ bài

天地 heaven and earth

生之本the fundamental of existence

祖先 ancestors

类之本the fundamental of being a human

君师 kings and masters

治之本the fundamental of managing the country

tiān dì shēnɡ zhī běn

zǔ xiān lèi zhī běn

jūn shī zhì zhī běn

师:(文武)孔子和关公 masters, refer to Confucius and Guan Gong

shī : ( wén wǔ ) kǒnɡ zǐ hé ɡuān ɡōnɡ

图腾 totem

家祠 Ancestral temple, 帝王庙 imperial temple

tú ténɡ

jiā cí,dì wánɡ miào

3. 西汉末年,佛教传入中国 Buddhism was introduced into china at the end of The Western Han Dynasty

xī hàn mò nián , fó jiào chuán rù zhōnɡ ɡuó

《西游记》A journey to the West

《 xī yóu jì 》

4. 东汉中叶, 道教产生 Taoist appeared in the middle of the Eastern Han Dynasty

dōnɡ hàn zhōnɡ yè, dào jiào chǎn shēnɡ

民间信仰 folk belief

迷信 superstition

得道长生 immortality by great achievements in the Tao


mín jiān xìn yǎnɡ

mí xìn

dé dào chánɡ shēnɡ

liàn jīn shù

5. 唐代, 伊斯兰教传入Islam was introduced into China in Tang Dynasty

tánɡ dài, yī sī lán jiào chuán rù

6. 唐贞观年间, 基督教传入 Christianity was introduced into China during the “Zhen Guan” period of Tang Dynasty

tánɡ zhēn ɡuān nián jiān, jī dū jiào chuán rù


七 古代教育 Ancient Education (qī ɡǔ dài jiào yù)

1. 六艺 the six skills

礼:规章仪式 etiquette

乐:音乐舞蹈 dance and music

射:射箭shoot an arrow

御:骑马驾车horse riding and driving

书:历史 history

数:数学 math

liù yì

lǐ : ɡuī zhānɡ yí shì

yuè : yīn yuè wǔ dǎo

shè : shè jiàn

yù : qí mǎ jià chē

shū : lì shǐ

shù : shù xué

2. 大学之道,在明明德,在亲民,在止于至善。

The meaning of “The Great Learning” is in the family, in people, in the aim at absolute perfection

dà xué zhī dào , zài mínɡ mínɡ dé , zài qīn mín , zài zhǐ yú zhì shàn 。

3. 重农、重教 pay attention to agriculture and education

zhònɡ nónɡ 、 zhònɡ jiào

4. 科举取士imperial examination to select talents

kē jǔ qǔ shì

四书五经: [sì shū wǔ jīng]

The Four Books (The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Confucian Analects, and The Works of Mencius) and The Five Classics (The Book of Songs, The Book of History, The Book of Changes, The Book of Rites and The Spring and Autumn Annals)


八 四大发明 The Four Great Inventions

bā sì dà fā mínɡ

1. 指南针 compass


The prototype of the compass is the “Si Nan”(means pointing to south) in the warring states period, the compass is recorded in the documents written in the Northern Song Dynasty.

zhǐ nán zhēn

zhǐ nán zhēn de yuán xínɡ shì zhàn ɡuó shí qī de sī nán,běi sònɡ yǒu zhǐ nán

zhēn de jì zǎi.

2. 火药fire powder

发明于隋唐时期 the fire powder was invented during the Sui-Tang Dynasties period.

huǒ yào

fā mínɡ yú suí tánɡ shí qī

3. 造纸术paper-making

公元前2 世纪的西汉初年已经出现了纸,东汉蔡伦在公元105年改进造纸术,成功地造出了植物纤维纸。

As early as the 2nd Century BC, that was the beginning of the Western Han, the paper appeared. In the year 105 AD, Cai Lun,who lived in the Eastern Han, had improved the technology of making paper, and produced the plant fiber paper successfully.

zào zhǐ shù

ɡōnɡ yuán qián 2 shì jì de xī hàn chū nián yǐ jīnɡ chū xiàn le zhǐ,dōnɡ hàn

cài lún zài ɡōnɡ yuán 105 nián ɡǎi jìn zào zhǐ shù,chénɡ ɡōnɡ de zào chū le

zhí wù xiān wéi zhǐ 。

4. 活字印刷术movable type printing


The movable type printing was originated from the block printing of Sui Dynasty. Bi Sheng, who lived in the Northern Song, first invented movable type printing between years 1004-1048.

huó zì yìn shuā shù

huó zì yìn shuā shù yuán yú suí cháo shí hou de diāo bǎn yìn shuā,běi sònɡ bì

shēnɡ zài ɡōnɡ yuán 1004 nián zhì 1048 nián jiān fā mínɡ le jiāo ní huó zì

yìn shuā shù。


九 传统习俗 Traditional Customs

jiǔ chuán tǒnɡ xí sú

1.十二生肖 12 zodiac symbols

shí èr shēnɡ xiāo

鼠 牛 虎

Rat  1984年 Ox  1985年 Tiger  1986年

兔 龙 蛇

Rabbit  1987年  Dragon   1988年  Snake   1989年

马 羊 猴

Horse   1990年  Goat   1991年  Monkey   1992年

鸡 狗 猪

Rooster   1993年  Dog   1994年  Pig   1995年

shǔ niú hǔ

tù lónɡ shé

mǎ yánɡ hóu

jī ɡǒu zhū

2. 吉祥物 mascot

jí xiánɡ wù

ji xiang wu

龙 dragon,lónɡ

凤 phoenix,fènɡ

龟 turtle,ɡuī

麟 kylin, unicorn


Kylin is an animal created by imagination, with deer body, ox tail, fish scales and a unicorn, unicorn is the symbol of peace and virtue.


lù shēn 、 niú wěi 、 yú lín 、 dú jiǎo , xiànɡ zhēnɡ hé pínɡ hé měi dé


3. 颜色:红黄为尊,黑白为贬

Red and yellow colors are respected colors, while black and white are not good ones.

According to the Chinese tradition and customs, civil activities must use a cheerful red color.

yán sè : hónɡ huánɡ wéi zūn , hēi bái wéi biǎn


金——白色 white color 木——青色 green color

水——黑色 black color 火——赤色 red color

土——黄色 yellow color

wǔ xínɡ duì yìnɡ de yán sè

jīn — bái sè mù — qīnɡ sè

shuǐ — hēi sè huǒ — chì sè

tǔ — huánɡ sè

4. 方位:东、南为尊 east and south are the respected directions

fānɡ wèi : dōnɡ 、 nán wéi zūn

5. 五行 the five elements

金 木 水 火 土


wǔ xínɡ

jīn mù shuǐ huǒ tǔ


金——一 one 木——二 two

水——三 three 火——四 four

土——五 five

wǔ xínɡ duì yìnɡ de shù lǐ

jīn — yī mù — èr

shuǐ — sān huǒ — sì

tǔ — wǔ


金——西方 west 木——东方 east

水——北方 north 火——南方 south

土——中央 middle

wǔ xínɡ duì yìnɡ de fānɡ xiànɡ

jīn — xī fānɡ mù — dōnɡ fānɡ

shuǐ — běi fānɡ huǒ — nán fānɡ

tǔ — zhōnɡ yānɡ


金——燥 dry 木——风 windy

水——寒 cold 火——暑 hot

土——湿 wet

wǔ xínɡ duì yìnɡ de tiān qì

jīn — zào mù — fēnɡ

shuǐ — hán huǒ — shǔ

tǔ – shī

五行相生相克 mutual promotion and restraint between the five elements

wǔ xínɡ xiānɡ shēnɡ xiānɡ kè

mutual promotion and restraint between the five elements


五行和阴阳的关系 relationship between “Yin”& “Yang” and the five elements

水:太阴极限状态 water: status of limit of “Tai Yin”

木:阴消阳长状态 wood: status of “Yin declining when Yang growing”

火:太阳极限状态fire: status of limit of “Tai Yang”

土:阴阳平衡状态 earth: status of balance between “Yin” and “Yang”

金:阳消阴长状态 metal: status of “Yang declining when Yin growing”

wǔ xínɡ hé yīn yánɡ de ɡuān xi

shuǐ : tài yīn jí xiàn zhuànɡ tài

mù : yīn xiāo yánɡ zhǎnɡ zhuànɡ tài

huǒ : tài yánɡ jí xiàn zhuànɡ tài

tǔ : yīn yánɡ pínɡ hénɡ zhuànɡ tài

jīn : yánɡ xiāo yīn zhǎnɡ zhuànɡ tài



“Shichen” is one kind of Chinese ancient time method, 24 hours are divided into 12 shichen, starts from 11 p.m., and each shichen is corresponding to one sign of the zodiac.

wǔ xínɡ yǔ shí chén

shí chén shì zhōnɡ ɡuó ɡǔ dài de yì zhǒnɡ jì shí fānɡ fǎ,24 xiǎo shí ɡònɡ fēn

wéi 12 ɡè shí chén,cónɡ wǎn shɑnɡ 11 diǎn kāi shǐ,yǔ 12 shǔ xiànɡ xiānɡ duì

yìnɡ :


12 shichen: zi, chou, yin, mao, chen, si, wu, wei, shen, you, xu, hai.

shí èr shí chén : zǐ 、 chǒu 、 yín 、 mǎo 、 chén 、 sì 、 wǔ 、 wèi 、 shēn 、 yǒu 、 xū 、 hài ;

按五行来说: According to the five elements,

àn wǔ xínɡ lái shuō :


yin\mao\chen belong to wood, dominate spring, and stand for the east;

yín 、 mǎo 、 chén shǔ mù , zhǔ zǎi chūn jì , dài biǎo dōnɡ fānɡ ;


si\wu\wei belong to fire, dominate summer, and stand for the south;

sì 、 wǔ 、 wèi shǔ huǒ , zhǔ zǎi xià jì , dài biǎo nán fānɡ ;


shen\you\xu belong to metal, dominate autumn, and stand for the west;

shēn 、 yǒu 、 wù shǔ jīn , zhǔ zǎi qiū jì , dài biǎo xī fānɡ ;


hai\zi\chou belong to water, dominate winter, and stand for the north.

hài 、 zǐ 、 chǒu shǔ shuǐ , zhǔ zǎi dōnɡ jì , dài biǎo běi fānɡ ;


Individually, chen\wei\xu\chou belong to earth, stand for center, and dominate the last month of the year

chén、wèi、xū、chǒu dān ɡè ér yán dōu shǔ tǔ,dài biǎo zhōnɡ fānɡ,zhǔ zǎi sì

jì zuì hòu yí ɡè yuè 。


十 传统节日 Traditional Festivals (shí chuán tǒnɡ jié rì)

1. 24节气,根据农事活动制定 The 24 Solar Terms, according to agricultural production

24 jié qi , ɡēn jù nónɡ shì huó dònɡ zhì dìnɡ

he 24 Solar Terms, according to agricultural production

立春 Spring begins. lì chūn

雨水 The rains. yǔ shuǐ

惊蛰 Insects awaken. jīnɡ zhé

春分 Vernal Equinox. chūn fēn

清明 Clear and bright. qīnɡ mínɡ

谷雨 Grain rain. ɡǔ yǔ

立夏 Summer begins. lì xià

小满 Grain buds. xiǎo mǎn

芒种 Grain in ear. mánɡ zhǒnɡ

夏至 Summer solstice. xià zhì

小暑 Slight heat. xiǎo shǔ

大暑 Great heat. dà shǔ

立秋 Autumn begins. lì qiū

处暑 Stopping the heat. chǔ shǔ

白露 White dews. bái lù

秋分 Autumn Equinox. qiū fēn

寒露 Cold dews. hán lù

霜降 Hoar-frost falls. shuānɡ jiànɡ

立冬 Winter begins. lì dōnɡ

小雪 Light snow. xiǎo xuě

大雪 Heavy snow. dà xuě

冬至 Winter Solstice. dōnɡ zhì

小寒 Slight cold. xiǎo hán

大寒 Great cold. dà hán


(1)春节 the Spring Festival ( New Year’s Day of the Chinese lunar calendar) 农历正月初一 1st of the first month of the lunar year

chuán tǒnɡ jié rì

chūn jié, nónɡ lì zhēnɡ yuè chū yī

(2)元宵节(灯节) the Lantern Festival

农历正月十五15th of the first month of the lunar year

yuán xiāo jié ( dēnɡ jié ) ,nónɡ lì zhēnɡ yuè shí wǔ

(3)清明节 the Qing Ming Festival

四月五日前后about 5th of April of the lunar year

qīnɡ mínɡ jié ,sì yuè wǔ rì qián hòu

4)端午节 the Dragon-Boat Festival

农历五月初五 5th of May of the lunar year

duān wǔ jié ,nónɡ lì wǔ yuè chū wǔ

(5)中秋节 the Mid-Autumn Festival(the Moon Festival)

农历八月十五15th of August of the lunar year

zhōnɡ qiū jié ,nónɡ lì bá yuè shí wǔ

(6)重阳节 the Double Ninth Festival

农历九月初九9th of September of the lunar year

chónɡ yánɡ jié ,nónɡ lì jiǔ yuè chū jiǔ

(7)除夕New Year’s Eve

农历十二月三十日the last eve of the lunar year

chú xī,nónɡ lì shí èr yuè sān shí rì


十一 中医 Chinese Medicine (shí yī zhōnɡ yī)

1.医药 Chinese herbal medicine

yī yào

2.针灸 acupuncture

经络 acupuncture channels

穴位 acupuncture points

zhēn jiǔ

jīnɡ luò

xué wèi

3. 中医和五行的关系 relationship between Chinese medicine and the five elements

五行对应的身体部位 five elements with different boby parts

zhōnɡ yī hé wǔ xínɡ de ɡuān xi

wǔ xínɡ duì yìnɡ de shēn tǐ bù wèi

金——皮、鼻孔、肺脏、大肠。 Metal-skin, nose, lungs,big intestinal

木——筋、眼睛、肝、胆。 Wood-band, eye, liver, gall

水——骨、耳朵、肾脏、膀胱。 Water-bone, ear, kidney, bladder

火——脉、舌头、心脏、小肠。 Fire-pulse, tongue, heart, small intestine

土——肉、嘴巴、脾脏、胃。 Earth-meat, mouth, spleen, stomach

jīn — pí 、 bí kǒnɡ 、 fèi zànɡ 、 dà chánɡ 。

mù — jīn 、 yǎn jinɡ 、 ɡān 、 dǎn 。

shuǐ — ɡǔ 、 ěr duo 、 shèn zànɡ 、 pánɡ ɡuānɡ 。

huǒ — mài 、 shé tou 、 xīn zànɡ 、 xiǎo chánɡ 。

tǔ — ròu 、 zuǐ bɑ 、 pí zànɡ、 wèi 。

The five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth, held by the ancients to compose the physical universe and later used in traditional Chinese medicine to explain various physiological and pathological phenomena)

中医和五行的关系 relationship between Chinese medicine and the five elements

十二 天干地支纪年法 Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches Calendar (shí èr tiān ɡān dì zhī jì nián fǎ)

1.十天干:10 Heavenly stems

shí tiān ɡān




Jia\bing\wu\geng\ren are“Yang”stems; while yi\ding\ji\xin\gui are “Yin”stems

qí zhōnɡ jiǎ、bǐnɡ、wù、ɡēnɡ、rén wéi yánɡ ɡān ,yǐ、dīnɡ、jǐ、xīn 、ɡuǐ wéi

yīn ɡān 。

2.十二地支:12 Earthly Branches

shí èr dì zhī




Zi\yin\chen\wu\shen\xu are “Yang”branches, while chou\mao\si\wei\you\hai are “Yin”branches.

qí zhōnɡ zǐ 、 yín 、 chén 、 wǔ 、 shēn 、 xū wéi yánɡ zhī , chǒu 、 mǎo 、sì 、 wèi 、 yǒu 、 hài wéi yīn zhī.

(注:十二地支对应十二生肖——子:鼠;丑:牛;寅:虎;卯:兔;辰:龙;巳:蛇; 午:马;未:羊;申:猴;酉:鸡;戌:狗;亥:猪。)

( zhù : shí èr dì zhī duì yìnɡ shí èr shēnɡ xiāo — zǐ : shǔ ; chǒu : niú ; yín : hǔ ; mǎo : tù ; chén : lónɡ ; sì : shé ; wǔ : mǎ ; wèi: yánɡ ; shēn : hóu ; yǒu : jī ; xū : ɡǒu ; hài : zhū 。 )

天干地支纪年:Heavenly stems and Earthly Branches calendar

tiān ɡān dì zhī jì nián































































Heavenly stems and Earthly Branches originated during the “Yan Di” and “Huang Di” period, the beginning of the year is “li chun” (Spring Begins), not the first day of the first month in lunar calendar.

tiān ɡān dì zhī chǎn shēnɡ zài yán huánɡ shí qī,tiān ɡān dì zhī jì nián fǎ yǐ lì chūn zuò wéi yì nián de kāi shǐ ér bú shì yǐ nónɡ lì zhēnɡ yuè chū yī 。

chinese calender


“Ganzhi” is shot of “Heavenly stems and Earthly Branches ”. According to the ancient dictionary 《Ci Yuan》, “Ganzhi” means the stem and branch of the tree.

tiān ɡān dì zhī jiǎn chēnɡ“ɡān zhī” 。“cí yuán” lǐ shuō ,“ɡān zhī”qǔ yì yú

shù mù de “ ɡān zhī ” 。

3.生肖对应的时辰:Hours according to the zodiac (one Chinese hour has 120 mins.)

子(鼠)时(23点~01点) 丑(牛)时(01点~03点)

寅(虎)时(03点~05点) 卯(兔)时(05点~07点)

辰(龙)时(07点~09点) 巳(蛇)时(09点~11点)

午(马)时(11点~13点) 未(羊)时(13点~15点)

申(猴)时(15点~17点) 酉(鸡)时(17点~19点)

戌(狗)时(19点~21点) 亥(猪)时(21点~23点)

shēnɡ xiāo duì yìnɡ de shí chén :

zǐ(shǔ)shí(23 diǎn ~01 diǎn) chǒu(niú)shí(01 diǎn ~03 diǎn)

yín(hǔ)shí(03 diǎn ~05 diǎn) mǎo(tù)shí(05 diǎn ~07 diǎn)

chén(lónɡ)shí(07 diǎn ~09 diǎn) sì(shé)shí(09 diǎn ~11 diǎn)

wǔ(mǎ)shí(11 diǎn ~13 diǎn) wèi(yánɡ)shí(13 diǎn ~15 diǎn)

shēn(hóu)shí(15 diǎn ~17 diǎn) yǒu(jī)shí(17 diǎn ~19 diǎn)

xū(ɡǒu)shí(19 diǎn ~21 diǎn) hài(zhū)shí(21 diǎn ~23 diǎn)

chinese hours


十三 八卦 The Eight Trigrams (shí sān bā ɡuà)


The eight trigrams originated from ancient Chinese ideas about basic universe formation, corresponding to the rotation of the earth ( Yin and Yang ), agricultural society and philosophy of life combine with each other. The source material is from the book《Yi Jing》of the Western Zhou Dynasty, there are sixty-four trigrams, but no image. It has record as “Yi has Tai ji, tai ji produces two ‘yi’, two yi produces

Four ‘xiang’, and four ‘xiang’ produces eight‘gua’”.The modern textual criticism that the so-called Taiji is the cosmic, “liang yi” means heaven and earth, and “si xiang” is the images of four seasons, e.g. long sunshine summer called “tai yang”, while short-day winter called “tai yin”. Spring is lesser yang, while autumn is the lesser Yin. Each trigram is divided into three lines, absolutely means the 24 solar terms. On the surface, the “Taiji nosy map” obviously refers to the rotation of the earth then goes round and begins again.

bā ɡuà yuán yú zhōnɡ ɡuó ɡǔ dài duì jī běn de yǔ zhòu shēnɡ chénɡ、xiānɡ

yīnɡ rì yuè de dì qiú zì zhuàn ( yīn yánɡ ) ɡuān xi 、 nónɡ yè shè huì hé

rén shēnɡ zhé xué hù xiānɡ jié hé de ɡuān niàn 。 zuì yuán shǐ zī liào lái

yuán wéi xī zhōu de yì jīnɡ , nèi rónɡ yǒu liù shí sì ɡuà , dàn méi yǒu tú

xiànɡ 。《yì zhuàn 》 jì lù “ yì yǒu tài jí , shì shēnɡ liǎnɡ yí 。 liǎnɡ yí

shēnɡ sì xiànɡ, sì xiànɡ shēnɡ bā ɡuà 。 ” ɡù jìn dài kǎo zhènɡ rèn wéi suǒ

wèi tài jí jí yǔ zhòu , liǎnɡ yí zhǐ tiān dì , sì xiànɡ jiù shì sì jì tiān

xiànɡ ; rú chánɡ rì zhào de xià jì chēnɡ tài yánɡ , duǎn rì zhào de dōnɡ

jì chēnɡ tài yīn ,chūn shì shào yánɡ , qiū shì shào yīn , ér bā ɡuà zài

fēn sān yáo , zì rán shì zhǐ niàn sì jié qi 。 biǎo miàn shànɡ “ tài jí bā

ɡuà tú ” mínɡ xiǎn shì zhǐ dì qiú zì zhuàn yì zhōu nián ér fù shǐ 。




Tai Chi diagram: white’s up and black’s down, a clockwise direction

tài jí tú : bái shànɡ hēi xià , shùn shí zhēn fānɡ xiànɡ


8 trigrams


Taiji nosy map

The Eight Trigrams (eight combinations of three whole or broken lines formerly used in divination)

tài jí bā ɡuà tú

八卦代表八种基本物象: 乾为天, 坤为地, 震为雷, 巽为风, 艮为山, 兑为泽, 坎为水, 离为火, 总称为经卦, 由八个经卦中的两个为一组的排列, 则构成六十四卦。

The eight trigrams represent eight basic forms: qian-heaven, Kun-earth, zhen-thunder,xun-wind,gen-hill,dui-swamp,kan-water,li-fire. Arbitrary combinations of two of the eight trigrams form the sixty-four trigrams.

bā ɡuà dài biǎo bā zhǒnɡ jī běn wù xiànɡ : qián wéi tiān, kūn wéi dì, zhèn

wéi léi, xùn wéi fēnɡ, ɡèn wéi shān, duì wéi zé, kǎn wéi shuǐ, lí wéi huǒ,

zǒnɡ chēnɡ wéi jīnɡ ɡuà, yóu bā ɡè jīnɡ ɡuà zhōnɡ de liǎnɡ ɡè wéi yì zǔ de pái liè, zé ɡòu chénɡ liù shí sì ɡuà 。

eight trigrams represent eight basic forms

八卦所对应的五行 the eight trigrams corresponds to the five elements:

金-乾、兑; 乾为天,兑为泽 jin—qian\dui, qian is heaven, dui is swamp;

木-震、巽; 震为雷,巽为风 mu—zhen\xun, zhen is thunder,xun is wind;

土-坤、艮; 坤为地,艮为山 tu—kun\gen, kun is earth,gen is hill;

水-坎; 坎为水(月亮) shui—kan, kan is water(moon);

火-离; 离为火(太阳) huo—li, li is fire(sun).

bā ɡuà suǒ duì yìnɡ de wǔ xínɡ

jīn – qián 、 duì ; qián wéi tiān , duì wéi zé

mù – zhèn 、 xùn ;zhèn wéi léi , xùn wéi fēnɡ

tǔ – kūn 、 ɡèn ; kūn wéi dì , ɡèn wéi shān

shuǐ – kǎn; kǎn wéi shuǐ ( yuè liɑnɡ )

huǒ – lí;lí wéi huǒ ( tài yánɡ )

八卦分割 eight trigrams segmentation

bā ɡuà fēn ɡē

八卦: 乾 兑 离 震 巽 坎 艮 坤

Eight trigrams: qian\ dui\ li\ zhen\ xun\ kan\ gen\ kun

bā ɡuà : qián duì lí zhèn xùn kǎn ɡèn kūn

四象: 太阳 少阴 少阳 太阴

Four “xiang”: Full Yang\ Lesser Yin\ Lesser Yang\ Full Yin

sì xiànɡ : tài yánɡ shào yīn shào yánɡ tài yīn

两仪: 阳 阴

Two “Yi”: Yang\Yin

liǎnɡ yí : yánɡ yīn



























十四 饮食文化 Food Culture (shí sì yǐn shí wén huà)

