#5 Most Impressive Dynasty: The Han

August 23, 2008

Good Friends:

As my longtime readers may have noted, something has been wrong with the Yan Xishan Blog lately. Earthquakes, Tang dynasty magistrates, and dumbass laowai have been distracting me from my primary goal for the year. Well, I suppose my primary goals for 1941 should be wiping out the wife-sharing ideologues and convincing the 小日本儿’s to return the panties of our good Shanxi women and get the hell back to their little island chain. But beyond that, I have been attempting to educate my soldiers (and by extension the uneducated masses of the so-called “internet”) about the wonders of Chinese imperial history. I fear a future where people learn about our past from pasty-faced intellectuals who can never understand that killing peasants is not only essential in the state-building process, but fun as well! Why just last week… wait, I am getting off track again. You can see how this could happen so easily with a Great Man such as myself. Speaking of which, I am thinking that once the war is over, I will put my visage on every single monetary denomination. But for the fiver, I am thinking about this for the image: me, giving Zhou Enlai a noogie. Shit, I am getting off track again. I need to stop holding special 8:00 AM happy hours.

But this conception of myself as a Great Man is relevant to today’s topic. As I explained to my JPA troops in my most recent lecture, a truly great dynasty is defined by great men. And there were many great men in the #5 Most Impressive Chinese Dynasty, the Han. First, let’s take a look at the map:

Not bad. I have seen better, but compared to the Sui, that is nothing to sneeze at. Now, who were these great men of the Han? The first in my estimation is Liu Bang, the founder of the Han. He was of peasant origin, which is rather problematic in my estimation. As a social climber, I can dig his rise to power, but as someone who is currently the ruler of millions of peasants, I do not want them getting any big ideas. Liu Bang became the ruler of the realm by putting the beat down on the great general Xiang Yu. During the critical battle, he duped Xiang Yu into thinking that his own men had turned on him. Liu Bang did this by having his own men sing the songs of Chu, where Xiang Yu hailed from. Interesting, huh? I should note that I have some long term plans that require my JPA troops to learn Carmen Miranda songs. Just in case, you know.

My other favorite Great Man of the Han was Wudi, a later Han emperor. He was a man of action, and a great role model for powerful Chinese men everywhere. Here is a man who would never be seen holding a clutch purse. Instead, he expanded the Chinese state to the largest it ever had been, at least up to that point. What a stupendous feeling that must be… unfortunately for me to have that feeling, I think that after I unify China, I would need to then go ahead and annex Sibera. Besides being a conqueror, Wudi also knew how to get up in people’s faces. This was no distant Laozi-style ruler, but one that got right up in a peasant’s grill and said: Hey little buddy, instead of letting the market tell you how much grain costs, how about I just tell you instead?

Now, there are many other great men of the Han, espeically if we consider the warlords that emerged at the end of the period.  I am talking, of course, about men such as Cao Cao (holy shit Cao Cao just showed up at my Taiyuan palace).  But let me tell you, dear reader, no matter what radical revisionists such as Kenny Pomeranz might say, Wang Mang was no great man.  He was a punk usurper, plain and simple.  And anyone who mentions land reform, as he often did, was obviously a Commie Pinko.  I would have had him quickly introduced to my famous hay chopper.  If it was good enough for Liu Hulan…

Well, there you have it kids–a few great men of the great Han dynasty.  I am pretty sure there were some pretty groovy chicks during the Han–I hear there was this one chick Ban Zhao who could teach other chicks to be good wives, that sounds pretty cool.  Overall, what a fucking great dynasty.  But still not the greatest.  I mean, Wang Mang pretty much screwed up the second half of the thing, plus there was this whole Confucian emphasis that threatened to limit the power of the emperor.  Don’t worry folks, the best is yet to come.  Stay tuned for my future post on the #4 most impressive dynasty.

YXS

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How Not to Pick Your Chinese Name

August 3, 2008

Good Friends:

The summer heat wave here in Shanxi has continued unabated.  I have been thinking about leaving Taiyuan for cooler environs, but I am finding it hard to do so.  Not because of my duty to my people and a feeling of responsibility for the future, but because Shanxi is currently blockaded by the Japs and the Commies.

