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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #215: November 14, 2005

Modern Asian Studies

Journal Name: Modern Asian Studies: Volume 39 - Issue 03 - July 2005
Print ISSN: 0026-749X Online ISSN: 1469-8099

Chinese Religion in English Guise: The History of an Illusion (pp509-533)
T. H. BARRETT (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
The purpose of the following remarks is to trace the way in which, for over a century from the time of the first Opium War to that of the emergence of the study of Chinese religions as a separate specialization in the 1970s, the English-language world sustained a description of religion in China that was at very considerable variance with the facts. The narrative is not designed to be definitive—the choice of materials drawn upon is restricted, and somewhat arbitrary—but I trust that it ranges widely enough to explain just how this faulty analysis not only came into being but also managed to survive for so long. More detailed studies of aspects of the problem are already under way, and will doubtless appear in due course, but an overview at this point may even so be helpful. It may indeed even be helpful in the wake of the appearance of one such extremely detailed and valuable study, Norman Girardot's weighty volume on the towering figure of James Legge (1815–1897). For while it is now possible to read an excellent study of Legge's views in the context of his own times—and no one interested in the topic treated here should ignore Girardot's research—a glance at the even broader context of the overall history of sinology in relation to Chinese religion suggests that Legge's views by and large fall into the more extended pattern outlined here. For rather than explore the outlook of any particular individual, the aim here is to illustrate, and to some preliminary degree explain, the persistence of a particular paradigm in the understanding of Chinese religion.

Chinese and Filipino Seafarers: A Race to the Top or the Bottom? (pp535-557)
All countries with significant coastlines and groups of islands inevitably produce seafarers at some time or other in the course of their economic development, and the two countries which are the subject of this paper are no exceptions. Chinese ships and seafarers were famously exploring the Indian Ocean more than a century before the arrival of the Portuguese and once the Spanish Pacific empire was established in the sixteenth century, the ships linking Mexico to Manila were mainly crewed by Filipinos. And it need hardly be said that Chinese and Filipinos have both been employed by foreign ship-owners throughout the twentieth century. What is unquestionably new is the magnitude of Filipino seafarers' employment in the world's merchant ships and the extraordinary growth of China as a nation with a major stake in the shipping industry, both as ship-owner and as a source of seafarers.

Weakening Ties with the Ancestral Homeland in China: The Case Studies of Contemporary Singapore and Malaysian Chinese (pp559-597)
YOW CHEUN HOE (East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore)
In the last two decades there has been much scholarly and journalistic attention given to the issue of how Chinese overseas relate themselves to China. This happened against a backdrop of two major developments in Asia. The first has to do with the fact that many ethnic Chinese outside mainland China have been faring well economically and accumulating considerable wealth in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in the second half of the twentieth century. The second is the rise of China as an economic superpower attracting foreign capital after it reopened itself and launched economic reform in 1978.

The Transformation of an Overseas Chinese Family—Three Generations of the Eu Tong Sen Family, 1822–1941 (pp599-630)
STEPHANIE PO-YIN CHUNG (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)
Architecture can be viewed as a reflection of value placed on life. In colonial Hong Kong, a distinctive Gothic-style castle, Euston, was built by tycoon Eu Tong Sen (1877–1941) as his family's grand residence. Eu was a prominent figure in South China and Southeast Asia and remains a local legend decades after his death. Eu's castle, being built in 1928 and demolished in the 1980s, was and still is one of the most recognizable monuments in the region. Although Eu did not leave behind any autobiography or memoirs, the monumental castle can be regarded as a symbolic manifestation of his life story. The design of the castle is of mixed ancestry—it is a reconciliation of traditional Chinese design based on feng shui (Chinese geomancy) with European architectural elements. The fusion of East-West architectural building elements, as symbolized by the Eu castle, was a significant achievement symbolizing general social and cultural changes spanning more than a century.

New Government, New Language? The Third Way Discourse in Taiwan (pp631-660)
YU-KANG LEE (National Sun Yat-Sen University)
The Third Way started as an Anglo-American ideological and political venture. It was soon followed by major European leaders, among other worldwide government heads of state, who sought to emulate the result of a high command of electoral support and a resolution to the consequences of globalisation. Despite criticism by academics and commentators for having lack of content and substance, the Third Way appeared to be rather successful in recruiting allies, especially among Western democracies. Unlike other nations in East Asia, Taiwan is involved with this arguably prominent political project of the 21st century.

The New Middle Way is not only the political idea that seemingly pushed Chen Shui-bian into office, but also appears to be the ideological foundation of his governance. This paper focuses on the political language of Chen in order to analyse and comprehend the implications of the New Taiwan Middle Way. One way to understand Chen's New Middle Way is to look into the language of the DPP, particularly of Chen. To get behind the rhetoric and decode the factual meanings of the discourse, a wide range of political speeches and texts are examined. By examining the New Taiwan Middle Way, we not only gain a different perspective on Chen's bid for the presidency, but also capture valuable insights into his governing approach.

The paper argues that the effect of the New Taiwan Middle Way before the presidential election was to achieve the political objective of Chen Shui-bian. Though the DPP did not hold the majority of the seats in the Legislative Yuan prior to the December 2001 election, the New Middle Way may have served as symbolic means to an end to resolve the deadlock within the legislature. In these ways, the significance of the New Middle Way for Taiwan is to be concluded.

What's Become of the Pandit? Rethinking the History of Sanskrit Scholars in Colonial Bengal (pp683-723)
BRIAN A. HATCHER (Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL)
This essay raises a single question for which it ventures two kinds of answers, one historical and the other historiographical. On the one hand, to ask 'What's become of the pandit?' is to express an interest in finding out about transformations over time in the activities, experiences, and social placement of pandits—for present purposes in the context of colonial Bengal. Taken in this sense, the question reflects a desire to examine the diverse experiences of Sanskrit pandits, perhaps to inquire about the degree to which they either may or may not be illustrative of other sorts of changes taking place in colonial Indian society. On the other hand, to ask 'What's become of the pandit?' is to suggest that it may be worth investigating what we mean by the word 'pandit' and how we have come to view pandits as we do. What we're asking thus is really, 'What's become of the pandit in modern scholarly discourse?' In this sense, the question is a historiographical or methodological one. It suggests there may be important reasons why scholars tend to conceptualize the life and work of pandits as they do, and reminds us that becoming aware of these reasons might allow us to gain a better perspective on our own field of study.

In the Eyes of its Beholders: The Younghusband Expedition (1903–04) and Contemporary Media (pp725-739)
A little over a hundred years ago, on 18 July 1903 to be exact, Francis Younghusband, preceded a few weeks earlier by a small band of officials and an escort of 500 men, crossed the forbidding 17,500 feet high Kangra la and quartered at Khamba Jong, an odd 25 miles inside Tibet. His ostensible objective, to negotiate with officials from the Dalai Lama's administration and those of the Chinese Amban in Lhasa. A number of minor irritants on the Sikkim frontier and alleged Tibetan impediments to cross-border trade were the principal issues that needed to be sorted out. A bipartite conference with the Tibetans, with the Chinese acting as facilitators, it was reasoned, would help find a solution.

Modern Asian Studies (2005)
Copyright ©2005 Cambridge University Press

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