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This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a little over a year, which the obligations of the physical world have kept me from, but Razib’s recent series on the Hui has finally given me an excuse.

Many of the Muslim immigrants to China were Central Asian mercenaries who settled in China rather than make the arduous journey home. In pre-modern China (and other pre-modern societies), men are expected to pursue the same line of work as their forebears. This, along with the Confucian Han disdain for military careers, meant that the descendants of these men found their niche in the Chinese economy as soldiers, mercenaries, and caravan guards.1 And in China, mercenary families, whether Han or Hui, were famous for their Kung Fu.

If its traditions are to be believed, the Cha Chüan (查拳; pinyin: Chāquán) style of Kung Fu has its origins in the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and the recuperation of Hua Zongqi, a young Hui general, in the county of Guanxian in Shandong Province.3 As thanks for their care, he stayed to teach the townspeople martial arts.

The same scenario figures in the origin story of Tan Tui (彈腿; pinyin: Tán Tuǐ): the invalid soldier, the kind townspeople, the reciprocation of hospitality by teaching Kung Fu, even Guanxian County, Shandong. The origin of Tan Tui is set towards the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and attributed to a Hui from Xinjiang named Chashangyir. It is improbable that such a particular sequence of events repeat itself in the same location a thousand years after they first took place. However, a Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE) vase in the collection of the Museum of Metropolitan art features the figure of a wolf-headed man, a totem of the non-Han peoples of Xinjiang, in an unmistakably Tan Tui posture as he fights a mounted Han archer. So the link to Xinjiang may have substance even if little else in the origin story does.

The people of Guanxian eventually taught Tan Tui to the Buddhist monks of the Longtan Temple, who expanded the original 10 routines of Tan Tui into 12.

Even though it is sometimes taught as a style on its own, both the 10- and 12-routine Tan Tui are best-known because their adoption into the curriculum of other styles, starting with Cha Chüan and especially through the widespread impact of the Jing Wu Men (of Fist of Fury fame) and the Nanjing Central National Martial Arts Institute.

In the neighboring province of Hebei is the village of Meng in the prefecture of Cangzhou. In Meng Village during the 18th century a Muslim named Wu Jong began teaching the martial arts he learned from a Taoist monk (or monks, depending on the account), which became known as Ba Ji Chüan (八極拳; pinyin: Bājíquán). In the 20th century, the bodyguards of Emperor Puyi (of Last Emperor fame), Mao Zedong, and Chiang Kai-Shek were all practitioners of Ba Ji.

In one of his posts, Razib linked to a Time magazine article about Han-Hui violence in Henan, which lies immediately south of Hebei, in the prefecture of Zhengzhou, where the Shaolin Monastery is located. 60 miles west of the Shaolin Monastery is the ancient city of Luoyang, home to a Muslim community known for a branch of the martial art Xing Yi Chüan (形意拳; pinyin: Xíngyìquán). The founder of this branch, Ma Xueli, is said to have learned the style from a wandering master in the 18th century. His family is rumored to have been involved in the martial arts for much longer. The teacher of the 13th century master Bai Yufeng is said to have been a man named Ma from Luoyang.

In the 20th century, Cangzhou was the home of the Hui master Wang Ziping (1883–1973); bio en español with lots of photos here, shorter bio in English here, photo of Wang Ziping as an old man doing a bent press with a lock weight here), a master of many styles but best known for Cha Chüan. Gender equity in the Chinese umma isn’t limited to female imams; Wang Ziping passed the mantle to his daughter Wang Jurong, who passed it on to her daughters Helen and Grace Wu. (Wu Jong’s lineage was also continued by his daughter, Wu Rong.)

Another celebrated Hui Kung Fu master from Hebei was Ch’ang Tung-Sheng, the 20th century master of Shuai Jiao, Chinese wrestling, specifically the style from Baoding in Hebei. He was famous for his ability to drop opponents with his first technique, which is the ideal espoused by the Baoding style, as well as the Hebei style of Xing Yi.

