After my recent comments on Kongzi, many of my fans wrote in asking for guidance. If Kongzi was unworthy of emulation, who might they turn to? In this light, I have decided to countdown the 10 greatest Chinese thinkers. These are the men whose minds helped shaped generations–not just in China but across the globe. And to be fair, I do respect Kongzi–I just don’t think he is the best model for the modern age. So he will probably turn up somewhere on this list. But first, we start with my #10 selection:
Sun Zhongshan, also known as Sun Yat-sen
Some might question my choice to put old Sun at the bottom of this list. Is he not, after all, the “Father of the Chinese Revolution”? In a word, no. Now, I joined Sun’s Tongmenghui way back in the day, back when we were all in Japan pounding sake and visiting Tokyo’s red light district (FYI your boy Sun could not hold his booze and had a few fetishes that even surprised the Japanese). So I am very much qualified to pass judgment on Sun Zhongshan, or Sonny as I called him.
You see, he had the most amazing ability to repeatedly fail–he was the original “cut and runner.” Every time he tried to overthrow those stinking Manchus, he would fail. Except he would never be there to face punishment, as he would be hiding out in HK. And when we finally brought down the Qing, where was he? Colorado, just where he was needed. What a joke. You know who the real Father of Chinese Revolution is? That’s right, Yan Xishan. But Stillwell, in a conversation with Fairbank, once drunkenly called me the “Stepchild of the Chinese Revolution” and I have yet to escape this stigma. Is it fair? No, but I live with it–we all have our crosses I guess.
So, final analysis of Sun Zhongshan….
1. Married a woman young enough to be his daughter.
2. 3 Principles of the People (uninspired and never implemented, but hey it was something).
1. Best skills: Retreating and avoiding conflicts
2. Possibly married a Soviet Agent in Song Qingling
3. Created the conditions for decades of civil war
It is number 2 on the con list that really gets me. I mean, if you are going to deliver your nation to the Red Menace, at least do it via a Eastern European redhead named Natasha. That is the classy way to go about these things. So sorry Sonny, you barely make the list at #10.