1. 中华美食的特点The characteristics of Chinese food

zhōnɡ huá měi shí de tè diǎn

风味多样 Flavor variety

四季有别 different from seasons

讲究美感Pay attention to beauty

注重情趣Focus on taste

食医结合Food and medicine are closely linked

fēnɡ wèi duō yànɡ

sì jì yǒu bié

jiǎnɡ jiū měi ɡǎn

zhù zhònɡ qínɡ qù

shí yī jié hé

2. 八大菜系Eight cuisines


The “eight big cuisines of china”:

Sichuan, Guangdong, Suzhou, Fujian, Zhejiang, Zhejiang, Hunan, Anhui, Shandong cuisines

bā dà cài xì

chuān 、 yuè 、 sū 、 mǐn 、 zhè 、 xiānɡ 、 huī 、 lǔ




西北饮食中心: 西安



Food center:

North Food Center: Beijing

Southwest Food Center: “eat in China, the taste in Chengdu”, Chengdu

Northwest Food Center: Xi’an

Eastern Food Center: “the food capital of world”, Suzhou

Southern Food Center: “eating in Guangzhou”, Guangzhou

yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn :

běi fānɡ yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn :běi jīnɡ

xī nán yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn:yǒu“shí zài zhōnɡ ɡuó ,wèi zài chénɡ dū”chēnɡ hào de chénɡ dū

xī běi yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn : xī ān

dōnɡ bù yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn :yǒu“tiān xià měi shí zhī dū”chēnɡ hào de sū zhōu

nán bù yǐn shí zhōnɡ xīn :yǒu “shí zài ɡuǎnɡ zhōu”chēnɡ hào de ɡuǎnɡ zhōu

3. 神奇的筷子Magical chopsticks (shén qí de kuài zi)



Chopsticks, it may be said is the quintessence of China. Lightweight and flexible,chopsticks is unique among all table wares of the world. It’s regarded as the “Oriental civilization” by the West. The history of using chopsticks could be traced back to the Shang Dynasty, at least three thousand years. Chopsticks are called as “Jia” during the pre-Qin period. Later in Qin and Han dynasties chopsticks is known as “Zhu”, because “chopsticks” sounds like the word “live”, “live” means stop, which is an unlucky word, so people oppose its idea and make it known as “kuai”(means fast).This is the origin of chopsticks. It is an important component feature of the Chinese diet culture. Chopsticks look very simple with two small sticks, but it has many functions such as pick, clip, mix, grill and others, and it is both convenient and cheap. Chopsticks are unique tableware in today’s world.

kuài zi,kě wèi shì zhōnɡ ɡuó ɡuó cuì。jì qīnɡ qiǎo yòu línɡ huó,zài shì jiè

ɡè ɡuó cān jù zhōnɡ dú shù yí zhì,bèi xī fānɡ rén yù wéi“dōnɡ fānɡ de wén

mínɡ”。zhōnɡ ɡuó shǐ yònɡ kuài zi lì shǐ kě zhuī sù dào shānɡ dài,zhì shǎo yǒu

sān qiān duō nián de yònɡ kuài lì shǐ。xiān qín shí qī chēnɡ kuài zi wéi“jiā”,qín hàn shí qī jiào“zhù”。ɡǔ rén shí fēn jiǎnɡ jiū jì huì,yīn“zhù”yǔ“zhù”

zì xié yīn ,“zhù”yǒu tínɡ zhǐ zhī yì,nǎi bù jí lì zhī yǔ,suǒ yǐ jiù fǎn qí

yì ér chēnɡ zhī wéi“kuài”。zhè jiù shì kuài zi mínɡ chēnɡ de yóu lái。tā shì

fǎn yìnɡ zhōnɡ ɡuó yǐn shí wén huà de zhònɡ yào zǔ chénɡ tè sè bù fen。kuài zi

kàn qǐ lái zhǐ shì fēi chánɡ jiǎn dān de liǎnɡ ɡēn xiǎo xì bànɡ,dàn tā yǒu

tiāo、bō、jiá、bàn、bā děnɡ ɡōnɡ nénɡ,qiě shǐ yònɡ fānɡ biàn,jià lián wù měi。 kuài zi yě shì dānɡ jīn shì jiè shànɡ yì zhǒnɡ dú tè de cān jù。

4. 餐桌礼仪Table manners

cān zhuō lǐ yí


First, table manners. Ask the guests or elders to take seats first. When take the seat, take it from the left side, and don’t move chopsticks as soon as you sit down. Don’t make any noise, also do not rise and move. If you have anything to do, just tell the host.

dì yī,rù zuò de lǐ yí。xiān qǐnɡ kè rén hé zhǎnɡ zhě rù zuò。rù zuò shí yào

cónɡ yǐ zi zuǒ biɑn jìn rù,rù zuò hòu bú yào dònɡ kuài zi,ɡènɡ bú yào nònɡ

chū shén me xiǎnɡ shēnɡ lái,yě bú yào qǐ shēn zǒu dònɡ。rú ɡuǒ yǒu shén me shì

yào xiànɡ zhǔ rén dǎ zhāo hu。


Second, when eating, invite the guests or elders to move chopsticks first. Don’t make noises when drinking soup. Some people like chewing food and making clear crisp sound, this is not required by etiquette.

dì èr,jìn cān shí。xiān qǐnɡ kè rén、zhǎnɡ zhě dònɡ kuài zi。hē tānɡ shí bú

yào chū shēnɡ xiǎnɡ。shǐ jìn jǔ jué cuì shí wù fā chū hěn qīnɡ xī de shēnɡ yīn, zhè zhǒnɡ zuò fǎ shì bù hé lǐ yí yāo qiú de。


Third, when eating, don’t burp, also don’t make other voices. If sneezingand other phenomenons, should say “sorry” or “please forgive me”.

dì sān,jìn cān shí bú yào dǎ ɡé,yě bú yào chū xiàn qí tā shēnɡ yīn。rú ɡuǒ

chū xiàn dǎ pēn tì děnɡ bù yóu zì zhǔ de shēnɡ xiǎnɡ shí,jiù yào shuō yī shēnɡ“zhēn bù hǎo yì si”、“duì bù qǐ”、“qǐnɡ yuán liánɡ” zhī lèi de huà yǐ shì

qiàn yì 。


Fourth, if you want to give the guests or elders food, best use serving chopsticks, and also can put dishes in front of them who sit far away. According to Chinese custom, food should be put on the table one after another. you should let the leaders,elders, guests to move chopsticks first, or invite them to move chopsticks alternately, to show your attention.

dì sì,rú ɡuǒ yào ɡěi kè rén huò zhǎnɡ bèi bù cài,zuì hǎo yònɡ ɡōnɡ kuài,yě

kě yǐ bǎ lí kè rén huò zhǎnɡ bèi yuǎn de cài yáo sònɡ dào tā men ɡēn qián。àn

wǒ men zhōnɡ huá mín zú de xí ɡuàn,cài shì yí ɡè yí ɡè wǎnɡ shànɡ duān de。rú

ɡuǒ tónɡ zhuō yǒu lǐnɡ dǎo、lǎo rén、kè rén de huà,měi dānɡ shànɡ lái yí ɡè

xīn cài shí jiù qǐnɡ tā men xiān dònɡ kuài zi,huò zhe lún liú qǐnɡ tā men

xiān dònɡ kuài zi,yǐ biǎo shì duì tā men de zhònɡ shì。


Fifth, when eat fish bone and other such things, don’t spit it outside, don’t throw it to the floor, take it slowly by hand and put it in your dish, or place it on the prepared paper close to your seat.

dì wǔ,chī dào yú tóu、yú cì、ɡǔ tou děnɡ wù shí,bú yào wǎnɡ wài miàn tǔ,yě

bú yào wǎnɡ dì shànɡ rēnɡ,yào màn màn yònɡ shǒu ná dào zì jǐ de dié zi lǐ,huò

fànɡ zài jǐn kào zì jǐ cān zhuō biān huò fànɡ zài shì xiān zhǔn bèi hǎo de zhǐ

shànɡ 。


Sixth, talk with people who sit next to you in order to make a harmonious atmosphere. Don’t eat like wolves and tigers, don’t drink too much.

dì liù,yào shì shí de chōu kònɡ hé zuǒ yòu de rén liáo jǐ jù fēnɡ qù de huà yǐ

tiáo hé qì fēn。bú yào lánɡ tūn hǔ yān dì dà chī yí dùn,ɡènɡ bú yào tān bēi 。


Seventh, best not pick your teeth at the table. If you want to pick your teeth, should use your hand or a napkin to cover mouth.

dì qī,zuì hǎo bú yào zài cān zhuō shànɡ tì yá。rú ɡuǒ yào tì yá shí,jiù yào

yònɡ cān jīn huò shǒu dǎnɡ zhù zì jǐ de zuǐ bɑ 。


Eighth, make clear the main task of this meal. To make clear the main task is to talk about the business, or to contact the feelings, or to eat mainly. If the former, must pay attention to the seating arrangements, the chief negotiators’ seats should be close to each other in order to talk or dredge emotion. If it is the latter, then only need to pay attention to common courtesy, focus on enjoying the dishes.

dì bā,yào mínɡ què cǐ cì jìn cān de zhǔ yào rèn wù。yào mínɡ què yǐ tán shēnɡ yi wéi zhǔ,hái shì yǐ lián luò ɡǎn qínɡ wéi zhǔ,huò shì yǐ chī fàn wéi zhǔ。rú

ɡuǒ shì qián zhě,zài ān pái zuò wèi shí jiù yào zhù yì,bǎ zhǔ yào tán pàn rén de zuò wèi xiānɡ hù kào jìn biàn yú jiāo tán huò shū tōnɡ qínɡ ɡǎn。rú ɡuǒ shì hòu

zhě,zhǐ xū yào zhù yì yí xiàr chánɡ shí xìnɡ de lǐ jié jiù xínɡ le. bǎ zhònɡ

diǎn fànɡ zài xīn shǎnɡ cài yáo shànɡ。


Ninth, have to appreciate the host when leave, or invite the host to your home later in return.

dì jiǔ,zuì hòu lí xí shí,bì xū xiànɡ zhǔ rén biǎo shì ɡǎn xiè,huò zhě jiù

cǐ shí yāo qǐnɡ zhǔ rén yǐ hòu dào zì jǐ jiā zuò kè yǐ shì huí jìnɡ 。

4.纪录片《舌尖上的中国》The documentary “A Bite of China”

jì lù piàn 《 shé jiān shànɡ de zhōnɡ ɡuó 》


Additional Cultural knowledge

1. 岁寒三友——松、竹、梅

three durable plants of winter – pine, bamboo and plum blossom

suì hán sān yǒu — sōnɡ 、 zhú 、 méi

2. 花中四君子——梅、兰、竹、菊

four gentle flowers– plum blossom,orchid,bamboo and chrysanthemum

huā zhōnɡ sì jūn zǐ — méi 、 lán 、 zhú 、 jú

(received 12.11.2012 by Ms. Li Yunfang from

(posted/reviewed 24.03.2013

Chinese Language

with 3 comments

Introduction to Chinese Language

“Western languages are ruled by law. Chinese language is ruled by man.”


The Basics about Chinese Language


Formation of Chinese characters

The origin of the Chinese antique script is very long and there are not enough documentary resources about its history. Chinese characters can be traced to a time when people made records in their daily life by tying knots in ropes or strings. The most accepted legend is that the inventor of Chinese writing was a minister named Ts’ang Chieh, who recorded the history in the court of Emperor Huang Ti, the first king of China.

People in different regions of China speak differently, including such dialects as Mandarin, Min Nan, Hakka, Cantonese, etc. But while certain characters may be pronounced differently depending on the dialect, the meaning and the written Chinese language is the same for everyone. Mandarin is the official spoken language of the People’s Republic of China.

There are three elements in a Chinese character: image (form), sound, and meaning. There are also six principles that used to define and explicate the characters:

1. Pictograms (象形)

Pictograms are words formed from things which can be drawn (such as animals, a person, or objects.)


2. Simple Indicatives (指事)

Simple indicatives are words formed from things that cannot be drawn (such as directions or numbers.)


3. Compound Indicatives (會意)

Compound indicatives are words formed to be understood easily after the pictograph and indicatives are formed.


4. Phono-semantic Compound Characters (形聲)

A phono-semantic compound character represents a word that is formed from another word to which it is similar, with additional signs or characters added to make the new character. The word is pronounced like one of the original words.


5. Borrowed Characters (假借)

A borrowed character was originally borrowed from another word that was pronounced the same (a homophone).
For example, the character 來 lái depicts the wheat plant and meant wheat in ancient times — it was a pictogram. Because the words for wheat and to come were pronounced the same, the character 來 was then borrowed to write the verb to come. The pronunciation of the original word meaning wheat has changed in modern times to mài (now written 麥), and the original homophony between the two words has disappeared.
6. Derived characters (轉注)
Derived characters represent words that share the same root word or meaning.
For example, the characters 老 lǎo (old) and 考 kǎo (a test) are the most commonly cited examples of derived characters, which come from a common etymological root but differ in that one part is changed to indicate a different pronunciation and meaning.

6. Derived Characters (轉注)

Derived characters represent words that share the same root word or meaning.
For example, the characters 老 lǎo (old) and 考 kǎo (a test) are the most commonly cited examples of derived characters, which come from a common etymological root but differ in that one part is changed to indicate a different pronunciation and meaning.

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Read more online here or download pdf here.



Every Chinese character has a radical or is itself a radical. There are 214 radicals today.
For example, 女 is the character for woman. It is also the radical for many female things: 姐姐 = little sister, 妈妈 = mamma, etc.

Radicals are used to tell something about the meaning of the character, such as is made of metal, is tall, etc.

Radicals are also used to look up characters in a dictionary. To find a character you look for the radical in a radical list. When you have found your radical you count the remaining number of strokes in the character. With this information it is now possible to find the character.





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Read more online here or download pdf here.


Strokes and stroke order

All Chinese characters build up from basic strokes. The simplest ones have only one stroke while the more complex ones can have more than 20–30 strokes. The strokes are to be written in the right order and in the right way. It is important to follow these rules.


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The strokes are to be written in a certain order. There are very few rules but it is important to spend time learning them since they make it easier to remember the character. Your characters will also look better if you write them correctly. In China calligraphy is a highly regarded art form.

Note that there are additional rules when rules conflict. For example, rules may conflict when one stroke is to the bottom and left of another. Also, the last rule may conflict with other rules, however the overriding rule is top to bottom.


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Material above copied from an online learning textbook produced by the UNC School of Education


Most Common Chinese Words

[de] grammatical particle marking genitive as well as simple and composed  adjectives; 我的 wǒde: my; 高的 gāode: high, tall; 是的 shìde: that’s it, that’s right;  是…的 shì…de: one who…; 他是说汉语的. Tā shì shuō Hànyǔde. He is one who  speaks Chinese
[yī] one, a little; 第一 dì-yī first, primary; 看一看 kànyīkàn have a (quick) look at  [yí] (used before tone #4); 一个人 yí gè rén one person; 一定 yídìng certain; 一样 yíyàng same; 一月 yíyuè January  [yì] (used before tones #2 and #3); 一点儿 yìdiǎnr a little; 一些 yìxiē some
[shì] to be, 是不是? shìbushì? is (it) or is (it) not?: 是否 shìfǒu whether or not, is (it)  or is (it) not?
[bù] not  [bú] (used before tone #4): 不是 bú shì isn’t
[le] verb particle marking a new situation or a completed action; 你来了! Nǐ láile!  You have come! 我累了! Wǒ lèile! I’ve gotten tired! 那好了! Nà hǎole! That’s OK  (now)! 我只请了一位客人. Wǒ zhǐ qǐngle yí wèi kèren. I invited only one guest.  [liǎo] end, finish, settle, dispose of, know clearly, to be able, (=了解 liǎojiě)  understand, comprehend: 了了 liǎoliaǒ clearly understand, settle (a debt/etc.), to be  intelligent: 了了 liǎole to be over/ended/finnish/settled; 你卖不了! Nǐ mài bùliǎo!  You will not be able to sell (it)!

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Read the complete list of the most common Chinese words in 2009 online here or download pdf there.


现代汉语常用字表》(Table of Frequently Used Contemporary Chinese Characters) 常用字 (2500) (2,500 Most Frequently Used Characters) 笔画顺序表 (In the Order of Number of Strokes)

一画 (one stroke)

一 乙

二画 (two strokes)

二 十 丁 厂 七 卜 人 入 八 九 几 儿 了 力 乃 刀 又

三画 (three strokes)

三 于 干 亏 士 工 土 才 寸 下 大 丈 与 万 上 小 口 巾 山 千 乞 川 亿 个 勺 久 凡 及 夕 丸 么 广 亡 门 义 之 尸 弓 己 已 子 卫 也 女 飞 刃 习 叉 马 乡


十画 (ten strokes)

耕 耗 艳 泰 珠 班 素 蚕 顽 盏 匪 捞 栽 捕 振 载 赶 起 盐 捎 捏 埋 捉 捆 捐 损 都 哲 逝 捡 换 挽 热 恐 壶 挨 耻 耽 恭 莲 莫 荷 获 晋 恶 真 框 桂 档 桐 株 桥 桃 格 校 核 样 根 索 哥 速 逗 栗 配 翅 辱 唇 夏 础 破 原 套 逐 烈 殊 顾 轿 较 顿 毙 致 柴 桌 虑 监 紧 党 晒 眠 晓 鸭 晃 晌 晕 蚊 哨 哭 恩 唤 啊 唉 罢 峰 圆 贼 贿 钱 钳 钻 铁 铃 铅 缺 氧 特 牺 造 乘 敌 秤 租 积 秧 秩 称 秘 透 笔 笑 笋 债 借 值 倚 倾 倒 倘 俱 倡 候 俯 倍 倦 健 臭 射 躬 息 徒 徐 舰 舱 般 航 途 拿 爹 爱 颂 翁 脆 脂 胸 胳 脏 胶 脑 狸 狼 逢 留 皱 饿 恋 桨 浆 衰 高 席 准 座 脊 症 病 疾 疼 疲 效 离 唐 资 凉 站 剖 竞 部 旁 旅 畜 阅 羞 瓶 拳 粉 料 益 兼 烤 烘 烦 烧 烛 烟 递 涛 浙 涝 酒 涉 消 浩 海 涂 浴 浮 流 润 浪 浸 涨 烫 涌 悟 悄 悔 悦 害 宽 家 宵 宴 宾 窄 容 宰 案 请 朗 诸 读 扇 袜 袖 袍 被 祥 课 谁 调 冤 谅 谈 谊 剥 恳 展 剧 屑 弱 陵 陶 陷 陪 娱 娘 通 能 难 预 桑 绢 绣 验 继


二十二画 (twenty-two strokes)

Full table of 2500 most frequent Chinese characters in the order of strokes as .pdf here and a full table of secondary frequent Chinese characters in the order of strokes as .pdf here.

(Collected by Haiwang Yuan in 2003, retrieved 01.05.2012 at and, 05.12.2012 noted a broken link)


Additional Material

Processing Characters and Colours

HENRIK SAALBACH and ELSBETH STERN / Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2004, 11 (4), 709–715 / Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

Download the full pdf here.


Faciliation of Mandarin tone perception by visual speech

Obviously we do not only interpret audible, but also visible informations in talking. The Acoustical Society of America did some interesting research on that. “Interestingly, tone-naïve listeners outperformed native listeners in the Visual-Only condition, suggesting firstly that visual speech information for tone is available, and may in fact be under-used by normal-hearing tone language perceivers, and secondly that the perception of such information may be language-general, rather than the product of language-specific learning.”

(retrieved 05.01.2013 at

Get a summary as .pdf here.


About Chinese and Western Characters please visit Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language


(revieved 07.10.2016)

Perception and Expression of Emotions in Different Cultures

with 2 comments

Perception and Expression of Emotions in Different Cultures


Facial Expressions develop in the Womb

baby-faces womb


(…) Before he or she is born, a fetus begins to move his or her face — parting lips, wrinkling a nose or lowering a brow for example — making movements that, when combined, will one day assemble expressions we all recognize in one another. A new study has shown that, as the fetus develops, these facial motions become increasingly complex. (…)

Nadja Reissland, University of Durham in the United Kingdom

Read the full article online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 04.02.2014 at


Study of Facial Expression of Blind Athletes

Matsumoto Facial Expressions Blind Sighted


(…) By studying the expressions of the blind athletes in the Paralympic Game and in comparing them to the expressions to the athletes’ (…) regularly games, we can tell whether they have the same expressions or not.

So the study of the blind athletes in the Paralympic Games told us conclusively, that the source of facial expression of emotions must be resident in some innate biological program, that we all have and are born with and that we have from birth. And that everybody from around the world, as long as you’re a human has that. (…)

David Matsumoto – Professor of Psychology, San Francisco State University (transcription from the video by the editor)

(retrieved 04.02.2014 at


(…) Central to all human interaction is the mutual understanding of emotions, achieved primarily by a set of biologically rooted social signals evolved for this purpose—facial expressions of emotion. Although facial expressions are widely considered to be the universal language of emotion (…), some negative facial expressions consistently elicit lower recognition levels among Eastern compared to Western groups (…).

Read the full pdf here.

(retrieved 12.02.2014 at


Visual Perception of Emotions in Different Cultures

Cultural Influences on Perception

(retrieved 09.05.2013 at


visual reception of emotions

(Color coding is as follows: blue, “left eye”; green, “right eye”; yellow, “bridge of nose”; orange, “center of face”; red, “mouth.”)



(The succession of blue → green → blue circles (indicated by the black arrow) corresponds to the fixation sequence “left eye” → “right eye” → “left eye.”)

(…) Here, we report marked differences between EA (East Asians) and WC (Western Caucasian) observers in the decoding of universal facial expressions. EA observers exhibited a significant deficit in categorizing ‘‘fear’’ and ‘‘disgust’’ compared to WC observers. Also, WC observers distributed their fixations evenly across the face, whereas EA observers systematically biased theirs toward the eye region. A model observer revealed that EA observers sample information that is highly similar between certain expressions (i.e., ‘‘fear’’ and ‘‘surprise’’; ‘‘disgust’’ and ‘‘anger’’). Despite the apparent lack of diagnostic information, EA observers persisted in repetitively sampling the eye regions of ‘‘fear,’’ ‘‘disgust,’’ and ‘‘anger.’’ (…)

Cultural Confusions Show that Facial Expressions Are Not Universal by Rachael E. Jack (1, 2); Caroline Blais (3); Christoph Scheepers (1); Philippe G. Schyns (1,2) and Roberto Caldara (1,2) / (1)Department of Psychology, (2) Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi) University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QB, Scotland, UK, (3) Department de Psychologie, Universite de Montreal,Montreal, PQ H3C 3J7, Canada

Download the full .pdf here or online here.

(Current Biology –  Volume 19, Issue 18, 29 September 2009, Pages 1543-1548: retrieved 19.02.2011 under )


Visual Expressions of Emotions in Different Cultures

perception of facial expression

Spatiotemporal location of emotional intensity representation in Western Caucasian and East Asian culture. In each row, color-coded faces show the culture-specific spatiotemporal location of expressive features representing emotional intensity,for each of the six basic emotions. Color coding is asfollows: blue, Western Caucasian; red, East Asian, where values reflect the statistic. All color-coded regions show a significant (P<0.05) cultural difference asindicated by asterisks labeled on the color bar. Note: for the EA models (i.e., red face regions), emotional intensity is represented with characteristic early activations. 


Expression of Emotions in Western and East Asian Cultures

expression of facial expression

(…) The Western Caucasian models form six emotionally homogenous clusters (e.g., all 30 “happy” models belong to the same cluster, color-coded in purple). In contrast, the East Asian models show considerable model dissimilarity within each emotion category and overlap between categories, particularly for “surprise”,“fear”, “disgust”, “anger” and “sad”(note the heterogeneous color coding of these models). (…)

(…) First, whereas Westerners represent each of the six basic emotions with a distinct set of facial movements common to the group, Easterners do not. Second, Easterners represent emotional intensity with distinctive dynamic eye activity. By refuting the long-standing universality hypothesis, our data highlight the powerful influence of culture on shaping basic behaviors once considered biologically hardwired. (…)

Facial expressions of emotion are not culturally universal by Rachael E. Jack (a,b,1), Oliver G. B. Garrod (b), Hui Yu (b), Roberto Caldara (c), and Philippe G. Schyns (b) – (a) School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Scotland G12 8Q (b); Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Scotland G12 8QB, UnitedKingdom; and (c) Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg 1700, Switzerland; see also PNAS May 8, 2012; vol. 109 no. 19

(retrieved 23.06.2013 at


Emoticons in Different Cultures


(…) Emoticon styles can be either horizontal or vertical, where horizontal style is known to be preferred by western countries, and the vertical style by eastern countries. This study finds that an important factor determining emoticon style is language rather than geography. Regardless of their inherent meaning, most emoticons co-appeared with both positive and negative affect words (e.g., haha, smile, kill, freak). Furthermore, the contexts and sentiments that were frequently associated with a given emoticon varied from one culture to another. Our finding confirms that facial expressions may not be universal (…); people from different cultures perceive and employ facial expressions in unique ways, as easterners smile and frown with their eyes, whereas westerners do so with their mouth. This was even true in the online world. Therefore one might want to consider the cultural background of one’s followers to communicate efficiently in online social networks. (…)

emoticons in different cultures

Emoticon Style: Interpreting Differences in Emoticons Across Cultures by Jaram Park, Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST; Vladimir Barash, Morningside Analytics; Clay Fink, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; Meeyoung Cha, Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST;

Download the full .pdf online here or here.