The border region between Shandong and Hebei has long been famous for the martial arts among both Han and Hui, especially Cangzhou. Cangzhou was a penal colony, a place of exile, a really rough part of China where knowledge of the martial arts were necessary for survival.

1Explaining the disproportionate representation of Hui in the Chinese military.
2The style takes its name from Cha Yuanyi, Hua Zongqi’s student and teaching assistant, possibly because there are two other styles of Kung Fu named Hua Chuan (but written with different characters).

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Contemporary Americans don’t eat the same dishes as Medieval Europeans because because many foods in a modern American diet were not available to Medieval Europeans. They either hadn’t been discovered by Europeans yet, such as New World foods like maize, potatoes, and chocolate, or were unavailable for other reasons, such as pepper and other spices, which were expensive luxuries then.

When devising recipes, medieval cooks like Taillevent had to take into account the amount of leftovers and how perishable they would be given the lack of refrigeration as well as how reliable his supply of quality ingredients was. Almond milk, for example, used to be commonplace for a number of reasons. In addition to its inherent perishability, cow’s milk was often sold by unscrupulous dealers who adulterated their product or sold spoiled milk as fresh. Almonds were much less perishable and a reliable supply could be kept on hand.

Old recipes are often the best that a cook could devise given the constraints at the time. Mooncakes, for example, have decreased in popularity as the Chinese community has been exposed to lighter goodies like Portugese egg tarts and Australian (no, I don’t mean Austrian) apple strudel and adopted them as their own.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m hungry.

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Wouldn’t this have made a “30 Days”-worthy story of dispelling preconceptions?

“Before, I thought the Americans were like the Europeans – no religion, no moral values, taking drugs, having sex, drinking all the time,” said Sirine, an earnest 17-year-old Tunisian who stayed with an Atlanta-area family. “But my opinion changed. I found people going to church a lot, and some are really conservative. I found the people more friendly than I expected. I thought all Americans were for the war, like the government. But some people are different.” Her host mother, to her surprise, kept a scrapbook of antiwar news clippings.

Abdulrahman, a thoughtful 16-year-old from Syria who spent the year in Waters, Michigan, agreed. “Back home in the Middle East,” he said, “when we used to hear about the United States in the news and movies, they only show you what they want. Then, when I came to Michigan, I found out in the United States there are some of the nicest and most open-minded people I ever met. I didn’t expect to find that.”

Kaoutar, a quick-to-smile 17-year-old from Morocco, stayed with a family in Imbler, Imbler. Ashland was “such a liberal community,” she said. Quite unlike anything she had imagined, the children in her host family were not allowed to watch television.

Ahmad, a tall and mature-sounding 17-year-old from Kuwait, said: “It wasn’t really like the movies. People were open-minded, but a little afraid until we got to know them.” He said that where he stayed, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “it was not Beverly Hills – it was a normal, average home.”Or this? Farah Siddique also knows what it means to feel marginalized, and she is grateful to “Postcards From Buster” for helping her feel less so. Farah, 12, lives in a Chicago suburb with Pakistani and Filipino parents who are Muslim. In a telephone interview, she explained why she was happy to appear on “Postcards From Buster,” wearing her hijab (a head covering) and studying the Koran.

“It was important to tell people about my religion and everything,” she said. “Some people think we’re bad because of 9/11 or something, and I’m telling them we are not bad, we’re not trying to hurt anyone or do anything wrong.”

Asked what she thought about PBS’s decision not to distribute the “Buster” episode about the children with two mothers, she said: “We don’t believe in that stuff. My opinion is that it is bad or wrong. My sister is 7, and she watches PBS Kids shows. I wouldn’t want her to watch that kind of thing.”

What if people said they wouldn’t want to watch the episode about her because they don’t like Muslims?

Without hesitation Farah replied: “Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that. Can I change what I said? If people were judging me because of my religion I would get really sad. Now I think maybe they should show it.”