Sweltering and half insane, I have had to find all sorts of diversions to pass the time.  Booze has helped.  But even when drunk, you can only watch so many hours of opera before demanding that the young female lead be delivered to your palace for a personal performance.  Thus my days have fallen into a monotony, and I was so bored for distraction that I agreed to a meeting with my US military advisors.

Now, normally I despise such meetings, as they are always telling me what I am doing wrong.  If I actually listened to these fools, I would have to re-organize my army and take on the Japs head first.  No thanks!  But out of boredom I agreed to meet with them.  Overall the meeting was useless, but one hilarious thing did emerge: they had all taken Chinese names, each more ridiculous than the next.

What is it with laowai and Chinese names?  Is it so hard to choose one that does not make you look like a total douchebag?  As I have noted earlier, laowai are always doing stupid shit that I real man such as myself would never do.  But to flub something as simple as a name?  As public service, I thought I should share a few basic rules when it comes to laowai and Chinese names.

Now, I am sure that many of you, when hearing about bad Chinese names, think of this guy:

Meet Da Shan (大山), the guy who is famous for being able to speak Chinese.  This makes a lot of other laowai super pissed off, since they speak Chinese but don’t get to be all famous for it.  On one hand I feel their pain, since I speak Chinese and am not famous for it, but on the other hand I really cannot relate because I am totally famous for other things, like being a powerful warlord.

There is also a bit of controversy surrounding his name, which literally translates into “Big Mountain.”  Besides the fact that he named himself after a bad reggae band, there is this question: Is this not a really stupid fucking name?  The answer: Yes.  But it could be much worse.  I would say it is about as stupid as me moving to Denver and telling people they should start calling me Rocky Mountain.

Perhaps I am being a bit soft on Da Shan, since we both share the 山 character in our names.  But really, there are far more stupid names for a laowai to choose.  I will demonstrate this by discussing two of the worst names ever to be chosen by laowai.

The first name is an unfortunate mix of three factors.  The first is the desire to name yourself after an animal.  Why the fuck would you do that?  You are a person (I think, although a few of the laowai I know are a bit ape-like).  If you have the character of any animal in your name, and you have never starred in an action movie, you are a douche.  The second factor is having a small dick, and feeling insecure about it, so you want to emphasize your “bigness’ by putting the character for big (大) in your name.  The third factor is actually thinking that you somehow deserve to be compared favorably to Bruce Lee.

As some of you might have guessed, the name I refer to is Dalong (大龙), or “Big Dragon.”  If you have this name, you are an idiot.  Bruce Lee’s Chinese name was Xiaolong (小龙) or “Little Dragon.”  That is a fucking awesome Chinese name–for Bruce Lee.  You expect me to call you “Big Dragon”?  How about I just call you a fucking idiot.

If our first horrible name displays equal parts ignorance, insecurity, and misplaced arrogance, the second horrible name reveals in its holder a willingness to debase themselves for fame.  I speak of what I take to be the most idiotic name ever taken by a laowai (and that says something), Aihua (爱华).  Meet Aihua:

Aihua.  What a fucking name.  It means “love China.”  I suppose it will not surprise you to know that Aihua is an actress.  Here is what the always reliable CCTV said about her:

[She is an] American girl who has embraced and adopted Chinese culture and tradition as her own. Meanwhile, she is beloved by the Chinese people, and they have accepted her as a Chinese, not a foreigner. She has graced the stages and TV screens of China since the young age of 10. “Ai Hua”, meaning Love China, is her Chinese name. And the name proves very appropriate, for not only does she love the Chinese, but the Chinese love her as well.

Shocking, is it not, that this CCTV report is inaccurate?   Note to all laowai: You will never be accepted as Chinese.  Picking a suck-up name might make us feel comfortable around you–it does show that you will kiss our asses for as long as we keep you around–but it does not make you Chinese.

I still cannot believe anyone would take this name.  To balance the scales, I am currently looking for a Chinese citizen to move Montana and take the name “Me Love USA Long Time.”  If you know anyone who might be interested, contact me at once.

YXS

Update:  The newish blog “Peking Order” (get it?) has a list of the top 5 laowai.  You will find that these “top” laowai are also dumb-ass laowai with seriously stupid names, a few of which have already been referenced above.  Check it out here.  BTW the Peking Order gets +6 internet points for referencing Yan Xishan, but -3 internet points for showing pity to Ai Hua.