(retrieved 30.10.2013 at and


Placing the Face in Context: Cultural Differences in the Perception of Facial Emotion


Placing the Face in Context


(…) Two studies tested the hypothesis that in judging people’s emotions from their facial expressions, Japanese, more than Westerners, incorporate information from the social context. In Study 1, participants  viewed cartoons depicting a happy, sad, angry, or neutral person surrounded by other people expressing the same emotion as the central person or a different one. The surrounding people’s emotions influenced Japanese but not Westerners’ perceptions of the central person. These differences reflect differences in attention, as indicated by eye-tracking data (Study 2): Japanese looked at the surrounding people more than did Westerners. Previous findings on East–West differences in contextual sensitivity generalize to social contexts, suggesting that Westerners see emotions as individual feelings, whereas Japanese see them as inseparable from the feelings of the group. (…)

Placing the Face in Context: Cultural Differences in the Perception of Facial Emotion by Takahiko Masuda, University of Alberta; Phoebe C. Ellsworth, University of Michigan; Batja Mesquita, Wake Forest University; Janxin Leu, University of Washington; Shigehito Tanida, Hokkaido University; Ellen Van de Veerdonk, University of Amsterdam

Download the full pfd here.

(retrieved 23.06.2013 at


Perception of Bodily Sensations during Emotion in different Cultures

“While riding a train, a Chinese friend and I had eaten a lot of snacks that did not mix well. I suddenly suffered from nausea and realized that I was pressing the epigastric region with one hand. I was sure that I had strained my stomach.

At the same moment, my Chinese friend said that he was suffering from vertigo and he seemed very concerned about it. I inquired about his perception several times. He insisted that he was suffering from vertigo and only after some time he remarked that something was wrong with his stomach.

I tried also to experience vertigo, and actually found it was not very difficult because the nausea was associated with a feeling of unclarity or confusion in my head.”

(…) This anectodical story illustrates well how bodily changes in similar situations can be experienced very differently by members of different cultures. Such differences can originate at various levels of the somatisation processes, from the production of physiological changes, to their detection, to their labelling and, ultimatly, to their memory. (…)

The perception of bodily sensations during emotion: A cross-cultural perspective by Pierre Philippot & Bernard Rimé, Research Unit for Clinical & Social Psychology, University of Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; to appear in Polish Journal of Social Psychology, 1997

Download the full article online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 23.06.2013 at


(reviewed 26.04.2014)

Written by NoToes

24/02/2011 at 20:27

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Culture influences Brain, Emotions in Different Cultures, Intercultural Management, Surveys

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Colours of Food

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our daily foods include 五行(wu hsin), different color foods may coordinate the internal organs of body, so, it benefits our health if properly arrange those foods.

五行的木火土金水,各以綠紅黑黃白五色代表,並各自聯繫和代表多種器官如下 :

五行 means 木(wood) 火(fire) 土(soil) 金(gold) 水(water), each is represented by 5 colors as Green, Red, Black, Yellow, White. They connect with each other and represent below various organs :


1. 紅色食物代表火(心、小腸及舌頭):如蘋果、番茄、櫻桃、大棗、紅椒、西瓜和紅蘿蔔等

red food represent fire (heart, small intestines, and tongue) : such as apple, tomatoes, cherry, big jujube, red pepper, water melon, and carrot…etc)

o 有助於減輕疲勞,驅寒,可令人精神抖擻,增強自信及意志力,使人充滿力量;

this is helpful to reduce tired, get rid of coldness, to brace people up, increase confidence and willpower, make us full of power

o 富含天然鐵質,是貧血患者的天然良藥,也適合女性經期失血後的滋補;

full of natural mineral of iron, a good and natural medicine for anemia patient, it’s also suitable for nourishing women after menses

o 含豐富的降血壓物質,使血管強壯,有助循環系統健康;

with plenty materials to reduce blood pressure, make blood tubes stronger, benefit circulation system to be healthy

o 含有豐富的β胡蘿蔔素和番茄紅素,是改善焦慮情緒的天然藥物;

with plenty of B carotene and tomatoes-ene (?), it is natural medicine to improve anxcious mood

o 紅色在視覺上也能給人刺激,胃口大開,精神振奮,是抑鬱症患者的首選;

red color can give people stimulation in the sense of sight, to have great appetite, to inspire spirit, it’s the best choice for melancholia patient

o 其中蘋果性溫和,含各種維生素和微量元素,最接近完美;

among all the red color foods, apple with an attribute of moderate, apple with various vitamins and microele, the most one close to perfection


2. 綠色食物代表木(肝、膽囊和肌肉):如白菜、包心菜和菠菜等

Green foods represent 木 (liver, the gall bladd, and muscle) : such as Chinese cabbage, a type of lettu, and spinach

o 含有益肝臟健康的葉綠素和多種維他命;

include chlorophyll and various vitamins which s helpful to liver’s health


3. 黑色食物代表水(腎、膀胱、耳和骨骼):如黑豆、黑芝麻和藍莓等

Black foods represent water (kidney, bladder, ear and bones) : such as black beans, sesame, and blue berry…etc

o 含黑色素,有助提高與腎、膀胱和骨骼關係密切的新陳代謝和生殖系統功能;

with black pigment, helpful in raising metabolism and in raising function of breedlin system that have close relationship with kidney, bladder, and bones


4. 黃色食物代表土(脾、胃和口腔):如柑桔、橙、南瓜、玉米、甘菊、香蕉和紅蘿蔔等

Yellow foods reperesent soil (spleen, stomatch and the oral cavit) : such as orange, orange, pumpkin, corn, sweet chrysanthemum, banana and carrot…etc

o 能幫助培養正面開朗的心情,增加幽默感,更可以強化消化系統與肝臟,清除血液中的毒素,令皮膚也變得細滑幼嫩;

can help to cultivate positive and open and clear mood, increase the sense of humor, more to strengthen digestion system and livers, to clean toxins

in blood, also can make skin smooth and detailed

o 含維他命C;最常見的橙色色素胡蘿蔔素,是強力的抗氧化物質,減少空氣污染對人體造成的傷害,並有抗衰老功效;

with vitamin C ; very often we can see carotene with orange color pigment, which is a material of powerful anti-oxidiz, can reduce the harm to body

which comes from air polution, also with function of anti-oldness and feebleness

o 由於黃色接近光譜中紅色的一端,所以黃色食物也有振奮作用,能讓人精神集中,所以在精神渙散的夜晚,喝一杯甘菊茶就能讓思維重新進入狀態;since the yellow coloer is close to an end of red color in spectrum, so yellow color foods also with sphere of action of inspiration, to make

people concentrate spiritually, so, to take one cup of sweet chrysanthemum tea can make thought back to proper condition on the night when you have lax or slack spirit

o 柑桔的皮、肉、絡、核都可入藥,有理氣健胃、止咳平喘的作用,富含的果膠能降血壓,橙皮甙和蘆丁具有強化血管壁、提高毛細血管抵抗能力的作用,從而可以防治高血壓和動脈硬化等成人病,其含有的類檸檬素、類黃酮、類胡蘿蔔素等各種抗癌活性物質,對胃腸癌、肺癌、皮膚癌等多種癌症有良好的防治作用,對預防成人肥胖症和糖尿病也有一定作用;

the skin, meat, network, and core of orange can make into medicine, to adjust Chi and get stomatch healthy, stop coughing and to even pant, with plenty pectin can reduce blood pressure, 橙皮甙 and 蘆丁 may strengthen blood tube and to raise resistance ability of blood capill, so can prevent adult disease of high blood pressure and artery’s hardeness

o 玉米和香蕉等還是很好的垃圾清理劑,因其有強化消化系統與肝臟的功能,同時還能清除血液中的毒素,玉米還能明眸善睞;

corn and banana are also very good cleansing stuff for trash, because they have function of strengthen digestion system and livers, can clean

away toxins in blood, corn can also bring us bright eyes


5. 白色食物代表金(肺、大腸和鼻):如洋蔥、大蒜和梨等 White foods represent gold (lung, big intestines and nose) : such as onion, garlic and pear

o 具有抗敏感及炎症功能。 with function of anti-sensitiveness and anti-inflammation

使用很簡單,知道自己什麼不好,照套用即可。如咬到舌頭者,吃二個紅色的番茄;容易感冒者,多吃些白色的雪梨;口腔潰瘍者,多吃些黃色的橙……,余此類推。it’s easy to use above knowledge, if you know what no good of your body, just do it abide by above rules, for example, if you bite your tongue, you can take 2 red tomatoes ; those who easily catch cold, you can take white snow pears often ; if the mouth with ulcer, you can take yellow orange often….


some prefer sweetness, some prefer hot and spicy foods, some prefer salty foods, if reflects people’s inner personality by showing people’s favorite about food’s taste.

from the point of view of metaphysics, people who bron in different month, the percentage of 五行 in their fate format are different, if want to naturally raise good luck,

just have to avoid something bad and approach something good when taking foods.


a year with 12 months, people who born in different month with their own representitive 五行’s attribute. the first month in Chinese calendar and the 2nd month are months for prosperous 木 ; the 4th and 5th months in Chinese calendar are months for prosperous 火 ; the 7th and 8th months in Chinese calendar are months for prosperous 金 ; the 10th and 11th months in Chinese calendar are months for prosperous 水 ; the 3rd, the 6th, the 9th and the 12th months in Chinese calendar are months for prosperous 土.

五行多除少補 to delete extra 五行 and to supply more 五行 when insufficient


just because all skills can’t seperate from 五行, so, how to manage or to handle what we need in life is to take more about foods which are helpful for producing goodluck, then, you may promote luck “by yourself”.


in addition to fate format, we can also differentiate food’s 5 kinds of tastes into 五行, among them, bitterness belongs to 金 (gold), sourness belongs to 木 (wood), saltness belongs to 水 (water), hot and spicy belongs to 火 (fire), sweetness belongs to 土 (soil). according to the principle of 五行 that make each of them with positive interaction, people who with prosperous 木, better take gold and soil, can eat more about bitter and sweet foods ; people who with prosperous fire, better take gold and water, can eat more about bitter and salt foods ; people who with prosperous gold, better take wood and fire, can eat more about sour and spicy foods ; people who with prosperous water, better take fire and soil, can eat more about spicy and sweet foods ; people who with prosperous soil, better take wood, can eat more about sour foods.


Translation: Author unknown

Written by NoToes

14/07/2010 at 20:00

Stan Shih in Pictures

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stan shih 2012 01

Stan Shih 2012 in an interviev with Asian Consumer Insight

(retrieved 14.09.2013 at



Mrs. Carolyne Yeh September 2009

(The first Lady at the right side)

Read the full story at LIFE.


2009 / Source


Q & A: STAN SHIH OF ACER, Computing Success by Carrie Kirby, Chronicle Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle March 25, 2002, 04:00 AM – Read the full interview with the SanFranciscoChronicle by Carrie Kirby the web or get it here.


Stan Shih 2002 by Chris Stowers for  an interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.





(retrieved 14.09.2013 at



Premier Sun Yun-suan is briefed by Stan Shih, former chairman and chief executive officer of Acer Group, on the situation of the electronics industry at the 1982 Taiwan Electronics Show. (Courtesy of Sun Yun-suan Foundation)

Get the whole story from Taiwan Journal in the web or here.

(retrieved 14.09.2013)


Stan Shih before 1980 (?) Source: oneVillage received 30.12.2010



(Last row, second person on the right) Photo from  an interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.


Photo from  an interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.


It’s impressing, how much those eyes tell. On the one hand, Mr. Shih is exceptional, but on the other hand, this photo is an interesting document about Taiwanese history. Shiu Lien appears with a rather doubtfull expression, and little Stan Shih does not even look into the camera. Without words, this picture describes the fight for survival of a young Chinese mother in the middle of the 20th century.


Stan Shih 施振榮

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施振榮 (Shī Zhènróng or Chen Jung) / Dr. PhD. h.c. mult. Stan Shih

Stan Shih (Traditional Chinese: 施振榮, Hanyu Pinyin: Shī Zhènróng or Chen Jung, born December 8 ( or 18 ?), 1944 in Lukang Township, Changhua County, Taiwan. Former President and founder of the Acer Group.

Married to Carolyn Yeh (Yeh Chi Hua) on September 28, 1971, with whom he has 3 children.


Stan Shih 2008


Genealogy (Ancestors)

Father: Shih Chi Shen (owned “The Shi Family Beautiful Jade Incense Shop”) + 13.02.1948

Grandfather father`s side: Shih Yi Chou, + 1953

Mother: Chen Shiu Lien (nickname Ah Shiu) 1923 – 02.09.2001

Grandfather mother`s side: Chen Mu Sung

Grandmother mother`s side Chen Yu Chou

Grand- Grandfather mother`s side: Liao Yen (opened the “Temple of Heavenly Virtue”)

Grand- Grandmother mother`s side: Chen Fen

Wife: Carolyn Yeh (Yeh Chi Hua)

Father in Law: Yeh Hsin (*1944?)

Mother in Law: Wang Ai Mei


Biography of Stan Shih – Made In Taiwan by Robert H. Chen (abstract)

Childhood in Lukang until the 1944 – 1960

Photo from  an interview with Stan Shih from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here. (Ann. of the editor: this photo must have benn taken around 1950. It looks professional, so the little family must have paid money for this picture. How comes, they made a photo with this quite unhappy facial expression?  Was it taken 1948, after Chi Shen`s (his father`s)  death? What was the purpose of this photography? Can anyone help? )


When I was a child, I was an introvert and did not like to be in the spotlight. And my views were often different from others; neither did I like to follow the norm.

Shih in “Me Too is not my Style”


(…) Starting before dawn, Shiu Lien (Ah Shiu) would knit sweaters on the knitting machine. When the markets opened, she would sell duck eggs and patriotic raffles (ann. of the editor: betel nuts). When the grade school closed for the day, she would sell pens and paper to the homeward-bound students. In the evening, she would hurry to deliver duck eggs to the restaurants, and on the way, she would peedle lottery tickets and incense sticks. (…)

(…) ” Helping my mother do business when I was young greatly influenced my thoughts about business enterprise in the later years.” (…)

(…) Selling duck eggs and stationary goods in the same store provided an opportunity for comparison.The profit marge in selling duck eggs was very thin indeed: At the same time, one Jin (or catty, 600 grams or 1,33 pounds) of duck eggs sold for three dollars (7,5 U.S. cents). One could make 30 cents profit (,75 cents), a small profit margin of only ten percent. Further, duck eggs easily spoiled. If one did not sell it on time, they would become rotten, resulting a total loss. Stationary, on the other hand, had a very high profit margin, ten dollars of sale would usually result in at least four dollars profit, a margin of forty percent. Further, stationary was not perishable. One could leave them there for a year, two years, and they still could be sold. Clearly, it seems, it is better to sell stationary goods than duck eggs. “Actually”, as Stan liked to point out, “selling duck eggs makes a lot more money than selling stationary”. (…)


The Wiki about Lukang

“During the Qing Dynasty, the depth of Lugang’s harbour and its proximity to Fujian province on mainland China made Lugang an important trading port. During Lugang’s heyday from 1785 to 1845, Lugang’s population reached 200,000. Lugang was Taiwan’s second largest city after current Tainan and was larger than Bangka (now a district of Taipei), then the island’s third-largest city.

The subsequent silting of the harbour and the city’s refusal to allow railroads to pass through the city led to losses in trade in commerce, which, in turn led to Lugang’s decline. This same decline, however, averted the modernization processes that demolished historical buildings in Tainan and Taipei, leaving Lugang preserved as it was in its heyday. There are still many old temples in Lugang, such as Longshan Temple and Matzu Temple. The city boasts over 200 temples dedicated to a wide variety of folk deities.”


Youth in Chang Hua (Middle Taiwan)1960 – 1967

Shih in “Me Too is not my Style”:

While in high school, my academic performance was not outstanding and could only be rated above average. However, during my junior year, I surprisingly won first place in a school wide mathematics/science contest. In fact, I did not pay special efforts to the science subjects; I worked hard on the liberal arts subjects but I did not get good grades in return. This incident gave me great confidence and laid the foundation for my future development in engineering.


(Last row, second person on the right) Photo from  an interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.


(…) During his High School days in Chang Hua in central Taiwan, (…) Stan had never left Chang Hua. He was a typical country boy, who was shy, introvertedand thoroughly lacking social graces. On the few occasians he had to speak to a girl, his face would turn beet red.   (…)

(…) In high school one day, a group of students were caught gambling in the classroom. Luckily Chen Jung was only watching at that time (although he was fully prepared to join in the fun) and was not named when the school counsellors used the transgressing students in a campaign to eradicate gambling among students. The transgressors were rounded up and taken to the school disciplinarian who assessed a severe demerit for each student and informed the parents. (Once afoul  of the law or other authorities, the offender and his family are stigmatized for life.) (…)

(Ann. of the editor: Stan Shih must have finished high school around 1962. It is not clear how he spent his time during the years 1963 – 1967. He probably prepared to pass the exams for entering a “good” university. Depending on the marks, the students could choose what university they wanted to go to.)

1967 (…) The first time Stan took the examination, he made it into Chen Kung University`s mathematics department. (…)


Student Years at the National Chiao Tung University (Chiao-Ta) 1968 – 1970

“In 1968, Stan passed the examination for Chiao-Ta`s Electronic Engineering Research Institute. (…) His plan at that time was to pursue an academic career. (…) Stan made arrangements for deferred registration at the Chiao-Ta and then began his military service. Wit his background in electronics, he easily passed the examination to become a training officer and was assigned to the Phoenix Mountain Army Officer`s School in Southern Taiwan as an assistant instructor in physics. After the obligatory thirteen months of service, Stan returned to Chiao-Ta to begin graduate studies.”

1969, “In his second year at the institute, Stan attended a conference on “Modern Engineering” where he was exposed to many new ideas about industrial management.”  This must have widened his view to see all aspects of an electronic product like branding, production, marketing, service or sales.

At college, most of the ambitious student went to the US in order to return with the best possible qualification for becoming chairmen or presidents of major local (public or privately owned) enterprises. But Stan Shih was obviously more interested in practical business rather than research and development.

In those years Stan Shih changed his character. With his clear visions he suddenly had an approach to other people. From an “nerd” he emerged to a successful organiser.

Like many Chinese, Stan Shih liked to play ping-pong. At Chiao-Ta he became the captain of the official school team: “As captain, he had administrative duties which he enthusiastically performed, including a (2 month!) student competition. (…) Stan was also captain of the volleyball team, and president of the camera, chess and bridge clubs. (…) The shy introverted bumkin he become an engaging and forceful student leader.” Chen cites Stan Shih: ”In organising the ping-pong competition, I became to know and I became friends with all the other students. I learned how to organise and serve. It was a great help to me in later days in business.”

This change in Stan Shih`s character must have happened with a very short period: ” In the summer of his first year at Chiao Ta (1970), Stan invited all college and university students from Lukang for a dance party at the house his mother built for him. The house became a center for chess, bridge and dancing lessons and so on, a sort of Lukang student union building.”

This surely caused some concern to his mother, “who would often ride her bicycle from her store to check on what was going on with her now seemingly hyperactive son.”

Stan was a very promising young student, so his professors (as well as his mother) urged him to go to the USA. But getting in contact with modern industrial management ” made him begin to believe that a career could be successfully developed in industry as well as in academia. “ In 1970 Stan must have had developed clear visions about his career: to bridge the gap between engineering and management. In 1971, at Unitron, Stan brought his visions to life: “Maybe because it was because I was thinking about the final product while I was in the research and development stage. (…) I also tried to form an image of how the final product would look and what it’s markets would be. (…) I would package my circuit and take it to a local acrylic sign maker and have him making a casting for it. I was then able to present a finished product to my boss for his appraisal, and he could access it with an eye on how it would sell. I would also include a product cost analysis in my report, so I could also offer my opinion on weather my product was commercially feasible or not.”

In Chinese society the individual is more embedded into the surrounding than in western societies. It was an act of rebellion especially towards his hard working mother not to go for further studies abroad.

Chen indicates another motive in his book, which may also have played a role. “But thoughts of leaving his mother alone were a powerful dissuasive factor.”

Chiao Tung University Chinese:

Chiao Tung University English:


Yeh Chi Hua / Carolyn Yeh

1968 Carolyn was introduced to Stan Shih by a classmate. “ One day, during Stan`s junior year , his classmate was writing a letter to his girlfriend at the Fu-Jen University (Carolyn`s classmate) and Stan, noticing what he was doing, suggested a note at the end of the letter asking for help in finding a girlfriend for him.”

Carolyn tells: “In my sophomore year, my best friend and classmate told me one day that she wanted to introduce a boy to me. But she said: This boy does not know anything; in fact, he is less sophisticated than the least sophisticated boy in our school. (Ann. of the editor: today we would use the word “nerd”.) I thought to myself, if he is so out of it, why is she introducing him to me? Whereupon, as if reading my thoughts, she said, >But he is smart! And he is very well-behaved and dependable.< I thought to myself, well, why not? There is nothing to lose. I`ll have a look on him”

Stan Shih tells. “I was so taken by her that I began to write to her every day. (…) In the beginning I must say, she wasn`t very enthusiastic.” Stan kept on writing letters and waited for a reply. “Sometimes her classmate would try to shame her into writing, and if that didn`t work, sit her down and force her to write return letters to Stan.” Also Carolyn`s mother seemed to work towards this relationship “sometimes inviting Stan in for dinner”, while he was in Taipei jobbing in summer vacation.

1969, only one year later, Carolyn and Stan opened their engagement plans to their families. Carolyn recalls: “ Our family family was relatively well-off; Stan`s family had only his mother. My father was concerned that Stan was marrying me for the money and that my future Mother-in-Law would make life difficult for me. (…) Fortunately, Carolyn`s mother was for the marriage and pushed things through. Still, Yeh Hsin sent an emissary to Lukang to check up on the Shih family`s situation, and upon receiving a satisfactory report, finally agreed to the engagement. In accord with a certain “secret engagement” custom of the time, the engagement was not celebrated with an announcement and reception. Only the parents were present at a small ceremony where rings were exchanged.“

After 13 months of military service, and “about four months after graduating from the Research Institute, Stan and Carolyn were married on Teacher`s Day, September 28, 1971 (…).”


Unitron 1971 – 1972

Unitron was established 1969 by the “father of Taiwanese semiconductor industry” Prof. Shih Ming and the young engineer Andrew Chiu. Chen describes Unitron as “Taiwan`s first semiconductor company (and first high-tech enterprise).” The main investor was the family Lin, so the eldest son Mr. Lin Pei Yuan became president of Unitron. “When Stan started at Unitron, he was assigned to the R&D division together with his fellow Ciao-Ta graduate Lin Chia Ho (Fred Lin)” (without any bounds to the investor).

Chen: “Stan developed Taiwan`s first desktop calculator at Unitron and it came to market on April 26, 1971 (1972?) (…) Although the desktop calculator was not a commercial success, in Taiwan`s technological history, it must be considered as a milestone as one of the first truly technically commercial products, produced entirely by a Taiwan company. (…) He was doing such a great job that Unitron`s principal investor, the Lin family, began thinking about closing Unitron down and having Stan start up a new company, named Qualitron, to concentrate on manufacturing calculators.(…) He had been at Unitron for exactly 14 months.”