Posted by jeet at 07:42 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Here is the explanation of Judaism and Islam in the “devout Christian spends a month as a Muslim” episode of “30 Days”.Jews believe in the existence of one true God and are still waiting for his son, the Messiah, to save them.

[Muslims] base their religions on the writings of a later prophet, MuhammadLet’s start with the fact that this was a voiceover during an animated segment, in contradiction to the prohibition on figurative art that both Judaism and Islam share.

1. Judaism does not identify the Messiah as “God’s son”.
2. Referring to the Qur’an as the “writings” of Muhammad is technically incorrect because, according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad was illiterate, like most people of his time and setting. Moreover, the cartoon depicted him leafing through a book.

Posted by jeet at 08:22 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Thought that would get your attention.

The NYT also has an article on the evolutionary purpose of the female orgasm and the name of one of the scientists they quote is, get this, Dr Alcock.

Posted by jeet at 06:33 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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If you were conducting a campaign against pornography, would you include “Rub It Out” among your catchphrases?

I wouldn’t be so sure about giving it the elbow either.

via BBC News

See also
Mine’s a Double” via FARK
and
There’s still a lot of Queens in George Tenet

Posted by jeet at 04:55 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Saturday’s New York Times“We are using too many raw materials to sustain this growth,” said Pan Yue, China’s environment minister, in a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. “To produce goods worth $10,000, for example, we need seven times more resources than Japan, nearly six times more than the United States and, perhaps most embarrassing, nearly three times more than India.Are you telling me there’s room for the price of Chinese manufactures to go even lower?

Don’t tell Wal-Mart.

Posted by jeet at 11:15 AM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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via Sepia Mutiny

Ted Rall’s latest cartoon imagines a Zoroastrian United States without separation of church and state.

What Mr. Rall leaves out of his cartoon is that the ancestral homeland of the Zoroastrians is currently under the rule of a regime repelled by the notion of separating church and state. The ancestral homeland of the Zoroastrians was invaded and the Zoroastrians subject to a campaign of ethnic cleansing by their conquerors such that the true heirs of one of the great civilizations of the ancient world may die out by the end of the twenty-first century.

Mr. Rall, of course, casts his lot with that genocide’s perpatrators and beneficiaries.

Apparently murderous hatred of Westerners, especially Americans, gives you carte blanche for murderous hatred of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and, yes, Zoroastrians.

Stupid white man indeed.

See also this.

Posted by jeet at 09:37 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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…how Terry Schiavo’s parents feel about stem cell research and how well that jibes with the positions of their political patrons?

Posted by jeet at 08:08 AM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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…or does Paul Wolfowitz resemble a Mirror Universe Dennis Kucinich?

(Or, alternatively, does Dennis Kucinich resemble a Mirror Universe Paul Wolfowitz.)

All either one would need is a Spock goatee.

Or maybe they used to be a single entity split in two by a transporter accident with the friendly-but-totally-pussified half becoming Kucinich and the hardass-psycho-motherf*cker half becoming Wolfowitz.

Maybe I shouldn’t post after an Saturday night’s carousing.

Posted by jeet at 10:34 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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From Saturday’s New York Times Farah Siddique also knows what it means to feel marginalized, and she is grateful to “Postcards From Buster” for helping her feel less so. Farah, 12, lives in a Chicago suburb with Pakistani and Filipino parents who are Muslim. In a telephone interview, she explained why she was happy to appear on “Postcards From Buster,” wearing her hijab (a head covering) and studying the Koran.

“It was important to tell people about my religion and everything,” she said. “Some people think we’re bad because of 9/11 or something, and I’m telling them we are not bad, we’re not trying to hurt anyone or do anything wrong.”

Asked what she thought about PBS’s decision not to distribute the “Buster” episode about the children with two mothers, she said: “We don’t believe in that stuff. My opinion is that it is bad or wrong. My sister is 7, and she watches PBS Kids shows. I wouldn’t want her to watch that kind of thing.”

