Monthly Archives: September 2012

Let there be tolerance

Imagine there’s no countries…

In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, in a duel against Tybalt from the Capulet, died, cursing that a plague may fall upon Montague and Capulet (‘ A plague o’ both your houses! ‘). The quarrel stemmed from a perennial family feuds in which kinsman fought in the name of family honor that ended in violence and blood – first Mercutio death, then the tragedy between Romeo and Juliet.

Family honor is but a dreamy concept that led to death and tragedy, so does nationalism. A product of the eighteen – century, it continues to serve a convenient tool for the Beijing lords to transform the much suppressed civil energy into sinister viral nationalistic zeal that unleashed to engulf the whole China.

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The Last Emperor (1987)

Puyi: ‘Do you think a man can become an Emperor again?’
Johnston: ‘Yes’

China after 1911 witnessed a rush of unprecedented optimism that welcomed foreign ideas like republicanism, democracy and freedom. Using the Georgian calendar, driving mobile car and wearing western suit became a sign of culture and modernity – a final victory of the civilized West. In another secluded place, the high red wall insulated an ancient culture from this rush, trying, rather obstinately, to protect the old traditions in keeping the lunisolar calendar, riding horses and wearing Qing robes. This is the Forbidden City.

The Inner Court within this Forbidden City which itself is a city within the Peking city resides a person representing these futile or noble, depending on how you see, attempts. He was hailed as the Lord of Ten Thousand Years but was stripped off any effective power by the age of 6. He was the absolute lord in his own court but a powerless commoner beyond the red wall. He is Puyi – the last emperor of China.

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