Qualitron 1972 -1976

Stan Shih recalls in his book “Me too is not my Style” : “I had been at Unitron for about a year and three months when Vincent Lin, the third son of the Lin family, invested in another company called Qualitron and invited me to join the start up company. Qualitron was positioned as a professional manufacturer specializing in calculator manufacturing, with its own brand name and OEM business. With its own brand name, technology and stable profit, it was one of the most popular companies at that time. (…) As president of the company, Vincent Lin was responsible for marketing andindustrial design; while as the vice president, I was responsible for R&D, manufacturing, business development and purchasing. (…) During the second half of 1976, as Qualitron’s financial problem became irremediable, George Huang, Fred Lin, and I, who were in the R&D department, had to leave the company. Together, we hastily founded Multitech with the initial target being the new microprocessor market. ”


Stan Shih goes on (tells the story of his career)

stan shih 2012 02

(retreived 14.09.2013 at


To be continued…

“Made in Taiwan – The Story of Acer Computers” by Robert H. Chen, Linking Publishing Co., Taiwan, 1996 ISBN 957-8496-24-9 if not marked differently.



Stan Shih about Stan Shih

(…) He also said that at the APEC conference, someone mentioned he had a strange accent. In fact it was an accent of Lu-kang (…).

Changhua County Government, 06.11.2007, in the web or here.



Sharing is one form of happiness. When you obtain interesting information, you naturally share it with others. This kind of thinking has brought me certain advantages. It’s a little like religion – like believing that Jesus gives you eternal life. I for one believe that helping others is the best way to help yourself. Although the connection is indirect, it’s sustainable. That’s my winning strategy,

By Yu-chi Su, from CommonWealth Magazine Published: July 03, 2008 – Get the whole interview in the web or here.


About his Family

(…) My mother taught me how to treat my wife and children well. My mother-in-law taught my wife how to be a good daughter to my mother and a good mother to my family. Whenever my wife visited her own mother, my mother-in-law would ask her to go back home at around nine o’clock at night to stay with my mother. They were considerate. And this was of great help to my marriage. (…)

(My wife) is of great help indeed. First, she took care of my mother and my children so that I could concentrate on my business without looking behind. Second, she also took up a great deal of responsibilities in the development of my company. She was also a part of the management team. I felt secure concerning the items given to her responsibility. Third, sometimes, when encountering width difficulties, she would go forth to play the role of the “bad guys” and allowed me the comfort of being the “nice guys”. Many difficult problems were solved through such means.

Well, I don’t consider myself to be romantic. I don’t have sweet words for her. But I give her security and comfort through my actions. (…) In fact, up to now, I had never bought flowers to my wife.

I allow my children to grow and develop naturally without any pressure. However, in the past, I did have some expectations for myself to achieve in order to help win respect for my mother.

Interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.



When globalizing, you always have limited resources of talent and capital. The best way to globalize is therefore to localize, to integrate the local resources of talent and capital and integrate it with the parent company. We think in terms of “global brand, local touch,” and try to for a group that leverages the size of the parent company but still draws on the experience of the local partners.   You must have a common vision and a goal, but implementation must be based upon the local leaders’ management style.

In the past, control is controlled by who owns 51% of the company.  It makes much more sense to control a company by managing the common interest of the people inside of it. This kind of approach, however, takes longer to establish because you have to establish a consensus, which requires a lot of communication and mutual trust.  And then we can share the common vision and common goal and reach strategies that serve the mutual benefit.

Leadership is the process of achieving a dream together, especially when that dream seems impossible to achieve.  Leaders have to be open minded, and have to accept the ideas of others, even when they might lead to mistakes.  The best training for leadership is to learn from your mistakes. This means that leaders never argue and they never try to shift blame onto others.  When something goes wrong a leader always asks “what’s wrong with me,” not “what’s wrong with them.”

We have a saying in Taiwan: “it’s better to be the head of a chicken rather than the tail of a cow.” What this means is that most entrepreneurs would prefer to run their own small businesses than work for a big company. The key to recruiting such entrepreneurs is a management philosophy that respects independence,coupled with employee ownership of the company. In a truly effective company, every employee should be a shareholder in a big way.

Abstract from an interview by Geoffrey James on July 2009 at Get the whole interview in the web or here.


It’s important to at least break through many of the conventional approaches. I’m not sure my way is better. I will say it’s a new alternative, at least. I think my personal contribution over the last 25 years has really been to give a lot of young entrepreneurs a lot of hope: Acer can, they can. Stan can, they can.

Read the full interview with the SanFranciscoChronicle by Carrie Kirby 2002 in the web or get it here.


Success and Fate

(…) “Having to take up the challenge when the going gets tough seems to be decreed by fate. It’s not that fate has it in for me in particular, but rather that everybody’s turn comes sooner or later. It’s important to recognize this, otherwise you’ll always blame everyone but yourself. You have to save for a rainy day and be prepared for future challenges, but unforeseeable things will always happen, and when they do you just have to face them.” Shih jests that he will naturally shoulder whatever responsibility comes his way, but he will also let others share responsibility because “it makes me feel better when everyone’s in the same boat.” (…)

Read the full interview from November 2004 by Teng Sue-feng in the web or here.



• “Global Branding Building Strategies” – 2005, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese).

• “Millennium Transformation” – 2004, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese), by Acer Foundation (in English)

• “Growing Global” – 2000, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd (in English).

• “Fresh The Perspective” – 1998, published by Linking Publishing House (in Chinese).

• “Me-Too Is Not My Style”: 1996, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in traditional Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese), by Acer Foundation (in English), (in Japanese, and re-entitled Re-Engineering Acer) Download the full text in the web or here.



id SoftCapital

Stan Shih offers “expertise in asset and fund management, and consulting services” with  iD SoftCapital

See a pdf about Stan Shih`s visions in the web or here.


iD TechVentures Inc.

“iD TechVentures Inc., formerly known as Acer Technology Ventures, is a leading early stage tech venture investor in Greater China.”



His website (Chinese version only) (and the English Google version).



Written by NoToes

19/06/2010 at 08:25

Posted in All Articles, China, Intercultural Economy

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Hope in Different Cultures

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Hope in Chinese Language


Traditional: 希望
Simplified: 希望

First Character: 希 (xī) – rare; infrequent
Second Character: 望 (wàng) – hope; expect; to visit; to gaze (into the distance); look towards; towards

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


The Tao Te King


Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Chinese Symbol for Hope (“we always have hope to face fate”)

The Chinese characters have developed long time ago and haven’t undergone many changes in the course of time. The hope symbol in Chinese culture has a mysterious appearance and is painted with the help of a brush. Traditionally, the hope symbol is drawn on a white rice paper. The paper is decorated with a floral silk pattern that is blue in color. The Chinese art of drawing such symbols is known as calligraphy. The hope symbol is also used as a wall hanging artwork. Bamboo could be used to frame this artwork.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at – sorry, broken link)


In Chinese language, fear and hope refers to 恐惧和希望(kǒnɡjù hé xī wànɡ). Symbols for fear are ghosts, diseases, death, and so on. All these things make people feel hopeless in life, so they try their best to avoid them. Symbols for hope are spring, the color green, the rising sun, and sunflowers. People think green means life is vigorous. The rising sun and sunflowers means life is coming again.

If you have any other questions related to Chinese language, please feel free to contact me at I would be glad to help.-Jennifer

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Hope in Western Culture

The Bible

Röm 15,13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at – please make sure, you get the English version)

Hope is termed a theological virtue because its immediate object is God, as is true of the other two essentially infused virtues, faith and charity. St. Thomas acutely says that the theological virtues are so called “because they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone, as also, finally, because we come to know of them only by Divine revelation in the Sacred Scriptures”. Catholic Encyclopedia

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Greek Mythology – Pandora

The theory of Hesiod,[8] the oldest of all the Greek poets, was that the Titan Prometheus, the son of Iapetus, had formed man out of clay, and that Athene had breathed a soul into him. Full of love for the beings he had called into existence, Prometheus determined to elevate their minds and improve their condition in every way; he therefore taught them astronomy, mathematics, the alphabet, how to cure diseases, and the art of divination. He created this race in such great numbers that the gods began to see the necessity of instituting certain fixed laws with regard to the sacrifices due to them, and the worship to which they considered themselves entitled from mankind in return for the protection which they accorded them. An assembly was therefore convened at Mecone in order to settle these points. It was decided that Prometheus, as the advocate of man, should slay an ox, which should be divided into two equal parts, and that the gods should select one portion which should henceforth, in all future sacrifices, be set apart for them. Prometheus so divided the ox that one part consisted of the bones (which formed of course the least valuable portion of the animal), artfully concealed by the white fat; whilst the other contained all the edible parts, which he covered with the skin, and on the top of all he laid the stomach.

Zeus, pretending to be deceived, chose the heap of bones, but he saw through the stratagem, and was so angry at the deception practised on him by Prometheus that he avenged himself by refusing to mortals the gift of fire. [25]Prometheus, however, resolved to brave the anger of the great ruler of Olympus, and to obtain from heaven the vital spark so necessary for the further progress and comfort of the human race. He accordingly contrived to steal some sparks from the chariot of the sun, which he conveyed to earth hidden in a hollow tube. Furious at being again outwitted, Zeus determined to be revenged first on mankind, and then on Prometheus. To punish the former he commanded Hephæstus (Vulcan) to mould a beautiful woman out of clay, and determined that through her instrumentality trouble and misery should be brought into the world.

The gods were so charmed with the graceful and artistic creation of Hephæstus, that they all determined to endow her with some special gift. Hermes (Mercury) bestowed on her a smooth persuasive tongue, Aphrodite gave her beauty and the art of pleasing; the Graces made her fascinating, and Athene (Minerva) gifted her with the possession of feminine accomplishments. She was called Pandora, which means all-gifted, having received every attribute necessary to make her charming and irresistible. Thus beautifully formed and endowed, this exquisite creature, attired by the Graces, and crowned with flowers by the Seasons, was conducted to the house of Epimetheus[9] by Hermes the messenger of the gods. Now Epimetheus had been warned by his brother not to accept any gift whatever from the gods; but he was so fascinated by the beautiful being who suddenly appeared before him, that he welcomed her to his home, and made her his wife. It was not long, however, before he had cause to regret his weakness.

He had in his possession a jar of rare workmanship, containing all the blessings reserved by the gods for mankind, which he had been expressly forbidden to open. But woman’s proverbial curiosity could not withstand so great a temptation, and Pandora determined to solve the mystery at any cost. Watching her opportunity she raised the lid, and immediately all the blessings which [26]the gods had thus reserved for mankind took wing and flew away. But all was not lost. Just as Hope (which lay at the bottom) was about to escape, Pandora hastily closed the lid of the jar, and thus preserved to man that never-failing solace which helps him to bear with courage the many ills which assail him.[10]

Having punished mankind, Zeus determined to execute vengeance on Prometheus. He accordingly chained him to a rock in Mount Caucasus, and sent an eagle every day to gnaw away his liver, which grew again every night ready for fresh torments. For thirty years Prometheus endured this fearful punishment; but at length Zeus relented, and permitted his son Heracles (Hercules) to kill the eagle, and the sufferer was released.

Read the whole “Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome” from E.M. Berens online at the Gutemberg Project or download the pdf here.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at



Those of us raised in Western culture were never taught that fear is the price of hope. Rather, we can’t envision life without hope. Hell, according to Dante, is the place devoid of hope; he warned Christians condemned there to “abandon all hope, ye who enter herein.” The Hebrew prophets warned that without vision, the people perish.
Hope is what propels us into action. We’ve been taught to dream of a better world as the necessary first step in creating one. We create a clear vision for the future we want, then we set a strategy, make a plan, and get to work. We focus strategically on doing only those things that have a high probability of success.
As long as we “keep hope alive” and work hard, our endeavors will create the world we want. How could we do our work if we had no hope that we’d succeed?
Motivated by hope, but then confronted by failure, we become depressed and demoralized. Life becomes meaningless; we despair of changing things for the better. At such a time, we learn the price of hope. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by its companion, fear of failing.

Margaret Wheatley

(retrieved 29.05.2012 at – sorry, broken link)


(reviewed 20.02.2014)

Schulz von Thun’s Four Sides Model of Interpersonal Communication

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Interpersonal Communication Theory of Schulz von Thun (Four Sides Model)

Friedemann Schulz von Thun (*06.08.1944) enlarges the Watzlawick Model of communication by adding two more layers: the Self Revealing Layer and the Appeal Layer. These four Layers shape the Square of Communication (Kommunikationsquadrat):

  • Content Layer (CL) aka Sachebene (facts)

  • Relationship Layer (RL) aka Beziehungsseite (what I think of you)

  • Self Revealing Layer (SRL) aka Selbstkundgabe (who I am)

  • Appeal Layer (AL) aka Appellseite (what I want you to do)

Get his material here or download a pdf from Schulz von Thun directly here. For more information please visit his website or check his portrait at the Akademie für Konflikttransformation.

German users may refer to additional information on his website.

Deutschsprachige Besucher finden hier weiterführende Informationen.



“Muender und Ohren” / Tongues and Ears – Applications of Schulz von Thun`s Theories

Schulz von Thus explicitly uses the words “Muender und Ohren” (literally Mouths and Ears) for expressing his theory about different layers of communication. The “Mouth” represents the sender, the “Ears” represent the recipient. In this translation/edition I will use the word “Tongue” instead “mouth” due to the fact, that the word “Language” derived from Latin “Lingua” – “Tongue”)
Within the same culture exists a common system of values, experiences and communication. Leaving this common ground can lead to typical misunderstandings.

Chinese Ears and Chinese Tongues

„Words cannot express a thought completely“ noted Confucius about the I Ging. He was aware of the limitations of language. For expressing a thought, Confucius needs the impression (picture), the character (logograph) and finally adds his finding (or taking action).

Pictograph                Logographs (Shan-Mountain / Men-Door)

Chinese characters are logographs. That logographs derived from images or pictographs. Some Chinese logographs are still similar to the pictograph. Read more about Chinese and western characters at Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language

Logographs are not meant to express a thought precisely or distinguish different approaches. A single character can have different meanings, so it needs a lot of imagination, or active listening to understand a message. Sentences need to be “encoded” or interpreted by the recipient. (See E.T. Hall – High Context Cultures.) To understand the specific content it needs additional information (context).

Chinese Sender / Chinese Tongue

Content Layer (less distinct) In Chinese culture the Content layer needs additional information to understand. It is influenced by other layers more than in German culture. When the Content Layer leaves space for different interpretations (in respect of other layers), it harbors the risk of misinterpretations. Words are chosen more carefully for leaving enough space for the recipients.

Relationship Layer (highly distinct) How a content is delivered may also indicate the relationship between the sender and recipient. For making sure, that the CL is completely understood, the RL must be taken into account. The same content can have very different meanings depending on the recipient. Relationships have a long perspective (Long Term Orientation) and should be treated with priority.

Self Revealing Layer (less distinct) Harmony in Asia means a well structured hierarchical system in a “natural balance”. In order to keep this balance, a Chinese sender tends to avoid the Self Revealing Layer. Stressing the Self Revealing Layer indicates a deep gap between the sender and recipient or used as harsh critic. (It is still perilous in most parts of Asia to express personal political ideas in public.)

Appeal Layer (highly distinct) Since the Relationship Layer plays such a dominant part in communication, personal wishes are not clearly said but expressed in appeals.

Chinese Recipient / Chinese Ears

Content Layer (less distinct) The unspoken additional context leaves space for different interpretations. A Chinese recipient would not react spontaneously to certain words, but rather to situations. Words itself represent only limited information for Chinese recipients. A Chinese recipient usually adds different sources for information (body language, situation, sound,…) by himself. The Content Layer is only one layer of others and represents only a part of the message. Other layers may play a more important part in understanding a message.

Relationship Layer (highly distinct) The way the content is sent plays an important role to understand the content itself. The content depends on the estimated value for the recipient and can vary.

Self Revealing Layer (less distinct) The way the sender stresses the Self Revealing Layer points at the recipient, and not to the sender. When stressed, than for pointing at the recipient, and not to the sender.

Appeal Layer (highly distinct) The Appeal Layer is highly developed in Chinese culture. The “Chinese Appeal Ear” notices all indirect expressed wishes to balance the relationship. It helps to understand the Content Layer and corresponds with the relationship Layer. Neglecting the Appeal Layer can lead to deep conflicts in relationships.


German Ears and German Tongue

German language is meant to express information very precisely. Grammar includes different conjugations and declinations for transporting as much information as possible in the most efficient way. It does not need additional information (context) to understand a specific message (See E.T. Hall – Low Context Cultures.)

German Sender / German Tongue

Content Layer (highly distinct) A German sender expresses himself as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings. In opposite to Chinese senders, language is not regarded as a source of misunderstandings. Abstract information can be expressed comparatively well defined. Clear words are regarded as honest and true. The Content Layer is also used for expressing “the unspeakable”. Criticism is widely used to show how much the sender cares.

Relationship Layer (less distinct) Relationships are shown in deeds and not in words. Being punctual or keeping promises is widely felt as a sign of sympathy, respect and honesty. Neglecting settlements can cause severe damage on a relationship.

Self Revealing Layer (highly distinct) Expressing (and/or discussing) personal thoughts and moods is often felt as “being close to someone”. It is essential for any relationship to share those personal matters. Different opinions are respected or appreciated.

Appeal Layer (less distinct) German senders usually do not respect the recipient’s situation. Messages are clear and usually do not content hidden messages. Therefore Germans are respected as trustful and honest, but also naive and awkward.

German recipient / German Ears

Content Layer (highly distinct) Germans tend to stress the Content Layer in communication. A German recipient focuses on this layer most, neglecting other layers. The content of a message can be understood without or a minimum of additional information. Small Talk is often seen as unpleasant and inefficient. Often German senders “hide” other layers within the Content Layer. Emotions or “unspeakable messages” are drawn into the Content Layer. “True and honest” words can be felt as insult, and often enough meant this way.

Relationship Layer (less distinct) The Relationship Layer is not very distinct in German culture. A relationship is often shaped on the Content Layer. Authenticity and reliability make a person trustful. Keeping settlements is a good way to show respect and/or sympathy.

Self Revealing Layer (highly distinct) German culture is highly influenced by the idea of individuality. Sharing very personal thoughts can be a good way to approach other individuals. A German recipient needs this information to establish a relationship. A person holding back personal thoughts is regarded as not trustful, hiding something or “being fishy”.

Appeal Layer (less distinct) On the Appeal Layer the German recipient is mostly numb. The ability of “active listening” is not much developed. It is hard for a German recipient to understand implicit messages. Not corresponding on the Appeal Layer is often felt as “cold” or impersonal.

(Adopted/translated from Lei Wang/Cologne, Münder und Ohren, 2008)


Abschiedsvortrag von Schulz von Thun in Hamburg im November 2009, absolut sehenswert: . Friedemann Schulz von Thun erzählt von seinem Leben und Wirken anhand seiner Theorien.


Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Learning Chinese Language

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Funny video about how hard it is to learn Chinese language

Sheldon learning Chinese on Youtube.

“You just called Leonard a syphilitic donkey.”


Or enjoy Sheldon speaking Chinese.


Revised 01.04.2012

Cultural Aspects of Information Management in China

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Cultural Aspects of Information Management in China (Abstract)

Collectivistic Background

Chinese culture is a collectivist culture which stresses the interdependence and long-term mutual obligations between individuals and organizations. People are expected to follow group values and initiatives. As found in the study of western ecommerce diffusion in China, Chinese people prefer small group based operations with emphasis on long-term relationship, interorganizational collaboration and re-negotiation. Another ecommerce study also indicates that collectivist features like clubs, chat rooms and family themes have a higher percentage occurrence on Chinese websites than on US domestic websites.

Chinese collectivism, however, differs substantially from those prevailing in other Asian countries. They are individualistic collectivism where small group or family value is emphasized, rather than society oriented. In contrast to Japanese society, which may be considered as a block of granite, the Chinese resembles a tray of loose sand, where every grain is a family.

This opinion is consistent with the finding of Martinsons and Westwood (1997) that the Chinese power structure is perhaps best represented by a series of concentric circles or “family” with the patriarch in the center. The traditional family values are emphasized in this circle. The Chinese collectivism can be either an inhibitor or enabler of IS practices. Most information is gathered and processed in Chinese environment is intended to support the top managers of various small circles, which results in many independent systems and data that are hard to integrate or share. Such behaviors actually make Chinese collectivism a negative factor in ERP implementation. From above analysis, Chinese collectivism may be seen as individualistic collectivism.

Hierarchical Power Structure

Chinese management philosophy is characterized by centralized authorities as well as directive and hierarchical structures due to the long power distance and paternalistic tendency. The position of top management in Chinese business is overwhelming. No other champion is needed because such a champion would be seen as a challenge to the authority of top management, which often leads to power conflicts. And both top managers and lower level staffs are not comfortable with empowerment because they are accustomed to the practice that key decisions are made by top management. It is also natural that Chinese business leaders use their authorities to facilitate modifying subordinates behaviors in change management.

Unfortunately, Chinese top managers do not appear to realize the importance of IT and IT management. Consequently, they commit less on IT management. Problem arise when Chinese managers rarely accept knowledge input from their subordinates, and when the IT decisions by top management are seldom made with due consultation with end users This may be helpful to speed up IT decision and IT implementation, but such bureaucratic and arbitrary organizational culture is seen as one important cause of IT project failures.

The hierarchy management structure also helps to explain the correlation between power and information in China. Information control is one of the predominant sources of power in China. Critical information in China is selectively preserved instead of being distributed widely. Information is often treated as an individual property and critical information controlled by individual can be used to preserve discretionary power in Chinese organization. It is quite obvious in e-government practices in China where branches of government purposely hold back some information and obstruct large-scale information sharing in order to keep their power and interests.

Uncertainty Tolerance

Uncertainty tolerance is the extent a person feels comfortable in unstructured situations. It is commonly accepted that there are two different cultures, namely, uncertainty avoiding culture and uncertainty accepting culture.

The former tries to minimize uncertainly by taking strict laws and regulations, or risk control measures. The later tolerates ambiguous situation, and tries to live peacefully with it.

The majority of the studies, however, argue that the Chinese culture is uncertainty tolerant. Martinsons (1997) and Lam et al(2005) show that East Asians, especially Chinese people are more comfortable with unclear information. This corresponds with the informal communication path among Chinese that relies more on personal experience. They keep more information among themselves, rather than explicitly express it. It is common in China that you need to guess the “true” meaning of conversation beside the surface information, because Chinese people like to use allusion to tell something they think you should know and would understand.

Based on authors’ own understanding about uncertainty tolerance as native Chinese, the uncertainty avoidance mentioned in the literature is mainly because of the importance of information for the power, rather than unable to tolerate the uncertainty. So the idea that Chinese culture is uncertainty tolerant is supported. Contrary to the traditional thinking that Chinese people are more conservative in regard to change, the literature demonstrates that Chinese people’s attitude seems to be more positive toward change and towards new technology when they come to experience it.

Both Collis (1995) and Brown et al(1998) conclude that people from China hold more positive attitudes on change and new technologies than those from countries that they compare, namely, UK, US and Japan.

Intuitive Decision Making

The way that Chinese people make decisions or solve problems is relatively unstructured compared with westerners “the Chinese’s decisions are comparatively implicit, relying on analogical and correlative thinking, rather than on rational and analytic thinking”. Although Chinese managers refer to information or data to support decision making process, only a few data analysis is used even when deciding the most important issues.

The entrepreneurial model of strategy making that relies on personal knowledge and intuition rather than objective criteria or formal and quantitative method is dominant in Chinese decision making. Therefore, “the decision making process usually involves few people and takes short time to make”.

The decision making of Chinese people is also characterized to be highly contextual. Regulation and rules may play important role in directing the decision, but in most situations, Chinese people like to adopt “the individual-policy-for-individual-issue approach”, which means that the executors of rules usually can find some room for themselves to make flexible decisions.

Cultural Aspects of IS in China
Xiang-Hua Lu / School of Management, Fudan University
Michael S H Heng / National University of Singapore

Download the full pdf here.

The PACIS (Pacific Asia Conference on IT Systems) has tons of other interesting material and is worth a visit.


The I Ging – structure in East Asian Collectives (Natural Order)

This Matrix defines the Relationship Layer (Ranking/Relation) and the Appeal Layer (Distance/Approach). Still many Asian companies follow this structure.


Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here.


Chinese River

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Nice picture about a river in ancient China. It shows the people living at the river, kind of cartoon style. The original must be several meters long. Click on the pic to open in a new window and enlarge with a second click or simply scroll right.

Unfortunately I have no idea about date, region and artist. Can anyone help?