What if people said they wouldn’t want to watch the episode about her because they don’t like Muslims?

Without hesitation Farah replied: “Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that. Can I change what I said? If people were judging me because of my religion I would get really sad. Now I think maybe they should show it.”

Posted by jeet at 07:04 AM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Some of those commenting on “Church & State in Togo” are speculating about possible religious syncretisms. In the spirit of Chrismukkah or, if you prefer, Chrismahanukwanzakah, I offer the following:

Ramadan + Diwali = Ramawali

Hajj + Hanukkah = Hajjnukkah

Christmas + Nawruz = Feliz Navruz

Oh, and happy Basant!

Posted by jeet at 07:31 PM

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Heather Graham is on the EverCrack.I’d always wished I had the chance to play Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, but I never had friends who were into it.

You know, Ms. Graham, I’m sure those kids who were into it would have extended a warm hand of welcome.

Posted by jeet at 08:57 AM

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According to David Buss, “the younger woman involved in a love triangle is at a high risk of being killed”. If she’s usually killed by the older woman, that one’s pretty easy to figure out.

So what explains the apparent high risk of pregnant and new mothers being killed, even by those who are not sexual rivals or, in some cases, the father (e.g. Peterson case)?

Posted by jeet at 01:21 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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From the authors of the forthcoming Madame Bovary’s Ovaries: Biology for the Bookish
via Arts & Letters Daily

The prospect of staying alive through time via future generations is the motivation underlying sex, love, and indeed everything in the organic world. ….

In justifying [the society of Orwell's 1984], Winston’s torturer, O’Brien, explains: “You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable.” Fortunately, O’Brien, like the Director in Brave New World, is wrong. People are immensely malleable, more so, in all likelihood, than any other species. But infinitely? Absolutely not.

….

Denial of love, of genuine sex (which is to say, difficult, but also gratifying), of reproductive opportunity, of individuality are all denials of our organic humanness.

….

Despite the inherently depressing plot lines of most dystopias, they persist in their fundamental popularity. The Handmaid’s Tale, a modern feminist classic by Margaret Atwood, warns of a future in which “love is not the point.” And neither, of course, is motherhood or child rearing. Ironically, the novel was intended as a criticism of evolutionary thinking, which Atwood interprets as oppressing women by enshrining reproduction as their sole biological and cultural “role.” Notwithstanding her distrust of sociobiology, it is Atwood’s paradoxically acute grasp of evolutionary realities — especially the centrality of reproduction — that makes The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as her most recent work, Oryx and Crake, such a powerful dystopian story.

….

Just as Fahrenheit 451 depicts a world in which cheap, artificial entertainment substitutes for the “real thing,” the phenomenally popular movie The Matrix describes a vision that is even more nightmarish: a computer-generated cyberworld in which human beings, deceived as to their true situation, believe that they are living genuine lives. But they aren’t. Most are victimized by a vast network of machines, their bodies preyed upon while their minds wander, misled, in a virtual “matrix” in which strings of code give the illusion that protein gruel is really champagne and steak. By contrast, DNA, our own, genuinely biological code, gives us actual champagne and steak — pleasuring our taste buds while fueling our organic metabolism. The Matrix, a prime example of a life-denying, biology-perverting dystopia, envisions a world that is literally drained of its physicality.

Perhaps one reason The Matrix (at least, the first episode) is so resonant is that organic genuineness has become less accessible to us all. “The ordinary city-dweller,” wrote philosopher Susanne Langer, “knows nothing of the earth’s productivity. He does not know the sunrise and rarely notices when the sun sets … His realities are the motors that run elevators, subway trains, and cars. … Nature, as man has always known it, he knows no more.”

Posted by jeet at 08:15 PM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Wilford, John Noble. “Even Couch Potatoes May Have Been Born to Run”. The New York Times. 2004 November 17.

