Friday, January 28, 2011

207. Chinese Cultural Influence on Colonial North America

The Well-known Huaren Magazine, based in Australia, published in its September 2010 Issue, Dr. Dave Wang's Paper, "From Confucius to the Great Wall of China: Chinese Cultural Influence on Colonial North America." In the following please enjoy a paragraph of his paper:

The Americans wanted to diminish their reliance on taxed imports and ultimately their need for other goods controlled by England. Their pursuing self supply of Chinese porcelain ware became a powerful call for the patriotic support of American economical independence. Some colonists started attempts to establish a porcelain manufactory company in Philadelphia in 1769.

They established the factory on Prime Street “near the present day navy yard, intended to make china at a savings of 15,000 £. “ Benjamin Franklin, who was in London at the time, showed his happiness seeing the achievement made by his countrymen. He said, “I am pleased to find so good progress made in the China Manufactory. I wish it Success most heartily.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

206. We Should Go Back To Franklin's Principle

Ms. Amy Chua, her book titled, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was opposed by David Brooks, whose article titled, “Amy Chua is a Wimp.” With this post by no means do I intend to disglory either the Tiger Mother or her opposer, David Brooks. In terms of educating younger generation, I like neither Ms. Chua nor Mr. David Brooks. I go for Benjamin Franklin's educational thinking. As co-president of the Chinese American Parents Association of Hunter College High School, arguably one of the top high schools in the world, I have something to say regarding this topic: I think that I can not fabricate anything better than Franklin's educational principle.

Franklin viewed virtue as a path to personal happiness and social utility. For Franklin, to be a virtuous person was so important that it decided what kind of life one wanted to live. In 1780, he told his grandson that there were only two kinds of people in the world: the people with virtue and the people without. He said that the people with virtue “are well dress’d and live comfortably in good houses,” and the people without virtue “are poor and dirty” He emphasized, “nothing so likely to make a man’s fortune as virtue.”

The message Franklin wanted to convey to his grandson was that his grandpa had good virtue and therefore could be rich and accumulated fortune, which allowed him to retire at the age of 42. By combining virtue with one’s future, Franklin told his grandson that if he wanted to “not live in miserable cabins” in his later life he need to start to cultivate his virtue at a young age. Franklin not only told his grandson to train his “good morals” himself but asked him to “recommend” the good morals to his friends when his grandson returned to the United States after his study in Swissland.

We can tell from the above that Franklin maintained that happiness and social utility should be goal of education. To reach this goal, one must cultivate one's virtue. Compared with Franklin's principle, we will find what's wrong with either Chua or Brooks. Chua could raise young people as successful individuals; however, they would have difficulties serving community. On the other side, Brooks could produce someone who wants to serve community but doesn't possess necessary knowledge on how to do so. No doubt, we should go back to Franklin's principle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

205. How Many Founding Fathers Knew of China?

January 2011 is very unique. It has five Mondays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. It is impossible for current people to meet a January like this one again because it will take 9841 years to have the same January.

It is the perfect time for my giving the answer to this question. Since the first day I read Dr. Dave Wang's blog, The U.S. Founding Fathers and China I have asked myself the question: How many founding fathers heard of China during the founding era of the United States? I read all his publications and found that only about handful of them.

To be honest, I almost fell out of chair when I heard Dr. Dave Wang's answer to the question. “Over a dozen.” “Wait a minute. Say it again. Over a dozen of United States founding fathers made their efforts to borrow positive elements from China. Could you tell me who they are?” I was totally blown off in this particular January.

According to Dr. Dave Wang's research we have found that the founding fathers demonstrated their efforts to use Chinese civilization as a resource to build the colonies into a new nation in North America. They are John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Rufs King, Richard Henry Lee, James Madison, James Monroe, Gouverneur MorrisRobert Morris, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush and George Washington. I hope that Dr. Dave Wang can further enlighten us about what positive elements they used from Chinese culture to develop the United States.