Written by NoToes

20/03/2010 at 18:23

Laotse and Confucius – Fundamental Traits in Asian Thinking

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(…) Nor can it be said truly that a pure-blooded Chinese could ever quite disagree with Chuangtse’s ideas. Taoism is not a school of thought in China, it is a deep, fundamental trait of Chinese thinking, and of the Chinese attitude toward life and toward society. It has depth, while Confucianism has only a practical sense of proportions; it enriches Chinese poetry and imagination in an immeasurable manner, and it gives a philosophic sanction to whatever is in the idle, freedom- loving, poetic, vagabond Chinese soul. It provides the only safe, romantic release from the severe Confucian classic restraint, and humanizes the very humanists themselves; therefore when a Chinese succeeds, he is always a Confucianist, and when he fails, he is always a Taoist. As more people fail than succeed in this world, and as all who succeed know that they succeed but in a lame and halting manner when they examine themselves in the dark hours of the night, I believe Taoist ideas are more often at work than Confucianism. Even a Confucianist succeeds only when he knows he never really succeeds, that is, by following Taoist wisdom. (…)

With special thanks to Milanda: The Chuang Tzu, translated by Yutang Lin at

Gabor Terebess runs a nice online database with many relevant works about the Tao wich is definitely worth a visit.

Download the Chuang Tzu as pdf here.

Download the The Analects of Confucius 論語 as pdf here or read online at


(reviewed 02.10.2013)

History of Chinese Music

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Richard Wilhelm (* 10. Mai 1873; † 02.03. 1930)  described Chinese music as a band, which unites the society and delights even the immaterial world. The beauty of the music attracted Gods, ancestors or any divine creatures. Even enemies to the Chinese empire surrendered  because of the beauty of the music.

The History of Chinese Music (by Liang, M. Y. 1985)

“Yin Yueh” (music) was traditionally considered to be one of the four fundamental societal functions together with morals, law and politics.  Primarily because of this emphasis, every fedual state, dynasty and republic throughout history had established an official music organization or bureau of music.

Shang (ca.16th-11th centuries B.C.), Zhou (1075-221B.C.)
According to literary documents, the Zhouperiod music had always been regarded as the foundation and crystallization of Chinese music for later dynasties.  The complete model of court and ritual ceremonial music, music education system, the variety of musical styles, the grand music offices, and instrumentation were seeds of music for the subsequent dynasties.

Qin (221 B.C.-207 B.C.) and Han Dynasties (206 B.C.-A.D. 220)
During this period, therefore were significant inter-and cross-cultural musical influences. among the diverse sub-cultures of Chinese empire, and also between China and its geographic-economic affliates.  In addition to the native court musical instruments, that is, the zithers, panpipes, transverse flutes, vessel flutes, and a variety of barrel-shaped, stick membranophones, bells and lithophones, there were several new instruments introduced during this period.  The were derived from regional and foreign sources.  The most significant regional instrument to be introduced to the imperial court was the oblong bridged zither, the zheng, which was a native instrument of the former Qin kingdom.  With the unification of China under Qin ruler and foundation of the Qin dynasty, the zheng soon became nationally popular, especially within the different types of urban music.  Besides, during this period many foreign instruments were introduced China, most important of which were the end-blown di flute with four holes, the cylindrical double-reed jiao oboe, the shukongbou standing harp, and the plucked pipa lute.
In actual practice, three modes are know as the most important ones.

Three Kingdom (220-265), Jin (260-420). and the Northern-Southern Dynasty
From 220-589 A.D., China was no longer a unified empire and in its place reigned a number contending kingdoms and states, the majority of which hardly ruled for more than fifty years before being overthrown by another faction.  The most significant musical historical events were importation and assimilation of nonindigenous music, expansion of Han musical style into southern China, new instruments, recognition of solo performance, earliest survival notation, maturity of music aesthetics by Xi Kang, and new conception of tonal systems.

Sui (581-618), Tang (618-907), and Five Dynasties (907-960)
After almost four centuries as a divided nation, China was once again re-united in Sui dynasty.  The followed Tang dynasty had a long period of economic, political and cultural growth.  Traders, official delegates, cultural and religious missions from Central Asia, Vietnam, Japan, India and Korea were drawn to its brilliant capital center and contributed a cosmopolitan sophistication to Tang China.  Foreign musicians resided at the court not only to give performances, but also to provide musical instruction.  The huge music bureau of the court, such as Jiaofang, was know to have in its employment thousands of musicians and dancers for daily performing duties.  The first music academy, Liyuan (“Pear Garden”), was instituted for performance and training of professional young musicians.  Poems by some of the most famous literati of China were set into songs which were almost instantly popular.  This body of ageless poetry was celebrated even in subsequent history, in China and abroad.

The banquet music tradition for aristocracy known as yanyue had already been in practice during the ancient zhou dynasty.  This music nevertheless, was overshadowed by the court ritual-ceremonial music, which was subquently reconstructed during the Han dynasty and called yanyue or “elsgant and refined music”.  It was not untile the Sui and Tang dynasties that uanyue or “banquet music” became the major court musical genre for the first time.  Yanyue was a court musical performance for the nobles and gentries during a state function and during days of festivity.

The program of banquet music consisted of music of native and national minority Chinese as well as the music of neighboring nations.  The foreign music, for example, the music of Samarkand, Bukhara, Fu ran (South Asia), India, and Korea.  These seven non-native styles plus the native styles resulted in a total of ten musical divisions by the early Tang dynasty called the shibu ji or “ten performing divisions”.  However, the division of music was no longer organized by regional and international styles later, but by “standing music” and “sitting music” performance divisions.  The standing division performed mostly outdoors, had a standard repertory, and included from sixty to one-hundred and eighty musicians and dancers.  The sitting division had more of an ensemble quality, and included from three to twelve musicians and dancers.

This change from divisions of stylistic regions to standing and sitting organization indicated that the sinicization of previously imported style had occured by the early 8th century, and that a national high art form of dance-music genre had been created.  Newly composed music took the place of imported musical genres.  Although none of the yanyue repertory survived, except by name along, perhepts a trace of the sitting division style might be seen in the gagaku music of Japanese court.

Music of the Northern Song (960-1127), Southern Song (1127-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) Dynasties

The emergence of industry (iron, textile, for example) and increasing commerce caused a growing bourgeoisie population and a society that was more mobile.  The printing of books made knowledge more accessible and broad literacy to a briader level.  Changes in the arts and literature of this periodled to a new tradition in drama, music, fiction and impressionistic painting that dominated the development in the remaining periods of modern China.  The creation of a new style in popular music, dram and literature were mostly important.  The scholar-officials, who were versatile in poetry, painting and music making, found an expanded audience for their song and word production.  There were for major vocal genres: the poetic ci song, the art song, narrtive music, the zaju variety musical drama.  During this period, qin solo repertory also developed into a grand style.

The ci, often called “long and short verse”, generally two stanza in length, was the new type of poetry developed and perfected by poets of the Song dynasty.  Unlike the popular shi poetic form of the Tang dynasty, which had a uniform number of words per line, the ci was in irregular meter.  Besides, the ci was correlated to music.  The text of a ci was created by fitting words to an existing tune, which was of folk or popular origin and perhaps was also from foreign music that came from Central Asia during the Tang period.  A ci poem therefore was the “filling in” of words to a given musical modal sequence and rhythm scheme in irregular meter.  The practice of using an existing tune in early ci writing was gradually replaced by newly composed melodies by ci poets.  In spite of the popularity of ci songs, only a few of the by Jiang Kuei survived.

The textual content of ci is essentially lyric and sentimental.  It expresses emotions of love, sorrow and the joy of freeing oneself from the mundane, as well as deep feelings of nature.  There are sensuous thoughts of lovely maindens, mournful and longing.  Such are the sentiment of ci songs.

The Art Songs
There are two major types of art songs in this period, the xiaoling “short song” and the changzhuan “drum song”.   The first type of short song is characteristic of 12th- to 13th- century vocal music.  It is brief, uses pre-existing tunes and is textually based on the qu form.  Qu poetry differs from the previously mentioned shi and ci poetry in that qu is generally written in vernacular Chinese; it is popular poetry written by educated poets.  The qu poem usually has rhymed line ending and is largely based on pastoral, seasonal or Taoiststic themes.   An important distinction, however, is that individual xiaoling songs were sometimes were performed by a solo singer to the accompaniment of a wooden clapper.

The changzhuan “drum song” was developed during the Northern Song period.  It was known for its instrumental accompaniment, which included the single-framed stick drum, wooden clapper and transverse flute. It was also distinguished by two kinds of unique formal structures:(1) the changling from which was “introduction, A, A, B, B, C, C, and finale”; and (2) the changda from which was “introduction, A, B, A, B”.  Although none of the actual music of this vocal genre survived, the accompanying instruments were known to have alternated between metered and free rhythmic sections, thereby increasing the dramatization of the text.

The Narrative Songs
During this period there were many types of narrative songs which the zhugongdiao or “melody in multi-modes” was most significant.  This form of narrative song was said to have been introduced by a professional narrative singer, Wang Sanquan, to the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng, sometime between 1068 and 1094.  A lengthy historical or romantic tale was told through the alternation of narration and song, which was accompanied by an instrumentation similar to that of the drum songs, that is, single-frameed drum, wooden clapper, transverse flute and occasionally adding the pipa lute.

The Zaju ” Variety Musical Drama”
Ever science the Tang period (618-906) there had been a distinct direction toward an amalgamation of the speech, music, and gesturing/dancing performing arts.  From the 11th to 13th centuries, we begin to see a culminating fusion between folk songs, drama, narrative music, juggling and acrobatics to form a stage dramatic art.  The zaju ” variety musical drama” was derived from the fact that various stage arts, from singing to satirical comedy and dramatic recitations, made up zaju.

In large cities, so called ” title districts” or amusement centers sprang up where pleasure seekers of different backgrounds could purchase food, amusement, and other novelties.  For example, in the Northern Song capital Bianliang (present-day Kaifeng) between 1102 and 1111, there were some fifty theaters located in these amusement centers.  Performances were held daily, regardless of the weather, and there were always crowds of spectators.  There were different types of entertainment offered: the variety musical dramas which seemed to be the most important feature in the “title districts”, storytelling, martial arts, puppetry, and so on.

The zaju variety musical dramas contained four acts, including an introductory prologue which was usually comical and made up Act One.  Acts Two and Three were the main body and Act Four was the epilogue.  There were five characters involved: (a) a leading male role who was the sole singer in the cast, (b) a supporting male role, (c) a painted face, comic role, (d) an official, and (e) a musician who provided simple instrumental accompaniment on flute and drum.  Apart from the singing role, other characters in the drama had narrating or acting ( including dancing) parts.

The subject of the zaju dramas covered a wide range of topics.  As recorded in the 1398 publication ” The Supreme Tone of Universal Harmony” ( Taihe zhengyin pu) by the playwright Zhu Quan (sixteenth son of the first emperor of the Ming dynasty), some of the zaju subjects were: enlightenment and immortality, kings and ministers, valiant warriors, traitors, advocates of filial piety or integrity, exiled officials, separation, reunion, and romance.

The zaju script provided an opportunity for social commentary and in many ways the variety musical dramas characterized the philosophical and social attitudes of 13th-14th century China.  Taoist religiophilosophical themes and morality were reflected in the variety dramas.  The quest for a simple life, one in harmony with the fundamental law of nature, was seen as a worthy goal in contrast to the vain delusions of wordly fame and material wealth. It must be historically recalled that 14th century China under Mongol rule offered limited and miserable opportunities for the educated Chinese (Han Chinese) class as a whole.  Many of the gentry intellectuals turned toward dramatic endeavors, which created an abundance of playwrights during this period. Writing became not only a livelihood, but more importantly, a way to escape the political and social upheaval.  Taoism and its advocacy of a simple life in nature as the path to obtaining immortality severed as a means to justify one’s own existence in the face of a hopeless socio-political environment.

Ming-Quing Dynasties
The Ming-Qing period was highly productive musically, resulting in developments that are important not only in this period but as high-lights in the whole continuum of Chinese music.  Kun and Peking operas, the art of qin, and regional instrumental music are some of the substanatial areas that warrant more detailed coverage and thus are included as special topics in the second part of this book. Other prominent developments of the period include the areas of theory and musical literature, which will be introduced below.

The Ming-Qing period represents a highly cultivated time and a growing literate society.  Among the class of literati officials, the arts of prose-poetry writing, qin zither playing, calligraphy, and chess playing became the highest goals.  Regrettably, by the 19th century, creativity was replaced by cliche, imitation and conservatism; the arts of this time are generaly criticized as becoming lifeless and stagnant.  However , a great scholarly contribution of this period was the printing of large collections, anthologies and encyclopedic works, many of which have been preserved until our time.  An example of a comprehensive publication for the qin zither is the Yongle qinshu jicheng (” A Collection of Qin Essays”) printed in twenty volumes. Itscontents embody the history, music, theory, tuing methods and poetry on the qin.  One of the most significant qin manuscript-notation collections in existenxe is the Shenqi mipu (“Mysterious and Secret Notations”) published in 1425 by Zhu Quan (the sixteenth son of the first Ming emperor).  Subsequently, there were over a hundred more qin manuscript-notational handbooks printed in the Ming-Qing period.  Another substanrial notational collection is the 1746 publication of 81 volumes, the Jiugong dacheng nanbeici gongpu (“Nations of Northern and Southern Songs in Nine musical Keys”), that was complied by Zhou Xiangyu under imperial auspices.

In addition to the practice of music and literature, a samll group of literati-gentry scholars were also preoccupied with the acoustical principles of music especially related to their investigations in mathematics and numerology.  Among these was a distinguished prince, Zhu Zaiyu(1536-ca.1610), who was an eminent musicologist, mathematican and astronomer in Chinese history, perhaps better known in the later two fields than in music. Prince Zhu is credited with the development of the equal-tempered scale of twelve pitches.

Prince Zhu’s theory for an equal-tempered scale was not implemented into music practices in China.

Besides the prodigious publications and dissemination of qin music and practices, signficant musical developments of this period occurred in the area of urban centers such as Peking and Suyang (Suzhou and Yangzhou ) were entertainment in nature.  The source of this entertainment music was usually folk dervied, that is, from the farms and villages, but which was polished for city/urban consumption.

In Peking the important forms of urban music included the narrative genres such as tanci (not to be confused with southern tanchi), lianhualao (“The Falling Lotus”), and bajiaogu (“Eight-cornered Drum Song”). These were performed outdoors in the open areas of the marketplaces usually by travelling performing troupes. Their earnings were donations from by-standers.  These performances of musical instruments.  Loud instrumentation, such as the shifan ten varieties of gong and drum ensemble of the fengyang flower drum dance, was not popular in the open air.  In many instances these presentations were not for purely musical reasons, but to gain the attention of passers-by for the sale of herbal medication or other products.

The outdoor performances catered to the commoners, meanwhile the indoor performances catered to an audience made up of genry-officials and wealthy merchants.  The performing hall would be set up with tables and chairs to allow the audience to partake of tea and delicacies while enjoing the production.  The presentation was usually operatic: Kun opera and other regional operas.

During this period the influx of folk songs into cultural centers and their subsequent stylizations led to the growth of many forms of provincially (or regionally) indentified operas.  Operatic genres such as the Han opera of Hubei province, Chuan opera of Sichuan province, Xiang opera of Hunan province, Min opera of Fujian province, Qinqiang of Shaanxi province, and Lu opera of Shandong province, to name some primary forms, had their formation sometime during the mid-16th century but did not reach the height of their development until the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Of these operatic genres two styles became so widely appreciated that they can be characterized as national dramatic genres. These were the Kun opera, which flourished especially in the Ming dynasty, and the Peking opera, which reached its zenith in the Qing dynasty.

Liang, M. Y. (1985). Music of the billion: An introduction to Chinese musical culture. NY: Heinrichshofen.  Scales & scores scanned from pp. 85, 205.
Image scanned from Lu, C.-K. (1996). Traditional music of Taiwan, (pp. 76, 97). Taipei, Dung-Hua Book Store.


The School of Music / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

You can also get the .pdf here.

Written by NoToes

08/03/2010 at 13:59

Arrow, Circle, Spiral and Cylinder – Different Conceptions of Time and History

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The Arrow

Jürgen Kuhlmann wrote an interesting article about the different concepts of history from a theologist`s point of view (Kreis oder Pfeil, 1982). He noticed, that Christianity (Western thinking) mainly focuses on linear conceptions of time (and history), while Eastern philosophy mainly focuses on concentric structures.

Jürgen Kuhlmann: born 1936 in Swinemünde, 1962 Priest in Rome, 1965 Promotion to Dr. theol. At the University Gregoriana in Rome, 1965-1972 Kaplan in Naila and Nürnberg, 1972 Marriage, 1973 Laisierung.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Norbert Lohfink is a specialist for the exegesis of the Old Testament. He explained the development of a linear construction of history in the „Priestly Source“. Around 600-500 BC the Jews were enslaved by the Babylonian empire and lived under hard circumstances in the „Babylonian Exile“. The consignees of their scriptures should see, that the loss of their motherland would only be a temporary state. In this dynamic, the world seems to be stable (if no human misbehaviour would interfere). (Orientierung 1977,147 f).

In “Messianism in linear and cyclical contexts” Jan A.B. Jongeneel writes: Although scholars write about messianic figures and movements in cyclical contexts, they cannot ignore the matter of fact that not one of the holy books of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or Shinto, but the Bible has given birth to the concept of the Messiah. Since that time the Messiah is really at home in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as linear belief-systems. However, it is questionable whether each of these three monotheistic religions can be labeled as a “messianic religion.” All these three religions are indeed “prophetic,” but merely the Jesus movement, known as Christianity, seems to be “messianic.” Neither Moses as the founder of the Jewish religion nor Muhammad as the founder of Islam is proclaimed as the Messiah. But Christians continuously proclaim Jesus of Nazareth, ardent adherent and renovator of the linear view of time and history in the Hebrew Bible, as the Messiah of Israel and the gentile nations. As such Jesus has axial significance in world history. Asian and African Christians take the lead in the dialogue with the adherents of the cyclical view of time and history. They try to harmonize, speaking about the spiral as a bridge of the cycle and the line. M.M. Thomas does not want to value the cyclical view of time and history negatively. He merely wants to add a dimension which is lacking wherever the cycle prevails: “The Christian understanding of historical and cosmic process need not deny the reality of the cycles of nature and life. But it stands or falls with the doctrine of the ultimate divine purpose of that process”. That doctrine culminates in proclaiming the return of Jesus as the Messiah at the end of the times. (Read his article online here or get the pdf here.)

Annotation of the editor: at the same time the idea of the “Natural Philosophy” spread in Greece, which fits perfectly to the model of the arrow: an individual shoots throughout the time like an arrow. The implementation of the circular model  is the eternal life after death, like the arrival in the Promised Land.

This picture hangs in my home since I can think. It is called “Der breite und der schmale Weg – The Broad And The Narrow Way”. It is a good example for the linear conception of time in Christian cultures. You get this funny picture in 500kb at Luzius Schneider . Also hard copies are available there.


Bible, Jesaja 43

16 This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 18Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.


The Circle

Laotzi lived at the same time as the Jews suffered from the Babylonian Exile about 500 years ago. That time China was suffering from never-ending civil wars and a decay of culture. As the leading intellectual of his time, he surely was aware of the great past of his country and searched for the reasons for this cultural decay.  According to the changes in nature following different rhythms (moon, seasons, day and night, …) he developed the Dao (Tao) aka The Way, meaning to follow the natural order of nature. This natural order also includes a magic order of numbers. Like day and night, the seasons or the Chinese dynasties, all is due to a permanent change: up & down, raise & fall. Laotzi described those rhythms as circles in the Taoteking (tao te king),which is probably the main Asian contribution to human culture.

The Buddhist Samsara, the Wheel of Life is a model of human life. The devil holds this wheel, biting into the outer ring, representing the direct influence of the evil on daily life. The inner axle is formed by three animals, representing the deep human inner drives.

Taoism and Buddhism both have in common a circular perception of life. Both form the circular model of Chinese / Asian thinking.

See a nice Samsara here ( – broken link)

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.

[dt. v. Richard Wilhelm ,Jena 1921, Nr. 29 and edited by Dan Baruth)

For applications of circular vs. linear thinking please click here.


The Spiral

Swiss journalist Lily Abegg, developed the model of the spiral. She writes according to the limited English skills of the editor: World history is similar to a unique, irreversible process, in which all cultures and individuals swings in a spiral. (…) Eastasians only see the concentric structures and do not see, that the spiral opens. We (i.e. Western people) mostly focus on distances and steps, skipping the concentric structures until the perspective looks linear.

(Ostasien denkt anders (Zürich 1949), 403 f)


The Cylinder

In “Social Change and Modernity” Hans Haferkamp and Neil J. Smelser noted: The original Judaeo-Christian eschatology still conceives history within the bounds of a model based on the action period. By virtue of its covenant with a mighty God and the intervention of his Son, a people remembers and experiences its history as the path toward a salvation that, to begin with, was understood in quite earthly terms. This ultimately magical pattern of interpretation was not so much based on the separation of different temporal levels as on the topological difference between the chosen people and the heathens. It was not until after it became obvious that the return of the Redeemer could not be expected within a single lifetime that—under the influence of classical philosophy—the time horizon and the topological difference between life on earth and the hereafter, between God and the world, between the immortal soul and mortal flesh, and between the terrestrial and heavenly realms were expanded and thus diverted attention away from the division between the chosen people and the heathens. There was an added topological difference between the individual and the world historical levels of explanation. The individual was able to make progress along the path to salvation; the world, via the sequence of the three realms (paradise, life after the fall, and salvation), carried out God’s promise of deliverance. Another development of momentous significance was the new form taken on by the process model for change in the secular sphere. The cyclical view of the rise and fall of empires was supplemented by the perspective of the unilinear and irreversible development of the world and progress toward salvation.

Moreover, for history to be seen as the history of salvation, it was also necessary for humankind to be active in its approach and to strive for salvation. Redemption and the reconciliation of earthly life with the hereafter were not solely the work of God but involved humanity as well. This eschatological dualism introduced a comprehensive, positive moment of tension into historical change. No longer was change merely short-term unrest without underlying hope. It now had as its goal and ultimate end the perfection and redemption of the world. The beginning and end of history were in turn determined by the timelessness of paradise, past and future. Naturally, the eschatological process at first remained completely within the bounds of action-theoretical notions: the world has been created by a personal God who issued commandments, and if humanity followed these it would ensure its own progress to salvation. (Get the whole article as pdf here or read it online at The Center For Sociological Research And Development Studies Of China)

Quran: Al-Fatiha

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful (1)

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, (2) The Beneficent, the Merciful. (3) Owner of the Day of Judgment, (4) Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. (5) Show us the straight path, (6) The path of those whom Thou hast favoured. Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. (7)

Quran Explorer


Additional Material


Mental Representations of Time in Chinese Language (Mandarin)


Examples of spatiotemporal metaphors in Mandarin


The immediate and chronic influence of spatio-temporal metaphors on the mental representations of time in English, Mandarin, and Mandarin-English speakers by Vicky Tzuyin Lai (Neurobiology of Language Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands) and Lera Boroditsky (Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, US) – Front. Psychol., 09 April 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00142

Read the full .pdf online here or here.

(retrieved 31.10.2013 at


J. Gabriell and T. Hedden “How culture influences Brain”

Asians and Westeners had to answer questions about absolute quantities (is, is not, how many?) or relative qualities (bigger than, higher than, more red than,…)

It became obvious, that Western people have to spend more energy to render relative judgments (bigger than, lower than, …) than Asians. Vice versa it showed, that Asians needed more energy rendering absolute judgments (is or is not).


J. Gabriell and T. Hedden from Mc Govern Institute in TechTalk by MIT (Mass. Institute for Technology), volume 52, No. 14 (30.01.2008)

Download the full pdf here, the article is on page 4 below.


Michael Heeney: Spiral Staircases and Cylindrical Pools: The Implosion of “Circular” and “Linear” Gestalts

In modern German psychology, there is a concept called the gestalt which is useful for this discussion. In it, human beings are viewed as open systems in active interaction with their environment. People naturally organize their perceptions according to certain patterns, which have similar structural properties that influence concepts across the spectrum of human thought. It is essential to use this term when discussing “circular” and “linear” structures of thought, since these seemingly simple terms will come to represent their own individual gestalts, encapsulating multiple binary concepts subsumed and ordered under their respective structuring principles. The author Virginia Woolf provides an ideal springboard to expound upon this, since her novels attempt to encapsulate a fusion of the two structures into a singular, universal gestalt, or structuring principle. In many of her novels, particularly Orlando for the sake of this discussion, the goal of this is a synthesis between two different kinds of minds, the rational masculine and the subjective feminine, to produce the harmonized androgynous. This process is created through the synthesis of two different conceptions of time, the linear historical and circular subjective. Finally, the entire new gestalt is illustrated by how the dialectic of circles and lines combine to synthesize a cylinder, a spatial idea which symbolizes how the new androgynous mind articulates itself through time which respectively, as Kant has said, is merely the form of inner sense. (…)

It appears that in this case, the duality between male and female does have biological origins, but those of cognition, not those of gender. (…)

© by Serendip 1994­ 2010 ­ Last Modified: Monday, 25­Apr­2005 11:31:11 EDT

Read the full essay online at or download as pdf here.