[T]here was the gluteus maximus, the muscle of the buttocks. Earlier human ancestors, like chimpanzees today, had pelvises that could support only a modest gluteus maximus, nothing like the strong buttocks of Homo.

“Have you ever looked at an ape?” Dr. Bramble said. “They have no buns.”

Posted by jeet at 04:36 PM

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The weather in New York has dropped into the 30s, which means only one thing.

It’s time for dogs in sweaters.

[rant]
I don’t wish to offend the ardor with which dog owners love their dogs, but I feel compelled to point something out: dogs aren’t people. I don’t know what the EEA for various breeds of dogs are, but I do know, the advanced stages of mange notwithstanding, dogs have more fur per square inch than, say, a human. (Remember, I’m Chinese. Depending on what part of the world your ancestors came from, YMMV. You know who you are.)

Yes, yes, it can be very cute, but dogs don’t really need sweaters. And I’m damn sure they don’t need $100 cashmere sweaters from Ralph Lauren.

Also, and I acknowledge that this may be a sore spot, your dog is not your child. Just because you call it yourself its mommy or daddy doesn’t make it so. (At least I hope so.) I’m going to go out on a limb and start making sweeping generalizations about the sort of Manhattanite that feels compelled to kit her (and it usually is a her) canine out in a crewneck: For decades, your top priority has been your career and your Type-A personality keeps you from making the sorts of compromises that a mature relationship with another human requires. Well into your thirties and forties you come to terms with the fact that you will probably never “end up” with someone and get a pet (often a menagerie of them) to obtain the sort of unconditional devotion and companionship that is simply not available from people.
[/rant]

Posted by jeet at 06:37 PM

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So is this the new status quo?

From now on, will the leader of the most powerful country in the world come down to a knock-down, drag-out fight in a single state? Was 2000 a harbinger rather than an aberration?

Posted by jeet at 07:51 AM

(Republished from GNXP.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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St. John, Warren and Rachel L. Swarns. “Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”. The New York Times. 2004 October 31.

In towns big and small across the country, couples and family members on opposite sides of the political fence are struggling to maintain amicable relationships as a highly polarized political season reaches its apex. With the presidential race so close and emotions so raw, their homes are microcosms of the sharply divided electorate, places where a kitchen-table conversation can quickly devolve into the bitter back and forth of an episode of “Crossfire” or worse.
….
For Laurice Pearson, a Democrat who works at a Manhattan legal services company, and her husband, Mihai Radu, an architect who defected from communist Romania in the early 1980′s and came to view Ronald Reagan as a kind of liberator — and by extension the Republican Party, too — political arguments were initially a courtship ritual.

But as their disagreements became more intense, she said, they agreed not to talk politics over breakfast, for fear they would commence an argument they couldn’t resolve before heading to work. Ms. Pearson said she also encouraged her husband to argue himself out with others, so she wouldn’t have to engage.
….
Gene and Adam Ortiz, the Republican father and Democratic son, said they were groping for ways to fight the political fight while keeping the peace at home.

They’re called blogs, people.

Posted by jeet at 09:20 AM

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Gladstone, Bill [I shit you not]. “From King David to Freud to Marx, new book traces a family’s history”. JTA. 2004 October 24.

In [“The Lurie Legacy,” Neil] Rosenstein links the Lurie lineage — which includes such modern luminaries as Sigmund Freud and Martin Buber — to Rashi, the 11th-century sage, and many other revered Jewish figures from Hillel to Hezekiah — and ultimately to King David of the 10th century BCE.
….
The family tree boasts an astonishing array of celebrated historical figures from the prophet Isaiah to Sir Isaiah Berlin, from Felix Mendelssohn to Karl Marx and Moses Montefiore.

The list also includes Yehudi Menuhin, Helena Rubinstein, the Rothschilds and even Rosenstein himself. If it begins to sound like a “Who’s Who” of the Ashkenazi world, that’s because it is.

hat tip: normblog

Posted by jeet at 11:49 AM

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