The other elephant in the room.

September 14, 2009

When it comes to trying to make sense of origination and development of TCMA, the other hurdle, besides dearth of proper documentations, is repetitions of names and nomenclatures.

My latest Sibu trip saw me hooking up with a Taiwanese researcher, Frank Hsu who is here working with clans association on the topic of trans-national migration of Chinese cultures and Sibu, the epi-centre of Chinese cultures is his base.

Frank, an anthropologist, is currently working with University of Alberta.

Among the many things that we discussed is the concept of how when you don’t have the linguistic skills, it’s almost impossible to fully realize the subtleties of any culture.

Particularly when it comes to things Chinese where so much is contained in the nomenclatures which is the doorway to any understanding of the cultures behind.

And this, personally, is also where so much uncertainties is found; talk to anyone in TCMA and you’re going to hear many common terminologies used freely and yet all conveying different meanings.

We don’t have to go very deep to see how severe this issue could be; names like Lohan, Jin Kang, Hong Men and Wu Xin all conjure up exclusive significance to unrelated folks.

Try putting them together and any hope of accord is sometimes nothing more than wishful thinking.

So, the trick is to agree to disagree, like I always maintain.

If you’re a Fuzhou like me and living in the midst of Hakka, Hockien, Teochew, Henghua, Hainan, Cantonese and Baba Chinese (Chinese and Malay mix), you really got to learn to allow that there is more than one view to everything.

Even if the topic is “Chinese”…….

Here is a simple example – 2 versions of the same thing. Both Shaolin, Jin Kang and both claiming to be the traditional form:-

shaolin beginners_Page_163shaolin beginners_Page_165shaolin beginners_Page_166shaolin beginners_Page_167shaolin beginners_Page_168shaolin beginners_Page_169shaolin beginners_Page_170shaolin beginners_Page_171

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