Time as the Action Period

(…) An analysis of this kind starts out from an interpretational pattern that makes no distinction between processes of social action, on the one hand, and processes of social order and social change, on the other hand. There is no recognizable social order standing out above processes of interaction within the framework of this interpretational pattern. The perception of change and temporal alteration is limited to the time-period one has lived through and remembered, to the durée of social action.[7] Hence the “narrative” logic by which action is recounted both frames and structures the logic underlying the passage of time.[8] The “stories” recalled are kept in motion by interaction among a number of actors, and the stories’ beginnings and ends are determined by how the theme of interaction is dealt with.[9]

Both the change experienced in the world during the course of action and the change experienced in the subjects themselves that they remember as they consider own personal experience of getting old are of course limited as long as there is no social structure differentiating among time periods. Aging processes take place synchronously and therefore hardly give cause for the social differentiation of periods of time or of temporal levels. Beyond the period of action and the lifetime as directly experienced the world is experienced as something timeless and ultimately chaotic.

Primitive classifications, which by definition are not systematized by any superordinate principle, clearly show the unordered complexity of the world. They barely offer a topological “toehold” for identifying time that reaches beyond one’s own lifetime or beyond the actions of the present (Lévi-Strauss 1962). The only way in which primitive classification allows a number of lifetimes to be linked together is via the kinship link of conception and birth; this pushes the temporal horizon back into the past and creates an awareness of continuity and change independent of the experience of the present. Evidently, the extension of such a genealogical model of time marks out a line of development running from the action-period notion of time to the socially differentiated notion of time.


Apart from the extension of historical space in Voltaire’s philosophy of history, the natural sciences’ concept of time in the eighteenth century also broke through the barriers of the hierarchical model of temporal levels. The concept of an objective measurable passage of time determined and moved by the laws of nature gradually asserted itself as a point of reference. Against it, historical time appears limited, imprecise, and inconstant. The temporality of the world, on the one hand, and that of the passage of history and experience, on the other hand, are hence ever more sharply delineated by different process models. “Objective” time moves according to the eternal laws of nature, whereas historical time is kept in motion by the progress of the human race (Elias 1984).


An analogous paradigmatic switch occurred in biology when the Linnean classification of natural processes was succeeded by the Darwinian theory of evolution. Darwin’s theory of the origin of the species by natural selection, which was to prove extraordinarily momentous for the theory of society that followed, brings out, in its very name, the temporalization of order. A number of observers have noted that Darwinian theory itself took as its model certain economic theories of the day. (…)

The Temporalization of Social Order : Some Theoretical Remarks on the Change in ‘Change’ by Bernhard Giesen; Publ. 1992 in: Social change and modernity / ed. by Hans Haferkamp … Berkeley : Univ. of California Press, 1992, pp. 294-319

Read the except online here or download .pdf here.


See also A Geography of Time


(reviewed 12.07.2013)

Written by NoToes

15/01/2010 at 20:18

Posted in All Articles, Buddhism, China, Christianity, Collectivism and Individualism, Islam, Religion & Philosophy, Time in Different Cultures

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Applications of Circular and Linear Thinking

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Working Culture

(…) For the Chinese, quite a lot of concepts have a circular nature. One clear example is time: the same things happen again and again. History is circular and not lineal like in the West. The best example is the history of China which can be summarized as the continuous succession of the following four stages: “arrival of a new dynasty”, “dynasty at its height”, “decline of the dynasty”, “China in chaos” and start back again. Note that this circular pattern cannot be easily applied to the history of western civilizations.

Another clear example is human relations understood as a continuous exchange of favors or services among people. In China, the idea of doing something for somebody else in exchange of nothing is less common than in the West. The reason is that the favor is circular and it has to come back to the person who did it. For example, at work in China, if a colleague or business partner helps you in something, he understands that he is developing an important link with you and that he will have the right to ask for a favor back in the future. The favor has to come back to him because it is circular. (…)

Pedro on Globthink 14.01.2010: (sorry, broken link.).



After hours of fruitless discussions if there is a God in Buddhism, I found a nice approach of an Anglican priest towards Eastern religions. Bishop Spong reflects the so called “theistic” definition of God in the Mosaic religions (Jewish, Christian and Muslim).

(…) Western religion has regularly and consistently defined God in theistic terms. That is, God is perceived as an external being, supernatural in power, who periodically invades the world in miraculous ways to establish the divine will or to answer our prayers. Eastern religion in general, but Buddhism in particular, does not define God in theistic terms. That has caused some westerners to refer to Buddhism as an “atheist” religion. Well, it is, but only in the sense that “atheist” means “not theist.” It does not mean that there is no sense of God in Buddhism. Language is our problem. The theistic definition of God is so total in the western world that the word “atheism” has come to mean that there is no God. Theism is a human definition of God and, as such, is destined to die like all human definitions do in time. Theism is not God. (…)

Bishop Spong Q&A 28.01.2010


For more info about different conceptions of time please click here.


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – Comparing by Cultural Parameters

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Gerard (Geert) Hendrik Hofstede (born 3.10.1928) defined a model of 6 cultural dimensions/indices to compare different cultures

Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. (…)

Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. (…)

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. (…)

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. (…)

Later added: Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation.(…)

and the Indulgence or Restraint Index (IRI).


(retrieved 18.03.2018 at
“Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others”.
geert hofstede
Video retrieved 13.08.2018 at

See his website at: or read his essay online here or here.

For a short & handy ppt click here.

Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here.

For practical applications of Hofstede`s model see this page.

For Hofstede`s theories and their application on genetics click here.


Hofstede’s Country Classification 25 Years later

Abstract: Nearly 3 decades have been passed since Hofstede (1980) collected the data used to classify countries by their underlying work-related structures. The present study, in which recent data from 9 countries and 4 continents was collected, is a re-examination of his country classifications. The results suggest that many shifts have occurred since Hofstede’s study in 1980. These shifts are related to some of the major environmental changes that have occurred.


Discussion: Overall, the findings of the present study suggests that there have been significant shifts in value classifications in some countries since Hofstede conducted his original study. Many of the countries examined in the present study showed a shift in ranking when compared with Hofstede’s original data. This finding underscores the fact that, although a nation’s work-related values are deep-seated preferences for certain end states. they are subject to change over the years as external environmental changes shape a society. Managers and scientists should use caution before attempting to use work-related values to understand human behaviour in organisations. At the least, managers should make an effort to determine the values currently prevailing and not rely on classifications or labels placed on cultures by researchers.

D. R. Fernandez, D.S. Carlson, L.P. Stepina, J.D. Nicholson at The Journal of Social Psychology, 1997, 43-54

Download the full article as pdf here.


Geert Hofstede interview January 2013 (introducing the IRI – Indulgence or Restraint Index)



(Retrieved at 06.06.2011 at


About the practical application of Hofstede’s theories read this post:


(revised 13.03.2018)

Written by NoToes

09/01/2010 at 12:21

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Communication, Communication in Different Cultures, Comparing Cultures, Cultural Dimensions, Emotions in Different Cultures, Hofstede, Intercultural Economy, Intercultural Management, Surveys, Time in Different Cultures, Tools / Software, Uncertainty Avoidance

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Practical Applications of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

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Organizational Culture as a Root of Performance Improvement


(Organizational Culture as a Root of Performance Improvement:Research and Recommendations; R.C. Rose, Naresh Kumar, Haslinda Abdullah; Universiti Putra Malaysia – download pdf here).

Map of Corporate Cultures

Nation Branding in Pop-Culture

Sources: (retrieved 22.11.2012)


Somewhere in western Europe a middle-sized textile printing company struggled for survival…

Cloth, usually imported from Asian countries, was printed in multicolored patterns according to the desires of customers, firms producing fashion clothing for the local market. The company was run by a general manager to whom three functional managers reported: one for design and sales, one for manufacturing, and one for finance and personnel. The total work force numbered about 250.

The working climate in the firm was often disturbed by conflicts between the sales and manufacturing managers.

The manufacturing manager had an interest, as manufacturing managers have the world over, in smooth production and in minimizing product changes. He preferred grouping customer orders into large batches. Changing color and/or design implied cleaning the machines which took productive time away and also wasted costly dyestuffs. The worst was changing from a dark color set to a light one, because every bit of dark-colored dye left would show on the cloth and spoil the product quality. Therefore the manufacturing planners tried to start on a clean machine with the lightest shades and gradually move towards darker ones, postponing the need for an overall cleaning round as long as possible.

The design and sales manager tried to satisfy his customers in a highly competitive market. These customers, fashion clothing firms, were notorious for short-term planning changes. As their supplier, the printing company often received requests for rush orders. Even when these orders were small and unlikely to be profitable the sales manager hated to say ‘no’. The customer might go to a competitor and then the printing firm would miss that big order which the sales manager was sure would come afterwards. The rush orders, however, usually upset the manufacturing manager’s schedules and forced him to print short runs of dark color sets on a beautifully clean machine, thus forcing the production operators to start cleaning allover again.

There were frequent hassles between the two managers over whether a certain rush order should or should not be taken into production. The conflict was not limited to the department heads; production personnel publicly expressed doubts about the competence of the sales people and vice versa. In the cafeteria, production and sales people would not sit together , although they had known each other for years.


Different cultures choose different approaches for the dilemma about

(1) the diagnosis of the problem and

(2) the suggested solution

These two dimensions, Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance, affect our thinking about organisations. In addition to the affected business areas listed in the tables below, taking these two dimensions together reveals differences in the implicit model people from different cultures may have about organisational structure and functioning. Organising demands answers to two important questions:

(1) Who has the power to decide what?

(2) What rules or procedures will be followed to attain the desired ends?

The answer to the first question is influence d by indigenous cultural norms of power distance; the answer to the second question by the cultural norms about uncertainty avoidance. Taken together these two dimensions reveal a remarkable contrast in a society’s acceptance and conception of an organisation and the mechanisms that are employed in controlling and co-ordinating activities within it (Hofstede, 1991).

Same researchers have tried to measure the link between the ‘implicit’ models of organisation and objectively assessable characteristics of organisational structure. Inthe 1970s, Owen James Stevens, an American professor at INSEAD business school in France, presented his students with a case study exam which dealt with a conflict between two department heads within a company (Hofstede, 1991). His students consisted primarily of French, German and British students. Inthe graph below their countries are located in the lower right, lower left and upper left quadrants respectively. Stevens bad noticed a difference in the way 200 students of different nationalities bad handled the case in previous exams. The students bad been required individually to come up with both their diagnosis of the problem and their suggested solution. Stevens sorted these exams by the nationality of the author and then compared the answers. The results were striking.

The majority of French diagnosed the case as negligence by the general manager to whom the two depart­ment heads reported. The solution they preferred was for the opponents in the conflict to take the issue to their common boss, who would issue orders for settling such dilemmas in the future. Stevens interpreted the implicit organisation model of the French as a ‘pyramid of people’: the general manager at the top of the pyramid, and each successive level at its proper place below.

The majority of the Germans diagnosed the case as a lack of structure. They tended to think that the competence of the two conflict­ing department heads bad not been clearly specified. The solution they preferred was to establish specific procedures, which could include calling in a consultant, nominating a task force, or asking the common boss. According to Stevens, the Germans saw the organisation as a ‘well-oiled machine’ in which intervention by management should be limited because the rules should settle day-to-day problems.

The majority of the British diagnosed the case as a human relationship problem. They saw the two department heads as poor negotiators who would benefit from attending, preferably together, a management course to improve their skills. Stevens thought their implicit model of a ‘village market‘ led them to look at the problem in terms of the demands of the situation determining what will happen, rather than hierarchy or rules.



A society’’s position on these two dimensions does seem to influence the implicit model of the organisation in that society, and the kinds of co-ordination mechanisms that people in that culture would tend to rely upon.

Employees in high power distance and low uncertainty avoidance countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia tend to think of their organisations as traditional families. The patriarch, or head of the family, is expected to protect family members physically and econo­mically in exchange for unwavering loyalty from its members. The most likely co-ordination and control mechanism for the family is a standardisation of work processes by specifying the contents of work – who does the chores.

Employees in countries such as France, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico that are high on both dimensions tend to view organisations as pyramids of people rather than as families. Everyone knows who reports to whom, and formal and activating lines of communication run vertically through the organisation. Management reduces uncertainty and provides co-ordination and control by emphasising who has authority over whom and in what war this authority can be exercised.

Where high uncertainty avoidance and low power distance are combined, in such countries as Israel, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, organisations are perceived as well-oiled machines; they are highly predictable without the imposition of a strong hierarchy. Uncertainty is reduced by clearly defining Tales and procedures. Co-ordination and control are achieved primarily through standardisation and certification of skills, specifying the training required to perform the work.

In cultures where there is low uncertainty avoidance and low power distance, the relevant organisational model is a ‘village market’. Countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Norway, the UK and the USA are representative of this model. People will feel less comfortable with strict and formal rules or with what would be perceived as unnecessary layers of hierarchy. Control and co-ordination tends to take place through mutual adjustment of people through informal communication, and by specifying the desired results.

Download an introduction to Hofstede’s theories here or online at – retrieved 24.11.2012


More Applications of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Intercultural Management

Having or Making – The Transformation of Danish Culture and Chinese Culture in Sino-Danish Business Settings in China by Xiaomin Li  Click here to download the PPT or get it in the internet:

AM+A used Hofstede’s system for an analysis of website design in different cultures/countries. Get the .pdf here or visit the website

Xiang-Hua Lu of the School of Management, Fudan University (China) and Michael S. H. Heng of the National University of Singapore did a great work on applying Hofstede`s theory on the Chinese/Asian approach to IS (Information Systems: all systems related to the information exchange by computers). Get the .pdf here.

C. Becker and S. Palmer compared Mexican and German approaches to decision making and found out, that often “the type of business indicates more how decisions are made rather than the impact of national culture.”  Download the essay as pfd here or online from provides more quality stuff about Hofstede:

International business negotiation in the South and North China online or download as pdf here.

(retrieved 27.01.2013 at


Sexual Harassment

Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to explain sexually harassing behaviours in an international context

Vipan K. Luthar and Harsh K. Luthar, Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to explain sexually harassing behaviours in an international context, Int. J. of Human Resource Management 13:2 March 2002 268–284 or download pdf here or online at – retrieved 24.11.2012


Nation Branding in Pop-Culture

Pavinee Potipan and Nantaphorn Worrawutteerakul from the Malerdalen University in Sweden wrote their master thesis about the financial and cultural background of modern Thai, Korean and Japanese culture. Using Hofstede’s Cultural Onion they examined Asian pop cultures. It describes how Korean pop culture “Hallyu” has an immense success by serving all layers of the onion. Download the full pdf here or download here (retrieved 24.12.2012)


See more about the importance of Nation Branding at Simon Anholt`s website or the GFK Custom Research North America


reviewed 27.01.2013

Written by NoToes

08/01/2010 at 21:49

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Communication, Comparing Cultures, Cultural Dimensions, Germany, Hofstede, Intercultural Economy, Intercultural Management, Sexuality, Surveys, Uncertainty Avoidance

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

African and Western Conceptions of Time and History

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Bert Hamminga – The Western versus the African Time Concept – referring to John S. Mbiti (African Religions and Philosophy, London: Heinemann 1969)

The difference between the Western mechanical and African emotional time consciousness is a highly instructive one: it explains a lot of intercultural differences and problems of intercultural contact in any kind of business. Of course, also Westerners experience emotional time. Important events in your life, say a new job in another town, a marriage, a baby “mark” your past in that some things will later be experienced as before or after this or that important event. The typical holiday experience is that after a few days you feel you left home ages ago, while upon return it feels you just left. In waiting for something time “goes slowly”, in hurrying for something time “goes fast”. The difference between Western and African time consciousness is that a Westerner asks: “when did your grandfather die”. The answer is “15 years ago”. The African asks “When was 15 years ago”. And the answer is “When your grandfather died”. What is the difference? That is far less obvious than it seems at first sight.

Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) writes her young Kikuju cook: “His memory for recipes was awesome. He could not read en did not know English, so cookbooks had no value to him, but he piled up everything ever taught to him, with the help of his own system that I never got hold on, in his unattractive head. He named the diverse dishes after some event on the day he had learned to make them, so he spoke of the sauce of the ‘lightning that struck in the tree’, and the sauce of ‘the grey horse that died'”.

The African interpretation of time starts thus: events occur in some order: there is “before” and there is “after”. In African languages, there is a number of tenses that indicate roughly “how much” before, and how much after. There usually is a tense for “at that time”, for “after that”, for “a considerable time after that”, and “a very long time after”. That does not sound strange to a Westerner. He also has such rough ideas on events. But the Westerner’s clock and calendar gives him the option of filing the event as having occurred at a certain numerical date-time. The Westerner deems that more “precise”. He wants to have trains running on schedule and fly to the moon. Africans have different aims in life. They want to “live” their own way. Traditionally, Africans have no concept of historical progress: in every life of every person the same happens. There is no thrive to change things. They have another idea of preciseness: emotional preciseness. The past is a chain of events. It has its places that are marked in memory, just as when you travel far through an unknown area. You will remember the river crossed, the mountain pass climbed. In time, you remember your eldest brother getting his first child, your great grandfather dying, your harvest spoiled by torrential rains, a war. Those are the tops of the “hours” in the memory of the African. Between them are the minor events as “minutes”. Westerners would say these hours do not have equal length. Africans are not interested at all in such considerations. By talking and passing over history orally to one another, they cut themselves a wooden past that feels like a comfortable  place well connected to the present. A history to rest upon comfortably. Not so Westerners, who run puffing after the time they created to be their master! The kind of conversational context in which you create and pass over to younger generations the history in a time framework in which history itself is the “clock”, is dubbed “Zamani” (an abstraction of a Kiswahili concept) by Mbiti.

About “cardinal” and “ordinal”: if you count things you use cardinal numbers (like money, tanks and Western time). You use ordinal numbers if you merely want to indicate where (between which other things) units have their place in a succession (like the ranking in a competition  and African time). Thus, cardinal numbers you can meaningfully add and substract, ordinal numbers no not carry such meaning (rank number 2 and 3 in a competition are not “together 5”).

Mbiti tells: Waiting for the start of a play by the Ebonies in Jinja, I met a Ugandan sister who just returned from her first visit to London. I asked her: one Ugandan week, how many London weeks would it be. She immediately understood my question, did not think long and said: six. This would have tremendous consequences: it means that in one week’s hard work, a Ugandan suffers six times as much as a Londoner. If he is free for one week, he enjoys six times as much than a Londoner. If the number six would be a reasonable estimate, which I would be inclined to think, it would be very irrational for a Ugandan to work as hard as a Londoner, especially when you add that the Londoner feels sure about the future enjoyment of his working results and to the Ugandan the future is very unsure and hypothetical.

Or get the whole article here (click on the text).

You may also check about Asian conceptions of time in a previous article here (click on the text)

Genetics, Cultures and Happiness

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Genetics, Cultures and Happiness / 5-HTTLPR

Joan Chiao and Katherine Blisinsky took a research on the worldwide spreading of the 5-HTTLPR – gene, which is identified as responsible for the mood (anxiety and mood disorder) of it`s carrier by transporting serotonin. It was published from the Royal Society Publishing.

Using Hofstede`s model of cultural indices/dimensions to define cultures into individualistic and collectivistic, they crossed these data with the spreading of 5-HTTLPR.

(…) Here, we demonstrate for the first time a robust association between cultural values of individualism–collectivism and allelic frequency of the serotonin transporter gene, controlling for associated economic and disease factors. (…) Critically, our results further indicate that greater population frequency of S allele carriers is associated with decreased prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders due to increased cultural collectivism. (…)


Results from correlation analysis between Hofstede’s individualism–collectivism index (reverse scored) and frequency of S allele carriers of the 5-HTTLPR across 29 nations. Collectivist nations showed higher prevalence of S allele carriers (r(29) = 0.70, p < 0.0001).

Geographical coincidence between serotonin transporter gene diversity and cultural traits of individualism–collectivism across countries. Colour maps include all available published data for each variable of interest. Grey areas indicate geographical regions where no published data are available. (a ) Hofstede Colour map of frequency distribution of IND-COL from Hofstede (2001). (b) 5-HTTLPR Colour map of frequency distribution of S alleles of 5-HTTLPR. (c) anxiety Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of anxiety. (d) mood disorders Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of mood disorders. Yellow to red colour bar indicates low to high prevalence.

Get the full article online here or download pdf here. It is packed with additional downloads.

(Chiao, J.Y. & Blizinsky, K.D. 2009 Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene. Proc. R. Soc. B (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1650)

(retrieved 20.05.2015 at

Hofstede`s Intercultural Tool is found here.


Background Info: World`s Haplogroups

This Map of Haplogroups (J.D. McDonald) shows the distribution of certain genetic characteristics. It is widely used for genealogical research because certain cell structures are inherited matrilinear or patrilinear. Click here to download from the the University of Illinois/School of Chemical Sciences. You can also download the full pdf here.


(retrieved 20.05.2015 at


Additional Material

Happiness and Income

10life_satisfaction happiness


From R.Inglehart and H-D.Klingemann, “Genes, Culture and Happiness,” MIT Press, 2000.Check out for more at


Read a different view on the categories “Cultures and Genes” and “Culture influences Brain” or view the World’s Map of Happiness.


(reviewed 21.05.2015)

Perapera-kun Firefox Extension for Chinese Characters

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Perapera –  a helpful Firefox/Chrome extension for learning Asian Characters and navigate through Asian websites:



(reviewed 09.04.2013)

Zhang Empresses

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Some years ago some Swedish couples adopted four little baby girls from a Chinese orphanage. As early teenagers they return to China as the 4 fabulous Zhang Empresses.

Also a nice draft about people, who look different from their surrounding and their way to approach their identity (“… and then they look at me like something in a museum…”).

Get the movie on Youtube: or click the pic!

Revised 30.10.2013

Choosing a Foreign Name

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Choosing a Western Name

Gregory Mavrides from the Middle Kindom Life wrote an article about the differences between Chinese and English names and gives a guideline about how to choose a foreign name in China.

(…) Chinese names are very different from Western ones. For one thing, all Chinese names have a literal meaning, which is to say the characters that comprise a Chinese name have common meaning in the language. Most Western names do not have any actual or literal meaning and cannot be translated as such. Many of my Chinese students will ask me to suggest an “English name” for them and, then, upon hearing it, will immediately ask “What does it mean?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is usually “It doesn’t mean anything!” (…)

Download the whole pdf here or here.




Photo retrievet 18.11.2012 at


See the full post at Force Feeding Duck Style about the naming os students. The Force Feeding Duck Style actually is a great blog about a Westerner’s life in China.



Su Fei (Sophie) does some interviews about the English names of Chinese people

There is more on YouTube  (keywords: “sexy beijing” or “sexybeijing”) or her website:


Choosing a Chinese name

老夫子 – Lao Fu Zi

Since I mentioned how Chinese people find their western names, here is an example of how a Westerner found his Chinese name. It is adopted from the phonetics of my family name. It has a double meaning. One meaning is that Lau Fu Zi was a Chinese philosopher. Since Chinese philosophy aims at being wise as a whole, it refers to my interest in learning about Asian cultures. The other meaning is a character from a cartoon “Old Master Q”, which was popular in the 70s.

Watch online at

See here for merchandising:


(…) 三 姓氏文化 Surname Culture

sān xìnɡ shì wén huà


Ever thought why the Chinese character for surname is formed by a feminine character?

“ nǚ ” zì pánɡ

母系氏族社会 matriarchal society

mǔ xì shì zú shè hu

父系氏族社会 patriarchal society

fù xì shì zú shè huì


The ancient Chinese name included 4 parts: family name, given name, zi and hao. For example, the famous poet in tang dynasty Libai, “li” is his family name, bai is his given name, and his zi is “taibai”, his “hao” is “qinglian jushi”.

(In ancient China, young man reaching the age of 20 and girls when they are going to marry, they will get a “biao zi4”. This is his or her formal name when they officially join the society. Literati and people who have a social position may have a “hao”.)

zhōnɡ ɡuó ɡǔ rén de xìnɡ mínɡ :xìnɡ、mínɡ 、zì 、hào ,rú tánɡ cháo shī rén Lǐbái ,xìnɡ lǐ ,mínɡ bái ,zì tài bái ,hào qīnɡ lián jū shì。

3.《百家姓》the book of family names.

李姓为最大姓 the surname “ li ” is the biggest surname in China now

《 bǎi jiā xìnɡ 》

lǐ xìnɡ wéi zuì dà xìnɡ (…)

(received from Ms. Li Yunfang  at 12.11.2012 from

For the best introduction to Chinese culture ever download Ms. Li’s complete article as pdf here.


reviewed 18.11.2012

How Language Influences our Thinking

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The Effect of Language upon Thinking

(…) Much of what has been written on this subject by professional linguists focuses rather narrowly on the question of whether the grammar of a language will influence the thinking of its speakers, without any attention being given to how vocabulary might influence thought. But obviously language is more than grammar, and so conclusions about language in general cannot be drawn from studies which deal only with questions of grammar. (…)

wilhalm von humboldt Wilhelm von Humboldt (* 22. Juni 1767 in Potsdam; † 8. April 1835 in Tegel)

(…) Man lives with objects [around him] mainly, or rather — as feeling and action depend on the ideas which he entertains about the objects — exclusively in the way in which language presents them to him. The very activity by which he spins language out from within himself eventually gets himself entwined in it, and every language draws a circle around the nation to which it belongs, and which one can only leave to the extent that at the same time one enters the circle of another. (…) Humboldt’s German is difficult to translate. By “lives” here he means “experiences life” and by “objects” he means items of objective reality or noumena in the Kantian sense. The sentence in the original German reads as follows: Der Mensch lebt mit den Gegenständen hauptsächlich, ja, da Empfinden und Handlen in ihm von seinen Vorstellungen abhängen, sogar ausschließlich so, wie die Sprache sie ihm zuführt. Durch denselben Akt, vermöge dessen er die Sprache aus sich herausspinnt, spinnt er sich in dieselbe ein, und jede zieht um das Volk, welchem sie angehört, einen Kreis, aus dem es nur insofern hinauszugehen möglich ist, als man zugleich in den Kreis einer andren hinübertritt. (…)

Wilhelm Von Humboldt, Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluß auf die geistige Entwicklung des Menschengeschlechts. Berlin: Druckerei der Könglichen Akademie, 1836. An English translation of the work is On Language: The Diversity of Human Language and its Influence on the Mental Development of Mankind, translated by Peter Heath (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), recently reprinted as On Language: On the Diversity of Human Language Construction and its Influence on the Mental Development of the Human Species (1999).


mill John Stuart Mill (* 20. Mai 1806 in Pentonville; † 8. Mai 1873 in Avignon)

(…) Names [i.e. nouns] are impressions of sense, and as such take the strongest hold on the mind, and of all other impressions can be most easily recalled and retained in view. They therefore serve to give a point of attachment to all the more volatile objects of thought and feeling. Impressions, that when past might be dissipated for ever, are, by their connexion with language, always within reach. Thoughts, of themselves, are perpetually slipping out of the field of immediate mental vision; but the name abides with us, and the utterance of it restores them in a moment. Words are the custodiers of every product of mind less impressive than themselves. All extensions of human knowledge, all new generalizations, are fixed and spread, even unintentionally, by the use of words. (…)

John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive: Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation, 2 vols. (London: John W. Parker, 1843). For the discussion of language see especially Book 4, chapters 3-6. For quotations and page numbers I have used the one-volume edition published in 1858 by Harper & Brothers, New York.

The Effect of Language upon Thinking by Michael Marlowe; April 2004, Revised July 2011

Read the full article online here or download full .pdf here.

(retrieved 03.11.2013 at


Mental Representations of Time in Chinese (Mandarin)

(..) People’s ideas of time differ across languages in other ways. For example, English speakers tend to talk about time using horizontal spatial metaphors (e.g., “The best is ahead of us,” “The worst is behind us”), whereas Mandarin speakers have a vertical metaphor for time (e.g., the next month is the “down month” and the last month is the “up month”). Mandarin speakers talk about time vertically more often than English speakers do, so do Mandarin speakers think about time vertically more often than English speakers do? Imagine this simple experiment. I stand next to you, point to a spot in space directly in front of you, and tell you, “This spot, here, is today. Where would you put yesterday? And where would you put tomorrow?” When English speakers are asked to do this, they nearly always point horizontally. But Mandarin speakers often point vertically, about seven or eight times more often than do English speakers.


Does treating chairs as masculine and beds as feminine in the grammar make Russian speakers think of chairs as being more like men and beds as more like women in some way? It turns out that it does. In one study, we asked German and Spanish speakers to describe objects having opposite gender assignment in those two languages. The descriptions they gave differed in a way predicted by grammatical gender. For example, when asked to describe a “key” — a word that is masculine in German and feminine in Spanish — the German speakers were more likely to use words like “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” “metal,” “serrated,” and “useful,” whereas Spanish speakers were more likely to say “golden,” “intricate,” “little,” “lovely,” “shiny,” and “tiny.” To describe a “bridge,” which is feminine in German and masculine in Spanish, the German speakers said “beautiful,” “elegant,” “fragile,” “peaceful,” “pretty,” and “slender,” and the Spanish speakers said “big,” “dangerous,” “long,” “strong,” “sturdy,” and “towering.” This was true even though all testing was done in English, a language without grammatical gender. The same pattern of results also emerged in entirely nonlinguistic tasks (e.g., rating similarity between pictures). And we can also show that it is aspects of language per se that shape how people think: teaching English speakers new grammatical gender systems influences mental representations of objects in the same way it does with German and Spanish speakers. Apparently even small flukes of grammar, like the seemingly arbitrary assignment of gender to a noun, can have an effect on people’s ideas of concrete objects in the world. (..)

Does Language Shape Thought?: Mandarin and English Speakers’ Conceptions of Time by Lera Boroditsky, Stanford University. download full .pdf online here or here.

(retrieved 31.10.2013 at


Examples of spatiotemporal metaphors in Mandarin

The immediate and chronic influence of spatio-temporal metaphors on the mental representations of time in English, Mandarin, and Mandarin-English speakers by Vicky Tzuyin Lai (Neurobiology of Language Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands) and Lera Boroditsky (Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, US) – Front. Psychol., 09 April 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00142

Read the full .pdf online here or here.

(retrieved 31.10.2013 at


Lera “Groucho” Boroditzki is an assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience, and symbolic systems at Stanford University, who looks at how the languages we speak shapes the way we think. Her best known discovery is about the “Grammatical Gender”.

lera boroditsky

Read an introduction to Lera and her work at the Edge or visit her website at the Stanford University.

Here is an interesting video of a speech she did: Lera Boroditsky – Beyond the Physics: How Languages Help us Construe & Construct


(reviewed 06.07.2016)

The Differences between Taoism, Buddhism and Shenism (“Chinese Folk Belief”)

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The Difference between Taoism, Buddhism and Shenism

(…) Chinese folk religion retains traces of some of ancestral primal religious belief systems such as animism and shamanism, which include the veneration of (and communication with) the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, the Heaven and various stars, as well as communication with animals. It has been practiced by the Chinese people for thousands of years, and since the start of the Common Era alongside Buddhism, Taoism and various other religions.

Rituals, devotional worship, myths, sacred re-enactment, festivals and various other practices associated with different folk gods and goddesses form an important part of Chinese culture today. The veneration of secondary gods does not conflict with an individual’s chosen religion, but is accepted as a complementary adjunct, particularly to Taoism.

Some mythical figures in folk culture have been integrated into Chinese Buddhism, as in the case of Miao Shan. She is generally thought to have influenced the beliefs about the Buddhist bodhisattva Guanyin. This bodhisattva originally was based upon the Indian counterpart Avalokiteshvara. Androgynous in India, this bodhisattva over centuries became a female figure in China and Japan. Guanyin is one of the most popular Bodishisattvas to which people pray. (…)

Read the full article online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 17.01.2014 at


(…) To distinguish “Shenists” from Taoists and Buddhists is to ignore the reality that it is not possible to define any Chinese belief system as it is practised today as one with a uniform, discreet set of values.

Here’s why:  The act of Chinese ancestral and deity worship predates history. China’s first official religion – really more of a “thought system” – was Taoism, believed to be founded by the legendary philosopher, Lao Zi, over 2000 years ago.

Even then its practice was split three-ways: philosophical, religious and popular Taoism, with the latter two belief systems incorporating aspects of folk religion such as ancestral spirits, divination, and sorcery. Then came Buddhism, which was introduced to China in the Han Dynasty, about 200 AD, around the same time Taoism became the nation’s official religion. Buddhism was thus intertwined with Taoism from the start. Its scriptures were translated using Taoist vocabulary; records show Buddhism at the time was described as a kind of “foreign Taoism”.

The switcheroo went both ways. In competing for the public’s attention, Taoist leaders followed the Buddhists’ example and built monasteries and temples. They also adopted their ideas of vegetarianism and prohibited alcohol. The mix finally coalesced during the Song Dynasty, when Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism were patched together resulting in the state-endorsed Neo-Confucian philosophy, which lasted roughly between 960 and 1280 AD.


Venerable Shravasti Dhammika, an Australian who lives in Singapore and is the advisor to the Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society, is right in that the worship of Chinese folk gods and spirits has nothing to do with the original, philosophical teachings of Lao Zi or the Buddha.


Here is some more about Shravasti Dhammika:

Interesting comment on this article from Jeremy Shiu (extract):

(…) Chinese folk belief is based on the structure of Taoism. E.g, looking at talisman practices in ‘Chinese belief’/Chinese Folklore; we can see the dominance influence is Taoism. Chinese belief – literature and novels like – Journey to the west, Feng Shen Bang etc, although some are ‘degrading’ Taoism, but nonetheless the key structure is still very much Taoist – e.g, in Journey to the West, its background is set on Jade Emperor’s Heavenly administration(Celestial Heaven). Look at the ‘gui ren zhi’ (joss paper) in ‘Chinese folk beliefs’ and it is clearly a form of Taoist talisman (by the writings, pictures etc). (…)

Read the full article online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 17.01.2014 at


Chinese folk religion

(…) The ”’Chinese folk religion”’ or ”’Chinese traditional religion”’ ( or 中国民间宗教 or 中国民间信仰 / Zhōngguó mínjiān zōngjiào or Zhōngguó mínjiān xìnyăng), sometimes called ”’Shenism”’ (pinyin: ”Shénjiào”, 神教).
The term ”’Shenism”’ (
神教, ”Shénjiào”) was first used in 1955 by anthropologist Allan J. A. Elliott, in his work ”Chinese Spirit-Medium Cults in Singapore”.
During the history of China it was named ”’Shendao”’ (
神道, ”Shéndào”, the “way of the gods”), apparently since the time of the spread of Buddhism to the area in the Han period (206 BCE–220 CE), in order to distinguish it from the new religion. The term was subsequently adopted in Japan as ”Shindo”, later ”Shinto”, with the same purpose of identification of the Japanese indigenous religion. The oldest recorded usage of ”Shindo” is from the second half of the 6th century. is the collection of grassroots ethnic religious+ traditions of the Han Chinese+, or the indigenous religion of China+.Lizhu, Na. 2013. p. 4. Chinese folk religion primarily consists in the worship of the ”shen” (“gods”, “spirits”, “awarenesses”, “consciousnesses”, “archetypes”; literally “expressions”, the energies that generate things and make them thrive) which can be nature deities, city deities or tutelary deities of other human agglomerations, national deities, cultural+ hero+es and demigods, ancestors and progenitors, deities of the kinship. Holy narratives regarding some of these gods are codified into the body of Chinese mythology. Another name of this complex of religions is ”’Chinese Universism”’, especially referring to its intrinsic metaphysical perspective.

The Chinese folk religion has a variety of sources, localised worship forms, ritual and philosophical traditions. Among the ritual traditions, notable examples includes Wuism and Nuoism. Chinese folk religion is sometimes categorized inadequately as “Taoism”, since over the centuries institutional Taoism has been assimilating or administering local religions. Zhengyi Taoism+ is especially intertwined with local cults, with Zhengyi ”daoshi” often performing rituals for local temples and communities. Faism, the tradition of the ”fashi” (“masters of rites”), inhabits the boundary between Taoism and folk religion. Confucianism advocates worship of gods and ancestors through proper rites, which have an ethical importance. Taoism in its various currents, either comprehended or not within the Chinese folk religion, has some of its origins from Wuism.Libbrecht, 2007. p. 43. Chinese religion mirrors the social landscape, and takes on different shades for different people.Wolf, Arthur P. “Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors.” ”Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society.” Ed. Arthur O. Wolf. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974. pp. 131-182. (…)

Read the full article online here or download as pdf here.

(retrieved 24.04.2014 at


“Temple Oracles in a Chinese City” – A Study of the Use of Temple Oracles in Taichung, Central Taiwan” written by JULIAN PAS

“A sample from the Kuan Yin oracles occasionally but by no means exclusively found in Buddhist temples” (Julian Pas)

Get the shortened text only version or see the full pdf with drawings.


Journey to the West by Wu Cheng-en

A mix of Buddhist, Taoist and Shenist dieties appear in the the “Journey to the West” (16th century):

(…) The Jade Emperor then ordered all the gods of the Department of Thunder to split up and invite the Three Pure Ones, the Four Emperors, the Five Ancients, the Six Superintendents, the Seven Main Stars, the Eight Points of the Compass, the Nine Bright Shiners, the Ten Chiefs, the Thousand Immortals, and the Ten Thousand Sages to a banquet to thank the Buddha for his mercy. Then he ordered the Four Great Heavenly Teachers and the Nine Heavenly Maidens to open the golden gates of the jade capital, and Palace of the Great Mystery, and the Tong Yang Jade Palace, invite the Tathagata to take his seat on the Throne of the Seven Precious Things, arrange the places for all the different groups of guests, and set out the dragon liver, phoenix bone−marrow, jade liquor, and magic peaches. (…)

Read the full Text online here or download as pdf there.

(received 05.01.2013 at


Shenism in the 21st Century

Offerings made to the ancestors including modern computer equipment at the Chinese Qingming Festival. It is the Shenist equivalent of the Christian All Souls’ Day (Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed / Feast of All Souls).

shenism 01

shenism 02

shenism 03

shenism 04

See also Qingming Festival: Dealing with death in the 21st century by Runhong Zhang for more information (source: Meanwhile in China).

(retrieved 08.04.2013 at


(reviewed 17.01.2014)

What Germans think about Chinese

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What Germans think about Chinese and Chinese think about Germans

对你来说什么“最中国”? 最“中国”? 人们一起做所有的事,从不单独做任何事,这也许是一种典型的中国方式。人总在社会中,总在一起。如果有一些自己的想法的话,那就最好不说出来,而只说别人认为自己应该说的话——但这并不一定是对方想听到的话。

Read more at the Deutsch-Chinesisches Kulturnetz at

See also there, what the Chinese think about Germans (nur auf Deutsch): 😉

Chinese artist Yang Liu did an excellent job in using this pictographs to explain the differences between Chinese and German culture.



The full set is available here.

Internet Censorship in China / The Golden Shield

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The Golden Shield


jingjing-chacha chinese internet police

(retrieved 15.02.2014 at


The Great Firewall


Great Firewall of China


(…) So basically the “Internet” has two Internets. One is the Internet, the other is the Chinanet.


Chinese Webservices


In China, we have 500 million Internet users. That’s the biggest population of Netizens, Internet users, in the whole world. So even though China’s is a totally censored Internet, but still, Chinese Internet society is really booming. How to make it? It’s simple. You have Google, we have Baidu. You have Twitter, we have Weibo. You have Facebook, we have Renren. You have YouTube, we have Youku and Tudou. The Chinese government blocked every single international Web 2.0 service, and we Chinese copycat every one.


Sometimes this Chinese national Internet policy is very simple: Block and clone. On the one hand, he wants to satisfy people’s need of a social network, which is very important; people really love social networking. But on the other hand, they want to keep the server in Beijing so they can access the data any time they want. That’s also the reason Google was pulled out from China, because they can’t accept the fact that Chinese government wants to keep the server.


Sometimes the Arab dictators didn’t understand these two hands. For example, Mubarak, he shut down the Internet. He wanted to prevent the Netizens [from criticizing] him. But once Netizens can’t go online, they go in the street. And now the result is very simple. We all know Mubarak is technically dead. But also, Ben Ali, Tunisian president, didn’t follow the second rule. That means keep the server in your hands. He allowed Facebook, a U.S.-based service, to continue to stay on inside of Tunisia. So he can’t prevent it, his own citizens to post critical videos against his corruption. The same thing happend. He was the first to topple during the Arab Spring. But those two very smart international censorship policies didn’t prevent Chinese social media [from] becoming a really public sphere, a pathway of public opinion and the nightmare of Chinese officials. Because we have 300 million microbloggers in China. It’s the entire population of the United States.


But also, the Bo Xilai case recently, very big news, he’s a princeling. But from February to April this year (2012), Weibo really became a marketplace of rumors. You can almost joke everything about these princelings, everything! It’s almost like you’re living in the United States. But if you dare to retweet or mention any fake coup about Beijing, you definitely will be arrested. So this kind of freedom is a targeted and precise window.


But this technology is very new, but technically is very old. It was made famous by Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong, because he mobilized millions of Chinese people in the Cultural Revolution to destroy every local government. It’s very simple, because Chinese central government doesn’t need to even lead the public opinion. They just give them a target window to not censor people. Not censoring in China has become a political tool. 


So that’s the update about this game, cat-and-mouse. Social media changed Chinese mindset. More and more Chinese intend to embrace freedom of speech and human rights as their birthright, not some imported American privilege. But also, it gave the Chinese a national public sphere for people to, it’s like a training of their citizenship, preparing for future democracy. But it didn’t change the Chinese political system, and also the Chinese central government utilized this centralized server structure to strengthen its power to counter the local government and the different factions.


Cat and Mouse


So, what’s the future? After all, we are the mouse. Whatever the future is, we should fight against the [cat]. There is not only in China, but also in the United States there are some very small, cute but bad cats. SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP and ITU. And also, like Facebook and Google, they claim they are friends of the mouse, but sometimes we see them dating the cats. So my conclusion is very simple. We Chinese fight for our freedom, you just watch your bad cats. Don’t let them hook [up] with the Chinese cats. Only in this way, in the future, we will achieve the dreams of the mouse: that we can tweet anytime, anywhere, without fear.


Michael Anti

Behind the Great Firewall of China – Speech of Michael Anti (赵静, 趙靜, Jing Zhao) at TED in July 2012

Transcribed by Thu-Huong Ha
Reviewed by Jenny Zurawell

View video here, read the transcript online here or download pdf here.


(received 01.06.2014 at – full video at


How Chinese Internet Censorship Works, Sometimes

(…) In a 2013 study of social media site Sina Weibo, researchers at Northeastern University found empirical evidence that censorship sometimes not only fails to quash discussion of sensitive topics on Chinese social media sites, but may even encourage it. Though numerous factors may be at play, the finding reinforces the popular notion that attempts to conceal information can backfire and even become a central part of a story—a phenomenon known as the Streisand Effect, for singer Barbra Streisand, whose attempts to suppress photographs of her multimillion dollar mansion caused photographs of the house to go viral.

Read the study online here or download as pdf here.


Whereas most censorship alerts the user to its presence with blunt error messages, attempting to instill a chilling effect, this subtler method gives users the mistaken impression of having shared their views with their online followers when, in fact, their messages are only visible on their own computers. Thus, authorities can shut down discussions without raising the specter of netizens outraged that their posts have been deleted.


One should not underestimate the ability of Chinese Internet users to dig up information authorities are trying to hide—especially when it directly affects them or when it relates to righting injustices. But one must also acknowledge that China’s censors often still have the will and the tools to manage online information effectively to suit the government’s needs.

JASON Q. NG 03.13.14 at ChinaFile

(retrieves 07.08.2014 at


Grass Mud Horse: Chinese Puns to Climb the Great Firewall of China

baimao Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung(retrieved 15.02.2014 at

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung (Chinese: 洪天健; pinyin: Hóng Tiānjiàn, born 1976)

(…) The Chinese have played with homophones and near homophones (usually differing only by a tone) for a long time. (They’re a staple at the Chinese New Year.) More recently, this feature of Chinese has been particularly useful for evading the censors. When the authorities banned the phrase cào nǐ mā, or “fuck your mother”, from the Chinese internet, in the name of combating vulgarity, the Chinese were quick to coin an internet hero, the Grass Mud Horse, whose name is a near homophone: Cǎo Ní Mǎ. Maorilyn Maoroe can be seen with him above. He is an opponent of the River Crab, a pun on “harmonious”, the official description of the society censorship is meant to promote.

The Grass Mud Horse is just one of ten mythical creatures all designed to talk about naughty stuff through puns. Mr Hung includes a painting of another of them, the great French-Croatian Squid, whose Chinese name requires a little English to get the pun. He is Fǎ Kè Yóu, and wears a Mao jacket while blowing an inflationary bubble with chewing gum. (The vowel in ke is a sort of “uh” sound, so this sounds roughly like “fah-kuh you”.) (…)

Grass Mud Horse: Chinese Puns to Climb the Great Firewall of China

By Marice Sy On June 10, 2011


(retrieved 25.02.2014 at


Chinese Firewall Test

Test any website on availability in China:


Sensitive Sina Weibo Search Terms (Updating)

(…) The Grass-Mud Horse list includes the English translation of each blocked keyword, as well as link to the relevant Sensitive Words post and information on retests where available. The list will continue to expand so long as Weibo blocks search results. (…)

China Digital Times Sensitive Sina Weibo Search Terms (Updating)


(reviewed 07.08.2014)

E.T.Hall – High Context Communication vs. Low Context Communication

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High Context Communication and Low Context Communication


The Context

The context gives additional information, which is necessary to encode the whole situation / background of a given information.

high context low context

(retrieved 10.05.2014 at


High Context

An example for High Context Communication would be the question, where my (the editor’s) black pepper is. A high context information would be: above my micro-wave. Those people, who know me, my apartment and my kitchen can immediately find the pepper. Their context is to know who I am, where I live, where my kitchen is and where micro-wave. Without the context (additional information) there is not enough information to encrypt the proper meaning.

In high context communication an information can have different meanings according. It needs additional information to encode (understand). Speaking in examples is also a high context information.

  • Less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information
  • More internalized understandings of what is communicated
  • Multiple cross-cutting ties and intersections with others
  • Long term relationships
  • Strong boundaries- who is accepted as belonging vs who is considered an “outsider”
  • Knowledge is situational, relational.
  • Decisions and activities focus around personal face-to-face relationships, often around a central person who has authority.

(quoted from Culture at Work

(retrieved 12.09.2013 at


High Context Communication is also common in many Western countries

The table sheds light on just how difficult it can be for a foreigner to understand what the British really mean when they’re speaking – especially for those take every word at face value. Phrases that prove the trickiest to decipher include ‘you must come for dinner’, which foreigners tend to take as a direct invitation, but is actually said out of politeness by many Britons and often does not result in an invite. The table also reveals that when a person from Britain begins a sentence “with the greatest respect …’, they actually mean ‘I think you are an idiot’.” (Alice Philipson in The Telegraph 02 Sep 2013)

I hear what you say I disagree and do not want to discuss it further He accepts my point of view
With the greatest respect You are an idiot He is listening to me
That’s not bad That’s good That’s poor
That is a very brave proposal You are insane He thinks I have courage
Quite good A bit disappointing Quite good
I would suggest Do it or be prepared to justify yourself Think about the idea, but do what you like
Oh, incidentally/ by the way The primary purpose of our discussion is That is not very important
I was a bit disappointed that I am annoyed that It doesn’t really matter
Very interesting That is clearly nonsense They are impressed
I’ll bear it in mind I’ve forgotten it already They will probably do it
I’m sure it’s my fault It’s your fault Why do they think it was their fault?
You must come for dinner It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite I will get an invitation soon
I almost agree I don’t agree at all He’s not far from agreement
I only have a few minor comments Please rewrite completely He has found a few typos
Could we consider some other options I don’t like your idea They have not yet decided
(retrieved 30.09.2013 at


Low Context

A good manual is an example of low context communication / information. No other information is necessary to understand it. In low context communication an information has only one single meaning. No additional information is necessary to encode (understand) the meaning.

  • Rule oriented, people play by external rules
  • More knowledge is codified public, external, and accessible.
  • Sequencing, separation–of time, of space, of activities, of relationships
  • More interpersonal connections of shorter duration
  • Knowledge is more often transferable
  • Task-centered. Decisions and activities focus around what needs to be done, division of responsibilities.
(received 10.05.2014 at


High Context vs. Low Context

Take a look how members of high and low contextual cultures see themselves and their opposites:

High Context Communication

  • polite
  • respectful
  • integrates by similarities/harmony
  • not direct
Low Context Communication

  • open
  • true
  • integrates by authenticity
  • direct
High Context claims Low Context

  • impolite
  • “cannot read between the lines”
  • naïve
  • no self discipline
  • too fast
Low Context claims High Context

  • hiding information
  • not trustable
  • arrogant
  • too formal
  • too slow

For an example how a low context culture interacts with a high context culture as the Chinese, please visit GlobThink: Unfortunately this link is broken / not existing anymore (reviewed 12.12.2012)


Applications of Hall`s Theories about the Context

Website Design in High and Low Context Cultures

Parameter: Tendency in HC Cultures Tendency in LC Cultures
Animation High use of animation, especially in connection with images of moving people Lower use of animation, mainly reserved for highlighting effects e.g., of text
Promotion of values Images promote values characteristic of collectivist societies Images promote values characteristic of individualistic societies
Individuals separate or together with the product Featured images depict products and merchandise in use by individuals Images portray lifestyles of individuals, with or without a direct emphasis on the use of products or merchandise
Level of transparency Links promote an exploratory approach to navigation on the website; process-oriented Clear and redundant cues in connection with navigation on a website; goal-oriented
Linear vs. parallel navigation on the website Many sidebars and menus, opening of new browser windows for each new page Few sidebars and menus, constant opening in same browser window

MacDonalds CN

Link to the current Mc Donald’s Website in China



High Context Cultures

Arab Countries
North America
Scandinavian Countries
German-speaking Countries

Low Context Cultures

MacDonalds DE

Link to the current website Mc Donad`s Germany


(…) Meanwhile, it’s rolling out a new social media campaign, asking consumers to share favorite moments at the store, and it made a massive ad buy on Baidu, China’s main search engine, this weekend. The new togetherness message doesn’t mean China is phasing out global slogan “I’m Lovin’ It.”

“What we’ve done is give a layer of context to the ‘it’ — why are you lovin’ it?'” said Agatha Yap, senior marketing director for McDonald’s China.

Read the full article here or download as pdf here.

(retrieved 21.05.2014 at


M;rs. Martina Wuertz published “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Websites from High-Context Cultures and Low-Context Culture“, which gives an interesting idea of applications of Hall`s model. Download pdf “Cross-Cultural Analysis of Websites from High-Context Cultures and Low-Context Culture” here.

For more info about website design in different cultures see how AM+A used Hofstede`s framework for analysing website design in different cultures/countries. Download pdf here or visit the website


Monochrone / Polychrone Times


Polychrone time

  • no fixed schedule
  • flexible
  • different tasks at one time
  • short term orientated
Monochrone time

  • has a fixed schedule
  • inflexible
  • one task at a time
  • long term orientated


Western cultures intend to have a monochrone time (mono=single / chrone=time). Time is used as a single line, where all events are lined up. Asian and African cultures intend to have a polychrone conception of time (poly=different / chrone=time). Events happen simultaneously in a polychrone conception of time.


Dialogue – when two time systems collide

Mr. Paul Rosen is the international sales representative for his computer equipment company. His most recent trip takes him to China,where he is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Patrick Chang.

Mr. Rosen and his training team arrived in Beijing three days ago for a scheduled appointment with Mr. Chang. However, Mr. Chang has not yet met with Mr. Rosen or his team. Finally, a call to Mr. Rosen’s hotel room indicates that Mr. Chang is prepared to meet with him. When Mr. Rosen arrives at the location, he is asked to wait outside Mr. Chang’s office. As he waits, he notices many people entering and leaving Mr. Chang’s office at a very quick pace. The hallways of this building are a hustle and bustle of activity, with people shuffling in and out of many rooms. Finally, after several hours, Mr. Rosen is called in to meet Mr. Chang.

Mr. Rosen: Ah, Mr. Chang, it’s so good to finally see you. Gosh, I’ve been waiting for days. Did you forget our appointment?

Mr. Chang: Hello, Mr. Rosen. Please sit down. Everything is fine?

Mr. Rosen: Actually no … (Phone rings) … the problem is …

Mr. Chang: Excuse me … (Takes the phone call and speaks in Chinese. After several minutes he concludes the phone conversation) Yes, now … everything is fine?

Mr. Rosen: Well, actually, I’ve got a small problem. You see, the computer equipment you ordered…(A staff person enters the room and hands Mr. Chang something to sign.)

Mr. Chang: Oh, excuse me… (signs the document) Yes, now, everything is fine?

Mr. Rosen: As I was saying … all of the computer equipment you ordered is just sitting on a ship at the dock. I need your help in getting it unloaded. I mean, it’s been there for two weeks!

Mr. Chang: I see … This is no problem.

Mr. Rosen: Well, if it sits in the heat much longer, it could be damaged. Could I get you to sign a worksgroups to have it unloaded by Friday?

Mr. Chang: There is no need for that. The job will get done.

Mr. Rosen: Well, could we set up some kind of deadline? You see, I have a staff of people here waiting to train your people on the equipment. I need to let them know when it will be ready. How about this Friday? Could we do it then? My people are here now, and they’re waiting to begin training.

Mr.Chang: Dont worry. We have been living quite well without those equipment for years. If necessary, we could wait for several weeks. That’s not the problem.

There is little chance that Mr. Chang will sign any kind of workgroups for Mr. Rosen. Mr. Rosen is also distressed by the constant interruptions. To Mr. Chang, Mr. Rosen is in too much of a hurry. Mr. Rosen is monochronic, whereas Mr. Chang operates from a polychronic time orientation.

Get the full pdf here or visit the website.



Proxemics is the theory, that people from different cultures have different (imaginary) spaces around them. Link:

See more about E.T.Halls Concept of Personal Space at E. T. Hall – Proxemics (Understanding Personal Space)


(reviewed 10.05.2014)

Parameter: Tendency in HC Cultures Tendency in LC Cultures
Animation High use of animation, especially in connection with images of moving people Lower use of animation, mainly reserved for highlighting effects e.g., of text
Promotion of values Images promote values characteristic of collectivist societies Images promote values characteristic of individualistic societies
Individuals separate or together with the product Featured images depict products and merchandise in use by individuals Images portray lifestyles of individuals, with or without a direct emphasis on the use of products or merchandise
Level of transparency Links promote an exploratory approach to navigation on the website; process-oriented Clear and redundant cues in connection with navigation on a website; goal-oriented
Linear vs. parallel navigation on the website Many sidebars and menus, opening of new browser windows for each new page Few sidebars and menus, constant opening in same browser window

Culture Influences Brain / Cultural Differences in Perception

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Partly incorporated by the later post Arrow, Circle, Spiral and Cylinder – Different Conceptions of Time and History: Culture influences Brain


MIT imaging shows culture influences brain function

Asians and Westeners had to answer questions about absolute quantities (is, is not, how many?) or relative qualities (bigger than, higher than, more red than,…)

It became obvious, that Western people have to spend more energy to render relative judgments (bigger than, lower than, …) than Asians. Vice versa it showed, that Asians needed more energy rendering absolute judgments (is or is not).



TechTalk by MIT (Mass. Institute for Technology), volume 52, No. 14 (30.01.2008), J. Gabriell and T. Hedden from the Mc Govern Institute

Download the full pdf here, the article is on page 4 below.



How Asians and Westerners look at Faces



(…) Western society is very individualist. Asian societies are much more collectivistic (…) Western approach to facial recognition is piece-by-piece and intimate. The East Asian approach is both more formal and holistic: peripheral information is gathered

(…). We tested some Chinese who had been in Glasgow for three or four years, and you see a clear difference between them and those who just arrived (…). That really demonstrates that it’s not genetic. It’s experience. (…)

Retrieved 14.01.2011 from

Read the full research article “Culture Shapes How People See Faces” online here or download as pdf here.


Citation: Blais C, Jack RE, Scheepers C, Fiset D, Caldara R (2008) Culture Shapes How We Look at Faces. PLoS ONE 3(8): e3022. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003022 Editor: Alex O. Holcombe, University of Sydney, Australia Received June 12, 2008; Accepted July 30, 2008; Published August 20, 2008 Copyright: ß 2008 Blais et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This study was supported by The Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council (ESRC) (RES-060-25-0010). REJ was supported by a PhD studentship awarded by ESRC (PTA-031-2006-00192), CB by a PhD studentship provided by the Fonds Que ́cois de Recherche en Nature et Technologies ́be (FQRNT) and DF by a FQRNT post-doctoral fellowship. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail:, retrieved 14.01.2011 from


How Asians and Westerners look at Emotions (Facial Expressions are not universal)


How Asians and Westerners Encode Emotions~

Here, we report marked differences between EA (East Asians) and WC (Western Caucasian) observers in the decoding of universal facial expressions. EA observers exhibited a significant deficit in categorizing ‘‘fear’’ and ‘‘disgust’’ compared to WC observers. Also, WC observers distributed their fixations evenly across the face, whereas EA observers systematically biased theirs toward the eye region. A model observer revealed that EA observers sample information that is highly similar between certain expressions (i.e., ‘‘fear’’ and ‘‘surprise’’; ‘‘disgust’’ and ‘‘anger’’). Despite the apparent lack of diagnostic information, EA observers persisted in repetitively sampling the eye regions of ‘‘fear,’’ ‘‘disgust,’’ and ‘‘anger.’’

Download the .pdf here or online here.

Cultural Confusions Show that Facial Expressions Are Not Universal
Cultural Confusions Show that Facial Expressions Are Not Universal – Rachael E. Jack,, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Caroline Blais, Christoph Scheepers, Philippe G. Schyns, and Roberto Caldara,, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, 1Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QB, Scotland, UK, 2Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QB, Scotland, UK, 3Départment de Psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montreal, PQ H3C 3J7, Canada ,Received 12 May 2009; revised 12 July 2009; accepted 13 July 2009. Published online: August 13, 2009. Available online 13 August 2009.
Current Biology –  Volume 19, Issue 18, 29 September 2009, Pages 1543-1548: retrieved 19.02.2011 under


The Stroop Effect on Morphosyllabic (Asian) and Alphabetical Readers (Western)

Stroop Effect

(1) No interference: Green Red Blue Purple Blue Purple (2) Interference: Blue Purple Red Green Purple Green

In psychology, the Stroop effect is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task. When the name of a color (e.g., “blue,” “green,” or “red”) is printed in a color not denoted by the name (e.g., the word “red” printed in blue ink instead of red ink), naming the color of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the color of the ink matches the name of the color. The effect is named after John Ridley Stroop who first published the effect in English in 1935. The effect had previously been published in Germany in 1929. The original paper has been one of the most cited papers in the history of experimental psychology, leading to more than 700 replications. The effect has been used to create a psychological test (Stroop Test) that is widely used in clinical practice and investigation.

(Wikipedia, retrieved 08.01.2011)



Stroop Effect on Morphosyllabic and Alphabetical Readers



Twenty-three Chinese and 24 German undergraduate students were tested in a Stroop paradigm with the following stimuli: color patches, color-neutral words (e.g., friend printed in yellow), incongruently colour-associated words (e.g., blood printed in blue), and incongruently colour words (e.g., yellow printed in blue). Results revealed no differences in German and Chinese students’ response times to colour patches. Chinese participants, however, showed longer colour naming latencies for neutral words as well as for colour words and colour-related words. No differences between German and Chinese participants were found when print colour latencies for neutral words were subtracted from print colour latencies for colour words and colour-related words. This result does not support theories which suggest that for morphosyllabic readers there is a direct route from orthography to the semantics of a word. We rather argue, with reference to dual route models of reading, that access from print to phonology is faster for morphosyllabic than for alphabetic readers, and therefore interference caused by conflicting phonologies of colour name and written word will be stronger in Chinese readers than in German readers.

HENRIK SAALBACH and ELSBETH STERN / Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2004, 11 (4), 709–715 / Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

Download the full pdf here.

See “How Language influences our Thinking” or “Choosing a foreign Name” or search the Category “Language“.


Updated 14.01.2011

MIT imaging shows culture
influences brain function

Map of Happiness

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Happiness throughout Nations


Change in Happiness 2007 2012

Comparing World and Regional Happiness Levels: 2005–07 and 2010–12

Download the complete SDSN World Happiness Report 2013 online here or download as pdf here.



Map of Happiness Veenhoven

Click on the pic for an interactive map


Nation Ranking in Happiness Veenhoven

Click on the pic for an interactive sheet


Veenhoven, R., World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Assessed on 02.07.2013 at:


Happiness and Income


World Value Survey

10life_satisfaction happiness(source


See also Happiness Trends in 24 Countries (1946-2006) online here or download pdf here.

(tertieved 12.07.2013 at



Life Satisfaction and Per Capita GDP around the World Gallup

Read the Income, Health, and Wellbeing Around the World: Evidence From the Gallup World Poll online here or download as pdf here.

Tetrieved 12.07.2013 at


Happiness and Life Satisfaction

Happiness and Life Satisfaction

Read more about Global Trends in Life Satisfaction 1981 – 2007 online here or download pdf here.

(tertieved 12.07.2013 at


Check out for more surveys at the Word Value Survey


(reviewed 23.04.2014)

Cool translation software

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ImTranslator: nice plugin or the IE and Firefox for instant translations from and to most languages. It is absolutely free.

Simply mark the phrase, right mouse click and there you have. Includes automatic language recognition.

Free download at:

Eastern Dragons and Western Dragons

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(…) The dragon is the single most well known mythical creature of all time. Its origins date back to the dawn of time and its legends spread across the world. Nearly every culture, at some time, has had stories and myths of dragons. At one time, people firmly believed in the existence of dragons. Some were worshipped as gods, while others were seen as demons that should be slayed. Today, due to modern science, the dragon has nearly been ‘explained’ out of existence. It lives nearly exclusively in fantasy, myth, story and film. Still, there are those who believe as strongly in the dragon as did those of old.

Dragons come in nearly every shape, size, color and even disposition. What a dragon looks like and how it acts is largely up to the people who believe in it. Most dragons resemble large lizards or snakes. They nearly all have scales and most are believed to have some sort of magical powers. Some have wings, others do not. There are air dragons, fire dragons, and sea dragons. Some are cruel beasts, while others are wise sages. The dragon is a very versitile being. (…)

Fantasy’s Repose on Dragons

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


Origin of Dragons

Serpent Theory

(…) Many people believe that the origination of dragons came from serpents. Rather, they came from snakes and eels that people saw. As time went on and art evolved, these serpents became more and more decorated until they looked more like semi-Chinese dragons or sea serpents.

It is also suggested that people saw mutated eels and snakes or thought that some of their surroundings (i.e. for eels, seaweed, for snakes, sticks) were actually a part of them. Thus making them look as if they were draconic. This actually suggest that dragons were formed out of the misinterpretation of artwork, stories, and sights throughout the ages.

Bones Theory

This theory pertains to the remains that people found and called “dragon bones” so it definitely holds no water in battle of where the term dragon came from. However, it does provided an interesting idea that people thought the bones of dinosaurs to be dragons, and they though dragons to be descendants (or parents) to such serpents as the snake and lizard. The Bones Theory suggests that people found the bones and created stories about the fierce creatures that once lived within those bones.

Sadly, this theory is lacking when it comes to civilizations as China and other Asian dragons. Due to their unscientific structures, Chinese dragons and Asian dragons could never have originated from seeing bones. On the other hand, one might think that they either adapted the bones to the dragons or they only found some bones. Whichever the case, this theory is not as likely as the Serpent Theory.

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


Sumerian Dragons (5000 B.C.)

The first dragons, perhaps, appeared here in the myths of the Sumerians. The Sumerian word for dragon is “ushum.” The story of Zu and Enlil dates back to about 5000 B.C. There is also the dragon known as Kur, and both Zu and Kur were said to have angered the gods. For instance, Zu stole the Tablets of Law from Enlil. Ninurta, the sun god, was sent after each of these dragons. For the most part, he completed the task, and managed to slay both dragons.

Chinese Dragons (5000 B.C.)

A Chinese legend has it, that Buddha told all the animals in the world to come to him. When the journey was over, only twelve animals had made it to Buddha, and so they became the Zodiacs. Among these was the great dragon.

Chinese dragons date back to around 5000 B.C. The Chinese believed that they were the “descendants of the dragons,” too. The goddess Nu Kua was half mortal half dragon, and she spawned dragons that could easily shift from human form to dragons, or vice versa. In addition to this, they could rise to the heavens, go to the bottom of the seas, and even change size.

Chinese emperors were said to be sons of the dragons and wore special robes. Only the Emperor could wear the sign of the celestial dragon because it was the sign of the ultimate power.

Most Chinese dragons did not have wings. However, they would grow branch-like wings when they became one thousand years old. It is then that they are called Ying-Lung.

Some are also known as Chiao or Chiao-Lung. This is usually a fish that has managed to become a dragon. For most fish, the challenge is to jump through miraculous gates on the ocean floor. For some, however, they grow to a certain age and become a dragon.

There is a story of one called Hai Li Bu. Out walking one day, he came upon a goose killing a snake. Hai Li Bu felt badly for the snake, so he stopped the goose from killing it. This snake was the daughter of the Dragon King, and Hai Li Bu was rewarded with a magical gem that could help him decipher what the animals were saying. He, however, was not allowed to repeat anything the animals said, or he would turn to stone. One day, Hai Li Bu heard the animals speaking of the coming of a great flood. Unable to simply let mankind die, he warned them of the flood, and Hai Li Bu turned to stone.

There is also a story of a great flood. Tien Ti, emperor of the heavens, looked down upon the earth and saw that it must be reformed, as the wickedness of the world was too much. With that, he sent down a great flood to destroy it. The god Tu, taking pity upon man, begged for Tien Ti to stop. With that, Tien Ti created a turtle and placed magic earth upon his back so that it would soak up the water. After this was done, Tien Ti sent out a emerald-scaled Ying-Lung dragon that flew over the world, carving the valleys and rivers with its tail. (…)

Kylie McCormick at the The Circle of the Dragon

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


Overview about Dragons worldwide


Eastern Dragons

(…) The eastern dragons (most notably the Chinese and Japanese ones) are quite different from those found in the west. First of all, they are more commonly seen as benign and wise. The dragon is one of the four celestial creatures (the others being the unicorn, the phoenix and the tortoise) and is held in reverence. The dragon is a symbol of the emperor just as the phoenix is the symbol of the empress. (…)

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


Chinese Dragon

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at

Detail of the Nine Dragons scroll painting by Chen Rong, 1244, Song Dynasty


(…) Given the span of history and span of geography that the Eastern Dragon traverses, it is perhaps unfair to attempt to summarize all variations under a particular heading. Throughout history, the shape and temperament of Eastern Dragons changed, leaving many species of Eastern Dragons as well.

For a brief generalization, the Eastern Dragon inherited today has the body of a snake, belly of a frog, scales of a carp, head of a camel, horns of a giant stag, the eyes of a hare, ears like a bull, a neck like an iguana, paws like a tigers, and claws like an eagle. Eastern dragons are described with an angelic authority and beauty. They possess incredible wisdom. (…)

Kylie McCormick at the The Circle of the Dragon

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


(—) Chinese dragons have five toes. The Chinese believe that all eastern dragons originated from China. They believed that when the dragons flew away, they began to lose toes. The farther and farther the dragons flew, the more toes they lost. So, Korean dragons have four toes, and Japanese dragons have three.

Japanese dragons have three toes. The Japanese believe that all eastern dragons originated from Japan. They also believed that when the dragons began to leave Japan, they gain toes. The farther the dragons went, the more toes they gained. This is why the other dragons have more toes. The breath of Japanese dragons turned into clouds, which could produce rain or fire. Due to a measure upon their heads, they could ascend to Heaven when they chose.

Korean dragons have four toes. The Koreans believe that all eastern dragons originated from Korea. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward China, they gain toes. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward Japan, they lose toes.


Other interesting things to note is the differences between the dragons in pictures. For instance, males usually have clubs in their tails while females hold fans. These dragons can also be depicted as descending from the sky or inside clouds. Sometimes you might even be able to see a pearl, which is considered a ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ that the dragons possess.

Other things to look for include horns. Male horns were thinner near the base of the head and thicker and stronger outwardly.

Females have ‘nicer’ manes. Rather, they are rounder, and thus seen as more balanced than the rigid mane of the males. Their noses are usually straighter, their scales thinner, (after all, they are smaller!) and finally, a thicker tail. ‘Thicker’ meaning throughout the body.


Eastern Dragons are born with their colors based upon the age and color of their parents. The colors of dragons are: white, red, black, blue, and yellow. Each is born to a different parent.

Black dragons are children of a thousand-year-old dragon that is black-gold. They are symbols of the North. They caused storms by battling in the air.

Blue dragons are children of blue-gold dragons that are eight hundred years old. They are purest blue colors, and they are the sign of the coming spring. They are they are the symbol of the East.

Yellow dragons are born from yellow-gold dragons who are one thousand years or older. They hold no symbol. They are secluded and wander alone. They appear at ‘the perfect moment’ and at all other times remain hidden. Yellows are also the most revered of the dragons.

Red dragons descend from a red-gold dragon who is about one thousand years of age. They are the symbol for the West, and are much like black dragons. They can cause storms in the skies when they fight.

White dragons come from white-gold dragons of a thousand years of age. They symbolize the South. White is the Chinese color of mourning, and these dragons are a sign of death.  (…)

Kylie McCormick at the The Circle of the Dragon

(retrieved 27.01.2014  at


Western Dragons

Western Dragons usually have an evil character. It has the body of a reptile with wings. They can fly, spit fire, steal and likes to kidnap princesses. Maybe they keep the princesses as hostages, maybe just for helping in the household. Some demand regular sacrifices of virgins. Western dragons usually live in a deep cave, where they store the immense treasure they stole. Western dragons cause enormous damages, so huge rewards are set out for their killing. Western dragons can get several hundred years old and gather an enormous wisdom. Even if it seems, if they would have no gender, they are usually treated as male. The story about St. George is the most common tale about dragons in the Western world (Ann. of the Author).



(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


(…) Then said S. George: Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing hereof for I shall help thee in the name of Jesus Christ. She said: For God’s sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me.

Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard.

When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair.

The Golden Legend via BBC

See the full article online here or download pdf here.

(retrieved 27.01.2014 at


(reviewed 27.01.2014)

Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language

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Pictographs / The Origin of all Characters

Chinese and Western characters both derived from pictographs. Traffic signs are pictographs. They express a complex meaning by a picture (Greek “picto” = picture and “graph” = sign). Pictographs can be understood throughout all languages.

pictograph 4 riders Saddle Rock Ranch

(retrieved 12.01.2013 at
(Pictrograph from Saddle Rock Ranch Pictograph Site in California USA)




Asian characters are called logographs (deriving from Greek “logos” = meaning and “graph” = sign). These characters are not necessarily linked directly to their pronunciation.

The separation of meaning and pronunciation allows different languages to use the same set of characters. 

Te character for “Bird” ist still similar in Chinese as well as in Japanese:

traditional Chinese

simplified Chinese


More Logographs

Chinese character for door (men2) It looks like a symbol for a door with movable hinges on the left side.

During the times, the pictographs changed the shape. This is the character for sun (ri4).


Development of Chinese Characters

Retrieved 08.01.2011 from

More info about Chinese Language in here.




Western characters are called phonographs (Greek “phono” = sound and graph=sign). They show the spelling but do not represent the meaning. A foreign reader may pronounce a word, but not understand the meaningThe English word “Hut” has a very different meaning in German language (“Hat”).

Western Characters also derived from pictographs. The European Phoenicians (1000 – 500 BC) used the first types of characters as we still have now.


D for “Dalet”, which means Door (looks like the triangle entrance of a tent)PhoenicianD-01

A for “Aleph”, which means Ox (looks like two horns or a plow)



Development of the Phoenician alphabet



Development of the Greek Alphabeth


 Development of the Latin Alphabet


Western Mathematics is based on Arabic Numerals


(reviewed 07.10.2016)

Cultural Maps of the World

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The Inglehart-Wetzel Cultural Maps of the World


Map of Values

The World Value Survey Cultural Map 1999-2004


The World Value Survey Cultural Map 2005-2008

The World Value Survey Cultural Map 2005-2008

Check out for more at

(retrieved 12.07.2013 at